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Anonymously remind one another of subtle-isms and other Recurse Center social rules in Slack.


You can use /socialrules to either remind your current Slack channel about a rule, or a specific team member privately.

/socialrules [surprise|wellactually|backseat|subtle] [<@user>]


I believe the Recurse Center social rules are fantastic guidelines, and something most teams in the tech industry should adopt.

The social rules are intended to be lightweight, in that it's not a big deal when people occasionally accidentally break them, and everyone just reminds each other and moves on.

As noted in Allison Kaptur's blog post, this can be notably more difficult with the fourth social rule:

Breaking the fourth social rule, like breaking any other social rule, is an accident and a small thing. In theory, someone should be able to say “Hey, that was subtly sexist,” get the response “Oops, sorry!” and move on just as easily as if they’d well-actually'ed. In practice, people are less likely to point out when this rule is broken, and more likely to be defensive if they were the rule-breaker. We’d like to change this.

These social rules are deeply ingrained in the norms of the Recurse Center. However, for other engineering teams trying to adopt them, it may be intimidating for individuals to point out violations, especially at the beginning.

The hope is that by creating a anonymous, no-fault way to remind one another of the social rules, members of a team are more likely to say something, increasing their adoption into the team culture.


Create an incoming webhook in Slack

You'll need the generated URL in the next step.

Setup the bot

The bot will refuse to run unless a SLACK_WEBHOOK_URL environment variable exists, which you should have generated in the previous step.

To make this easy, here is a one-step "Click to install" Heroku button that handles all the installation and setup for you via the web, with free hosting!


Create the slash command in Slack

Create a new slash command, and configure it with the following values:

  • Command: /socialrules
  • URL: (replace with your deploy)
  • Method: POST
  • Autocomplete help text
    • Description: Remind someone about the social rules
    • Usage hint: [surprise|wellactually|backseat|subtle] [<destination>]


🎏 Anonymously remind of subtle-isms and other Recurse Center social rules in Slack



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