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Dark Mode for Slack (slackhq.com)
166 points by alfredxing 31 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 115 comments

I've been using an unofficial Discord and Slack client called Ripcord for a while now. https://cancel.fm/ripcord/

It uses a dark theme by default, which is very appreciated. Another huge plus is that it's not Electron garbage like the official Slack and Discord clients, so you don't have to effectively run one or two other entire web browsers just to do a bit of chatting. On the other hand, it is Qt garbage instead, so it still doesn't integrate with macOS's look and feel very well, and a long-standing bug is that when disconnecting my laptop from a wired ethernet connection, it doesn't automatically reconnect everything once the system switches over to wifi. Neither of these have stopped me from preferring it over the official clients, though. I recommend anyone not satisfied with the crust and bloat of the official Slack and Discord clients to give it a try.

EDIT: But, yes, IRC is still the better choice when possible.

As a KDE user, this looks really tempting. The only thing I'd be worried about is that using third-party clients is a violation of Discord's TOS, and I'd be terrified of getting banned for using it. Do you know if Discord has a history of banning Ripcord users, or is it something they look the other way on?

I've never heard of them banning anyone for using this or some other unofficial client, no. I'd imagine a more effective approach to urge people to use the official client would be to simply block access from unofficial clients first before they start entirely banning accounts and pissing people off… but you never know, I guess.

They've banned people for using modded clients in abusive ways, i.e. overriding spam/flood controls, which is reasonable. Unfortunately their official statement in response to those incidents was essentially "You can be be banned at any time for using modded or unofficial clients." They haven't actually done that to any legitimate users AFAIK, but their overreacting, user-hostile stance is worrisome, so I can see why amyjess is concerned.

Well if their spam/flood control is done in the client they should ban themselves from their job and let someone competent take over

It actually is. That's how slowmode works: if you send a message in a channel with slowmode, it sets a flag on your client telling it to not let you send anything for X seconds. No reason an alternative client can't just clear out that flag.

Yup. Discord's client is pretty bad.

If you want to be completely on the safe side, don't use ripcord.

That said, for what it's worth, I haven't known someone getting banned yet.

Slack's dark mode is a bit late for me, and it's still not a native app. I switched to Pidgin with libpurple and libslack a while ago, and I'm not going back.

Have you used volt? How do they compare resource usage wise? https://volt-app.com/

I'll be happy to give it a go once they put their Linux client back out.

Does Slack screen-sharing work?

In Ripcord? Never tried it. If I had to guess, probably not. That might be something you need to fire up the official client for. But for simple chatting and stupid meme sharing, which is probably what 99% of Slack and Discord users are doing 99% of the time, it works great.

Now that’s done, please delete the drafts section, so messages stay in one place?

Yes. This please. I so so SO hate the drafts section.

Regularly I have DM conversations with people and might have typed out half a message when I need to respond to another channel/DM. But when I go back to the first conversation... it's gone. Because instead of being at the bottom of my list where I expect to see it (like I do the other 99.99999% of the time)... it's up at the top.

Don't. Move. Around. The. UI.

Or, if they want to keep the drafts section... Duplicate the channel, don't move it. That way you get the best of both worlds

Or simply provide a preference setting. Sure, if you like it go for it. But I don't, let me turn it off.

This is the key. I don't think most people would care about the drafts section if it appeared and disappeared without disrupting the normal way of doing things!

I suggest getting used to switching around using Ctrl-K instead of using the mouse. If you only have one "draft", just pushing Ctrl-K, Enter will take you back to it. If there's more than one, you might need to type a couple of letters before pushing Enter.

My main two feature requests would be:

- Add a way to mute notifications from an individual user

- Add a way to organize threads by topic

For the first one, I believe they've said they will never implement it. For the second one, I'm holding out that someone will realize how crappy the threading implementation is, but I don't have much hope.

Oh man, completely muting a user would be amazing.

Unfortunately I believe they've said "since this is a product for professional workplaces we don't see a need for this feature".

Professional workspaces always contain chatty people…

And how exactly do you explain that you didn’t get the important ping of something being broken because you muted the person? Seems like a lot more problems than just telling the person to be less chatty in important channels.

