Bring /me Back

I am too young to reminisce.

My parents spent more time on IRC1s than I did, but there is one aspect of the system I sorely miss.

tulip: turns out Einstein was a real guy
tulip: im shook
tulip: i thought he was just some theoretical physicist
* rspencer sighs into his beard

That last line was triggered by a /me command. Instead of sending a normal message, I’d have typed /me sighs into his beard. It would be displayed slightly differently (note the lack of username: prefix) but was otherwise uninteresting.

But still, I wish this were a common feature of internet messaging systems. Its a really small thing, but it would make my messaging experience just that much better. It feels so much more like a richer chat. The distinction between saying something and describing what you are doing speaks to an attempt to make chat a more immersive experience.

Discord does support /me, but it just places the entire message in italics. Somehow I feel like that doesn’t do enough and it should really preface it with my username2.

On that note, discord supports s/mistaek/mistake to find and replace in the previous message. The s stands for “substitute” and this kind of pattern is common in command-line programs and some text editors like Vim.

While the convention to use *correction is commonplace now, technology moves on and this little quality-of-life improvement is much appreciated!

  1. For the kids, that’s Internet Relay Chat. It was the first “texting” or internet messaging system. Think group-only Whatsapp, but without being able to see the history of any channels. ↩︎

  2. Perhaps in bold with a link to my profile? ↩︎