Whispering - what situations do you tend to use it for?

Love that term – “Whispering.”

I am curious for those of you who use it, what situations do you tend to use it in and what does it come in handy for that might be unique/more convenient than posting in staff notes on a member, discussing the situation in the staff category, PMing each other, etc.


Here on Meta we use it for private staff discussions relevant to the current topic. For example, an engineer might share a log that contains sensitive/private data relevant a bug report. Or the staff might have a discussion about the merit of a feature that shouldn’t be public until there is consensus. Or internal discussion about a sales opportunity, like pricing, terms, etc.

We do not use whispers to leave a note about a member, as the whisper will not be seen outside that topic. The staff category is used for discussions not related to a specific topic. PMs are similar to the staff category in that they’re used when discussion isn’t relevant to a topic, and also isn’t relevant to the entire team.

  1. Discussing flagged posts, since only “something else” flags start a message.
  2. Discussing posts that are not quite flag-worthy yet. E.g. if a first-time poster revives old topic with a nonsensical post the first moderator who notices usually whispers something like “watch out for a spam link”.
  3. Off-topic chatter.
  4. If any posts make you angry it may be a good idea to write down your initial reaction as a whisper, to let off some steam and then come up with a more deescalating reply together with the other mods.

In our community, we send an automated welcome message to new members. We add whispers to discuss opportunities or things that might need doing, like deleting spammers (super rare), introducing them to members based on interests indicated in their profiles, handling the new member’s replies to the welcome message, etc.

Sometimes we change the title to distinguish the welcome messages from each other.

Sometimes we also assign messages to someone alongside the whisper to make sure someone is in charge of handling whatever needs doing.

We are really looking forward to tagging PMs, which in conjunction with whispering will go a long way to preventing any lost balls or confusion.

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Thanks, everyone. Definitely seems to me like there are unique benefits of each system. The more I dive into discourse, the more I appreciate it.

Did you guys kind of fall into these ways of using the different avenues for note taking and communicating or do you make it more official as a protocol for your staff to follow or some modicum of the two?

We haven’t launched yet, so I have the opportunity to set things up a certain way from the get-go. The email tagging system will be a great way to open up handling emails to all staff in a systematic way and making sure no one falls through the cracks.