Slack Etiquette
September 01, 2018

This year we used a Slack team for organizing the Temple, and it was quite an adventure. We had a wide range of folks, from people with no computer experience at all to people who already used Slack every day. I looked but didn’t find a good intro to Slack etiquette, which would explain things like “please don’t @channel every time you have a question.” I wrote up this quick doc to share with the crew, in an effort to get everyone the same page. Some of it’s Temple specific, but a lot of it applies more generally! Let me know if you think of things to add; this is a work in progress.


There’s different levels of alerts, and with great power comes great responsibility. Use them carefully.


Notifies everyone in the channel who is currently online. This includes folks using the mobile client, so be especially careful if your message might be late at night in someone’s timezone. ONLY use this when you need an IMMEDIATE answer.

  • Great use case: in #bay_area “@here what’s the new combo for the gate? I’m out front”. This is both urgent, and can be addressed by multiple people.
  • Bad use case: “@here when are we meeting next Tuesday?” This can be addressed by multiple people, but isn’t urgent.
  • Bad use case: “@here let’s meet next Tuesday at 11am” Anyone not currently online won’t get this alert- you might think you’ve told everyone but someone may miss it.


Notifies everyone in the channel, often sending email to folks that aren’t online. This is rarrrrrreeeely the right choice- only use it when you want absolutely everyone in that channel to see the message.

  • Great use case: in #general “@channel we’re sending out tickets tonight, please confirm your email address in this spreadsheet [link] in the next 2 hours”
  • Bad use case: in #general “@channel where are we at with the triangle plates?”


Slack allows you to create “groups” of people, which are perfect for making sure a whole team of folks gets a certain alert. Scheduling a meeting and don’t want to use @here because not everyone is online? Create groups of folks instead, so you can contact the whole team with one handle. For example, @volunteer-coordinators messages Kai, Peggy, and Kristen, and is a great way to get our attention if you have a question about volunteer stuff.


Use anytime you have a specific question for them or want them to see something! People can snooze alerts if they want. If you @ someone who isn’t in a channel, they won’t know about it unless you invite them to the channel. Slack is nice and tells you when this is this case, so you can choose to invite them or send them a message about it. Please watch for this, to make sure people get the messages you’re trying to send.

You can check your notifications by clicking on the @ in the upper right hand corner, which shows you a list of everywhere that someone used an alert in which you’re included (and emoji responses to your messages!)


Keeping track

There’s lots! Channels help us keep conversations separate and organized.

  • If you make a new channel, announce it in #general so everyone knows where that conversation is happening now. EX: “hey folks, I’m gonna be working on unicorn herding over in #unicorns”

  • If you see conversations happening that should be in a specific channel, please help redirect them there:

    @kelpie: “hey I have a blue unicorn asking about tasks”

    @fawn: “@kelpie want to ask over in #unicorns?”


  • Take advantage of the channel topic. For example, in the #crew-manual channel, we linked to the rough draft in the topic so anyone can find it when they join the channel. In a #techhelp channel, we might say “computer doing backflips? First try jumping jacks; if that doesn’t work ping @samantha” Keep important docs and info there, and when you join a channel and have questions look there first!

  • You can mute/unmute channels by typing /mute. That means you stay in the channel, but don’t get notifications from it, and don’t see every time there’s a new message. It’s super helpful if you’re an inbox-zero kind of person but don’t want to completely leave channels.

Staying in the Loop

  • If at all possible, keep the conversation in public channels.
    • It helps people understand how decisions were made, even when they’re not participating
    • It helps people know that things are getting done, which helps out the more anxious teammates :P
    • It keeps us from having to repeat ourselves endlessly, because anyone can follow along or search for the info later
  • If you have a meeting in a different format (call, face-to-face, etc) take notes and post them back to slack. Keeping a record of conversations helps other people get caught up and helps you remember what you all decided together so you don’t have to rehash it later.

  • If you plan a call or scheduled event, add it the temple calendar (linked in the #general topic)! It will automatically make a post in slack telling everyone, and handles timezones so everyone shows up at the same time.