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As a specific example, the signal processing chatroom (which is a general room for the entire site) was frozen just 8 hours after I unfroze it. Please give it a week or two before freezing again — I wouldn't have unfrozen it without a reason.

Posting a random message to delay the freezing is not always sufficient, if my memory serves me right (I don't have an example off hand), but I shouldn't have to do that. You could also consider getting Community ♦ to raise a flag if the main room is frozen so that mods who don't visit their chat very often are made aware of it.

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This would be nice, if only to save me the embarrassment of harassing Rebecca Chernoff to unfreeze a room then forgetting to actually say anything in it in a timely fashion. I do think that any single message is sufficient though; I do that to keep the Town Hall Digest room open all the time. –  Tim Stone Apr 27 '12 at 0:32
    
@TimStone My memory is weak on that... I do remember getting frustrated with the gardening mod room about frequent freezes (we don't talk every day in there) and I remember a message not being sufficient, but I could be wrong (since as I said, I don't go there unless I need to and could've lost track of time). Unfortunately these automatic freeze messages are not searchable and I can't dig any up. Anyway, I think it would be nice to have this because it doesn't involve me having to actually enter the room and post a message (not that it's hard) and can be handled from the access tab. –  Lorem Ipsum Apr 27 '12 at 0:37
    
If it's the main site chat room, it should never be frozen. –  endolith Dec 2 '13 at 16:34
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1 Answer 1

I wouldn't have unfrozen it without a reason.

Then what was the reason? The room was dead for two weeks, was auto-frozen, nobody cared for 3 days, you unfroze it, and that was it. I'm not seeing the reason for unfreezing it. In particular since, as you said in a comment

it would be nice to have this because it doesn't involve me having to actually enter the room and post a message (not that it's hard) and can be handled from the access tab.

not even you really cared about the room. If you're trying to revive a community's conversation, that's great, but just unfreezing a dead room won't get you there. After all, anyone with 100 rep could just create a new room if the existing site room(s) didn't fit what they want to talk about.

Posting a random message to delay the freezing is not always sufficient, if my memory serves me right (I don't have an example off hand)

Such an example would be important here though, because it should indeed be sufficient.

but I shouldn't have to do that.

That's true, usually you shouldn't have to do that, because unfreezing a room really has no point if you do it just for the purpose of unfreezing it. If a room has been dead for two weeks (!), that means nobody cares about the room, and unless you have reason to suspect that the room may get some activity again, I don't see why you would unfreeze it.

In the case, however, that you really think a room should be unfrozen despite there being nothing to talk about at the moment, there is an obvious way to achieve that, as you said yourself.

You could also consider getting Community ♦ to raise a flag if the main room is frozen

There is no such thing as a "main room". If, at all, there's the most-active room for the given site, which, in case of DSP.se, is this one. The system makes sure that there's at least one (general purpose, i.e. public and not "discussion between" etc.) room for any given site.

So when a user comes from a freshly launched site, we make sure to auto-create a room, so that chat.se is not "empty" as far as that site goes, and the last remaining room from a site will never be auto-frozen.

If, however, the community starts gathering in a different room, and neglects the auto-created one (which is precisely the case for DSP), we have no problem with culling the latter.

Now, from the room title I guess that in the case of DSP, the active room is actually a special-purpose room (I haven't checked the transcript closely to confirm that it's actually used like that), but unlike the original room, it's also a place where the community does, in fact, show up.

It may very well happen that such a special-purpose room turns into the general room for the site, or that a general room is at some point "forked" off the special-purpose room, or it may just be the case that only those users interested in the particular special topic actually care about chat in the first place. So be it.

Lastly, even if we did what you suggested – a room that only consists of "this room has been auto-frozen" / "yoda has unfrozen this room" every two weeks is not very inviting. On the other hand, if you use the message you're "forced" to post (in order to keep the room from being re-frozen) to try to restart a conversation in the room, more power to you – but just clicking unfreeze surely won't achieve that.

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" If a room has been dead for two weeks (!), that means nobody cares about the room" - This is kind of a false premise though, isn't it? I'd agree that in a majority of cases this may be true, but those rooms tend to just stay frozen. Special purpose rooms (Chat Feedback was a good example of this, before it was consolidated) may not get continual traffic, but their being unfrozen when (non-mod) people do need them is rather important. –  Tim Stone Apr 27 '12 at 9:41
    
Of course, that may be more of an argument against those particular rooms freezing in the first place, but given the current toolset I'm incline to see some value in this proposal for that reason. –  Tim Stone Apr 27 '12 at 9:42
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Oh please, don't accuse me of not caring about the community. It took a great deal of effort and coaxing and system banners (yes, really!) to revive gardening's chatroom activity. Although not high now, people are dropping in once in a while to chat. But I don't always have the time to do this, especially when things that put food on the table are more important. Sometimes, I just drop in to check if nothing's blown up on the site and move on with my work and this is the case with signal processing. –  Lorem Ipsum Apr 27 '12 at 14:56
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I check the transcript quite often to see if there's something that needs to be addressed. So even if I don't stay in there to chat, I'll respond if needed. In this case, all I want to do is unfreeze and move on. –  Lorem Ipsum Apr 27 '12 at 14:58
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@yoda I'm sorry if I sounded that way, I didn't mean to criticize you at all. –  balpha Apr 27 '12 at 14:59
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This feature is pretty much the bane of Blog chatrooms, which can go without use for a couple weeks in lulls but are still very useful for working out/editing/etc articles –  Ben Brocka Jan 27 '13 at 15:49
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'There is no such thing as a "main room"' Uh, yes there is. The "Signal Processing" chat room is described as "General discussion for dsp.stackexchange.com", just like the "The h Bar" is "General chat for Physics Stack Exchange", and "Sound Design" is "General discussion for sound.stackexchange.com";, etc. There is one such main room for each SE site, created automatically by the system, and they should never be frozen for inactivity, or people will go to chat and see zero chat rooms to use. –  endolith Dec 2 '13 at 16:56
    
@endolith See "The system makes sure that there's at least one room". The last room won't be frozen automatically, but if a user-created room ends up as the site's general hangout and the original system-created one is just tumbleweed, there's no reason to not freeze the latter. –  balpha Dec 2 '13 at 17:06
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@balpha: So if activity on the main room is infrequent, and someone starts a discussion about a very specific topic that gets a lot of activity for a while, that specific topic becomes the only visible chat room for that site? That's bad. Each site should have a permanently-open general discussion room, and a user-generated room about a specific topic should never be able to take over from it. –  endolith Dec 2 '13 at 20:58
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