Seriously why is Lounge C++ being frozen by Mod Gordon?
I mean really? Because we're not on-topic?
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I've unfrozen the room. Let's just say it shouldn't have happened.
Who thought Lounge<C++> would see the day where I was their savior. =)
Now that the dust has somewhat settled, I'll throw in my 2c.
One of the users posted a link to a site that contained a video and some very graphic pictures, including the message "wow this is sick and NSFW". The content was highly inappropriate for a site that is about programming and frequented by people as young as 14 years old. This message was duly flagged and I validated it.
Since we are usually generous when it comes to the Lounge - which is a well known source of flags - and I know the person who posted it is okay most of the time, I unsuspended her; not without explaining to her that it was inappropiate and linking her to the FAQ about what's appropriate to chat. One guy came to her defense, saying that if there is NSFW tagged on it, it's okay. I ignored that and left. That could have been the end of the story.
However, shortly after I left the room, I was pinged by one of the members, telling me that I could just as well close the room altogether if I wanted to enforce that. To which I replied that our policy is that some Off-Topic is okay as long as it gets back to On-Topic eventually. Again, I was explaining. Nothing more.
But if you look at the transcript, you will see that I was then told by multiple members (in what I perceived as a rather cocky way) that they don't care about on-topic and our policies. Instead they have their own rules (to which they linked me promptly).
Now, the problem with you having your own rules is this: your rules < our rules.
I am trusted by the community to enforce our policies in an informed way. If we do not enforce them in certain situations, it doesn't mean we don't have any. It might just as well mean, we don't see the necessity in that specific case. In fact, putting a blind eye on the happenings in your room is exactly that. But if you tell me it's okay to post NSFW stuff and you don't want to talk on-topic in general and you have your own rules and I should get lost with my policies, then you don't leave me much choice than to remind you that you only can do what you want to do here because we let you.
So to answer your question why is Lounge C++ being frozen by Mod Gordon? is to remind you that you are not above our policies. Nothing more. Nothing less. And to get you here to discuss this on neutral grounds (I didnt post the MSO link for nothing).
To stress that: the intention was not to delete it eventually. If that would have been my intention, I could have simply done that. But you have to understand that we have deleted OT rooms in the past and that we expect you to play within the boundaries of our policies.
A few additional notes regarding various other answers and comments here:
they were trolling. Talk in there is usually on-topic.
Genius idea! Next time you are in TSA control, yell "I got a bomb" please. I'd be surprised if no one yells "freeze" back at you then. Make sure to take a video.
It is a lounge, in the sense that it is not dedicated to C++
You don't have to talk about C++. FWIW, you can talk about PHP in there. It all doesn't matter as long as the majority of chatter is programming related. Because we are a programming site. And even if am repeating myself: Off-topic is okay. Just get back to On-Topic eventually.
The room is the reason most long-time SO contributors in the C++ tag visit SO at all.
If any of our top 10 contributes would walk into your room and insult everyone in there, you would want us to step in (ok, I am not sure you would. You are the C++ folks. You actually might even enjoy the insults). Point is, reputation and contribution enables privileges but it doesn't make you untouchable. In practise, we are indeed taking your contributions into account though. Chances are much higher that we talk to you before suspending you than for some random troll.
Anyway, that's probably 5c already so I'll stop here.
I haven't looked into the events that led to this room being frozen at all; I just woke up and it seems that Tim and the SO mods have handled it just fine. However, I do want to address the notion of double-standards regarding topicality that've been raised here...
Rooms that are clearly off-topic are subject to freezing or deletion without notice, particularly if the content is deemed offensive.
Normally, this is a very easy decision to make: when a room's entire history consists of flirting or trolling, deleting it is the expedient way to handle the situation.
However, this rule of thumb is inapplicable in nominally on-topic rooms that get very large amounts of participation. Rooms with hundreds of thousands - or millions - of posts will tend to have a fairly significant amount of off-topic content; that's just how chat works. If nothing else, trying to evaluate hundreds of thousands of messages simply isn't practical; rooms that reach this scale must be moderated largely by their membership, with moderators stepping in to handle specific users or specific events. There are tools available to handle all of this - users can be suspended, messages deleted in bulk, rooms put into "time out".
