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I am a Java software engineer located in Paris office. Three months ago I remote joined a team in Berlin, because one person left in the team. I meet strange thing here:

  1. Generally speaking, if I have any doubt on the task, I consult senior member first (for the last 15 years), I consider this is normal behaviour. However, in this team, except for the first 2-3 times, each of them (3 other developers) reject to teach me things anymore, and told me no matter what questions about the job, I have to send to public channel, no personal message. So I did, but about 50% of the time no one reply me.

  2. I deeply believe that they talk to each other privately, because when some jobs they need to work together, but there is nothing in public channel also. What's worse, even I asked them in public channel about some job progress, they can continue talk to each other and ignore my messages...

I consider to talk to my supervisor about this, or is any other idea how to improve this?

PS: 1, Because virus, everyone are remotely work at home. 2, I don't have personal issue with them, on the contrary, some of them sometimes challenge my work in public meeting. (I mean, even I did something wrong, they could deal with it more skillfully, but they choose do it in public meeting)

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  • Are your questions about things that only they can answer? Or could it be that they are documented somewhere and you could look them up there? Is this whole situation hindering from doing your job properly?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 17:37
  • hi @DarkCygnus , they developed this project since 1 year ago, so of course it is only they can answer. There is not much place to document it. For the "hindering" question. Well, sometimes the task have some specific concept, or some function for me it is hard to find out from more than 1000 file. So the best solution is, as I practise in industry always, I need someone to tell me the answer, save a lot time
    – Elisa
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 21:16

3 Answers 3

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I have to send to public channel, no personal message.

This is often set policy. So it's possible that your earlier communications in private were them being friendly but they were either told to stop or got tired of you asking questions that they won't be recognised for answering.

Have a talk with your manager about policy and what is the correct strategy/channel to use in order to get your questions answered.

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  • The thing is, for me, when I send them messages, not all is question. Sometimes is common work, need to cooperate for common business stuff. They each talk about it privately, but need me whatever work stuff need to expose to public channel, even ask for help, then no specific person.
    – Elisa
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 10:30
  • So how do they contact you when they need to communicate about common work?
    – Kilisi
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 3:26
  • They always contact me in public channel, just @ me. But I can tell you a bad example, when I in public channel @ some one and ask her a task progress, she direct ignore me and continue talk with other guys. this sample happen in two times. @kilisi
    – Elisa
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 18:27
  • Then it needs to be handled at manager level as per my answer. It should be an issue between your manager and theirs to sort out. Not you and them.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 3:03
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In theory, a question posted in a public venue could be answered by anyone. Maybe there's someone more knowledgeable who they're hoping will provide the answer or maybe there's someone with more time available to them to help you out.

If they do help one another out, privately, it's quite possible that they're doing so out of a sense of kinship / friendship that's not realistic to expect for a new employee they've yet to meet face to face.

That said, since it sounds like it's a problem, I'd recommend taking it up with your supervisor. If your supervisor an effective supervisor then they should be able to get to the bottom of it!

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I need more details to be more sure but a couple of things I can say suggest if you find useful.

  1. Are they all German? I mean German people are known not little reserve. But I also know they are friendly when you initiate the conversation. So you can talk to them. One approach I suggest is this

<**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_Communication#Four_components**>

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I deeply believe that they talk to each other privately

The whole idea of private means the third party can't know. So now you need to ask what others think you just imagining Vs actual observation. If you are anything like me, you will create 100 worst-case scenarios in head and play them in loop :D So please take a pen and paper, write down all your observation, sure things you know and not what you "believe" happening.

I think you will find some clarity after this excercise and worst case you can always talk to a supervisor but it is not a good thing to do. First, no one likes when you bypass them and talk to their boss. And second, it may show your weakness to the boss. I am not saying it is a weakness to ask for help but you know how social norm works.

So again my point is to sit down, take a deep breath and do the exercise of critical analysis.

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  • I also know the work flow, if they don't talk, then they can not finish their job. It is very clear that. So the only possible is they talk privately. At the meanwhile, I @ someone in the public channel to consult this guy one task progress, he can direct ignore me and continue talk with other guys. This happened 2 times. One more thing is, no they are not all German, one from Kosov
    – Elisa
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 10:36

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