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When a team collaboration software went backwards with an update

When a team collaboration software went backwards with an update.

I use Slack at work. It’s fantastic, enables easy, fast communication with peers and offers excellent automation integrations. Before Automattic, I did not use Slack.

One of the best things about Slack is its extensive keyboard shortcuts and markdown integration. The following are a few which I use often:

  • Command + Shift + M to open the Activity section.
  • Alt + arrow-up for moving to the previous Slack channel/DM.
  • Alt + arrow-down for moving to the next Slack channel/DM.

At least, these are a few that I use often but the tool offers a lot more which you can check here.

Having said these, I also am very cautious about how I manage notifications on Slack, how and when I set my statuses — when I am away from the desk, or I am not at work for a few days, that’s something I clearly indicate on the status.

I use the /status update command to set an update.

But, a few months ago, Slack made a change that I am very disappointed with.

They updated the status’ functionality to show it only until the end of the day, and at the 0001 UTC mark, the status disappears.

I live in UTC+0530, which means, I am sleeping when Slack removes that status notice. When I am back at work the next morning, I notice that the status has disappeared, and has been so for a few hours!

This was not the case earlier.

This is plain going backwards.

As a responsible user, I reached out to their customer support team, to share my thoughts on this update. As a tip, they highlighted that I can click on the status dropdown to set a duration for that status, or that I can make use of Command + Shift + Y to set the status.

The problem with the two approaches above is that, it requires mouse input at the least, to click on the duration dropdown.

As a keyboard-heavy user, my preference is to make use of its robust /command feature to do all things.

It’s been a few months since I suggested they set Forever as the status duration by default, or that they allow users to choose a default status expiry, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

For now, I am considering writing a Slack bot that automatically sets the previous day’s status at the 0001 hours mark, but I haven’t checked their API so far.

Update: I created a one-page app and put it on GitLab CI to clear Slack status expiration at 2300 or 2330 every day. I have published a post on it here.

By Arun

blogger 📝, tech support at Automattic 👨🏽‍💻, currently working on and 🛍, enjoy building on Cloudflare Workers 🛠, enjoy traveling 💺

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