Important alerts should be automated from some software, not from the coworker that thinks every shower-thought is good #random material.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole stack is perfectly tested and alerts are there for every small detail. Unfortunately in the real world that’s not always the case.

I really wish they would let you turn off the whole "show other users' typing activity" thing, so that people don't hold back their replies if they see someone else replying.

I'd turn it off for our whole org if I could because I'd rather the conversation happen quickly than...well I'm not sure what their goal is. It's like they're taking a page from Apple's anti-user/anti-choice playbook for iOS Messages by not giving you a painfully obvious option at all, at any level.

Something that got much less attention but deserves it (IMO) is that they have accessible themes for people with color-vision deficiencies. There is a theme for people with tritanopia and one for protanopia & deuteranopia.

Having protanopia myself I'm very grateful for any piece of software that takes these issues seriously.

For those on Visual Studio Code: the slack themes are also available there, including the color blind themes.

They've had these for a while! I have a coworker with protanopia and we've all started using that theme.

Funny that as Discord releases a light theme, Slack releases a dark theme.

But in seriousness, does Slack really have any value proposition over Discord beyond Screen Hero these days?

I switched my organization over to Discord based on the ability to create public channels for testers/customers to communicate with my team on the server without any role-based overhead (also because my target market is largely the Twitch/gamer crowd - most of whom already have Discord set up).

I understand that there are less integrations baked in, but most are easily worked around with webhooks.

I do not trust Discord on data privacy.

It's not just the target market being the gamer crowd, its focus on promoting gaming content is beyond distracting for a work setting.

Take its font-and-center features:

- The primary page with all the game and stream ads has zero value for productivity.

- Its voice chat is great but not nearly as valuable as a video meeting integration.

- I don't need or want to know what application or game you have open right now or what music you're listening to. I just want to know if you're available right now or if not, when you will be.

Integrations, emphasized. Adding a swath of app integrations was a "wow" factor when Slack first came on the scene, and I've had very little trouble introducing Slack at organizations with minimal IT resources because of this. Setting up and maintaining webhooks is "too much" for a lot of people who can otherwise manage a Slack org.

I don't see why Slack would be more trustworthy than Discord when it comes to data privacy, when we're talking about a company that failed to disclose a breach for 5 years.


If you care about your data, you have to be able to own it, and neither Slack nor Discord offers that option.

Discord doesn't have any integrations for Enterprise users, like SSO, retention policies, etc. Many large companies probably wouldn't be able to use it, not to mention we don't know what Discord is doing with the data (not that it is a bad chat tool, it's great, but only really useful for casual groups).

Do we know what Slack is doing with the data?

Maybe not for a small company, but I simply can't imagine it for a larger organization.

Even ignoring integrations/plugins/bots – of which Discord has almost nothing useful for product development – a huge issue with Discord is that you have no choice over which channels you are in. At Atlassian, we literally have hundreds of different Slack channels for various teams/products/whatever, and everyone has access to everything which isn't private. With Discord, that would get ugly really quickly.

In my eyes, that's the biggest reason I'd choose Slack over Discord. Legitimately, I think it's a better tool overall, but even for what I use Discord for, it's very annoying not to be able to leave a channel that you have no interest in. I can collapse/mute things, but it's still not super helpful when there are tons of them.

You could quote easily create a bot account that allows people to set their own custom role for specific channel access, though? There's API bindings for basically any language. Of course it's not as good as native access but if it's a big problem, creating a simple bot is a viable solution.

Just a sidenote - Discord has always had a light theme, they just revamped it recently. Sadly the light theme will never be usable until they change the color of rank names and such not. The majority of people use dark theme, so they make server icons and role colors that look good on dark theme, not light theme.

Ignoring the feature set, is data retention policy not a consideration? For us, we paste customer log data for debugging purposes, and Discord's lack of a clear enterprise data retention policy means that we're not assured customer data isn't winding up where it shouldn't be.

Honestly I couldn't care about gifs/emojis/themes/threads/etc, but also the lack of SSO means it's a giant security issue. What if one of your devs loses their password, and you can't mandate 2 factor because Discord sign in is out of your control?

After Hipchat died, I tried to get my company to move to Discord instead of Slack. We ended up not doing so, because Discord's TOS does not allow commercial use, only personal use.


