Slack has launched a discussion forum to connect community members and help them share knowledge about the use of the team collaboration tool. Available today, the forum is accessible at the Slack Community Forum website, or via an app that can be installed on a user’s Slack workspace.
The Slack Community was introduced in early 2019, initially to connect Slack developers at regional Meetup events; since then, the focus has expanded to cater to a wider range of Slack admins and users, from complete beginners to experts. There are now 89 Slack Community chapters worldwide and more than 14,000 members, with events continuing virtually during the pandemic.
Past initiatives to support the community included the introduction of a Slack certification scheme, and the creation of a dedicated Slack workspace for community news and discussions. The latest step is the a peer-to-peer discussion board, built on parent company Salesforce’s Experience Cloud.
From here, Slack users can register and sign in to post, upvote, and reply to comments. Frequent visitors can increase their profile within the forum by earning reputation points and badges for engaging in community discussions.
Forum posts can be viewed without signing up, allowing the forum to serve as a knowledge repository where Slack users can learn about various aspects of the platform, from using channels and creating simple automations to more technical development queries.
“The community forum is a discoverable online place where anyone can ask questions and get answers about Slack,” said Elizabeth Kinsey, Slack’s head of community. “You can go to Google and ask: 'How do people think about channel structure' and find a community response from people that are using the tool day-in and day-out. That’s super powerful when it comes to both learning how to use Slack and getting more sophisticated with your use.”
The forum has 10 sections covering Slack basics; Product UI/UX; Digital HQ; Workflow Automation; Slack APIs; SDKs and developer tools; Change management; Slack Certified; Slack Community; and off-topic discussions.
A Community Forum companion app can be installed in a user’s Slack workspace, with the ability to view and search forum discussions, receive notifications on topics and groups, and reply to posts.
While the initial goal is to facilitate conversations between users, Kinsey said future iterations could encourage feedback on Slack products.
“Slack already has a community of followers, so it makes sense for the company to provide a space for them to engage,” said Raúl Castañón, senior analyst at 451 Research, a division of SP Global Market Intelligence.
To be successful, the forum needs to be independent, he said, with Slack providing the space without steering the conversation. While doing so can allow users to voice criticisms, it can also foster innovation and new ideas. “Furthermore, it is a timely initiative given the lack of on-site events -- such as Slack Frontiers -- resulting from the ongoing conditions imposed by COVID-19,” he said.