Using Slack

How to use Slack, and for what

Slack is the main forum for STAT 545 for discussion between students, TAs, and the instructor. Students will be given the Slack invite link at the beginning of the semester.

We prefer Slack for all communications but in some cases you can email us instead. Find emails on the teaching team section.

The teaching team can’t guarantee that they will be able to respond to student messages outside of typical workday hours (0900-1700 PST). So, please be mindful of a 17:00 PST cutoff on Fridays when asking assignment-related questions.

Use the #general channel for most communications

TAs, Vincenzo and other students can participate and benefit from these conversations. Examples of appropriate topics for #general are described below:

Clarifying concepts from lectures


What’s the difference between a tibble and a data.frame?

Does set.seed() work on all computers (OS) and versions of R?

Is there a difference between [] and [[]]?

Asking about course organization

e.g. the syllabus, course policies, assignment deadlines…


When is the deadline for Assignment 1?

For next lecture on Tuesday, are we going to be reviewing the upcoming project?

Clarifying instructions in assignments and other deliverables

Ping the TA or instructor if you know which person developed the instructions (@Name-of-TA-or-instructor).


For assignment 1a, question 3, can I pick any character variable in my dataset or does it need to be one with 3 or more categories? @Victor

For assignment 2, do I use the same dataset that I used in assignment 1?

When you are stuck and need help

On assignments, workshops, group projects.


For worksheet 4, question 2.1, I can’t seem to get the correct answer. Here is my code:

answer2.1 <- mtcars %>% 
     nest(cyl) %>%

For assignment 3, I keep getting an error when installing the package distplyr. This is the code and error message: ...code and errors...

Post an appropriate amount of details to get the help you want. Ideally use reprex, but at minimum provide your code, and any error messages.

When to message a TA or Vincenzo privately

If you are still stuck after trying #general, then you can message a TA for more help. Instead messaging just one TA, please consider making a group chat and message all of the TAs, so that the most available TA can help.

Example situations:

“Hi TAs, I posted in #general for help, but I’m still stuck on question 2.1 of worksheet 4. Can I get some help to work through this?”

If a TA feels that your message is inappropriate for a private conversation (e.g. it might be helpful for other students to see), they may redirect you to posting in the #general channel.

When you have questions or concerns about your grades

Either post an issue on your homework repo (preferred), or contact the marking TA on slack.

Only message Vincenzo if you are still unsatistified with your grade, after talking with your TA

When you have need a deadline extension

Contact your TA if it’s only for one upcoming deadline. If you need multiple deadline extensions for an extenuating circumstance, consider contacting Vincenzo

When there is conflict with another student in a group project

For example, when you feel that your partner is not pulling their weight.

Other guidelines for using Slack

  • Use threads to keep conversations organized

  • If posting code, use ``` (backticks). It’s way easier to read. Even better, use reprex