This is likely why there are few integrations developer use in Discord as well.

Threaded conversations are nice

For Mac Users:

I had to choose View -> Reload (Command R) form the top menu bar to make this option show up for me.

Yeah I had to completely stop and restart the Slack app before the new feature showed up

RIP IRC, which had the advantage of offering people the opportunity to use any client they like.

Yep - I desperately want /ignore back. Lots of annoying bots.

It sucks that the protocol is proprietary but there seems to be a reasonably healthy ecosystem of 3rd party Slack clients so that advantage isn’t totally gone.

I find the wee-slack plugin for the WeeChat IRC client to be pretty good (https://github.com/wee-slack/wee-slack)

Pidgin with libpurple/libslack is also great. A bit quirky, but it works.

Sad news for custom emoji users. So many look bad now.

In all seriousness though - I don't see why all apps/sites don't develop in a "dark mode" first mindset. With all the studies showing eye strain related health issues correlated to bright screens, you'd think this would be an easy solution to help alleviate the problem.

Imagine writing your name in the sand on a beach by digging out all the area around the text to make it appear.. why project mostly background light with dark content as opposed to projecting the content and letting the dead space remain dark.

The custom emoji upload flow now includes previews for both light and dark mode! Doesn't help with existing custom emoji, but is hopefully helpful when adding new ones.

Interestingly this actually varies by display technology. CRT’s are default black and have light projected onto them. LCD’s are default white and to display black you have to block the light, which is why LCD blacks aren’t as black. I believe OLEDs are default black once again, which is why they have deeper and darker blacks.

Someone complained about ours on their phone client so I’ve been testing when adding a new one.

I’m anal enough that I’d _love_ to be able to upload dark-mode variants, though. Proper transparency can’t solve everything.

How is this sad news?

- Its not a forced change. Don't do anything and emojis are fine.

- Even if it was forced, is slack responsible for every possible customization? (Hey I like using black text always! Its hard to see black text in dark mode!)

Its an additional feature. It seems like such a weird thing to be sad/complain about.

It was mainly intended as a joke but I agree that I didn't make that clear. It's just a minor inconvenience for a massive quality of life improvement

Yeah, transparent emoji backgrounds are crucial.

I wish people still used things like GTK. Every app I install that uses GTK has dark mode enabled by default, and fits my system theme.

We wouldn't need to wait for Slack to get around to implementing a dark mode interface if we could just use the protocol with clients of our choosing.

Sitting on the web. No such option currently exists.

I had the same thing, refreshed and it was there.

Multiple hard refreshes later and it did arrive.

I use the Hoth theme in Slack and through it was pretty cute that they change the name of that theme to Dagobah in dark mode.

Any chance they'll ever improve threaded discussions? Or take cues from competitors like Zulip and add forum-style topics?

One can dream.

I have the latest Mac version (4.0.3) and I see no such option.

I had to restart slack to get the themes preference page to appear.

Thanks. This should really be noted in the blog post.

Hopes dashed. I have wanted a dark mode for a long time but the color they picked is a dark blue gray which I find unpleasant. I would rather keep the neutral white/grey-scaled light theme than that. I can only hope that they will eventually make it customizable like the other elements.

Sorry to hear - it's really taken them a long time to do this, but I'm pleased with the results. I've been using Stylish + Slack Dark - have you tried that? https://userstyles.org/styles/160324/slack-dark-mode

I wish they fixed the recurring “enable desktop notifications” prompt in the browser as well. It’s beyond annoying to use Slack in a browser these days because it, especially if (like myself) you only go in for a few minutes every hour and close the tab afterwards.

This is actually a pretty bad implementation. It's very hard to read compared to my IDE dark modes.

Like the font weight is too high or something. I had to change back to Light mode.

I'm all about dark mode but not a fan here. They need to spend some time and make it more readable.

I strongly agree. I use dark modes on almost all my other desktop applications where it is available, but after a few hours of using the dark mode in Slack my eyes got tired.

If they allowed customization of the main dark background color this would be remediable, but the only part of the theme that can be changed is the sidebar.

After literally years of promises, this is such a poor implementation that it's shocking. And I say this as someone who actually mostly likes Slack as a product.


That is a much better dark mode for Slack but it's still not good enough. The channel list is still very offensive.

