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I recently had a conversation with one of the chat room owners about removing bookmarked chats in chat rooms. The purpose of having bookmark, according to me, is to keep a track of useful conversations (i.e. like during technical events etc.)

But I have come to know that in chat rooms, any user can bookmark conversations (same like starring interesting chat messages), but room owners do not have the authority to remove them like they have the authority to remove unnecessary starred chat messages. As there is no restriction on bookmarking and lack of authority to room owners to remove those bookmarks, sometimes chat room bookmarks get flooded with unnecessary bookmarked conversations and useful bookmarked conversations get hidden in them.

It is my humble request to the Stack Exchange team to come up with any feasible solution or suggest a way to overcome this issue so that chat rooms also remain a great source of information.

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  • Moderators can remove bookmarks, so that would be one option – Mad Scientist Oct 19 '12 at 18:27
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    How much pain we will give to Mods? They already have bunch of other responsibilities. This kind of minor sweeping task authority better be given to room owners who has best interest for their room.@MadScientist – rohan-patel Oct 19 '12 at 20:12
  • That's why I didn't post this as an answer, more as a workaround. – Mad Scientist Oct 19 '12 at 20:14
  • Yup. I understand and appreciate that. This task better not be left for mods. Imagine room owners leave message to Mods for each bookmarks he/she wants to remove. It's not feasible I think. Mods will become mad otherwise. :-)) @MadScientist – rohan-patel Oct 19 '12 at 20:16
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    The problem is that a user might want to bookmark a conversation for his own use, but any bookmark is necessarily associated with both the user and the room. If you kill the bookmark in the room you also kill it for the user. These would need to be decoupled to avoid hindering users who want to keep stuff that's important to them but not to other room users. – Monica Cellio Jan 2 '14 at 16:18
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I recently joined the NSChat room for help with an Objective C/C++ problem I was needing to bounce around, and I noticed how the room had formed its own community, with its own rules, policies, guidelines, and social norms.

It seemed that the room owners were operating independent of site moderators and were even doing some chat moderation of their own. For instance, I saw an abusive help vampire get booted from the room after one too many times of abuse.

While I don't think the room owner should be able to clear the bookmarks that a person has bookmarked himself/herself, the owner should be able to remove it from the public view to help reduce clutter.

In other words, give room owners the ability to mark a bookmark as "private" so that only the person who bookmarked it can see it. This will prevent room owners and other users from having to sort through needless clutter, while also making sure that someone who bookmarks something for his or her own use doesn't lose it.

  • That's what something is a good option. Person who bookmarks it should be private and should visible to him only. – rohan-patel Oct 19 '12 at 20:26
  • The only issue is in implementation details. Something like that would be more challenging to implement than, let's say, just plain removing the bookmark altogether. But I'm wondering if some of the code used for "favorites" in the user profile could be reused/repurposed for bookmarked chats as well, possibly saving dev time and making this more feasible/desirable... – jmort253 Oct 19 '12 at 20:29
  • I would support this with one tweak: let the bookmark remain publicly-visible (and thus linkable, should anyone care) on the user's "conversations" list, but disconnect from the room. There is a reasonable middle ground between "pasted to the room for all to see, no matter how useless" and "invisible to all but the one person who made the bookmark". Think disconnection, not privatization. – Monica Cellio Jan 5 '14 at 20:16
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Recreating a bookmarked conversation is a real hassle (there's no "restore" option, even for moderators), so we should be careful with deletions. They're hard to undo.

Further, a bookmark exists in two places: in the room and in the bookmarker's list of conversations. A room owner should certainly not be able to delete the latter, so these would need to be decoupled.

This answer suggests letting room owners mark a bookmark as private, so only the person who bookmarked it can see it. But that can be too restrictive; the conversation is probably also of interest to the other participants in that conversation, and might be useful to others later. The vast majority of the time, the conversation should remain visible to anybody who navigates there from the bookmarker's list. (I'm not speaking hypothetically; I have done this and I know others have too.)

Further, deletion is too much power to give to room owners, who can sometimes be chosen automatically by the system based on who's most talkative. Talkative != trustworthy. While you could argue that nothing is being deleted, only made harder to find, anybody who's tried digging through the transcript of a busy chat room to find that conversation from last week will tell you that this is not easy.

I have a counter-proposal. Moderators can currently delete a bookmarked conversation but cannot do anything else with it. Let's replace that delete button with a mod menu, like moderators see elsewhere on chat, and provide three options:

proposed mod menu: remove from room, private, delete

The first option, "remove from room list", removes the conversation from view in the room list. It would still be visible to moderators, like deleted chat rooms are. This allows moderators to investigate more easily if there are allegations of abuse involving bookmarks. (If you don't think there can be abuse with bookmarks, consider that the bookmarking user gets to name the conversation. 'Nuff said.)

The second option, "private", marks the conversation private to everybody except the bookmarking user (and moderators). This is a rare case, but there are times when we should let the user retain the bookmark but not let him broadcast it. A user with a currently-active dispute with another user, for example, might need to collect evidence in a form that's easy for moderators or CMs to review later.

The third option, "delete", deletes the conversation entirely. This is what the current button does.

It is possible that we would want to extend these options to the owner of the bookmark -- maybe I should be able to mark my own bookmark private without asking a moderator for help, for instance. We should consider making these options available at creation time, but allowing edits later could cause havoc if a user who curated useful room bookmarks later decides to start playing games with access. Bookmarks can't currently be edited after creation, not even to change their names, so keeping that rule (except for moderators as described here) would be consistent.

  • While I think quite a bit of this is good, I disagree that ROs shouldn't be given the ability to remove a bookmark from the room's list (not the user's conversations). You argue that room owners are, potentially, not trustworthy. That shouldn't be a consideration. It should be considered wrt. them being ROs at all, but it's not a valid reason to withhold this capability. It is the ROs' responsibility to maintain the room. That's the purpose of having ROs. Maintaining the room's bookmark list is merely one aspect of doing that. If an RO was going to do "bad things" there's much worse. – Makyen Sep 5 '18 at 15:39
  • @Makyen maybe you're right. Remind me: can room owners delete messages in chat? If they can do that then deleting bookmarks from the room's list seems a logical extension. (Under no circumstances should anybody other than the user and mods be able to delete a bookmark from a user's list, and -- as with user profiles -- only by mods if something abusive is happening, IMO.) – Monica Cellio Sep 5 '18 at 17:36
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    I strongly agree that nobody other than the user and mods should be able to delete bookmarks from the user's list of conversations. Those conversations/bookmarks within a user's profile are clearly theirs. – Makyen Sep 5 '18 at 18:10
  • As to actually deleting, no, ROs can't actually delete. However, ROs can move any messages out of their room into any other room (even if they are not an RO in the target room). The normal thing is for ROs to have a room into which they move messages which they don't feel are appropriate for their room. This is usually either a "Trash" room shared by many rooms on the server, or a room the ROs have created to hold their trash content. In some cases, the destination room is a moderator created private room, so that the content is not available to regular users. – Makyen Sep 5 '18 at 18:12
  • In that case, the ROs may, or may not, have read access to that moderator created room. I've seen such a setup intended for truly offensive posts (e.g. those relative few reported by SmokeDetector (SD) that are the really bad ones, well beyond the run-of-the-mill SD report). When an RO moves a message out of the room a record indicating how many messages and the destination room is left in the source room (and a message is also left in the destination showing the source). As to messages that are deleted by other users, or moderators, ROs can see the content of those, if they choose. – Makyen Sep 5 '18 at 18:13

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