Seriously why is Lounge C++ being frozen by Mod Gordon?

I mean really? Because we're not on-topic?

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    It's not like we are never on-topic. We talk about programming when we feel like it (and really, go through the transcript, that is more often than it seems). – Xeo Jul 31 '13 at 12:22
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    Probably. Chat rooms should generally keep to the site topic, as a rule. Sure, they can diverge on occasion but not most of the time. – Oded Jul 31 '13 at 12:23
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    Seriously, its a chat room on Internet. Man, this is silly – Tony The Lion Jul 31 '13 at 12:23
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    @Oded - hence 'Lounge' - like the sofas outside the development offices where we go to sit during breaks, drink coffee and talk about non-dev stuff. – Martin James Jul 31 '13 at 12:24
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    Uncle Gordon knows whats best. – samayo Jul 31 '13 at 12:26
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    Even if a chatroom were deviating from the letter of the law in the fashion Lounge<C++> might be, you would think there would be more discussion about it than someone randomly coming in and swinging the banhammer. How chatrooms are used on SO should evolve with their use by the community, same as anything on SO. – The Forest And The Trees Jul 31 '13 at 12:28
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    More importantly.. withdrawal symptoms – Floris Velleman Jul 31 '13 at 12:32
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    Look at the bright side: We lived to see the day hell froze. ;) – yannis Jul 31 '13 at 12:39
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    Bright side @Yannis? You don't know the stuff I said I'd do if hell would freeze over.... – Bart Jul 31 '13 at 12:42
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    You could have called me, guys. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jul 31 '13 at 12:48
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    @HamZa We could reopen it, but honestly, will anything constructive come from it? The matter is already being discussed internally and it's obvious that most of us don't agree with the action. If you really want a long, drawn out meta discussion, people can reopen it, but, just make sure to leave my answer as the accepted one =) – casperOne Jul 31 '13 at 13:10
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    How about next time you try to garner sympathy you actually tell the truth? This all started with a horribly inappropriate video being linked. And then you went all flippant and disrespectful of the mod who handled the flag on that video. – Ryan Jul 31 '13 at 15:34
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    @ryan: Except the user who linked that is a despicable troll that many of us don't want, and the content she posted is not representative. – DeadMG Jul 31 '13 at 15:54
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    @JeremyBanks We do still enforce the criteria when it's brought to our attention. If a room is clearly just social and generating work for moderators, there's a very good chance it's going to be shut down. There's plenty that just don't get noticed because they aren't attracting attention or bothering anyone, so there's no reason we'd notice them unless they made it to the first two pages of rooms. Even then it's not like we enter rooms randomly just to see what the conversation is - we don't have the bandwidth for that. The ones we don't notice usually just fizzle out and auto freeze anyway – Tim Post Jul 31 '13 at 17:38
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    This is probably going to go down as one of the most contentious posts on Meta. Answers and OP have been voted on 359 times at my time of posting, +257, -102. Comments have been voted on 356 times. This is interesting. – user206222 Aug 1 '13 at 0:24

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. =)

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    hahaha, nice comment :) And thanks (although I'd appreciate it if you guys could gather some kind of consensus so it's not at the whim of individual moderators – jalf Jul 31 '13 at 12:37
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    @jalf You're welcome. The action was excessive. There's an irony there, coming from me. – casperOne Jul 31 '13 at 12:39
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    why you no have cojones :p – samayo Jul 31 '13 at 12:39
  • Upvoting for that comment – Mr. Alien Jul 31 '13 at 12:39
  • ....you're intending to use this against future users screaming "ABUSE", aren't you @casperOne? ;) – Bart Jul 31 '13 at 12:40
  • @Bart Probably just hoping to avoid armies of C++ users coming after him with pitchforks. – Cody Gray Jul 31 '13 at 12:42
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    @casperOne yes, there is ;) But hey, we're just human. We all make bad calls sometimes. – jalf Jul 31 '13 at 12:42
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    @Bart Not at all. I welcome it. Come to me my pretties... – casperOne Jul 31 '13 at 12:53
  • @CodyGray Been there, done that. No biggie. – casperOne Jul 31 '13 at 12:59
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    @jalf: this one of the primary advantages of having multiple moderators - so that nothing is ever done without being subject to review. I assume you wouldn't be terribly happy if the mods refused to reconsider or revert each other's actions? Trust me, the mods discussed this with each other internally as well, they're not battling it out in public (which would be unhealthy). – Shog9 Jul 31 '13 at 19:50
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    @Shog9 sure, and I'm not saying there shouldn't be multiple moderators or that there shouldn't be review. Just that for fairly major decisions, such as freezing the single most active chat room, it might be a good idea to discuss the matter before acting, not after. This whole circus could've been avoided then – jalf Jul 31 '13 at 23:12

Now that the dust has somewhat settled, I'll throw in my 2c.

