channel-context client tag

Copyright © 2022 delthas <>

Unlimited redistribution and modification of this document is allowed provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice remains intact.

This specification is a work-in-progress and may have major incompatible changes without warning.

This specification may change at any time and we do not recommend implementing it in a production environment.

Notes for implementing work-in-progress version 🔗

This is a work-in-progress specification.

Software implementing this work-in-progress specification MUST NOT use the unprefixed +channel-context tag name. Instead, implementations SHOULD use the +draft/channel-context tag name to be interoperable with other software implementing a compatible work-in-progress version.

The final version of the specification will use an unprefixed tag name.

Introduction 🔗

This specification defines a client-only message tag to indicate the channel a private PRIVMSG or NOTICE should be displayed in.

Motivation 🔗

Responding to PRIVMSG messages in channels with NOTICE messages in private is a widely-used IRC practice for bots, in order to prevent flooding a channel with messages only useful for a single user. Clients have developed heuristics for matching incoming private NOTICE to their channel context, but these heuristics are error-prone and difficult to implement for past messages with CHATHISTORY.

This tag enables clients to systematically know in which channel a private PRIVMSG or NOTICE should be displayed, because the sender can now communicate that information in the message.

Architecture 🔗

Dependencies 🔗

Clients wishing to use this tag MUST negotiate the message-tags capability with the server.

Format 🔗

The channel-context tag is sent by a client with the client-only prefix +. The value MUST be a valid channel name.


This tag MUST be attached to PRIVMSG and NOTICE messages to users only. Clients MUST ignore this tag if it is not attached to a private PRIVMSG or NOTICE message or if its value is not a valid channel name.

Client implementation considerations 🔗

This section is non-normative.

When clients receive a private PRIVMSG or NOTICE message from a user with this tag, they can display that message in the buffer specified in the tag, as if it was a channel message.

To prevent abuse, client implementations might allow users to hide these messages when the sender does not belong to the specified channel.

Examples 🔗

In this example, user me requests documentation from bots in channel #chan, then gets the response in private, but in the context of that channel, using channel-context.

C: PRIVMSG #chan :!help
S: @+draft/channel-context=#chan :bot!bot@bot NOTICE me :I'm helping.

Software supporting +draft/channel-context: senpai, gamja, IRCCloud, Limnoria