Ministry of Testing Slack Guidelines

We’re a growing community of down to earth and friendly people who are interested in testing.  It’s a busy place here so we thought we’d create some pointers that must be adhered to when participating. Unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated. This ensures that we remain a community of welcoming and friendly people.

How to join Slack?

Want to let others know how to join Slack? Point them to the signup page to fill in the simple invite form. Invites via other avenues will not be approved. This is to ensure that all who join the community read and accept the community guidelines.

Summary of the guidelines

These are the guidelines we expect all of our users to follow and are an extension of the Ministry of Testing Code of Conduct. They are mostly around behaving sensibly, with respect and strictly no inconsiderate behaviour or harassment of any kind.  We’re good nice people here, let's keep it fun and friendly, please.

  1. Be a nice human being - we would rather not write an essay on this.
  2. Think before you speak - mean and bad behaviour just sucks.
  3. We are global and diverse - be respectful towards other people and their potential sensitivities. If someone tells you that they are offended or upset by something you have said, respect their feelings and wrap up the discussion straight away. 
  4. Look for the right channel to post in - there are lots of channels (look to the left-hand side panel within Slack, you should find a big list!), posting the same message in multiple channels may not go down well. Slack HQ has a handy guide for finding channels to join on this Slack.
  5. Introduce yourself - there’s a channel just for that, it’s #introductions. Our welcome bot will send you a direct message and provide you with a link to the introductions channel.
  6. Self-promotion in selected channels - we have channels where you can post self-promotional things. This mostly falls under #ads #jobs #events #bloggers-club. People don’t like self-promotional stuff in the wrong channel, it will do your brand/reputation more harm than good. If you post spam, this will be deleted by an admin. Spamming, as determined by the moderators, or reported by users, may result in you being banned from the channel and, in certain circumstances, the entire Slack group.
  7. Not sure where to post? - Seek guidance from one of our community moderators (listed below) or ask in the #admin channel. 
  8. Enjoy yourself - have fun, learn stuff and help others!
  9. One account per person - We've found that in these types of communities, it's best if everyone only has one account. If we find that you have registered multiple accounts, we will politely ask that you choose one and we'll remove all others. Ignoring this request may result in banning of all accounts but one (we'll choose the most ridiculously named one to keep). Trying to create more accounts may result in a ban of all accounts. This also covers multiple people using one account.
  10. Moderators are friends, not food - the community moderators are here to help. If you think someone is in breach of the community guidelines, you can DM a moderator (listed below) or raise a more general issue in #admin. The moderators are here to help keep this a safe & fun space for everyone to be, please be respectful to them.

We hope you will enjoy your time here and help spread the importance and awesomeness of testing!

Any questions can be pointed towards the community moderators below.
 

Reach out to the community moderators

Richard Bradshaw @rbradshaw (UK time zone)
Heather Reid @heatherr (UK time zone)
Charles Penn @tybar (US Eastern time zone)
Jain Waldrip @jain.the.human (US Eastern time zone)
Andrew MacCormack @ssh (UK time zone)
James Sheasby Thomas@rightsaidjames (UK time zone)
Diana Dromey @dianadromey (UK time zone) - Spanish & Portuguese speaking channel moderator
Antonella Scaravilli @anto (Spanish time zone) - Spanish speaking channel moderator
Diana Marimoutou @diana (French time zone) - French-speaking channel moderator
Veerle Verhagen @veerleverhagen (Dutch time zone) - Dutch-speaking channel moderator

 

Getting the best out of Slack

We are all here to learn from each other and teach each other so that we can grow in our careers. In order for you to get the best help from the community, please provide as much context as you can when asking a question. This helps you and the community in many ways. 

  • You are less likely to receive answers you have already gotten elsewhere. E.g. Stack Overflow. Added context would be “I received this suggestion on Stack Overflow but it is not working. Instead, I am getting this error/message/response.”
  • You are more likely to get answers that address the problem you are facing.
  • People are generally more willing to help when they don’t have to ask for additional context.

@channel, @everyone and @here are disabled for all standard users of Slack.

Be mindful of client data and what you can share based on work NDAs. There are ways to be helpful and get help while being mindful of this. Often, simply anonymising the data will suffice. We take no responsibility or legal liability for any content shared that breaches any legal agreements you have signed with an employer or client.
 

New Channel Requests

If you would like to request the creation of a new channel, please do so in #admin. Requests posted in other channels will not be actioned.

When requesting a new channel, you must clearly state:

  • The purpose of the channel.
  • Why it would be beneficial to the community.
  • Why you feel that no other channel currently serves the purpose that this new channel would serve.

We reserve the right to not action channel requests. We reserve the right to modify or discontinue channels. We are not liable to any users or any third party for such modifications or terminations.

Unacceptable Conduct

Unacceptable conduct will result in disciplinary procedures and, in exceptional cases, instant removal from the Ministry of Testing community.