First some reconstruction to what lead to the freezing:

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.

  • It is a real life drug war video, search for the term "La Guera Loca" in google. Apparently the two drug gangs hold grudge against one other had a long history of killing each others members. There are many videos online I have posted one of them. – user202362 Jul 31 '13 at 15:24
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    Yes, and I would argue against anyone who tried to suppress discussion of important issues like the drug war (although they might be more appropriate on chat for a site like Politics). But the video clearly goes over the top. Especially on a family-friendly site, but really anywhere. You don't need to watch the video to understand that there is extreme, un-human levels of brutality being carried out. – Cody Gray Jul 31 '13 at 15:29
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    If you want to make a point about fair moderation, invoking the TSA is about the least constructive thing you could do. Likewise, talking about the high flagging volume is disingenuous. Most valid flags in there that I have witnessed are from messages that spam the chat with ostensibly on-topic questions (but are really just disruptive). OT spam is rare. I support your action against posted NSFW but pretending that this is a common problem doesn’t jive with my experience of the chat. I’m disappointed by the upvotes of this answer: it doesn’t offer a valid justification of the closing. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 31 '13 at 18:12
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    @KonradRudolph The point of the TSA example was to illustrate that running up to someone put in charge to uphold policies and then telling him you will ignore the policies is a silly idea. What I did was justified in the situation and appropriate to remind them about our policies. They started discussing their behavior after the unfreezing. That was the goal. I'd do it again. You are of course free to disagree. – Gordon Jul 31 '13 at 19:27
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    For the record, your impression was absolutely correct for my part. I don't care about "your policies". I care about SO being a useful site. And SE, Meta and in some cases, moderators, have done a lot in the last year or two to scare away long-time contributors. The Lounge is the one thing keeping a number of users from leaving, and regardless of what goes on in the Lounge, some of these users are very valuable contributors on SO. I personally think that is what matters. And if the effect of your policies is to push away people who make SO better, then I don't care about your policies. – jalf Jul 31 '13 at 22:32
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    @Gordon: Sorry, but you're just plain wrong. This is roughly equivalent to saying the police should brutalize innocent people on a regular basis, because doing so might give others second thoughts about committing crimes. Even if it might produce the desired effect (unlikely, but admittedly possible) the ends do not justify the means...ever! – Jerry Coffin Jul 31 '13 at 22:33
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    You say you, in your infinite generosity, is "turning a blind eye". So are we. I've contributed a hell of a lot to SO, answered a ton of tricky questions, and I have kept doing so, despite everything that has been done to push me away. I, too, am turning a blind eye to your "policies", because I care about SO, and I am willing to suffer a certain amount of stupid, counter-productive rules in order to help make SO a better place for programmers. You may think that your rules are above "our" rules. I think anything that makes SO better is above "your" rules. – jalf Jul 31 '13 at 22:34
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    @Gordon Are you telling me with a straight face that you thought they were serious and that you were uninformed about the general content of that chat room and that you decided to go ahead and freeze it without first informing yourself? And I am not supposed to consider this an inappropriate knee-jerk reaction? With great power etc. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 31 '13 at 23:07
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    @JerryCoffin "regularly" and "brutalizing" make absolutely no sense. More strictly enforcing the law for a while because they don't want the thing they tolerate to get out of hand, or because they want to make sure they keep control over the situation, though, is a very common technique used by police forces all over the world. – Jasper Aug 1 '13 at 1:26
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    @Jasper: Sorry, but you're the one who's not making sense. As Shog implied and Casper stated directly, this is not merely strict or even over-zealous enforcement -- it's abuse that "shouldn't have happened." It's also a case of attempting to use the ends to justify the means, which shouldn't be accepted by any reasoning person under any circumstances ever. – Jerry Coffin Aug 1 '13 at 2:37
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    @jalf the effect of our policies is to make this site usable for everyone, not just a selected few. Yes, we want to keep long time contributors, but we also want new users to enjoy the site and stay. Hostility doesn't help with that. How many people did the C++ room scare away? As for contributing answers: that's great, keep doing it. But answers are just one aspect of the site. If you really care for the site and want to improve it, help shape the policies and live by them. Lead or follow. But don't stand in the way. – Gordon Aug 1 '13 at 6:52
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    @Jerry They are not innocent and they were not brutalized. They were put on-hold for a short time. If you don't like the TSA example, think of it as going to a poker game and announcing you're going to cheat. And insisting on doing so when told you're not allowed. Chances are you won't be allowed to play then. – Gordon Aug 1 '13 at 6:53
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    Gordon / @Konrad, since this is getting pretty meta why not drop into the tavern & hash it out? – Shog9 Aug 1 '13 at 9:04
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    @Gordon Sorry for dragging this up again, but your only reason was to 'bring us to the table to talk'. Why was closing the room required to do that? If you really felt we need to talk about our attitude, talk to us! Your open ended 'threat' of being willing to close the room again is out of line. I still fail to see why you closed the room. And for future reference, no, that user is not 'normally' ok. WE as a group are constantly trying to inform her that her behaviour is not appreciated. Sure the individual 'incidents' are rarely anything 'bad', but the volume and blatant ignorance is. – thecoshman Jan 9 '14 at 13:36
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    @thecoshman temporarily closing the room was an intervention technique. There was no point in continueing the discussion in your room where you felt untouchable. Bringing you here was taking you out of your "safe environment" to neutral grounds. Also, MSO is less realtime which allows for slowing down and laying out thoughts more coherently than in a heated realtime debate. Chat transcripts are also harder to read than this. Also, bringing you here allowed the wider community to participate in the discussion, which was useful to get feedback from other mods and the community at large. – Gordon Jan 9 '14 at 15:02

