react client tag

Copyright © 2016 James Wheare <>

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 πŸ”—

This is a work-in-progress specification.

Software implementing this work-in-progress specification MUST NOT use the unprefixed +react tag name. Instead, implementations SHOULD use the +draft/react 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 πŸ”—

This specification defines a client-only message tag to indicate reactions to other messages

Motivation πŸ”—

This tag provides a means of communicating with context-sensitive, potentially non-textual reactions. It allows chat participants to respond to each other with text, symbols, emoticons, or emoji that don’t necessarily appear as full messages, but instead as lightweight annotations, displayed adjacent to a parent message.

Architecture πŸ”—

Dependencies πŸ”—

Clients wishing to use this tag MUST negotiate the message-tags capability with the server. Additionally, this tag MUST be used in conjunction with the +draft/reply client tag.

Format πŸ”—

The react tag is sent by a client with the client-only prefix +. The value has no restrictions.


This tag MAY be attached to an empty message.

Client implementation considerations πŸ”—

This section is non-normative

When reactions are sent as empty messages, they may not be visible to clients that don’t support them. This may be the desired outcome, since they’re intended as lightweight responses whose meaning might be lost when detached from their parent context. They may also be numerous and take up more room in the message history than intended by the sender.

However, reactions might also create their own context, sparking further conversation, so it might make sense to display them as a full message body.

Clients might wish to enable a preference to allow their users to choose whether they want to send reactions as tag-only or duplicated in the message body.

Other reasons for users not to see a reaction might include:

Value restrictions πŸ”—

This specification doesn’t define any restrictions on what can be sent as the reaction value. Clients might wish to apply their own restrictions for which values are allowed to be sent or received. For instance, a byte limit may be appropriate, or white/blacklists.

Examples πŸ”—

In this example, a TAGMSG is sent to a channel with an ID provided by the server. A client sends a reaction reply to this message and the server sends an echo-message back to the client.

S: @msgid=123 :nick!user@host PRIVMSG #channel :Hello!
C: @+draft/reply=123;+draft/react=lol TAGMSG #channel
S: @msgid=456;+draft/reply=123;+draft/react=lol :nick2!user2@host2 TAGMSG #channel

An example of an emoticon reaction

C: @+draft/reply=123;+draft/react=:) TAGMSG #channel

An example of an emoji reaction

C: @+draft/reply=123;+draft/react=πŸ‘‹ TAGMSG #channel

An example of a reaction sent as a PRIVMSG with an additional message body

C: @+draft/reply=123;+draft/react=lol PRIVMSG #channel :lol

Software supporting +draft/react: IRCCloud, Palaver, Limnoria, Matrix2051