44329ed3baa6136cceabe19b9bf57c89821f7bf1 — j-james 1 year, 4 months ago 13b0c22
Add a "chronology" page detailing Re: Slack
7 files changed, 918 insertions(+), 29 deletions(-)

M _config.yml
M assets/compass.jpg -rwxr-xr-x => -rw-r--r--
A assets/mrbones.jpg
A chronology.html
A css/glow.css
@@ 1,19 1,649 @@
MIT License

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D README.md => README.md +0 -8
@@ 1,8 0,0 @@
# j-james's website

:construction: Currently in a state of disrepair :construction:

- [x] Link other GitHub repositories (math, htmlstuck, etc)
- [x] Configure domain name
- [ ] Use Jekyll again
- [ ] Forestry.io integration

M _config.yml => _config.yml +0 -2
@@ 1,6 1,4 @@
title: j-james's website
email: jj@j-james.me
description: >- # this means to ignore newlines until "baseurl:"
  my beautiful website
url: "https://j-james.github.io"
github_username:  j-james

M assets/compass.jpg => assets/compass.jpg +0 -0
A assets/mrbones.jpg => assets/mrbones.jpg +0 -0
A chronology.html => chronology.html +209 -0
@@ 0,0 1,209 @@
<!DOCTYPE html>
	<title> j-james | chronology </title>
	<meta charset="utf-8"/>
	<link rel="icon" type="image/jpg" href="assets/compass.jpg"/>
	<link rel="stylesheet" href="css/glow.css"/>
	<span>Slack: An Obituary</span>
	<h2>The Life and Times of the Re: Slack email thread</h2>
	<h2>It Begins</h2>
	<h3>On Friday, December 13, 2019, 3:58 PM [1], Enrique Chee wrote</h3>
	<p>To: spartronics-4915-mentors, Sean Eaton, Kristen Hailzip, Kiyomasa Toma, BCC: Me</p>
	<p>Hello team,</p>
	<p>The district has informed me that we must discontinue the use of Slack for the following reasons:</p>
	<p>Due to the retention and reporting features, BISD has standardized on using Remind for communication purposes.   Slack isn't managed by BISD, so we DON'T have any ability to retrieve and retain information like we do with Remind.  I understand FIRST Robotics has adopted Slack as a communication tool which it utilizes to communicate with students and mentors as well as organize workload, but it does not meet the guidelines set out by the district.    </p>
	<p>Therefore effective today , I will have to deactivate your membership in our Slack workspace.  Next week when meet as a team, we can discuss how to get us on REMIND. [2]</p>
	<p>If you have any questions, please direct them to Sean Eaton , seaton@bisd303.org.</p>
	<p>Enrique Chee,
	<br>Physics Teacher/Science Dept.Chair</p>
	<p>Coach of FIRST Robotic Team #4915
	<br>Bainbridge High School
	<br>9330 NE High School Road
	<br>Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
	<br>Room 316 , 206 780-1358</p>
	<h2>The Captains' Account</h2>
	<h3>On Saturday, December 14, 2019, Declan Freeman-Gleason wrote</h3>
	<p>To: Sean Eaton, Violet Advani, Peter Hall, Justice James, Chris Mentzer, Cruz Strom, Enrique Chee</p>
	<p>Hello Mr. Eaton,</p>
	<p>The Spartronics team captains have a couple of issues and requests regarding the recent developments with Spartronics' communication tools.</p>
	<p>After reviewing Remind, we have found that it does not have a number of features which are important requirements for enabling easy, clear communication between team members. Learning and practicing clear communication is a major goal of our team, and we believe that Remind does a poor job of facilitating the type of communication we do because of the following specific reasons:</p>
	<li>Remind increases the difficulty of maintaining channels for different subjects to the point that it would become a significant burden for the team. Although you can create a “class” for each subject, you cannot easily have a chat with the entire class—you must either make a group chat, which requires you to maintain the list of people in the group chat, or you must create an announcement, which does not allow recipients to “reply all” (i.e. it hides their responses for everyone but the sender.)</li>
	<li>Remind does not allow “threaded” communication; in Slack, you can create threads under a message, and all responses will be organized in that thread. This can significantly reduce clutter in the chat.</li>
	<li>Remind does not allow us to import years of message and file sharing history from Slack; this information is deeply important for the continuity of the team, and using Remind would cause us to lose it.<ul>
