What to Expect from the Elemental Chat Public Test

So you’ve decided to get involved in Holo’s Elemental Chat public test! That’s great; we’re happy to have you join us. Now that you’re here, it’s time to get clear on exactly what this test is about.

tl;dr:

  • We’re testing Holochain and Holo hosting’s capacity to operate at scale.
  • We’re not looking for bugs in Elemental Chat, which is just a proof-of-concept hAp
  • We’re interested in uncovering new, serious, persistent issues that are experienced by a lot of people
  • We won’t be offering technical support, but we will be looking at all bug reports for patterns

What we’re testing, and why

This stage is all about testing Holochain’s durability at scale. Most of the hard testing work has already been done. We’ve fixed most of the bugs in the Holo hosting infrastructure and the Holochain engine, and now we’re ready to subject them to a huge amount of traffic to learn what works great and what needs improving.

This might sound risky. It’s possible that something will break. But really, we’d rather have that happen right now, in the early days, before we tell the world that Holo hosting is production-ready. Right now, while there’s only one hosted app (Elemental Chat), we’re able to closely monitor for problems and take action to fix them without causing disruption to real apps that people depend on.

What to report

Because we’re looking for issues that may only appear at scale, we’re looking for new, serious bugs that affect a lot of people consistently and repeatedly. We’re asking you to look out for:

  • Sign-up or sign-in problems that persist over a number of tries, even after using the troubleshooting steps,
  • Problems connecting to Elemental Chat that aren’t resolved, even after using the troubleshooting steps,
  • Large numbers of messages that fail to be received within a few seconds during ‘sequential tests’ (in which two people rapidly send messages to each other, ping-pong style — we recommend counting back and forth),
  • Large numbers of messages that aren’t received within 15 minutes, even after refreshing the browser or switching channels,
  • Any messages that aren’t received after one hour.

What *not* to report

  • Sign-up or sign-in problems that resolve themselves after a couple tries or after creating a new account,
  • Connectivity problems that resolve themselves after a browser refresh or after two hours,
  • Messages that occasionally take up to an hour to appear,
  • Messages that occasionally reorder themselves,
  • Clicking on ‘Load more messages’ and seeing nothing new,
  • User-friendliness of Elemental Chat itself.

There are still a few reliability issues we are actively working on. Sign-ups and sign-ins will occasionally fail and require you to refresh your browser or create a new account. (Read the Elemental Chat FAQ for help resolving these issues.) And if the HoloPort hosting your app instance goes offline, you won’t be able to log in until it comes back online. But even with these issues, Holo now works well enough for us to run these large-scale tests.

And Elemental Chat is just a proof of concept. It doesn’t have all the features and usability of a chat app meant for the real world, and we don’t intend to improve the user experience. We created it because we knew it would subject Holochain to a lot of traffic, and that’s what we need to test right now. So we aren’t looking for feedback on the app itself.

Where to report a bug or find help

Because we expect a lot more participants, we won’t be able to offer technical support or respond individually to bug reports. Instead, we’ll be looking for patterns in your feedback. As you gain experience, we encourage you to help newcomers self-troubleshoot issues by sharing the Elemental Chat FAQ with them.

If you find a bug that you think you should report, here’s where to share it:

  • If you can log in, report your issue directly in Elemental Chat in the ‘Bug Reports’ channel.

Moderation

You might be surprised to know that we won’t be moderating conversations on Elemental Chat — in fact, at this point we’re unable to. If you’ve encountered some unpleasant conversations in Elemental Chat, read about what can be done. If you’re interested in the deeper details — why there’s no moderation, what moderation could look like in a hApp, and how that impacts freedom of speech — we’ve written about that as well.

About Holo

Holo is a distributed cloud hosting marketplace for peer-to-peer apps built on Holochain. We're helping to build a better Web.

Holo is to cloud hosting what Airbnb was to hotels—anyone can become a host by turning their computer into a source of revenue, getting paid in HoloFuel for hosting peer-to-peer applications to the legacy web. By hosting P2P apps, you support a web that empowers your peers and communities.

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