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make chat permanent.
November 8, 2012 4:10 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to suggest that Chat be a permanent addition to Metafilter.

I know the mods have informally said it will stay up indefinitely, but, I think it should be a formal part of the site. Why, you ask?
a. It burns off some of the excess jabber and derails that otherwise clutter up thread
b. it allows the excess jabber and derails that made this site a little more informal and goofy in the olden days.
c. unlike #mefi, it's semi-official, with access only for mefi members and with the accountability that comes from persistent user ids.
d. it creates an opportunity for additional rapport between site members
e. it's been suggested that it be kept a bit on the DL, 'for superusers' or other habitu├ęs of the gray. I'd be curious to hear the mods' reasoning for this.
f. I love you all, thanks!
posted by leotrotsky to Feature Requests at 4:10 PM (173 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Second.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:11 PM on November 8, 2012


what? chat? where do i get in on this?
posted by rebent at 4:15 PM on November 8, 2012


g: it's fun
h: flex will send you teh awesome foods.
posted by special-k at 4:16 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would chat be moderated and have favorites? Pony request: Name the metachat channel "Pony Express"
posted by rebent at 4:16 PM on November 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


check out a few threads down on the gray. chat.metafilter.com It's a holdover from the election.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:17 PM on November 8, 2012


Rebent: chat.metafilter.com. And yeah, it's been fun talking to people over the past couple of days and it'd be swell if this were to be maintained as an official part of Metafilter.
posted by killdevil at 4:18 PM on November 8, 2012


I know the mods have informally said it will stay up indefinitely, but, I think it should be a formal part of the site.

We're not making that decision now. We're really glad you like it.

it's been suggested that it be kept a bit on the DL, 'for superusers' or other habitu├ęs of the gray

I said that, on chat. In response to the question, by you I think, of whether we'd be putting a link to it on the main page. And I said I wasn't sure. That it was, for now, a superusers and MeTa readers sort of thing. Bringing that statement over here to make us answer for that publicly (as opposed to just asking via the contact form) is not that cool and one of the many types of things we have to think about before we make any decisions which, as we've said repeatedly, we are not going to do now and probably not this week.

The big thing that we are concerned about is chat drama coming over here and/or people going to fuck around on chat in ways that would not be okay on the site. Right now anyone with a MeFi login can use the chat room with very little oversight or mod attention. We want to see how that goes before we make any pronouncements about how it's going to work moving forward.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:19 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Chat is awesome.

So say we all! (or most)
posted by Elly Vortex at 4:19 PM on November 8, 2012


It's mostly just too early for us to even know what we think of it as a long term proposition. It's been fun the last couple of days but there hasn't been really a chance for the shine to come off of it, from either a userbase or mod perspective. The best case scenarios are great; the worst case scenarios would be a good reason to shut it down pronto and never look back; in practice we'll probably see something between those endpoints and we kind of need to see how that plays out before committing to something that's potentially a new moderation resource drain and site drama source.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:22 PM on November 8, 2012


I'd like to suggest that Chat be a permanent addition to Metafilter.

The site is still a teenager, it's a bit young to be getting cosmetic surgery.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:29 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chat is natural, chat is good. Not everybody does it, but everybody should.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:30 PM on November 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Jessamyn. OK, that was totally my f#ck up, and I'm sorry.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:31 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


...by which I mean I shouldn't have asked anyone to account on the gray for comments made in passing on chat. That wasn't cool, and didn't occur to me immediately as I was typing the post.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:34 PM on November 8, 2012


Yeah I just think we need to establish guidelines about what goes on in chat staying in chat or ... not? And clearly I had some expectations and you may have had other ones and right now it's all wild west but we have to think about how we'd want to fold it in here, if at all.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:37 PM on November 8, 2012


Maybe a compromise would be to open the chat when major stuff is going down. Election, SOTU, major natural disasters, etc. at moderator discretion. If it stays up all the time, it might need moderation at all times and that might just be too much.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:39 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bringing that statement over here to make us answer for that publicly

It would never occur to me that something said in a public chat room that anyone with a metafilter login can access is a secret that could not be referred to in metatalk. I don't think leotrotsky has anything to apologize for. If statements in chat were supposed to be kept secret, that should have been made explicitly clear.
posted by andoatnp at 4:41 PM on November 8, 2012 [28 favorites]


Yeah I just think we need to establish guidelines about what goes on in chat staying in chat or ... not?

I mean, there's sort of, as far as I can tell, an unofficial thing right now where you don't bring shit from the blue to the green and you don't bring shit from the green to the blue, and you don't bring shit from the gray to either. So I think saying that bringing things from Chat over to anywhere else is equally bad form is a good idea.
posted by griphus at 4:42 PM on November 8, 2012


I'm not a chat person, at all, so I kind of feel like ongoing IRC backchannels (despite the fact that we have one for MefightClub which is apparently quite busy) for sites aren't necessary good things, mostly for the reasons jessamyn and cortex mention above. Occasional drama that is invisible to most of the rest of the community, mostly.

But then again, I haven't really seen that coming out of #mefightclub in the years it's been running, so what do I know.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:43 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


there a mefightclub irc room?
posted by griphus at 4:43 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


SHHHHHH
posted by twist my arm at 4:44 PM on November 8, 2012


Yeah, but you can bring stuff from the blue and green to the gray, so why not stuff from chat to the gray? That wouldn't be obvious to me, unless someone told me.
posted by andoatnp at 4:44 PM on November 8, 2012


Also, I can say right now that I've been more-or-less a fixture in chat since it opened and there's very, very little discussions of the site and what is going on the site and there hasn't been any gossiping or other unseemly backroom stuff, at least from what I can tell.
posted by griphus at 4:44 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would never occur to me that something said in a public chat room that anyone with a metafilter login can access is a secret that could not be referred to in metatalk.

It's not that so much as that there's a big difference in how we'll frame and approach something as off-the-cuff chatter vs. stating policy for the ages. By the same token, if you come to a meetup and we're drinking beer and you want to talk about my feelings about some bit of mefi drama, you're going to get a different sort of conversation than if you post to Metatalk to ask for a mod explanation about decision x, etc.

To the extent that the chatroom makes sense as a place where people can sort of hang out and chatter and goof and have it be mostly a non-moderated space (because we do not have an interest in making it something that requires full-time active moderation eyeballs if it's going to be a workable addition to the community), people need to also not have an expectation that bullshitting about stuff there is the same thing as making a formal request for policy discussion in the grey or whatever, is all. I don't think leotrostky meant anything at all by it and all is well, but it's sort of a sticky issue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


there a mefightclub irc room?

Yup
, it's linked in the top ('Other Stuff' dropdown) menu of the site, and there's a link to an embedded IRC client that autoconnects to the channel on the main navigation bar.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:48 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


It would never occur to me that something said in a public chat room that anyone with a metafilter login can access is a secret that could not be referred to in metatalk.

