Death to private chats

I see you, serial DM’ers. Yes you there, defaulting to 1-on-1 chats instead of team chat rooms. You know who you are.

You mean well, I get it. Why would you ask the whole team something when you can just DM the person you know has the answer? You’re protecting the rest of the team from stuff that they don’t care about, right? You’re helping them avoid distraction and chat overwhelm, yeah?

Wrong. You’re a thief. The Serendipity Bandit, that’s you.

  • You’re robbing the rest of the team of opportunities to learn from the answers to the questions you ask.
  • You’re robbing yourself of the chance to learn from advice and insight the rest of the team may have.
  • You’re robbing everyone of unexpected connections and the chance to be noisy, as the best teams are.

Here’s my rule of thumb: only use DMs for things that are actually private. Private chats are for private things. Everything else should go in a team room.

I don’t care what it is. Questions about a broken build, thoughts about the roadmap, pondering about a movie you saw, a link to a dope YouTube video, whatever. Put it in a team room unless it’s actually private.

If you’re worried you’ll annoy people, then who are you to decide on their behalf that they’ll be annoyed? If you’re worried you’ll look stupid or nerdy for asking dumb questions or broadcasting dorky thoughts to everyone, have you considered not caring? Maybe you’ll see that your teammates are just as dumb and nerdy as you are.

Show some vulnerability and see what happens. And for goodness sake, when you see someone else doing that, be the first follower.

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