my boorish coworker dominates all our Slack channels

A reader writes:

I work for a small-ish fully remote tech company. We spend all day in Slack, in various channels that are both work-centric and social-centric. There is a man, “Derek,” who annoys the hell out of me in social channels.

Derek does everything from innocuous poor chat room social etiquette (e.g., someone asked in a cooking channel with ~70 people in it if anyone knew any good pork recipes, Derek replied that he is a vegan) down to posting borderline inappropriate messages (eg: once in the channel for discussing video games, he posted a photo of himself in only his underwear). He constantly re-centers the conversation around himself. He constantly complains about people nearby him in public spaces making noise, such as chewing loudly or tapping their feet. He is extremely talkative in every social channel. Slack shows you the top three people in each channel who contribute the most – so it doesn’t just feel like he talks too much; there’s data to back it up.

I regret not bringing the underwear photo up with HR at the time (this was now months ago) but mostly his behavior feels just shy of being reportable. Recently he was complaining in a company wide social channel (~200 people) that he couldn’t wait for his wife to get a job, because she was always vacuuming and the sound bothered him. This comment felt misogynistic and made me really uncomfortable! It was also not the first time he’s complained about his wife. But “complaining about wife” doesn’t feel like a bad enough offense to bring to HR.

My tactic for dealing with this so far has been to mute or leave channels that he participates in. So, nearly all social channels. To use an in-person metaphor, it feels like I have chosen to just avoid company social spaces like a watercooler or a kitchen and instead eat lunch at my desk. In a way, it feels like defeat. I am not the only person who he has annoyed out of digital spaces. Also, I’m sad that this choice has led me to have less bonding time with my other coworkers.

My question is: what can I do? Our HR team is small and historically haven’t handled personal disputes that I’m aware of. A few folks have suggested the company establish community guidelines for our chat room, which I could offer to help write, but it’s not like I can make rules like “don’t talk too much” or “please don’t repeatedly remind everyone how young your wife is.” Would community guidelines even help? Do the examples I gave seem worth going to HR about in general? If not, do you have any suggestions for ways I could politely but firmly shut him down? Or is this just…how life is sometimes?

Mostly, yeah, you’re going to have annoying coworkers.

Some of this is HR-able (the underwear photo)  but really, his manager should be addressing a lot of this (“use less air time” should definitely come from his manager). But some of this just the reality of working with a bunch of other people — some of them are going to be lovely, some of them are going to be boors (and some of them are going to be lovely but still annoying in one way or another).

In theory, you could talk to his manager and say something like, “Derek uses up such a disproportionate amount of air time on our social channels that I hardly go in there anymore, and I hate that that’s happened. Would you consider talking with him about not dominating conversations in those channnels and leaving more space for others?”  But a lot of managers are going to think this falls under the umbrella of “people are different and part of work is getting along with people who you wouldn’t choose to hang out with in your personal life.” (Personally, I think there’s room here for his manager to talk to him, framing it as something that’s affecting how he’s perceived and how much good will his colleagues will have toward him. But a lot of managers would stay out of it.)

You’re right that another option is community guidelines,  and you’re also right that it would be hard to write them in a way that gets at exactly what he’s doing. But you could certainly address things like sharing conversational space and even chronic complaining.

Another option: Are you able to set up a social channel that’s specifically for a group that Derek happens not to be part of, like your team, or cyclists, or home cooks, or Deep Space Nine fans, or anything else that he wouldn’t naturally sign up for? It might give you a Derek-free place to talk without obviously intending to exclude him.

{ 342 comments… read them below }

  1. No Mercy Percy*

    +1 for Deep Space Nine! That channel can be your Dominion of safety from Derek, since he’s unlikely to be Changeling his behavior.

    1. Katherine*

      I Sisko what you did there ;)

      Semi-on-topic related question: is it common to have “social channels” on company Slack accounts? My organization uses Teams for a similar application, but people are really not encouraged to make teams or channels specifically for social chat. I mean, I don’t think anyone would be mad about it as long as the content was appropriate, but it certainly wouldn’t be anything that people were expected to participate in.

      1. has the boorish coworker*

        We’re completely remote so social channels are a huge part of our company culture. We only see each other in person once a year or so.

        1. Forrest*

          This is why it seems worth looking for solutions to me. The company is presumably relying quite heavily on these social Slack channels to foster interaction and develop relationships: if Derek is forcing you out of those spaces, that should be a problem for the organisation.

          Is anyone responsible for Slack, interaction, social networks, anything like that? Does the company try to manage it at all? If not (and I’m assuming not), are there any staff surveys or feedback opportunities where you can suggest that it the company is actively promoting a social network tool to try and compensate for the fact that you’re all remote, it perhaps needs to actively moderate those spaces?

          1. Forrest*

            (This does feel like a variation on ye olde “tech boys don’t realise that social spaces don’t manage themselves” problem…)

            1. Zephy*

              “boys don’t realise that social spaces don’t manage themselves”

              FTFY. It’s definitely not limited to tech, or even STEM.

            2. SusanIvanova*

              I did a search for “how to block on slack”. People – including tech, because we were the early adopters – have been asking for ages, and Slack’s all “this is a social problem, you should work it out”.

              I think the Slack devs are stuck on Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil.

              1. Wintermute*

                I think a more generous interpretation is that either their end users or their legal department put the kibosh on that quick.

                Slack is primarily a tool meant for work, if they provide a way to block people then they could end up in the crosshairs when someone blocks a co-worker and said co-workers’ messages appraising them of something serious go unheard. It’s not hard to imagine a circumstance: something goes wrong with a product, Fergus ends up in a deposition, says “on 5/21 at 12:13 PM I sent a message to Jane saying “There is a problem with the safety latches on the Turbo Encabulator”. The lawyers immediately go to Jane who has to sheepishly admit she blocked Fergus because he talked too much six months ago. The company is found negligently at-fault in the resulting liability suit, they turn around and sue Jane saying she was negligent in blocking her co-worker, and then because Jane has very shallow pockets, they also sue Slack saying “you created a situation where a manager could not even realize someone tried to communicate a safety-related situation to them, that’s negligent.”

                Sure they’d probably lose, but it would still take more money and resources to defend than Slack could afford so they decided not to wade into that quagmire and expect people to interact as adults.

          2. has the boorish coworker*

            Thanks for this comment, this is helpful and I think a survey could be a really good start.

        2. btdtd*

          Assuming your slack admins don’t have it locked down, maybe create a private channel and add those coworkers who Derek’s also hounded out of the company social spaces. Just don’t add Derek.

          1. dramalama*

            Oooh, this is the first thing I was thinking of as I read the letter, but then doesn’t this turn LW and other Derek-escapees into part of the problem? Like someone trying to hold happy hour and inviting everybody in the office except one annoying co-worker.

              1. Daisy*

                ‘But you let in Derek Glumplich!’
                ‘It says no DerekS. We’re allowed to have one’

          2. Saturnalia*

            Yep, came here to shout PRIVATE CHANNEL haha :) seriously though, as long as you don’t use it solely to bad-mouth Derek, this seems like the best solution to stay social without that guy.

      2. Emily S*

        My company has TONS of them and anyone can start one about anything. We have everything from personal finances and productivity channels to channels for astrology fans or for discussing the latest Star Wars movie without spoiling others. I started one for people to share photos of their pets and pet care tips.

        Nobody is expected to participate in any of them, but we’re a social, tech-savvy, and globally distributed bunch so the channels stay pretty busy. Some people only use Slack for purely work purposes and that’s totally fine too.

        1. No Mercy Percy*

          I’ve never used Slack, but it sounds a lot like Discord. Just work focusing instead of gaming focused.

          1. Autumnheart*

            It’s just a platform, not topic-based. Both the Slack channels I’m on are social, not work-based. I started one for a local political organization as well (which never gets used). In your Slack, you can add channels for particular topics, so people can talk about a specific subject without it going into one big massive feed.

          2. Cassandra*

            The big difference with Discord is that you can mute or even block people — not just whole channels. So Derek can just Derek into the uncaring void.

            It sounds like migrating this workplace to Discord would be a Herculean task… but if OP can start a small migration, maybe?

            1. JessaB*

              Discord has an issue it has no ability to save things except in the cloud and if your company has requirements to keep things it could be problematic because it depends on their maintenance of their servers.

            2. Wintermute*

              Discord is a terrible tool for business because it’s vehemently anti-encryption, they data mine their channels (voice and text) and they also have no provisions for recordkeeping.

              Also, the entire reason you can’t block people is because Slack is a work tool, bosses need to know when they talk they’re heard, and have a reasonable ability to expect that when someone communicates something important to the job that everyone hears it whether or not they like fergus or not. This isn’t a gaming channel where you can just ignore people you don’t like this is a workplace, you just don’t have that luxury.

      3. Brett*

        Very common. I don’t think I have ever seen a company that does not have them.
        (And really, the only way not to have social channels is to block new channel creation. That’s such a tedious thing to do that it rarely lasts more than a month.)

      4. Marion Ravenwood*

        When I worked for an organisation that used Teams, I was in a couple of social channels on there (for the softball team and a Game of Thrones Tuesday lunch club). But we had a lot of remote workers and were encouraged to use Teams rather than email to arrange these things, so YMMV depending on your company culture.

      5. Turquoisecow*

        My husband’s company has a #random channel which seems to function like a Facebook or twitter feed, with people talking about, well, random stuff off all kinds. I think they also made a (company)eats channel so they could brag about their food also.

        Having never worked at a place that encourages social interaction like this, it seems weird to me.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          It’s weird to me too. I mean if you want to be social with each other that’s what a Sunday softball (or whatever) game is for. This level of “water cooler” interaction somehow seems off to me. Then again I’m kinda old and not as with it as the “kids these days” so there’s that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          1. zora*

            This is a thing as it becomes more common for people to not physically be sitting next to the people they work with. Either because of remote workers, or just having offices spread out geographically. It makes a huge difference in people’s happiness at work if there’s some way to interact with your coworkers as humans and not just workers, and if there isn’t a shared physical space like a breakroom, this is the only way to do it.

            It’s not a ‘being young’ thing, it’s a result of the physical changing of the workplace in many industries.

      6. TardyTardis*

        We have a Random channel for posting pictures of people at Disneyland, horrible snowstorms, and other such things. We’re told to put all such things on that channel, and not anywhere else.

    2. has the boorish coworker*

      hi! I’m the asker. It’s funny, the suggested topics (cooking, cycling, DS9, are all things I am into and we have channels for and…he’s in them too! But the advice still stands. Maybe we can make a channel for people who like to chew loudly or something :)

          1. valentine*

            Derek may be joining every single channel to have the widest audience/platform possible, be seen, and not miss anything. Attempts to curtail or to exclude him without telling him he’s a problem won’t work because he can, of course, limit himself to, say, being a top-10 commenter in no more than x channels, whereas he will rightly argue that being vegan is on-topic for a meat-based discussion. The problem is it’s obnoxious to pipe up with useless information and who’s going to make him see that?

            If he’s the only (or, by far, the worst) perpetrator, workarounds seem like punishing the group and, if this is all going on during work hours, is there also time for the heavy moderation Derek would require?

            1. JayNay*

              So on point! Like, you’re making this elaborate set-up to escape Derek, instead of confronting Derek in some way and actually adressing the problem… this seems counterproductive to me.
              I know it’s hard to tell someone “you’re kind of annoying”, but wouldn’t you try to do it in a face-to-face conversation too? For example, “hey, you interrupted Nina. Nina, what were you saying about your favorite steak recipe?”
              Also, I’m getting a real dude-vibe from Derek. This constant conversation-drowning + bad boundaries…. I’d suggest getting some coworkers together and adressing this with Derek’s manager with the script Alison suggested.

              1. Michaela Westen*

                He sounds like an arrogant person who wants a lot of attention.
                Does all his social chat impact his work? Maybe that would be a reason to bring in management?

        1. elemenohp*

          Like, a paleo channel.

          Although I fear that the Dereks of the world would just hop in there anyway to talk about how there are totally delish vegan substitutes or how being vegan is better for your health or whatever. (FYI, I’m not hating on vegans, but hating on Dereks.)

        2. AKchic*

          This may be the best way to go about it.

          Potential groups could be:
          Leatherworking (a craft section)
          Grilling Artisanal Burgers (here’s your cooking/restaurant section)
          Gourmet Cheeses (fine dining?)
          Sport Hunting in Urban Spaces (this is where you discuss your cats!)
          Pelts (all things fashion?)

          Anyone else have suggestions?

      1. No Mercy Percy*

        This is probably a bit cliquish, but could you and the people who want to exclude him use a different chat app? Maybe Discord? You could talk about whatever you want, with whoever you want.