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.

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    So... Just to be clear, no more freezing The Lounge? You're no fun. – user102937 Jul 31 '13 at 18:23
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    Never say never! I think Gordon accomplished what he intended to with the (temporary) freeze, but I don't think the rationale of "this room isn't on-topic enough as a whole" really works for rooms of this size. – Shog9 Jul 31 '13 at 18:30
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    I think this is the only sensible and realistic answer here. – Rapptz Jul 31 '13 at 19:14
  • @Shog9 sure, he may have accomplished what he wanted, but there was absolutely no reason to do it the way he did. He wanted to chat about our general attitude, now if only there was a room where we can chat, maybe some sort of relaxed lounge... – thecoshman Jan 9 '14 at 13:40

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 :)

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    The key is really in the name: Lounge<C++>. It is a lounge, in the sense that it is not dedicated to C++. but it is where C++ users hang out and often talk informally about whatever they feel like - and often, what such users feel like talking about is... C++. – jalf Jul 31 '13 at 12:37
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    The Lounge is open to discussion of C++, it is not open to random new people dumping links to any old questions "because it is the most active room" – thecoshman Jul 31 '13 at 13:25
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    the lounge is open to interesting C++ problems I think is more accurate. They'll throw away any "can you help me with <google-able answer>" but spend an hour trying to find out about the minute details of how to use <esoteric-and-complicated-combination-of-C++-features> – Eiyrioü von Kauyf Jul 31 '13 at 15:11
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    @Eiyrioü Why is that bad? If you're going to get people in a chat room to help you, you've got to catch their interest. Difficult problems are much more interesting than things that, as you say, are easily google-able. Keep in mind that you can always post programming questions that the Lounge folks are uninterested in on Stack Overflow. That's what it is there for. – Cody Gray Jul 31 '13 at 15:49
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    @CodyGray who said it's bad? I learn more from 40 min of them grumbling about OpenGL then an hour on SO. which has a lot of crappy questions nowdays. quite to the contrary. – Eiyrioü von Kauyf Jul 31 '13 at 15:49

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.

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    Any time is an appropriate naked time. It's the rest of the world that wrong. – David X. Random Jul 31 '13 at 18:07
  • @DavidX.Random I agree! But unfortunately, we have to live alongside the rest of the world, as you yourself mentioned. – Dan Lugg Jul 31 '13 at 18:08

Here's a few funny facts:

  • many mods are perfectly aware of what the room entails, including that it is not dedicated to programming discussions. And yet several of them have hung out there for extended periods of time, and none of them have closed it. So maybe ask them why they haven't closed it? Maybe discuss it with them before unilaterally freezing it?
  • the room is also the main reason that most long-time SO contributors in the C++ tag visit SO at all. Is SO a better place if you give these people no reason to visit SO? Are you going to answer the C++ questions for us?

