The Shoulders of Giants and Harnessing Legion: “That’s a great question, post in #this-channel”

Bees work together to thrive. Photo Credit: Todd Huffman from Phoenix, AZ

A behavior that has taken me some time to adopt into my routine and workflow is directing private messages (DMs) to support channels on Slack.

My nature, my modus operandi, is to help those who ask for it, that being said, I would try to answer any and all questions that were sent directly my way.


The behavior of replying to all DM questions with detailed responses is not sustainable.

What to do then?
Reinforce good user behavior by directing the question to a public support channel.

Why?

  1. Visibility and Accessibility - Asking a question in a public support channel makes the question visible to all and provides a reference (either searchable or in mind) that others may refer back to.
  2. Harnessing Legion - A support channel with multiple members will have the collective knowledge of all those therein, and with that comes the power of legion, as multiple inputs will be able to guide the final answer to a consensus. Slack’s thread capabilities are perfect for this situation and should be used to help contain a question and answer.

When?
Adopt this practice as much as possible.
You are still able to answer the question yourself in the Slack Thread, but now you are able to get to it when you truly are able to get to it, someone may answer before you and you’ll already have an answer to accept/agree upon or enhance by adding additional information.

The practice of directing and answering questions in support channels will help everyone overall, it will help individuals stay within context, it will encourage questions to be asked, and it will help get things done without reinventing the wheel.

-Manny