Ability to search messages in chat

A number of folks have asked about whether it is possible to search messages in chat.

We don’t have any immediate plans to add search, but we have already heard it requested several times. I think it’s something we will likely do at some point, but it’s not at the top of our list at this time.

Regardless, our recommendation is to strongly encourage capturing things in topics once it’s clear that they are worth tracking or returning to.

We understand that’s not always obvious up front, and that search could help in those scenarios, but in many cases, it can be beneficial to nudge users to do so and to model the same behavior.

Two existing features that can help here are 1) “Bookmark reminders” - to return to something to capture in a topic later, and 2) “Quote in Topic” - to capture a transcript of part of a chat discussion in a new or existing topic.

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I’ve suspected such myself - I’m a little wary about it, if I’m honest. I like the two features you mention later in the post (which work well together), as they feel like they compliment the ephemeral of channel chat - whereas I fear search trains people to rely on channels as a more permanent medium than they are. I’m not arguing against search being added - mostly because I think it’ll happen eventually regardless - but I wonder if it would be worth exposing a toggle for chat search as a site setting?

As an aside - do chat comments stick around in the database after the time limit is reached? I’m curious if it’s possible to retrieve them somehow. (I don’t really have a preference; I’m just wondering.)

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Perhaps!

We’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves (no suprise – such is the nature of this topic), but another approach to discourage reliance on chat as long term memory is to reduce the retention period (which defaults to 90 days).

Nope, see: Are chat messages hard deleted after the retention period?

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