I was there when this conversation happened--I don't think Jessamyn is saying that it should be "secret," just that she clearly wasn't speaking in an official way when we were just chatting about whether chat should stay or not. So it wasn't really fair for leotrotsky to present it that way (which he totally apologized for and all is cool, etc).
posted by leesh at 4:49 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Semi-Private, maybe with a link in the top right menu ONLY for logged in users?
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:53 PM on November 8, 2012


Well, you can't log into it without an account so that might not do much.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 4:55 PM on November 8, 2012


there's no downside to observing this for a few weeks and seeing how it plays out. besides lost man hours on the part of willing participants.
posted by twist my arm at 4:56 PM on November 8, 2012


I 100% understand the hardship involved with having permachat, but would just like to put my voice out there as thinking this is a good idea. Any discussion is good discussion.
posted by Twain Device at 4:57 PM on November 8, 2012


But Executive.Platinum.Experience.metafilter.com is still up, right?
posted by shothotbot at 5:09 PM on November 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


twist my arm: those lost hours are many, I can tell you. It's worse than crack.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:20 PM on November 8, 2012


I haven't been able to spend much time in chat as I've been dealing with some family issues, but I would totally love it to stay around permanently. But, as someone who in my past internet lives has spent waaaay too many hours in chat rooms, I can also see the potential for CHATDRAMA, which could really be problematic for the site as a whole and the mods in particular. Offhand, I don't know any way around that unless you have a rule that anything said/read/done in chat stays in chat, and maybe have it come and go on an intermittent schedule so that there would be automatic cooling off periods so that long-running feuds wouldn't have a chance to breed.

All that being said, I hope it sticks around in some fashion permanently, but am totally OK with the status being "maybe/maybe not" while management takes some time to figure it all out.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like that a measured approach is being taken. I love that the mods are watching the evolution of usage to see how we adapt to it (or not).

Being part of an experiment is fun, and makes us use our community-mindedness powers for the best outcome.
posted by batmonkey at 5:43 PM on November 8, 2012


by which I mean I shouldn't have asked anyone to account on the gray for comments made in passing on chat.

What happens in chat stays in chat.
posted by alms at 5:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was a blast-a-roo and, honestly, a really good way to blow off a metric ton of nervous energy on election night. I'd love it to stay, but I like the idea that what happens there stays there. It was a kind of doofy free association thing that has its own rules? Does that make sense? I was bleghh about the edit window because I like the idea of people thinking twice before they post. A chat room is a different beastie.
posted by mintcake! at 5:47 PM on November 8, 2012


alms get out of my head there's just no room
posted by mintcake! at 5:47 PM on November 8, 2012


Now if you really want to make things screwy, you could add an edit button to the comments in the chat window.
posted by alms at 5:48 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


President Baby approves this proposal.

I think the chat has been fun, as well as mostly sane. but it's also an unmoderated free-for-all that could really easily go sideways. if it is an always on type thing and a 'fire' starts there, is it going to mean there needs to be a full time chat mod? I bet the current mods don't have time for that.

you all know how active I've been there this week and I'd love to be able to always have it there, but I'm just a normal user and I can see ways it could really get out of hand.

and also I think the things said in there are intended more or less to be just a casual conversation among the participants in he room vs the site where it's all written in ink and left permanently except for the odd deleted post. and I also think part of why it's been ok is the people in there are those who are not new to the mefi community and work within the values of the site in general.
posted by ninjew at 6:33 PM on November 8, 2012


Aw, there was/is a chat...
It has come up many times, and I even setup a Jabber/XMPP server for mefi use and pretty much nobody bothered (apologies to the few who at least tried it out for a week or so before deeming it a wasteland).
Now there's a chat and it's all the rage. [:this is my rejected face:]
posted by zengargoyle at 6:41 PM on November 8, 2012


This site has far too many overly-snarky and overly-sensitive types for a 'wild west'-style chatroom to survive. Inevitably, someone's going to make a comment, and then somebody else is going to get Very Offended by it and start a MeTa thread, and then chat will disappear shortly after.

But the chat thing is cool. I know MeFi's had an IRC chatroom for years, but IRC is just one step beyond my effort threshold. Kinda like cleaning behind the oven.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:07 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love the chat; I haven't been on IRC for years, but this brings some of that flavor back to my day, and it's a neat little thing to have on the second monitor at work and just pop in and talk about news stuff, or just to chat. It really brings back the kind of closeness I felt in the early years of my internettin', which is sorely lacking with web-based systems like Twitter or Facebook where the audience is literally the whole fucking world, rather than a group of people you get to know and build a rapport with over time.

So, a vote for it from me. I'd be glad to moderate during Eastern business hours if there becomes a concern about keeping weird shit visible to the official mods without requiring their active participation.
posted by odinsdream at 7:11 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the idea of a chat room during high profile events, it is a pressure release valve in so many ways.

However I have an anxious sense about it existing on an always on basis.... division of energy, possibility of problems, more pressure on moderation....

just my two cents worth...
posted by HuronBob at 7:12 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Spent a handful of minutes in MetaChat. Superdoublethumbsup!
It's like suddenly I've got 40+ new friends!

One request: can we make it make an "Uh-Oh!" sound effect like ICQ?
posted by herrdoktor at 7:12 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


MeFi Chat is wonderful but if it starts to become a source of chatdrama then it needs to be burned to the ground and the ground needs to be sown with salt. As long as people can be decent then I see no reason to remove it but chatdrama is so much harder to manage than forum drama, and it can really ruin a nice online community. It might be manageable if the mods are willing to absorb the extra workload, but I can just see it fostering a whole lot more mod/user resentment than we have now and that in itself would be a reason to nuke it if you ask me.

I love me some chat, and some MeFites, and I'm glad that it's sticking around for the time being, but if people start being all shitty and cliquish then I hope the mod team pulls the plug pronto.
posted by Scientist at 7:13 PM on November 8, 2012


Perhaps if there were just kind of scheduled chat days or something. So it was a special treat. Like Pizza Thursdays. Or something? Like every 10 days or something. It wouldn't just fester and start to put down roots get all cliquey. But it would be awesome still.

Anyway, cool.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:19 PM on November 8, 2012


It is interesting to think of the concept of what is effectively IRC with a $5 membership fee, since I gather that the web based chat only works for those with active mefi accounts.
posted by thewalrus at 7:45 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have been involved in perhaps 5 online communities in my life, and watched chat destroy every single one of them. The only way that I think it would be different in this case is that it would suck way more time and energy of the mods here; because of how much more dedicated and professional they are than any other community managers I've ever encountered, including myself.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:01 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


in what ways did chat destroy things?
posted by ninjew at 8:05 PM on November 8, 2012


Chat killed my parents and cooked and ate my dog.
posted by item at 8:19 PM on November 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Drama. Anarchy. Cliques. Vicious infighting.

Ask yourself this. How long do you think this place would be a worthwhile place to visit if the mods suddenly disappeared?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:23 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


chat is just kinda mellow and happy, honestly, until pizza comes up.

