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I received a reply notification in my inbox (by clicking on top left corner "StackExchange" widget and clicking "Inbox" bullet) even though I have never participated in chat.

The URL of the chat post they were replying to:

Here are the URLs of the replies in question:

Looks like it was to another user named Andrew.

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Well, this certainly reminds me we should add years to the transcript pages -- those links are from 2010 :) How come you're reporting this only now? And define "participate" -- had you ever been to the chat room? – balpha Jun 5 '12 at 7:09
This must come from somewhere.. sure you didn't write this? Year and half is long time. – Shadow Wizard Jun 5 '12 at 7:13
Are you sure you hadn't joined the room at any point before that? Just visiting a room renders you pingable for some duration of time. – Manishearth Jun 5 '12 at 8:05
Wow - are they really from 2010? I only clicked on the "StackExchange" widget for the first time yesterday, so I guess the notification has been sitting in there since 2010. I have been reading other bug questions similar to mine and it looks like this is by design. From memory, I have only ever been to the chat room once, a long time ago, which is probably why I got the notification. It doesn't help that my username is an incredibly common one. I have to say, though, this feature does not follow the principal of least astonishment. – Andrew Jun 5 '12 at 23:27

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