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I think when asking a question, there should be a standard "Should this be asked in chat first?" (And maybe link to the chats that contain the tags the OP uses?). The cases for asking in chat could be various (for example, Syntax errors are almost always downvoted, so if the title or question body contains "syntax error" or similar variants, the chat suggestion should trigger).

This would help drive more traffic to the chats, where some very talented developers lay in wait to assist people (and more often than not, end up teaching better practices (lord knows the JavaScript room has taught me more than college ever did)), and hopefully take away at the same time questions that simply clog the main site. I could even name a couple incredible developers that barely troll the main site because of this issue. (Of course, I won't out of respect)

  • I don't think so. I'd love to see more people in chat but it should not be that standard. Maybe after the dialog where OP starts typing the title and in case he thinks something similar has been asked before? – Benjamin Gruenbaum Dec 6 '13 at 16:58
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    This will also drive away questions from the Question and Answer sites. If someone gets an answer in Chat, they will not ask the question on the main site. – Oded Dec 6 '13 at 17:00
  • @BenjaminGruenbaum agreed 100%. Not a massive standard, merely a suggestion. Let's be honest, most of those question askers don't read the FAQ's anyways. Why would they read this? lol – Sterling Archer Dec 6 '13 at 17:00
  • @Oded but this isn't to drive away good questions. Would something like a syntax error question really be that helpful to the community? – Sterling Archer Dec 6 '13 at 17:01
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    @RUJordan - of course not. But my point about people going first to Chat remains - if they ask a question that is good for the main site, but get an answer on Chat, it will not be on the main site anymore, and it will be lost and not helping others in the future. – Oded Dec 6 '13 at 17:02
  • @Oded that is true. But there's also a chance the question would be recognized as not a duplicate, beneficial, and suggested to be self answered or posted on the main site. – Sterling Archer Dec 6 '13 at 17:04
  • Possibly. I think it most likely that people will get an answer and leave. Don't forget though that posting in Chat is a privilege - one needs 20 rep to post in Chat. – Oded Dec 6 '13 at 17:07
  • Dang, you're absolutely right. – Sterling Archer Dec 6 '13 at 17:08
  • I think @Oded's point is very important. I'd much rather have somebody post on the main site and then come to chat than the other way around. I've seen it lead to better, more detailed questions, and I've seen it lead to very satisfied users. – Ryan Kinal Dec 6 '13 at 17:08
  • Lay what in wait? – TRiG Dec 6 '13 at 17:35
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This is contrary to the very goal that these sites were founded on, the hope that by answering questions in a structured, easy-to-search format, the effort spent answering would be able to benefit people beyond just the person asking.

Don't get me wrong: chat is great. And it's awesome that there are folks willing and able to provide one-on-one help and guidance to budding programmers there. But this should never take away from the work that is being done on the main sites.

If you encounter someone on the main site that you feel would be better off with some hand-holding in chat prior to asking more questions, feel free to invite them in: just drop a link to a chat room in a comment. Be aware though, that they'll need to have earned at least 20 reputation on the main site before they'll even be able to chat.

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    +1 I completely agree. I think we all would want to make the chat more accessible and removing the link from the top bar makes it less reachable. I think this is why people are now looking for way to get more exposure to the chat. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Dec 6 '13 at 17:27

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