People already chat off-site and are friends and it doesn't seem to have ruined anything...OR HAS IT?

Seriously though, I think the userbase of chat is too big and diverse for cliquishness to become an issue. I could be wrong.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:23 PM on November 8, 2012


Have you actually stepped into the chat, PareidoliaticBoy?
posted by griphus at 8:25 PM on November 8, 2012


Not here.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:27 PM on November 8, 2012


You should maybe check it out then before decrying it as the Death of MetaFilter.
posted by griphus at 8:28 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeah, thus far the most serious arguments had were literally over pizza.
posted by elizardbits at 8:31 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


and this was in a room full of 100+ people who were all drunk and hyperactive.
posted by elizardbits at 8:31 PM on November 8, 2012


and who no nothing of good pizza
posted by elizardbits at 8:32 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The argument over the best My Little Pony was pretty ferocious, too.
posted by cmyk at 8:33 PM on November 8, 2012


TWILIGHT SPARKLE IS BEST PONY
posted by flex at 8:37 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah that was also quite heated.

FLUTTERSHY.
posted by elizardbits at 8:38 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


who KNOW nothing, etc

sigh
posted by elizardbits at 8:39 PM on November 8, 2012


oh snap you were like just two minutes outside the edit window there
posted by flex at 8:40 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The dynamic of a short term experiment, conducted during a historic occasion is nothing like what what a full-time, wide open chat-room is like. Arguments to the contrary are disingenuous at best.

The kind of sneering, cool-kids attitude just displayed right here is precisely what causes this kind of negative consequence, at least in my experience.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:41 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


just as mods feared. fights already spilling over onto metatalk. is metafilter next?
posted by twist my arm at 8:42 PM on November 8, 2012


uh, that was sarcasm directed at mlp jokes...
posted by twist my arm at 8:43 PM on November 8, 2012


Sneering?
posted by mintcake! at 8:50 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how "you should maybe first try this fun thing you are complaining about on a purely theoretical basis" counts as "sneering" but, I mean, you are welcome to ... not try it, I guess?
posted by griphus at 8:57 PM on November 8, 2012


Dudes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:00 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


TWILIGHT SPARKLE IS BEST PONY

This is just getting ridiculous now. Shut it down.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:00 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like think we're all super users.
posted by maryr at 9:11 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy, it sounds like your concern w/r/t the chat is how it'll fill the mods' time, am I reading that right? It may interest you to know that they've basically decided to let the damn thing do itself with minimal intervention. There's no UI for flagging comments or whatever. Any complaints about behavior are to be done through the general site's established means.

I may be misunderstanding your argument. If so, please explain?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:15 PM on November 8, 2012


I've been referred to on more than one occasion as a stuperuser. I believe it's plastered across the top of my mod-side userpage.
posted by item at 9:32 PM on November 8, 2012


I'm not sure how "you should maybe first try this fun thing you are complaining about on a purely theoretical basis" counts as "sneering"

That's nothing at all like what you said. Here is what you did say ...

You should maybe check it out then before decrying it as the Death of MetaFilter.

The tone of those statements are diametrically opposed. You don't get to adopt the one you invented, after the fact.

My point shakespeherian, was that people can be real pricks, especially online. See above. The reason that this particular place is as worthwhile to visit as it is is because of the culture established here by Matt, and subsequently passed on down to the mods. But they don't have the resources to moderate a chat room, so what will develop there will have a different dynamic. It's one thing when it's a small group of users who know each other, it becomes a completely different thing when the user base becomes much broader.

Based on my past experience, this will cause problems that will inevitably spill over onto the main sites. Since we don't delete comments and ban people here, the usual tools that moderators have to ameliorate obnoxious behavior are more limited, and the result will be that they suddenly find themselves devoting time and energy to putting out the fires that erupt in the back-channel.

This is what I have seen happen in the past, and as I said, I observed it wreck what had hitherto been fun useful places to visit. All the pithy bon mots and sarcastic cracks won't make that not true.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:38 PM on November 8, 2012


You know what I see? People warning about chat releasing the strum und drang destroying everything mefi holds dear, and then over on chat there's a bunch of goofballs talkin about... crocheting a neckwarmer, I guess?

Perhaps the people who constantly see drama are the ones who invite it into their lives. (Let's ban those people from chat.)
posted by danny the boy at 10:10 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the mods have made it pretty clear that they will shut down chat if that worst-case scenario happens, though. I think that's a pretty good incentive for people to keep any grabassery contained. Anyway, from what little I've seen the tone was more "MeFi meetup" than "clusters of wild accusations 'n' drama"* so far.

* the worst cereal
posted by en forme de poire at 10:20 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pants are optional.
posted by Sailormom at 10:26 PM on November 8, 2012


Perhaps the people who constantly see drama are the ones who invite it into their lives. (Let's ban those people from chat.)

this is joke yes?
posted by twist my arm at 10:31 PM on November 8, 2012


It needs to be a joke. Whatever other things have happened, Metatalk is still for talking about Mefi related stuff, which is what is happening here. This is how it works.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:41 PM on November 8, 2012


It makes me unhappy that there are people here who have decided something is wrong and bad and will "ruin" Metafilter when we don't know anything about anything yet.

Can we please not condemn something that is being given a shot, and is being thoroughly enjoyed by those participating, for... reasons? What? I don't even know?

I wish this post hadn't been made. I knew it would go like this if someone brought it up in MeTa. It's why I was glad the mods were all "let's just see how this goes with the people who find it from the link in the election thread but NOT TALK ABOUT IT." Ugh.
posted by tzikeh at 10:54 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


to be fair it was being mentioned almost constantly in meta anyways

and really anytime we get a new pony we need to discuss it a lot and sometimes there's lots of fear about how it will tear the fabric of time so this is also not without precedent
posted by ninjew at 11:04 PM on November 8, 2012


This sounds like it could be a lot of fun, but I barely have time to look at the site right now, and having another thing to check to have any idea of what's going on with folks here is just another layer to get through.

If chat were to become an entrenched part of the site, would it be at all possible to have it as integrated as the various subsites are? We can click between the blue and the green with no barrier, no extra log-in, would it be possible to have chat as just another subsite? Again, this might be just me, but I couldn't log in to the chat at all during the election chat, and, well, I just gave up. Maybe that barrier is something the people in chat want, but stratification of the site is not my favorite thing. Some people don't read the grey, that's their choice. Some people don't read the blue, same thing. If we're adding in chat, I'd rather it not be set to be exclusive (either for whatever hazy meaning of superuser, or through separate login barrier).

If it were possible to click on a link between IRL and MetaTalk on the menu bar, or, say, click on a link on the MetaTalk page and just be on the chat page, I think that might be a bit more community friendly.

