Developers

Building the future of work with the new Slack Community Forum

Head of community Elizabeth Kinsey shares why we created a space for users to get more out of Slack

By the team at Slack2nd November 2021Illustration by Robert Samuel Hanson

There has always been a community around Slack. During the salad days, a burgeoning group of people helped each other figure out how to best use our product. Embracing this spirit of curiosity, over the years we created our own community-led programmes to foster ways to embrace and improve what Slack offered. Most recently, these initiatives included a dedicated workspace, community chapters around the globe and certifications to help users customise Slack to their needs.

Screenshot of the Slack Community Forum site

Today, we’re hitting a new milestone with the launch of the Slack Community Forum. No matter how experienced you are with Slack, our forum supports questions and answers for you – whether you’re a developer trying to debug a Slack app created for your organisation, a user wanting to implement a Workflow Builder automation or just curious about how to use Slack’s features.

Senior writer Matt Haughey caught up with community group manager Elizabeth Kinsey to learn more about the forum, its design and what she hopes it will accomplish.

Tell us about the Slack Community Forum and how it’s organised.

While Slack is designed to be your digital HQ for all work, our forum is a specific product we custom-designed for clear and direct community discussion. Ultimately, we want to make it easy for people to go to Google, search for their question about Slack and have a result show up, whether that’s a Help Centre article, a blog post or a community member contributing to our forum.

The purpose of the forum isn’t to reduce support tickets or simply ask for feedback. Instead, it’s to give people a specific place to connect with others, find answers and ask questions about Slack.

We’ve segmented the Slack Community Forum into ten high-level topics:

When asking questions, users are provided with potential topics so they don’t have to think too long about what to ask. That’s one of the things I like about Salesforce Experience Cloud, which is what we built this on: It adjusts topics. It uses language processing to identify, for example, that a question should be tagged as “Slack APIs” because it includes the words ‘bolt’ and ‘channel’.

What was the model for the forums? Is it similar to Stack Exchange sites?

Yes! It is that Stack Exchange model, similar to Salesforce’s IdeaExchange or any old-school technical web forum. The thing that works well for Stack Exchange is you are not just contributing, you also get some sense of satisfaction and reward by reading and participating. Plus, you get reputation points when helping out. And by extension, you gain credibility when you’re seen as an expert in your domain.

How does the forum work for a developer who’s trying to, for example, debug a JSON error but also welcome someone trying to customise their app notifications?

That’s where the topics come in handy. If I were a developer stuck on a really sticky JSON question, I would go to the developer topic and ask the question. But first, I would do a search to see if someone had the same problem. If I didn’t find anything, I’d ask the question in that group and tag it appropriately.

I do think there will be a great deal of beginner stuff, but there will be many seasoned admins and developers who are really sophisticated Slack users, and they want to help new Slack users. In our previous community workspace, I’d see them contributing and saying, ‘Here’s a good article on channel naming’ or ‘Here’s how you go change your notifications’. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for people who are ‘code curious’.

In addition to the web-based forum, we’re launching a new Slack forum app. What can people expect from it?

We built an app to bring the best of our community forum into a Slack workspace of your choosing, wherever you install our companion app.

screenshot of the Slack Community Forum app Home Screen

Once it’s installed, you can search the entire community forum in Slack through the app and get results back on the app’s home screen. Then you can reply directly from there. If you get an answer to your question but you have another question, you can post a quick reply. That all happens in Slack.

You can also click into topics and it’ll show you the ten most recent conversations on that topic. And you can track people you follow and their most recent conversations. Whatever avenue you need to get to your destination, we want to make sure that we’ve got a map for you and we’re making those connections.

Learn more about the Slack Community Forum

The Slack Community Forum is a central place for users to connect with others and with Slack more directly to research, gather information and solve problems together. It was designed to help you get answers to questions no matter where you are on your journey, whether it’s your first day using Slack or you’re a seasoned developer.

Everyone is welcome and an account isn’t required to browse the site. Visit when you have a question, want to browse through existing tips and tricks or would like to join a trusted community centred around getting more out of Slack.

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