Journal Entry | WordPress Slack Workspace Unavailability

Beginning around 12:10 UTC on March 30, 2021, users in the Making WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at team found themselves unable to log in with the message “Sorry, this workspace has been deleted.” This was resolved around an hour later. This post is to provide plain information about what happened and what will be done to avoid this in the future.

tl;dr: The final step on a profile deletion request went unattended due to a number of factors including group ownership. The workspace was deactivated per Slack TOS, this was resolved within an hour via email. We apologize for the interruption and are working to ensure this does not happen again.

Slack provides the ability for users in a team to request GDPR-compliant deletion of profiles, a step further than the typical deactivation process. These requests are sent to Slack’s support team, which then forwards the request on to the Workspace Primary Owner. For the WordPress open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. project, this user is not an individual account, in line with our values as a community project, and no individual was able to take action based on this request as it initially required an email response from a specific address. Further notices were then sent to all the owners of the WordPress Slack workspace, and on February 28th the request was forwarded to the DPO team (the group that manages GDPR deletion requests). This was not the first request that had been forwarded, but the first to escalate to requiring a response for deletion rather than profile deactivation.

Today, Slack’s privacy team again contacted the owners as well as the DPO team as no action had been taken on the profile deletion request, noting that the workspace had been suspended and would require an email response to reactivate the workspace and delete the profile in question. A Slack owner replied to this within the hour and the workspace was restored.

Next Steps

Profile deletion requests are usually completed upon request (the limited number of exceptions are detailed in the Privacy Policy). Since the process to fully delete a profile requires manual intervention from both WordPress and Slack, we’ve updated the inbox that can confirm requests and should be notified. That inbox is now dpo at wordpress dot org which is monitored actively and includes the following people:

  • Angela Jin
  • Alex Shiels
  • Cami Kaos
  • Courtney Patubo Kranzke
  • Erica Varlese
  • Hari Shanker
  • Hugh Lashbrooke
  • Samuel (Otto) Wood
  • Mika Epstein
  • Rocío Valdivia
  • Scott Reilly
  • William Patton

The MetaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. team are looking into automating the confirmation step (from WordPress to Slack), to limit the amount of manual processing in the future.

Thank you to @helen for pulling together the timeline of the morning, as well as @angelasjin, @desrosj, @_dorsvenabili, and @dd32 who worked to resolve the issue. Props to @hellofromtonya, Angela, and Jonathan for edits and proofreading. 🙂