        1. Emily S*

          Slack has a way to do group direct messages if you just want to speak to a limited subset of people. I think the appeal here is that it’s a virtual water cooler for casual chatter.

          Starting your own competing chat service to fulfill the same function but singling out one coworker for exclusion isn’t a good idea. I view it as a form of bullying to exclude just one person from an otherwise public space/resource/event (with maybe some obvious exceptions for someone who was being abusive and not merely annoying) and speaking as a manager, I would have serious concerns if one of my employees did that and would absolutely intervene and tell them to shut it down.

          1. Jadelyn*

            It *can be* a form of bullying, sure. To me, though, that comes back to the issue of Geek Fallacy #1: all exclusion is bad. If they’re excluding one person because it’s a clique thing, then yes, that’s bullying, but if someone is actively making themselves unpleasant to be around through their behavior, then that’s not bullying, that’s people very reasonably responding to an unpleasant person by not wanting to be around that person. And I don’t think the threshold for that needs to be set all the way at “abusive” to be valid.

          2. Tiny Soprano*

            Except I’d argue that Derek is already engaging in low-key bullying behaviour by chasing his coworkers out of their own Slack channels. Posting a photo of himself in his underwear?? His coworkers are absolutely allowed to exclude him over that. They shouldn’t have to see that at work.

            1. Michaela Westen*

              The thing is, he may not realize he’s chasing coworkers out. Even if he does, he’ll deny it.

            2. Emily S*

              The underwear photo is definitely a violation and should have been/should still be addressed. That’s in a separate basket from his other behavior, which is just that he talks too much and is a bit socially clueless.

              The way to address the underwear photo is to have HR deal with it. The way to address his boorishness is accepting that not everyone you work with will be fun and interesting and socially graceful, and as long as he’s not being malicious you have to tolerate him being annoying.

              I don’t think circumventing the company-sanctioned and company-monitored chat service and secretly starting a semi-private and exclusionary one is the appropriate response to either problem, though. Derek’s actually reprehensible behavior should be appropriately handled, and everything that falls short of that is just what you tolerate in a workplace.

        2. has the boorish coworker*

          We’ve done this to a degree. I have different ways to communicate with friends I’ve made at work. It’s hard to expand your clique to include cool new people when none of you are really participating in the public social channels and you only see each other once a year, you know?

          1. wittyrepartee*

            What happens if you respond with your actual feelings about him to his face?

            Him: “I don’t eat pork, I’m a vegan”
            You: “No one cares if you’re a vegan or expected you to have a good pork recipe Derek.”

            Him: *post picture of himself in underwear*
            You: “That was unpleasant.”

            1. Sara*

              This was exactly my thought. Since probably 99% of the people in the group agree with you, wouldn’t it be better to just call him out in the moment?

            2. call centre bee*

              This is what I was thinking, I think I’d be unable to avoid saying, ‘oh gawd, here we go again lol…’ in response to something he posted.

            3. RUKiddingMe*

              Exactly. Someone asked for pork recipes and he felt the need to say he’s a vegan. Why? Why didn’t he just ignore something that *did not pertain to him?* Because he wants to dominate the conversation(s) that’s why.

        3. Wintermute*

          No, nonono not discord, not for work. First they’re not just unencrypted but the developers are passionately against encryption, second, they data mine their network so if you’re discussing non-public information you may compromise your company’s security, third because they data mine discussing non-public information could be a SOX violation and if you deal with any other kinds of data it could be violations of those applicable laws (HIPAA, FCC privacy regulations, etc) and last of all it may not meet recordkeeping requirements for your industry or business.

          Plus it’s a crappy, exclusionary thing to do and risks making you the bad guy if the bosses find out about it. Never risk turning yourself into the bad guy.

      2. Crivens!*

        Question for the OP: do people currently tend to respond to Derek when he does this obnoxious behavior?

        I’m asking because if a bunch of you are frustrated by the way he’s acting, it might be helpful to, essentially, Grey Rock him in Slack. Dudes like that are often looking for attention and will sputter out of they don’t get it. If people just…stop responding to him (unless of course it’s work-related and something he needs a response on) it may help. Though this might be hard to do as you need enough people to start ignoring him for him to notice it.

        1. Foon*

          I had this thought as well. A few awkward silences might clue him in eventually.

          Also, GNU Terry Pratchett.

        2. Aggretsuko*

          Not that I am a Slack expert, but I seem to recall that when I did online chatting more back in the day, there were ways to block viewing certain people’s talking. Is that an option in Slack?

          1. Wintermute*

            No, slack has no blocking as other people have discussed, and that’s also not really a practical option for workplace communication because you may miss something your boss has a reasonable expectation you would see.

      3. ChimericalOne*

        Was going to suggest a BBQ Chef channel, but I know vegans can & do BBQ (my husband is actually one of them — although not, thankfully, the type to randomly announce it to the world [er, his veganness, not his BBQ skills!]). Good luck finding a corner of the Slack-verse away from him, though! (Or ignoring him if you can’t do otherwise!)

      4. ArtK*

        If you create a new channel, is it visible to everyone? If so, Derek can just join that one, too. He doesn’t seem to have any social awareness, so I doubt that it being a topic he’s not interested in will make him stay away.

        Has anybody told him directly to knock it off? “Derek, the complaining is really getting to be a problem. Please stop.” Also, just because he tries to refocus the conversation on himself, it doesn’t mean that folks have to go along. Enlist a few others who are annoyed by him and resolve to power on through the conversation, skipping over his irrelevant interruption.

        You might want to try responding to something like “I’m a vegan” with “Then I guess this isn’t the conversation for you.” Then continue to ignore him.

          1. Michaela Westen*

            That’s a little harsh. What if something happened to her?
            Maybe: “no one wants to hear you complain” “…about your wife”
            or “no one wants to hear about your wife”
            or “your marital problems aren’t our business”

    3. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      I don’t even know this guy, but I don’t Kira for him at all. Wish you could find a way to ditch him so the channels are all Jake again.
      I’m gonna end my Derek bash-here, though.
      You get my point.

    4. Batman*

      It would be nice if these platforms gave you the option to block people in certain channels or groups, but not in others. So, if you’re dealing with a Derek, you could block him in the social channels, but not the work channels. It seems like Slack doesn’t allow blocking at all (which, really Slack?), but that would be a nice function.

    5. Jules the 3rd*

      In my friends group, everyone is a DS9 fan. I would totally expect Derek to be one, unless he’s a TOS snob (or is that anti-snob? TOS fans seem to revel in the cheesy effects, overacting and Orion slave girls).

  2. unicorn corn*

    Congrats, you have a missing stair. We don’t use Slack at my place so I’m unsure, is there a way to block or mute him so you don’t see him? And then for legit office purposes, direct him to use e-mail?

    1. TooTiredToThink*

      I don’t use Slack either but I started googling. I’m actually finding conflicting info. But it doesn’t look like OP can block him just on the social channels :/

    2. has the boorish coworker*

      Sadly this is not a feature! You can only mute or leave entire channels.

      1. seejay*

        Slack has outright stated that it’s against the “feel” and intent of their software to be able to mute/block coworkers/teammates. Apparently no one there has ever been harassed or stalked so they have no clue what actual personal boundaries are.

        So no, you can’t block or mute people for personal safety reasons. You have to rely on a moderator to try to reign people in or deal with it from a higher up level. You can’t personally set your own boundaries outside of leaving the channel (or muting it entirely which kind of defeats the purpose).

        1. EPLawyer*


          Guidelines sound like a great idea. But not for the Dereks of the world. “Do not post irrelevant matters to in the channel.” He would say “but stating I am vegan is not irrelevant to a cooking channel.” he would ALWAYS find the loophole.

          His boss needs to have a talk with him about appropriate use of Slack. Then monitor his contributions for awhile and discuss with him why his use is problematic. If one of my employees was the top contributor in EVERY channel, i would seriously wonder if he was getting any work done.

          1. Jadelyn*

            Derek needs a B99-style intervention to teach him how to behave (thinking here of Gina and Amy teaching Boyle how to stop being an over-texter).

          2. Shoes On My Cat*

            This was my thought too!! He’ll either noticeably produce less or send another underoos photo. I’d wonder if his manager is on the primary slack channels and is noticing how much time is spent….& would address it. Or is in the process of same?

          3. Don P.*

            It’s amazing how some people just can’t imagine not announcing their opinion on EVERYTHING.

      2. Manders*

        Yes, Slack doesn’t have this feature since it was designed for workplaces, and the social uses of the platform were kind of an afterthought. It does make sense that companies wouldn’t want employees to be muting or blocking people they’re supposed to be working with, but it’s frustrating when you’re trying to use it as more of a social media-type service.

        I believe that if you’re the one who started a channel, you have some ability to kick people out of it. And there may be moderators who have some power to kick Derek out of spaces on Slack even if they’re not his direct manager. But unfortunately, there’s no “please stop showing me stuff from this user” button.

      1. unicorn corn*

        I am so shocked that a woman is the one pushing for this and being told no, despite mentioning how it affects her personally. I am shocked. This is my shocked face.

        1. seejay*

          That’s exactly what I said. To the T.
          I went looking for blocking capabilities when I came back to work for a company after a problematic employee that I had a falling out with left. I discovered two days after I started that he was still contracting with the company and still in the Slack channels that we had started using while I was gone. So of course I start googling “how to block/hide from people in Slack”. That’s when I discovered the twitter responses from Slack themselves saying “blocking people in Slack isn’t in the ‘flavour’ nature of what Slack is intended to be!” and I just made a :| face at it and said out loud “well what kind of privileged BS wank decided that, obviously someone who’s never been stalked or harassed online….”

          Suffice to say, I’ve been eternally grateful that ex-coworker has not logged back into the Slack channels since he left the company but I still hold my breath that he’ll log in and message me.

      2. Alton*

        I don’t get why Slack really cares if muting individuals goes against the spirit of what the platform was originally designed for or not. Sure, in a lot of contexts, muting a co-worker on Slack would make the platform ineffective for workplace communications, but then at some point, that becomes a management issue. If it’s important for people to communicate using Slack, the manager can enforce that. In such a situation, the manager would hopefully be motivated to also make sure people don’t use the platform inappropriately, such as by posting pictures of themselves in their underwear.

        How hard is it to let individuals/groups/organizations choose how they want to utilize the platform?

        1. S*

          And why in the world does HR think they do not have to do something about things that are obviously HR territory (ie the “creepy messages”) just because it is on Slack. That just provides stronger documentation.

      3. Jadelyn*

        Wow. Read through that and I am just stunned at the insistence that Slack Knows Best so stop asking.

  3. Myrin*

    “Are you able to set up a social channel that’s specifically for a group that Derek happens not to be part of […]?”
    I know the “happens not to be part of” is key here and directly contradicts my immediate thought upon reading that last paragraph but here it is anyway: a group called “NOT Derek” or “no Dereks allowed” or something similar. Obviously don’t do anything like that but I’m sitting here highly amused thinking up all the scenarios he’d come up with to weasel around even such obvious dismissal.

    On a more serious note, I’m really sorry you’re in such an annoying and frustrating situation, OP. The world needs less Dereks. :(

    1. Où est la bibliothèque?*

      Maybe start a channel that’s inherently non-Derek-y, like…”considerate feminists and their polite conversations.”

      1. velocisarah*

        If he’s at all a troll-y kind, that might backfire by fueling the “prankster” in him to participate (like with what OP said about the vegan comment above).

        Something that isn’t going to goad him into participating would be helpful, though how you promote this as a fun conversation space at the same time to attract others, I’m not sure (depends how well you know Derek). A specific show or something might work, but if you’re not actually going to talk about that show, I think it’s going to be a little weird to have an open channel where you’re not at all talking about it.

        If you have some friendly colleagues already that you know would be interested in a space to chat, I think making a private channels on Slack could work – at an old work Slack we had “The Bat Cave” (nicknamed for our shared office, since we liked the lights low) that had mostly admin and coordinators that was an informal, non-manager space to chat. Private channels also aren’t search-able, so you’re basically guaranteed no Derek. The only hitch would be that if someone wanted to invite him, they could, so again a topic that’s fairly obviously not in Derek’s interests would be ideal. Or, frame it not as “no Derek”, but as “This group of people is fun to chat with” could help, since that’s flipping it from being about excluding Derek to just enabling a conversation among specific colleagues.

        And re: blocking on Slack, you can’t unless you wanted to boot him off the whole thing, which isn’t an option. You can mute or leave channels, but not people.

        1. BeenThere OG*

          I too have a Bat Cave channel, for all the same reasons, even the naming. I second separate channels, you can always base it on finding restaurants you and similar mind folks like.

          1. velocisarah*

            Oh cool!

