Slack recently announced a price increase and changes to its free plan that came into effect on 1 September 2022. So, what are the implications if you’re running a community on Slack?

The good news

As Slack point out, this is the first price increase they’ve made since they launched in 2014. And the price increase only affects users on their Pro subscription.

Furthermore, the free plan now includes some new features, like clips.

Finally, if you have a very chatty team who don’t need access to messages older than 3 months then you’re now less likely to need to pay for Slack.

The bad news

If you do need to pay for Slack, monthly Pro subscriptions have increased from $8 USD to $8.75 USD per user per month, a rise of almost 10%.

The real problem for anyone running a community on Slack is that now you have to pay to access messages older than 3 months. If you have a community of just 200 that would mean going from free to $17,400 per year even with the annual discount.

And the only way to get your data out of Slack is to be on a paid plan. So if you start on the free plan, but then needed to pay $17,400 in order to get access to your data to migrate elsewhere to avoid paying the $17,400… you’re in a chicken and egg problem.

The key question… how important is your community content older than 90 days?

This is now the key consideration for community managers considering using, or staying with, Slack. Because if there is value in your members being able to access messages older than 90 days then they won’t be able to on Slack unless you pay.

The vast majority of communities do try to capture knowledge, build archival value, make connections over time, revisit and update resources etc, particularly in professional and B2B communities. There are some communities, like gaming and live streaming, whose message content is ephemeral and has little lasting value. They don’t need to worry. All the rest do.

The bottom line: Slack is designed for teams not communities

Slack are not being disingenuous when they claim these changes are good news for workflow comms in teams. In particular these changes are good for large or very chatty teams whose message content is informal, ephemeral, chat which has little value beyond 90 days.

Slack have also been clear that it is not a platform for social networking or conversations in a community that you do want to store: "Slack is specifically designed for some group of people who are aligned around the accomplishment of some goal... It's a lousy social network... a lousy replacement for a bulletin board or discussion." Stewart Butterfield, CEO, Slack

In short, these latest changes just confirm Slack isn't designed for communities and here's why.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

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