I've tried several times to chat here using the iPad (original version - iOS 4.3.5 as well as iOS 5 on the iPad and the iPhone) and can't figure out how to reply to one chat so my reply is linked and the author is notified.

Am I missing something? I'll tag this feature-request as it't not clear to me if this is a bug or something that just hasn't been added yet. I tried to work around it by seeing if the @nath would autocomplete to the recent chat names and all manner of poking the lines didn't reveal any way to "reply" to a prior comment.

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  • I had thought that tapping on a line of text would raise the reply/flag/star controls for that chosen message, that normally occurs on hover when using a Desktop, but I tried it to be sure and I was obviously mistaken. I don't recall if it used to behave that way, or if I'm just thinking about something else entirely. If it never worked that way, maybe it should!
    – VxJasonxV
    Aug 22, 2011 at 18:20
  • Tapping a line of a chat will "hilight" the same amount of text that would be affected by a star/flag/reply operation on the desktop version. Just no control ever pops up to do anything - it's avoiding the normal text selection "cut/copy/paste" operation that iOS allows - perhaps while the kinks get worked out to allow the site features to work in the future?
    – bmike
    Aug 22, 2011 at 18:38

3 Answers 3


This is now possible with the design of the chat web app in February 2016:

  • tap the message that merits a reply
  • tap the left arrow (near the top of the window)
  • type your response

enter image description here


No, it's currently not. We're looking at creating a mobile version that makes use of the increased screen size on tablets (and still handles the peculiarities of a touch interface), but the current version is made to also work on phones, and there isn't really enough space there for advanced functionality like this.

  • Awesome. It was driving me a little crazy. I presume the scripting stack you are using to render the chat makes using a swipe or other gesture hard to implement to bring up a reply / flag / overlay.
    – bmike
    Oct 26, 2011 at 19:22
  • Just having the @ completion would be awesome to at least ping a person to the room.
    – bmike
    Oct 26, 2011 at 19:37
  • Thanks for explaining the current situation. I hope that in time, this can be rolled out to not only the tablets, but iPhone sized screens. being able to reply in chat seems an fundamental task that any chat UI would address. I don't doubt it's hard to design, just that it due to the screen size.
    – bmike
    May 15, 2012 at 16:46
  • @bmike It's actually in the works (in an early phase so far, but we're exploring different UI ideas).
    – balpha Staff
    May 18, 2012 at 7:24
  • Awesome - let me know if you'd like extra testers.
    – bmike
    May 18, 2012 at 13:22
  • By grabthar's hammer, It shipped!
    – bmike
    Feb 24, 2016 at 23:33

Hovering doesn't produce this control or an analogous version?

flag star reply

These buttons are, from left to right, the flag, star/favorite, and reply actions. The little arrow on the far right is what you need to click/tap to cause a reply. (Don't worry about the size too much, flagging will prompt for confirmation, starring can be undone by clicking again, and replying can be undone by editing the text of your unsubmitted message so it's OK if you miss).

You can work around this by getting the message ID from the permalink:


The number (duplicated for Ajax purposes) is the message ID. To reply to this message, start your chat reply with a colon, this number, and a space:

:1846637 Text of message

The :<messageID> portion will be transformed into a reply-info element (the up-and-left pointing version of the reply arrow) and @username.

  • That's the desktop version; the OP is looking at the mobile version.
    – balpha Staff
    Oct 26, 2011 at 15:59
  • Right, that's why I said "or an analogous version." I don't have an iPad to test with, I just wasn't sure what was meant by highlighting the text that would contain the control. I wrote this mostly for the workaround. Oct 26, 2011 at 16:12
  • No - how do I obtain the chat number on an iPad or iPhone which uses mobile safari? Tapping the chat selects the text and there is no hover so a double tap or other multi-touch gesture would be needed to emulate a hover event...
    – bmike
    Oct 26, 2011 at 19:23
  • @bmike - Again, I don't have an iPad, but if there's no permalink option either, you could use one of the various view page source tools to pull the ID. Not optimal, obviously. Oct 26, 2011 at 19:42

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