            My only caveat to future Bat Cave private channel makers: It’s way too easy to get toxic when you have a private sub-group of people. Screenshots can always be taken, screens can always be shared. Never put in writing what you wouldn’t say to someone’s face, or at least won’t die of embarrassment owning up to. Keeping it a fun chat spot instead of a “can you believe what Jane said in that meeting” keeps everyone on the up and up.

            1. Rusty Shackelford*

              And as long as you make it clear that this is a place to talk WITHOUT DEREK, instead of a place to talk ABOUT DEREK, you should be good.

        1. Damn it, Hardison!*

          I can’t believe it took so long for someone to make that joke! (I use MAXIMUM DEREK regularly as an expression of awesomeness).

      2. Ice and Indigo*

        You could have a ‘No complaining’ channel, in which people are only allowed to say positive things. It sounds like a lot of Derek’s annoyingness (though not all) involves grousing about stuff nobody cares about but him, so a positive-talk-only channel would at least limit his boorishness: if he complains, people can just say, ‘Take it to another channel, please, this is No Complaining.’ And nobody could accuse you of starting an unsuitable topic; who doesn’t like positivity?

        Similarly, you can have channels where you explicitly discuss nothing but work, or specific work issues, if you don’t already.

        In general, ask yourself what generally acceptable social rules is he breaking (other than ‘don’t dominate everything’, and come up with channels based around them. Probably won’t keep him out, but probably also won’t be his faves, so they might become reduced-Derek spaces, at least.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          That’s a good channel idea / way to come up with it. Do try to be not too pointed about ‘NOT DEREK’, because that can too easily become ‘About Derek’ instead of ‘Without Derek’.

    2. Skim milk, skim messages*

      “The world needs less Dereks. :(”

      Um, why? Except (maybe) for the underwear photo, what has he done wrong? He’s a chatterbox, he derailed a conversation about pork, and he’s annoyed at hoovering (which isn’t remotely misogynistic; that’s the LW’s gloss on things). So what? She can ignore his posts on Slack. There is no rule that says You Must Read Every Single Social Message on Slack.

      1. pony tailed wonder*

        I am not familiar with Slack but there is a feature on facebook that will allow you to ignore posts by certain people. Does Slack have this?

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          No, see ‘mute/block’ above. My experience with slack is that it’s hard to cherry-pick messages. All or nothing on a channel.

      2. Où est la bibliothèque?*

        Would you feel differently if it was a conversation they were having in person? Imagine trying to talk to people with someone barging in with rude, irrelevant, unwanted and constant comments–would be able to just ignore them?

        1. Washi*

          Yes! And it’s not just about ignoring or not ignoring – someone who posts a barrage of irrelevant or rude comments also changes the tenor of the discussion. People are going to engage differently with each other and post less because they no long associate Slack with pleasant socializing, but with trying to talk over/around the Derek Show.

      3. Amber Rose*

        How is there a maybe there? Sharing underwear photos with coworkers is grounds for straight up termination for sexual harassment in basically every place I’ve worked.

        As for what he’s done “wrong” it’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about not being obnoxious. The world could use a lot less self centered obnoxious people.

        1. Myrin*

          “The world could use a lot less self centered obnoxious people.”
          Yeah, that’s what I meant!

      4. hamsterpants*

        Failing to share airtime, whether in person or online, disrupts the flow of conversation for others. It’s generally seen as rude to ignore someone, so someone who can’t put a cork in it effectively controls the conversation, regardless of the desire of anyone else.

      5. INeedANap*

        While I can absolutely see how annoying this is – and the underwear photo on a work Slack channel, social or not is wildly inappropriate – it is technically a “social” space and not a work space.

        This requires a lot of energy from you, but you could consider just being vocal and pushing back at him: “Derek, you being vegan isn’t relevant.” “Derek, it’s weird when you complain about your wife to your coworkers.” “Derek, stop the negative gossip about the people around you.”

        You could also stay in those channels and just absolutely refuse to engage with him. Just ignore anything he posts as though it isn’t there. He can’t re-center a conversation if no one is conversing with him, after all.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Alison’s phrase “Please don’t derail the conversation” might also be helpful.

          1. sofar*

            Yes, our company uses Slack extensively, and we have a culture where it’s A-OK to weed the garden and to respond to someone with, “This channel is for X purpose, your comment is off-topic.” Or “Personally, I find that photo disturbing, can you delete?”

            If that’s not currently “officially” the culture at LW’s workplace, there’s still probably no harm in speaking up because Derek already *is* speaking up. Too much, in fact.

            Not only does this empower people to help weed the garden, it creates a handy-dandy transcript for HR if necessary (if Derek tries fighting back or becoming more inappropriate in response). We recently had someone say something racist in our yoga Slack channel, and, several people swiftly replied with, “I hope you don’t mean what I think you do by that comment (for context, here’s a link to the history of that word), and, given that, your comment should be deleted.”

      6. Roscoe*

        I kind of agree. Aside from the underwear picture his behavior is more annoying to deal with than “bad employee”. I also agree about the misogynistic. Like saying you find the sound of someone vaccuuming isn’t inherently bad. He said his wife for context, but I don’t think its saying “women should be seen and not heard” or something like that.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          I also took it this way, as OP clearly stated he had problems with other noises. He can’t stand the sound of vacuuming. It doesn’t matter who does it, but at home it would be his wife.
          OP needs to be careful. Her annoyance at Derek is coloring all her interactions. That means it’s blurring the lines of what is reportable and what is not.

          1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

            Derek is Mr. Peanutbutter?

            “I haven’t been this nervous since Diane was vacuuming during a thunderstorm on the 4th of July and I had to take a bath and there was a stranger in our yard.”

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yeah…he said he can’t wait for her to get a job and stop vacuuming around him. Not “I can’t wait until she gets a job and can pay her own bills, buy me a boat, etc.”

          I don’t think he’s sexist. He’s a brute and obnoxious though.

          1. elemenohp*

            I think it’s a pernicious kind of subtle sexism/misogyny to devalue his wife’s labor by focusing on how her vacuuming their home (so he doesn’t have to) is annoying him rather than benefitting him, with the implication that she needs to get a “real” job (since domestic labor isn’t seen as work).

            But I’m always particularly irked when men complain about the things women do to support them.

            1. AKchic*

              I’m the type that would call him out. “Oh, how dare she keep your home clean so you don’t have to. It must be such a trial to be married to such an inconsiderate person. However do you manage?” Make it really clear that I think he’s being a tool.

            2. Roscoe*

              I don’t know. I mean, if she isn’t working i feel like cleaning is kind of a minimum thing to do. I have a friend whose husband was out of a job for like 6 months, and she got annoyed at him if he was cleaning and making noise while she was on work calls to. Everything doesn’t have to be a sexist thing. Sometimes people just get annoyed.

            3. Engineer Girl*

              I think you are adding too much of your own narrative on to this.
              I think Derek would be thrilled if his wife did the vacuuming when he wasn’t around and didn’t have to deal with it. We all have chores we hate (and let the other person do).
              This has nothing to do with women’s work or division of labor.

            4. Ice and Indigo*

              To be fair, misophonia is a thing and some people do have sensitive hearing. And given Derek’s social oversteps, it’s possible he’s slightly aspie, which goes with sensitive hearing.

              Please note that I’m not saying this to cyber-diagnose, or because aspie equals boor. Many aspie people are extra considerate just in case; many NTs are a pain in the butt. And even if he was aspie, that’s not a license to be endlessly annoying with no pushback.

              I’m saying it to flag up that if you want to avoid accusations of bullying, which you do, this isn’t the hill to die on. Even if he’s 100% NT, imagine if your HR is one of those ‘All rude people should be assumed aspie until further notice!’ types. It could backfire badly.

              At least in public, confine yourself to things you can prove, is all. ‘Complains about his wife’ is provable; ‘Doesn’t appreciate female labour’ is a lot harder and more likely to create counter-productive arguments.

              1. Ice and Indigo*

                Saw the thread about this below. Hope I stayed on the right side of actionable advice, but if not, sorry. I have no idea what Derek’s neurotype actually is; just meant to suggest ways of avoiding getting derailed into discussions of it.

          2. kneadmeseymour*

            Like the LW says, I think this guy knows how to fly just under the radar of overtly offensive statements. So while no individual thing he says is inherently misogynistic, if he has a pattern of complaining about his wife and putting women down generally, that gives extra context.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Thank you, this is what I came here to say – knew the commenters would not disappoint me and would get there first!

    3. Classic Rando*

      No Dereks Channel

      Derek – But you let Derek B join!
      OP – It says no Derekssss, we can have one

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        Ngl, the second a ‘no Dereks’ group was suggested I was waiting for this reference. Truly, there is a Simpsons quote for everything.

        1. Amber Rose*

          I sometimes feel as though Simpsons’s quotes make up a solid half of my conversational ability.

          The other half is a mix of Looney Tunes and Animaniacs.

      2. Free now (and forever)*

        Guess this would exclude Bo Derek, too. Men of a certain age will now display their sad faces.

    4. tink*

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure “channel for hobby they don’t participate in” won’t deter someone that behaves like that. (I’ve seen people like this jump into channels for stuff they don’t do to complain about how dumb the activity is/why activity x is better/etc.) Ignoring or muting him specifically might help, but that runs the risk of actually missing something work related the person says that the lw needs to know.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I think so as well. I bet Derek would jump into literally every single channel except for one titled “Ladies Talking About Their Periods.” (And even then, he might have some thoughts about his wife that make him feel entitled to join that.)

  4. Seeking Second Childhood*

    I believe Slack is one of the ones that does keep an archival history of messages, even if they’re no longer displaying on your individual computer.
    This is worth asking IT about, because a photo of himself in his underwear is more than “borderline” inappropriate.

    1. MrsBee*

      It does depend which version of Slack you use – if it’s the free version, the archive is only two weeks. If it’s paid and/or internally hosted then yes, they should have a longer archive.

      1. slacker*

        The free version is 10k messages archived–we just hit it in my work Slack yesterday and have been talking about it today. I don’t believe there is a time limit, though. I know I can view messages from months ago ( I work for a very tiny org and we are not heavy users.)

  5. Anonysand*

    God, this sounds completely awful, OP. We have one of these in our small office and while it’s not nearly as bad, I can’t imagine dealing with anymore and not losing my mind.

    Also- I’m totally envisioning Derek as Derek from The Good Place, ala Jason Mantzoukas.

    Maximum Derek.

    1. Emily S*

      I totally was, too. Just imagining him popping into Slack channels and sending, “Derek!” to everyone!

    2. Mobertis*

      After this comment, I re-read this post imagining Derek as Derek from The Good Place and it was perfect. A+ commenting.

    1. Amber Rose*

      That was more or less my thought. He can post all he wants, but if people just ignore him and stop responding, at least they don’t have to worry about derailing.

  6. Lance*

    So far as ‘community guidelines’ go, I feel like ‘no derailing’ or ‘keep things on-topic’ could be a good one in this case. With that, he could certainly be dinged for the underwear picture (which, what the hell), and maybe the ‘but I’m vegan’ non-answer response to the question (though that might get into over-policing territory, I will admit).

    Otherwise… is there any way to mute him specifically? Do you work with him at all, or are any of the channels work-related enough that he may contribute to, to be able to afford that (if it is in fact an option in the program; I confess, I’ve never used Slack)? It may be worth looking into… or just trying to tune out his messages, since it sounds like he mostly isn’t contributing anything of value (and I’d bet others are tuning him out themselves).

    1. GreenDoor*

      If there’ s no official guidelines, is it possible (I don’t use Slack) for partcipants to police each other. Kind of like on AAM, where people will respond to a post with “That’s not apprpriate” or “Please don’t derail the conversation” or “Comments like that don’t actually help the person that asked the question.”

      I would think really cohesive groups could sort of establish a subculture within their channel and enforce what types of questions and commentary are welcome and which are not. I can’t think of any reasonable manager that would object to employees being proactive about maintaining professionalism, even on Slack.

      1. Lance*

        It could be possible, but then, I feel, there’d need to be some sort of group backing. If there isn’t, then it’d be possible to get into circular arguments, or have disagreements break out… on which note, active, viewable guidelines could be a big help to point people back to and cut some of that (not all of it, but that wouldn’t be very realistic, I feel) off.

        1. Ralph Wiggum*

          I’d be surprised if the other co-workers don’t find Derek’s behavior annoying, and be happy to back up OP if she notes something as off-topic.

          While circular arguments and disagreements may be possible, I think it’s premature to bring those up if Derek’s behavior hasn’t been addressed before.

          At my workplace, we’ve settled on a :moderator: emoji to apply to off-topic messages as a gentle reminder. For those unfamiliar with slack, an emoji response is a lighter touch than a response message.

