Multi-user Chats

Types of chat

There are two kinds of multi-user chat. Private group chats, and public channels1.


Group chat Channel
Persistent Yes Yes
MAM enabled Yes Yes
Subject editable No No
Members-only Yes (*) No
JIDs revealed Yes (*) No
Publicly listed No (*) Yes
PMs No (*) Yes

(*) Immutable for group chats.


People in the group chat / channel: Participants

Roles are not displayed and cannot be modified through the UI.

Affiliations In group chats In channels
none N/A ** Guest
member - -
admin Admin (*) Admin
owner Owner Owner

(*) A group chat will display an existing admin as such but it will not encourage/allow someone to be promoted to admin. UI options in group chats only allow a member to become an owner but not admin. So admins are discouraged by the UI but will be displayed as such if they end up being one for some reason.

(**) Everybody is a member in group chats

Clients MAY create an 'advanced view' that displays roles as well.

User nickname

When joining a group chat, a client needs to select a nickname to use. There are multiple sources from which this name may be selected. The client should use the following sources in order:

If the chat is present in the user's bookmarks and has a nickname present (as the resource).
Reserved name
A chat may be queried to fetch the name that is registered by the user for that chat.
User nickname (PEP)
The name stored in the user's account according to XEP-0172.
User nickname (vCard)
The name stored in the user's vCard as NICKNAME.
Local nickname
(Optional, not recommended2) A nickname previously configured by the user in this client instance.
JID username
The username portion of the user's JID (i.e. before the '@').

Other user's names

The display of other user's names is covered in the general UI recommendations.



Bookmark management logic

Private messages

Clients must always use real JIDs for messaging privately within a group chat if (and only if) JIDs are publicly visible to all participants.3

  1. Rationale group chats 

  2. To avoid requiring the user to configure a nickname manually on each device, shared cross-device stores such as PEP and vCard should be preferred. 

  3. If real JIDs are known to all participants, it is preferable to use that for private communication to avoid confusion. Through-MUC PMs have the following disadvantages:

    • Only work while connected to the group chat
    • Do not interact well with multiple devices (e.g. not all of a recipient's devices may be in a group chat)
    • Can cause confusion if talking to the same person through different views (e.g. if the person is already a contact in your roster, and you already have a chat open with them)

    However if the sending user is an admin of a room where JIDs are hidden, using a real JID will reveal the admin's private JID to the recipient. Either warn the sender that their JID will be revealed, or always use the in-room JID in such channels.