Help getting time-of-day info about Slack usage

Request

Can someone go through the available history in #general and #beginners on Slack and extract the day-of-week and time-of-day for the posts?

I am hoping to end up with a heatmap that shows Monday through Sunday with hotspots for whichever hours tend to be high traffic.

When you try to copy/paste the content out, you get Person [12:57 PM] in the pasted version, so I bet all the interesting info can be extracted from that!

Motivation

I want to have reminders that say roughly:

Newcomers are often frustrated. Imagine how you feel when you spend 4hrs on something annoying! It’s not possible to give digital hugs, so here are some tips on how to be supportive in addition to helping with their technical problem: https://elm-lang.org/community/chat-tips

I have a very hard time remembering habits I want to develop. E.g. “I want to have better posture.” And five minutes later I forget. I suspect it’s similar for “social habits” but until recently, I felt like that was a separate problem.

In my own life, I have been trying to physicalize things I have trouble remembering. One strategy I am using is to write down the chores I do not want to do on little pieces of paper, and then throw them on the ground. I have an impulse to pick them up every time I see them, but I can’t until I do the chore. It is working pretty well so far!

So I am trying to experiment with something similar with reminders in online spaces, but I want to find a balance between “reminding people at a time when it actually matters” and “not having too many reminders”.


P.S. I checked out the available analytics, but the resolution is only day-of-week. It tells me that activity goes down on weekends (Very happy that many folks take weekends away from the computer!) but I need to know more about time-of-day for the reminders on weekdays.

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This is the number of messages in #general by hour from June 6th through today. No replies. I adjusted the times to be in UTC. I can upload the csv if someone would like it.

I used the Person [time] format you get from copy/pasting.

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Here is the same chart for #beginners, for June 7th through now.

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It’s hard to say for certain, but it looks like #general tends to be filled with people working in European and African timezones while #beginners leans more towards the Americas. Or possibly #beginners has a lot of Europeans and Africans using Elm outside of “normal” work hours.

This is also data for less than 1 month and doesn’t include replies so it might be skewed.

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But it quite sucks for people like me who is in east Asia time zone and using slack was not a good experience. As a beginner I don’t have quite the motivation to stay up at midnight to ask questions. Perhaps people who “really” into Elm will.

@cttet that does sounds frustrating. If there aren’t as many users on Slack when you are, this Discourse might a better place to ask your questions. I’m not on at midnight, but I know many people check the Discourse throughout their day.

Also, maybe you’ll end up being able to help others in the east Asia time zones some day :smiley:

Thank you @wolfadex, this is really interesting! I am going to try two reminders per week, and the times are based on the usage stats here. (Under the theory that it’s good that it happens in a busy time, but maybe that’s not true.)

The more I think about this, the more I think that it’s not enough to encourage norms this way alone. With other social groups, writing the norms on the wall leads to those words losing their meaning. It seems like there needs to be active efforts to improve, and continuous rediscovery of the important behaviors. So I think having reminders is good, but I also think it would ideally go along with inspired efforts (recorded in blog posts) to advocate for these kinds of things. Sharing experiences. Sharing perspectives. Sharing recommendations. Etc.

I think all that has to be built on personal relationships. I have some ideas of how to foster that, and I think that’s the next step.


@cttet, I remember in the early days of Elm it was all in mailing lists. There was an IRC channel early on, but it couldn’t sustain itself with the level of traffic at the time. It was much later that having Slack worked at all! If this pattern is geographic, I suspect that the online activity would increase following real-life increases. Maybe that is meetups or companies using it more. I am not sure though.

Maybe it’d be good to ping the posters of questions in #beginners that did not get answers and encourage them to ask in a different medium. What do you think might be a good reaction to sending a Slack message in a low traffic time when no one is there to answer immediately?

I just would like to share my experiences in a different time zone as well. “Get unstuck fast” is what I need most when I asked questions on slack.

When I get stuck learning something new I have the tendency to Google to get “quite immediate” resolutions. But for Elm due to not enough interactions indexed by search engine, and the changes to the language that result in quite a lot of obsolete answers for previous versions (such as “use this native package to get around this issue”), there is not much Google can help and the only way to get “immediate” answers is Slack.
But for me in a different time zone, when I ask a question, sometimes someone would answer, but due to the lack of online people, the problem is often left unresolved due to lack of the expertise on the specific issues and when more people come in, some later questions gets more attention and I have to ask again and wait another day. The reactions does not seems to matter much, as people are often nice and friendly on Slack, the frustrations mainly come from the unsolved problems.
My main work is on data science and I only learns Elm for my side projects to explore want I can do with web. Usually if I get stuck I would tend to halt the project entirely for months until I feel like to do it again, and getting stuck often quite hurt the momentum to the process of leaning Elm.

However I understand the current state of Elm and I quite agree with @evancz’s plan to grow Elm with tight community that built on personal relationships. My situation may be the majority case and may not be quite significant for the growth of Elm and I am OK to wait for some years until Elm community matures.

Meanwhile I have a suggestion regarding the problem of losing information on Slack. The fastest way to get unstuck is to find a similar problem solved online. But once a question is asked on Slack, the answers is usually not archived. And people does not like to post on Discourse as we prefer to have faster resolution to problems. One possible solution for this is to build a slack bot to record all the questions and following conversations, and put it somewhere online. And special prefixes commands like \Question, \Anonymous may be introduced to make it easier to index the questions and handle permission requests. This may be easier than requesting people that are used to Slack to ask questions on discord.

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Just to chip with a slightly different experience and say that I have never really used Slack at all, but have used Discourse right from when I first started learning Elm.

Discourse might not be ‘immediate’ but I don’t remember feeling that I ever had to wait more than 24 hours for a useful answer on Discourse. I feel part of the problem here might be that Slack provides people with the illusion/tantalising possibility of a faster response. If it didn’t exist at all (!) people would just use Discourse more and, I think, be pleasantly surprised at how well it works.

On the other hand, I’m one of those people who likes to have space to completely elucidate their problem and provide code samples from the start, so the long-form format of Discourse was always more appealing to the way I work…

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