Yes, it happened on Slack

There we are.

Yes, it happened on Slack

Here, “it” refers to a decision, an agreement or some important results. All of these should NOT have been left in Slack alone. At the very least, the Slack threads or some key messages should have been copied to some more open and permanent places like Bugzilla or GitHub (in public issues).

It won’t come as a surprise, I don’t like Slack (but it wasn’t always like that). There is a reason to that: it is the antithesis of working in the open. What happens in Slack stays in Slack. What stays in Slack is basically lost forever. “Chat apps” aren’t the right tool for decision-making, especially when working with external contributors and distributed teams across the globe.

I understand the need for synchronous communication but (1) we have Matrix at Mozilla, which is open at least, and (2) we should not use Slack for asynchronous communication. Let’s just use it for quick feedback, instant chats about sensitive topics, GIFs, and emoji on every other message. Joke aside, it’s easier to restrict some content than publishing private content more broadly.

Working in the open is what makes Firefox and other Mozilla products so special: anyone can contribute. Each individual can find information about a decision in GitHub or Bugzilla. I personally dig into old GitHub issues at least once a week, usually with a question in mind like “why did we do that?”. Back then, everything was either relatively well documented in GitHub/Bugzilla or captured in broadly accessible Google docs, which makes it possible to answer my question. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for me to “request access” to some docs I have to read for my own work…

We should continue to use open and accessible platforms to capture not only the decisions but also the “why” (context), and keep them available for the future. Not only will this be useful to us but it will also allow our contributors to participate even more and feel more “in the loop”.


Important note: I wrote this article in the context of my very own team at Mozilla. Those are my views and they could be applied to other companies as well.

Feel free to fork and edit this post if you find a typo, thank you so much! This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Credits

Photo used on social media by @Slava.

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