Some chatrooms at StackOverflow involve in private and other sorts of discussions instead of technical discussions. Some, if in English or other languages(after translating using services like Google Translate) are identifiable by the moderators and can be closed. But some rooms are in english, but the words are transliterations which is tough to identify. How to flag them?

EDIT: Anonymity is not a problem...
EDIT: Let me disclose a little. I asked this question after going through this chatroom. This chatroom is full of transliterations of Hindi and Urdu words. Members in this chatrom flirt with each other with Hindi poems and Urdu Shayaris. Though there is no technical discussion here.

  • 4
    You mean that the chat-room contents is off-topic? That's fine - it's what chat rooms are for. Also, why do you need to worry about anonymity? AFAIK only the mods handling your flag will see the precise contents.
    – Ziv
    Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 9:13
  • @Ziv, anonymity is not a poblem. But the chatrooms should contain at least some technicality. Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 9:16
  • 3
    Hmmm. Intriguing. de facto, chat is very much accepted as a free-for-all (though technical discussions are welcome). But de FAQto, the FAQ indeed states that "discussion should more or less revolve around the same topics you'd find at Stack Overflow". How incongruous.
    – Ziv
    Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 9:24
  • Didn't expect a question of such important aspect to get downvoted. . . Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 19:39
  • Well I for one thank you for bringing this up. Chat is more open, yes, but chat is not "anything goes". The good news is that the vast majority of chat rooms are indeed at least a little programming related and that is fine. Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 0:43
  • agree with @Ziv taking away user's rights is unnecessary. Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 5:30
  • Thanks for the edit - I hadn't understood you were referring to a problem room; I thought there were some particular off-topic conversations in on-topic rooms.
    – Ziv
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 7:19

3 Answers 3


Non-technical discussions are allowed on SO chat, there is no requirement to chat only about programming there.

But there are certain behaviours on chat that aren't appropriate, if you see any abusive or disruptive behaviour you should flag this for moderator attention. Spam/Offensive flags are anonymous, the users deciding on the flag don't get to see who cast them. Moderator flags aren't anonymous, but only SO mods can see who cast them.

If you don't want to expose your identity to the moderators you can also write a mail to [email protected], where only SE employees will read your message.

To expand on your example in the edited question, from your description this chat room might cross a line and it's likely worth it to get a moderator to take a closer look. I can't read Hindi, so I've no idea if this harmless, or more in a somewhat creepy direction.

  • I shall take a methodical look through the transcripts when I get time. Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 14:34

It is true that chat is more flexible in topics and content than the main sites -- but on chat.stackoverflow we do expect that rooms will generally revolve around a little bit of programming in some vague way.

I scrolled back through a few days of chat in that room and I struggle to see how it relates to the main site in any way; there appears to be zero programming discussion in it, and almost zero English content for that matter.

Per the https://chat.stackoverflow.com/faq#about

[chat room] discussion should more or less revolve around the same topics you'd find at Stack Overflow

While there is more flexibility in chat, to be sure, I believe this room is far below the "less", abusively so, and I elected to delete it.

To be clear, almost every other chat room on the first 4-5 pages of the chat.stackoverflow list clearly and obviously relates to programming based on the title, so this sort of behavior is hopefully quite rare.

  • Unfortunately, most of the Indian chat rooms seem to be just socializing outlets. I and a few others plan on combing through these and getting them pruned. We can bug Shog or an SO mod to delete the useless ones. Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 19:56
  • 3
    I'm honestly disappointed there still are non-English rooms to begin with. The whole system of peer moderation (...or moderation at all) falls apart there.
    – badp
    Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 21:13
  • 2
    @badp: we do have non-English peers (and non-English mods). And obviously a few of these rooms make some sense: I would hardly expect the conversation in, say, German Language & Usage to not include a fair bit of non-English content... That said, the bigger problem has been rooms where the content fluctuates between English and some form of non-English / semi-English throughout the day. I tend to blame this for seriously degrading the quality of content in at least one (formerly-interesting) room even during western daylight hours.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 21:28
  • @Shog9 I can understand some mixed-language discussion on a mixed-language site such as GLU. SO isn't one such site. (Besides - how many Urdu/Hindi people are actively chatting at any one time on chat.SO without being in one of these rooms?)
    – badp
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 4:24
  • 2
    @badp For WordPress.se we have a chat room for German members to discuss WordPress projects and local meetings and to help each other writing better posts on the English main site. It is on topic, useful and moderated. A general requirement to talk in English only would not make any sense.
    – fuxia
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 5:44
  • 2
    We have deleted another such room (chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/3688/cooking-tips). We (Indian mods) are monitoring such rooms via chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/3705/indian-chat-moderation, checking out the transcripts, and sorting out those that need deletion. Much easier now that we have an officialish policy on thi, thanks :) Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 5:54
  • @toscho Grats for being what seems to be the outlier.
    – badp
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 9:23
  • @badp: As a non-native myself, I am fine with chatrooms in any language. As a general rule, however, whenever something is flagged in a language that I don't understand, I will validate the flag. I consider the risk that something atrocious slips through worse than some user getting suspended for half an hour undeservedly. If you want to prevent me from undeservedly approving a flag to one of your messages, either post content that isn't considered offensive by someone else or post in English, so I can judge for myself. It's that simple.
    – sbi
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 9:32
  • @sbi You clearly understand that as a chat.SE moderator with binding flags (one click and the guy's suspended 30 minutes) I can't do that :)
    – badp
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 9:40
  • @badp: No, of course I don't understand that. :b
    – sbi
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 15:46
  • So that room has been closed? Well, I just was prompted to validate flags for a room that has the very same tagline as the room that got closed. (Interestingly, it has no owners.)
    – sbi
    Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 12:27

If Moderators wants only technical discussion here on chat rooms over stackoverflow, I have a suggestion, You people should monitor peoples, and then decide who is getting involved more into non-technical discussion, and according to the same, block the users, not rooms. Blocking Rooms is not solution I can create 5 rooms per day, and you guys can delete 5 Rooms per day.

  • 2
    Except for Jeff, who still counts as a diamond moderator. Also, the community is supposed to decide on these things. So let it. Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 6:48

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