It is a universal truth of working remotely that at some point, your internet-based services will eventually fail you. I can survive with Gmail being down. I’ll survive if Google Drive craps the bed because I like to live dangerously and draft in not-at-all-unstable Kinja. Screw Zoom, Lifesize, and all video chats — let me be an unwashed gremlin off-camera. But I swear on the remains of my tattered sanity, if Slack continues to shit the bed today, I will not make it.
It all started this morning when I logged onto the Gizmodo Slack, ready for whatever brain worms my deranged colleagues were ready to throw my way. Except nothing would load. Odd, but nothing force quitting and then rebooting the app can’t fix. Then my messages started not sending at all, or sending out of order if they did go through. Several of the approximately 40 million channels I’m in refused to load.
Then at 11:32 am, IT confirmed my worst fears. Slack was having issues. Ten minutes later, Deputy Editor Andrew Couts told us to check our emails and migrate over onto Discord “since Slack has shit the bed.”
I let out an ungodly pterodactyl shriek that scared my elderly dog. Do you know how much careful effort I’ve put into the past few years avoiding Discord with every fibre of my being? Nothing personal against the service itself, but I already have six different apps for communicating with the same group of dinguses every day. We have email for pitches and official shit. We have Signal for confidential shit. We have regular texts for off-hours shit. There’s Twitter for brain wormy shit. We have AirTable for keeping track of the blogs and assignments and shit. There are several Slack channels I have to play notification whack-a-mole with every day. And this does not include other chat apps that have been foisted upon me by my non-work compatriots (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, TikTok, KakaoTalk, the list continues and please kill me.) Now, I had to add DISCORD?!?! I am not a gamer. Outside of this one very minor and temporary inconvenience, I would likely never return to Discord again. I began to feel the DISCORD seep into my SOUL.
Reader, it was chaos. It was evident who among staff were GaMeRz and who were non-gaming n00bs. A coworker I respected decided their handle was going to be xxx_420_badboy, which is admittedly funny but also resulted in them being temporarily banned. I also now know too much about this coworker. One staffer, upon landing in Discord, asked timidly if they were in fact, in the proper channel. I accidentally plopped myself into a voice channel. I don’t understand why my username has a random number after it. I spent a minute too long figuring out how to change my avatar photo. I couldn’t figure out who some people with non-obvious handles were based on their extremely empty profiles. A former coworker flitted in to say hi because I guess this has happened before I ever joined Gizmodo. I had to cope with the minor inconvenience that Discord imposes Dark Mode upon my severely astigmatic eyes with no ability to switch to Light Mode. The worst part is not everyone migrated over.
All I wanted was to blog, but no. Instead, I had to pop between Discord, a broken Slack, email, texts, AirTable, and Signal chats just to do my job. Wires were crossed. I did not know where to drop pitches. FOMO that I was missing Great Jokes peaked. My anxiety that I’d missed an assignment or important question from my editors also peaked. I started to sound like a distressed Tina Belcher. It’s around here that I lost my marbles.
It did not help that my regular meltdowns tickle the funny bone of my editors, one of whom then proceeded to ping me across platforms to suggest I write this blog. This entire time, I’ve been refreshing Slack’s status page, hoping for any scrap of news that may signal when we might once again bask in a semblance of ORDER. Every single time, Slack continues to disappoint me by saying the investigation is “ongoing,” that things still aren’t fixed, and I’ll have to endure another 30 minutes of this chaos until their next update.
I could say something poignant about how, given the new reality the pandemic has thrust upon us, we need to be better prepared for this sort of outage. That enterprise communication services should throw resources into making sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen during peak working hours. Because, yay, productivity blah blah blah.
But I don’t give a flying fuckadoodle about that. I would like there to be ONE, maybe TWO apps max for managing workflow. I would like there to be fewer apps that do the same thing but in different colour schemes. But these are bigger picture asks that require more brain cells than I currently have available to me. In the short term, I would just like Slack to pop a digital Immodium, un-shit itself, and restore order to my life.
For now, it appears that Slack is mostly functional again. Unfortunately, my day is already ruined.