      2. Kyrielle*

        Don’t be me, but I was thinking “react with :cut_of_meat:” (which, at least on the Slack I’m on – and they can be customized, so I dunno if it’s one of the base ones – shows a lovely looking steak, and now I’m hungry…).

        1. Kyrielle*

          Argh! Sorry, I meant I was thinking of that for when he says he’s vegan when people are asking for meat-based recipes. It would be out of the blue and irrelevant otherwise.

  7. Powerpants*

    I think this guy may not be neuro-typical. It especially seems so with the way the noises bother him. You may want to consider that he might be on the spectrum. Some of these behaviors are familiar to me because of a family member.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      We have an no armchair diagnoses rule here: Please don’t speculate on stranger’s potential medical conditions (especially without explaining how it would change your advice).

    2. Amber Rose*

      It’s way off base to diagnose someone based off a couple of anecdotes related by someone else, and it’s also extremely rude to constantly blame other people’s bad behavior on conditions experienced by people who manage to get by just fine without annoying the hell out of everyone.

      You’re dipping into ableist territory, now is a good time to stop and back up.

    3. Observer*

      And this is relevant, how exactly?

      The OP doesn’t care why Deek has his issues – in fact the OP really doesn’t care that he has issues. They just care that he KEEPS ON POSTING about them. And that he KEEPS ON derailing conversations. And that he KEEPS ON being rude to people.

      The ability to manage basic social interaction is actually a real requirement when you work with people.

    4. Tinker*


      It’s just as valid a manifestation of the social variances commonly associated with various neurodivergences to have difficulty dealing with people who are taking up a lot of social space, and particularly to have difficulty dealing with people whose behavior is often in the regime of “provoking discomfort, but not often overtly out of bounds”. This can be especially so because of things like the comorbidity between autism and developmental trauma — a lot of us have grown up being told, effectively, that our perceptions are not legitimate and we do not get to set boundaries based on how we experience a given situation, which complicates learning how to effectively self-advocate later on.

      Unfortunately those of us who are not loud sexually-inappropriate men do not generally get a posse of folks following along behind us going “but you have to keep in mind: possibly the autism”. Even though it would be awfully nice if that would happen.

      Why this is familiar to me is left as an exercise to the reader.

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        Another big problem with this is that autism-spectrum friendly spaces often end up hostile to women and NB folks, or end up getting taken over by creepers, clingers, and aggressive people who won’t back off. And such communities often suffer heavily from Geek Social Fallacy #1 (ostracizers are evil), or even have a mandate to serve everyone within their community even if their behavior is really unpleasant… it’s one of the reasons why I as a woman on the spectrum am extremely wary of any sort of organization or group for non-neurotypical folks. I’ve dealt with way too much crap like that, including a school teacher who told me it was unkind to refuse someone a date and a friend I had to ghost because he engaged in grossly inappropriate behavior – up to fondling himself in front of my mom in public – while constantly whining that no one liked him because of his disabilities.

    5. LGC*

      Even if he has an autistic spectrum disorder, all that means is that LW might have to be more direct than normal.

      I’m not sure if you intended to say this, but being autistic isn’t an excuse for bad behavior, and to be honest (as a neuroatypical dude) I’m somewhat offended by the suggestion.

    6. only acting normal*

      Nah. I work with a disproportionate number of autistic men (and women), yet the Dereks on our internal slack-like fora are, to a man, NT.
      We actually have a closed group for non-NTs and while we may occasionally get a little verbose, we’re infallibly polite about it.

    7. JamieS*

      Constant vacuuming sounds annoy most people. Even if he is on the spectrum, which is unlikely, I’m not sure how that’d be relevant. His behavior is still off putting to others regardless of the reason why and even though they sometimes get a bit more leeway people with autism have to learn to behave appropriately at work and in society in general just like everyone else.

    8. Michaela Westen*

      I’m really glad to see rude behavior is not typical of those on the spectrum, because this kind of excusing can lead to very bad things.
      “He’s rude and inconsiderate and borderline offensive because he’s on the spectrum, it’s an illness”
      “He gambled away our mortgage payment because he’s sick, it’s an illness”
      “He gets verbally abusive because he’s stressed, he didn’t mean it”
      “He only hit me because I deserve it”

  8. Ann Furthermore*

    I wonder if anyone calls him on his behavior. Surely a picture of himself in his underwear didn’t go unnoticed. A few comments like, “Dude! WTF? Nobody wants to see that!” might shame him into sharing less stuff like that.

    1. theguvnah*

      yeah, this is a “push back in a semi jokey but actually serious way and out him in his place” situation if I’ve ever seen one.

      1. Nazgul #5*

        This exactly.
        “Derek, you don’t even like this show, why are you in this chat lol.”
        “Derek if you’re vegan why are you commenting on pork recipes, just ignore it lol”
        “Derek you need to take a chill pill, this isn’t the ‘complain about everyone around me chat'”
        “Derek you are super chatty today, do you need some work to do? You can help me stuff these envelopes lol”

        Downside is you might become the de facto “Derek-wrangler” but a possible upside is that it will empower others to start pushing back and become comfortable having meta-conversations like “sorry to monopolize the chat, guys!” or posing questions rather than statements.

    1. Batgirl*

      It’s kinda like the Big Lie theory of propaganda. When grabbing attention, go big or go home. Act like it’s all fine and legit. People are too shocked, too unused to the situation to verbalize what’s wrong and follow the lead they’re given.

  9. Roscoe*

    I’ve never had a job that used slack, so maybe its a bit different. But otherwise, it just sounds like normal work stuff (again aside from the underwear pic). Every job I’ve ever been at has had a couple of those people who just love to hear themselves talk in meetings and will just bring up topics that don’t need to be a group thing. I kind of see this similar. Annoying. Eye roll worthy. But otherwise, just part of working with other people.

    1. Washi*

      Yeah I have an in-person version of Derek at my work. She loves to give lectures and inserts herself in every possible situation, no matter how little she knows about it. I think almost everyone has someone like this in their lives!

      All my friends know about my Derek because I periodically text them in the middle of the day with something she said. It’s actually gotten to the point where I semi-enjoy her ridiculousness, because it’s just another funny story to send to my friends. Perhaps the OP can turn the situation on its head and use Derek’s boorishness as funny work story material.

      1. Massmatt*

        This can be a useful way to endure someone who is really annoying, though it can also devolve into cliquish behavior.

        I have never worked anywhere that used slack, much less had channels for social or non work purposes. If he is dominating this many channels I wonder why he doesn’t seem to have nearly enough work to do. Maybe that is something to bring to his boss?

        1. Lance*

          I’m not sure if I’d bring that possibility to his boss, unless maybe OP worked closely with him, or something; what good would speculating from the point of an effective bystander do? It seems like it would be far more useful to get to the point of the issue and let the manager figure out how to handle it, or if there’s anything else going on.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This reminds me of a few inappropriate babblers I’ve dealt with. I just use them for Story Time and “Don’t be like Sue” moments with friends and family.

  10. Jennifer*

    I agree that his behavior is more annoying than misogynistic. Maybe the sound of his wife vacuuming really is annoying. I see how it could be perceived as possibly sexist, but it’s just shy of the line. It’s not like he said, “I like my woman barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen making me a sammich!”

    The exception is the underwear photo. Can you go to HR with that now, even though a few months have gone by? I’m assuming it’s still up. If he is chastised that could cause him to stop commenting as much.

    1. Où est la bibliothèque?*

      LW also says he’s repeatedly mentioned how young his wife is–I don’t think that’s enough to call him out for sexism, but it is kinda…ick.

      1. Jennifer*

        Yeah, exactly. The sad thing is, I think he knows that. There are people who know how to toe the line when it comes to racism, sexism, all the -isms, then when you call them on it, they’re all, “who, me?”

    2. theguvnah*

      but the perfect response to this on slack – a place made for gifs and funny communication – is “wow complaining about your partner doing housework? /giphy of the weird britney or chrissy teigen expression

  11. Antilles*

    You’re right that another option is community guidelines, and you’re also right that it would be hard to write them in a way that gets at exactly what he’s doing.
    I actually think there are plenty of ways to write the guidelines to cover exactly what he’s doing. A few examples I’ve seen in various Discord channels and forums, which could probably work:
    1.) Don’t monopolize the conversation
    2.) No low quality / low content posts
    3.) Topicality will be enforced – no off topic posts allowed
    But really, the written guidelines aren’t the issue here. It’s whether or not people will feel empowered to handle it when (not if) he ignores the guidelines…and unfortunately, that’s a lot trickier when it’s someone you actually do need to interact with for work purposes rather than another faceless internet name.

    1. unicorn corn*

      3.) Topicality will be enforced – no off topic posts allowed

      I’ve seen excessive moderation of channels on Discord completely kill conversation. This may be what the OP wants. If so, it does require there to be dedicated moderators who are willing to say “Derek, let’s move this discussion to a different channel”.

      1. Où est la bibliothèque?*

        Does it really need a moderator, if there comes to be an understanding that the only response people give to off-topic posts is “that’s pretty off-topic.”

        If I saw the “I’m a vegan!” comment, I would probably have replied “then a post about pork recipes is probably not your arena…?”

        When I was young, somebody angrily snapped at me when I was babbling irrelevantly: “you know, you can just not say things.” I wanted to curl up in a little ball at the time, but it did me a lot of good in the long run and I would probably be a lot more Derek-y without that lesson.

      2. Aurion*

        I’m part of a large Discord hobby group which runs similarly to Slack, and has channels and inherent limitations like OPs, but moderation really comes down to authority. Assigning moderators in this situation sounds difficult because the people involved seems like they’re hierarchical colleagues. If Derek pulls a Derek and needs to be reprimanded, does the moderator have the workplace authority to tell Derek to knock it off? Would Derek respect that? Furthermore, would these moderators have the Slack permissions to suspend Derek’s participation in Slack, and would they be willing/able to exert that authority?

        It’d be pretty annoying for colleagues to have Slack moderation duties added to their job duties, especially if they don’t have the power structure to back it up. I feel like Derek-corralling should fall squarely on Derek’s manager.

        1. ChimericalOne*

          So, community guidelines *can* work the way that covenanting works: you don’t need formal authority to assert them, anyone can & should try to call another person back into covenant. You don’t personally need power to enforce them because the group has decided together to mutually respect them.

          Community guidelines (and covenants) can serve to answer the question, “What right do you have to tell me that this thing is wrong?” The answer being, “Because as a group we decided it was.”

          Of course, it helps to have moderators, too. But just having guidelines can certainly empower people to shut down bad behavior, even without them.

          1. Aurion*

            Yeah, I’m leaning toward the “moderation by group and community guidelines” solution myself to not put moderation duties on a single (or a limited subset) of people if they don’t have the power structure to back it up.

            That being said, community moderation depends heavily on the group culture and the size of the group. In my Discord server we have approximately 220 people in total, but only about 20-30 regulars and seven moderators (moderators are spread out across time zones). The regulars are a small enough group that even if a moderator isn’t around, it’s pretty easy to get 20-30 people on the same page. But if the regulars in the social channels is much bigger than that, then maybe moderation by consensus would still need to have moderators with Actual Authority to back it up.

        2. unicorn corn*

          It’d be pretty annoying for colleagues to have Slack moderation duties added to their job duties, especially if they don’t have the power structure to back it up. I feel like Derek-corralling should fall squarely on Derek’s manager.

          I think there’s two issues, one of which is Serious Problem Behavior, like the underwear, which should be addressed by Derek’s manager, or HR.

          But then there’s derailing threads and generally being an annoyance on chat. That’s not necessarily something Derek’s manager should police, especially if that means doing both Manager’s job and also monitoring Derek’s chatroom activities.

    2. LawBee*

      And the goal of having written guidelines isn’t so that Derek will read them and have a lightbulb moment of personal recognition. That is guaranteed never to happen. Rather, the written guidelines will exist so that the community has something to point to going forward, e.g. “Hey Derek, you’ve posted seven times in the past ten minutes (or whatever). Remember the guidelines say not to monopolize the conversation.”

      Again, it probably won’t get Derek to change his interaction (unless he finally gets too annoyed by being “corrected” and huffs off), but it’s making a record. And, if he posts underwear pictures again, and your guidelines specifically say “no underwear pictures”, you have a basis to hit him with the banhammer.

      1. Agent Diane*

        This precisely why the guidelines should exist: they turn it from the personal to the professional. You collectively can flag repeated over-stepping either in the moment or with his manager (if he’s sharing his undercrackers again).

        And if there’s no written guidelines, how can you expect him to realise he’s overstepping them?

