Scaling Is A Human Problem Too


This morning I received an email which made my heart sink.

In order to co-ordinate things better, we'd like to invite you to our exclusive Slack Channel!

A variety of rude words danced around my brain. I think this makes the, what, 9th? 10th? Slack that I'm part of.

Don't get me wrong, I like Slack as a service - but it only really works if you have One Slack Team To Rule Them All.

I've just got a new tablet - so I need to sign in to Slack TEN TIMES! How is that an acceptable user experience?

Oh, and then I have to do it all over again on my phone.

sigh fine. Whatever.

A Slack icon saying 'kill me please'

So I go to sign in. I have to give an email address - I can't use one of the half-dozen social sign-in providers I use. That also means I have to give my first and last name, and a preferred username. Tiresome.

I have to set a new avatar image - because it's not picking up from my Twitter, Skype, Facebook, etc.

And then, to add insult to injury, I have to change the default timezone - because not everyone lives in California.

This is a scaling issue. Each time I get a new device (a few times a year) I have to go through this time-consuming and annoying rigmarole. Each time I get invited to a new Slack (hey, I'm a popular guy!) I have to faff around setting it up, configuring it, and maintaining it.

Look, I get that some Slack Teams need 2FA and all sorts of custom stuff - but why should I as a user care about that?

I want:

  • One Slack account - which has my avatar, timezone, username, preferences, teams, and so on.
  • errr...
  • ... nope, that'll do.

Sure, if my Top Secret Slack imposes extra security requirements on me - present them when I sign in to my account. Or let me have a separate password. Or mandate 2FA for everything. I don't care. I'm just tired of feeling dread whenever I think about joining a new Slack team or setting up a new device.

I'm only human.

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