Set up the Orbit Slack integration

This guide will walk you through setting up the Slack integration.

The Orbit Slack Integration will automatically ingest messages in your community Slack. We’ll create a profile for every active participant and an activity for each message, allowing you to see when they joined, the channels they are more active on, and the specific messages they posted.

The Slack integration can now create members and activities for public and private channels. If you’d like it to do so for shared channels, direct messages, or something else, please drop us a line in our Discord server (https://discord.orbit.love) or at [email protected]

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Slack integration vs. Slack App

The Slack integration is installed on your community Slack, and will create members profiles and activities in Orbit. The Slack App is a different, unrelated feature that can be installed on your company Slack to receive Slack Notifications and get the nifty /orbit Slack command. To learn more about the Orbit Slack App, head to this page.

Initially, Orbit will import the last 12 months of activity. If you'd like more history, just let us know.

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Is your Slack workspace on the Slack Free Plan

Please note that Slack only preserves the 10,000 most recent messages in your workspace and removes anything earlier from its storage. The first-time historical import is limited by what is available, and anything after that 10,000 message mark will not be available to import.

Integrating Slack is a three-step process. First, you'll connect a Slack account to your user. Then, you'll attach the account to a workspace. Finally, you’ll add the Orbit Integration to the relevant channels in Slack.

Connect a Slack account to your user

First, head to the Linked Accounts section of your Account Settings page. If you've already connected the Orbit GitHub, Twitter, or Discourse integrations, you'll see them there.

To get started, click "Connect Slack Integration."

“Connect Slack Integration" will take you to Slack's authorization screen. The app asks for read-only permissions. Make sure that the correct Slack workspace is selected in the top-right corner, then click Allow.

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Slack’s default settings allow for any member to install an application in a workspace. Be sure to select the correct Slack workspace on that screen, or you might install Orbit in an unrelated community!

If successful, Slack will send you back to Orbit and you'll see your linked Slack account:

Attach a Slack account to a Workspace

Now, navigate to the workspace where you'd like to add the integration.

Click Settings in the navigation, then navigate to the Integrations area.

Click Add integration. You'll then see a list of available integrations to add to this workspace.

Add the Orbit Integration to your Slack channels

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For now, the Slack integration can create members and activities for public and private channels. If you’d like it to do so for shared channels, direct messages or something else, please drop us a line in our Discord server (https://discord.orbit.love) or at [email protected]

Open the Slack application to the Slack workspace you just connected with Orbit.
Select any public channel (say, #general) and open the Channel Details menu by clicking on the top-right “info” icon.

Next, under the “More” menu, click “Add apps”:

Browse the catalog or use the search bar until you find “Orbit Integration”, then click Add.

The Orbit integration is now added to the #general channel! This will import historical messages and profiles (up to one year), and will listen for any new activities.

A message may appear in the channel you just configured, saying “Orbit was added to #channel by you”.

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The message “Orbit was added to #channel by you” may appear in every channel you add the integration to. Slack Workspace admins can delete it by opening the “More actions” menu on that message and selecting “Delete message”.

To add the Orbit integration to more channels, you can either repeat the same steps or take advantage of the message shown above: clicking on the name or icon of “Orbit” in that message will open a menu, from which you can add the integration to more channels with a click:

You can also type the following command in the channel you want the Orbit integration to be added to: /invite @orbit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I see a “X joined #channel” activity in some Slack members’ timelines, but not others?

Unfortunately, the Slack API doesn’t offer a reliable way to know when a particular member joined a channel. The only available information are the “X joined #channel” messages you sometimes see in a channel:

Those messages appear infrequently as per Slack’s default configuration option for that setting:

Thus, when the Orbit integration is doing a historical import, it can only create “X joined #channel”-type activities when it is written in the channel itself, which is seldom.

I have dozens of channels; why can’t I add Orbit to all channels automatically?

Behind the scenes, the Orbit integration works as a Slack Bot in order to listen to incoming messages. For now, the Orbit Slack Bot can not be added automatically to all channels with the scopes that we ask for.

Why does Orbit announce that it’s been added to a channel?

Behind the scenes, the Orbit integration works as a Slack Bot in order to listen to incoming messages. Slack announces every time a Slack Bot is added to a channel, along with who added it.

That message can be removed by Slack Workspace Admins in the “More actions” menu, by selecting “Delete message”.

How do I remove the Orbit Integration from a particular channel?

To remove the Orbit Integration from a specific channel, open the “Channel Details” menu, then “More”, then “View N apps in #channel”:

You can then remove the Orbit integration from that channel.

I already have an existing Slack integration but I don't have access to private Slack channels, how do I upgrade to the latest Slack integration version?

To upgrade your existing Slack Integration, go to Workspace Settings > Integrations, and click on 'Configure' for your linked Slack account.

On the next screen, click the purple 'Upgrade' button and then you'll be redirected to a screen where you'll click "Allow" to grant permission for the integration to access your updated scope (including private Slack channels).

Note: you'll only have the option to upgrade if you are the original user who added the Slack integration to your Orbit workspace. If a teammate originally added the Slack integration to your Orbit workspace, you'll see a similar message to the one below: