An introduction to the Coop Communities Slack for new members

3 minute read

Written by: The Coop Team - Fred Hutch Bioinformatics & Data Science Cooperative

What is Slack?

At the Coop, or the Fred Hutch Bioinformatics & Data Science Cooperative, we use Slack to facilitate communication among our community of researchers interested in data-intensive research. Slack is an online discussion platform used by many organizations and teams in tech communities. Different groups within and outside the Hutch maintain a Slack workspace of their own. The Coop Communities Slack is a great place to learn about events and resources relevant to data-intensive research, ask questions about particular tools or approaches, and meet other Hutch researchers working on topics similar to you.

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If you’re brand new to Slack, we recommend heading over to Slack’s Getting Started page for a quick overview. Otherwise, check out the overview below for a quick orientation to the Coop Communities workspace.

Joining the Coop Communities Slack workspace

You can join the discussions in the Coop Communities Slack by clicking here to access fhbig.slack.com. Anyone who has @fredhutch.org, @sagebase.org, @scharp.org and @uw.edu email addresses can join automatically. If you’re a collaborator of Hutch researchers or are elsewhere in the Seattle community, you’re welcome to join, too! Send an email to coophelp at fredhutch.org to receive an invitation.

Once you’ve obtained access, you can start exploring all of the features in our workspace. We recommend filling out your profile to help connect with other nearby researchers.

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Slack facilitates communication through channels and direct messages.

Channels are how Slack organizes conversations around specific topics or projects, with messages made being visible to all other members of the channel. You are automatically added to the following channels when you join our workspace:

  • #general - We use this channel to make announcements and post items that are widely applicable across the community. Events listed in our calendar are automatically posted here as well.
  • #question-and-answer - This is the place to ask questions related to bioinformatics, statistics, and other general technical issues. Support staff from Scientific Computing and the Coop monitor this channel and try to assist where applicable (though some of the best answers come from other researchers, so feel free to share your expertise!).
  • #random - Go here for cartoons, memes, and other amusing things that may not fit well elsewhere.

If you are viewing the conversations in a channel and would like to know more about its purpose and usage, click on the name of the channel at the top of the application and selecting “Channel details”. You can then view an extended description of the channel, highlighted items (posts that received a lot of attention), and pinned posts (these contain helpful information for reference).

Direct messages allow private communication with one or more individuals in a workspace. Click on the plus sign next to “Direct messages” in the lefthand sidebar to search for other members of the workspace and begin a message.

What other Slack channels are available?

Click on “Channel” in the left sidebar to see other channels available in our workspace. Select a channel to view the most recent posts and decide if you’d like to join. Some of the most popular channels currently available include:

  • #data-viz - Discussion about methods of data visualization, announcements for the weekly Data Viz Group.
  • #nextflow - Working group to develop and troubleshoot pipelines for Nextflow workflow manager
  • #python-user-comm - Topics related to Python coding, including programming methods, packages, IDEs, projects, and the weekly Python User Group.
  • #r-user-comm - Troubleshooting and recommendations for R statistical programming, including the weekly R User Group. May periodically feature pirate jokes.

Interested in learning more? Check out our next post for some ideas to keep supportive communication flowing on Slack!

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