Possible Duplicate:
Disable chat migration notification if one of the users has insufficient rep?

I frequently find myself helping new users with <20 rep with questions. These users need more than the usual number of comment exchanges for clarification, leading to long comment threads. SO begins nagging me to migrate the conversation to chat.

That'd be fine, except for two annoying issues that've caused me to tag this bug (though perhaps "working as designed, but badly" is closer):

  • If the user has <20 rep, SO offers to move the conversation to chat, but fails with "[user] has only xx reputation, not enough to chat". It continues to nag me.

  • If go to a channel that I own and use the owner tools to add a new user to the write list, this operation fails with "Users must have at least 20 reputation to talk" even though the label on that option says "Even when this room is read-only or their reputation is too low, these users will be able to talk in this room".

In both cases the site is inviting me to do things, then telling me "No, actually, you can't do that". It's seriously annoying.

I'd like to propose that the following changes be adopted:

  • Allow comment threads with users with <20 rep to be invited to auto-created chat rooms by users with >???? rep; or
  • Quit nagging, at least if the other user has high rep, just trust them

Additionally, to address the channel manager experience:

This is related to but not a dup of the following questions:

Here's a screenshot series to illustrate the current experience:

SO is nagging me to migrate this to chat, so let's do that:

SO is nagging me to migrate this to chat, so let's do that

Um ... why'd you ask me to migrate it if you won't let me?:

Um ... why'd you ask me to migrate it if you won't let me?

Well, I'm an owner of this chat channel, I can manually grant them write on that channel

Well, I'm an owner of this chat channel, I can manually grant them write on that channel

and they have a profile on the site:

and they have a profile on the site

... so let's add the user to grant them write access:

... so let's add the user to grant them write access

but, wtf, that's also refused:

but, wtf, that's also refused

Twice I'm offered the option to do something, then told no, you can't do that. This is really bad user experience.

  • 4
    It's rather confusing, but only moderators can circumvent the minimum reputation requirement of chat by granting explicit access. Nov 2, 2012 at 13:49
  • 9
    @MadScientist so you agree that he's raised a valid point, then. Rather confusing = bad uxp.
    – itsbruce
    Nov 2, 2012 at 14:03
  • You could not chat with them too. Odds are if you can't get their question answered in the space available on S&nbsp;O, their question isn't properly scoped for the site.
    – user7116
    Nov 2, 2012 at 14:38
  • 2
    I don't see why an established user shouldn't be able to invite a new user to a chatroom, even if they have <20 rep. It's more or less their own fault if they want to help people that way, plus, if the new user is restricted to only chatting in one room, it won't do any damage.
    – slhck
    Nov 2, 2012 at 14:39
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    @sixlettervariables It's more that you land up having to ask for hardware details, EXPLAIN ANALYZE, exact query text, etc etc etc. Not a fixed list that can easily just be put on a page and linked to. Sure, I could just say "Read this link and edit your question" ... but really, isn't it better to be nice to the new users? Chat is less irritating than back-and-forth in comments. Nov 2, 2012 at 14:39
  • @CraigRinger: that info should be in their question if you need it to answer their question, don't you think? (chat is irritating because it isn't on the same page as the Q&A)
    – user7116
    Nov 2, 2012 at 14:41
  • 2
    @sixlettervariables Many questions require additional troubleshooting steps, which simply can't (or shouldn't) be done in comments. If you don't want to chat with them, I guess that's your decision, really. If the question lacks so much detail it has to be closed, then vote to close it. That's not mutually exclusive with being able to chat with the OP (e.g. to go beyond the question, give them tips for adding details, etc.)
    – slhck
    Nov 2, 2012 at 14:42
  • @sixlettervariables If the user asking the question were experienced in the problem domain, yes. In reality, no, they usually need guidance. Isn't helping people out part of what SO is here for? By your logic, shouldn't they know the answer to the question and not ask it in the first place? Where't the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable ignorance? It's not like the site makes it easy to offer detailed guidance before asking questions; tag wiki excerpts are the best option and they're not exactly obtrusive, plus they're usually entered at the end. Nov 2, 2012 at 14:43
  • @slhck: if there was a level of confidence that the help provided in chat would make it back into the Q&A for everybody else, then sure I'd support using chat. As it stands it only sometimes makes it back into the actual Q&A. I don't disagree that talking to somebody is helpful.
    – user7116
    Nov 2, 2012 at 14:44
  • @sixlettervariables The concern about the info making it back into the Q&A is valid, but (a) SO nags you not to use comments too much, so it's discouraging this already; and (b) that concern is just as valid no matter what the rep of either user, it isn't just about <20 rep users. Nov 2, 2012 at 14:46
  • @CraigRinger: My point is that having to stump off to chat to "solve" a question, likely means it isn't reasonably scoped. When you reach that point it would be best to get them to create another question (probably one for each step in the problem) to capture the guidance being given in a manner useful to a broader audience. Granted, do I expect a <20rep user to understand this aim? Nope, so I've upvoted this request even if I don't think it will help the site in the long run.
    – user7116
    Nov 2, 2012 at 14:47
  • Regarding the bad user experience, the SE team has demonstrated support for the idea of "notify people about things they can't do, so they know about those features for the future, when they do get the privilege" in the past. I can't remember if they've said that about this particular issue, but I know this issue has been brought up before on MSO.
    – Pops
    Nov 2, 2012 at 15:04
  • 2
    @PopularDemand Yep, that's a good idea for the low-rep user; but there's nothing I as the high-rep user can do about their low rep except go around finding things to upvote them on - which is just encourages bogus voting to get past the arbitrary limit. Nov 2, 2012 at 15:06
  • 3
  • 1
    @MadScientist I think you had it at "it's rather confusing". The usability design around low-rep users and chat is pretty crap. It's like SO isn't only hostile to new users, it's also hostile to people who want to help new users. Nov 3, 2012 at 1:04


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