This feature request is still on in the backlog. No new updates available at this time.
The slash command changes are still in the works. I hope to have more details to share soon.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news. This item has been declined. There will be no work to hide or remove the reply button.
As many people have commented, a big ask is to help improve how people distinguish between giving a reply and starting a new message.
For that the focus will be on this item. “Better visual delineation between `Reply` and `Start a new conversation`”
http://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103/suggestions/19224826Kerry Sanders commented
One problem is that people do not always use the Reply link to reply to a conversation. They start typing in the "Start new conversation" area at the bottom thinking they are replying to the most recent conversation in a channel and then things you have one or two replies that are not with the conversation and things get weird.
This feature item is still in the works. We will keep you posted as we have new info from the feature team.
We acknowledge the customer demand for Private Channels and have been hard at work on it. Private Channels is currently in preview with a select group of customers. We expect to release the feature to the public later this Fall, and will update here when we are starting to roll out to all customers. We appreciate all the feedback you have provided to us on this forum and thank you for your patience.