I am just wondering about whether there are any rules about chat topics on Stack Overflow?

When I first entered the PHP chat room, people were talking about music.

Does Stack Exchange monitor this?

  • 8
    And why exactly would talking about music be a problem? – rightfold May 18 '13 at 16:57
  • Not sure why a chat should be monitored. If a chat was some kind of support hotline, we should be paid by the minute to hang in there. We're having fun as it's supposed to be. – Ocramius May 18 '13 at 17:06
  • 10
    The general agreement in the PHP chat room is: off-topic is okay as long as no on-topic is happening. – Gordon May 18 '13 at 17:07
  • 8
    What's with the downvotes here? It's a reasonable question to ask. – Adam Lear May 18 '13 at 17:11
  • 5
    Veekay, come back to the PHP chat anytime you want. You'll see that people don't always talk about music: food, work, jQuery, kittens...ah yes, sometimes PHP too! – Jocelyn May 18 '13 at 17:15


All rooms are owned by regular users (anyone can create a room, only a dedicated bunch of geeks can keep one alive and on top of that active).

Some rooms have their own rules (see e.g. Lounge's rules and regulations). Some don't. If you don't like a room and its inhabitants, you can always click on "leave".


Chat has a FAQ:

What can we chat about?

This site is an extension of Stack Overflow, so discussion should more or less revolve around the same topics you'd find at Stack Overflow — but in an interactive, less strictly Q&A focused way. Do have fun, but please keep it professional and always be respectful of your fellow community members.

However, traditionally we are much more relaxed with chat's rules than we are with the main site's rules. I don't see why people talking about music in the PHP chat room would be a problem. Nothing stopping you from talking about PHP if you want.

As for monitoring, if you spot something bad happening in chat, use your flags.


Not everything has to have rules.

As long as people are nice to each other and there's general agreement about what is and isn't allowed in any one room what does it matter what they're talking about?

  • 3
    1. Your nickname is a lie. 2. Everything on the Stackexchange network has rules. – rubenvb May 18 '13 at 17:06
  • @rubenvb I wouldn't call what's in the chat FAQ "rules". It's more like general guidelines. – yannis May 18 '13 at 17:12
  • 3
    1. Yes, but ben is uǝq with 180 degrees of rotational symmetry doesn't have the same ring to it. 2. You're entitled to your own opinion, @rubenvb. – ben is uǝq backwards May 18 '13 at 17:12
  • 1
    ben is uǝq inverted. RING! – rubenvb May 18 '13 at 17:15
  • 1
    It's not quite true though @rubenvb, that would imply that the letter order remains the same (qǝu). As I explained to someone a while back I did it to confuse and disorient my enemies... I definitely don't want it to be accurate :-). – ben is uǝq backwards May 18 '13 at 17:17
  • Put the point of inversion in the center of ben and try again. – rubenvb May 18 '13 at 17:19
  • I love meta! We're apparently having an argument about symmetry @rubenvb :-). If there is a "point of inversion" then it's rotational, I would use inversion to mean reflectional as it literally means to turn upside down. – ben is uǝq backwards May 18 '13 at 17:24
  • @benisuǝqbackwards en.wikipedia.org/w/… – rubenvb May 18 '13 at 17:34
  • 1
    Yes, I'm aware @ruben... that doesn't change the dictionary definition of "invert". – ben is uǝq backwards May 18 '13 at 17:37

What you need to understand is that people are there on their own free will. If they want to help someone, or chat about anything they're free to do as they wish.

They're not obliged to answer your question and the same goes with staying on chat topics.

However, if someone is being toxic to the conversation this is different can definitely get you kicked out of the chat by a mod.

  • There is no free will in room 11! – PeeHaa May 18 '13 at 17:10

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