Here are my thoughts on this:
Even though we have tagged this status-planned a while ago, I have never been comfortable with the "allow chatting without a Stack Exchange account" idea. Here are a few reasons.
- It goes against the spirit of the whole thing – the purpose of the chat is to be supplemental to the main Q&A site.
- Somewhat similar: It opens up the risk of becoming yet another "come here to chat with your buddies about anything" web chat site.
- Even if we did it, it would only work on chat.stackexchange.com (not chat.stackoverflow.com or chat.meta), because on the other two sites, the chat account is bound even more tightly to the parent account (in particular, the user ids are identical).
- But even on chat.se, the tight integration is happening in a lot of places; the assumption "a chat user is also a Stack Exchange user" is made pretty much everywhere.
- As jcolebrand notes, the whole idea of "what happens after the grace period is over" opens up many questions. What if the same user is "invited" yet another time?
That said, I think this almost-anonymous chat account creation isn't really necessary (anymore, maybe). With the advent of Stack Id, creating an account for a user who has no idea what this "Open Id" thing is all about is no different than on any other site that uses email/password for signin. I think we can require this from someone who takes part in such an event.
So the problem that remains is allowing this user to chat despite having only 1 reputation. At this point, we're in a situation similar to the one in Will there be an "invitation per SO question" feature for the chat?.
It should be noted that moderators already have the ability to allow low-rep users to chat. What I'm thinking about doing in addition is the following:
- If user X has more than N reputation (I'm thinking 3000 maybe? 5000?),
- user X is an owner of room R,
- and user Y has less than 20 reputation,
then user X can give user Y write access (i.e. allow them to chat) in room R only and for a limited time (24 hours?)
After that time, unless user Y has accrued 20 rep in the meantime, they will automatically be back to read-only.
Open questions I can think of:
- values for the rep/time limits (as mentioned above)
- Should there be restrictions on how many of these "special access permissions" user Y can have a) concurrently, b) over a given timeframe, c) ever?
- Similarly, should there be restrictions on how often user X can grant this privilege to a low-rep user (with the same a, b, c)?