That, and we could have our own little poll on what color the chat page should be. Say, mauve.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:25 PM on November 8, 2012


Did you try logging in with your username in all lowercase letters? That was a stumbling block for me when I first tried to log in.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:33 PM on November 8, 2012


yeah. I just got the blue screen. It didn't work, and I didn't really have time to figure it out, and that's my main thing, just not having time. I'm not so concerned about myself, I just think if it's going to be a part of the MetaFilter experience, it should be a full part of the site, if that's something pb can do, just so that everyone could take part.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:44 PM on November 8, 2012


We'll see how it goes; we're not ready to incorporate it that way at this point. It's basically in test mode right now. It worked well for taking some of the pressure off on election day and now we're just sort of seeing how/if it might work as a regular thing.

There has literally been absolutely no discussion in moderation of chat being a superuser thing. While testing it makes sense that a smaller group will try it out, and people who pay attention to Metatalk happen to be such group. It doesn't make sense to roll it out as a regular feature at this point, because it may turn out not be a regular always-on feature.

I see it a little bit like Schroedinger's Chat at the moment, and how it's used will determine how it exists. We're cool with always-on if it's neutral or a net positive, and we're cool with it being a special event thing if not. There's reason to believe that Mefites can do this well, but if it becomes a significant moderation drain or something that negatively impacts how the site operates, we'll cut it back. I kind of see it as maybe a new experiment in Metafilter self-policing, and hope that it works out for the best, but in terms of expending a great deal of admin energy to codify every possible case of chat behavior and police the channel, that is effort that could much better be used in other ways, and don't really see that happening.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have had a really nice time talking to some people in chat tonight! I'm treating it kind of like a mixer situation, where people can pop in and out. I think that chat rooms, as a social construct that makes for cliquey assholish behavior on associated or mother sites, is a worry that has sort of fallen apart as social media has become much more pervasive. If I find myself making a deeper friendship on metafilter chat, I suspect I will naturally engage with that person elsewhere online one-on-one, because it's so much easier to do that now. Particularly since we have to use our usernames so I can always know who I'm talking to, at least as far as who this person is on Metafilter, so I know that they will always be able to easily find my contact info.
posted by Mizu at 11:54 PM on November 8, 2012


You should maybe check it out then before decrying it as the Death of MetaFilter.

yeah, thus far the most serious arguments had were literally over pizza.

and this was in a room full of 100+ people who were all drunk and hyperactive.


I don't get it. What strange magic allows CHAT to not go off the rails the way other aspects of the site are known to do? Do people just not talk about circumcision, Palestine, contrails over there? Is everyone stoned? Is something about the interface impervious to passive aggression, hypersensitivity, assholism?

Please illuminate me.
posted by philip-random at 12:43 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much #tapes plays into reticence.
posted by klangklangston at 12:49 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is indeed history. Some of it neither very sweet nor entirely savoury, or so the wind has whispered.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:04 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't necessarily pin current expectations on the worst behavior that happened in any given independent unofficial IRC channel. If individual users want to use it for trolling or griefing, they'll be banned from chat. If it proves impossible for the larger membership to moderate their own participation to the degree that it becomes a negative for the site, then we won't have it as a regular thing. It's still on because this hasn't happened, and we're just like "well, let's see how it goes."
posted by taz (staff) at 1:36 AM on November 9, 2012



There is indeed history. Some of it neither very sweet nor entirely savoury



That may be, but now you've made me want sweet 'n' sour chicken.
posted by dubold at 1:50 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who doesn't, my friend? Who doesn't?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:57 AM on November 9, 2012


I expect it will disappear once we get a really heated MeTa thread about racism or sexism or any other subject that prompts one of those massive angry threads and closed accounts. I can't really imagine people getting super pissed off, like they do in those threads, and not deciding to take their debate to the faster moving, less moderated part of the site. And angry people don't go well with fast moving, minimally moderated places.

But, you know what? MeFi chat seems like it will be a lot of fun until then, and I hope it stays as long as it can. Deciding not to have a fun MeFi chat because it will eventually be shut down would be like deciding not to have a puppy because one day it will die.
posted by Bugbread at 2:17 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, I just broke the law on mefi chat. It was exhilarating.
posted by ryanrs at 4:15 AM on November 9, 2012


Chat's awesome for allowing the more established members of the site to have a place they can co-ordinate attacks from.

And the great thing - You don't even have to break any "laws". Just a simple posting of a link to the thread you need people to appear in. Nothing wrong with that, right? It's like whatever backchannel the metafilter mods use. Only now it can be used by the people who wish they were mods.

Chat is too fast, too uncontrollable and too likely to be used by the more "invested" community members. Even if it's not used for evil, you're still differentiating between specific classes of metafilter member. That's never a good thing.

I know the metafilter mods are testing this out for now, but here's a vote for "this is a really, really bad idea."
posted by zoo at 4:51 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, the backchannel the Metafilter mods use is called "e-mail." In terms of creating classes of Metafilter member, do you mean testing it among the smaller group of people who happen to read Metatalk, or do you mean having chat at all?

If it's the latter, there are Metafilter members who communicate with each other in all sorts of ways: twitter, facebook, G+, IRC, IM, metachat.org, mefightclub, sportsfilter, monkeyfilter, a couple of other offsite spaces, meetups... and so far, it doesn't seem like they've used those venues to wreak havoc on the site. I hope that this won't be used in that way, and if it is, it goes. Personally, I don't have a problem with starting with the assumption that people are reasonable adults.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:35 AM on November 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Why does mefi chat use backslash escapes for spaces and other special characters in usernames? The Jabber protocol should handle the literal characters just fine.
posted by ryanrs at 6:05 AM on November 9, 2012


Chat's awesome for allowing the more established members of the site to have a place they can co-ordinate attacks from.

Why would people do this?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:21 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


like deciding not to have a puppy because one day it will die.

SPOILER ALERT!!
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:30 AM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Drinky Die: "Maybe a compromise would be to open the chat when major stuff is going down. Election, SOTU, major natural disasters, etc. at moderator discretion. If it stays up all the time, it might need moderation at all times and that might just be too much."

I like this idea and seanmpuckett's pizza day thought. It seems like fun as something a little different and for rapid fire discussion. I have misgivings-admittedly, vague and inchoate ones-about the effect on the site if it is always around.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:51 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


What happens in Mefi chat stays in Mefi chat. Like that cyber orgy we had the other -- oh noes I've said too much.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:51 AM on November 9, 2012


I've changed my mind, y'all. MeFi Chat is best pony.
posted by flex at 6:52 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dildamesh.
posted by herrdoktor at 7:05 AM on November 9, 2012


Just a simple posting of a link to the thread you need people to appear in. Nothing wrong with that, right?

We have ongoing transcripts of the chat room; we can and will shut this sort of thing down if we see it. This has historically been a thing that happens organically as people form affinity groups somewhere that isn't right here (various subsites and even real life) and we've always said it's not really a problem unless it's a problem. If you think it's happening, talk to us. If you see it happening on chat, tell people to knock it off.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:15 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much #tapes plays into reticence.
posted by klangklangston at 2:49 AM on November 9 [1 favorite +] [!]


