Practical tips for larger groups in Rocket.Chat

GWDG operates Rocket.Chat basically as an open service in order to facilitate easy communication with and among our users, the research community in general and explicitly also for the communication of the community with external partners.

The only prerequisite for using the service is a valid account with GWDG which is either an associated account (true for most MPG and University of Göttingen accounts, for example) or an account registered with the Academic Cloud during the first login process. For registration any valid Email address can be used.

Tips for organizing communication

Some practical tips to help you plan for a larger group of participants:

  • take note of the various types of channels in order to choose the right type of channel to reflect the confidentiality or openness of the communication
  • plan a simple schema for the basic channels that you want to start with (maybe a “welcome channel”, a “free discussion/coffee talk” channel and then several broad topic channels that reflect aspects of your project, institution or target group)
    • consider also a private “staff” or “moderators” channel to have a place for communication among those who manage the chat or other aspects of communication and organisation in your project in general
  • perhaps think of a small prefix that you will use for the names of all the associated channel to easily identify them
  • make use of invite links when inviting users, for example when sending out invitations or announcements per email (include a note that a registration may be required, as described above)
  • make sure to give a number of trusted users “moderator” rights in each channel and some also “owner” rights, so that managing users, editing channel information etc isn't restricted to only one or two users who may be unavailable for some time
  • consider making use of the teams feature in Rocket.Chat. It is basically a group of users who inherit a set of channels for which they automatically have access once they join this team

Additional note: recently we enabled the BigBlueButton integration in Rocket.Chat. It is a simple means of starting a pre-configured BBB video call from a channel by owners and moderators of the channel (members can then join). The resulting video call is a regular BBB call but all users can access it directly from the channel and are identified by their names and avatars from Rocket.Chat.

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