It's the general policy of Stack Exchange to conduct moderator activities as transparently and openly as possible. Right now, a lot of the communication between moderators is conducted in a private chat room. This is done for good reason - the moderator agreement specifically prohibits us from disclosing personal information from users' profiles, and there's often good reason to keep certain information confidential, such as when dealing with problem users or socks and voting rings.
That being said, about 80% of what goes on in the mod chat room is not confidential in nature. It's asking other sites' mods if a question would be appropriate for migration there. It's discussing ideas for community promotion, or talking about the direction and scope of a site. And a lot of it is just... kittens. Or friendly banter.
We absolutely need to have a private place to discuss confidential matters, but I believe that the vast majority of what gets talked about in the mod chat room really ought to be public. There's no reason to conduct it behind closed doors, and opening it up for public inspection would help for a variety of reasons.
Dedicated and involved users would be able to see more about how the moderators do our job. They'd be able to see us communicating and discussing issues, and be informed about the process. It would help to bring moderators closer to their communities if users can see us working on their behalf. Discussions about things like "would this be a good fit for Programmers?" would help users to get a better sense for what appropriate migrations are. In general, it would help increase transparency and honesty between users, moderators, and SE employees.
A fully open chat room would be counterproductive, as I fear it would just become another place for general jibber-jabber, but setting a room to gallery mode (anyone can watch, but only mods and approved users can talk), and only allowing moderators access woud achieve the stated goals.
Ivo has gone ahead and made such a room. The Assembly is now open, and anyone can come observe. It's not very exciting, but it doesn't need to be. Not everyone goes to watch Senate proceedings, but if they want to, they can. Now you can too.
This post serves as a starting point for discussion of whether this change makes sense, to get feedback, and as a call for moderators and employees to start trying to use the other room. I would also like to make a feature request that the mod site-ping be enabled in this room as well.