	<li>With kickoff in a few weeks, losing access to all of this information would negatively impact our season.</li>
	<li>Remind does not allow us to use notification bots that we had in Slack, like the Google Calendar bot that gave us important meeting reminder notifications, or the RSS bot that gave us notifications from FIRST.</li>
	<li>Remind is not in standard use in the FIRST Robotics community.</li>
	<p>These issues suggest that switching the team to Remind would be extremely problematic. The captains believe that there are alternatives which meet the school district requirements (auditability of all messages), <strong>and</strong> Spartronics’ requirements (message import, similar channel and thread features to Slack). One specific alternative is <a href="https://mattermost.com/">Mattermost</a>:</p>
	<li><strong>Mattermost is self-hosted, so it allows the export of all messages, including private messages, at any time. It is our undersanding that this fulfulls the district's main requiremnt.</strong></li>
	<li>Mattermost allows the <a href="https://docs.mattermost.com/help/settings/team-settings.html#import">import of all past Slack messages and files.</a></li>
	<li>Mattermost <a href="https://mattermost.com/product/">operates almost exactly like Slack</a>, and has the same channel management and threading features.</li>
	<li>Mattermost has bots with comparable functionality to the important calendar and RSS bots we used on Slack.</li>
	<li>Mattermost is in use by FIRST Robotics Competition teams, including the 2019 and 2018 world champions, team 254.</li>
	<li>We have evaluated Mattermost and its message import features in the past (Declan set up an instance and imported all Spartronics messages and images), and we did not have any problems.</li>
	<p>Please let us know what you think of Mattermost, if you have any other questions, or if there are any other requirements for a messaging solution that we missed. We consider this matter to of some urgency, because we need a working messaging option by kickoff on January 4th.</p>
	<p>Thank you for your support,
	<br>Chris, Cruz, Declan, Justice, Peter, Violet</p>
	<h3>On Monday, December 16, 2019, 9:34 AM, Sean Eaton wrote</h3>
	<p>To: Declan Freeman-Gleason</p>
	<p>Thank you very much for your input in this matter, and your concerns with the limitations of Remind.</p>
	<li>Our BISD subscription to Remind provides a safe and legal way for BISD staff members, including coaches and advisors, to text students and their families. </li>
	<li>When staff are texting students or families, our BISD Remind service is the only method to use.</li>
	<li>These communications are public records and subject to request. </li>
	<li>All BISD Remind exchanges are archived, and language should be fit for public display on a reader board. </li>
	<p>Our District Technology Directory, Kiyo Toma, Mr. Chee, and I will be meeting to further discuss how Slack has been utilized in the past for the robotics team. The time and effort invested into Slack is definitely recognized by the administration. All of the messages I have received from Spartronics regarding Slack have been forwarded to Mr. Toma so he has the information you have provided. Currently, only the student accounts are diabled. Mr. Chee has full access to all content as the administrator, and has full capability to communicate with mentors and other FRC groups with Slack.   The team design documents and discussion threads should all be accessible to Mr. Chee.</p>
	<p>Thank you for reaching out with your concerns and your offer to find an alternative solution.</p>
	<p>Sean Eaton
	<br>Director of Career & Technology Education
	<p>I  A M  C A R E E R  A N D  T E C H N I C A L  E D U C A T I O N  I N S P I R E D</p>
	<h3>On Monday, December 16, 2019, 11:04 AM, Declan Freeman-Gleason wrote</h3>
	<p>A worrying response.</p>
	<p>---------- Forwarded Message ----------
	<em>[the above message]</em></p>
	<h2>Chris Rininger's Quest</h2>
	<h3>On Friday, December 13, 2019, 5:04 PM, Chris Rininger wrote</h3>
	<p>To: Enrique Chee</p>
	<p>Is it possible to leave mentors on for a short time in order to retrieve pinned items and key links & files to move to the new system? No time to move things over will carry a pretty big impact - a major setback instead of a minor one.</p>
