Shortcut for Quick Linking to Channels

A big thanks to @grundleborg, who recently contributed a pull request that added a shortcut for quickly linking to channels. You can come sign up for our daily builds site to try it out.

This feature is similar to the #channel used in IRC, but in Mattermost # is used for for Twitter Style hashtags. Currently the feature is implemented using an exclamation mark !, but we wanted to have a last discussion to finalize what symbol should be used.

After this feature is released, the symbol won’t be changed, so if anyone has thoughts or comments please comment here soon!

I think users first think to do this in # since # already provides clickable links. If this could be integrating into # seamlessly, that might be ideal. ! doesn’t seem very intuitive, but I’m sure users could pick it up after they see it in use.

Hey @jasonsmith, another PM for Mattermost here. thank you for your thoughts - I agree with you in that ! doesn’t seem intuitive. We were thinking we may want to save the symbol as a tag for something else more appropriate for an exclamation mark. And yes, adoption may be a bit slow at first, but we hope it will catch on regardless of which one we use. As for having # being used for both channels and actual topic hashtags, we see the system getting confused over whether to link to a channel or a hashtag topic. What do you think of using + or ##? For example:

Let’s go talk about it in +Marketing
Let’s go talk about it in ##Marketing
Let’s go talk about it in !Marketing.

I think a plus to ## is that you could have some kind of UI help for users on the first #… something along the lines of “Use one # for a topic, or ## to reference a channel”, which is more discoverable than something like a +. I think a + or something other than # or ## could work if the + is mentioned in the bottom, similar to the formatting syntax info "bold, etc.

Cool, thanks for the feedback Jason! Would you say that then, you prefer ## or + to the exclamation mark?

I think ## might be marginally better, because we’re not “adding” anything, per se.

I imagine once upon a time someone at Twitter was like “I wish there was an easy way to tag conversations”, and someone else was like “Well, in IRC, here is what we do…”

Hey everyone, just to give an update, the team has decided on using ~ for channel short-linking. We feel like we want to use ! for another feature in the future (e.g. alerts), and ~ was the best choice as it doesn’t interfere with current or planned features.