This week I was forced to accept that XMPP and IRC are both goners. Unfortunately so. While a few old-timers may still be clinging to both, and there's an effort to modernize the latter, it looks to me like the future is elsewhere.
But where? Like many people these days, I have a Discord account. Could even make a No Time To Play server there if I wanted to, and rule over my own little corner of... a mall, whose owners don't care about us except as potential cash cows. Petty owners, who can't be bothered to help us fight spam and other nasties, but sure like to play favorites. No wonder their attempts to be cute just seem to annoy everyone. And then, it's a single point of failure, that routinely fails in mysterious ways for some people but not others, just when you need it the most.
Luckily we can do better. Lately I keep hearing about the Matrix protocol, whose developers recently released version 1.0 of their reference server and client software, after five years in development. We're talking a distributed chat system with a clear, open specification, that already enjoys ample support. Heck, there seem to be more server implementations than there are Mastodon clients. On the other hand, while the-federation.info tracks over 1500 Matrix hosts, only a dozen or so are widely considered stable and trustworthy. Adoption seems limited, and then only among enthusiasts of the decentralized web.
It's a chicken and egg problem, so for once I decided to be an early adopter. As of this writing I have a Matrix account, a new territory to explore. Who's with me?
In the way of news, this week I have... nothing. A vacation, health issues and a little paid work held my attention. And then, my usual news sources are at it again. When the world of sports is more interesting these days, you know it's a problem.
That said, while on the subject of social networks, let me remind you that you have many options these days. Gamemaking.social and mastodon.gamedev.place for one. Better yet, elekk.xyz, which welcomes those who play and make games in equal measure, and has an awesome moderation team on top of that. Or if you don't like Mastodon, FreeGameDev.net Social runs on Hubzilla instead (though it has ActivityPub enabled and working well), and they offer other services as well, but only for open source game developers.
Either way, you're no longer forced to use proprietary services for keeping in touch with people in the industry. So do yourself a favor and break free.