Our Culture

the Messianic Tech slack is meant to be a diverse place. We won't all agree on everything, but there’s a rough consensus around some things. The code of conduct is uncontroversial at this point, so it’s worth a read.

We have active moderators, generally willing to intervene. If we see abusive behavior, even subtle, we intend to call it out: this is not an attack on the speaker, but a correction. This behavior affect members of the slack, and our intention is to affirms that everyone is welcome. We encourage nuance and precision being aware that the membership of the slack is diverse, and we are speaking to people both like and unlike ourselves.

We support autonomy: most channels were simply created by someone who decided it was a good idea. We frown on doing things to people without their consent.

It is common to join many channels, and conversations can span multiple channels. Our community is pretty cohesive, and we find the same people in many channels. This is different in IRC, where each channel forms its own community, ours are much more expansive. This changes how conversation flows, and is worth being aware of.

The only two channels joined by default are #general, and #random. We keep #general low volume, without chat since it is the only channel that cannot be parted. We welcome people when they join #chat and are new to the slack.

Subcultures

For managing elements of community culture that we can control or influence, as well as discussing the structure of the community and channel list, we have #meta. While #meta may include discussion of specific people or behaviours, it is as much subject to the Code of Conduct as the rest of the slack, if not more so due to the type of conversation that happens there.

We have a common convention for geographical area chats: #loc-areaname e.g. #loc-sfbayarea, #loc-nyc, #loc-berlin, #loc-australasia, et al.

We have a common convention for organization specific chats: #org-orgname e.g. #org-jewsforjesus, #org-jewishvoice, #org-bethyeshua, et al.

Finally, we have a namespace for conferences and conventions: #con-conname e.g. #con-messiah, #con-ingathering, #con-grassroots, et al.

Free Slack Limits

Some cultural conventions have been created to work around limits in the free slack: integrations are locked down to administrators only. We discourage bots in general, other than statsbot. The ephemeral nature is a feature, not a bug.

There is a limit of 10,000 messages of history. As our current rate puts us at about 60,000 messages per week, that works out to be a bit more than a day of history. Use email or other out of band communication for private communication you want to keep.

We prefer that files be linked, uploaded elsewhere, especially private pictures which count against the slack quota but cannot be seen or deleted by administrators. Uploaded files are deleted after a period of time, since the slack quota is reasonably small.

We keep important URLs in channel topics, as they are not subject to the free slack limit of 10,000 messages of history.

A common suggestion is that we use an open source alternative to slack and host it ourselves, this would lead to a number of problems:

  • confidentiality is important for private channels, and the server admin would have access to everything
  • many of our users are members of other slack communities, and don’t want to use yet another messaging service
  • it would cost us time, money, or favours

Differences from IRC culture

Slack does not exist in a vacuum, with no awareness of prior communication systems. In particular, IRC has influenced a lot of its development, but some notable differences cause differences in culture.

The unit of cultural identity is the entire slack team, not a single channel; while we don’t usually enter every channel, we tend to be consistent identities across them, and conversations can move fluidly between channels. They are not individual cultures to the same degree they are on IRC, so taking a conversation to a new channel is more an aid to filtering attention than it is taking over another cultural space.

The move to mobile connectivity has also changed how chat communication works. Conversations can move between desktop and mobile devices fluidly, and attention can be managed by muting channels in addition to parting them. Notfications exist and history is available, so conversations can at once be more immediate and more asynchronous.

Final Notes

This is a living document. Culture changes over time. Please make PRs to keep it up to date.