Imagine an internet where it is only possible to send emails to people who used the same email provider as you, or only view websites that are hosted on your internet provider's servers. Naturally, these barriers go against the principles of the internet, and thankfully those days are long gone. Well… nearly.
Many people still rely on instant messaging and other networks which lock them in, and prevent them from chatting with their friends on other networks (except where certain “business deals” are made). This is against the spirit of freedom of choice, and works in favor of the network providers, not you, the user.
So imagine an IM network where you are able to choose where you want your account, and who your contacts are. You are in control, and you can even run your own server if you want to!
Thankfully such networks exist, they are free to use, and they don't restrict you to one provider or one client. XMPP (formerly named Jabber) is an example of a popular open network and protocol.
If you already have a Jabber ID or just created one, you can join xmpp:email@example.com for discussion about the Open Discussion Day or xmpp:firstname.lastname@example.org for general talk about Jabber/XMPP. If you haven't yet created an account, you can join the rooms via Web (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also join #opendiscussion on irc.freenode.net.
For other sites related to Open Discussion Day, Jabber/XMPP, and other open networks and protocols, see our page of links…