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Maybe this is a duplicate of another question, it's certainly something which I've seen discussed in a few chat rooms, but I thought it would be interesting/useful to have reactions in one place.

How do you see yourself using chat, longterm? (once you've finished messing around with dancing gifs...)

Originally, I thought that it would be 'chat room per question' - so if you have a 'problem' question, or one where the comments are getting too long, you could 'take it to chat', and hash out the details there. But I'm not sure that would actually fly (seems to me there'd be problems with actually getting the chat moving).

I've heard another use case talked about - where you have a 'room per tag' for major tags, and people hang out there, waiting for questions to come in via a feed, and then maybe discuss them in there.

I'm not doubting the value/fun of chat, I'm just not sure how it is going to actually be useful without just being an nth place I have to keen my eyes on to see what's happening.

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The funny thing is, this question comes (partially) from chat, so that's another use case :) –  Benjol Aug 6 '10 at 7:08

3 Answers 3

Well, some things I am using it for now:

  1. In the Server Fault and Super User rooms, I posted the output of a recent monthly task to cull unused tags into the respective SU and SF rooms:

    http://chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/100/super-user
    http://chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/32/server-fault

    That way users and moderators get informed about what's going on, and which tags were culled.

  2. In the chat feedback room, we're discussing implicit vs. explicit named replies, and the way the chat message menu should work. We're sharing screenshots and links with ideas, and Marc is changing the software and deploying as we chat so we can experiment with a few things. I am also making sure that actionable ideas for chat are starred so we can follow up on them later.

  3. In the community moderator room, I'm answering questions such as "how do I delete a tag from my site?" with SE 2.0 community moderators (among other things..)

  4. In our {redacted} room, we're discussing some details about deployment and other technical stuff that is a de-facto work log for the chat project.

I have found the stateful web chat extremely useful -- dare I say essential -- for a distributed team. And what is Stack Overflow except the WORLD'S MOST AWESOME AND MOST DISTRIBUTED TEAM!??!! Who's with me?!?!

{runs screaming out of the room, nobody following}

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+1 for finally flipping out –  jmfsg Aug 7 '10 at 22:24
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I really wish you would work on coming up with a solution that allows other private groups to experience your 4th use-case. We where using Google wave for communicating between our team members but since that is now going away I need to find an alternative and this chat would be great. It is something valuable enough that we would probably even pay for at the right price. –  Zoredache Aug 9 '10 at 18:59
  1. I could certainly see myself using it for individual questions, depending on the complexity. There have been times when I wished I could take a conversation to a chat room.

  2. I can also see the utility of tag based rooms. There are times when one doesn't know how to best word a question. An interactive discussion would be best for this situation.

  3. A general room per site would be an ideal place to build up a sense of a community. For example, I enjoyed chatting with Shog9 recently in The Tavern after having first interacted with him in a long running discussion here on meta. Of course, I also met others in there that I hadn't ever seen on SO.

  4. For the meta sites, debating policy would be well facilitated with an interactive discussion. It wouldn't replace a discussion through questions, but it could supplement it. Basically, the same idea as 1 & 2. Sometimes it's easier to hash out a discussion interactively with the people that are online, instead of approximating that in comments.

I'll post more ideas, if they come to mind.

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A +1 for 1. Following up on comments on answers can be a real pain and real-time chat would certainly help a lot. Not everyone will make the necessary edits to their answer, though, which could be a problem especially if they are accepted anyway. –  Andy E Aug 6 '10 at 7:05

I can't be the only one thinking it: Where else can you be actively snarky about the site or questions you've read. Not mean or anything, but every so often a question on SO hits me a funny way and I refrain from sharing my "answer." The Chat room would be perfect for that kind of stuff.

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I'm fully supportive of somewhere that allows people to let off some steam while building "community" feeling - but just keep it civil: the next person joining the room could be the person being discussed... –  Marc Gravell Aug 7 '10 at 22:20

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