While everybody is getting accustomed to the new chat system, there are sporadic test messages being posted outside the Sandbox room. I did the same yesterday before realizing the Sandbox existed. However I'm sure this will occur in the future as new users continue to discover the S.O. sites, and during their first time in chat.

However these test comments can still be annoying when carrying out a serious conversation. Should we flag test comments for moderator attention (for the purpose removal and cleaning) rather than for spam, or just do nothing at all?

I'd like those comments removed including the ones I posted yesterday but hesitate to do so if it will inadvertently cause rep harm to users by doing so, or if it will cause too much unneeded work for mods.
To flag for moderator attention or not to flag, that is the question.

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2 Answers

What Benjol said is pretty much spot on in my opinion.

Let me just add this: One or two test messages and a nudge towards the sandbox might actually not be the worst thing to have in the transcript (for those few people who don't obey the First Law of the Universe). And unless there's a whole ten-page flood of unicode snowmen, reverse smileys, and "testtesttest" messages – they'll quickly flow off the screen, and no harm is done.

It's realtime conversation after all, even if persisted, so I wouldn't give clean-up the same high value it has on the main site.

One thing you should not do is flag these messages as spam/offensive. This should be reserved for people who maliciously post one "asdfasdf" after the other even though they know better.

Just like on the main site, having a message deleted because of flagging leads to punishment for the poster, and a simple "Hi all, testing this" surely doesn't justify this.

so: Flag as spam – no. Flag for moderator attention – probably not for one or two messages, but if there's a whole bunch of them cluttering up the chat, just do it. Mass deletion is pretty easy for moderators, and so is dismissing the flag in case they disagree with you :)

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I think this is inevitable, we're going to spend weeks, probably months periodically repeating "go to the sandbox", "read the faq", "ask that question on SO/SE", "please check your keyboard for missing keys", etc...

Newbies are newbies, and as @balpha said yesterday:

yeah, that might help if the First Law Of The Universe didn't exist

People don't read

I'd say if your own messages bug you, and it's too late to remove them yourself, by all means flag them. For the rest, if the moderators have some free time and feel like cleaning up the transcripts, they'll do it.

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