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I'm looking for a non-tedious way to make the Messages application in Mountain Lion silent without killing the audio output of other applications. Any ideas? Is this a job for AppleScript or defaults?

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You can change this setting in the Messages app preferences.

Go to Messages-> Preferences -> Alerts. Select 'Message Received' in the Event menu and uncheck the 'Play a sound' box.

You may also have to do this for the 'Message Received in Active Chat' and 'Message Received in Chat Room' events, as well as any others that are triggering unwanted sounds.

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Yeah that's tedious. Confusingly, it looks like you can mute the app by sliding the "Speech volume" slider to the left. –  speciousfool Dec 18 '12 at 5:09
    
Is it really more tedious to check a few boxes (you should only have to do this once) than it is to write a script? App preference dialogs like this one are how settings are meant to be customized; scripting is usually reserved for trying to do repetitive things that the app won't do normally. –  Nathan Greenstein Dec 18 '12 at 5:23
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It sure is tedious if you have to do it over and over again...as in you are a system administrator responsible for a bunch of computers. –  speciousfool Dec 18 '12 at 5:28
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Slide the "speech volume" slider all the way to the left.

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