DMs in Slack Considered Harmful

This is mostly aimed at my team :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: but since it takes two to tango…

  1. Please avoid Slack direct messages on active technical issues
  2. Please use the most targeted available channel instead

There seems to be a rash of
“So-and-so says problem is due to low disk-space”
“Where is this?”
“Oh it’s a DM”

There are a number of problems with using DMs for real work including:

  • Nobody can help/learn from what’s going on, we can’t search for it later, etc.
  • There is a massive communication overhead as everybody has to ask for status, or ask the same person three times, etc.

Sure, if you want to discuss Wigan’s ample win against Toronto, by all means DM your fellow rugby fan, but if you want to discuss Jenkins issues, please go to #dm-jenkins. As we are getting closer to ops we have fewer people and we want to provide ample cover/support, so it is important that a number of us can osmose how basic service issues are identified.fixed. If you are concerned that you are adding noise of limited interest to a channel, threads exist (sorry thread haters!)


It took me a minute to parse DM as “direct message” instead of “data management”.


For those who may be curious, analytics for the LSSTC slack are visible to any logged in LSSTC Slack users here, including a breakdown of messages in public channels, private channels, and direct messages.

About 75% of messages sent are in in DMs over the last 30 days.

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