The following constitutes unacceptable conduct:

  • Blatantly sexual content (pornography, nudity, etc.)
  • Misogyny, sexism, racism, ableism, nationalist insults etc.
  • Personal abuse.
  • Links to anything which would breach the guidelines if posted directly.
  • Posting any phone numbers or email addresses that are not your own. 
  • Advocating criminality or violence.
  • Trolling (A ‘troll’ is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory or off-topic messages with the primary intent of provoking other users. These users should be reported to admins immediately.)
  • Posting libellous material.
  • Misdirection or deceiving links (such as to sites which hijack the browser, etc.).
  • Defame, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate the rights of others.
  • Soliciting passwords or personally identifying information for commercial or unlawful purposes.
  • Posting material that breaches copyright laws.
  • Posting Spam of any description, see spam policy.
  • Posting or soliciting any members for anything outside of #ads (when it’s to do with any product or service that you or your company are now producing/marketing) unless it is in direct response to a question asked by a member of the community that your product could genuinely help with.
  • Ignoring admin or moderator requests to cooperate. This includes requests to end conversations that have been deemed* to breach or are close to breaching the code of conduct.

*Note: “deemed” is at the moderators' discretion. We often have to err heavily on the side of caution.

 

Conduct to be mindful of

This is conduct that will not directly result in disciplinary proceedings but we would like you to be mindful of. Continuing to ignore guidance and reminders about this conduct may result in disciplinary procedures.

  • Swearing/use of curse words

 

Surveys

We are a global and diverse group of people. With this in mind, there are legal requirements for certain regions that must be considered, most notably the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which covers Europe and people of European origin as these make up a large proportion of our user group.

You can read more about this on the European Commission website but in summary, surveys either must not collect any personally identifiable information or they must state how that information will be used, stored and destroyed and they must log the user's consent for the storage of this information. This is a legal requirement for our users of European origin but it also provides a good basis for the protection of all of our users’ personal data and privacy. Any surveys that do not comply with this will be deleted.
 

Direct Message Harassment and Spam

For any and all DM harassment where it can’t be seen, we would like those who are being subjected to harassment to send screenshots of the entire chat log to an admin.

The admin in that instance will then assess the message logs and work with the parties involved to come to a resolution on the subject. If harassment has been found, it will be a strike and the offending party will be barred from communicating with that specific person. Should they re-offend it will be an instant ban from the Ministry of Testing community.

For where there have been any misunderstandings happening, the admin will aim to help resolve any miscommunications.

For those who are making claims about someone harassing them where they have not, equal measures shall take place i.e. they will be barred from communicating with that person and will be given a strike. The breaking of this communication ban shall be an instant ban from the Ministry of Testing community.

If you believe that you have been the target of spam via direct message, please inform one of the moderators or admins directly. Spam via direct message is considered to be the sharing of irrelevant or inappropriate advertising, promotional, or solicitation content; whether or not for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Direct message spam will either follow the disciplinary procedure or the procedure outlined above for direct message harassment depending on the nature and frequency of the spam.
 

Spam

Spam is considered to be:

  • Sharing of irrelevant or inappropriate advertising, promotional, or solicitation content; whether or not for commercial or non-commercial purposes outside of the appropriate channels which are:
    • #ads for sharing advertising and promotional material
    • #beta-testing for all enquiries and announcements related to beta testing
    • #events for an event that you are organising or want others in the community to be aware of. Exceptions to this are allowed specifically for:
      • Meetups by region e.g. a London meetup can be shared in both #meetup-london and #events
      • Ministry of Testing organised events
    • #bloggers-club to share a link to your blog
  • Sharing the same message across multiple channels. As highlighted in 4 and 7 of the summary guidelines, find the correct channel to post in and post in only that channel. If you aren’t sure what channel to ask in, you can check in #admin channel.

We want you to be able to share your own work, including blog posts and side projects, with others. If you’d like to do this in a topic-based channel such as #automation, #tools or #processes, please add some context and a discussion question to help generate conversation. e.g. “I wrote this blog post about our automation stack in my company. What automation stack are you using in yours?” We reserve the right to remove link-based posts if we or the community feel that they are promotional rather than knowledge sharing.
 

Disciplinary procedures

In summary, we have a “3 strikes and you’re out” ruling. As is customary in most workplaces, you will be notified that your warning is official and on the third warning, you will be banned from the Slack workspace. Your strikes will be recorded in a shared document for admins and moderators to keep track of.

In exceptional cases, instant removal from the Ministry of Testing community may occur. You will be notified of this via email from an admin sent to the email account associated to your Slack profile.

 

Post Deletion

Posts can only be deleted by an admin or owner. Reasons that posts are deleted fall under the breaches of guidelines and spam policies. You will receive a notification via direct message that your post has been deleted.

 

Reporting Issues

Issues may be reported by either directly messaging a moderator/admin, if admin intervention is necessary, or by posting in the #admin channel.

False reporting, especially to retaliate or exclude, will not be accepted or tolerated.

 

Moderation Team

The moderation team (inclusive of the admins) have full-time roles outside of Slack. We endeavour to reply to all issues in a timely manner, however, our full time paying roles do take priority.

 

Modifications to these guidelines

We may amend the guidelines from time to time and may vary the procedures it sets out where appropriate in exceptional circumstances. Your agreement to comply with the guidelines will be deemed agreement to any changes to it. In case we amend the guidelines, the updated version can be found here.

Major modifications to these guidelines will always be set out with an @channel notification in #announcements. Minor modifications such as clarification on wording, spelling corrections, punctuation changes, etc will be notified in #admin.
 

Additional Notes

  • Unless specifically requested not to, direct message conversations with moderators may be shared with other moderators in the discussion of a resolution or issue.
  • If you feel that you have been unfairly affected by a moderation decision, please contact one of the admins listed via direct message to state your case. Admin decisions are final.

Thanks

These guidelines have been inspired by a variety of resources. We specifically note the following: