This document covers some general information for using Slack, a communication tool for members of ITAA to stay in touch with each other. There is also a separate document explaining what settings an ITAA member can adjust to make this tool less compulsive.
- What is Slack?
- Accessing Slack
- Channels and direct messages
- Channel descriptions
- @ notifications
What is Slack?
Slack is a messaging app originally developed for use in professional settings. Instead of a single big chat group, Slack allows conversations to happen in “channels”, group conversations with specific topics. You can choose which groups you want to be a part of and which you don’t, and you can also control how and when you get notifications. Slack also allows members to message each other directly and make voice calls.
- To join the ITAA workspace you will need an invite link, which you can get by asking another member of the ITAA Slack, or by sending a message through the contact form on our website.
- Once you’ve been invited, you can access the web version of Slack at https://itaa-fellowship.slack.com
- Desktop clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux are available at https://slack.com/downloads
- Mobile apps are available from the app store for your device
Using channels and direct messages
The channels and direct messages pane shows channels that you are a member of, and people you can exchange direct messages with.
- On the website and the desktop client, this pane is always visible on the left side of the screen. Instructions for accessing this pane on a mobile device are included in the mobile device section.
- You can click/tap the name of a channel in the list to open that channel. Click or tap the “+” sign to the right of the word “Channels” to find more channels to join.
- You may leave a channel by right clicking on it and selecting “Leave channel”. You can find it again and rejoin anytime by clicking or tapping on the “+” sign to the right of the word “Channels”.
- Below channels in the sidebar, you will see a list of people you can send direct messages (DMs) to. Tap the “+” sign next to the words “Direct messages” to add someone to this list. Tap someone’s name to view your recent message history with them or send them a DM.
- You can also create group DMs, where a small group of people send private messages to each-other. To do this, when you are sending a DM, type multiple names in the box where you enter names to send the message to.
- You can hover over a DM’s label on the sidebar and press the “X” sign to remove the DM conversation from your sidebar. This does not delete your message history.
Each channel has a purpose listed in its channel description. Furthermore, each channel specifies the following:
- Links disallowed / Links allowed in-thread
- If links are disallowed, please do not share any links, videos, images or files in the channel.
- If links are allowed in-thread, you may share external content by first writing a text description of the content, and then sharing the content in a threaded response, so long as the content is relevant to the purpose of the channel. An explanation of how to use threading is provided in the Threading section below.
- Crosstalk disallowed / Feedback welcome
- If crosstalk is disallowed, please refrain from offering feedback, suggestions, advice, or comments on other members’ shares.
- If feedback is welcome, you may offer feedback, suggestions, advice or comments, unless a member specifies in their message that they would prefer not to receive feedback.
To allow multiple conversations to occur together in a channel without people “talking over each-other”, Slack supports threading.
- On the website or the desktop client, you can start a thread by hovering over a message and clicking “Start a thread”
- On the phone/tablet app, you can start a thread by tapping the message to bring up a screen showing just that message, and then tapping “Start a thread”
When threaded conversations are going on in a channel, it is usually polite to use threading for your own conversations too, so your messages don’t make other peoples’ threads scroll off the screen and make them harder for others to see/find/join. Not all ITAA channels use threading, but please try to follow the norms for each channel you that are in.
Within Slack channels, the @ character can be used to send notifications to a person or group of people.
- @persons_name will send a notification to a specific person, eg. @Bob would send a notification to Bob
- @here will send a notification to active members of a channel
- @channel will send a notification to all members of a channel, even if they are inactive/away.
- It is almost always better to use @here instead of @channel unless there is a specific reason why you need to notify inactive members (eg. a reminder for members of a committee that is about to meet).
- To prevent accidental mass-messaging, @all and @everyone are disabled for the entire ITAA workspace