Compass's architecture

We've designed Compass from end to end to reveal the deep structure of your team. Through that process, we've settled on a specific architecture—a way of organizing and visualizing data and information—that helps you improve the way your team uses Slack, support key team members, break down silos, eliminate bottlenecks, and more.

In this guide, we'll explain each of the building blocks that make up Compass's architecture. Take some time to read through and learn the difference between each building block—it will be really helpful in the long run!

People, channels, and interactions

The smallest building blocks in Compass's architecture are people, channels, and interactions

The full list of people and channels is pulled directly from your Slack workspace, and Compass draws a circle to represent each person and channel. To build a list of interactions between people and channels, Compass reads Slack messages and learns:

  • Who is sending the message
  • Who or what is receiving the message
  • What is the sentiment of the message

Message senders are always people in your Slack workspace. If a message contains an @mention or is a direct message, the message receivers are one or more people. Otherwise, the message receiver is a channel. Message sentiment can be either positive, negative, or neutral.

Once the list of interactions is complete, Compass draws a line between the sender and receiver of each interaction.

Note: Although Compass does analyze message content to determine sentiment and find @mentions, it never stores your messages or reads any file attachments. To learn more about this, check out our guide on how Compass handles message content.

Metadata & Fields

Each person, channel, and interaction can hold additional rich information about the item. This information is stored in metadata and fields. Each metadatum and each field has two components: a name, and a value.

Compass automatically imports the names and values of all metadata, using information pulled from Slack. People have these metadata:

  • Person's name, image, and title
  • Total messages
  • Total mentions
  • Total times mentioned by others
  • Percent of messages that are public
  • Timeline of activity
  • Activity by channel
  • Activity by person

And channels have metadata as well:

  • Channel's name and description
  • Timeline of activity
  • Activity by person

Even the interactions get some metadata!

  • Name of the person/channel on either end of the interaction
  • Total messages between those people/channels
  • Total mentions between those people/channels
  • Total sentiment score of the interaction

When you want to add even more layers to each person, channel, and interaction, you can create a custom field, give it a name (e.g. "Team"), and fill in the values (e.g. "Marketing", "Engineering", "Farming", etc.). Fields will help you keep the most important information—team name, contact info, title, etc.—at your fingertips while you're working in Compass.

In Compass, you can click on people, channels, and interactions to view all of their metadata and fields.


The graph in Compass is the canvas where you'll actually see the entire deep structure of your team. It's filled with all of the circles that represent people & channels and all of the lines that represent interactions.

You can toggle between two views of your graph in Compass: the first view shows just the interactions between people, and the second view shows interactions between people and channels.


The leaderboards are collections of social network analysis metrics that describe your team's structure quantitatively. Compass calculates metrics for each person in your team, then ranks people in the leaderboards based on their relative score.

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