I know about these two possibilities when user is notified about the message in chat:

  • One is using @username syntax.
  • The other one is direct reply to the message. This can be chosen after clicking on the arrow left to the message either in chatroom or in transcript, see the screenshot here. (Or simply by typing :messagenumber in the chat.)

(I am not sure whether the word ping is used for both of them or only for the first one. I guess there is no "official" terminology. To avoid problems with unclear meaning, I will avoid the word ping and use the word notification.)

I have learned that only users who have been in the room in the last two days can be notified using @username syntax (and also that there is an easy way to find out who can be notified in this way) from this answer: Does ping work in chat with no autocompletion?

My question is:

Is there some time limit also for the direct reply to a message? Will the user be notified even if it is older than two days? Will they be notified no matter what the age of the message is?

Summary of the experiments done below:

  • Glorfindel posted a reply to my message here. I was notified by the "you've been mentioned in another room" message displayed in another chat room which I was in at the time. The notification was not displayed in my network profile inbox tab. It is also shown in list of replies which I can see in my chat profile.
  • Since the above might have been influenced by the fact that I was in another room at the time and also by the fact that I posted messages in that room a few days ago (although more than two days and the actual reply was to a message much older than that) we did one more experiment. Glorfindel tried the same thing in Sandbox. I was not present in any chat room at the time. The message was three weeks old and I did not post any other message in that room since that one. Some twenty minutes later the red notification appeared in the super-collider-dropdown-thingy. Again I do not have anything about this message in my network profile inbox tab, but I guess it would appear there if I were not logged on any SE site at that moment. And I can also see it in the list of replies in my chat profile.

So the above experiments suggest that this works either for arbitrary old messages or the cut-off is longer than 20 days.

  • I was not sure whether I should add also some tag about direct replies to messages to my question. I have seen the tags (reply) and (replies). They are sometimes used together with (chat), but they have now tag-wiki and in general the questions in those tags seem like a mixed bag.
    – Martin
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 4:45
  • I replied to an old message here, can you check if you were pinged?
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 8:44
  • Yes, I got the "you've been mentioned in another room notification". Probably not an ideal test case, since a) it is possible that this was influenced by the fact that I was in chat just in another room; b) 4 days is not that old.
    – Martin
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 8:47
  • The message itself was from July this year. Pings when you're not in chat are not 100% reliable. They often come late, or not at all.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 8:49
  • @Glorfindel If you are willing to do one most test, to the best of my knowledge, my last message in sandbox was posted here, which is some 20 days difference. As you can see in my profile, I am currently not in any chat room. So this would verify whether this is influenced by this: A) Whether the user posted something in chat since the message you are replying it. B) Whether the user is currently in a chat room. Thanks!
    – Martin
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 8:54
  • Done. Autocompletion of your username doesn't work in this case, which is consistent with the answer you linked.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 8:56
  • 1
    You could put the results of the experiments in an answer.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 10:18

1 Answer 1


Yes. Direct reply to a chat message always creates a "ping" to the user who wrote that message, and uncleared ping will become an inbox notification within 15 minutes.

The age of the message does not matter: it can be few seconds old, and 10 years old message.

  • 2
    That is highly unlikely given the SE network only exist for 8 years at the time of posting. You can't possible prove that....
    – rene
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 13:53
  • 3
    @rene I can prove with five or six years old message. I am 100% sure there is no if (message.age < 10) ping() in the code. And if there is and a developer will come and prove me wrong, I will gladly edit or delete this answer. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 14:32
  • 2
    @ShadowWizard there's also the "receive pings faster" option that users can enable in their chat profile so that 15 minutes can be less. Ahhh... the text for that is: Normally, chat mentions that you haven't replied to are sent to your inbox 15 minutes after you are pinged. You have the option of having inbox notifications more frequently. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 15:20
  • 1
    @Jon true, but since I don't know the exact details of that I didn't mention it in the answer. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 18:34

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