If you use the "Create chat room with user" feature. Why are there no options to make the chat private, but there are options to add read only users for rooms that are private?

3 Answers 3


There are options to make the room private, but they're only accessible to moderators, and are reserved for moderation purposes (i.e. not for "Hey moderator, I'd like a private room with my buddy here, please make this room secret.)

  • 7
    This is really unobvious. Can the controls for the read-only list be hidden from owners or somehow tweaked? I had no idea that "gallery" != "private" because the "private" option is not just unavailable to non-mods: it's entirely hidden from us. We have no way of knowing that it even exists. So we attribute the "read-only" list to the options we do have. Inaccurately.. Jul 8, 2015 at 17:33
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Where is the gallery? Oct 5, 2021 at 13:54

Almost everything you do on StackExchange is public. This is intentional; as moderator Marc Gravell points out in this post: "Bad things happen in the dark".
Only moderators have some options to contact people privately.

  • 7
    The goal of private moderator chats with users is to limit audience to reprimands or disagreements with moderators that would incite public disdain. All those necessary "evils". Aug 15, 2012 at 17:09

Because ideally anything you're chatting about should be site related, and should include helpful information when other people are faced with same problem.

Essentially it is an extension of the Q&A system to handle situations where real-time communication is needed to better clarify communication and not flood the comment areas (which are there to clarify information). If comments are to clarify answers, chat is to clarify comments.

Good uses for chat include: coming to a consensus, clarifying comments, real-time chat needed for clarity, (politely) resolving misunderstandings.

Chat is not technically there for idle chat, but that is not strictly enforced.

Private chat rooms for lay-users would encourage idle chat, and likely hide useful information for future users.

  • Meh, I don't think the non-private nature of chat is even remotely intended to hinder "idle chat". Frankly, that's a large constituent of the purpose of chat rooms. The point is that they can't be private and therefore perniciously malicious.
    – Kirk Woll
    Jan 26, 2015 at 2:30

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