After using SO for 5+ months, I feel like I belong to a community of programmers more than ever. I love the involvement, and I have grown to respect and admire a lot of people on here.

However, sometimes I feel like I just want an open "forum" (for lack of a better word), or way to connect with the others on this site without having to have "discussions" in comments on questions.

I know we have the chat rooms, but really, who goes there? I have only a few times, and the few times I have, there are very few people in there. Chat is hard because it requires real-time discussion.

I would like to be able to "connect" more with people on here. I realize that SO doesn't have a forum because people would start asking questions in there, and SO would lose a lot of the quality. But how else can we bring the community further together, foster discussions, collaborative learning, etc.?

The only idea I have so far is to get local "SO User Group" meetings where we can actually have some personal contact with people that are on here.

Othere ideas? How can we continue bringing this community closer together and supporting each other?

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There are stackoverflow twitter lists, and probably facebook groups. Jeff and Joel have staunchly refused to give in to making Stack Exchange more social, and instead have pointed people to the other services that do it already, and would do a better job anyway. It doesn't hurt that pushing the users out to other services helps advertise stack exchange. –  Adam Davis Jun 9 '11 at 22:16
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