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Unmet Hours slack channel (chat)

asked 2015-09-09 10:18:09 -0500

updated 2016-02-12 01:56:02 -0500

Ever felt like sometimes it'd be good to be able to chat with people so that you don't clog the comment section of a post? Get some live feedback, get some pointers

Or you have a question that doesn't really warrant a post: too simple, too vague, just want a pointed?

Or maybe you just miss the 90s?

Maybe keeping up an IRC channel wouldn't be such a bad idea?

Maybe you have a better, 21st century alternative to propose?

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Julien Marrec's avatar Julien Marrec  ( 2015-09-09 11:56:18 -0500 )edit

That's because some of the OS team is already slacking. Although we have struggled getting the whole team on there because the NREL firewall blocks slack. I'm starting to think a public chat forum would be cool. Slack, IRC, or Gitter seem to be in the running.

Kyle Benne's avatar Kyle Benne  ( 2015-09-09 12:40:25 -0500 )edit

Sure, I'll give it a try, or slack works for me too.

Jamie Bull's avatar Jamie Bull  ( 2015-09-09 18:12:22 -0500 )edit

@Kyle Benne, why the block on Slack at NREL?

Jamie Bull's avatar Jamie Bull  ( 2015-09-10 04:19:21 -0500 )edit

It is just blanket firewall policy they are not picking on slack in particular.

Kyle Benne's avatar Kyle Benne  ( 2015-09-10 08:12:15 -0500 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2015-09-10 03:02:49 -0500

updated 2017-05-30 06:12:48 -0500

On people's suggestion, Slack is a better fit, more user friendly, more up to date.

We have created an UnmetHours slack here:

The problem right now is that Slack doesn't let anyone join, you have to specify which email domains can join, and I can't list them all, and common 'personal' email domains such gmail are forbidden.

@Jamie Bull created a bot to automatically add you to Slack.

The only thing you need to do is to request an invite by emailing with the subject [SLACK INVITE] and you'll get an invite in the next five minutes.

Joining Slack

Also, anyone using an email address from one of the following domains doesn't need to be invited specifically:,,,, and They're all pre-approved.

Worth noting that you can also get invited by anyone already on the Slack Channel.

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Well the problem is that right now you can't have slack as an open community. You either need to invite people manually or define which email domains are accepted.

Julien Marrec's avatar Julien Marrec  ( 2015-09-10 08:40:59 -0500 )edit

Thank you @Jamie Bull for setting up the automatic invite!

Julien Marrec's avatar Julien Marrec  ( 2015-09-11 02:12:47 -0500 )edit

@Jamie Bull and @Julien Marrec has anyone else had trouble getting this to work? I've emailed this several times and not seen an invite...

jmcneill's avatar jmcneill  ( 2016-03-22 15:20:28 -0500 )edit

@jmcneill Strangely your email was getting flagged as spam. It's odd because no others have been. I'll make the script check the spam folder as well as the inbox so this doesn't happen to anyone else.

Jamie Bull's avatar Jamie Bull  ( 2016-03-23 10:42:36 -0500 )edit

@Jamie Bull thanks! I'm in. Guess I seemed shady to the bots...

jmcneill's avatar jmcneill  ( 2016-03-29 11:06:00 -0500 )edit

answered 2015-09-10 11:11:53 -0500

updated 2015-09-10 15:33:19 -0500

IMHO, one of the most valuable features of a forum like UnmetHours is the archival and searchability of shared modeling knowledge. UnmetHours is a platform that achieves this better than most other modeling communities and is no doubt a major reason for how much momentum the site has gained.

The conversation, insight, and pointers can be equally informative or useful as the final 'answer'. Moving this to another sub-community may result in others losing out on valuable modeling knowledge, even if the OP thinks their query doesn't quite fit the mold.

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I agree. Twice on Sundays.