#tapes hasn't existed for something like 7 years
posted by cellphone at 7:16 AM on November 9, 2012


Just want to add my chatty little voice to the folks saying that ChatFilter is great and good.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:20 AM on November 9, 2012


I had a great time in the chat the other day, but I think it would be a mistake to continue it as an official extension of Metatalk/filter.

1. People who participate in chats tend to be a bit spazzy. On MF they contribute amazing one liner jokes, as well as longer, regular content. It is inevitable that they say something in the chat that they wouldn't say on the site given different levels of permissible language between mf and normal internet discourse (ie "Fuck you" random insults, etc.)

2. Mod resources already seem stretched thin, especially with new things to police like the abuse of the edit function. That's up to them obviously, but I'd rather they have the time to discuss tricky situations, so it does effect me as a user if they're having to police another realm.

3. Additional rules is not what MF needs. Already appearing in this thread: "No talking in Metatalk about things said in Chat" which, though maybe understandable isn't necessarily intuitive. Metafilter is a very rules and guidelines heavy community, which is fine and makes things work well. It's good that there's a Metatalk to let people discuss the rules and the enforcement in the open with mods and learn from each-other. A semi-secret chat site seems like it would add a level of unofficial commentary and discussion that is not on the record for other users. This seems unfair to non-superusers, while on the other hand provides more reasons for mods to have to ban people, delete posts, and otherwise crack down on metafilter's established culture.

Not the end of the world obviously and I'd use it if it stuck around sometimes, but I don't see what benefit it gives the community other than adding something that anyone could create on its own with an IRC chat room. Metafilter has never had a place for offtopic chat, so other things were developed by users to allow that. I don't think this is the time to start.

NOW, an official dedicated Metafilter Turntable.Fm room? That I could get behind in a big way. :sunglasses:
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:41 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chat's awesome for allowing the more established members of the site to have a place they can co-ordinate attacks from.

After a certain number of years on the site, you actually get a special button on your phone that you can press to summon like twenty to thirty demons. They all just flap into a thread and post the word "balls". It's a pretty cool feature, and, in my opinion, works even more smoothly than chat could for that purpose.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:27 AM on November 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


I don't agree that it should be closed because not everyone can use it. I work with no computer access and rare phone access so I can't get much of the site and don't necessarily know what's going on. I see it as part of being on a big site with lots of content. Some will get to do things that I don't and that's okay.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:32 AM on November 9, 2012


balls
posted by mintcake! at 9:34 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


balls
posted by shakespeherian at 9:37 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Potomac Avenue: Additional rules is not what MF needs. Already appearing in this thread: "No talking in Metatalk about things said in Chat" which, though maybe understandable isn't necessarily intuitive.

I think Jessamyn made it pretty clear that that is not in fact a rule, but really just her personal expectations, which may or may not end up being codified into some sort of rule, which I assume would be made more clear and obvious if it were.

balls
posted by Rock Steady at 9:39 AM on November 9, 2012


Also the NYC mefite group requires almost zero moderation and has never been used for drama here or attacks or pile ons. I don't see it as inevitable for an off site social space with OPEN membership. If there were an ideological litmus test it were invite-only or something maybe, but as-is it's a pretty diverse group.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:39 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


YRR that isn't an official part of Metafilter. There's a huge difference between an unofficial MF offshoot run by users and a MF-sponsored chat site moderated by the mods here.

MF by design requires a huge amount of moderation, so adding another subsection would increase those needs both on the chat and over here.

If we want it that bad, pb and matt should let some user take over the hosting and moderation duties in some fashion.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:49 AM on November 9, 2012


I think that if mods aren't paying terribly close attention and a shitfit/fight/escalation/whatever breaks out, there's enough people more committed to making sure chat doesn't get shut down that they would contact the mods for intervention rather than join in the melee. I mean, it would literally take one person out of howevermany to drop a line to the mods, and there's always a mod on duty. The moderation process itself seems to be limited to "cut the shit" and a banning from chat if shit is not cut, which is a-okay from my perspective.
posted by griphus at 10:20 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


MF by design requires a huge amount of moderation, so adding another subsection would increase those needs both on the chat and over here.

I think that the mods are capable of weighing that and shutting chat down if it's taking too many resources from the rest of the site, and I would be fine with that. What I'm not fine with is preemptively deciding that it's going to be a quagmire. I do not think that is a given.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:22 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really enjoyed popping onto chat during the election but I'm not sure it would be the best thing to make a full-time, official part of MetaFilter. It adds an unnecessary back channel. I don't see it as being the doom of MetaFilter or anythng, but I don't see it as being all that healthy as a full time feature. I DO like the idea of it being a special occasion thing, either to act as a snark/steam release valve for liveblog threads or maybe just something to toss out there from time to time.
posted by charred husk at 10:29 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


If people like it, that's great, but I couldn't really figure out the appeal. It seems like a super-fast-moving version of MetaTalk. I have trouble in Facebook comment threads because they move too fast, though, so maybe I'm just slow.

What IS the appeal? Is it this "off-the-record" thing?
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:48 AM on November 9, 2012


I don't get it. What strange magic allows CHAT to not go off the rails the way other aspects of the site are known to do?

Practically, the difference between a chatroom and a thread on the site is that one is mostly ephemeral while the other is like a permanent record. If someone pops in chat later tonight and starts screaming about palestinian penis cats because that's their thing, as long as they're asleep by the time I pop in later the impact of their rant is contained by the fact that it's scrolled off everyone's screens already.

With a thread, I could take issue with a comment days old and start a whole new argument/derail based on it. I'd look a bit unhinged or like I had a grudge if I popped in chat and started bringing up old shit.

As with most all IRC, it really depends on the group, and I think we've got a nice thing going on right now. Certainly it could turn sour, but we're mostly insulated from griefers due to the single-signon thing, which is kinda what sets this apart from just a random IRC room.
posted by odinsdream at 10:57 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chat feels friendlier and more immediate to me. MeFi in general is more formal, more intimidating, and anything I say here is permanent and searchable. Chat is relaxed and approachable; kind of like a 24/7 meetup, which is nice.

