Leaving Messages on IRC
This is something that comes up enough that it does get kind of annoying.
Here is how you should leave me (and, presumably, anyone that knows how to use IRC) messages when I’m not around in various circumstances:
Highlight me (say my name) followed by your message, preferably on the same line.
<user> Kabaka: I just installed Linux!
- Most clients have key combinations that navigate through recent highlights in the chat area. The less reading required, the better.
- Some clients (including mine) list highlights in a special area. If you include your message in the highlight, I don’t even have to press any keys to read it.
- It is quite easy to configure IRC clients to forward highlights to mobile phones. It’s much more useful to have a complete message show up than just someone saying your name.
- Highlights generally cause some type of audible notification. If I have to wiggle my mouse to read your message, I want to be able to quickly determine if it is worth my time or not.
- Bots’ !mail commands and other such message delivery facilities are absolutely pointless when my client is connected, as I will already have read the messages when I review my highlights, and will not need them to be spammed to everyone again.
My personal preferences, in order of most desirable to least desirable:
- Send me an email.
- Send me a MemoServ message.
- Wait for me to get back.
- If and only if MemoServ isn’t available and you don’t trust anyone, leave it with a “mail” bot.
- Email is made for exactly this use case.
- MemoServ is made for exactly this use case when you don’t know my email address. I always configure MemoServ to forward to email if that feature is available.
- Bots with “mail” commands tend to have one of these problems:
- Messages are delivered in public, either disclosing private messages or annoying users.
- The bot is far more likely to be off-line than MemoServ is.
- There is no implied guarantee of privacy with bots.