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Josh Darnell
From [Losing the thread?][1]:

> - you can ping someone without any visual indication in your message
> - you can have '@username' in your message without pinging anyone
> This is a feature, and useful, once you are used to it...

I can kind of get on board with the second bullet - I like the more explicit ping process, and it avoids a common problem that SE chat had (where typing @Tim could potentially ping many people you didn't intend to ping).

However, I continue to be puzzled by the idea of the first bullet.  It's definitely confusing to new users (as Jack acknowledged).  Even as a "long time" user, I am at least briefly confused when I get a ping without my name in it, or that's not replying directly to one of my messages.

Can anyone expand on why secret pings are useful or valuable as a feature?  Obviously, I think Jack's thoughts would be valuable (as he wrote the blog post).  But other points of view would also be appreciated :)

Top Answer
Jack Douglas
Anything that reduces noise is useful, and silent pings sometimes reduce noise without decreasing the signal.

In the conversation below, my reply to @i-one included a ping to @Adám. That ping would just be noise to @i-one and everyone else, but (hopefully) it isn't noise to @Adám, who has expressed an interest.

![Screenshot 2020-04-17 at 09.32.46.png](/image?hash=9ba7d9f10637d6a316adaa4ed44a8ce69b24ba2386f8768294a41f5a22029aa3)

In a similar vein, devs sometimes use silent pings to draw attention to something that needs doing — that's a parallel conversation that's just noise to everyone else.

I'm not worried about new users getting confused by the feature because it's unlikely that a silent ping would be directed at a new user; they are going to be used (occasionally) between people who are chatting a lot.

In the end it's just about allowing subtlety I think. Communication is a subtle business and writing 'cc @Joe @Erik @Paul @Sean @Lamak' is not "saying" the same thing as silently pinging them, because it isn't publicly drawing attention to the list of names. In some contexts that might matter, and in others it doesn't of course.

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