    3. LilyP*

      Yeah, who is going to enforce those guidelines? I think that role will turn into a “teach Derek how to have a grown-up conversation” project, which you should run screaming away from. Unless there is someone you trust who (a) is on the same page as you about how annoying this is (b) has some sort of authority to moderate these channels and (c) is willing to take on the moderation load, I think community guidelines are not going to solve the problem.

      1. news.groups*

        exactly, did anyone read unmoderated usenet? the only way to solve this is moderating the slack channel. to do that, you better be sure that your coworkers are broadly on the same page as you as derek. if they think you are overreacting or what not you are the one who will get moderated, alas.

    4. Name of Requirement*

      How is #2 judged? And thus enforced? And who is monitoring these and doing their real job?

      1. Antilles*

        It’s judged based on the standards of the community. Yes, I know that sounds like a cop-out answer, but in my experience, it often works surprisingly well for filtering out the garbage/trolly comments and posts. Even just formally listing the expectation often clears out the worst of the worst, and from there the community tends to informally settle on a definition what exactly ‘post quality’ means.

        1. Name of Requirement*

          I could see that working well in a non-work situation, but it seems hard to enforce in a work one, particularly if you’re trying to help people feel connected and included.

  12. Jennifer*

    Also, you can just ignore him on the social channels and see if everyone else follows suit. I did that with an especially obnoxious, sexist jerkhole in another online community and it worked. He ended up leaving the community. Derek seems to thrive on attention, like a troll. Just scroll on by and talk to someone else.

    1. ChimericalOne*

      Yeah, the nice thing about chat/IM is that you can pretty easily choose who to respond to. It’s annoying to see people engaging in certain behaviors, still, but if you just don’t respond to him & do respond to the folks you want to talk to, it sets a good example for others (whom you might also prod in this direction offline, if you know he’s annoying them, too) and allows the conversation to keep flowing. It will probably also reduce his participation, eventually.

    2. Crivens!*

      Yup, I’m noticing this happening on a feminist-oriented site I visit: a gross apologist-type dude is getting more and more widely ignored and is clearly losing interest as he’s no longer getting the response he wants.

      1. Jennifer*

        Yes, once people wise up and realize there is no point in having a conversation with them, they tend to move on. Sometimes that’s your only recourse when there are no moderators, the annoying person IS a moderator, or they are friends with them.

    3. only acting normal*

      I keep a little document on my desktop called “The Blacklist”. In it are the names of about half a dozen intranet boors as a reminder to me not to respond to them.

      Some are sexist, some are plain trolls, one I added today because he simply makes my blood boil by regularly derailing threads that are nothing to do with him. E.g. A question asking if any juniors needed a second job to make ends meet – he, a 60-something in a very senior role, starts and perpetuates a loooong argument about affordable/not house prices when he was a junior in the friggin’ 70s!

      (However, out of a thousand odd regular users here, 6 trolls-on-a-starvation-diet is pretty decent I think.)

      1. only acting normal*

        Someone delivered an online smackdown to our Derailing Derek today – it was a thing of beauty. :)

  13. Armchair Analyst*

    When I had an orientation to grad school, the upperclassman (it was a 2-year MBA program, so they were finishing their first-year at the time) told us about the unwritten Rule of Three:

    1. You should talk in class about once every 3 discussions (obviously, no talking during lectures).
    2. You shouldn’t dominate a class discussion – you shouldn’t talk to the whole class more than 3 times in one day.

    Some people weren’t comfortable talking in class and did post in the online class forum, this was similar – don’t post too often, but post just enough. Goldilocks, right?

    1. Blue_eyes*

      I’ve seen teachers use a similar strategy if they have some students dominating discussions. It’s called “My two cents”. You literally give every student two pennies at the beginning of class. Each time they participate, they have to give you back a penny. Once they’re out of pennies, they need to wait and let others participate. It can really help to get quieter students to talk too because all the chatty Cathys have used up their pennies in the first 5 minutes and can’t talk anymore!

  14. hamsterpants*

    I think community guidelines, while well intended, wouldn’t work. Derek sounds much too socially oblivious to understand that they would apply to him. It’s like how company wide emails often fail to correct individual bad behavior.

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      I agree, somebody who is this comfortable derailing threads is probably also comfortable ignoring the guidelines. You don’t really need established guidelines for users to shut him down if they’re willing to, and having guidelines probably won’t help me be more willing to in my experience.

    2. MatKnifeNinja*

      Also Derek, can spin it around as “bullying”, and start targeting the people who won’t let him be great.

      Derek: “I’m a vegan”.

      OP: “Yes, and I like North Carolina BBQ sauce on ribs.”

      You acknowledge Captain Noise (Yes), and then move the conversation on.

      Don’t freeze Derek out (and let him escalate it to the hire ups), but ignore off topic conversations.

      Moderation opens up a bigger can of worms with Derek types, unless the managers are on board.

      1. news.groups*

        better still:

        Derek: I’m a vegan
        OP: mmm, bacon tastes good.

        that will get all but the crunchiest granola types on her side

  15. seashell*

    I have a coworker who loves to text us as a group instead of sending an email for things that aren’t emergencies. I’ve also muted that text thread and never respond/acknowledge. Unless it’s a true emergency, we have email!!!!!

    1. stefanielaine*

      Is there a rule that text is only for emergencies? My coworkers and I text each other regularly about non-emergencies – it’s just a convenient way to bring a quick question to someone’s immediate attention rather than waiting for them to work through the 75 messages above yours in their inbox. Same as IM, in my experience. Unless your org has strict rules around this, I think you may be expecting your coworkers to telepathically adhere to your notions about which communication type should be used in which situations.

  16. Hello, I'd like to report my boss*

    Oh my. We have one of these in the making dominating a group of Discord channels I frequent. It’s amazing how annoying they can be when they jabber on about off-topic stuff or feel the need to reply to *everything*. I blocked the person, not sure if you can do that on Slack.

    On Yammer at work there was one person who responded frequently with “Why is this being advertised? What’s the point of this?” about stuff he didn’t personally find useful. He just liked getting annoyed, tbh. One of the admin team told him a few times (Publicly!) how to unsubscribe, then to knock it off (professionally!). I think he either got the message, or got banned. :)

  17. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    There’s 200 people and one if the 199 who aren’t Derek hasn’t said “nobody asked if you were Vegan, we’re talking about pork, bro.” and “Don’t send undies pics, that’s obscene.” O.O

    What’s he gonna do? STFU, Derek.

    1. Jennifer*

      This. That’s what I would have said on the pork topic. I’m guessing a few more timid people would have followed suit. Sometimes some strategic social shaming can be a good thing.

    2. hbc*

      Seriously. I’ll step over a missing stair for a while in the hope that someone will fix it, and I have a reputation as a nice person, but this would be beyond my limit. “I’m pretty sure from context that Fergus was not doing a poll on who has pork recipes and why/why not, but instead would like those who have recipes to share them.” “So that’s a no, you don’t have a pork recipe, then?” “Thanks for the daily update on your noise situation, I was on tenterhooks over here.”

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I’ve been too much of a loudmouth my entire life and surrounded by truckers, I learned “social media” using my dad’s old CB radio as a kid. “GET OFF THIS CHANNEL, KID.” LOL

        So yeah, I’ll just toss out the “What? No.”

    3. Grapey*

      +1. It would be nice if Derek’s in the world didn’t exist, until then, sometimes people have to do unpleasant things like speak up even though “we shouldn’t have to”.

  18. Joielle*

    I’m not sure how closely you work with Derek so you may not know this, but I can only wonder how much work he’s getting done if he’s doing way more social chatting than everyone else. Unfortunately, I think the only recourse is to ignore him and hope others follow suit… or hope his manager notices a lack of productivity and limits his social channel participation.

  19. Anonfortoday*

    I’m not familiar with Slack, so apologies in advance if this seems like a silly observation…but it sounds as though a lot of the Slack usage is not actually work-related. Which is totally fine if your workplace allows it, but I wonder how his excessive usage impacts Derek’s productivity? Is he getting his work done? Also, I’d definitely revisit the underwear photo thing, as that is Not Okay.

    1. Rainy days*

      Yeah, this surprised me too. I only use Slack for one project with a small team, but our Slack has one channel dedicated to all non-work topics and about 20 different work channels for different aspects of the project. I guess I knew other workplaces had more chatty Slacks, but this seems like a lot of non-work talk in a communication medium dedicated to work.

      1. Ella*

        For offices where everyone or almost everyone works remotely, slack often turns into the breakroom/kitchen/hallway/etc. So the socializing you’d normally do while getting a cup of coffee or eating lunch or ducking into a coworkers office for a brief chat transfers over to a slack channel. It’s a good way to build camaraderie when you don’t share the same physical space as your coworkers.

  20. Four lights*

    “Borderline inappropriate”??? A picture of a coworker in their underwear is WIDELY inappropriate! I do not think it’s too late to report this to HR. If you think this is only borderline, I really wonder if some of the other things he’s posted might be inappropriate as well.

    1. Typhoid Mary*

      Right?? Like I’m kinda weirded out by how many people are like, “Aside from the underwear post….” Why? Why aside from that? “Aside from the sexual harassment he’s just a little annoying”??

      Derek’s a boundary-pusher. He KNOWS you’re not supposed to send pictures of yourself in your underpants to your coworkers. I promise he knows this.

  21. anon4this*

    OP-There’s a way to block users on Slack with a chrome extension (you can google search for it, I don’t want to be have my comment blocked by posting a link- its from GitHub).

    1. londonedit*

      The problem with blocking people, though, is that they can often easily work out that they’ve been blocked, and then it just fans the flames. Plus, if Derek did need to contact the OP about a legitimate work matter, it wouldn’t be great if the OP had blocked him.

      We had a similar issue on the Facebook group for a club I’m in – one member of the club was seriously obnoxious (he eventually got kicked out altogether for being racist, sexist and an all-round vile bully) and a lot of people blocked him from their individual Facebook accounts. However, this meant that whenever people who had blocked him posted in the club’s FB group, he couldn’t see the posts. He could tell because he’d see weird comment threads with half the discussion missing, and he’d rant and rave about it, but it all came to a head when someone posted about a club event, he didn’t see it, found out about the event from someone else at the last minute, and went absolutely ballistic. He accused the club of freezing him out and kept demanding that no one should be allowed to block other club members. It was a nightmare, and I can imagine a similar situation arising if Derek discovers that people are blocking him from company-wide chatrooms.

  22. Interviewer*

    Re: community guidelines for your company’s Slack usage – if you don’t have them, your handbook may reference expected standards of employee/workplace conduct, or you may have signed an IT usage policy that you can look to for guidance. Before you draft some on your own, though, come up with 4-6 examples of posts – NOT just Derek’s – that are a good example of why you need guidelines, and what specifically has been driving you away from usage. I think you’re at the BEC stage with Derek’s posts (understandable), so try to look at channels more objectively and see if other users might actually fall into the same bucket.

    You could meet with your manager to review the problem posts and propose to draft a set of guidelines. However, if this is not your responsibility, you should fully expect that project to land in someone else’s lap – someone who might be responsible for the IT usage policy, for example. If it does, you can certainly volunteer to help.

    Good luck!

  23. ArtsNerd*

    Not my employer, but an industry slack I’m in has a secret channel just for women and it’s the only place some of them participate in because of the culture of the main channel. I’m so glad I can still maintain those connections through that.

    Not saying you need to invite everyone-but-Derek to a secret channel, but maybe if there’s a group of you you’re closer to and specifically miss interacting with, you could make one of those.

  24. Former Help Desk Peon*

    Re Slack – are you using the threads and direct messages as much as you could in the social vein? So someone posts a question about pork recipes in the food channel, Derek posts there that he’s vegan, you can start a thread on the pork question directly as a way to stay on topic. It kind of moves the conversation about while allowing you to ignore Derek’s non sequitur .

    And if there’s an employee or convo you found interesting, you can direct message another day and say “hey, did you end up trying that recipe? I thought it looked good” etc and build your social network that way. I work in the building, but DM via Slack is how I stay in touch with my remote colleague.

  25. Brett*

    It might be worthwhile to read the slack blogs too:
    (It is really completely reasonable to expect people to read Slack 101, Slack 102, and Slack 103 before having slack accounts activated.)

    Many of the Slack Collaboration posts ( focus on creating a functioning slack culture in the workplace.

    The one I would really really recommend though is the Empathy tips:
    Derek really needs to read these.

  26. GoldenRetriever*

    Can someone explain what Slack is? I’ve never heard of this before and I’m pretty confused about what’s going on here.

    1. Former Help Desk Peon*

      The love child of internet forums and instant messenger is how I’d describe it.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s an app that many work places use for group messages and discussions. Different channels for different projects/departments stuff and social things.

