Table of Contents
Rocket.Chat is a web-based, persistent messaging service focusing on group communication. It is a simple and intuitive platform for all users with a GWDG account for their communication.
Rocket.Chat supports the exchange of files, images and videos as well as integration with other services like GitLab via bots and APIs. The service is available through a web browser without the need to install software but there are clients available for Windows macOS and Linux as well as apps for mobile devices.
The official documentation is available at https://docs.rocket.chat.
How to use Rocket.Chat?
- A current web browser
- Users who prefer to use clients will find the apps at https://rocket.chat/install/ for Windows, macOS and Linux as well as apps for mobile devices.
- Every user with a valid GWDG account can use the service. A valid e-mail address and password must be used for logging in.
- Users from the “Universitätsmedizin Göttingen (UMG)” should use their @med.uni-goettingen.de e-mail address.
- Users without an account can register an Academic Cloud account at https://www.gwdg.de/registration.
- DFN AAI members can login using Sigle-Sign on.
The service is available at https://chat.gwdg.de.
Inactivity and account deactivation
Inactive accounts get deactivated after 18 months. Deactivation relieves our licensing and is determined based on last login timestamp.
Accounts can be reactivated through the selfservice site at https://chat.gwdg.de/selfservice (SSO login required). The site also has more information about the process.
The GWDG Nachrichten 04-05 2020 includes a detailed article to familiarize new users with rocket.chat's basic features (currently in german only).
What are the first steps?
To search for public channels or to exchange direct messages with other users first click on the “globe” icon on the upper left side. Afterwards you can search for channels. By switching the tab to “Users” you can search for rocket.chat users.
With their first login all users are added to the #general channel automatically. GWDG news and operating notifications will be posted there. The channel can be left later.
A new channel can be created by clicking on the small “pencial” icon next to the search box in the top left corner. The channel can be made private or ready-only. Alternatively one can join existing channels which are listed on the left side.
The service is fully functional via the website. If a client is desired there are downloads available of the most recent version directly from the project website.
- Windows: rocketchat-setup-x.x.x.exe
- MacOS: rocketchat-x.x.x.dmg
- Linux: relevant package for rpm, deb etc.
Simple polls can be created with the chat command
/poll <title of poll>. The command is the beginning of a new message and opens a dialog for entering the poll options. The poll gets created when the options are entered.
Images, videos and files can be uploaded via a menu, available through the clip symbol next to the input box, or through drag and drop into the chat window. Images, GIFs and videos are embedded into the flow of text.
Uploaded files are automatically scanned for viruses by sophos.
Tips on organizing communication for larger teams, events or organizations
Due to the open and self-administrative nature of Rocket.Chat users themselves can plan and organize communication for groups of people in organizations or for events and projects. Here are some practical tips to consider.
How is my privacy protected?
All users signing in at https://chat.gwdg.de are searchable on the platform and can be sent direct messages or invited to channels. Users are identified by their userid, messages are marked with the user's first and last name. For sending emails the service also uses the user's email address.
Channels can be set to public or private. Private channels are only accessible for invited users and are not visible to others. Owners of a channel can remove members of a channel or delete the channel with its contents. Communication with the service is encrypted and the service is hosted in our data center.
End-to-end encryption (E2E)
The service has end-to-end encryption E2E activated. This enables users who own channels to mark them as encrypted. Channel contents will then be stored encrypted with a local password chosen by the user, which is independent of the GWDG account password.
The following is important to understand:
- Users have to *remember* and save this local password. Nobody can retrieve this password!
- Content of encrypted channels can only be read with this password. Without this password channel contents are unreadable and unrecoverable, for anybody.
- Encrypted content is also inaccessible or unintelligible for the operators of the service, even with full access to the service, servers and its databases. This is a high degree of privacy but also shows the dependence on said local password. Without it contents are inaccessible.
- Users are prompted to choose and store a local password. This will be saved with this browser on this device only and has to be re-entered on every browser on every device in order to access encrypted messages. For this reason said password is inaccessible and unrecoverable for the service operators. Without this password access to such content is lost forever.
- Users are encouraged to only use this functionality if they fully understand the implications and function of this mechanism. GWDG is incapable of retrieving lost passwords or content of this kind, by design.
Q: Using the client app I get an error like: “you visited the login page directly…“ A: Please clear the app cache by right clicking onto the server symbol on the left hand side and choose “Clear cache” and “Clear storage data”.
Q: Why can't I log in?
If you use the rocket.chat client, please make sure that you have added a new server via the “plus symbol” on the left side and entered https://chat.gwdg.de there
A: Please provide us with the following information:
- Do you use the rocket.chat client or browser? Please define the version in each case.
- When was the last successful login?
- What error message do you get? Please attach screenshots.
- What email address / username is used to log in
Q: I got a new account, can I merge it with my old Rocket.Chat account?
A: No. A new account constitutes a new identity. Please consult our policy on this matter.
Q: Is there an integration of a video conferencing software?
A: Rocket.Chat offers an integration with jitsi Meet. However, the data flows to an external provider, which is why the GWDG relies on its own video conference systems.
The integration of BBB is activated for chat.gwdg.de. This allows users to create a video conference using the telephone icon in the top right corner. Only the roles “owner” and “moderator” are allowed to create a VC.
We would like to point out that the integration is considered as beta and we will deactivate it in case of major problems. The separate use of meet.gwdg.de meet.gwdg.de is of course still possible at any time.
Q: How can I connect my repository from gitlab.gwdg.de to rocket.chat, so that I will be notified on new issues?
A: A new “integration” must be created in gitlab: Click on “Settings” - “Integrations” and enter:
Q: I don't get notifications in the desktop client.
A: Verify the notification settings in the client as described here: https://github.com/RocketChat/Rocket.Chat.Electron/issues/1395#issuecomment-589752544
Q: My Windows client always suggests to update after a restart.
A: In some client version the update mechanism does not work correctly. Alternatively a newer client version can be downloaded and installed directly from the provider website: https://rocket.chat/de/install/ This is a known problem but unfortunately not yet fixed by the project.
Q: Can I import my Slack channels or user?
A: Although Rocket.Chat offers a simple import function our experience has shown that this is only intended for fresh, new Rocket.Chat installations. Therefore we cannot offer imports of third-party data into our shared service.