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A Basic Guide for New Mozilla Slack Participants.

Quick Guide:

Mozilla’s Slack is the easiest way to interact and contact people to collaborate on Mozilla projects. As such, it is primarily a professional environment, and while there are social channels, the function of most channels is getting work done. As such we require that everyone in Slack adheres to a high-standard of professionalism and respect in their behavior. Any behavior deemed disruptive, unprofessional, or disrespectful will result in your immediate removal and exclusion from Slack. Below we will share some guidelines and best practices to help you be successful on Mozilla’s Slack.

Before getting started:

  • Review and remember both expected, and unacceptable behaviors listed in Mozilla’s Community Participation Guidelines (CPG). If you see anyone violating the CPG, please send a message to inclusion at mozilla.com.
  • Remember that all information on Mozilla Slack are classified as "Mozilla Confidential - Staff and NDA'd Mozillians Only”. That means all information here is confidential and should absolutely not be shared without prior permission from the project owner.
  • Make sure your username and avatar image are appropriate for the workspace. Names and avatar images in Mozilla's Slack should be not be explicit or sexual in anyway.
  • If you have any questions or require additional support - please contact slack-onboarding or your Manager or Inviter.
  • If you need a Slack admin quickly, you can @slackadmin to hail all the admins. Please use this sparingly because it will notify all admins.

Getting started on Mozilla Slack:

  • Tell people who you are - edit your Slack profile, adding your *full name* and *contribution area* (in section _What I do_) also please include the link to your Mozillians profile in the corresponding Slack profile field.
  • Read the _Channel Details_ as they might tell you about a channel's purpose and etiquette.
  • On high-traffic channels it's a good practice to read along (or “lurk”) for a little before jumping in to get a feeling for channel culture.
  • Be mindful when mentioning specific users, @here or @channel in your messages, especially in channels with high numbers of members (like #announcements).
  • Using Slack’s threading feature for longer discussions by hovering over the message and clicking Start a thread. The right sidebar in Slack will open, and you can add your reply.
  • When in doubt ask! If you’re not sure what you can or cannot share, have a question, or are not sure where to start, hit us up on #slack-onboarding.

Navigating the Channels:

  • Work or Project focused - These channels usually are named after the product they work on and are similar to a quiet office. They are used to talk about work on a specific product or project, you can ask questions, but stay on topic. People are usually busy in these channels and can’t always answer right away - please be especially patient in these channels. E.g. #firefox
  • Team focused - Different teams at Mozilla have different channels for their team to communicate work stuff. If you have a question for a specific team this is a good way to reach them but remember people are busy and in different time zones so you may have to wait a bit and it’s often helpful to have a specific person in mind. E.g. #openinnovation
  • Closed or Private Channels - You may be invited to join a private or closed channel, here’s it’s easy to ask the person who invited you what the goals of the channel are and how you can contribute effectively. Make sure you know what can be shared inside and out of that channel before you share.
  • #ServiceDesk - This channel is for Mozilla employees to access internal IT support. While it's a public channel, due to time and resource constraints, requests for technical support by volunteers cannot be made through this channel. If you need technical support reach out to your community manager and/or the staff voucher who invited you to the NDA/Slack group.
  • #Announcements - The name says it all! Avoid posting to #announcements unless the message is really an announcement that is relevant to all Participants. Please only post announcements there and please comment to those in threads to minimize the impact to the 1000+ people who cannot leave that channel.
  • Social channels - These channels are like a watering hole for people to share random, funny, or interesting things. This is a great place to share something you’re excited about, a funny meme, or a new project you’ve been working. #random, #community-talk #Canada

Joining a new channel:

Be respectful

  • Be mindful when using @channel or @here, not everyone is awake or online in that channel.
  • When contacting an individual, remember that having a Slack status as “available” doesn't necessarily mean that they have the ability to respond to you right away. If you’re not sure how to get a question answered it is ok to ask if that person knows who or what channel you can ask that question.
  • Please be civil, remember the Community Participation Guidelines and keep the mutual respect and safety of the channel you are participating in. Make sure you can calmly and logically communicate before hitting send.
  • Past decisions about product changes are not up for debate.

Be professional

  • If a person does not respond right away, give it 15 mins then move on. Try another channel. Try an email, or try an advocate for some advice on what to try next. It is ok to ask if that person knows who or what channel you can ask that question.

Do not be disruptive Please do not spam the channel

  • Slack is a little different from irc, Ping, pong is not required, just a mention and a question ;-)
  • Do not bump a message or repeat a message if you have already sent a mention to the whole channel
  • If it is getting too complicated for a public channel take it to a private message by using Slack’s threading feature or using direct messages.

Additional Slack Info

  • Message retention is set to 180 days. This does mean that messages are moderately ephemeral. Slack is not a filing system so if something happens there that you need for posterity, it is up to you to capture it.
  • Authentication sessions are set to 30 days. This means that you should only need to re-authenticate to Slack every 30 days.
  • In an effort to minimize confusion and help people find what they are looking for, empty and dead channels will be archived. * If there is no real content, they will be culled.
  • A dead channel is one that has not seen activity in a specific time (to be determined but likely a month).
  • As such, if you have a channel that is only relevant every-so-often, please state that in the channel description and we can keep it around.
  • If you only need a channel once a year for a week, please consider archiving it at the end of its validity period.
  • Since content only exists for 6 months, a "temporary" channel doesn't make sense to keep around until the next year.

Archived channels are searchable but do not accept new messages.

A Helpful Analogy:

So this is your first time on the Mozilla Slack? Let me tell you a story before you enter for the first time. Can you close your eyes for a sec? Bear with me. Ok, now imagine when you log into Slack that you are walking into an office building where people are quietly working in each of their cubicles. Each of them have different emojis on their head phones and they each have their own typing pace. Some are in meetings with people in Europe and others are in a meeting room drawing on a dry erase board.

You walk in to the office and you are trying to find out where you can post your bug in Firefox or where to get the attention of a developer to help fix your issue. Before you do that, there are a couple of things you may want to keep in mind. First, find the right channel and the right person.

You do a quick search and you ask, what is that channel used for?

  • Once in the room, please first take the temperature of the room,
  • Do some scroll back and read a bit about what is being discussed in the channel.
  • What is the channel description?
  • What time zones are the people in that channel in?
  • What are a majority of the last 20 messages about, is it similar to what you want to contribute to that channel or conversation?
  • How am I doing? Am I capable of adding productively to this discussion?

Open your eyes now. If you can answer all of those questions and you answered yes to the last one, proceed to post your questions. Please keep in mind, since it is your first time, this might feel a bit like a cold call. Don’t worry, that feeling will go away.

Onwards you go to login to Slack, just remember to keep it clean, respectful and professional!