	<h3>On Friday, December 13, 2019, 5:08 PM, Enrique Chee wrote</h3>
	<p>I am sure it is but I will have to ask the district.  We can discuss on Wed. </p>
	<p>Enrique Chee,
	<br>Physics Teacher/Science Dept.Chair</p>
	<p>Coach of FIRST Robotic Team #4915
	<br>Bainbridge High School
	<br>9330 NE High School Road
	<br>Bainbridge Island, WA 98110</p>
	<br>Room 316 , 206 780-1358</p>
	<h3>On Saturday, December 14, 2019, 2:58 PM, Chris Rininger wrote</h3>
	<p>To: Sean Eaton CC: Enrique Chee, Kevin</p>
	<p>Hi Sean,</p>
	<p>Enrique, in his message, said to reach out to you with questions regarding this directive. I’m Cc’ing him + Kevin our marketing mentor who may be interested in chiming in. It was the marketing team that originally sought out Slack for the team.</p>
	<p><strong>There are some potential unintended consequences of this, including LESS visibility to team communications</strong> for the coach and the school. I’m going to close with that, though. <strong>Please review this email understanding that I’m not pushing back.</strong> I’m just providing information you and the HS admin may not be aware of. I’m in no way questioning anyone’s authority here, and we’ll work with whatever mandates.</p>
	<p>I’ll start with the assertion that Slack is not controllable & monitorable. I looked into that, and actually it is. Coach already has control as Workspace Owner. As far as monitorability, it is possible to set up Slack in a way that a school/owner can monitor all communciations, including direct messages. More information here: <a href="https://slack.com/help/articles/204897248-Guide-to-Slack-import-and-export-tools">https://slack.com/help/articles/204897248-Guide-to-Slack-import-and-export-tools</a> Scroll down to Import and Export Tools by Plan, and you’ll find the following…</p>
	<p>“Export: Workspace Owners and Admins may use <a href="https://slack.com/help/articles/201658943">Standard Export</a> to export content from public channels. Standard Exports will include links to files, but not files themselves. If you export data from a workspace containing <a href="https://slack.com/help/articles/115004151203">shared channels</a>, only links to files shared by members of your workspace will be included in your export.</p>
	<p>Workspace Owners must contact Slack and apply to export content from private channels and one to one or group direct messages. We will reject applications unless Workspace Owners show in each instance (a) valid legal process, or (b) consent of members, or (c) a requirement or right under applicable laws in order to export data.”</p>
	<p>I think a public school will have no trouble satisfying the “valid legal process” and other requirements.</p>
	<p>So let’s assume, even given the opportunty above, the decision remains that Slack must not be used by the team. The proposal is to use Remind instead because it is a school standard and it is controllable/monitorable by the school. What is missing is… Will it meet the communication needs of the robotics team? A prerequisite question to answer is… What <em>are</em> the communications needs of the robotics team? How are those needs different from the needs of a school class? The latter is the context of Redeem’s application design. If Redeem will not meet the team’s needs, then setting it up could be a net negative because a) it will require precious time and b) the time spent won’t result in the team’s needs being met anyway. In my career, I’ve seen many instances of a piece of software being selected for a team to use without first understanding the team’s requirements. The result is always a lot of time wasted setting the tool up only to find out doesn’t really do what is needed. Having the robotics team set up Remind could be like telling a technical graphics teacher to use Powerpoint as the class’s modelling software, when what is needed is CAD. Apples vs. oranges, despite seeming similar on the surface.</p>
	<p>So what are the communications needs of the robotics team, and how are they different from a school class? </p>
	<li>A school has top-level admins and is composed of classes. A school class involves teacher, parent, and student roles. Within a class, it is appropriate for a teacher to be the only person able to communicate to everyone, and Remind is set up that way.</li>