Why is this HN front-page worthy?

- Many HN users are programmers or work in other tech jobs.

- Many HN users use Slack at this job or have interacted with someone who does.

- Many HN users hate how Slack is an Electron app that consumes too many resources for the simple functions it performs.

- Many HN users follow app trends, including the fact everything is adding a dark mode lately.

These four reasons are why this would make it to the HN front page.

5th: I've wanted dark mode in slack for a long time and would not have heard about it without this post.

Same here. My eyes are so happy.

Because people upvoted it and that's how HN works.

The wheel was always an interesting invention

Why is this HN comment-section worthy?

Is dark mode a fashion thing or does it really helps with eye strain? In darker surroundings, I just lower the brightness.

1. Lowering brightness is basically lowering contrast; some people can’t read black-on-grey so well. A lot easier to read (bright-)white-on-black, while still not getting so much light exposure. (Have you tried reading a book on your phone in bed at night?)

2. The rise of dark-mode popularity seems to coincide with the availability of OLED screens, where black is a very, very dark color (i.e. what your screen looks like when it’s off) compared to what it is on LCD screens (where it’s just “what the backlight looks like when the LCD is trying its best to block it.”) In these cases, not only is #FFF-on-#000 is seemingly higher contrast than #000-on-#FFF, but also uses far less battery besides.

> The rise of dark-mode popularity seems to coincide with the availability of OLED screens

"Dark mode" predates OLEDs by decades. Pretty much up until the first Macs, turning on a computer and getting something other than green, amber, or white text on a black background was an exception. Even then, code editors and terminal emulators on Macs and eventually Windows systems typically allowed for a dark mode, if only as a secondary option, well before anything other than CRT displays were practical.

Of course dark modes and dark themes have been around for a long time, but the user you are responding to specifically pointed to the 'rise of dark' mode, meaning the recent explosion in popularity

Most of the commentary I've seen about dark mode is how less readable it is, for whatever reason.

Anecdotally, dark mode on slack appears more difficult to read than light mode, at least in a well lit room. I couldn't use it for very long.

I think it's a fashion thing with a thin veneer of eye strain reduction (since, AFAIK, there's little conclusive evidence dark mode matters here)

I have HN and a terminal open side by side, and I can tell you HN is more painful to look at, simply because it's like shining flashlight into the eyes compared to a black-background terminal.

You should try using dark mode extensions like DarkReader if you aren't already. I have it enabled on most sites and it works almost flawlessly.


I want to try it badly but it goes against most fibers of my being to give a 3rd party extension such crazy permissions:

  Access your data for all websites
  Access browser tabs

How else would it rewrite the styles for every page?

Dark Background on Light Text extension is great and you can customize the colors.

Also, try Stylus with the "Hacker News Readable Dark" style.

Not for me, nobody looking at my computer except for me and I have Slack now in dark mode, I have Dark Background and Light Text in Firefox (also dark mode) and custom dark style sheets in Stylus where they are available and good.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but staring at a blinding white computer monitor inches from my face all day as a software engineer HURTS. Like, literally hurts after a while.

Dark mode is much easier on the eyes.

Dark mode also saves on battery life (quite significantly). That's one of the biggest reasons why Apple is rolling dark mode out on the iPhone.

Pretty sure that's not true for normal LCD where the screen is backlit. OLED is a bit different so it certainly helps there.

Dark mode doesn’t really have that much of an impact for most use, and I’m fairly sure Apple was more likely to have added to to iOS because they had just done so with macOS.

Wonder how many trees this mode effectively saves. Google.com should have a darkmode soon I hope. :P

http://blackle.com/ is still around, if you're serious.

HTTPS is not configured correctly, nor does it have a valid TLS cert, which is from 2010. And they are running Apache 2.2.3. Yikes!

DarkReader extension for Chrome/Firefox works for me.

Very few, I’d assume.

I'm more interested in if/when they will fix threads.

Threads in slack are horrible. The idea isn't great in itself imo, but the implementation is a terrible experience. Constantly showing "more messages" link at the bottom unless you use the small sidebar.

A couple or groups I am in decided to avoid them entirely

I am wanting to try twist.com, but alot of the non-technical folks are still in love with Slack.