__AmirRoth__'s avatar __AmirRoth__  ( 2015-09-10 11:24:15 -0500 )edit

That's true for some things, but you might want to talk someone through something step-by-step, or spend a while looking at a file along with the person asking the question. I really don't see it as a replacement for this site, more for where there's a constant back and forth of comments, leading to a simple (or not so simple) solution that can be posted here. Half the benefit of UnmetHours over email lists is you end up with a question and a condensed answer, without having to wade through a whole thread.

Jamie Bull's avatar Jamie Bull  ( 2015-09-10 11:34:24 -0500 )edit

We've been finding that a little bit of off the records chatting is good as long as the resolutions end up getting posted somewhere permanent (github, unmethours, etc). The end result is higher quality posts in the permanent archive and less chaff for casual observers to have to sift through. My 2 karmic cents.

macumber's avatar macumber  ( 2015-09-10 13:35:20 -0500 )edit

I also think being able to sometimes just say "hello, how are you"? helps in giving a feeling of community which could be a nice touch. We end up spending quite some time answering each other's questions, and could try to qualify it as "interacting" with each other, but we never actually do interact (this is something that's not specific to unmet hours, also applies to the email lists out there etc)

Julien Marrec's avatar Julien Marrec  ( 2015-09-11 02:08:56 -0500 )edit

answered 2021-07-29 13:47:24 -0500

AllenMei's avatar

We have a Discord Server with 46 members from different parts of the world. We use it for live discussions of modeling related topics and some networking. You are more than welcome to join us!

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Hello, Could you share the Discord link again? This one is not working anymore. Thanks!

furtonb's avatar furtonb  ( 2024-01-09 17:38:31 -0500 )edit

answered 2015-09-10 21:35:32 -0500

updated 2023-06-01 23:09:49 -0500

~~My vote is for Gitter because the OS and EP development takes place nearby on GitHub and the majority of the questions here are directed towards those.~~

~~I created an UnmetHours organization on GitHub and some rooms on Gitter for reference.~~

2021 Update

I think we should use the Matrix open source specification. Coincidentally, Gitter was acquired by Element in 2020, which is one of the apps that uses Matrix.

So, as a start I've created a Matrix space called Building Performance Simulation. There are bridges to both Gitter and Slack, which I may try to implement if there's interest in connecting platforms.

The main features that I think are important are the following.

  1. Free
  2. Open source
  3. No message limits
  4. Connecting to repositories (GitHub, GitLab)
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Any reason to prefer this to using the git integration in Slack? It's possible to set up software-specific teams that get notifications, etc. In fact there's already an OpenStudio 1.8.5 team forming that could perhaps try this out.

Jamie Bull's avatar Jamie Bull  ( 2015-09-10 22:37:45 -0500 )edit

I think Gitter is better for open communities, but I guess my own prompting and then inertia got the OS team on Slack for better or worse. We do use the github Slack integration and it works pretty well.

Kyle Benne's avatar Kyle Benne  ( 2015-09-11 09:56:55 -0500 )edit

@Jamie Bull - the main difference I see is that Gitter offers unlimited chat history whereas Slack has a 10k limit. Currently the UH Slack team has close to 6k messages in about five months. However, as far as I can tell Gitter only has the ability to create individual rooms not sub-rooms akin to Slack channels.

MatthewSteen's avatar MatthewSteen  ( 2016-02-15 11:44:10 -0500 )edit

Looks like a lot of these answers & comments are fairly old. I emailed the slack email address suggested and got no reply. I joined the Matrix chat, and no one was active. I'm not super techie, so maybe I'm missing something, but does anyone have an update on the best platform to use for just chatting?

IanVG's avatar IanVG  ( 2023-06-01 19:56:05 -0500 )edit

@IanVG Slack and Discord are the current "active" ones. @Julien Marrec is the Slack Invite bot still working?

MatthewSteen's avatar MatthewSteen  ( 2023-06-01 23:08:02 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2015-09-09 10:18:09 -0500

Seen: 2,109 times

Last updated: Jun 01 '23