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There's a lot of useful discussion being made in the chat rooms - are they logged and saved for future reference? If they are, where can I access them - and are they indexable by Google?

If not, did the admins consider it? Why not?

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2 Answers

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There's a lot of useful discussion being made in the chat rooms

[citation needed]

I've spent some time in various chat room as of late, and I have yet to see any discussion that is truly worth saving. Most of it is simply noise and banter. And sure, while that might be fun (for some people) to participate in, it's hardly worth saving. No one is really going to back and read it all. The few bits that are helpful are likely to be extremely temporalized and/or localized. It's unlikely that anyone will go back and refer to the discussion for future reference.

If it's really something that's useful, you should consider promoting it to its rightful place on the site. Ask a question and then either answer it yourself or have whoever helped you in chat post an answer. Share the love (i.e., information)—that's really what a Q&A site is all about.

If not, did the admins consider it? Why not?

Actually, yes. Despite everything I said above, chat is actually archived and searchable. Each chat venue has a search page; for example, you can search the Meta chat rooms here. Moreover, the transcripts of public chats are indexed by the Google.

I don't really know why.* That's never been useful for me before, but they didn't ask me.

* But that might simply be because I'm a bitter fogey who just resents the fact that he can never fit an entire thought into the character limit that is so draconically imposed by the chat page's input box.

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You make me look really bad :D –  aditya menon Apr 5 '12 at 2:06
<ref/> to your {{citation needed}} provided below (sort of, at any rate) –  Manishearth Apr 5 '12 at 3:05
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The logs are saved, if the room is worth saving

From the chat faq

A room is considered worth retaining if it has more than 15 messages by at least 2 users. Rooms not worth retaining which are inactive for 7 days will be deleted. Rooms worth retaining which are inactive for 14 days will be frozen.

So, the room is frozen indefinitely.

Google indexes them as well

@TheEstablishment Here's a <ref /> for you:

I once had a discussion with a student regarding how to explain Quantum Mechanics to peers. I've had to explain QM to the layperson quite often, so this was pretty fun. Anyway, I found that the transcript was pretty useful later on--It served as a template for future explanations to others. Though this could be called "pretty localised" as well, since I'm the only one who will ever use it.

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Ah, disagree! Lots of people don't understand quantum mechanics. If you actually have a useful way of explaining it, then you should do exactly as I suggested: upgrade your chat discussion into an actual question, and then post your explanation as an answer. If the Physics people are too high-brow to allow questions like "How can I explain quantum mechanics to a lay person in an understandable way?" on their site, feel free to post it on Philosophy. –  Cody Gray Apr 5 '12 at 3:08
@TheEstablishment: Hmm--for that, I'd need to soup it up a bit.. Remember, that discussion assumed that `@CodeAdmiral knew quite a few things(which he did). Also, if he understood a part, I sort of skipped over it. Though its a good idea, I may do so in a few days (not enough time to do that now). I don't think anyone will be too "stick in the mud" to not like it. Not sure though :P If not, I'll certainly get it to Philisophy.. –  Manishearth Apr 5 '12 at 3:15
@TheEstablishment: Hmm, a mod said that it would be "too broad" on Physics. Are you sure that it would be fine on Philosophy? It strikes me as off-topic. Though you're a mod there, you know better than I do :P I guess it can fit into those interested in logical reasoning. In a weird way. –  Manishearth Apr 5 '12 at 4:29
Well, the suggestion was a bit tongue-in-cheek. It is tangentially related to philosophy in that quantum mechanics and general discussions of determinism/indeterminism have influenced philosophical thought heavily. But I really don't see why it is off-topic for Physics. Yes, it's somewhat broad. I can imagine that there might be an entire book written about the topic. In fact, I've read one. But it does seem like it's constructive and answerable. Questions like this have generally been accepted on SO. –  Cody Gray Apr 5 '12 at 4:37
@TheEstablishment: Hmmm... I'll see.. If I do end up posting a Q/A, I'll let you know. –  Manishearth Apr 5 '12 at 4:41
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