Can someone explain to me what has happened to chat rooms?

I can log into a server if I am lucky. Once I am in, the descriptions of the vast majority of rooms are foreign and/or gibberish. If I find a moderately normal sounding room and enter it, no-one is talking. not a soul.
I used to be a chat-room junkie. All the rooms made sense, and they were a hive of conversation. What the hell happened?

If it is just a case of a lot of white noise, and there are some good servers/rooms out there - can you reccomend some? what’s a good place to visit the sdmb chat room? is it “#sdmb” or something else? Is it ‘active’ most of the time? If not, if I start it, will other dopers find it in good time?
(25 minutes I’ve got to leave this in notepad while I wait for the board maintenance completion. can I last that long or will I be too drunk by then…)


If I can use the MSN chat rooms as an example, I’m able to give an opinion. I started chatting online a million years ago- okay maybe less than that- and was involved with the old 2.5 chat rooms. I hosted for MSN and saw them come and go- in the early days sometimes there would be two and three people online and a few bots. It then became really popular and some rooms, especially the romance rooms, would be filled to capacity.

But, MSN started to buggarise around changing from 2.5 to web based chat, using bots rather than actual hosts, and charging entry. Combine this with people were so much more familiar with other nationalities, and the novelty had worn off…you see where this is going?

This could only end in tears.

I used to use Yahoo Chat quite a bit, but after a break of a couple of years I logged in about six months ago and found it full of bots advertising Russian sites of dubious repute, and clueless newbies trying to talk to them. You know the kind of thing:

nadia_h0t_875497439933: Hello boys :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
im_new_here: hi nadia r u hot??
nadia_h0t_875497439933: got 2 go i feel like playing on my cam, come watch at :wink:
<<<nadia_h0t_875497439933 has left the room>>>
im_new_here: wow
<<<im_new_here has left the room>>>

There is a #straightdope on Undernet IRC. Simply log into any Undernet server from your IRC client (or go to this site to use their web client) and join #straightdope.

Note, #straightdope is not affiliated with the SDMB, the Chicago Reader, blah blah blah. We just hang out.


Please be aware that #straightdope is rarely a hive of activity though. There are times when it can be very busy but most often, it’s filled with idlers and a few people that may or may not be paying attention the channel at all.

I too, am a former chat junkie.

Back when it was “new and exciting” you had people genuinely interested in showing newbies the ropes, demonstrating decent netiquette, and people actually talked.

Now I only log into my old haunts to try and keep in touch with some of my old peeps. I no longer have patience for the newbies. I pretty much just say “RTFM and leave me alone”.

It also takes a certain mindset and screen-reading skillset to participate in a discussion with a group of people. The individual chat features on most sites suck compared to commonly used messengers. I think most one-on-one conversations happen on those messengers now instead.