YMMV; horses for courses.
posted by flex at 10:59 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


People are using it to discuss child education and exchange cute kid photos and help out with job hunting questions. To whom is this threatening, exactly?
posted by elizardbits at 11:00 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I used to really dig IRC back in the day and I miss having group conversations with a bunch of interesting people -- which y'all are! -- because it is just a totally different animal than participation on a forum or 1:1 IMing. The way it is developing, it's basically a place to shoot the shit, which you really can't do anywhere on MetaFilter proper, even MeTa. There's no enforced topic, and it is basically closer to a meetup atmosphere than it is to the MetaFilter proper atmosphere. I feel like the "so, what are y'all up to today" environment that is developing isn't very conducive to tantrums and trolling, but also not conducive to Deep, Important conversations. MetaFilter proper is, for better and worse, rather conducive to both.
posted by griphus at 11:01 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


For the record, I never once said it would involve fighting there. I doubt it would. It's great that people are using it to mess around in ways MF hasn't allowed before, but I worry about it negatively affecting the MF experience by:

A. spreading moderation efforts too thin, causing poor moderation decisions on the site.
B. Increasing the additional rules on MF and getting the more spazzy superusers users (many of whom are posting in this thread about how much they love chat heh) in trouble by setting them up to fail, and get banned or a time out on MF for something they do in chat. Including me. Let's be honest, I can get mad and react quickly to stuff I think is wrong. Not that we'd fight about it in the chat, but I can unfortunately see myself:
1. posting a link on chat to a askme answer I Hate
2. posting an opinion on chat about a MF user I think is full of shit, using some extreme language
3. posting in Metatalk something damning someone said in chat
4. posting an opinion about MF policy or a MF mod decision good or bad which is what Metatalk is for.

Finally C. Creating an official back-channel conversation which isn't public to the majority of the users just seems... cliquish. In the way that I've always found MF to not be.

If the people in this thread want a chat room, create one yourself (like ny mefites did with the google group). MF is under no obligation to do it for you.

K, I'm done. If it remains, I'll see you guys over there when I want to goof off lol.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:20 AM on November 9, 2012


Also, I will personally promise to do my best to keep it positive and fun, at least when I'm there. I think if most to all people take the same approach it will become the culture there (and I think it's already the culture for the most part).
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:21 AM on November 9, 2012


People who participate in chats tend to be a bit spazzy

Not sure that using ableist language is the best way to make your point, especially when various mefites have repeatedly, specifically stated that it makes them very uncomfortable when others do so.
posted by elizardbits at 11:27 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I apologize, I myself am mad ADHDed out and was mainly thinking of my own situation. Didn't mean to make it sound like an insult. If anything I meant it as a relatively positive attribute. My mistake!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:50 AM on November 9, 2012


Right now chat is not part of our moderation mandate. If something goes weird there, we expect people to tell us about it and we'll investigate, but it's not adding to our load at all.

The rules are, as usual, "don't be a dick." The way that actually shakes out is pretty unformed, but people who have spent a bunch of time here probably have a reasonable idea of what the community considers dickish. I am vastly amused at the idea that this is a heavily rules-based community. Go check out Television Without Pity sometime, if you want some perspective.

Right now it's not causing problems and it's not eating resources. It's going to take a little time and probably some bumps before we can really see how it'll shake out in the long term. I personally thought it was a great adjunct to a predictably livebloggish event, and I'm less interested in it as a daily thing, but I have also thought that Metafilter in general shows a desire for an off-topic outlet (which often shows up in MetaTalk, somewhat to the detriment of the serious purpose of the subsite) and if the chat room can siphon that off, all the better.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:53 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am still wondering if there have been fewer comment and askme question chatfilter deletions since the Coming Of The Chat.
posted by elizardbits at 12:03 PM on November 9, 2012


That's an interesting question - we should run some numbers in a week or two, when we have enough data to be convincing.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:05 PM on November 9, 2012


Remember when comment editing was added and a bunch of people predicted the site would collapse in on itself and consequences would never be the same, cats and dogs, etc. And... then it totally happened! Everything went to hell and Matt had to reboot from a backup and we lost like 6 days and I think some people got stranded and ate each other.

Let that be a lesson to all of us: change is scary, and everything I'm not used to, sucks.
posted by danny the boy at 1:38 PM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think some people got stranded and ate each other.

For the record, most MeFites taste best slathered in BBQ sauce & accompanied with red wine.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:44 PM on November 9, 2012


Metafilter: otherwise clutter up thread
posted by herbplarfegan at 4:16 PM on November 9, 2012


I was in favor of the chat at first but after seeing it all day today with 60+ people and folks saying they want chatbots posting in the channel when FPPs have been made, etc, I have decided, imo, it's too much potential headache for the mods to have to worry about and I will not further be contributing to the distraction.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 5:22 PM on November 9, 2012


after seeing it all day today with 60+ people and folks saying they want chatbots posting in the channel when FPPs have been made, etc,

People saying "I want a pony!" doesn't mean they will get that pony. The excitement in the chat room about the possibilities of the chatroom leads the conversation to "wouldn't it be great if" statements--NONE of which may ever be fulfilled. I very much doubt that there will be bots in the room; the mods have made it clear that they are not intending to use up mod energy for the room; "it's possible this will go poorly so let's not do it" is a rotten way to approach something that, so far, has been harmless good times.
posted by tzikeh at 5:41 PM on November 9, 2012


Before I head out for the evening, upon further reflection, I think what would be the best compromise for MetaFilter would be for everyone who wants a chat to do the mods a solid, figure out a new unofficial chat arena and encourage everyone to move over there and let the mods shut down the Official MetaFilter Network Inc. chat. I wouldn't want to move to slashnet #mefi but a different, new room somewhere run by some volunteer operators or whomever wants to host a server would be ideal, I think.

I'm not trying to be rotten or ruin anyone's fun, I want to relieve the burden of the mods so they don't ever have to worry about jumping into chat and straightening someone out because the mod possibly misread a joke out of context because they've been doing other modly things all day and just now caught the end of something in the chat window. I just think the mods have enough to do without also being IRCops in a single channel of 65 people. For analogy I don't expect the mods to kick griefers from the MeFightClub TF2 server because it would take away from the other things that I want them able to be doing. There's tons of IRC networks and I'm sure one of us would love to voluntarily host a Jabber server or something. Then when it's ready you can put links to it in this thread, in your profile, in some comments where applicable, or make a new MeTa thread. Then you have a fresh new chatroom and the mods don't have to worry about it.

Anyway, that's my 1 cent for now. Love to everyone. ttyl
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 6:38 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to relieve the burden of the mods so they don't ever have to worry about jumping into chat and straightening someone out because the mod possibly misread a joke out of context because they've been doing other modly things all day and just now caught the end of something in the chat window.

Just to be clear, this does not bother any of us. If it bothers you, that's totally fine, but the fact that the chat exists actually does remove some of the noise in high volume threads and gives MeFi users a place to interact with each other in a semi-official way. Right now there are some wrinkles that we're all working out and that's AOK. We may wind up only rolling it out for special occasions, we're not sure yet. If you have personal concerns about this not being a good thing, again that's totally fine, but we're the ones who thought this was a good idea in the first place. It's not, at this point, a burden.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:04 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The concern trolling about the increased mod workload seems a bit out of place here, seeing as how those specific people have already shared their thoughts and seem perfectly capable of continuing to speak for themselves, and it's really out of line for people to be commenting here who literally haven't even poked their heads in the chat for more than a few minutes. Some of us only use certain parts of the site. This is neither a surprise nor a problem.

One of the big benefits of this specific chat is that the username and password are directly linked to the accounts here. This increases accountability and reduces griefing, which is a big deal to making the chat a potentially nice place, which it consistently has been for its entire short existence.
posted by odinsdream at 7:06 PM on November 9, 2012


One of the big benefits of this specific chat is that the username and password are directly linked to the accounts here.

