XEP-0245: The /me Command

This specification defines recommended handling of the /me command in XMPP instant messaging clients.

NOTICE: This document is currently within Last Call or under consideration by the XMPP Council for advancement to the next stage in the XSF standards process.

Document Information

Series: XEP
Number: 0245
Publisher: XMPP Standards Foundation
Status: Proposed
Type: Historical
Version: 0.1
Last Updated: 2008-06-18
Approving Body: XMPP Council
Dependencies: XMPP Core, XMPP IM
Supersedes: None
Superseded By: None
Source Control: HTML  RSS

Author Information

Peter Saint-Andre

JabberID: stpeter@jabber.org
URI: https://stpeter.im/

Legal Notices


This XMPP Extension Protocol is copyright (c) 1999 - 2009 by the XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF).


Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this specification (the "Specification"), to make use of the Specification without restriction, including without limitation the rights to implement the Specification in a software program, deploy the Specification in a network service, and copy, modify, merge, publish, translate, distribute, sublicense, or sell copies of the Specification, and to permit persons to whom the Specification is furnished to do so, subject to the condition that the foregoing copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Specification. Unless separate permission is granted, modified works that are redistributed shall not contain misleading information regarding the authors, title, number, or publisher of the Specification, and shall not claim endorsement of the modified works by the authors, any organization or project to which the authors belong, or the XMPP Standards Foundation.

Disclaimer of Warranty

## NOTE WELL: This Specification is provided on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. In no event shall the XMPP Standards Foundation or the authors of this Specification be liable for any claim, damages, or other liability, whether in an action of contract, tort, or otherwise, arising from, out of, or in connection with the Specification or the implementation, deployment, or other use of the Specification. ##

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IPR Conformance

This XMPP Extension Protocol has been contributed in full conformance with the XSF's Intellectual Property Rights Policy (a copy of which may be found at <http://xmpp.org/extensions/ipr-policy.shtml> or obtained by writing to XSF, P.O. Box 1641, Denver, CO 80201 USA).

Discussion Venue

The primary venue for discussion of XMPP Extension Protocols is the <standards@xmpp.org> discussion list.

Discussion on other xmpp.org discussion lists might also be appropriate; see <http://xmpp.org/about/discuss.shtml> for a complete list.

Errata may be sent to <editor@xmpp.org>.

Relation to XMPP

The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is defined in the XMPP Core (RFC 3920) and XMPP IM (RFC 3921) specifications contributed by the XMPP Standards Foundation to the Internet Standards Process, which is managed by the Internet Engineering Task Force in accordance with RFC 2026. Any protocol defined in this document has been developed outside the Internet Standards Process and is to be understood as an extension to XMPP rather than as an evolution, development, or modification of XMPP itself.

Conformance Terms

The following keywords as used in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119: "MUST", "SHALL", "REQUIRED"; "MUST NOT", "SHALL NOT"; "SHOULD", "RECOMMENDED"; "SHOULD NOT", "NOT RECOMMENDED"; "MAY", "OPTIONAL".

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Recommended Handling
3. Accessibility Considerations
4. Security Considerations
5. IANA Considerations
6. XMPP Registrar Considerations
Revision History

1. Introduction

Many Jabber/XMPP instant messaging clients provide special processing and presentation of the string "/me " at the beginning of a message body. This specification describes the recommended handling of this "command".

2. Recommended Handling

The /me command [1] is a text string that enables a human user to type an action phrase and have it be presented in a special way within an instant messaging client. The text string is followed by a verb or verb phrase, such as "/me laughs" or "/me is logging off now". This command does not result in the generation of any XMPP protocol. Instead, the command is sent as-is (e.g., <body>/me laughs</body>) and the receiving client performs string-matching on the first four characters of the data included in the <body/> element to determine if the message begins with the string "/me ". If the client finds a match, the receiving client will show the message in a special format. It is RECOMMENDED for the client to show the user name, nickname, or handle [2] of the sender followed by the verb phrase in italicized text, prepended by the "*" character.

For example, imagine that the Greek god Atlas is in a chatroom with the other gods and types the following text in his IM client:

Example 1. A Command

/me shrugs in disgust

That text will be sent to all the occupants in the chatroom as follows:

Example 2. XMPP Stanza

<message from='olympians@chat.gods.lit/Atlas'
  <body>/me shrugs in disgust</body>

Each recipient's client would then show the message with some special formatting, such as:

Example 3. Presented Message

* Atlas shrugs in disgust

If the receiving client does not find a match on the string "/me " in the first four characters of the message body, it SHOULD NOT present the text in a special way. For example, the following message bodies do not match:

Example 4. Some Non-Commands

<body>/meshrugs in disgust</body>

<body>/me's disgusted</body>

<body> /me shrugs in disgust</body>

<body>"/me shrugs in disgust"</body>

<body>Why did Atlas say "/me shrugs in disgust"?</body>

3. Accessibility Considerations

This specification describes the /me command in terms of visual presentation. A client that presents messages aurally MAY modify its presentation of /me commands and SHOULD at a minimum transform the string "/me " into the user name, nickname, or handle of the sender.

4. Security Considerations

There are no security concerns related to use of the /me command.

5. IANA Considerations

This document requires no interaction with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) [5].

6. XMPP Registrar Considerations

This document requires no interaction with the XMPP Registrar [6].


1. The string "/me " is usually pronounced "slash-me".

2. On the difference between user names, nicknames, and handles, see Best Practices to Prevent JID Mimicking [3] and User Nickname [4].

3. XEP-0165: Best Practices to Prevent JID Mimicking <http://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0165.html>.

4. XEP-0172: User Nickname <http://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0172.html>.

5. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the central coordinator for the assignment of unique parameter values for Internet protocols, such as port numbers and URI schemes. For further information, see <http://www.iana.org/>.

6. The XMPP Registrar maintains a list of reserved protocol namespaces as well as registries of parameters used in the context of XMPP extension protocols approved by the XMPP Standards Foundation. For further information, see <http://xmpp.org/registrar/>.

Revision History

Version 0.1 (2008-06-18)

Initial published version.


Version 0.0.1 (2008-06-09)

First draft.