Slack and communication

I am vehemently opposed to Slack being used for things that matter.™

I missed the discussion about the merits of slack at board meeting. The notes from the board meeting and general meeting mention nothing about what the changes on Slack are trying to accomplish, only the agreed result.

Slack is 100% utter garbage for searching for stuff compared to either google groups OR searching email from google groups. It’s great for things in the moment. It’s great for fluid discussions. It’s horrible for long term recall. I will concede that part of this is personal bias but I think that it will be agreed on by a large number of people. :slight_smile:

Right now, there are two places for tribal knowledge to accumulate: through email/posts on the google group and Both of these places are indexed by search engines. Both of these are easy to search. My opposition to using Slack for announcements and things that matter is very simple: we already have more structured ways of organizing and maintaining information that are designed for that purpose. Slack is a mediocre repository of past information, at best.

Anything important should be on the wiki or google group/mailing list. If you want to duplicate such information on a Slack channel for people who don’t feel like reading the list, go for it. Just please, please, please do not make Slack be a primary communication method for important information.

-Dave B.

100% agree.
Hive13’s statement of purpose requires collaboration. Slack gets channeled. Information is not apparent to the membership at large.

Slack conversations give the impression of communication, but in fact are hitting a limited audience.

Collaboration requires the speaker to actually reach the audience (All Members) and assure information is conveyed through dialogue. It is insufficient to Hive13 process to simply ‘talk about’ it is slack and believe that collaboration has occurred.

Indeed. You may talk about anything you wish in Slack for as long as you wish. Consider it a private conversation around the water cooler.

It is then necessary to clearly and formally state a complete idea in a way that will reach the maximum audience. (Personal conversations, mailing list and wiki)
Wishing that everybody would pay attention to what you are saying in slack is just wishful thinking. It is only one starting point to achieving collaboration and consensus.

Word of the day. Nemawashi - Google it.

Dave Velzy
Hive13 COO.

I will also chime in that Slack is more of an Instant Messenger type of communication with some archiving.

Announcing stuff on Slack, along with a post on the mailing list, is the way to cover all the bases (for me).
General quick questions are great on Slack. Announcing that we need a discussion about buying a big tool, not so much.
For me the river of discussion is just too much because I don’t live in it. I will miss some “important” thread. Sometimes I’m off Slack for days (family, work, life). Then I have 200+ little posts to filter through.
Go ahead and “OK Boomer” me (actually I’m Gen X :stuck_out_tongue:) but once you get 40+ hours of work, family with kids, house stuff, elderly parents, etc. all piled up, Slack falls away to a few times a week. Then it is not very useful.
Feel free to organize it better and setup standards of how to use it.
Love how the Hive is growing (broke 100 members). :+1:


I could not disagree more.

Slack has proven itself in many working environments, with many more members than we have. I have seen it work with global companied and small communities. It has features which email lists don’t, such as polls.

Email lists are a limited tool. They’re useful for slow, long-form conversation. Considering the number of emails I got today about wine and paint, it’s obvious that we’re not using it that way. For a similar reason to people not wanting lots of conversation in the #general channel on Slack, I don’t view a single mailing list as a good tool for what we’re trying to use it for.

Slack is not meant to be a repository of tribal knowledge. Neither is a mailing list. Wikis are wonderful for this. We have one. We use it that way. We should encourage people to use it that way.

I think Slack is a good tool when used properly. Discouraging banter is a good start. Encouraging threading is worthwhile. Discouraging tangents in threads even more so.

All I see our mailing list as being useful for is contacting the low-engagement membership and complaining about Slack.


I agree that we should use the google groups/mailing lists for longterm type of stuff and slack for messenger style convo.

I think it’s great for Slack to be used for discussion and instant messaging, but likewise don’t think Slack should be the primary source of anything official.

Regardless of the Wiki and mailing list being around, there’s always been a place for electronic “announcements” of a more ephemeral nature. It was IRC for many years, and it appears to be Slack now. I’m fine with that. People regularly have things to say that have a half-life that is measured in minutes, and have free-flowing discussions that aren’t fitting for Wiki or a mailing list.

However, I’ve seen some people voice an expectation that everyone’s duty is to keep up on the discussion on Slack - and I can’t much agree with this. Reading backlog to find things of relevance can be just painful and further can lead to even more issues of interpretation and revision. What I’d counter with is that - just as in a discussion in person - if you expect something to be clearly communicated and understood more broadly (not just the people who happen to be paying attention at that moment in Slack), please take the time to organize your thoughts into a mailing list post or a Wiki page.

