I’m sure this has been asked before and I apologize for not using the search function.
The internet is full of chat rooms but there is not one I can find where people actually converse, I figure this is the very best place to have one on the whole web.
Even here though, I know it would be full of crap so making it available only for paying members would eliminate a lot of moderating if moderating would be an issue. I’m not sure if there are enough paying members to make a chat room successful though but by no means make it available to guests. After reaching a certain post count would be another way. Neatness would also be a problem so maybe a chat room for each of the top posting forums. There are ways to make it work…
I know people could easily chat with anyone here via private messaging but some of the smartest people aren’t very social and wouldn’t even think to ask another for a chat relationship. Difference here, it would be a group and if your registered you already feel part of the group… If it were for paying members only, maybe there would be extra money for the Dope’ as well, I know I would pay for the chat function (perhaps out of support though). Most everyone who sees that chat button (perhaps with the number of people in it parenthesized beside it) will click it and see it’s for paying members only and spend the money to be part of the group. No bots, trolls, or children would dare pay. Even if it’s not for the money it is still worth thinking about.
Chatting is important and I doubt it would take too much away from the forums, if anything it would bring more [interesting] topics, questions, and even answers. Forums mostly consist of “let me make my point” posts and people hardly ever branch off from the subject as they shouldn’t but with a chat room… Conversing forces people to think and challenges them for what they know without running to google and therefore helps what they learn actually sink in. Once it is sinked in, they are fully interested, when they are fully interested, they want to know more. The Straight Dope could be the home of the time machine invention. I feel it would make a difference with this war were having against ignorance.