As reputation maintained by StackOverflow community, only on-topic real question are asked here and answered by people who have gained expertise in the field or by some who are still exploring(like me).

But I came across this feature of StackOverflow : Chat.

So, I thought people might be discussing technical stuff here too. But, anytime I visited, no technical discuss was going on. It was just daily stuff like:

  • How are you? I am fine.
  • Whats up with life?
  • Got a new crush.

and many other like that.

Now, I am confused if this is a side feature provided by StackOverflow to get to know each other or it's just that it can't be monitored?

What is the real purpose of Chat on StackOverflow?

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    Should be technical mainly but at end we all are human being and not robots so bit casual is fine. Can you define what specific chat groups you talking about ? – Rikesh Feb 17 '14 at 10:26
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    Speak for yourself @Rikesh – Bart Feb 17 '14 at 10:26
  • @Rikesh but the chat actually contains bots ;) – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Feb 17 '14 at 10:27
  • WHAT?? humans? here??? Jon Skeet will be most displeased – user246806 Feb 17 '14 at 10:27
  • @Rikesh I am not trying to say that is wrong. I am just asking if that is what it is intended. – Batty Feb 17 '14 at 10:28
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    You may want to read this blog post, explaining the raison d'être of chat. – Oded Feb 17 '14 at 10:31
  • @Oded That was a nice read. And gives reason for creation of chat. – Batty Feb 17 '14 at 10:35
  • I am confused too. I can't get what the actual purpose of this feature is. Different users use it for different purposes. For me I only use Tavern on the Meta when I have any doubt but not actual question and can't find any question related to it. Same applies to SO as well. – hims056 Feb 17 '14 at 10:37
  • FYI, it is monitored. All chat content is logged and can be indexed by Google. – tombull89 Feb 17 '14 at 10:39
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    Luckily the Tavern is very no-nonsense, no chit-chat and focused on on-topic discussions @hims056. ;) – Bart Feb 17 '14 at 10:39
  • @hims056 well, the per-language chat rooms should be more or less professional, but I never visited so can't say for sure. The Tavern by its very definition was never related to being professional, more like a place for the meta'ers to relax. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Feb 17 '14 at 10:40
  • Just to give an example, on Super User chat we like to invite people to ask shopping recommendation questions, or get troubleshooting help. There's a few off topic discussions but they are mostly about, well, computer stuff. You've probably just been to the wrong rooms. – slhck Feb 17 '14 at 10:48
  • PORN FOR ENGINEERS !!! – YoelMacia Feb 17 '14 at 12:54

1. To provide further explanations/clarifications for a post

For me, chat is there to facilitate another channel of communication. We wouldn't want to limit users to discussions only in the comments.

Looking directly at Stack Overflow, the topics there usually require a little more in depth explanations and answers. Users at different levels of competence will all see the same answer and some might need further explanations. This point could also be valid for other Stack Exchange sites.

Chat is a place to have lengthy discussions that tend to deviate from the original topic. It facilitates a more active discussion than a comment thread (even with live updates) could ever provide.

The system actively encourages this once a post has received a certain number of comments. A message is displayed above the comment box saying:

Please avoid extended discussions in comments. Would you like to automatically move this discussion to chat?

2. To facilitate internal communications

The chat servers are also used internally to facilitate communication between the Stack Exchange team/Community managers and our team of mods. This is a private room that only diamond studded users have access to. It's called The Teachers Lounge.

3. To facilitate private communication with moderators

Private chat rooms can also be used to allow a moderator to reach out to a specific user in order to resolve some issue with their account or some content issue. Mods even have a "super ping" feature that allows them to ping any user in the network even if the user is not currently in chat.

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The real answer is really, really simple.

There is no real use for chat

That's it. Once you grasp this fact, you understand the meaning of chat.

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  • Kind of a Zen thing, huh? – jscs Feb 17 '14 at 10:28
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    haha..this seems to be the perfect answer. :) – Batty Feb 17 '14 at 10:29
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    Voting to close this answer: unclear what you're answering. – hims056 Feb 17 '14 at 10:29
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    @hims056 42 for you. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Feb 17 '14 at 10:29

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