I'm looking at http://chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/info/227/posse-comitatus/?tab=stars, and I can't figure out what good it is. It seems to be showing me a rather pointless assortment of stupid messages that someone else has starred, which are pretty nearly incomprehensible out of context. Am I missing something? If so, what?

Even using the list 'inside' the room seems odd: consider http://chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/transcript/message/725510#725510, which is the link from one of them, and shows no context.

  • 1
    I stand by my original comment: you're missing something.
    – jcolebrand
    Jan 17, 2012 at 2:13
  • @jcolebrand note edit.
    – Rosinante
    Jan 17, 2012 at 2:14

4 Answers 4


Comic Relief. -- At least that's how we use it in The Comms Room
Pinned posts are useful for highlighting things that may be important to the community though (for example we've got ServerFault election stuff pinned in The Comms Room)


The list of stars provided on that list is more like "let me find that best of post" and the purpose of starring is to highlight conversations within the room (see the bottom right of being in the room). The reason for starring things within the room is to let others know that a conversationally noteworthy thing was said. It's up to the person doing the starring to determine what is noteworthy. Things which many people have found noteworthy will have many stars, thus increasing the likelihood that all people will find the post, and see it's worth.

The only useful reason to view the list outside of the chat is to look for occasions when things occurred in the room, then to jump to that view inside the room at that time, to look up what occurred.

In short: you're missing something.

  • OK, I'm looking at it when inside the room, and I still seem to be at the mercy of other people's rather mysterious taste in things to star.
    – Rosinante
    Jan 17, 2012 at 2:15
  • Ah, and now we get to the problem. You can't determine what others will find noteworthy.
    – jcolebrand
    Jan 17, 2012 at 2:16
  • Like, one of them just says, 'suspended', and clicking on it doesn't show me context, it just shows me that message in it's context-free splendor.
    – Rosinante
    Jan 17, 2012 at 2:18
  • 2
    @Rosinante Where are you clicking? The only clickable part I see brings me to message in context in the transcript.
    – Jeremy
    Jan 17, 2012 at 2:26
  • I think a picture is in order here, so that we know what we're missing in general, so we can be more clear. We aren't the ones asking, and it seems to be reasonably actionable, so I'm leaving it to Rosinante to tell us what he's not understanding.
    – jcolebrand
    Jan 17, 2012 at 3:10
  • Hmm. Well, clicking one place got me the person's profile, and clicking to the right got me the message in spendid isolation with a bunch of lozenge-shaped buttons. I'll try more experiments.
    – Rosinante
    Jan 17, 2012 at 11:27

I believe the "suspended" (one word star) referred to above is: enter image description here . The highlighted bar is the line that was starred, and, indeed, the context is pretty limited.

In the ServerFault room, there are a lot of things that get starred. From XKCD comics that are semi-related to the conversation at hand, to lolcat and cat gifs when people let off steam on an evening (like last night after The Town Hall chat finished).

It's not quite right to judge a room by it's stars. Indeed, one of ServerFault's many own memes is taking a quote out of context. Although that's why the transcript is provided (and, in a high-traffic room like The Comms Room, it's easier to find a whole conversation in it's context).

There are uses for the star wall though. Currently (owner-pinned) on the ServerFault star wall are these two:

enter image description here

Statistics about the elections, and a suggestion for a modified FaQ thread. Quite important for the site, really, and it gets a lot more visiblity in the chat room as just left on meta.

Also, in The Town Hall chat, they are used to star questions for the moderator candidates.

There may be a few "odd" choices of stars, in every room, but overall they do more good than bad. The fact that Posse Comitatus is a low-traffic room makes it harder to find things in context which is not really a fault of the star system.


It's true that in most chat rooms stars are mainly used for drawing attention to amusing posts. However, there are some cases where they're much more useful which make them a feature worth having.

In the Stack Exchange podcast's live chat room listeners star questions or comments they'd like to hear discussed. This lets the hosts know what the listeners care about without needing to follow the entire conversation.

They're also useful in high-volume chats including many election Town Hall discussions. There's often too much going on to be able to read it all while participating yourself. The starred messages in the sidebar make it easy to follow what questions are most-popular at the moment.

As to the purpose of the standalone list of starred posts... well, it would be a bit silly not to have some way to see what message have been starred, right? Given its infrequent usefulness I suspect we may see it disappear as a standalone feature, replaced by a starred:1 search option .

  • :(
    – Tim Stone
    Jan 17, 2012 at 2:58
  • @TimStone I saw that message but only vaguely remembered it... I misremembered it as being about the feature being added at some point, not removed. Urg...
    – Jeremy
    Jan 17, 2012 at 3:00
  • Well, it was there for a day or so (albeit in checkbox form), so we can remember it fondly.
    – Tim Stone
    Jan 17, 2012 at 3:02
  • Wait, what? What am I missing?
    – jcolebrand
    Jan 17, 2012 at 3:09
  • @jcolebrand Tim's ":(" is a link to he and Marc discussing the removal of the starred search option I was hoping to get.
    – Jeremy
    Jan 17, 2012 at 3:29
  • Yeah, I have the pleasure of having Tim at my fingertips, most days. Skype is a handy handy creature (and also means that some conversations get lost from here ...)
    – jcolebrand
    Jan 17, 2012 at 3:30
  • 1
    @jcolebrand you're forgetting the first rule of the tbr! You never talk about the tbr! ;-) Jan 17, 2012 at 12:49
  • So true. EEEEk.
    – jcolebrand
    Jan 17, 2012 at 14:47

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