This is something that I think people with previous bad chatroom experiences may not be fully considering. The fact that it's not a separate reputation space, and that it adheres to the same rules of continuity of identity as Mefi proper, means the likelihood of trolling isn't really any higher than anywhere else. I fully expect there to be some unanticipated fallout, and I'm particularly curious about what form it will take - my live-chat experiences are within MMOs, which I did not personally handle complaints about and which is a very different beast in terms of its relationship to the web community, for reasons I will go into great detail about at the slightest provocation.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:14 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


HOW many comments in and no-one's acknowledged the "excess jabber" pun? Jeez.
posted by mendel at 7:19 PM on November 9, 2012


Restless_nomad, I provoke you: what are these reasons you mention?
posted by medusa at 7:31 PM on November 9, 2012


The worst trolling incident I've encountered so far is that shakespherian convinced me that he had no idea what Twin Peaks was. Chat has been really peachy so far and it's been great to talk to other MeFites, I've been learning all kinds of things and really connecting with community members in ways that make me feel much more a part of this place than I ever did before. I am loving it.
posted by Scientist at 7:33 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think some people got stranded and ate each other.

For the record, most MeFites taste best slathered in BBQ sauce & accompanied with red wine.


Does anyone have a recipe for vegetarian Mefite substitute?
posted by Drinky Die at 7:34 PM on November 9, 2012


I usually just throw MeFu into a stirfry.
posted by mendel at 7:49 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Restless_nomad, I provoke you: what are these reasons you mention?

In all the MMOs I worked on, in-game chat was basically a chat room built in to the UI. For all intents and purposes everyone had access to the big public rooms. The forums were web-based and tied to the game account, so you needed to be a member in good standing to use either one.

There are two major differences. One, the forums were always a tiny fraction of the membership, and an adjunct to the game community. Here, the new chat room is an adjunct to the existing web community. That means that the people in chat know each other at least by reputation (to a greater or lesser extent, I suppose.) In MMOs, you could do whatever you wanted in the in-game chat and the odds that someone who actively posted on the forums would see it was minuscule, so the reputation didn't really carry both ways.

The second, of course, is that MMO chat is secondary to, you know, the game. Chat is somewhere between a handy tool and a minor distraction, not an end in itself. So you get a lot more "I will repeat Chuck Norris jokes for half an hour while I wait for my friend to log on" because they are there for a completely different set of activities and rewards - building social capital or having a conversation are not the goal at all. Mefi chat is a thing in itself - people are there on purpose, and if they get bored by it, they can presumably go away.

There's also the business model issue, but that's kind of orthogonal to our situation - since we don't depend on y'all for subscription fees or anything, we don't need to build our moderation policies around retention (which is a stupid thing in the long run, but is certainly something that happens at MMO companies - having pressure not to ban people because they'll stop paying you makes it really hard to make community-building decisions.)

...I did warn you.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:51 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love chat! Please let it stay.
posted by Wordwoman at 9:07 PM on November 9, 2012


I like chat too, but I'm okay with whatever the mods deem best, to be honest. The reason I like chat is cos it's a place where mefites can get to know each other a little and just hang out. It feels kind of like an online meetup, really. As an international member, I like that I can have a meetup-like encounter with mefites far away!

I have noticed that mostly the people on there I vaguely recognise, which some might say points to how the chat would promote cliques. I think that just points to the fact that there are members who have more time/energy/investment into the community, and some don't. That's okay! You wouldn't say, oh look, only super-active members go to meetups, we should stop them lest they mutiny.
posted by undue influence at 12:31 AM on November 10, 2012


I enjoyed lurking on the election night chatroom but I'm a little wary of making it permanent. I've been an active member of several forums that spawned chatrooms and while they were a lot of fun, they inevitably appeal to a much smaller number of members who have the time/inclination/technical chops to stay involved, resulting in a subculture.

There's nothing wrong with that, and it's already true of particular threads and subsites on Mefi as it is. The difference is that the website is much more visible to all members, so it feels easier to get involved and reply, whereas in this case you'd have to go wading through chat logs. Again, that's potentially fine but it feels different since chats are often more intimate and off-hand (as we've seen already). There's more potential for drama.

Anyways: it would be great if it worked out well. My point is that I've seen some very smart forums do it and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, so a bit of caution is more than warranted.
posted by adrianhon at 8:33 AM on November 10, 2012


I'm torn. One of the things I love most about MetaFilter is its permanence, edit window notwithstanding. Chat is transient; that's its nature, but it's not usually the way we have learned to talk to each other in this space. Even the jokey MeTa threads are done within the framework of "this is going to be searchable and part of the site history."

That said, even though I find chatrooms stressful (too fast, hard to multitask while using), I am procrastinating so hard on this thing I'm supposed to be writing that I may drop by and kill some time.
posted by catlet at 9:46 AM on November 10, 2012


The concern trolling about the increased mod workload seems a bit out of place here

Hmm. Fuck you? Yes. Fuck you.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 11:43 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're trying to make a considered argument about something that you would like other people to listen to, this sort of response undermines it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:49 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Fuck you? Yes. Fuck you.

Seriously?
posted by odinsdream at 11:55 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


While my own reservations and comments weren't "concern trolling" ( and I find that characterization of them pretty offensive) speaking to others here in such a way is even more so. I'm surprised that Jessamyn didn't delete it, actually.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2012


People can't be civil here, huh? Take it to chat, boys!

Don't really care, if some people like it what's the BFD?
posted by spitbull at 1:33 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of chat, but I think if you're going to try it out as an experiment, why not try to let it run completely unmoderated? If there are issues that spill over onto the site, then you deal with those (shut them down, ban, timeouts, whatever). And if that continues to be an issue that causes the mods more work and stress, then you shut it down and it becomes a failed, but interesting, experiment. However, as long as any drama that happens on chat stays in chat (hopefully there won't be any drama), and it doesn't become vendettas on the site or cause the creation of threads on the grey (and you can make that explicit by saying that the grey is NOT a place to address issues from chat--chat is the wild west and you have no expectation or ability to address chat problems on the site, etc.), then why not just let it be--unless/until it becomes more hassle for the mods than it's worth. Just treat it like a completely separate space that members all happen to have access to. That's my thinking, anyway.
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:25 PM on November 10, 2012


Frankly, if people want to duke it out in chat, that will perhaps get some of the back-and-forth off the blue/green and give people a chance to hash it out (or bicker or whatever) without it cluttering up the threads. It could potentially make it less work for the mods, if people "take it to chat". Even for the debates that are in good faith that are interesting but a derail.
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:26 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


My feeling is that people can bicker privately in email if they want to bicker. There's no benefit to the site in having a public venue for bickering.