I think threading by default and forcing a topic would be better for channels.

Finally fulfilling a ~2013 request that is basically a style sheet. Better late than never I guess

Yeah, but they got to gradually develop "Slack Kit" and release a blog post patting themselves on the back for doing so to fulfill a 5 year old feature request. You can't just do that in CSS!

What's the deal with dark modes? With glossy laptop screens they're 100% unreadable in good natural light conditions; even with a matte screen, they're pretty bad.

> good natural light conditions

Dark modes are for... the dark.

I just prefer less light hitting my eyeballs. The only time I use light modes are when I'm giving a presentation and want my screen to be more legible under super bright fluorescents.

> good natural light conditions

So many of us are stuck in situations of bad fluorescent light or worse.

The biggest benefits of dark modes are on OLED screens, such as most "flagship" handheld computers these days. On a modern OLED, a black pixel may be entirely unlit, which entirely reduces the amount of light being fired at your retinas during your screen hours. It's also a small power savings when multiplied by lots of unlit pixels across a day.

But at the end of the day, it's also just aesthetic choice. Some people like the Batman approach of paint everything as black and dark as possible. It's okay for people to have a variety of tastes, and nice that "Dark Mode" frenzy has increased options across every platform (whether or not you think you want or need such options).

Laptop displays are unfortunately limited to the "good enough" solution of additive light. We're stuck with it because it works well enough, so it's not important to sink tons of money and research in bringing e-ink style displays up to par. As a result, "light mode" means bombarding your eyes with... light. This is not good. Dark pixels are pixels that emit less light. This is much better for your eyes.

Other than some accessibility concerns for some people, it's a purely aesthetic preference.

I find my eyes are quite comfortable in light mode, and it's easier to read... but I do turn my screen brightness down quite a lot. My work monitors are on 40%. Most of my colleagues' screens are a lot brighter, which might explain why they find light mode a little bit uncomfortable sometimes.

I'm not sure if it's real or not, but I feel like dark mode apps are easier on my eyes. I sit in front of a computer in my office most of the day, and I don't need a bunch of white light shining in my face all day. I prefer to have the majority of the screen be dark colors and text be light colored.

Not to mention, in dark mode window shadows and other UI hints are not discernible. Dark mode is a usability nightmare and after the initial intrigue of something new was gone, I set my computer back to light mode.

Finally a breakthrough !!!

Human eye’s signal amplification curve is not linear. [1] You can’t convert an existing app to dark mode so much as building a new design for it, or it looks weird. Youtube’s Dark mode is an example of this uncanny valley.

Funnily enough, they themselves illustrated the issue with the first image on their post, in how weird the version on the left looks.

Besides - what we need isn’t a full dark mode, it’s an app that is built for the human eye. Dark mode is as extreme as staring into a white lightbulb all day, which is what the light mode is.

An example of this is Aether (disclosure: it’s a project I’m designing for: https://aether.app).

It’s designed for the ‘dark’ mode from scratch, or rather, it’s at 40% mode and it’s the only UI, so it aims to work well for both day and night. So we don’t have to go for the one or the other.

(I’m not sure about posting here since it’s a ‘Slack competitor’ and I don’t want to look like advertising, but hey, I guess it’s relevant)

[1] Contrast Threshold Curve of Human Vision https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Contrast-threshold-curve...

> You can’t convert an existing app to dark mode.

How can this possibly be true? Are you trying to say something else, like "just changing colors is not sufficient to create a high quality dark mode"? That is probably why it's a "mode" and not a "theme".

This tool looks nice though. This type of threading is much more appropriate for work conversations, in my experience.

Yes, sorry, that was a little hyperbolic, so I edited to correct. I meant sometimes the things that you need to do to make a dark mode is not just changing colours, but also to produce new design work, since not all of the existing design can be converted.

(And thanks — I agree. It saves quite a bit of productivity in our own remote team every day.)

> Youtube’s Dark mode is an example of this uncanny valley.

What uncanny valley? I have been using Youtube's dark mode for a while now, and much prefer it to the default light mode. The light mode appears jarring and "noisy" for some reason.

It's definitely better than the light mode, but it's still a very 'skin' kind of implementation. For an example on the contrary, Twitter's dark mode is a much better reimplementation than YouTube's.

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