We have Slack in our company with dozens of different channels, many of them with hundreds of people.

People often send annoying @Channel and @here messages that are really not relevant to that large audience in that urgency.

Some examples:

(in all-R&D):

@Channel check out the new article XYZ wrote about us!

(in all-support-people):

@Here who knows when is the next leap year?

(in all-site-X-people):

@Channel we got a new delivery of office supplies. Come to the service room if you need a blue pen.

This is really distracting as these non-relevant messages keep on popping and beeping and it seems like people have no sense of what is urgent and what is not.

Even if we tell person X not to do it, a few days later, that person Y will post such a message. New people are joining the company, not all share the same channels and definitely none of them read messages that were posted a few days/weeks in the past in a general channel. This is why posting a please do not do it message doesn't seem to be effective.

We can't leave or mute these channels as from time to time, there are relevant messages there that we should know of.

Any ideas on how to handle this?

  • This should be solved by Slack, they should disable this feature, there is no reason to have the same red circle icon for both direct messages and when someone uses @here. There is no reason for this feature, the blue circle is enough to let you know someone posted in a channel. Dec 9, 2022 at 15:41

5 Answers 5


Just post a polite message.

Hey folks - could we consider not using (at)here or (at)channel in our large membership channels unless it's a critical issue? It can be a bit distracting to have these notifications pop up when I'm in the middle of concentrating on some work.

  • +1 This works at my company. Sometimes people don't know what @Channel and @here do so politely letting them know does the trick.
    – camden_kid
    May 23, 2022 at 14:16
  • Even better, make such a message pinned, preferably to a "general" channel that everybody is subscribed to, or put it into the channel description (as appropriate), so that you don't have to post it every other day for all the newcomers.
    – TooTea
    May 23, 2022 at 19:51
  • @TooTea In my experience, nobody reads pinned messages; a few might read the channel topic... May 24, 2022 at 11:06

I'm going to assume that you're in a position of authority (otherwise you should be speaking with someone who is).

First of all, you follow Philip's answer.

Then, if there as specific instances of people breaking the rule, explain the proper use of the tags.

Then follow up with written warnings as you would with any other instance of disruptive behaviour.

In addition to all this, you should make sure you provide a channel for the types of messages that may be out of place in the mainstream channels. You should be able to control who can use @here and @channel messages in this channels. In addition, people are able to mute, or leave these non-core channels as desired.

Also, you should generally consider who should have access to the @here and @channel functionality in core channels. Does everyone need the ability to use @here and @channel? Probably not.

  • Exactly, using @channel in a channel with hundreds of people should be a highly privileged operation. Great power, great responsibility, all that. People are fairly used to not being able to freely spam aliases like everyone@example.com, so why shouldn't the same work for Slack?
    – TooTea
    May 23, 2022 at 19:58

We can't leave or mute these channels as from time to time, there are relevant messages there that we should know of.

This seems key to me. These "relevant messages", are they also urgent? If they are urgent, then it's perfectly reasonable to (politely but firmly) insist that the channel is only used for urgent messages. If however the "relevant messages" are not urgent, then mute the channel but check it once a day for relevant messages.

  • If only Slack (&co.) had a mechanism to tag urgent messages to distinguish them from non-urgent ones. Wait, turns out it already does! A simple "Come pick up some pens if you need to." is the non-urgent version of "@channel, come pick up some pens immediately!". Better make people stop abusing a feature instead of neutering it completely and trying to replace it with a workaround.
    – TooTea
    May 23, 2022 at 19:47

Unless you are both in a position of authority AND have the time to spare to police this, then just get used to it like everyone else.

Sending blanket messages to cease and desist is just adding to the spam.

  • 1
    There's a big difference between how Slack treats a normal message (just increments the count of unread messages in the UI) and how it treats a notification (whether tagging a person directly or via @here etc) which pushes it through the OS's notification system. The latter is much more intrusive to my workflow than the former. May 23, 2022 at 8:43
  • @PhilipKendall yeah I read about it. However I've worked in airports where bells and whistles go off intermittently and planes fly, forestry where chainsaws are on and off all day, factories and their noises and alarms.... you can just tune it out while still noticing and checking if it's likely to be relevant to you and being aware of your surroundings. I'm an engineer not a dev, but some of my work is pretty complex and high concentration.
    – Kilisi
    May 23, 2022 at 9:38
  • 1
    "you can just tune it out while still noticing and checking if it's likely to be relevant to you" - from this developer, no I can't. When I was younger I kidded myself I could, but the more experience I get I see how "noticing and checking" completely makes me context shift and it takes time to get back into it. May 23, 2022 at 10:28
  • @mattfreake I can, I must and I do, peoples safety can hinge on my work, my own safety can hinge on my awareness of my surroundings. And scary amounts of money can hinge on timeframes. It's a skill like any other.
    – Kilisi
    May 23, 2022 at 10:31

As other questions have said, I'm going to assume that you're in a position of authority (otherwise you should be speaking with someone who is).

Use a tool that gives people the control over distractions.

Managing distractions is a core skill, certainly as a software developer and I guess in just about any role. For me a single distraction can take minutes out of my day, and so I do not allow slack to give any alert that is detectable without visiting the application or web page.

It used to be that these sort of announcements would all come by email. People would customise their email clients to the alert frequency that suited their work. In this world we did not need people to follow rules, as the rules could be individually changed to suit peoples behaviour.

Slack clients, in my experience, have much less functionality to customise this distraction that email clients. We have a vast choice of communication channels these days, if any do not match your requirements then choose another. This has the added bonus of giving your staff more control about their working environment, which generally improves morale and productivity. This does not need to be at the exclusion of slack, if required one can use slack for general corporate communication (with alerts turned off) and another tool for communications that require more detailed customisation.

  • 1
    In a corporate environment, it's often not practical to say "no, I'm not using Slack". May 23, 2022 at 9:26
  • @PhilipKendall Thanks for you comment. I have added that I am assuming the OP has authority, as other answers have.
    – User65535
    May 23, 2022 at 9:41
  • There's often a big difference between having the authority to say "please use Slack differently" and having the authority to change the entire company to use a different communications tool. May 23, 2022 at 10:35
  • @PhilipKendall Indeed, and another big difference between both of those and "Our team uses tool x for intrateam communication".
    – User65535
    May 23, 2022 at 10:38

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