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Open letter to the community regarding Slack.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by yidakee, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. yidakee

    yidakee Well-known Member
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    Hello all.

    I am writing you guys to openly express my grief about how I believe Slack is gravely being misused.

    Slack is not an exclusive Dash club, nor a funky chatroom. It is a highly sophisticated work tool that integrates a plethora of third party tools, like Box, Github, Jira, Confluence, Gliffy, Google Calender, Skype, and tons of tothers – with one, and only one objective in mind;

    To coordinate teams better though efficient communication and achieve their goals faster.

    Slack is not for slacking. It’s just a very astute play of words to imprint a novel work model in cyberspace, detaching itself from old collaboration methods.

    The fast degradation in the daily use of this environment is noticeable. The user count has grown a fair bit and the free Slack account is limited to only 10k postings.

    6 months ago this proved to be too little, back when people barely chatted in the #general #watercooler channels. Today this limit is absurdly low – and the amount of rubbish quickly piles up to this threshold. It’s time to stop!

    People who actually use Slack for work are feeling quite frustrated by this limitation. 6 months ago! Conversations get lost, links get lost, and only makes our lives harder.

    Those channels were created for a quick stress relief (if one can call it stress) or for swift social communication at critical times. It is certainly not meant for hanging around all day and chat. IRC really is fantastic for that.

    Too many times have heated arguments escalated into full-blown page long ping-pongs. It MUST stop!

    Nuclear discussions of that nature belong in the open forums or IRC, where anyone can participate. It makes much more sense and is much more aligned with the open-source philosophy.

    Slack was a calm and peaceful place where nothing much ever went on, except within specific work groups. I’d like to see this again. We NEED to have this environment back again, for the good of an efficient project development.

    Bluntly put, I believe Slack needs a cleanup. I propose a strict moderation policy to keep it productive. Directed foul language should not be admitted in the workspace. Endless ranting should not be permitted. Beating dead horses should not be permitted.

    If people do not know how to behave despite having a strong position on any given subject, they do not belong there.
    The level of immaturity is striking at times.

    I hope to soon again see Slack as a respectful and courteous place where everyone in there has one and only one thing on their mind;

    work.

    Thank you for your time.
     
    #1 yidakee, Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2016
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  2. Ryan Taylor

    Ryan Taylor Well-known Member
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    I couldn't agree more. It has gotten to the point that the tool is unusable for core team work collaboration. If you want to have a debate about something, take it to a forum or a dashwhale proposal comments section. Lately, we have had a handful of users that are literally using up hundreds if not thousands of messages, which causes valuable conversations about work status to get booted. I have had entire conversations disappear prematurely because a few participants have debates lasting hours and running hundreds of messages.

    Slack is a productivity and collaboration tool. Please start treating it like one. If you aren't coordinating something, asking for help / direction, providing an update on your work, or some other work-related topic, you should redirect that to another communication channel.

    If you can't respect those rules, I'm hoping someone will control access better, because it honestly has gotten to the point that the tool is being made ususable by a few people. Maybe they just don't understand what Slack is for?
     
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  3. fernando

    fernando Powered by Dash
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    Probably, that is why this thread is a great initiative. I'm sorry we didn't do this before.

    I created the Slack account around a year ago as a tool for the Dash Ambassador Group. We needed something to coordinate and started with this. Soon after that Even decided to use it for the rest of the team also because we were growing fast and we had some coordination problems.

    To avoid more communication problems we have been very lax with who could use it. Anybody that has asked and was known in the community has been sent and invitation. The intent was to use it as a work tool to coordinate projects and people, not to have another discussion forum. Most of the work happens in small private groups or even on 1 on 1 discussions. However, that laxitude has caused the unintended side effect of creating a restricted access discussion channel. Lately that discussion channel has gone crazy. To make things worse, we are on the free tier, so we can only see the last 10k messages. Back in the time that gave us 1-2 months of history, not we are at a week and a half. Highly inconvenient.

