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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?

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  • 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.
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 14, 2014 at 18:20
  • 1
    You can only invite those users who have a chat account - something that is separate from the other SE accounts.
    – Werner
    Jul 14, 2014 at 18:23
  • @VotetoClose Consider joining this merry band.
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 14, 2014 at 18:24
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    @AdamDavis: so that Help Center page is obsolete?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, 2014 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  • @feetwet I think it is obsolete.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.
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 14, 2014 at 18:34

1 Answer 1

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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 (chat.stackoverflow.com), one for Meta Stack Exchange (chat.meta.stackexchange.com), and one for everybody else (chat.stackexchange.com). In the following explanation my links are for the last, so 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 profile. If you don't have a link to the user's chat profile, follow step 1 in this answer to obtain it from one's main site profile.

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 they respond.

I have a link to the user's chat profile but don't see an option to invite, either to the specific room or at all. Why?

First, confirm that you've joined the chat room to which you're trying to issue an invitation. As stated before, you can't issue invitations for rooms which you aren't currently in. You also can't issue a chat invitation if the user doesn't have write access to the room (if it's a gallery or private room).

If you still don't see the option to invite, there are three possibilities:

  • The user has already been invited to the room. Only one pending chat invitation per room can be issued to a given user, altogether from all users. This means that if you or someone else invited the user to the chat room at any point in the past and they didn't respond to the invitation, you cannot invite them again. Chat invitations do not expire.
  • The user has added you to their ignored users list.
  • You are banned from issuing invitations or creating new chat rooms. This happens if you get kick-muted from a chat room three times in a row, for 30 minutes. To confirm if this is the case, go to /rooms/new on the chat server you're trying to issue an invitation on; if you get an error message that you're banned from creating rooms, this is the case. This restriction is indefinite until a moderator removes it.

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.

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  • 3
    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, 2014 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, 2014 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, 2018 at 18:31
  • And how do I find the chat room URL? Just copy from browser address line?
    – Suncatcher
    May 8, 2018 at 5:10
  • @Suncatcher yes, from the browser address bar while in the room. May 8, 2018 at 14:40

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