      A mobile app that’s half WaterCooler half Conference Room etc.

    3. TootsNYC*

      It’s like a giant group text, only you can have several with different subjects going at once. And it happens inside a specific app.

  27. Workerbee*

    I’m coming from Yammer, not Slack, and I don’t know how chat/groups/anything is handled in Slack. I hope the following helps anyway.

    I was wondering if there is a community manager or ability to have a community manager for Slack. In Yammer / other enterprise social networks, the comm manager or core team would be the one handling Derek types. There are several constructive ways to do this.

    –Community guidelines. It’s better to have them than not have them. A usage policy, even if unread by the majority when they join, is really for when you need it. And yes, you can state exactly what this collaboration space is to be used for, etiquette rules, language, etc.

    Even if you just create it right now, that’s fine! If you can, set it so that everyone who logs in after you publish the policy has to re-agree to it. And you can use the “These are the rules going forward” tactic if anyone tries the “But we never had to keep our underwear to ourselves before!”

    –Corral the boor. Give him his own channel/group. Make him the owner of it. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I’ve found that Derek types really want to be heard, and if they have their own special outlet for this, they either a) perceive that they’re getting the attention they need and become content with that, or b) leave the network altogether and go muttering off into greener pastures. This is of course not a 100% gate-keeping success rate.

    –Use offline tactics online. If Derek were doing this in a public meeting, or in the hallway, breakroom, any “offline” space, how would you handle it? Would you redirect, report, ?

    Remember, what’s going on is still part of a conversation–it just happens to be online. You have to do a little extra to ensure context and tone, because generally you don’t get all the body language cues you usually would, but

    –Get a group together. There’s something to having it not be just you or another sole person handling this. Peer approbation and condemnation are very real things.

    1. Workerbee*

      Agh, I have a dangler.

      To continue with:
      “Remember, what’s going on is still part of a conversation–it just happens to be online. You have to do a little extra to ensure context and tone, because generally you don’t get all the body language cues you usually would, but”

      –but the same social responsibilities for making sure a space is inclusive and people are comfortable in it apply.

  28. RM*

    I think there’s value in responding in the moment to some of the stuff that falls more under boorish/misogynistic. (And to the underwear pic! I can’t imagine someone doing that in a work Slack and no one saying anything!!!) The response doesn’t have to be super confrontational or dramatic; a simple “Hey, that’s not a very nice thing to say about your wife” or “Hey, that’s not a very constructive comment” can go a long way (especially if you do it via Slack’s “threading” feature which means it’ll be less visible/less likely to derail the *entire* channel with a conversation about what’s appropriate/nice/etc but can still be seen by everyone who bothers to look). If one or two people are willing to do this, it tends to gives everyone in the room (whether it’s a Slack room or IRL) more confidence to do the same thing, and overall it can really help reset the way people talk and treat each other. (I also think it would be more effective than general guidelines, BUT this might also be a good way to jumpstart a company-wide convo about having guidelines!)

    1. TCPA*

      Thank you for mentioning this! My immediate thought after reading the letter and response was…has no one said anything directly to Derek?! Shouldn’t that be the first option, as long as people can remain kind and respectful?

      One reason people get away with saying and doing things like this for so long is possibly because they don’t realize it’s bothering others! I think your suggestions are great. If more people responded in a simple way like this that called out the behavior in the moment without being rude, I think that could solve a lot of the issues.

    2. Koala dreams*

      That was what I’ve been thinking too. If a coworker behaved like this in person, you would comment either to get the conversation back on track or comment to let them and everyone listening know that this kind of thing isn’t acceptable. And for the sexual harassment things you would report to HR or the police as appropriate (I guess slack harassment is less likely to go so bad as to warrant the police, though). It’s possible that Derek won’t care, but at least you show the other people using the channel that someone cares.

      I have some links for earlier posts if you need some ideas for language that you can adapt:
      Negative comments in general
      Misogynist comments specifically

  29. anonymeese*

    Yeah, unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do here. (For people whose offices don’t use Slack — it’s much more like old-school chatrooms, or a giant group text in modern terms, than a bulletin board, Twitter, or Facebook. It’s a big group conversation happening in real time, so there’s no way to block and mute, and there isn’t really a culture of moderation because Slack messages are usually more like text messages than lengthy posts.) Ignore him as much as you can, try to find a channel he’s not part of (or start one) if you want to socialize with coworkers without him present, and make a bigger use of DMs and private rooms.

    If he’s aggressively and actively derailing work frequently, it’s appropriate to flag that to his manager, but if he’s doing this in water-cooler channels, unfortunately he’s just kind of a jerk at the water cooler.

  30. Atlantis*

    I think a potential idea for a Derek-limited space could be to make a “Positivity Space”. This can be whatever, but we have a few in my discord server, one for food related goodness, another called the “good pet lounge” where we just post pictures of our pets. At least with a space dedicated to positivity or happiness, if he starts complaining, you can point out that the space is for positivity only and complaining in that chat is against the purpose of the space. By creating a new space too you can start with community rules rather than trying to impose them on already existing chats.

    It may not guarantee relief from him, but at least you’ll have other good things there to pay attention to rather than him.

  31. animaniactoo*

    Does anyone push back at Derek?

    For instance, when Derek announced he was vegan, did anyone say “Well I guess you don’t have any pork recipes then. I don’t either, but maybe we should just let the people who do answer this question.” or “Great, when somebody asks for vegan recipes, you’ll have something to contribute.”

    The underwear pic: “Things I never need to see: My coworkers in their underwear. Especially in a group this large. Please do not do this again. Ever.”

    The wife comment: “Hmmmm. Maybe we need a group therapy channel? You’ve had some complaints about your wife before, I think this space isn’t the right place for talking about stuff like that on a regular basis.”

    One thing I’ve done in places where I feel like I’m taking up too much airtime is to explicitly say that “I’m going to stop commenting now because I’m up to about 10% of the posts on this topic today and that’s too much.” Could people do that here and there to “lead by example”? Get the idea in play that nobody should be taking over “the mic” that much?

    1. Lithic*

      Yes! Call him out. Be blunt, not rude. And maybe keep it to one or two things like being off topic or posting photos that one can never un see!

    2. ThePinkLady*

      This is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to say. I can understand not wanting to make things awkward with a co-worker for the sake of workplace harmony; however, he’s the one making it awkward by – well, being Derek. But surely his behaviour could be challenged without upsetting working relationships, especially on your social channels where you’re not discussing work matters? My first instinct would be to call him out on annoying behaviour in those contexts, not in a hostile way but just plainly stating why what he’s saying/doing is Not Cool. If he starts to learn lessons from this, he might even, if he has any self-awareness at all (hmm) begin to behave better on work threads as well. I’m not hopeful, but you never know…

    3. theguvnah*

      i think the OP should just respond with the “sure, Jan” gif everytime Derek posts…

  32. Tim Skirvin*

    A specific technical note: Slack has specifically chosen *not* to provide filtering tools (per-user blocklists) in Slack for political reasons. I’ve complained about this to the company in the past, and they have responded that (paraphrased) “not enough people have requested that feature”.

    Perhaps this community could fix that?

  33. gecko*

    Get back in those slack channels he’s monopolizing! I know he’s annoying, but unless they’ve really got tumbleweeds blowing across the surface, you’re doing yourself a disservice by avoiding him so completely.

    As everyone’s said, ignore him and keep the conversation going around him. He sounds SO annoying and kind of gross, but the beauty of instant messaging is you can really just ignore stuff. If you feel compelled to respond somehow before moving the conversation on, seems like it’s a great opportunity to use an “OK” react on “I’m a vegan” or a thumbs-up if you’re feeling less passive-aggressive. Then you can move on.

  34. Cowgirlinhiding*

    Does Derek do any work? If he is commenting on so many platforms, is he really completing his work. I don’t know where you are in leadership circle, but I would start will my own boss first, mentioning that Derek has taken over the Slack space and seems to be a huge contributor (if you can call it that) and that you are uncomfortable with some of the comments that he is making on the companies space. If you have a good boss, chances are they will investigate the report, then report his findings to Derek’s boss and Derek’s boss should handle it (hopefully- if he also has a good boss).
    If you are higher on the leadership line, go to Derek’s boss directly, mention again the inappropriate comments and photo and let him take it from there. It sucks that one person can ruin things for everyone.

  35. LilyP*

    Can you maybe stay in the social channels but mute them, so you’re not getting constant Derek-pings but you can go through now and again and reply to anything that *was* interesting? It might take you out of the moment-to-moment flow but you’re still keeping up with your colleagues a bit. Aside from that, try to reframe it as something to be amused by. Pretend in your head that “Derek” is actually a secret project one of your colleagues is doing to create the most annoying slackbot ever!

  36. WKRP*

    I was curious whether anyone has told him that something he’s said is either a) not productive (vegan/pork recipe), b) not appropriate (underwear) c) not applicable to conversation (wife vaccuuming or eating too loudly or what have you). It sounds for the most part, folks have let him be a boor and haven’t called him out on his behavior. Not in a judgmental, aggressive way — but even just saying, “Hey Derek, let’s not get off topic.” Or “Derek, please don’t talk about others here.”

    Granted this may end up with him being defensive and remaining obnoxious. But, I also get the impression that unless someone calls him out on his behavior, he will never think that he’s the problem.

    1. TootsNYC*

      I like the idea of coming up with a few basic replies that address the major categories of his offenses, and deployed them on cut-and-paste.

      Make them really short and abrupt

      From more than one person.

      So on the vegan thing: “Off topic”
      On criticism: “Please don’t criticize people”
      On marriage comments: “TMI–see a marriage counselor”
      On noise: “Buy earplugs?”

  37. Matilda Jefferies*

    I’m going to unpack the vacuuming comment a bit, because I agree with the OP that it feels misogynistic.

    …he couldn’t wait for his wife to get a job, because she was always vacuuming and the sound bothered him.

    *First, vacuuming isn’t a “job” in Derek’s world – it’s apparently something his wife does for fun. Although I would bet it’s not so much fun that he would actually do any of it himself. Ten internet dollars says if his wife gets a PAYING job, she’ll still be the one doing the vacuuming.

    *Even if we suspend our disbelief for a minute and say that he does recognize the value of housework, he’s still saying that it’s less important than whatever he’s doing. His wife is *always* vacuuming (she must really love to vacuum!), and the noise is interrupting his Very Important Job.

    *Vacuuming is traditionally considered “women’s work.” Let’s pretend his wife was a carpenter who worked at home – of course we can’t know for sure, but I can’t picture him complaining that all the hammering and sawing was getting on his nerves. It’s a specific kind of noise, one that is traditionally associated with a specific gender, that he finds annoying.

    As the OP and others have noted, it’s juuuuuuust shy of the line of anything actionable. Dude has plausible deniability down pat – of course he wasn’t complaining about his wife doing housework! What kind of a jerk would complain about someone else doing housework? He is so grateful to her for doing all the vacuuming! It’s just the sound of it that bothers him, amirite?

    I call bullshit. He knows exactly what he’s doing. I wish I had any advice for the OP, but I do want to validate their opinion that Derek is not only a jerk, but he’s a sexist jerk as well.

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      Frankly, if I were married to Derek, I would vacuum as often as possible as well. And as loudly as possible. Not only does he deserve to be annoyed, but it has the added benefit that I wouldn’t have to interact with him!

      Maybe his wife is on to something. All my sympathies to her, in any case.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Or when the time comes, just leave the divorce papers tied to the vacuum with a “hope you can figure out how this works now that I’m gone.” letter.

    2. Entry Level Marcus*

      Eh, I see what you’re saying but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of doing a close reading of a single paraphrased sentence to tell a story about how a person is a horrible evil misogynist. There are lots of alternative innocuous explanations for that comment, and remember, LW is paraphrasing. He might be sexist, but I don’t think we have enough to go on from the contents of the letter.

      (This isn’t to say the underwear picture isn’t bad or that he isn’t annoying)

      1. Roscoe*

        Me too. People taken a guy who made an offhand comment about his wife vacuuming while he is working remotely, to assuming he must be a misogynist person who is a horrible husband. Like it really feels like a reach and it feels really bad to make judgments about a persons relationship based on a 2nd hand retelling of a comment made on slack

        1. Ego Chamber*

          OP gave the following information about Derek in relation to his wife is 1) he dislikes when she makes noise and 2) she is very young, which he mentions a lot.

          The “very young” bit reads to me like there’s more but OP is going the diplomatic route instead of laying it all out for the commentariate to judge properly—and I think the commentariate is therefor reading into the information we were given, which isn’t much but it does have some potential implications, especially when added to the underoo incident, because that’s a really problematic place to start.

