Teams Removes System Messages from the General Channel

Uncluttering the General Channel

Office 365 notification MC215375 (6 June) says that Teams will remove some system messages from the General channel beginning in mid-June. The process should be complete worldwide by mid-July, except for government tenants where the roll-out is in August.

In large teams, or teams where the membership turns over regularly (for example, classes), the number of system messages posted to the General channel clutter up conversations without delivering a lot of value. In fact, at times, the system messages are unhelpful, as in the case of prematurely announcing the hiring of a new employee. System messages have only ever appeared in the browser and desktop client; the Teams mobile client has never displayed these messages.

When the change happens, old system messages posted to General to announce events like a member joining or leaving the team or a channel being added, removed, or renamed are hidden and Teams won’t post system messages for new events in General. Instead, system messages will be visible in list of team members accessed through the new information pane (MC215186 – due for deployment in July).

Some might find the system messages interesting, but the majority probably don’t, so the change is welcome.

Losing System Messages

Figure 1 shows an example of Teams system messages, including additions and removals of members and the addition of an app to the team. Other system messages include those posted when the Information Barrier Processor removes someone because their membership violated an information barrier policy. No one is likely to shed too many tears by not being able to read such compelling messages.

Figure 1: Teams system messages posted in General

Losing system messages is not a problem. Team membership is visible through the Manage team option and is easily retrieved with PowerShell if a report is necessary (the Get-TeamUser and Get-UnifiedGroupLinks cmdlets both do the job, as indeed does Get-AzureADGroupMember). And the actual operations to add or remove members or channels from a team are auditable events captured in the Office 365 audit log.

Reserve General for Important Messages

Even after system messages are removed, it’s still best to keep the General channel for important messages and announcements. You can do this by limiting the ability of team members to post in General. Instead, create a suitable set of other channels to host discussions. This approach means that the General channel doesn’t become a catch-all for messages about all types of topics where announcements are easily lost.

Changes like this happen all the time, which is one of the reasons why we issue monthly updates for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. Shouldn’t you subscribe to take advantage of our updates?

21 Replies to “Teams Removes System Messages from the General Channel”

  1. When these messages are gone, how do I…

    Know when a channel was added or deleted.
    Know when a new channel is created or renamed
    Know when someone left the team
    Know when someone joined my public team.

    Yes I know that someone is a member NOW, when did the join? Do I have to call an admin and ask them to search through audit logs and hope it’s there? 🙁

    1. A new information pane is due to be introduced in July which will include system messages. In the interim, you can always find the information you need about team or channel changes in the audit log.

  2. I just experienced the problem in teams where the invited member clicked on the joining link but couldn’t manage to join the meeting and there was no PoP up notification on the organizer’s side

    1. Raymond, I see your comment was from almost two months ago, but to clarify: this is talking about posts announcing changes to teams, particularly the General channel in teams, not participation in Teams meetings.

  3. so, apart from adding and removing the users notification, there are other system messages like who changed the name, who delete the file from the channels ect. will also impact?

  4. Hey Tony, thanks for the article. Very useful. Is there a way for users to subscribe to those office 365 notifications? If i wanted to receive an email for updates such as MC215375, where do i sign up / subscribe?

  5. My system messages are still showing up – posted as recently as yesterday. Do you all have a confirmed date?

    1. I would ask Microsoft why the feature isn’t in your tenant yet. You’re not in GCC or GCC High by any chance?

      1. Still showing up here too Tony. No obvious place to see this information pane, nor is there any toggle in the admin centre.

    1. Ha! Still there. Raised a unified support ticket and they were unsure of this feature… said to wait til it rolled out. Let the spam continue.

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