Slack as an ephemeral communication medium

Continuing the discussion from Bulk update of pedestrian crossings by LocalMapper:

This is true. Currently, such a scenario is only a hypothetical, but we don’t only have to be vigilant for something as formal as a change in the terms of use. Recently, Salesforce overhauled Slack’s user interface, and some people are struggling to adapt. (The default hot aubergine color scheme is not really my cup of tea.) I think we’ll eventually get used to Slack’s new user interface, but it is a wake-up call.

In a recent Slack thread, a concern was raised about the portability of all the discussions that have taken place on Slack. Fortunately, the same plan that gives OSMUS full searchability also allows the workspace’s administrators to export a full dump of all the message history. However, there’s no plan to publish this message history as a public archive. Here’s how I explained that stance (edited for intelligibility):

This is partly a privacy/safety issue: many people have joined this workspace over the years with an expectation that their writings would not be exposed publicly for Google and now ChatGPT to get ahold of. It would be problematic to backtrack on that understanding wholesale. At least we’d have to ask for everyone’s permission, which would be a logistical challenge. If worst comes to worst and we have to move off Slack, it might be feasible to archive the chat history and make it accessible to those who have joined this workspace but not the whole wide world, either on a successor platform or a custom website thingie.

Regarding the incongruence of an open data community gathering on a closed platform:

This workspace has an open door but still has walls. I think most people would be OK with most of their writing being available to the rest of the OSM community, but, like, do you remember what questions you asked and which jokes you tried to land when you first joined? I sure don’t. :sweat_smile:

But it doesn’t have to be this way forever:

Over time, I think it would be healthy to summarize some of the more substantive discussions (and maybe retell some of the more successful jokes) on the forum or wiki, so that we can all have the same attitude as some others have about this workspace’s ephermerality.

And, presciently:

“It happened on Slack/IRC” is not always a very convincing argument when defending a tagging decision with someone who isn’t on Slack/IRC.

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