	<li>The closest analog to a Remind “school” is the robotics team itself, because both have layers of structure underneath the top level. The closest analog to a Remind “class” within the robotics team is the sub-team (like Mechanics or Programming). The first screen shot attached is of a mocked-up Remind school and class I made this morning. It does look like it could work like Slack on the surface, but digging deeper…</li>
	<li>The robotics team is composed of sub-teams that operate via collaboration across all members (including students and mentors). While there are sub-team leads, when it comes to dialog, <strong>the newest freshman needs to be able to initiate a conversation with the whole group.</strong> (“I’m working on X, and I’m encountering this problem. What should I do?”    Or…  “I found this great resource! Take a look!”). While there are group chats of up to 9 people within a Remind class, only teachers seem to be able to initiate whole class communications, and students seem to not be able to reply. See the second attachment for the view of a student within Remind. </li>
	<li>In order to bend Remind to the team’s needs, maybe each student could be set up as a teacher of each class (sub-team) they attend, but I assume that will enable other privileges that would be inappropriate. The group chat thing won’t be enough, because sub-teams are attended by dozens of people (including non-members) for effective sharing of information. The limit of 9 people per chat would create a stifling lack of visibility within each sub-team.</li>
	<p>So it looks like Remind could be set up & used for basic announcements and communication between coach and students/parents, but it will not be able to meet the team’s communication needs previously met by Slack.</p>
	<p>In that case, how will those needs be met instead? This is where we arrive at the risk of unintended consequences. My guess: What will happen is… Students will shift to the Discord platform, registered using non-school email addresses. I think many, many of them are already on this platform (originally for video gamers but now super widely used by teens generally). The consequences will be less visibility, less control, etc. than with Slack. Also, mentors will be out of the loop since few (or maybe none) are on Discord. <strong>Mentor-student collaboration is possibly the most valuable thing</strong> about the robotics team, and the negative impact of having no communication platform that meets those needs will be significant.</p>
	<li>If it is possible, look into the Slack link enabling administrative monitoring. A path forward involving no need to switch communication platform two weeks before the season starts would be great.</li>
	<li>If that is impossible, then Microsoft Teams is another option that has full team collaboration communications like Slack (anyone can initiate a dialog), and since I work at Microsoft, I know it is possible to set up Teams with monitoring and controls by admins.</li>
	<li>Maybe there is a setting that the Remind company has on the back end of things that make a Remind class more like a Slack channel (i.e. allowing any member to initiate dialog with all others). If not, then I do not recommend even spending the time setting up Remind for robotics (other than maybe as a way for general announcements from coach to students and parents).</li>
	<li>If none of the above are possible, then I think we may need to go back to something cruder like email distribution groups for all sub-teams, so any member can initiate conversation with all other members. This will be much less efficient than Slack (lots of email in the inbox – students who don’t use email…), but it could work in a pinch. And part of this also will be accepting the consequences of students using their own personal Discord accounts, invisible to all the grown ups. Given than risk, it seems worthwhile to look at the other options.</li>
	<p>Thanks for reading – I hope we find a comms solution that can work for both the team and the school admin.</p>
	<h3>On Monday, December 16, 2019, 9:32 AM, Sean Eaton wrote</h3>
	<p>Thank you very much for your input in this matter, and explaining the communication needs of the Robotics team.</p>
	<li>Our BISD subscription to Remind provides a safe and legal way for BISD staff members, including coaches and advisors, to text students and their families. </li>
