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Slack’s Dark Pattern

Greetings from the Couch
May 17 · 3 min read

A friend of mine and I started a slack account so we could keep in contact during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Facebook was out as I don’t have an account and loathe the system. Gmail was out because its offerings are far too fragmented (there’s something like six chat apps). Email was possible but easy to lose things. We thought of different variations on top of these, but Slack seemed simplest.

Now our “premium trial” is ending, Slack is quite insistent we start paying them for using a bunch of functionality we really don’t use.

Then there’s this.

It is surprisingly hard to find information on the Slack “Free” plan, and whenever I try searching within Slack, it forces me to the “standard” plan, which costs money.

In fact, they don’t show you the “free” plan when you’re in the application or website. The “Plans” menu shows only paid plans.

In fact, there IS a free plan, useful for just the two of us, but I had to go for a google search, where I found this information.

The free plan does indeed exist, and restricts to two users for video, a single channel and not much else.

Then if I click through to the free vs paid plan page, I get… drumroll please…

No information on free plans. In fact, no information on any plans. Just the overall functionality.

The choose the plan that’s right for your team page is similarly useless. Paid all the way.

The ONLY place I can find information about free plans is on the Slack Plans and Features page in their help.

Now I get that Slack is a business, and they need to make money. That’s totally fine. And I get that they want to get money out of their users.

What’s not cool is hiding information. Every single “upgrade because time’s running out” email and notification directs me to the “Standard” plan. And it doesn’t actually say what the Standard Plan offers that’s better than what I’ve got.

More importantly, I’m not told what I will actually lose if I don’t pony up the dosh. You’d think that’d be the most logical thing to do.

But instead, it’s left to my imagination. That’s the Dark Pattern, a design that hides useful information and forces a user to do unintended acts. According to the pages I can find without digging, there IS no free plan.

At its core, this approach is based on the fear of losing out. And any company that trades on fear isn’t going to get a cent out of me.

Further reading

Disorderly Instruct

Sharing knowledge and making things clear

Greetings from the Couch

Written by

Really not a neural network enhanced instabot from the nastiest burrows of the darknet. (also do chai reviews on @melbournechai )

Disorderly Instruct

Sharing knowledge and making things clear

Greetings from the Couch

Written by

Really not a neural network enhanced instabot from the nastiest burrows of the darknet. (also do chai reviews on @melbournechai )

Disorderly Instruct

Sharing knowledge and making things clear

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