Yes, I don’t like Slack

I don’t know why people are so excited about Slack (or HipChat). I don’t like it and people often ask me why?

  • macOS client (web wrapper) performance is terrible, especially in the full screen mode. Same applies to web application as well.
  • Search sucks! It’s almost impossible to find what others want from me. Try to quit Slack, do not open it for one day and then try to find mentions of your name, tasks what you should do, etc. Without reading all unread messages — impossible.
  • No threads! Remember news groups? Threads, read / unread, … It was a pleasure. It’s not uncommon scenario that you start a thread about specific topic, people step in, chit chat and your topic is lost.
  • Both things are forcing me to check Slack channels regularly and react almost immediately (or completely ignore it).

This behavior has consequences:

  • concentration and focus killer,
  • you don’t have enough time to thing about the problem (question, proposal, …),
  • you’re judging problems too quickly,
  • can lead to lot of short “no” answers or no answers at all,
  • can lead to frustration of your team members.

I agree that it’s all about rules and how you (and your team) do use Slack. But hey, people do not follow rules, they have tendency to step into any discussion, kill it, etc. They’re selfish and they don’t care about you.

My experience says that all #channels are quiet (almost no messages) or they’re full of unreadable and time consuming mess. Or, which is even much more worse, direct messages / private channels — you’re not sharing knowledge, problems, … with others.

But you know what? I actually like Slack, because all these reply-to-all email chit chats are gone. Guess where they’re now? Yes, in #general.

Another problem is that written text can’t never replace face to face communication. Emotions are missing and emoji characters can’t simply replace them. Also you can pretend that you’re in a good mood even if you’re upset. Picking smiling emoji character costs nothing.

Actually we’re experimenting with other technologies like good old Team Speak for example. It has similar issues, like all tools for distributed teams. But it’s much better in terms of emotions — you can hear them in your buddy’s voice and it’s much much quicker when compared to typing. macOS client is ugly, messages sucks, but it’s actually a good thing, because no one writes them 🙂

Slack, in it’s current state, is overwhelming and is killing focus. Period.

P.S. They have a plan to release threads later this year. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my opinion, but I doubt it.