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.

  • Ooh I am banned from the chat again, now I know how Julian Assange feels when he is prosecuted by the US government or how Galileo felt when he was tried by the church. Seriously though, I have only posted a real drug war video and marked it as violent and NSFW. – user202362 Jul 31 '13 at 14:28
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    @Telkitty猫咪咪: I think the problem was that, although you did make a point of marking the video as extremely violent and NSFW, it was still extremely violent and NSFW .. and no matter how much you warn us about the content of the video, the fact that it's inappropriate for SO chat does not go away. Choose some place else to post your extremely violent and NSFW videos. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 31 '13 at 16:38
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    Your second argument makes no sense. If the chat room is the main reason a user visits the site, SO would be no worse off if they stopped showing up. If the implication is that they produce a significant volume of content in the C++ tag, they're not really here solely for the chatting. – user200500 Jul 31 '13 at 17:09
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    @Asad: They can be here mostly for the chatting whilst still producing a huge quantity of high-quality content in the C++ tag. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 31 '13 at 17:23
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    @Asad how does that not make sense? It is perfectly possible for people to visit SO because of the lounge. And while they're on SO anyway, they go and answer a question every now and again. – jalf Jul 31 '13 at 23:07
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    Thank @LightnessRacesinOrbit for the enlightment ... especially since according to some regulars, you are the second biggest troll in the lounge. – user202362 Aug 1 '13 at 1:33
  • @Telkitty猫咪咪: Yes, clearly. – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 1 '13 at 9:52

To be clear, I don't totally agree with the freezing, but here is what I think of it


@Gordon uhm, well you see, we don't want to talk about programming here. like for last few years.

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)

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    That was obviously a troll answer, not a serious one. Your point? Your point-by-point rule check is ridiculous. You should have checked the room out before doing it. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 31 '13 at 12:30
  • Did you read the room transcript? I mean all zillion of messages there. – Abyx Jul 31 '13 at 12:31
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    '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.' - I seem to recollect that most Lounge regulars have large rep. I wonder how they got that? – Martin James Jul 31 '13 at 12:32
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    @MartinJames Like I said, it doesn't satisfy all signs, but if there isn't any technical discussion, then is it really appropriate? It's also the room that causes the most problems in the sense of flags and inappropriate content iirc. – Manishearth Jul 31 '13 at 12:33
  • @KonradRudolph No, I'm being serious. Of course I haven't checked the full transcripts, but (a) the room has a reputation (b) I had gone through some of the transcript pages of the Lounge after getting many comments on that other "non technical chatrooms" post. I hadn't said anything then (my focus was elsewhere at the time and I didn't want to start a flamewar) – Manishearth Jul 31 '13 at 12:35
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    Unfortunately, in some places muslims have a reputation of being terrorists. – R. Martinho Fernandes Jul 31 '13 at 12:37
  • @Manishearth The answer to Gordon you cited was a troll answer. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 31 '13 at 12:37
  • @KonradRudolph Ah, I see. Also, see edit. – Manishearth Jul 31 '13 at 12:37
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    I suspect the the majority of flags are raised by drive-by linkers and other '1 day' SO members who cannot understand why their 'urgent' demand for debugging complex network issues, or walls of [i+12][j-1][k++]*** code have not been automatically debugged after 30 minutes. – Martin James Jul 31 '13 at 12:39
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    @Manishearth And the surrounding conversation when the closing occurred was technical, apart from all the non-constructive chatter (triggered by Gordon) whether gore is appropriate. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 31 '13 at 12:40
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    Why do we need to moderate chat rooms like this? I mean, it's an online chat. If the content was strictly C++ and strictly on topic, it shouldn't even be in chat—it should be asked on Stack Overflow proper. In my mind, the only reason for moderator intervention would if something really bad was happening. Off topic banter is not "really bad". – Cody Gray Jul 31 '13 at 12:40
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    @CodyGray FWIW in this case some bad stuff did happen, and as LCPP (I think, not sure) has spawned bad stuff in the past, it got closed. I think. – Manishearth Jul 31 '13 at 12:50
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    Yes, that I can agree with. But that's not what your answer says. I'm relatively certain that the Lounge<C++> regulars are telling the truth here: the topic always returns to C++ programming eventually. Probably sooner rather than later. It's just like physics geeks. Eventually, no matter the forum, you can't help but start talking about physics eventually. – Cody Gray Jul 31 '13 at 12:51
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    @Manishearth just sit in the room for a day, keep an eye on what subjects we cover. Braces yourself for a lot of smut and technology. We are a bunch of geeks, we inevitably love bashing the latest s**t technology. – thecoshman Jul 31 '13 at 13:38
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    I would totally say the Lounge is our third place. We are welcoming to new users, though extremely harsh on dumping-my-problem-into-the-room. We talk about C++ a lot, but Its less clear if we "generally discuss C++", and "what the room is about" is quite fuzzy, so I disagree on those but won't claim that you're objectively wrong. – Mooing Duck Jul 31 '13 at 17:48

