Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Examining Slack’s New Free Plan Restrictions and Motivations

Adam Engst:

As it stands now, free teams are restricted to being able to see the last 10,000 messages chronologically and access the most recent 5 GB of files. (Compare that to the Pro plan’s unlimited messages and 10 GB of files per user.) A free plan can connect up to 10 apps (against unlimited integrations in the Pro plan) and engage in one-to-one voice and video calls (compared to the Pro plan’s group calls with up to 15 people). Come September, free plan restrictions will change to provide access to only the past 90 days of message and file history, regardless of number or size.


However, when I examined my assumptions—that the change would affect my use of Slack and that Slack was trying to push more free teams to convert to paid teams—I found that my initial irritation didn’t hold up under scrutiny.


I honestly can’t remember the last time I searched in Slack, in any of my teams or other public teams.

Some teams are switching to Discord, which is essentially free.


Update (2022-10-07): Tim Abbott (via Hacker News):

Moreover, many teams have decided to abandon Slack altogether. […] We know this because we run Zulip, an open-source alternative to Slack. Organizations migrating to Zulip can import message history from Slack and other popular team chat tools. We have seen data imports from Slack into Zulip Cloud increase an incredible 40x since Slack’s July 18 announcement!


There’s one unanswered question that is central to understanding Slack’s marketing claim: what exactly is an “active” team?

9 Comments RSS · Twitter

Discord is also essentially very bad. Not just the client which is significantly worse than Slack's Electron client, but to the degree that they proactively ban people using 3rd party clients. Just bad stuff all over.
I wish Matrix would have turned into a decent option by now, but it seems to be stuck.

Slack I think was always honest in that they say that the product isn't even intended for (open) communities, it is a product intended for businesses.

Old Unix Geek

In my opinion, the sooner the monstrosity called Slack dies, the better. It's something that has only one function: to ensure people can get hold of you. It works so well that I wrote a script to reload it every n minutes in case some socket it uses closed without it noticing, and people can't get hold of me.

And every so often I have to kill its process to retrieve Gb of memory. The people who wrote it deserve a prize for the most environmentally damaging code known to man. The way they waste RAM without even breaking a sweat surely should get them into the Guiness Book of Records. Soon I'll need a separate computer just to run Slack.

My favorite thing about Slack, and this is building off of Old Unix Geek's complaints, is that its core feature is essentially the same as IRC, but IRC did it in 1990 with a tiny fraction of the memory and computation resources that Slack uses now. Yes, there's quality of life improvements, but regardless, it's just sad.

I too wish Matrix has come farther along. If you use Element as your client, it provides more or less the same experience as Slack or Discord. But it's a little rough around the edges, and Element seems to be the only client that really supports most of its modern features. (And it's still Electron based!) And setting up and maintaining a Matrix server is not that easy, and having someone else run one for you is not that cheap, at least not cheap enough to make it a snap decision to switch over to it. Slack and Discord are free and it's hard to compete with that.

Using threads on discord to answer user’s questions is a nightmare.

I have said it before here, and I’ll say it again: I miss the iChat days.

Even before h264 got baked into Tiger, no one was complaining about slowness or responsiveness or resources issues like we see today. Even Jaguar was handling text chats better than Slack and Teams.

Further, if only Apple would make iMessage more competitive, they could do so much damage to competing messenger apps simply by virtue of being native. You’d think iMessage would be like the gold Cadillac app on iPhone given how valuable it is for platform stickiness, but they just lag so far behind Signal, WhatsApp and TG, and it hurts. Their new enterprise offering could and should be offering a hosted chat service geared for the corporate world too.

I’m not sure what protocol they are using, but I’d guess it’s some kind of custom flavor of XMPP, especially with what we’ve seen wrt the upcoming edit and unsend functionality (an implementation of both ideas that doesn’t go nearly far enough imo). Maybe it’s time to move away from that if it’s not allowing iMessage to compete.

I honestly don't see how an apple only chat app could work in enterprise.

It continues to amuse me that both Slack and Discord—apps that are intended for collegial productivity amongst people—have such terrible names.

It’s a more visual communication focused version of a forum / mailing list + irc.

So an internal micro blogging system seems like a better solution, unfortunately Yamner turned everyone off from this.

I've recently moved my group to Discord.

Although it's more of the same in many respects, it's also a pleasant upgrade in many others:

- their business model is not the standard enterprise corporation-pays-all pricing, but something where individuals can pay their own upgrades and collectively "boost" the servers they frequent. having a business model aligned to community/open-source/decentralized seems like it will naturally tend to work better, at least for me.

- the UI just seems simpler. although not everyone agrees, i find it much more straightforward than slack -- or some of the fully integrated chat systems (Tribe, Heartbeat, etc.)

- they have support for both chat and forum style channels on the same server. chat is great for immediate synchronous communications, but breaks down in many async ways. doing support, threading, long-term posts -- all of these things just make more sense in an async forum post rather than a chat channel.

as far as getting down on Electron -- i can't help but see the trend here: the Mac platform is sick. Apple has been an absentee landlord for a decade and created a hostile development environment where even they don't build native apps -- but instead support desktop only by cross-platform ports from iOS.

i would like a purely native mac app as much as the next guy -- maybe more since I earn my living building native Mac apps, but i've seen the writing on the wall: the world at large is not going to use Cocoa for desktop apps until something fundamental changes in Cupertino; cross-platform is as good as it gets.

if you want that to change, stop moaning about it to other developers and file a radar.

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