    At this point we are evaluating several options to substitute Slack or pay for the full version, but whatever we do, we need to respect what it is being said in this thread or we will make any tool useless.
     
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  4. nmarley

    nmarley Active Member

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    I agree 100%. Please, I'm all on board if the core team would like to restrict this to a dev-only environment. I'd love that actually, because at the moment it's so hard to get things done, I almost don't want to open Slack these days. Discussion and ranting are even happening in the development channels, which makes it even more difficult to filter the noise.
     
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  5. InTheWoods

    InTheWoods Well-known Member
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    Probably a good idea because quite often in these recent months, past year, activity on forum looked pretty weak compared to the action going on behind the scenes. It would shift talk/debates from private channels to the forum which should help a lot. New people coming to the Dash forum don't like to see a sterile environment with single digit posts per day, most of them tech oriented. It gives the wrong impression and doesn't invite many outsiders or passive forum lurkers to get involved. A lively discussion is what encourages people to join in.

    You would be amazed to find out how high the passive lurker % is on forums in general and these people could be encouraged to get actively involved.
     
    #5 InTheWoods, Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2016
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  6. balu

    balu Well-known Member
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    Limiting communication (thus any kind of collaboration) is not a good idea imho. We cannot limit it, and if we try, I guess we attack the problem from a terrible angle. Micromanagement and excessive control in such an environment is bound to failure. Informal communication is GOOD. Forcing informal communication out of Slack will have major side effects: e.g. people will talk less, which is the exact opposite of the desired goal.

    It was recommended half a year ago to change from Slack to something else due to exactly this history limitation. We are still struggling, and our communication/collaboration is suffering the consequences.
    People were against using another software INSTEAD of (not in addition to) Slack (Slack is good, other free tools like HipChat are probably inferior to it, I gotta admit), so it stayed.
    Paying for it is out of the question imho, we'd just run into other kinds of limitations (nr. of people who can join, micromanaging payments and accounts, etc)
     
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  7. kot

    kot Administrator
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    Well balu - I guess you have missed a lot from last two weeks on Slack :)
    It had nothing to do with communication, collaboration and productivity. Please understand the background first :)
     
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  8. balu

    balu Well-known Member
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    I agree Robert, I don't know what happened in the past two weeks. All I know is that the current solution is limiting self-organization and collaboration, and possibly one of the symptoms caused the creation of this topic. By having an open system, this would not have happened in the first place.
     
  9. David

    David Well-known Member
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    I agree completely with yidakee. I myself have been guilty of over-using Slack for conversational purposes and have contributed a little to the problem. I don't necessarily thing we should restrict the people who use it, etc., but it's something we should all be mindful of and should all make an effort to restrain ourselves and redirect non-work issues to the forums.
     
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  10. buster

    buster Guest

    If you are already on slack it's easy to join another channel. Why am I saying this? Because I see projects like OpenBazaar, and many other big projects with public slack channels. Maybe they have different intentions than the DASH team regarding their slack channels. But I wont deny the fact that these public slack channels that projects like OpenBazzar use have a POSITIVE effect on the project. Easy access to developers, easy access to community members, and we all can agree that a conversation on a forum is not the same as a conversation via a chat, even if we don't consider slack a chat room...

    When I was in the slack channel I proposed we make it public and my proposition was denied for reasons I understand. The team collaboration goes a long way and slack is a good tool to use. But that doesn't mean it cant be used as a chat room. When my proposition was denied I got told "You can make your own slack channel and invite whoever you want." Yes this is very true but without support from developers and long standing community members this wont work. There needs to be a little support.

    So I propose this.

    Keep your current slack channel private. I created a public slack channel for anyone who wants to join.
    https://digitalcash.slack.com/

    You can request your invite here
    https://dashchat.herokuapp.com/


    If we do it this way no one feels left out and the team can use the collab slack channel for it's intended purpose.
     
    #10 buster, Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
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