process / Collaboration

Slack Etiquette

Slack is a modern medium for communication at work

More and more organizations adopting Remote Native ways of working and communication in Slack becomes increasingly important part of the workflow. To prevent the negative consequences of poor communication and build up alignment within the team it's important to learn and apply some simple modern messaging etiquette rules.

8 Etiquette Rules for Communication in Slack

  1. Be kind.
  2. Don't just send "Hello". Write a complete message or a question. Save your time and time of the person you're writing to https://nohello.net.
  3. When starting the workday, welcome your teammates by posting "good morning", "hello", or "good evening" to team's channel. Yes, this is the exception to the previous rule. It's a good practice because it lets your teammates know that you've started your day and can help with their questions.
  4. If you're going to be offline for more than a couple of hours during normal working hours let your team know about that by simply dropping "AFK for X hours" in the team's channel.
  5. Set up and use aliases for your team. Use it when you want to communicate something worth people's attention. It's better to use team alias rather than use @here.
  6. When posting a message to a channel with large audience, mention only people you address your message to. If you want to mention a group of people, that's an excellent opportunity to setup a team alias.
  7. Use @here only if you're sure that everyone in a channel who's online should see your message. If you're sure - think twice. Most likely, it would be best if you used a team alias.
  8. Use @channel only if you're sure that everyone on every device should see your message. If you're sure - think twice. If you're sure again - think one more time.

Naming conventions

Make it easy to discover channels. Establish and follow conventions when naming channels.

  • Channels should have meaningful and searchable names.
  • Prefix team channels with the name of the team: [team_name]-*. That way, they are grouped and easy to discover in a long list of other channels.
  • Reporting channels used for monitoring purposes and receiving messages from third parties should have a name [team_name]-tool-[tool_name].
  • Cross-team channel names should include names of team involved or area and should end with -integration.
  • Temporary channels should have the names tmp-[purpose].
  • Working group channels are wg-[topic].

Aliases for teams

Team aliases allow us to mention a specific group of people that we want to send a message to.

An alias should start with team-[team_name]- and contain a name of a group of members:

  • team-[team_name]-dev includes every developer of a team
  • team-[team_name]-qa includes every QA of a team
  • team-[team_name] includes every member of a team regardless of their roles