Note that this doesn't change the rule - chat rooms, regardless of size, should always be somewhat on-topic - it merely modifies the way that abuse should be handled. Fortunately, rooms of this size are generally well-equipped to handle their own moderation a good portion of the time.
On a final note... Moderators for Stack Exchange sites that aren't Stack Overflow should follow roughly these same guidelines, while being aware that at present users, activity and messages posted to chat.SO are all somewhat greater than the entirety of chat.SE. As a result, the problems faced there are somewhat different, although as Stack Exchange grows these will tend to occur somewhat more frequently elsewhere.
I think the
Lounge<C++> room intentionally tries to misrepresent themselves. There is actually a lot of on-topic C++ discussion in there.
If I got this right, the reason why they actively try to portrait that this is not the case, is to plausibly tell annoying newbies that the room is not for asking questions about C++.
I think that's the only thing that's wrong with the lounge. Just needs to be a bit more open to on-topic discussion, in particular from new users :)
I've equated this with jaywalking.*
Most everybody jaywalks (talks off topic), all the time. Some jurisdictions actually consider it a crime, albeit a very minor one. That's fine.
Some people are nudists. They eat, sleep, dance, and even attend certain social events naked. That's fine.
This was someone jaywalking naked. Not fine.
Nobody ever gets nailed for jaywalking, so you don't need to shout about doing it all the time (imagine bragging about it to your friends), however jaywalking naked is going to get you arrested. Someone is going to call the cops, whether it's a drive-by stranger, or a close but concerned friend.
Don't do it. If you want to do stuff naked, do it where it's appropriate. You stand to be made an example of otherwise.
(Yea, getting tasered while naked in an intersection might be considered harsh, but you were the one naked in an intersection.)
* Just the opinion of a fellow pedestrian, to keep with the analogy.
Here's a few funny facts:
Some people have a funny idea that you should try to make informed decisions. Even if you are a moderator. I believe the idea has some merits.
Give it a try some time.
To be clear, I don't totally agree with the freezing, but here is what I think of it
And the surrounding conversation.
Then read @balpha's answer on non-technical chatrooms:
Signs of appropriate rooms
- The discussion generally (not necessarily exclusively) evolves around topics that are relevant to Stack Overflow. This doesn't mean it has to be about programming; it may also be about technology in general, about the programming community at large, or about Stack Overflow itself.
- The population of the room contains many active Stack Overflow users who use the chat as what it was designed to be – a Third Place –, not as their primary way of interacting with Stack Overflow.
- The room is welcoming to new users, but critical (in a helpful and guiding way, if possible) of dumping-my-problem-into-the-room drive-by chatters.
- There's a (not necessarily outspoken, more implicitly present) agreement among the inhabitants regarding the question "What is this room about?", and even when the conversation drifts off for a while, it tends to automatically return to somewhere around this topic.
- The real-world equivalent of the room would be a user group meeting.
Signs of inappropriate rooms
- The room's given topic (and thus its definition) already hints at the fact that people explicitly not want to talk about stuff that would be considered SO-related.
- The real-world equivalent of the room would be people waiting at a bus stop.
(The Lounge doesn't satisfy all the "signs that a room is not appropriate", but it satisfies enough)
This is wholly unjustified to the point of being ridiculous and offensive.
So somebody comes barging in and asks,
Ok, so all of you are telling me that this room is not for on-topic discussions, right?
It either never was or has been OT for a long time, right? That's what you are telling me?
and gets some trolly answers and … swings the close hammer.
Gordon, listen up.
Invent a metric –
any metric1 – for on-topic discussions in chat rooms. Apply this metric to all chat rooms on SO. See which chat room comes out on top.
It will be the C++ lounge.
I have no idea where this idea of OT comes from but to any non-casual observer it is painfully obvious that Lounge<C++> has some of the most fruitful, interesting and constructive discussions about C++.
I don’t even use the room that often (I’m way more often online as a mere spectator) but whenever I take active part, there are several simultaneous technical C++ discussions ongoing.
1 Okay, mad hyperbole aside, by most reasonable metrics Lounge will be one of the, if not the most productive chat rooms. There may be other rooms with a slightly higher signal-to-noise ratio but then consider that Lounge<C++> has an extremely high message volume in general, and at least personally I never had the problem of failing to find a signal for the noise.