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When Slack Gets Too Noisy


Noisy Slack Channels

our company rolled out Salesforce’s Slack application amid much fanfare, pomp, and circumstance. Your team was so excited to have multiple channels to segment conversations around work and projects, as well as social events. Each development project has its own channel and all the discussions are easy to find. The women of IT started their own ladies of tech channel and the co-recreational bowling team set up channels for three different leagues. It was great.

Until it wasn’t.

What do you do when the newest, shiniest tool in your technology stack becomes the loudest?

After attending a Slack certification course one of our employees returned with a few ideas of how to cut down on the noise in Slack. Fortunately it doesn’t involve uninstalling Slack or tossing your computer out the window.

  1. Utilizing Slackbot has all the benefits of setting up reminders for yourself but equally impressive of a simple bot, it also will send gentle suggestions like to leave a channel you don’t use very often or to engage with a channel that you may have been missing.

  2. Slack let’s you customize your notifications - by channel, conversation, sender, or time of day. Don’t be shy about utilizing this feature - accessible under preferences - to keep the noise volume down on Slack en masse or at least in those channels about bowling or women of IT if they aren’t particularly relevant to you.

  3. Speaking of channels, there aren’t any laws that say you have to be subscribed to all of them. If you have been a member of a channel on a project you are no longer involved with it is perfectly acceptable to mute or leave the channel completely. Noise reduced! Just remember that if you leave a private channel its messages and files will no longer appear in your search results. If you want to rejoin the channel a member will have to re-invite you.

  4. Not only can you reduce your own noise in Slack but you can use tools like scheduling message delivery for later (as in during business hours) to avoid disrupting your team or channel mates if what you want to post about isn’t relevant at the moment or can wait until the next business day if you are a night owl or an early riser.

  5. Using threads in channels helps to organize a streaming conversation in one place and prevents the need to get notifications regularly. A conversation can start in a thread and then be posted publicly to a channel once a resolution is reached just by checking the box for the thread that says also send to channel-name.

The real beauty of Slack (besides the totally classic name) is that it allows you to set it up how it makes the most sense for you. Participate as little or as much as works for you at any given time.

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