If you work at a company with remote workers or just a buttload of employees, odds are you’re using Slack to communicate. The work chat giant has all but completely taken over as the default mode of business communication, surpassing the fond tradition of tracing notes to one another in cocaine dust on the desk.
Saying “to Slack” someone is nearly as canonized as the verbs “to Google” or “to WhatsApp.” You can’t escape it.
Part of the reason why Slack is everywhere is because it’s just good. As much as I want to hate the medium which forces me into what Marx would describe as a continual loop of exploitation at the hands of the capitalists, I like the service. I like it a lot.
There’s undoubtedly a correct way to use Slack as it was intended. But there’s also a wrong way — and it’s really fun.
We’ve put together the 10 best ways to torment your coworkers over Slack. Enjoy.
**Disclaimer**: Many of these are more powerful with admin access. I would highly suggest convincing whoever is in charge that you should be an admin before trying any of them out.
#1: Change your name
Not many people know this, but an incredibly easy annoyance hack is to change your display name. We in TNW’s editorial team change our own Slack handles as quickly and freely as the wind changes. You go to the upper left hand corner where it says your workplace and name, expand the box, and select “Profile & account.” Click “Edit Profile,” and you can edit your display name from here.
But why on earth would we want to do this, you may ask?
Because it’s funny.
For example, you can use this method to send coded messages. A little while back, I changed my Slack handle to “@fuck you.” OK, I guess it’s not really that coded. But it’s funny and offensive to sensitive people, which is the main point.
After I changed mine, my coworker changed his to “@no fuck you.” We had a great time tagging ourselves in a public channel, going back and forth for hours, rendering said channel completely unusable.
The fun ended when I got reprimanded after messaging an external sales partner. They did not find @fuck you amusing.
You can also take it even further and make the legal change, confusing not only your colleagues, but your friends and family, too.
**Bonus** Do you have admin access? You lucky bastard. You have the power to change everyone’s Slack handles, not only your own.
There’s an urban legend that a former TNW employee with admin access changed every single person’s handle and photo to that of the CEO. Everyone was confused. His admin access was taken away.
Which brings us to our second step…
#2: Change your photo
You probably already knew you could change your own photo, especially if you followed step #1. If you didn’t, you might be an idiot. I’m not trying to insult you, I’m trying to make you self-aware.
Anyway, in combination with the above, you can make quite a confusing situation. Even without admin access, pick a coworker to victimize, copy their photo and name into your own bio, and voila, you’ve made a mess.
This is also a great way to avoid people.
#3: Purposefully leave your whereabouts ambiguous like the mysterious fairy you are
A feature which I personally find a hindrance to my personal liberties — but is admittedly practical — is that you and your coworkers can mark your whereabouts in your status.
For example, if you’re at home, you can put an adorable little house next to your name to indicate that. A bit offensive to those of us who live in a cave, but whatever.
If you’re in the office, you can leave it blank, like a dark abyss, representative of the desperately cold and lonely workplace culture you have curated around you.
Getting smashed on a beach somewhere? Leave a fun little island emoji next to your name to indicate you have paid an exorbitant amount of money for the feeling that you are drinking for free at a resort in a poverty-stricken country.
Personally, I like to leave my status ambiguous. I often indicate I am working remotely, despite being in the office. Yes, this is sometimes because I forget to change it, but who cares, this is my article and I’ll say what I want.
I have been sent irritated messages from colleagues looking for me (because I am very important) that if I’m going to use the Slack status, I should do so properly.
I won’t and @fuck you.
#4: Kick people out of channels when they disagree with you
This is also for the admin privileged.
It turns out, democracy doesn’t exist on Slack. You can kick @ out of a private channel for whatever reason you choose. And they can’t get back in without an invite. This is what power feels like.
Now, this won’t work on other admins, so if you want to stage a coup, it’s a bit like Game of Thrones. I’d consider decapitating the other admins IRL instead.
Keep in mind, this is high-stakes. If abused too often, you will likely face revolt and get your admin access taken away. Use with caution.
#5: Keep adding people to channels they don’t want to be in
This step is the inverse of step #4, but it is equally as potent. There’s nothing like forcing someone to be somewhere they don’t want to be, even digitally.
When people leave a public Slack channel, a bitchy little message pops up that says “So-and-so left the channel.” This is what you need to pay attention to.
At TNW, we have a slack channel called “#congratulations.” It’s mainly used for birthday announcements, which at a company this large, feels like every day.
We have one particularly grumpy coworker who does not like birthdays, celebrations, or outward shows of affection of any kind. As you can imagine, he HATES this channel, and does not want any part in it. In fact, he even keeps his own birthday a secret so we can’t celebrate him. Like that would stop us.
Because we didn’t know which day his birthday was, we decided to celebrate it every day, just in case. We tagged him in the #celebration channel, forcing him to join. He then left the channel, and we’d tag him again. It was like a fun game!
#6: “Send a notification anyway”
This is a classic. What better way to ruin your colleague’s vacation than to remind them of work than in the most heinous form of communication possible — push notification.
On Slack, you can set your notifications to snooze. But, in the case of emergency, you can choose to send them a notification anyway. The emergency is fun, so you can be damn sure we’re clicking that option.
Now, if you actually like this coworker, maybe it’s not the best idea… nah fuck it. Go for it anyway. Colleagueship means they have to love you unconditionally.
#7: Screenshot messages and use them as blackmail
This is a particular favorite of ours. We’re all a bit odd, and say odd things. Unfortunately, Slack allows you to delete your messages… but not on our watch!
Next time your coworker says something innocent that sounds even vaguely like it could be sexual, take it out of context and spread it like wildfire.
We’ve built up our cat-like reflexes to grab those sound bites before deletion.
#8: Clog up public channels with gross eyeball GIFs
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
Here are some crowd pleasers in case you’re short of inspiration:
#9: Set reminders for people of their mortality
Here’s the shortcut:
/Remind @ (that person’s name)
Two of our interns used it to terrorize each other, and we couldn’t be more proud.
#10: Create private channels to make people feel left out
This would be considered bullying, but you have our permission.
Create a private channel that excludes just one person in the team. Cultivate a sense of humor if you don’t have one. Send all of your best jokes to that channel. Laugh loudly. The rest will work itself out.
Choose one person to kick out each month. Welcome to The Bachelor.
After reading this, a few of you might be thinking we’re a pretty nasty bunch. Listen, we’re not bullies, this is how we bond.
It’s important we all find each other’s weaknesses and annoyances as quickly as possible and exploit them so no one else will. Being a TNW editor is a little like being in the army — we wear a lot of dark colored clothing, we’re always sweaty and a bit dirty, and the fear of death never leaves.
Consider this guide a gift. Go forth, you Slackholes!