Signal – The New Messaging App

Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger. Established in December 2020, it is an encrypted app that lets you send messages and make calls via the Internet. Signal’s USP (unique selling proposition) is its focus on privacy. It supports group chats and group video calls too. Signal is open source and its code is peer-reviewed, which means that its privacy and security is regularly checked by independent experts.
Signal had an exponential increase in signups since Whatsapp announced the changes to their privacy policy.
What is interesting is that new users are coming into Signal’s community forum and writing posts belittling the development team for not having certain features on the app.
Below is a reminder sent out to the community by Adam Piggot to be nice to the team.
I have seen a significant uptick of people posting or joining the forums and using belligerent language, making unilateral demands and insulting the process that is open source software. “The fact you haven’t done x is stupid”. “How can you write a piece of software that doesn’t do y?”. “It’s 2021 and you still can’t make a program do z, how pathetic”. Not exact words, but accurate sentiments.

Please don’t do this. Please be nice.

The Signal team, as with any open-source team, are not infinite resources to pour down the drain. Every hour they spend on their job working for Signal, every hour they spend after work helping out, every hour a volunteer puts into forum support and bug investigation, is an hour consumed. To receive insults and vitriol in return is corrosive. It is unfair and it is not in the spirit of giving, of making something and offering it for free.

You’re receiving this for free, this great software which is made by people who literally care about your privacy. They don’t know you, and they sure don’t know what you talk about on Signal, and yet they put in a lot of effort for this. Not to make wads of cash. Not to sell you to advertisers for your social life to be analysed and abused.

The developer for the Mastodon software Fedilab recently revealed he has been burnt out 2.0k and I’ve read elsewhere it was because people were screaming hate at him for a principle he upheld – which was that his software would not censor people screaming hate at each other. I’m sure you can appreciate the painful irony here. (Please note that his stepping down seems to be for real, the specific reasons I’ve gave are speculation). I, for one, chose his software specifically because it did not censor, because whilst I believe a service can censor if it chooses, software must remain neutral. (If you wish to discuss this, perhaps let’s do that on another thread).

Don’t be that person. Don’t jump on issues making demands. Don’t pile on forum threads that make some users’ opinions very clear as it is, and throw your bellicose howling in there too. Don’t insult the developers or their priorities, their choices. They are real people who have a finite capacity for work and for abuse. Add a thumbs up to an issue, add a heart to a forum request. Post only if you can materially add to the discussion, else use a reaction. Post in the spirit and the letter of the community guidelines 2.

Please be nice.

Have you joined? Will you be leaving What’s App and transitioning to this new platform.  Let us know

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