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Slack rules

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Getting started

  • Complete your profile. A complete profile gives everyone a better chance of knowing who you are. This includes your first name, last name (optionally followed by your location and personal in parenthesis), profile picture (photos are preferred, but not required), phone number, and a summary of what you do and what teams you’re on.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). You can either do this through SMS or an authentication tool. Slack provides detailed instructions for both options. If you need to reset 2FA, Slack admins will re-verify your identity.
  • Add yourself to our custom emojis. Add your profile picture as a custom emoji with your name as the alias (“first-last”). This allows the whole TTS community to celebrate your contributions and serves as your introduction to our prolific custom emoji database. Post your emoji (and any other custom emojis you add) to the #emoji-showcase channel.
  • Abide by the TTS Code of Conduct. If you see anyone violating our Code of Conduct, see the reporting section.
  • Assume everything you share will be made public. Treat Slack as a public forum — you have no privacy. This includes file uploads to Slack and any audio or video transmitted using a Slack Call.
  • Do not post anything that would make our systems vulnerable or would impact the privacy of others if it fell into the wrong hands. See list of alternatives.

Usage of TTS’s Slack

Slack is required for all TTS staff. Some things you’ll want to remember, especially if you’re new to Slack:

  • Everything in Slack is subject to FOIA and is therefore potentially part of the public record (written words that are attributable back to you). Don’t say something on Slack that you wouldn’t feel comfortable appearing on the news.
  • Customizing your profile by adding your location and personal pronouns to the Last Name field so they appear alongside your messages. This is a great way to be remote-friendly and gender inclusive. Otherwise, your colleagues need to view your profile to see that information. Remember to add other helpful info in your profile while you’re in there.
  • The advanced settings section provides an option for only showing channels that have unread messages. This is useful if you’re a member of a lot of channels.
  • Click the timestamp on any post to go to the archival view of it. This is helpful if you’d like to cross-post a link to a message in another channel.
  • Feel free to pop in and out of channels. You can /mute channels (so you only receive messages when your name or @channel is mentioned) or leave channels if they become overwhelming.
  • If you’re interested in tracking specific keywords across Slack, set up highlight word notifications.
  • To add an RSS feed to any channel, type /feed subscribe <RSS URL>.
  • Never use Slack to share secure information. If you want to say something private, it’s easy to ask someone to hop on a call.
  • You can use Slack as an archival system. It has a powerful search feature and you can search specific channels or conversations. For instance, if you have a question about a specific healthcare plan, search for that in Slack before asking.
  • You can also search by tagged emoji. To see all messages tagged with a particular emoji, search Slack for has: (for example has::evergreen_tree:).
  • Set Slack boundaries when you need to be heads-down by setting your status to Away. If you use Slack on mobile, you can prevent direct messages and mentions from pinging you when you’re not working. Just set your phone to Do Not Disturb mode or temporarily turn off notifications from the Slack app. Don’t worry — though we have different schedules and may message each other at strange times, there’s no expectation for people to respond when they’re not working.
  • Praise your coworkers. If you’d like to praise someone for doing good work, start a message with love @username or :heart: @username in #general-talk, or any channel in which Charlie is present. You can also see recent praise in #love.
  • Use text encoding when pasting a large chunk of text. Use the + sign to the left of the text box to create a snippet. There will be an option to select how you would like to encode the text; select plain text to avoid smart quotes, if you’re pasting code.
  • Change your color scheme. You can change your color scheme by going to Preferences –> Theme –> Custom Theme. Paste the following for the US Design Standards theme: #112E51,#205493,#0071BC,#FFFFFF,#323A45,#FFFFFF,#4AA564,#981B1E
  • Screen-sharing tip: If you want notifications to stop showing up so people don’t see them, hover over the Notification Center icon in the top right corner of your screen and Option + click on it. Repeat that to turn notifications back on.

Channel names

  • Channels that begin with admin- include administrators for various tools. #admins-slack, for example, is used to request invites to Slack (see above), expunge a particularly offensive/off-topic message (see above), change the name of an existing channel, and so on.
  • Channels that end with -partner include partners from other agencies.
  • Channels that end with -public may include members of the public.

Channels focused on TTS practices have their own conventions:

  • Channels that begin with wg- are for working groups.
  • Channels that begin with g- are for guilds.
  • Channels that begin with c- are for 18F communities.

Feel free to join any of these practice-focused groups even if you are not actively part of the group and are just interested.

When to use @channel and @here

In general, the larger a channel is, the more careful you should be about using broadcast notifications.

  • Type @channel [message] to send a notification to everyone in the channel with your message. Use sparingly and only if everyone in the channel needs to see and read your message. When in doubt, ask first. Never use @channel in a large channel unless you really know what you’re doing.
  • Type @here [message] to send your message to everyone in the channel with Slack currently open at a desktop computer. Don’t use this as a softer version of an @channel because there will be no notification for anyone who wasn’t at their computer. This is more useful if you have an urgent need and need attention from everyone who is online right now. However, using @here in a large channel will still disrupt many people.

Some channels may have particular guidance for getting help, which you can usually check in the channel status. Regardless, if you don’t have an urgent need or a message that everyone needs to see, try posting your message without a broadcast notification.


  • Keep the conversation visible within #alumni and don’t DM staff. For direct communication, use methods available to the general public, such as email.
  • If you would like documents or materials, you can either use publicly available methods to request that we publish them publicly, or you can file a FOIA request for GSA to release them. Don’t request materials that aren’t already public to be sent to you — even if they were non-sensitive or documents that you personally authored while you were here. Note that people formerly in the Senior Executive Service have additional restrictions about what FOIA requests they can make.
  • Don’t share job postings. This is especially true for your own employer, but applies to postings generally. We don’t want our #alumni channel to be providing advantages to any particular company due to someone’s access to it. You can use email or other publicly accessible methods to share job postings.


Slack is FedRAMP Authorized.