Whenever someone sends you a new private message, it goes into your message inbox. There are two common ways to view and act upon your inbox. One is through the Chatterbox nodelet, and the other is through the Message Inbox page.
(For testing purposes, you can send a private message to yourself by typing
/msg your_username some text
in the Chatterbox.)
The current contents of your inbox are displayed in the upper section of the Chatterbox nodelet. (The lower section is the public Chatterbox itself.) Next to each private message listed there, you will see a checkbox. If you'd like to delete one or more messages immediately, you can simply check their checkboxes and press the talk button of Chatterbox.
There is a limit to the number of private messages the Chatterbox nodelet will display. This parameter (and others) can be set in the Private Message Settings section of your User Settings.
See the Chatterbox FAQ for more info on how to use the Chatterbox.
Other actions (such as replying and archiving) are available on the Message Inbox page.
For your convenience, there are two links to the Message Inbox page just below your private messages in the Chatterbox nodelet — that is, at the bottom of the upper section of the Chatterbox nodelet. They will look something like this:
Whenever you visit your Message Inbox, you will see one line per message, with the following fields:
Beneath these there is a line with the following fields:
Below this is a section for "archived messages". Archived messages are really no different from the normal messages in your inbox; this just gives you one simple level of organization. It's rather like having two inboxes — but all incoming private messages go into the one; the other is called "archived". Also note that archived messages will not be listed in your Chatterbox nodelet. In general, PerlMonks clients can and do distinguish between normal and archived message inboxes.
In the Archived Messages section, the field headings are slighly different:
When you press the Submit button, the following actions happen:
(Note: There are actually two submit buttons on the page, but let that not confuse you. They do the same thing.)
Here are the actions you can perform:
You won't get a real confirmation that a message actually got sent, but at the bottom of the Chatterbox nodelet you'll get a message confirming your attempt.
The above actions can be combined in one operation, since the message delete/archive and reply are essentially independent actions. For example, you can reply to and delete a message in the same operation. You can even reply to one message while at the same time deleting and archiving other messages.
There is a limit to the number of private messages the Message Inbox page will display. You can set this parameter via the small form at the bottom of the Message Inbox page. In addition, this parameter (and others) can be set in the Private Message Settings section of your User Settings.
Selecting Do not send at all for the recipient of a reply message is the default. It means that no message will be sent. It allows you to Delete, Archive or Unarchive messages without sending a reply message at the same time. Selecting Do not send at all has the same effect as not selecting any radiobutton. It's there in case you select a particular recipient and then change your mind.
See related: Message Outbox