      2. Batgirl*

        Ok but what’s wrong with considering the possibility? It’s not like anyone’s sending an angry mob round to rip him limb from limb. It’s useful to be aware of a potential source of misogyny.

          1. Mrs Mary Smiling*

            I would say the actionable advice it to let the OP know that it’s ok to be bothered by these and similar comments and to do her part to shut them down. I guess it’s useful info to know, but based on skeptical responses in this comment thread, if I was OP, I would be worried that if I brought it up, I would be dismissed as unnecessary complaining, when the OP is describing AT LEAST one incident that is legit straight firing offense, and other interactions that give her the yuckys. Aren’t we supposed to take the OP at their word?

  38. BlueFaun*

    I have a coworker who is slowly revealing himself to be a paranoid/conspiracy person via our social slack channels. So far people ignore it. It feels very awkward.

    For OPs coworker, my coworkers would probably started adding passive aggressive reactions (the emojis you can add to anyone’s post). Or just thumbs down. God forbid you use @here poorly.

  39. Jodi*

    Hmmm – has anyone else specifically complained about Derek- or does he just get up the OP’s nose? The OP indicates they believe they are not the only one he annoys, but could there just be some hypersensitivity going on here ? Granted the underwear pic is over the line, but I wouldn’t find complaining about one’s wife vacuuming to be misogynistic. Any open social network is going to include a mishmash of people – the only way to exclude those you don’t like, is to form a closed group on a different forum.

  40. Oranges*

    LW. I’ve read some comments along the lines of “are you suuuuuure he’s misogynistic?” I kinda wanna reply to them.

    Yeah, the LW is sure he’s a big ol’ misogynist and so am I. Why? Because he a) posted an undies pic b) brags about how young his wife is c) complains about his wife constantly and, most importantly, d) THE LW told me he was, the one who has to deal with him day after day and no word of her letter contradicts that reading.

    Stop looking for Zebras please.

    1. Electric Sheep*

      Yeah, I believe you too OP. You know all the little things that collectively show how things are.

    2. Mrs Mary Smiling*

      YES. I am late to this party and posted somewhat above, but COME ON, FOLKS!

      Aren’t we supposed to take the OP at their word?

      OP has a gut feeling/instinct/has experienced a pattern by being actually involved that we have not. However, a lot of people have decided to analyze her stated experience/opinion and tell her that she’s wrong based on just one sentence. It’s ok to do that, but not to highlight they ways OP could be correct?

      Perhaps I’m projecting now, but the “well we can’t make a conclusion from just one comment” crowd so often overlaps with the “ah, you have presented a month’s worth of constant examples, but when I look at just this most recent one here, it’s really not necessarily bad.” So until the Dereks of the world starts posting pics in their underwear, it’s all for the OP to internalize because she can’t win.

  41. LQ*

    A slack specific note. I’ve had ok luck of having …sort of side conversations when you go in and thread something rather than laying it flat. The Dereks in the groups I’m in like to jump in on main line conversations but will often miss than a large (and fun) thread. So mostly when I want to sort of converse I’ll thread it rather than just posting in the main channel part.

    1. TootsNYC*

      ooh, that’s an idea! Make a general comment and then start the thread on your own, and tag the few people you know you’d like to have in the convo so you can get it off the ground. And cue other people in on the tactic.

      Hopefully Derek won’t see the thread, really.

  42. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

    OP – is Derek’s behavior different in work-related Slack channels? (Or do you just not overlap with him much in those?)

    1. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

      Sorry – just to clarify. I’m not jumping on the “I don’t know if Derek really is a misogynist” bandwagon or anything. I was just thinking if he behaves that way in both work and social channels, setting some boundaries in how he behaves in one hemisphere of Slack may have some benefits in the other hemisphere…

  43. Introvert girl*

    Next time he starts whining about his wife: “Sorry, if you start using this chat as a personsal therapist, we will start charging you 100$ by the hour.”

  44. Annie*

    Why not just call him out directly?

    ” None of us want to see a pic of you in your underwear. Please don’t post that stuff here”

    When he complains about noise:

    -“Must be frustrating. This group can’t really do much to help you there”
    – “Not sure what you expect us to do about that”
    – “Maybe you should write this in your journal instead of clogging up the channel with your complaints”

    When he complains about his wife:

    “Complaining about your wife on a work channel is not cool”

    “Can you stop with the wife complaints? You’re making people uncomfortable”

    “You should probably consider couples counseling, this group is not equipped to help with your marital problems”

  45. nnn*

    Passive-aggressive approach: every time Derek says something Boorish, assign him another work task.

  46. Bernard's Velouria*

    But Derek sounds like a person who would join a channel just to be obnoxious, whether he’s a fan of or familiar with the channels; topic or not. At least, that has been my boorish coworker Slack monster exprience. :(

  47. Lobsterman*

    Good grief, why won’t his supervisor just let him go? There’s no way he’s doing any work.

  48. FeatheredFriend*

    There are a lot of really clever comebacks here for when Derek goes off the rails, but I think I would just respond to him as little as possible. Derek sounds like he’s looking for attention, and responding to his not-quite-over-the-line comments gives him attention. I’d only respond to him on actual work matters.
    I’d also keep an eye out for the next time he crosses the line into something reportable, and forward that to HR and/or his manager. It sounds like he’s probably going to post another underwear photo (or equivalent) at some point, so there will be an opportunity to see if HR/his manager is willing to address it.

  49. TexasRose*

    Perhaps you could establish a Positive Only channel for each hobby, as an alternative to the Derek-full channel that exists? Have Channel guidelines (posted once weekly or monthly, perhaps) rather than an actual moderator, and request all users to post only positive messages (no complaints, no vents, just what’s good about ). This won’t stop the creepy-my-wife-is-barely-legal style posts, but it should cut back on the “I am SOOO annoyed…” junk.
    [ I did this once in real life the first Monday in Lent, after several cubicle neighbors complained CONSTANTLY about how much they missed the coffee they had given up for Lent. ]

  50. Maureen*

    I’ve been in both supportive and productive Slack workspaces and unsupportive/sexist/racist/messy ones, and boy do I have advice. Some of this is similar to other people’s, but some of it will hopefully be new.

    1. I agree with the person who said that it’s better to have Slack guidelines than to not have them. If the management won’t make them, make them yourself and ask if they can be officially approved. Ask people (maybe via slack?!) if they have guidelines they want to add.

    2. One of these guidelines MUST be that people stay on topic (i.e. no responding to people’s pork messages with your veganism).

    3. Another one of the guidelines is that people should always always always use threads if they’re responding to someone’s post. Next time Derek responds to a message about cooking pork with a comment about being vegan? You never even saw it, because you don’t get a notification every time someone replies to a thread that you’re not on.

    4. Call Derek out when he violates these norms! Ideally you can get managers to do this, but if not you can just find some other coworkers who are similarly annoyed to help you with this. If someone (ideally a manager, if not hopefully at least not always the same person) always responds to Derek’s veganism in the pork thread with “dude, that’s off-topic! remember the guidelines!” he’s way less likely to keep doing it

    5. Create new channels liberally. Derek wants to talk about veganism? Great, suggest that he starts a veganism channel! This will hopefully get him to stop taking up so much space in the channels you frequent.

    6. If you’re not a man, I very much support the idea of having a channel just for women or for people who aren’t men. Dereks are almost always men, and if you have a channel without men you might realize that everyone else thinks he’s a misogynist too and be able to band together to talk to management about him. This channel was a lifesaver for me when I was in a really misogynistic work environment.

    If you are a man, please call out Derek’s misogyny.

    7. SCREENSHOT EVERYTHING. If you have a screenshot of the pic of Derek in his underwear, you can go to HR without worrying that the post has disappeared from Slack ad you won’t be able to prove anything.

    8. Mute/leave non-work-related channels that Derek is very active in. You’ll probably be happier.

    1. Close Bracket*

      > If you have a screenshot of the pic of Derek in his underwear,

      Words I do not expect to read in a professional context.

  51. katherine*

    People like the OP are why I am terrified to ever talk about anything at work.

    For instance, I am not vegan, but I really don’t understand how “I’m vegan” is an unacceptable thing to say, particularly in a loose chat-room like environment. If you happen to be vegan, then it is your only possible contribution to a conversation about pork recipes, besides lying. If you were in a group of people and someone asked about pork recipes, then a perfectly reasonable thing to say, if you were vegan, is “Sorry, I’m vegan,” or in other words, “I would love to help you out but I can’t in this case, apologies.”

    I also don’t see the problem with using the channel a lot. If there are no quotas for how often you can post, it is really not fair to penalize someone (mentally or otherwise) for frequent posting. This is especially the case in a work and not purely social environment, where it is more than a little unfair to punish someone for violating an unstated rule that has very little bearing, I’m assuming, on the job responsibilities.

    Honestly, besides the underwear thing, this feels like “[swear word starting with B I don’t know if it’s OK to post, but it’s what the thing is called] eating crackers”-ing on the OP’s part. If someone annoys you, that’s your problem. It isn’t a HR issue. The reason that “it’s not like I can make rules not to talk too much” is because those are, in fact, unreasonable rules for you to make for someone you do not manage.

    1. ArtK*

      In general “I’m a vegan” is *not* unacceptable to say. The problem with the Derek’s of the world isn’t necessarily any specific thing, but an accumulation. If you are on social media and you try to turn *every* conversation into being about you, then there’s a problem. If you’re constantly complaining about your spouse, there’s a problem. An occasional “gosh, my SO was such a jerk today,” that’s not a problem.

      When one person dominates the conversation constantly, that’s more than a BEC issue. That’s someone who is not socially aware and is misusing the platform.

      1. katherine*

        Aside from the underwear thing, Derek has exactly as much right to be there as the OP. He is not “misusing” the platform, because being present on it does not constitute “misuse” — there is no hierarchy of who is and is not allowed to use it. I can easily imagine a parallel letter where Derek writes how he has “less bonding time with [his] other coworkers” because of attitudes like this.

    2. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

      The key point is that in a group conversation, no one person has to comment on every remark. And when there are twenty conversations going on, if you/I/anyone doesn’t have something to say on topic 7, they can take a break, say something about topic 12, or even start a 21st conversation.

      For example, if someone asks me directly “are you watching the Bruins game tonight?” or “who’s your favorite goalie?” I might say that I’m not a hockey fan. If three people are already discussing last night’s game or comparing great goalies of all time, it’s silly for me to pop up to effectively say “Hey, guys, I know nothing about this subject, but I’m here!” and expect people to say “That’s cool, non-hockey fans are a valued part of the company too.”

      Instead, I’ll go over to the “pets” or “cute cat stories” channel, or wait until later and ask on “weekend plans” if anyone has tried axe-throwing, and what was it like? Derek is insisting that people acknowledge that he’s in the room and has nothing to say about pork recipes, even though he’s been in the last several conversations on a variety of different topics. This isn’t someone who is tentatively saying “um, I’m a vegan, but what do you think of this spice blend?” after sitting quietly watching other people’s conversations.

      1. katherine*

        Given that the OP’s complaints include “he is extremely talkative in every social channel” (how awful! A person wanting to socialize! Get the firing squad!), it doesn’t seem that “starting a 21st conversation” or going to another channel would be an acceptable alternative for the OP. The only acceptable alternative, it seems, would be not existing. Which is, again, why I am terrified to socialize at work.

        1. Jessen*

          There’s a difference between “a person wanting to socialize” and “a person wanting to be in every single social interaction ever.” This seems to be more the latter. Think of it as someone in the office who, whenever they see two coworkers talking, runs over to join the conversation even if he doesn’t have anything to add. At some point it would go past being social into just being annoying.

        2. Ice and Indigo*

          Hi katherine. Picture me giving you a friendly wave while I say this: that’s some quite black and white thinking. You’re not finding much middle ground between ‘Everything is acceptable’ and ‘Nothing is acceptable’. And leaping from ‘Nothing is acceptable’ to ‘They want Derek annihilated’ is quite extreme too.

          Since you say this is seriously impacting your quality of life (‘terrified to socialize at work’), I’m gonna recommend a useful book: Feeling Good by David Burns. It has a lot of practical advice for how to manage anxiety (which I have myself, so not talking from on high here!)

          Please note, this is not me telling you to stop existing! This is, ‘You reported an anxiety problem that’s making your work life miserable; here’s a thing that could help.’ Wish you lots of luck.

          1. katherine*

            Given that the OP is castigating Derek for, essentially, existing in a space open to all employees, and criticizing them for breaking rigid but unspoken rules that are inconsistently applied (notice they don’t have any issues with the other two most frequent posters), I’m not the one applying the “nothing is acceptable” rule here.

