The help center suggests that after creating a chat room I should be able to invite users to chat from the room menu.

I created a room to discuss a problem but the room menu has no such invite function.

Other questions suggest I should only be able to invite users who are already in a chat.

Update: While testing this answer we discovered there are three separate systems, which further adds to the confusion.

Can you please correct the current documentation, update it to show how chat currently works, and in particular address these points of confusion?

  • You add a comment to one of their posts saying, "@user I've started a chat room for this discussion, will you please join me?" There is no other mechanism. – Adam Davis Jul 14 '14 at 18:20
  • You can only invite those users who have a chat account - something that is separate from the other SE accounts. – Werner Jul 14 '14 at 18:23
  • @VotetoClose Consider joining this merry band. – Adam Davis Jul 14 '14 at 18:24
  • @AdamDavis: so that Help Center page is obsolete? And when inviting in a comment do I provide the full hyperlink to the chat room in the comment invite? – feetwet Jul 14 '14 at 18:26
  • @feetwet I think it is obsolete. I suspect the room menu does include user invitation, but it's probably only available to moderators and stack exchange valued associates. – Adam Davis Jul 14 '14 at 18:34

You can invite the person through the chat system or by leaving a comment. Note that a user needs at least 20 reputation to be able to chat, so check that first.

Note: Stack Exchange has three different chat sites -- one for Stack Overflow, one for SE Meta, and one for everybody else. In the following explanation my links are for the last (chat.SE); if you're using one of the others you'll need to adjust that.

Chat

First, go into chat and enter the room you created. (This is important; you can't invite someone to a room you're not in.)

Next you need to find the user's chat account. Go to the chat users page and search for the user's name. Note that some users use different names on different sites and some don't have chat accounts, so this isn't guaranteed to return a result.

Let's suppose I want to invite you. On the chat user page you'll see several buttons, one of which is "Invite this user to" and a drop-down list of all chat rooms that you're in.

screen shot

Select the chat room and click the button; the user will be pinged. Note that it can take 20-30 minutes for the ping to arrive, depending on how recently the user has been in chat.

Then monitor your room and see if he responds.

Via comment

If you can't use chat directly, you can leave a comment inviting him into your chat room. Create the room, enter it, get its URL, and then leave a comment addressed to the user and including that link. This is, by the way, more public; anybody who sees the comment might choose to come into your room. But almost nothing is really private on the SE network anyway (for good reasons); I'm just pointing this out so you won't be surprised if it happens.

  • 1
    I followed your instructions, but even though I'm in a chat room (I created) I do not see the invite button you circled on your chat account chat.stackexchange.com/users/25779/monica-cellio -- I only see the middle three buttons. – feetwet Jul 14 '14 at 19:25
  • Oh, wait: there appears to be a separate chat system for meta! I wonder why? In any case it would be very helpful if that were glaringly obvious in the documentation.... – feetwet Jul 14 '14 at 19:30
  • Besides: A pity that not even as a mod I could invite someone with less than 20 rep (and save us from some comment chains) … – Izzy Apr 30 at 18:31
  • And how do I find the chat room URL? Just copy from browser address line? – Suncatcher May 8 at 5:10
  • @Suncatcher yes, from the browser address bar while in the room. – Monica Cellio May 8 at 14:40

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