The Slack Insanity

CGP Grey on the latest episode of Cortex apropos of Slack's new Tinder-like “catch-up” feature (lightly edited for clarity and bold emphasis mine):

What it highlights to me is a continued proof that there's problems that they are unable to fix. That like, this is just another user interface to try and deal with the problem that is the ever-growing Slack. Which is like a systemic fundamental issue that they can't deal with probably, right?

This actually encourages the worst behavior for me admin wise. I just think that it's a very bad pattern. I do this with email. I do this with lots of things with notifications. I do this with iMessage too much where you like see some things, don't respond to a bunch of things and mark things unread.

I think it's bad for your brain because it's like, oh, now I've just made myself aware of a bunch of stuff that I'm not actually dealing with. This is encouraging a bad user behavior.

Slack should be having their whole design be around like when you open up Slack, it shouldn't let you see anything. There should be a message on screen and it should say, do you have 20 minutes to actually deal with Slack and try to respond to some of these messages? And if you say no, then it just quits the app and says, come back later when you do.

Like I think this will increase engagement with Slack, but that is not the same thing as people getting useful work done in Slack or people feeling better about having used the app or actually like getting things out of their side of the court and turning projects around.

So that's my specific complaint here. I don't like this at all.

His proposal to force quit Slack is a bit much, and I don’t think he’s truly serious. But he's getting at the burning core of my frustration with Slack - one cannot open a channel in Slack to post something new without marking every new message therein as read.

It’s would be the equivalent of opening Gmail to send an email and immediately every new email in the inbox is marked as read and archived. That would be insane, and yet that’s exactly what happens when one opens a channel in Slack. And it is insane.

If there were a way to post a new message to a channel without marking everything in that channel as read I suspect far more people wouldn’t be losing their sh*t every time they open Slack.

[UPDATE] I'm aware there's a setting to prevent marking a channel as read upon channel open, but this seemingly works for me less than .01% of the time.

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