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I really enjoy the chat and sometimes I feel like I'd like to invite a user to my chat room from the main site.

I'm sure you know the situation where you get involved in a discussion on the main site and start commenting like crazy. I don't feel like this is a good thing; I mean discussions in comments.

So I think it might be nice to have an "invite user to chat room" button/link somewhere maybe in the user's profile.

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4  
-1: Too easy to abuse. –  Powerlord Nov 17 '10 at 15:56
    
@R. Bemrose: abuse how? –  Octavian Damiean Nov 17 '10 at 17:03
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Hmmm... I thought I'd commented here... but yes, I largely agree with R. Bemrose - it would be easy for this to become annoying for users. What is the fail if this is done entirely through a manual invite in the comments? –  Marc Gravell Nov 17 '10 at 17:21
    
@Marc Gravell: yea well you're right too. A manual invite would do it too I guess. –  Octavian Damiean Nov 17 '10 at 17:24
    
What, you have etchings? –  Rosinante Nov 18 '10 at 0:17
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's lazy and not as useful to later users to just punt to chat, and it tends to go down the path of "localized answers to localized questions" instead of "general answers to general questions".

Forcing it to remain in the context of the question/answer paradigm of Stack Overflow means that the information is retained and semantically indexed for folks who may have the same problem in the future. Taking things to chat, while quite possibly being a more efficacious way of addressing the specific problem does a disservice to future folks who may have a very similar problem that could be answered with a good generalized question.

Punting to chat also has the downside of not rewarding the answerer or asker with reputation, which is how our community determines privileges. It's important to realize that it's not just the answerer that loses here because if you give them the answer in chat, they cannot accept it (+2) and it may mean the quality of their question suffers whereas the give/take by answering/commenting/editing could result in a good question that will reward the asker with reputation and badges, thus encouraging their continued participation and contribution.

Chat is useful for sure, but it should not be used as a mechanism to replace anything that Stack Overflow (or more generally, Stack Exchange) is already set up to do.

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Fully and totally agree! My understanding of the site has totally changed since then. I should have probably answered it myself. –  Octavian Damiean May 27 '11 at 17:15
    
Yeah sorry for the super-late answer, I didn't know it wasn't a new question when I answered it, just saw it on top of the list because of the edits. Glad to close the loop on it though :) –  Daniel DiPaolo May 27 '11 at 17:28
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