TLDR: Please use email.
Some people seem to exhibit very particular, quite annoying habits when contacting me over IM. If you've received this link as a reply to your message, there's a chance you're one of them. I have nothing against you personally, however let me explain...
Is it on fire?
(Tip: Unless you see actual flames, it's not on fire.)
Are you there?
[11:34:42] you: hi kamil [11:56:29] you: are you there?
Maybe. Maybe I'm not. You know, you can just write exactly what you need from me, and I will write you back with an actual answer as soon as I see your message. Which can be in 30 seconds or in 30 minutes - but that's as soon as I see it.
Away means away. Busy means busy.
Pay attention to the little icon next to my contact name. It gives you a really great general hint of whether I'm available for chatting. To rehash:
- Available means I'm here, not super-focused, and you can chat me up.
- Away means I'm away from the computer, and I will not see your message immediately. You may as well send me an email to leave a message.
- Busy means I'm busy (aka in a call, or programming), and unless you're the person I'm in a call with, you've got a pretty high chance of being deliberately ignored. Send me an email.
- Unavailable means unavailable. Send me an email.
If I'm busy, and you use email, I guarantee you that I will eventually read it, at a time that's best for me - and also best for you, because you do deserve my full attention! Just perhaps not right now.
If you randomly demand my full attention on IM while I can't give it to you - you just kill my flow and you do a disservice to both of us.
Chatrooms - need my attention? Mention my name!
Some group chats are idle most of the time, others are pretty busy almost non stop. I can't follow everything and I don't - I just turn off notifications, and skim over the chat history every hour or so.
If you need me to actively join the discussion, just mention my name. This will trigger a notification and draw my full attention. Don't do this unless you actually need my input.
Creating rooms like crazy
It's really counter-productive to create a new sub-chatroom to discuss every new minor issue, or each time you feel like changing the topic.
- You create a mess.
- Before long there's going to be a dozen chatrooms, most of the participants will be the same between them.
- Where do I go to mention a new issue? Start another room and multiply the mess?
- I need to set up notification settings for each new room separately, this often means I get some random notifications that disturb my flow.
- The topic is usually closely tied to the project.
- You leave some project members out of the discussion - which means they will have to be eventually updated anyway, when you realise they actually are interested and do have valuable input.
- It's much more difficult to find anything in the chat history.
- I have to go over several rooms and dig deep in the chat history to look for a specific thing.
- I usually leave the room as soon as the issue is resolved, to keep my roster clean - which means the archive is as good as lost forever.