Chat room

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.

That’s not a safe bet.

I pushed for this a bit in the past. I got shot down. The consensus seemed to be that there is either no interest or that the average doper is unable to converse online without degenerating into a raging asshole cumquat. Sad :frowning: I still think it’s worth a try.

Just like our SDMB guild chat in World of Warcraft!

Nah, just kidding, we get along fine. But we don’t get into religion, politics or childrearing topics much.

We had chat in the dim and distant past – when we were on AOL – but have not had a chat room since that time.

These days it would seem to be more of a liability than an asset – sites that have chat tend to be classified as “entertainment” – these sites are often blocked on corporate servers.

The Straight Dope is seen as more of a reference site, which is appropriate. That makes us more available. Since many of our users read from work, it’s to our benefit to not take steps that would affect that negatively.

There is/was a #straightdope channel on MIRC. There were a few ‘old school’ nights afoot a few months ago.

Adding to what TubaDiva said ----- I was a “Hostie” on one of the old AOL history sites for a short while. We basically had to have cover identities for when we were doing the “mod” thing because otherwise - well, lets just say that a few of the regulars who oft caused problems wouldn’t have been above tracking us down at a history event and getting IRL nasty about it.

Modding a board like this takes a lot of hours - modding an active chat room needs paid employees. At the least. With whips and chairs. And maybe a hat that says “Lion Tamer” across the front.

Honestly, chat is much harder to follow than a thread. It’s too dynamic, and can often end up with several conversations going on at the same time making for real confusion.

It seems to me that the biggest drawback would be that any useful or interesting information (for fighting ignorance or other purposes) would be available only to the people who happened to be there live and enter the chat room. I can’t imagine archiving chat and making it searchable in any useful way.


The unofficial #straightdope IRC chat was a pretty happening place several years ago. Someone could make a go of it again.