Do You Search For Your Name When You Join a New Slack Group?

Slackenfreude – the joy in knowing that as a Slack group grows, the likelihood of a new member searching their name and finding they’ve been slagged on in earlier conversations reaches 99.9%

There’s increasing punditry consensus that “small group” products will be one of the beneficiaries of the backlash to public, scale social media. There’s a design constraint in these products that I’m curious about how people would approach: how does a participant make decisions around “appropriateness” of topics/comments (and privacy) if the group composition isn’t static? That’s to say, imagine you’re added to a 10-person group to chat about startups. And then you slag on a particular company in a way that you might not do publicly, but then as the group grows to 100 people in size, someone from that company joins and is pissed off at you?

Some product attributes that one would take into play to determine how they use these “smaller, private groups:”

  • Group composition and process for adding new members – is it static from point of creation, or can it change, and how?
  • Default visibility/relationships of any two members in the group – does every group member automatically have the same system-specified relationship with each other or do bidirectional relationships need to be approved
  • Discoverability, persistence of content – is old content available for new members, visible to all members?

“Solving” for this can escalate quickly into complexity that no group wants to deal with so my guess is that different spaces will have consistent, easy to understand rulesets and that users will manage their voices in these spaces accordingly.

For example, there can be products that with persistent, fully visible content to all in the group, but where no new group members can be added after initial creation. Or spaces where, as a new member, you can never see archives, only the content created from the moment you join (these systems would also need to “announce” new members in some way).

Basically I’m interested in how different designers have thought through this issue across different enterprise, consumer products.