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.

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    I realy doubt the lounge will come out on top. – PeeHaa Jul 31 '13 at 12:26
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    @PeeHaa I wouldn't be surprised if it did in absolute terms. – R. Martinho Fernandes Jul 31 '13 at 12:26
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    Last time I checked, the Python room discussed mostly.. Python. And salads. But mostly Python. – Martijn Pieters Jul 31 '13 at 12:27
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    @MartijnPieters the Python room also has vastly less activity – jalf Jul 31 '13 at 12:28
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    @PeeHaa The biggest problem is that the room was arbitrarily closed at the decision of one mod. Is this right, for one of the highly-trafficed rooms on SO? – The Forest And The Trees Jul 31 '13 at 12:29
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    @jalf: shrug; how does that fail the Invent a metric - any metric test? And you do realize I am not serious here, right? – Martijn Pieters Jul 31 '13 at 12:32
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    Sometimes I get the impression some of the regulars don't realise how much C++/programming/suburbs we discuss there compared to other drivel/life/garbage. It's not like you get screenfuls of messages without any "on-topic" content (well, not accounting for the chains of 30 "lol"s or something). We put on a mask of "Lounge first, C++ second", but the truth is that we are programmers and end up talking programming naturally, even if we try to stick to a casual atitude :| – R. Martinho Fernandes Jul 31 '13 at 12:33
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    @jalf: Sorry, that's not what I read here, in this post. Not that I care that much about this, I was not out to make this a e-peen measuring contest between chat rooms. – Martijn Pieters Jul 31 '13 at 12:36
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    @R.MartinhoFernandes exactly, we can't talk about sex without mentioning genetics... inheritance of genes... inheritance from two parents... from two bases classes... multiple inheritance... a feature Java lacks... Java sucks QED! – thecoshman Jul 31 '13 at 13:30
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    We're using 'Retarded' to describe an action we don't agree with now then? That's nice and grown-up, well done, nice way to bring gravitas to your argument. – JonW Jul 31 '13 at 15:09
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    Uncool. Attempting to justify the use of a pejorative -- regardless of its popularity -- doesn't make its use any better. Replace the word "retarded" with any similar pejorative made against a group of people who are born a certain way, and let's see how well it goes over. – jwiscarson Jul 31 '13 at 22:21
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    @jwiscarson Hm. I see where you’re getting at. Please suggest a synonym which has the same common connotation without making a slur at minorities and I’ll replace it immediately. I’m actually serious. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 31 '13 at 23:05
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    @KonradRudolph You can use: "Remarkably stupid." "Asinine." "Pure dumbassery." "The work of a true git." A web search finds many more insults that don't attack millions of bystanders (meta discussion too!). But here, why not just use "wholly unjustified to the point of being ridiculous" (your words)? That's rhetorically and emotionally stronger than any of these generic insults (or your original), and may even yield productive discourse. Btw I have no opinion on the Lounge issue. :) – Eliah Kagan Jul 31 '13 at 23:31
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    @EliahKagan Sold. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 31 '13 at 23:32
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    @KonradRudolph, I really appreciate you owning up to this. – jwiscarson Aug 1 '13 at 1:34

One worry is, if you take away the safety-valve provided by rooms like the Lounge, you have to let the boiler fire go out, and much valuable and helpful input to SO proper, as provided by the many highly skilled and technically competent Lounge regulars, will be lost.

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    If I understand this correctly, you are saying: letting people talk about crap in the lounge keeps them around and thus contributing to SO proper, stop them talking at all in the lounge, you lose their contributions to the main site. I agree with this. – thecoshman Jul 31 '13 at 13:40

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