Wherever I have worked, I've been fighting a lost battle to keep people from using instant messages for non-urgent issues. Example: my co-working place has a Whatsapp group with 117 participants (denoted as "urgent only" by the building manager, who unfortunately does not enforce it). Some people don't understand that a single message will interrupt 116 persons from their work and their remark about the weather is better suited for email/facebook/coffee corner. The result is that people leave the group, thus killing an (otherwise) very useful communication channel for urgent matters.
What have you done to protect real-time communication channels?
I've tried educating people with politeness, humor, and in some cases force, but have not found a satisfying method yet.
Update Thanks for all replies. I'd like to add:
Example urgent message: "who's the owner of the car that is blocking the parking lot" or "I should have received a delivery today, did anyone take it" The building is quite large and there is no intercom.
Disabling alerts on the comm channel doesn't work, as the whole function of real-time communication is lost. The ability for mass, real-time communication seems like a precious good to me, but only works if it isn't spoiled by chatter.
I am not looking to "enforce" anything as that clearly doesn't work in a co-working setting. And I am not the owner of the chat. However, new tenants get a policy guide (from management) that says the chat is only for urgent business. Still, enough people don't understand why this rule is there. And management does not enforce it.