List of terms

Please also see List of Mattermost Acronyms for abbreviated terms.

Current Terms

The following lists current terms actively used at Mattermost. You can also see Tombstoned Terms for terms that have either been modified or deprecated. We use Tombstoned Terms to preserve links to previous definitions so clarity is maintained.

0/5, 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5, 5/5

We use “x/5” to concisely communicate conviction. 0/5 means you don’t have a strong opinion, you are just sharing an idea or asking a question. 5/5 means you are highly confident and would stake your reputation on the opinion you’re expressing.
Example: "0/5, I think before archiving a channel a user should type in the name of the channel to make sure they really want to do it" expresses low conviction and indifference in the suggestion. The decision maker should feel free to ignore the input. As another example: "4/5, I think before archiving a channel a user should type in the name of the channel to make sure they really want to do it" expresses high conviction and the decision maker may want to ask more questions to understand whether emotion, assumption, or priority is behind the feedback.

Best Practices

We try not to use the term "best practice" at Mattermost, as it's counter-cultural to our focus on iteration, self-awareness, and earn trust. Iteration means there is always opportunity to grow and improve and so we never reach our "best".


Refers to both an As Appropriate interview as well as the As Appropriate interviewer. Final interview required before making a decision on a new hire.


Area Of Responsibility defines the area for which a DRI is accountable. The AOR page provides information on AORs across the company.


An obvious error in Mattermost software that is typically a code defect. Changes required to accommodate unsupported third-party software (such as browsers or operating systems) are not considered bugs - they are considered improvements.


Contract Accountability Owner is a DRI for ensuring a contract meets our guidelines and standards ahead of final approval by a company signatory. Also see listing of CAOs.


COM is short for Customer Obsession Meeting, which is our “All Hands” meeting focused on how we’re aligning the company to serve our customers.


Because the term "country" may be either controversial or incorrect when describing a geographic area governed by a state-like political entity we use the term "country/region" to avoid any accidental or implied judgement on the independence of a region. If the term "country" appears to be incorrectly used, when "country/region" is more appropriate, please contact [email protected].

Collapsed Reply Threads (CRT)

Collapsed Reply Threads (CRT) is a Mattermost Messaging feature available in beta offering an enhanced experience for users communicating in threads and replying to messages. When enabled, Collapsed Reply Threads improve users’ ability to process channel content, find, follow, and resume conversations more easily, and keep threaded conversations focused. See our Organizing Conversations using Collapsed Reply Threads (Beta) product documentation for details.

Core Committers

Core committers are staff or community developers with the responsibility to contribute and review Mattermost source code.


The primary external audience we are focused on for an initiative, which could be an end user without budget (if our goal is adoption and engagement) or a buyer (if our objective for the initiative is revenue). A customer does not include internal staff, since staff are not external.

Dark Actions

The act of using non-web-discoverable formats (Mattermost channels requiring login, Google docs that aren't web searchable, Zoom call, email, etc.) to share non-confidential information or processes.
Example: Giving someone instructions on how to set up Okta for MFA on the community server in a DM rather than writing it into a handbook entry for all new staff to use and re-use.
Dark actions create false openness. Open actions are highly preferred.

Dead Tarzan

Discarding an imperfect solution without a clearly thought out and working alternative. Based on idea of Tarzan of the Jungle letting go of a vine without having a new vine to swing to.


A term for shipping something that is far below quality standards. This term is used by mountain climbers to describe falling off the side of a mountain, which often involves a series of failures, not just one.

Dev Mana

A specific type of mana for developers similar to “points” or “jelly beans” in an Agile/Scrum methodology. On average, full time Mattermost developers each complete tickets adding up to approximately 28 mana per week. A “small” item is 2 mana, a “medium” is 4, a “large” is 8, and any project bigger needs to be broken down into smaller tickets.


Directly Responsible Individual means a human individual who is accountable for a given Area Of Responsibility. A DRI is a single person, not a group of people. If there is a shift schedule, define each shift as a separate AOR (e.g. Tier 2 Mobile Support Escalations Weekdays 8am to 5pm Palo Alto time). If you are unsure who is the DRI, make the AOR more specific until the DRI is clear.


“Edge Release”, a version of Mattermost which indicates the latest unstable release off of the main branch.


“Extended Support Release”, a version of Mattermost maintained for a longer period of time that will receive security fixes.

Expert Mode

Expert Mode (also known as "Crimson Force Field") is when documentation or on-screen text is written for someone with considerable knowledge or expertise, instead of being designed for a new learner. In general, try to state things simply rather than speaking to just the “experts” reading the text.
If something is extremely difficult to understand, and yet still justified in the mind of the writer, we call it “Crimson Force Field”. This term is intended to evoke the emotional response of coming across something that is difficult to understand, so writers of Crimson Force Field material can empathize with the readers. Crimson Force Field is drawn from an esoteric episode of Star Trek and it is unlikely anyone but the originator of the term understands its complete meaning. Crimson Force Field is itself Crimson Force Field.