Jim gets some props for setting up some (finance-related) things on the Wiki that were a good example of how the Wiki should be used, and presenting them at the board meeting. However, it’s still worth looking into usability issues with the Wiki and the mailing list; I’ve not used them on mobile, but I’ve heard grumbling that they’re much more annoying there.

As of now having the email list, the wiki, and Slack only creates headache, confusion, and wasted effort. While it may hurt feelings in the short term, I think streamlining will allow efforts to be focused.

I agree that anything of permanence should not be on Slack. I believe the best place for it is the wiki. The email list would then be vestigial and should be treated as such.

What is “Slack”?

I think it’s worth mentioning that the email list is free to join irrespective of if you are a member or not, whereas slack requires you to have an active membership at the space. So if you don’t have an email address, you cannot join the slack channel. So if all communication moved over to slack, it would alienate anyone who joins the mailing list to get a feel for what the space is before actually going to a meeting and joining up. I think slack is great for instant messaging (especially if the irc has died off), but should not be used for long term recall of important information.

This is not true. We have people on slack who are not members.

As well, below is a snip of my desktop showing that I’m logged into slack without a email address.

At other spaces non-members were allowed into Slack, but limited in their ability to post in anything but the #general channel.

Pasted-image-Wed Jan 15 2020 141457 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time).png

The truth is somewhere in the middle. Those who have a G Suite mailbox provided by Hive13 can join our Slack instance without an invite. For anyone else an invite is required. Intweb takes care of sending the invitation to Slack for new members regardless of what the email address provided is.

Pasted-image-Wed Jan 15 2020 141457 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time).png

At least the discussions have remained civil. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I think it comes down to how connected you are. I’m not a Slack native but I’m willing to learn, but I also cannot have it open all the time. My job & life prohibit it.
I’ve tried to wade through 200+ unread messages in the evening but I just don’t have the time. Maybe a few critical channels could be created with relevant info.
Sounds like some training is due.


Pasted-image-Wed Jan 15 2020 141457 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time).png

Or the pertinent and relevant stuff can stay on a medium that is inherently organized, like the Wiki or inherently google searchable, like the google group/mailing list?

Let slack be a place for chatter. Not a place for things that people need to know, need to pay attention to.


Pasted-image-Wed Jan 15 2020 141457 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time).png

I disagree with your definition of “need to pay attention to”.

If people have questions, they want answers. Having two places to ask question creates ambiguity and confusion. If we want the mailing list to mirror the #announcements channel on Slack, then I feel it would be a good use of the medium. There are even ways to automate this task. Otherwise, I view it as ambiguous and unnecessary duplication of efforts.

“vestigial” is the word.

Pasted-image-Wed Jan 15 2020 141457 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time).png

I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what was said at the board meeting to suggest that Slack should be the primary communication for Hive13. I don’t think that was intended.

The issue that was brought up is that on Slack, members cannot leave the “General” channel. All members are automatically added and cannot be removed. This channel is a “special” channel.

Currently, there is a lot of random chatter in that channel with a low signal:noise ratio.

So, renaming and locking down the “General” channel accomplishes 2 things:

  • Cuts down on the noise in a channel that people cannot leave.
  • Provides a low-noise channel for official Hive13 announcements.

In my mind, it is a fix for an issue with Slack. It is not trying to change the usage of email list or wiki.

I use Discord for a lot of community driven things. I use Microsoft Teams at work.

I think one benefit of these instant messaging services is community. Someone who is interested in Hive13 may want to just pop into the Slack/Discord/ server and just see what we’re chatting about and gauge how active the community is.

Plus, I think it also builds community. Being able to just pop in and check on everyone or see what things are going on is beneficial to me.

Sure the Google Group (mailing list?) does this, but I had never used a google group for anything other than Hive13. And since I’ve had to step away from Hive13, I turned the mailing list notifications off, simply because wouldn’t read the emails.

I agree that Slack/Discord/ shouldn’t the only tunnel of communication for official announcements for events/meetings/classes/etc. But I’m 10x more likely to open a push notification from one of those services than I am an email (#millennial :P).

In gist, I think there is benefit in having a Hive13 Slack, but agree that it shouldn’t been the only channel for communication.

There were several instances in the Board meeting where questions on topics were raised, with the response ‘that was discussed on slack’.

And I for one, took the meaning of that statement to imply one must keep up with slack. The counterpoint is, if a discussion is going to impact Hive13 operational procedures there is a duty to effectively communicate, build consensus and deploy that process change which means persuading a wider audience through multiple means of communication.

Discuss? Fine
Implement / document and outcome that affect members? HELL NO

My feelings in a nutshell.

That was meant to read “an outcome”