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I'm the owner of the Android chat room on SO. As the owner I take it as my responsibility that the room is usable for everyone.

Right now I'm facing a problem I simply don't know how to solve. The overall room quality is very low at the moment. I have lots of low rep. users just bursting out their questions in the room, posting entire Java files in the chat and performing some kind of private tech support (two users trying to solve their coding problems in the room thus flooding it).

I don't know how many times I have repeated myself telling each of them how to behave in the room with almost no effect. I'm starting to get tired and frustrated slowly.

The main problem is that the more experienced Android users are getting turned off by the current level of respect and communication in the Android room. I would like to have a room like the C++ guys for example where you can really do what the chat is here for to chat with each other about the platform, the development and whatnot but not being constantly flooded with help requests as that is what the main site is for.

Other than setting the room to gallery mode is there anything else I could try to increase the rooms communications level?

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Relevant chat conversation: The problem of Quality in the Android chat room. –  Yi Jiang Feb 7 '11 at 12:09
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3 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted
  1. Make a second room just for the purpose of Android related interactive help.
  2. Migrate requests for help there mercilessly.

If you want to help them, join that room. If you don't, stay there.

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It helps if, once there, those users actually receive help. –  badp Feb 7 '11 at 10:27
    
To be hones I think my main fault was that I used to provide help in the past in that room which might have avalanched something I was not aware of at that point. I am now however. –  Octavian Damiean Feb 7 '11 at 10:30
    
@Octavian Well, you can still migrate new discussions. They'll love having an ad hoc plz-to-send-teh-codez room without all this boring tech talk :P (not really) –  badp Feb 7 '11 at 10:32
    
The only problem I see with this idea is that it somehow sounds like just moving the problem somewhere else but the problem is still there. They might even join back into my room just to tell me that there is no one answering their questions and asking me to do it again. Admittedly I have no constructive suggestion myself right now. –  Octavian Damiean Feb 7 '11 at 11:07
    
@Octavian It removes the problem from the eyes of who doesn't want to help and lets who does keep the two discussions separate. Problems start if the latter group is too small compared to the former. Also, consider flagging SO questions asked on chat for mod attention. If there just are a few repeat problem users, they can be suspended from chat without being suspended from the site. –  badp Feb 7 '11 at 11:10
    
That is the main problem. It is not only a few but quite a lot of users doing this. –  Octavian Damiean Feb 7 '11 at 11:13
    
@Octavian You just need to be consistently merciless in applying the migration. People will get the message eventually. –  badp Feb 7 '11 at 11:14
    
I will definitely try that approach until I can come up with something constructive myself. –  Octavian Damiean Feb 7 '11 at 11:15
    
I have accepted the answer as it solved my current problem. I will come up with improvement suggestions in a separate question as soon as I think I have a suitable idea. –  Octavian Damiean Feb 7 '11 at 14:53
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I'm open to suggestions here.

With regard to a side-discussion dominating it, you should (as owner) be able to kick it to another room; select room => message admin, select the offending messages; then you should get the option to nominate a new or existing room; just think of a suitable name and click "create". The messages will be relocated, and all the users who have participated in the discussion will automatically get invited to the new room.

wrt people just posting their question link... what do you think we could do to help here? minimum rep to post a question link? minumum participation in that room to post a question link?

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Room creation from the message admin window isn't possible (not for owners.) –  badp Feb 7 '11 at 10:27
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@badp - hmmm.... maybe it should be, assuming the owner can legitimately create rooms. –  Marc Gravell Feb 7 '11 at 10:29
    
discussing this internally, it seems that the above may be double edged, in allowing a way to (effectively) "delete" messages from a room too easily and temptingly... –  Marc Gravell Feb 7 '11 at 10:55
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I have no problems with people popping up in the room with a boxed question and a request for why they need help from the room as long as:

  • The question/request is in understandable English
  • It isn't preceded or followed with any "reminders" or pings to the other chat users (who may or may not be trying to have serious discussions about Snowmen).

Is there any way of us engineering a "room rules" (such as Rule Uno) as a popup for new users?

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