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I like the new chat system, but I am not the kind of person that will sit around in a chat room all day. If I find an interesting question I might join the chat room for it, and I really like the userscript that adds a chat link to the questions on meta. If I click on that link though the majority of the time I will land on an empty room. Over time I might stop checking the chat rooms for questions all together, since most of the questions will not have active conversations. I would be interested in joining an active conversation, but I am not interested in waiting around in an empty room.

I suggest adding a "person count" or "comment count" to the chat links that are posted next to each question so that you can see how active the chat room is before you click on the link. That way you know beforehand if anyone is interested in chatting about that particular question.

Also, on a related note, I would be much more interested in joining a room if the question owner or outstanding bounty owner are there so that I could fire off some quick questions to them or help them refine their question to provide better responses. Currently this is done by posting comments back and forth, but moving that conversation to chat would be quicker and reduce the noise displayed on the main site. If there was some sort of an indicator listing that the question owner was currently available in the chat room that would definitely make me use the '3rd place' much more.

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bonus points if you make a similar feature available through the StackApps API :-P – Greg Bray Jul 16 '10 at 17:44
I had a conversation about this in the chat room... sounds like driving people towards chat is not a goal, so maybe this isn't a high priority request. – Greg Bray Aug 5 '10 at 6:46

I just don't know how much "live" single question chat you expect there to be -- not sure this is a realistic suggestion.

More realistic is that there will be rooms around larger topics -- Python, 10k mods, SQL, Beginner questions, so forth.

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