Find Slack DMs even if you forgot who they came from.

Find Slack DMs even if you forgot who they came from.

2018, Mar 02    

Who was that from again?

Slack communities are great. Wichita has the devICT slack group with more than 700 users. What a place to keep in touch with friends and get to know new people. This is also where I find many of the projects Ennovar does locally. That was the case with a proposal I had been working on recently. A question in one channel led to a DM conversation with a new person. But I didn’t write down in my two pages of notes the name of the person I was talking to. Whoops.

But what if I don’t know who?

I was lax in my note taking because I know that Slack keeps an archive of my messages. Why write down or commit to memory what is being saved digitally? The issue becomes the issue because of the way Slack handles DMs. The left-hand menu gives me a list of people with whom I’ve conversed lately, but it’s not an exact science, perhaps. There are also people listed to whom I’ve never sent a DM. So how am I going to comb through? I could look at every person on the list, and then look at every person in the community. But there’s a search function! Searching for words I thought we’d used beard no concrete results.

Just the DMs

Slack’s search operators made it easier. I build my query around the to:me operator, and added terms I thought we’d used. Because I knew when I’d had the conversation, I could sort by recent instead of relevant. And then it struck me. I changed the operator to just to:me, sorted by recent, and I was able to go back in time - message by message.

“You made a post about this?”

I can hear you asking the question across time and space. Yes. Because even my google-fu couldn’t find the answer directly. Maybe this will help someone. I get why this isn’t easier from a UX perspective. I don’t think SlackHQ expected their product to be used as a community forum, so “not knowing who I talked to” might not happen within the company rolls. But Slack is supporting community communication, and sometimes people forget things. I hope you find the DM you’re looking for.