	<li>When staff are texting students or families, our BISD Remind service is the only method to use.</li>
	<li>These communications are public records and subject to request. </li>
	<li>All BISD Remind exchanges are archived, and language should be fit for public display on a reader board. </li>
	<p>Our District Technology Directory, Kiyo Toma, Mr. Chee, and I will be meeting to further discuss how Slack has been utilized in the past for the robotics team. The time and effort invested into Slack is definitely recognized by the administration. All of the messages I have received from Spartronics regarding Slack have been forwarded to Mr. Toma so he has the information you have provided. Currently, only the student accounts are diabled. Mr. Chee has full access to all content as the administrator, and has full capability to communicate with mentors and other FRC groups with Slack. The team design documents and discussion threads should all be accessible to Mr. Chee.</p>
	<p>Thank you for reaching out with your concerns and your offer to find an alternative solution.</p>
	<p>Sean Eaton
	<br>Director of Career & Technology Education
	<p>I  A M  C A R E E R  A N D  T E C H N I C A L  E D U C A T I O N  I N S P I R E D</p>
	<h3>On Monday, December 16, 2019, 11:53 AM, Sean Eaton wrote</h3>
	<p>Thank you Chris.   I have setup a meeting with Mr. Chee and Mr. Toma to discus the options you and other members of Spartronics have put together.  It would be very helpful to have a full list of the FRC team’s communications solution requirements, with input from student leaders and other mentors.  </p>
	<p>Sean Eaton
	<br>Director of Career & Technology Education
	<p>I  A M  C A R E E R  A N D  T E C H N I C A L  E D U C A T I O N  I N S P I R E D</p>
	<h2>And Our Paths Collide</h2>
	<p>To: Spartronics Mentors, Spartronics Captains, Enrique Chee</p>
	<h3>On Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 1:45 PM, Chris Rininger wrote</h3>
	<p>Hi mentors and captains,</p>
	<p>In a follow-up to Mr. Eaton, I offered to try to work with you all to pull together a list of the team’s requirements of a communications platform. He responded that this would be helpful.</p>
	<p>I quickly created a Google sheet for this purpose and seeded it with a few requirements. I’m sure there are plenty more we can add. </p>
	<p>Please review/contribute. Captains, if you want to take the lead on this, great! I do think this can help make the case for keeping Slack or at least for finding a tool that does meet the team’s needs.</p>
	<p>Link: <a href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1j82Gi5tXfKcoUaoPa4M7XcvB5hIxdc8HVUw_ivhJC3w/edit?usp=sharing">https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1j82Gi5tXfKcoUaoPa4M7XcvB5hIxdc8HVUw_ivhJC3w/edit?usp=sharing</a> </p>
	<h3>On Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 11:40 PM, Chris Rininger wrote</h3>
	<p>Thanks to those who contributed.</p>
	<p>Cruz also shared the proposal the captains sent Mr. Eaton. </p>
	<p>I’ve tried to merge everything together into a single list of around 20 requirements (many from Binnur – thanks 😊). I’m going to go ahead and share the link to Mr. Eaton, since I believe the meeting may be tomorrow. If anyone sees obvious gaps/inaccuracies, please go ahead and edit the sheet.</p>
	<h3>On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 8:11 AM, Kevin Hawkins wrote</h3>
	<p>I have a thought to share: </p>
	<p>I do not think Sean E. is the right person to make our case. He’s not a policy maker, just following it.</p>
	<p>Since time is of the essence, I believe we need to take this directly to the Asst Superintendent Erin Murphy, and loop in the Tech person for this District as I fear the higher ups won’t understand the nuisances of Slack.</p>
	<p>Remind was implemented, as I understand it, because Coaches were communicating directly with student athletes. When there was an incident (well publicized), the District couldn’t easily retrieve the communications as they were on personal devices.</p>
	<p>We focus on addressing that and we should be able to make our case.</p>
	<p>My 2 cents </p>
	<h3>On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 9:07 AM, David Schiederman wrote</h3>
	<p>Talking directly with the district would probably be helpful.