It seems to me that if chat is a place for non-site-related friendly chitchat, it will be a source of fun and not create drama. So far people seem to be having a great time with it following that pretty simple notion.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:35 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone once told me that the Mefi IRC chat room was not the nicest place to be and so I never really got into it. I don't see this one being a whole lot different.

While it was a little fun on election night (although I admit I never would have gone in there if a Mefi-friend hadn't mentioned she was in it), in my experience people are generally less careful about others' feelings without the direct supervision of the mods and so I, for one, will decline to participate in the chat room. I think it's a bad idea. At least when I post on Mefi, I know the entire userbase and the mods can all see what is going on, so there can be no he-said-she-said.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:10 AM on November 11, 2012


I leave chat open while I'm working, and dip in occasionally (more reading than chatting, just because the live chat format isn't a great fit for my way of multitasking). So far the recurrent themes seem to be food, games, kids, food, film/tv/videos, weddings, memes, food, music, MLP, food, and the occasional penis*.

I definitely don't see it as a "get your knife-fight on here!" space, and we won't be using it as a place to send people who want to wrestle each other more than they want to participate in a discussion. Again, for us, it's just a fun thing for people that we can have if it doesn't create problems. There's no downside to leaving it on if people are enjoying it and it isn't making trouble, and there's no upside to leaving it on if it has a negative effect.

* jokey penis, not a/s/l penis
posted by taz (staff) at 12:53 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't arm-bar someone if your typing.
posted by Sailormom at 10:35 AM on November 11, 2012


...and so I, for one, will decline to participate in the chat room. I think it's a bad idea.

This comes across as completely bizarre when compared to the actual content of chat to-date, which is constructed of approximately:

20% kale
30% baby pictures
10% sad cat news
15% happy cat news
25% work and politics chitchat

If it starts to decline into the wretched hive of scum and villainy you seem to want to avoid, I suppose you have the benefit of not having to give up a good thing.
posted by odinsdream at 12:12 PM on November 11, 2012


And pizza. You forget the brutal knives-out debates about pizza.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:18 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can I please make two important clarifications?
posted by griphus at 12:27 PM on November 11, 2012


It doesn't count as a "debate" when one party is objectively wrong.

Please keep chat debates on chat, thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:23 PM on November 11, 2012


the most upsetting moment was when someone threatened YES THREATENED to put kale on pizza.
posted by elizardbits at 3:17 PM on November 11, 2012


would it help if I kept sharing more puppy pix because I will
posted by ninjew at 5:27 PM on November 11, 2012


restless_nomad: "And pizza. You forget the brutal knives-out debates about pizza."

THERE IS NO GOOD PIZZA IN OAKLAND AND ANYONE WHO SAYS DIFFERENT IS INFERIOR AND WEAK AND I CHALLENGE YOU TO COME AT ME.

[Dear lord, please somebody come at me. I want to be proven wrong! I yearn for good pizza…]
posted by Lexica at 1:02 AM on November 12, 2012


Aw, man, I need to spend more time in Chat; I've been dying to talk more about pizza and kale.
posted by desuetude at 7:48 AM on November 12, 2012


I used to inhabit a forum focused on veterans and their families. As the small community go to know one another certain issues began to contaminate the board, the primary value of which was to respond to newer participants about topics related to veterans and health care, suicide problems and broken people. You know.

Anyhow, the moderators of the site established what we called the FFZ (Free Fire Zone) for people use for rants and feuds. The idea was to keep the main board free of that sort of thing. The short version of this story is that it didn't work out very well in the long run. I hasten to point out that the community of regulars was pretty small, a few dozen, but they were expert at what they did: handle various PTSD counseling issues, and so on. By the nature of the crew volitility was part of the process, so being unruly was more of a feature there than we would expect here in the MeFi community.

The main board (there) was pretty chatty, even though it was not a chat-room format. All you had to do was hit refresh. To be fair, the nature of the inhabitants was both the cause and benificiary of the flaming threads that caused newcomers to run screaming from the room, so to speak. The FFZ was supposed to keep the issues channeled in a more, let's say, academic vein: how to apply for benifits, how to keep hubby from eating his pistol, stuff like that.

I'm trying to suppose that the "WSICSTIC" ethic is viable here in MeFi, but experience tells me that teapot tempests don't like being confined. Perspective comes when the pot cools down, usually sometime quite a bit later than after hitting the send button.

I was also a member of a couple of chat rooms (I was a Wubby and had a good time there), and also active back in my ICQ days. As for MeFiChat, the appeal for me is mild. I didn't even know it existed until I saw this thread. I'd probably just lurk, but I'm pretty sure I'd get drawn into something that appealed to my version of humor and enlightenment; I'm pretty sure that I would actually be more or less appropriate, because I sort of got used to dealing with trolls on those other venues, and no longer have much interest in rising to sour bait. My weakness is my escoteric and arid sense of humor. Okay, I don't have a sense of humor. Now you know.

Chats are good for shits and giggles, but reasoned discourse works better elsewhere. The beast has different appetites, is what. In chats, your subtext rules: coming off the top of your head, you reveal more than you realize, but by the time you notice, it's too late. This isn't a thing that rules of order will control, or contain to the chat room. That's not bad or good, it just means that the chat beast will send its kittens over here now and then, so you might as well know it in advance.
posted by mule98J at 9:03 AM on November 12, 2012


Seems like a security risk as it doubles the number of password guess attempts someone can make before being locked out.
posted by 256 at 9:14 AM on November 12, 2012


lexica, drive over to Berkeley and get some Cheeseboard
posted by ninjew at 9:19 AM on November 12, 2012


If your password can be guessed by brute-force you have a bad password. Mefi supports extremely long passwords, now is a great time to try out this feature.
posted by odinsdream at 6:40 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


ninjew: "lexica, drive over to Berkeley and get some Cheeseboard"

Being in Oakland, I'm a total Arizmendi junkie. And I hear that Boot and Shoe Service is decent for in-restaurant pizza. Zza's may be as well. Lanesplitter is fairly okay when fresh from the oven in the restaurant. But as far as delivery goes, there is no really good pizza. Leaning Tower is the closest to good, but…

(And I'm a Californian. I'm not even supposed to be a pizza snob. That just illustrates how woefully mediocre most of the pizza around here is.)
posted by Lexica at 8:26 PM on November 12, 2012


Yeah, my MeFi password is a randomly-generated sequence of numbers, letters, and punctuation of over 20 characters length. I use KeePass to manage it along with my other passwords. It is actually a lot easier than the old way where I had a rotating handful of semi-secure passwords that I had to remember in my head. I have a copy of my password directory on a thumbdrive for those times when I have to use another computer, and it's 256-bit encrypted with an equally strong but memorizable password which is the only one that I have to actually keep in my head. It's great.
posted by Scientist at 4:18 PM on November 13, 2012


The fact that chat logins are username@chat.metafilter.com has alerted me to the fact that I would really love an @metafilter.com e-mail address, even if all it did was forward e-mails to a pre-existing address. Man, that would be sweet.
posted by Scientist at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


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