The query command
When you use the /msg function the display of the private messages is mixed in
with the channel conversation. Additionally you have to remember to type /msg
<nick> for every message can lead to potential embarrassment when you forget
If you prefer to have a separate panel for an extended private conversation
with someone you can use the /query function.
This command will open a new private message panel and send messages that you
write in that panel as private messages to <nick>. When replies come in
then they are routed to that particular panel.
As a shortcut you can combine opening the panel with sending a message:
/query <nick> <text>
In the query panel you do not have to type /msg <nick>. The panel takes
care of sending the messages directly to <nick>.
There is an option under the general preferences
to automatically open a query window when you get a private message, and there
is also a Respond item in the tools menu to open a query window to the last
nick that sent you a private message.