False Openness

Keeping non-sensitive information that would be helpful for staff and community to know out of public web search through the use of dark actions. Often false openness is unintentional, though after staff members are educated on the topic and empowered to use open actions, continued use of dark actions would appear to be deliberate.


A status update format that is split into three categories: Going Well, Not Going Well, Next Actions. Read more about GNNs here.

HW - Help Wanted

Help Wanted tickets, which are vetted changes to the source code open for community contributions.


A beneficial change to code that is not fixing a bug.


Iteration means being able to quickly improve on something by shipping a minimally viable change in how we do things. It's the opposite of the "wait, wait, wait, ship" method we call the Windows Vista Approach.


“Latest Release”, a version of Mattermost which indicates the latest stable release.


The “Left-Hand Sidebar” in the Mattermost team site, used for navigation.

Majority Regions

Countries and regions outside the United States are referred to as "majority regions". We use this term for a few reasons, a) we use the word "majority" to remind everyone that the ~300M United States are only a tiny fraction (<5%) of the world's 7 billion people (many American companies refer to the U.S. as "domestic" and the rest of the world as "international" which is counter to the inclusive culture at Mattermost), b) we use "regions" instead of "countries" because there are political issues with some locations.
For example, we should always refer to Taiwan as a "region" and not a "country" due to geo-political issues.


An estimate of total energy, attention and effort required for a task - not a measure of amount of code to be changed or cumulative time needed for a change.
A one-line change to code can cost more mana than a 100-line change due to risk and the need for documentation, testing, support, and all the other activities needed.
Every code change added has an initial and on-going mana cost in technical debt, test case coverages, and supportability, which is taken into account in feature decisions.


The “Mattermost Leadership Team”, senior leadership team and department heads working with the CEO in MLT meetings and offsites.


Monthly Operating Review. A monthly review of operations from each department including a GNN and metrics.

Nerfs and Buffs

Nerfs and buffs are the framework for setting culture at Mattermost.
A "nerf" is a downgraded experience as the result of a behavior.
For example, if half of a team is traveling to a conference and holds a team meeting in a hotel room and the other half calls in remotely but they can't see everyone in the room and audio is low quality, then the team is "nerfing" their remote colleagues. The people in the hotel room are downgrading the experience of their remote colleagues.
Under this framework, we want to discourage behavior that nerfs remote work, so if your team is holding in-person meeting with remote colleagues, please split up to take the call from separate areas so everyone can be seen and heard.
A "buff" is an upgrade experience as the result of a behavior. If a remote team is meeting on a topic with a clear, concise written proposal requesting asynchronous feedback, people who share high-quality feedback asynchronously ahead of the meeting may have an out-sized influence on iterations of the document ahead of the meeting, compared to people who don't provide asynchronous feedback ahead of the meeting.
Here we want to buff asynchronous communication by focusing review on asynchronous comments ahead of live comments.
Culture is the set of behaviors that are nerfed and buffed. As a remote-first culture, we want to buff behavior that promotes asynchronous communication and remote work. We want to nerf behavior that creates unnecessary synchronous meetings.

Open Actions

Term for publicly documenting information in a web-discoverable format (GitHub Issue, Staff Handbook entry, forum post, etc.) prior to sharing guidance to staff and community members. We prefer open actions to dark actions.


Paid Time Off is time away from work paid for by the company to staff, including holidays, vacations, and approved leaves of absence. See PTO.


The “Right-Hand Sidebar” in the Mattermost team site, used for navigation.


Spinmint refers to our first generation of automated infrastructure to spin up test servers to evaluate pull requests. The word "spin" comes from the original name of our company, "Spinpunch, Inc." (before we became ("Mattermost, Inc.") and the word "mint" as a short, unambiguous, easy-to-spell name referring to a factory method pattern.


New test servers that use the cloud infrastructure and can be spun up on pull requests to test changes. The name is reference to first generation infrastructure, spinmint, combined with an arbitrary reference to a movie that some people saw called “John Wick”.


Standard Operating Metrics are metrics tracked monthly by each department as indicators for operating health and status.


Replacing a webpage with a link to the new page created so that people using the original link can easily find the new page. An example of tombstoned terms can be found at the bottom of this page.


A reference to the major social media platforms: YouTube (“You”), Twitter (“Tweet”), LinkedIn (“In”), and Facebook (“Face”). The YouTweetInFace channel is used to discuss social media posts before asking contributors and community to engage with the content. The name is a reminder that our tone and approach to social media needs to be thoughtful, memorable, and ideally bring a smile.

Windows Vista Approach

Instead of working iteratively a "Windows Vista approach" attempts to ship significant changes in a complex one-time effort, which seems like a good idea at the time but ends up causing delays, wasted effort, and numerous avoidable errors.
This tempting, high risk approach is named after Microsoft’s “Windows Vista” operating system, one of its most famous examples.

Tombstoned Terms

The following is a list of terms no longer used with links to their definitions or notes on their deprecation. Tombstoned Terms use H3 headings on this page to distinguish them from active terms, which are H2 in heading formatting.


Previously hyphenated, now not hyphenated, see Tombstoned.


A team and process that is ready for a key member to go on vacation, or spend time away from work.