            1. Ice and Indigo*

              Look, you don’t have to take my advice, and since you say you’re stressed already, I won’t add any more stress by disputing your interpretation of OP’s attitude except to say that I don’t see it the way you do. But by your own account you’re unhappy, so take the recommendation for whatever you feel it’s worth.

            2. Jen*

              OP doesn’t have a problem with the other two most frequent posters per channel because they’re probably not the same posters in each channel. And they’re probably actually contributing to the conversation, unlike Derek.

            3. Close Bracket*

              OP is castigating Derek for consistently *dominating* every space open to all employees. Not for existing. For dominating. All of them.

              > (notice they don’t have any issues with the other two most frequent posters)

              You are assuming the other two top posters are 1) always the same people and 2) the same people in all the channels. You don’t know that. Focus on what was said, Derek is always in the top three of all the channels. That’s called dominating the conversation, and while it’s true that there is no written copy of the social contract, dominating the conversation is generally a social faux pas that grates on the nerves of people around the dominator.

    3. Clarice Fitzpatrick*

      I’m not sure why you would have to lie? In the context of a 70 person chat room with a casual environment you can also just….not participate. Unless the context is something like “I’m making a recipe for everyone so I need everyone’s input/preferences,” there’s no need to respond in a way that’s irrelevant and ultimately unproductive to the person asking that kind of question. If someone asks a room of people, “What kind of dog should I get?” and I chime in with “I’m allergic to dogs and can’t own one” when there’s others who probably have relevant dog advice, that’s just…kinda awkward. It’s not the highest form of rudeness but at best, it’s just not appropriately reading the room.

    4. Ego Chamber*

      “If you happen to be vegan, then it is your only possible contribution to a conversation about pork recipes, besides lying.

      You missed one: not participating in conversations you have nothing to contribute to.

      There’s no rule that says you have to respond to every question asked to a group you happen to be a part of. I hate that my generation got so self-absorbed that it’s now totally normal and inevitable to see a question asked somewhere online in a public post followed by a string of “I don’t know,” “Don’t know, sorry,” “Dunno,” like it was addressed to each individual personally—and I extra-hate posting a question to a public forum and then having to sort through all the “don’t-know”s to find out if any of a dozen replies will be less than useless.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Exactly. It’s not like, if he hadn’t posted, the pork-recipe OP would’ve unloaded on him with “And where the heck is YOUR pork recipe, DEREK?! Everyone else has already contributed and we’re waiting on you!”

    5. nnn*

      It would be analogous to responding to this thread with “We don’t use Slack at my office.”

      1. katherine*

        No, it wouldn’t, because this is an asynchronous communication platform, as opposed to real time. It is also a theoretically infinite group of people, not a finite (and, it seems like, small) amount of coworkers. If someone asked me a Slack question and I wasn’t familiar with Slack, it would be perfectly acceptable to say “I’m sorry, I wish I could help, but I don’t know Slack,” or “What’s Slack?” It is a way of signaling that I am not blowing them off or ignoring them, that I support and want to help them, but just lack the knowledge.

        (I will also note that several people in this thread have done exactly this. There’s one post not far below.)

        1. Elsajeni*

          Right, but asking a question in a Slack chat is more like posting a question in an AAM comment than like asking one specific person a question — you’re asking the group at large, not any person in particular, and it’s perfectly normal for people who don’t have an answer to ignore the question. The OP said the cooking channel had about 70 people in it; the person who asked about pork recipes was probably not expecting 69 replies. It is fine to just let a conversation go by if it doesn’t pertain to you, and yes, people do generally find it annoying when someone jumps into every conversation they hear whether or not they have anything to say on the subject.

          This is getting into fine details, but there’s also a difference, I think, between your examples and Derek just saying “I’m vegan” — as you said, you can not have an answer but still contribute to the conversation, show support, express interest, etc., and your examples are good examples of that. We don’t have a word-for-word transcript, so maybe Derek did actually say something more like “Not me, I’m vegan, but I hope you find some good ones!” and the OP is just at BEC level with him, it’s a fair question! But there are also non-answer answers that don’t really serve any purpose but to say “hey, I’m here too,” or that actually close off or shut down an avenue of conversation — that’s responding to the call for pork recipes with just “I’m vegan,” or replying to an AAM comment asking a question about Slack just to say “I don’t use it.” That’s not really participating, it’s just piping up to hear your own voice, and if that’s what Derek is doing, it is totally reasonable to be annoyed by it.

        2. Courageous cat*

          Yeah, but no one’s directly asking you in this situation. They’re asking the group. How insanely tedious would it be if, every time someone posed a question to a group, the people with no answers or anything relevant to say said “I have nothing to say on the matter.”? That’s just not how talking in a group works.

    6. Courageous cat*

      “For instance, I am not vegan, but I really don’t understand how “I’m vegan” is an unacceptable thing to say, particularly in a loose chat-room like environment. If you happen to be vegan, then it is your only possible contribution to a conversation about pork recipes, besides lying.”

      That’s the thing that many seem to be missing, though, is that you don’t have to contribute. There’s absolutely no reason to contribute when you have nothing TO contribute. It’s easy and free to say nothing!

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Right! The point isn’t that he’s deliberately adding nothing to a conversation (except a redirect to himself) but that should be okay because he’s allowed to do so. The point is he’s deliberately adding nothing to the conversation when the conversation is specifically asking for something and therefore, he should keep his non-contribution to himself. Because that’s allowed too.

  52. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    RE: Community Guidelines idea, how exactly would those even work? If they’re not handed down by HR or some other “governing” body of the company…if you start instating “rules” of your own [or ones you come up with your committee of sorts], then you open yourself up when he starts getting kicked out of channels [I’m assuming that’s what the rules would boil down to, don’t follow them, don’t get to be in that channel], you have to deal with him complaining about being left out and that can bubble into the idea that you’re all bullying him just because he talks too darn much. It could be something much bigger than him complaining about the noise in his home and reminding you that he’s vegan! Then is that when you bring up “but he’s also posted underroo pics!” :( I hope you see where I’m going.

    The best way to approach it is to always make sure someone with some kind of authority over these things is involved. Otherwise you’re going to end up like the people who take it upon themselves to post signs about “Clean up after yourselves!”…or what, dude or what? You’re going to lock the kitchen off? You’re going to lock the bathroom? Just remember there are limitations and if you start getting too invested in this issue with Obnoxious Derek, you’re going down a rabbit hole that may or may not come out in a nice place for you professionally. So it’s best to just be forward with him and report report report things like underwear pics!

  53. Batgirl*

    Ah the spouse-complainer. OP your antennae is in fine working order if it screeches whenever it picks up ‘my spouse is a faulty accessory’ noises. I am always grateful that these people let me know who they are.

  54. Name of Requirement*

    As muting him doesn’t appear to be an option, can you change his font color to something hard to read?
    Also, maybe join some groups, but take a week off here and there?

  55. LGC*

    So slight derail – is Derek creating a hostile work environment for the LW? (I know, I’m asking another question based on the letter.) For some reason, I kind of feel like he might be getting close to it if he’s not already there, between the underwear pic (which…whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy) and the derogatory comments about his wife. Maybe it’s just because I had to sit through sexual harassment training last week.

    (For what it’s worth, it could well be that he’s complaining about his wife because she makes noise he can hear. But it’s being perceived as him complaining about his wife’s choices as related to his gender.)

    At any rate…like, it’s Slack. Y’all can message each other directly, I think. I hate to get on the gossip mill, but I can’t imagine that the LW is the only one in her company that’s annoyed by Derek – especially since I’m annoyed by him myself and I’m just a judgy guy on the internet reading this letter. And if he’s not productive…that’s really a problem for his boss. (Although I’d actually doubt that – I think it’s more likely that Derek has no life outside of work and just spends his free time posting on the company Slack.)

    1. Close Bracket*

      No, a hostile work environment has to be really egregious, targeted behaviors based on the recipient’s/recipients’ membership in a protected class. He sent that underwear pic to the entire channel, not just OP, not just the women, not just the men. Low-grade, garden-variety misogyny isn’t going to count as hostile work environment territory.

      1. LGC*

        From what I recall, it’s egregious…or pervasive. The part that seemed pervasive was the multiple (it sounds like) comments about his wife needing to get a job outside the house.

        At any rate I slept on it and I’m a little less cranky about Derek now. But the letter writer emphasized that she didn’t think this rose to the level of harassment, and while she knows the situation better than I do…I don’t think it’s that clear cut from what she wrote. She shouldn’t jump to filing a case yesterday, because this isn’t blatantly wrong, but…I mean, if this had been presented to me and I was in HR, I’d be a little concerned.

        1. Close Bracket*

          It might be more clear if you look up some examples of hostile work environment cases. This link has some hypothetical examples.

          Some key things to notice are 1) the target is actually Derek’s wife, and she doesn’t work at the company 2) Derek’s actions haven’t interfered with OP doing her job. Sure, Derek’s behavior is unwelcome and OP is uncomfortable, and he is pervasive, since he is on every slack channel, but no, he’s not creating a hostile work environment.

  56. Iron Chef Boyardee*

    I suppose I could Google it, but I’m sure I’m not the only reader who is out of the loop. What exactly is Slack?

  57. Jimming*

    Someone mentioned muting channels and that is great advice. I have most social channels muted anyway so I only get notifications about important work-related things and can go check the cat pics when I need a pick me up.

    I also second making a channel relevant to your interests or immediate team – and make it private so he can’t join unless he’s invited. And if you’re not on a team with him then he shouldn’t be. For example, each team I’m on has a work-related and a fun-related channel so we have one place to discuss work and one to bond. Again, this only works if he’s not on your team.

    He sounds like the type of person who would annoy me too so I understand. Don’t let him keep you from connecting with your other coworkers.

  58. Maya Elena*

    “Hey my husband doesn’t even know how to use a vacuum, so be grateful.”
    “Did you try asking her not to vacuum while you work, in so many words?”
    “Hey, you’re the one who married her. Don’t complain to us!”

    I do wonder though who among the women hasn’t complained about their husbands, perhaps quite viciously, to others? Although we are usually wise enough to restrict it to female audiences.

    1. Close Bracket*

      When men and women are equally privileged in society and housework is performed equally by all spouses and is just as valued as paying work, then you can make equivalencies between men complaining about wives who vacuum and women who complain about husbands.

  59. Every day I'm hustling*

    Is he boorish in person? If he is less aggressive in person, I’d suggest just going up to him and saying that he is being obnoxious and cite specifics.

    As for things you havent reported in the past or are borderline HR-reportable, maybe you can still compile a list to bring to his manager as a first step. You can say something like, “I didnt speak up earlier but feel compelled to now. We are having Slack etiquette issues with this guy. I wanted to go to HR first, but thought maybe you wanted to have a conversation with him first?”

    I’d personally avoid creating a separate group (seems petty). And if he is this aggressive, commenting on things as they happen can make him defensive and more obnoxious.

  60. boredoftheboorish*

    I feel you, OP. We just have MS Teams here, and we only have one channel, so we get water-cooler stuff and work stuff mixed in together. We have a version of your boorish co-worker here. Ours posts about his new mattress being delivered, calls his wife (of many years) his “bride” (as in, “My bride is annoyed with me because x,”) posts borderline-inappropriate memes (yet scolds people when he feels they are posting inappropriate content), and generally just clogs our channel with nonsense. This week it was, “Getting window estimates today.” Full stop. No other details. Just FYI–GETTING WINDOWS TODAY Y’ALL.

    I supsect he wants or needs a lot of attention. Mostly we ignore his more inane posts, but aaaaaarrrrrghhh.

  61. JSPA*

    You could use captain awkward as a topic… if he wants to contribute, he’ll have to read some of it, and perhaps get educated along the way. That’s assuming he’s educable, and just needs to buy a few clues.

  62. Lucille2*

    I stopped going to lunch with coworkers because of the Derek at my office. And I’m not the only one. In fact, my Derek ruined a lot of things at work for not just me, but a lot of people. Derek is why we can’t have nice things at work.

    I think the stuff you’ve pointed out is worth just calling out in the moment.
    Derek: “I’m vegan”
    You: “Please only provide responses to the question. This channel is open to all dietary needs.”
    Derek: **underwear pic
    You: “This is a workplace channel. No underwear pics allowed here.”
    Derek: “my wife vacuums too much. It’s annoying.”
    You: “Someone else is cleaning your house and you’re complaining?”

  63. OhBehave*

    I think no matter how many topic groups you create, he will feel the need to comment. He did share that he’s vegan on a pork recipe question! Allison often advises to express confusion at an action. Such as, I’m not sure why you think this pic was appropriate to share.
    You should call him out on these things in the moment. Doing so may show others that they can do the same!

Comments are closed.