	<br>The question I have is, do we have an actual list of the districts requirements?</p>
	<p>For instance, in the financial industry, especially where stock trading is involved, no messaging system can be used that does not do active monitoring and alerting on key words that might suggest insider trading.  I've installed a couple of them in a previous life.  </p>
	<p>The same is true for education, but triggers on suggestions of harming others or harming oneself.  While it focuses on the safety of the students, it's also a liability issue.  Pulling logs or reports after the fact may not be sufficient.  The district may also need to try and prevent an event.  </p>
	<h3>On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 3:20 PM, Declan Freeman-Gleason wrote</h3>
	<p>Another thing to add:</p>
	<p>When the captains communicated with Mr. Eaton, we provided a clear option for the district: let us use Mattermost as an alternative. I think that it’s very important that we not only list requirements, but list also some tools that actually meet our requirements.</p>
	<p>Having a specific tool that they can OK is easier for the district, and will hopefully expedite the entire process. In the email I sent to Sean Eaton (which I will forward to the mentors mailing list), the tool the captains suggested was Mattermost. Because of this, I’m going to add Mattermost’s name to the requirements spreadsheet as an alternative. I will also add Slack, because it appears that there is a private message export capability on request. I think this will give us better control over the discussion around what we are allowed to switch to, especially if we cite Mattermost/Slack (with reporting capabilities) as our specific preferred alternative in all of our communications.</p>
	<h3>On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 4:18 PM, Declan Freeman-Gleason wrote</h3>
	<p>To: Chris Rininger, spartronics-4915-mentors, Declan Freeman-Gleason, Cruz Strom, Justice James, Violet Advani, Peter Hall, Chris Mentzer</p>
	<p>Below is the email the captains sent to Mr. Eaton:</p>
	<p><em>[the email the captains sent]</em></p>
	<h2>Back at it again with Chris Rininger</h2>
	<p>To: Sean Eaton</p>
	<h3>On Thursday, December 19, 2019, 11:36 AM, Chris Rininger wrote</h3>
	<p>Hi Sean,</p>
	<p>The Conversation feature in Remind could help during the time between now and when we have a more Slack-like solution. It would <strong>*really*</strong> help to increase the number of people who may participate in a converstion from 9 to unlimited (or at least to, say, 25). By doing this, entire workgroups could fit into a Conversation.</p>
	<p>Would you please look into whether or not this is possible?</p>
	<h3>From Friday, December 20, 2019 [3] to Saturday, December 28, 2019</h3>
	<p><em>[the note desolation plays...]</em></p>
	<h3>On Sunday, December 29, 2019, 11:46 AM, Chris Rininger wrote</h3>
	<p>Hi Sean, </p>
	<p>Just checking on this. A larger max number of people per Remind conversation (ideally unlimited so a whole “class” can be included) could help a lot. Maybe there is a setting at the “school” level accessible to the top-level admin of the school’s or the district’s Remind account?</p>
	<p>Communications about Slack, Remind, etc have gone quiet over holiday time, but the needs met by Slack & not by Remind (or email) are still weighing heavily on our team. Given the importance of not-in-person communications & students’ reluctance to use email, the season is at stake. </p>
	<p>Whatever can be done to expedite reinstating Slack (via No DM user agreement or whatever it takes) just for this season, please continue pursuing it with urgency. Beyond this season, there is time to look at other options, of course. </p>
	<h3>On Thursday, January 2, 2020, 9:56 AM, Chris Rininger wrote</h3>
	<p>To: Justice James</p>
	<p>Hi Justice, any update on creating the distribution lists and sharing them with the team? Thanks!</p>
	<p>[1]: 4PM on a Friday. :/</p>
	<p>[2]: Chee has various idiosyncrasies - such as a tendency to put spaces around punctuation - that let us know, fairly accurately, what is and isn't written by him.</p>
	<p>[3]: The last day of school before break.</p>
	<p><img src="assets/mrbones.jpg"/></p>

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