It has recently come to my attention that not every company has someone working on internal comms, or even documentation about how to use chat tools like Slack. Poor benighted companies, let me save you paying someone to write this up and train your employees. I give you Industry Best Slacktices:
1. Only use private messages when you absolutely have to, e.g. for privacy, legal, HR, or other reasons that make a discussion sensitive. Otherwise you have to repeat yourself in public channels and people miss out on your reasoning process.
2. NEVER EVER do this: @ username can i ask you a question? Just ask the question. Then when they see it later, they can answer it. Otherwise you get a response like @ you sure, what’s up? which is just adding more lag to your discussion.
3. When you respond to someone’s question in chat, unless it’s 30 seconds after they asked, @ them by username. Maybe they got pulled away from their computer for a minute, and then will inevitably just ask again or have to dig through what could be a lot of message history, or just miss your response .
4. Expect chat to be asynchronous, people will respond to you when they are able. If you’re going to @ someone 5 times in 10 minutes you might as well walk over to their desk, take their headphones off, and just tell them that your time is more important than their focus.
5. Don’t stare at your chat client all day, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking replying to chats is the same as being productive. Allow your colleagues to act the same way.
There you go, 5 universal rules (well, universalish based on my experience working on tech teams). Extend as necessary for your own unique requirements and tell me why I’m wrong in the comments.