For the life of me, I can't figure out how to use chat.

  1. I can't figure out how to access particular existing chats.
  2. I can't figure out how to find, create, or link to a room.
  3. I found this, but I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do in it.

Could someone please provide step-by-step instructions? Please include any details on how to make a chat associated with a specific site, if that's something that can be done. I imagine that once I can get into a room, I can figure out how to go from there.

(If you're wondering why I'm doing this, I want to preemptively move a comment discussion into chat. I don't yet have a notice suggesting I do so, which would take care of all of the above me, I believe.)

2 Answers 2


Stack Exchange chat crash course 101 for dummies

One network, three chat "zones"

First of all, one needs to know that Stack Exchange has three chat "zones", which are:

  1. Stack Overflow
  2. Meta Stack Exchange
  3. All the rest

Each of those zones has its own rooms.

Viewing existing chat rooms

To enter an existing room, just browse the full list of rooms in any of the zones and click on the desired room. If you're logged into the chat (you can see that in the top bar) then you'll automatically join the room when you enter it, and all users in the room will see you join. Otherwise, you'll just see the activity in the room but nobody will know you're there.

Taking part in chat aka writing messages in existing room

Chatting in a room requires you to login with an account having at least 20 reputation points. For Stack Overflow chat rooms you need 20 points on Stack Overflow itself, for MSE you need 20 points here on this very site, and for the rest you need 20 points on at least one site in the network.

Creating new chat room

In order to create a new room, you must have the Create Chat Rooms privilege, which requires 100 reputation points. If you're logged into the lobby of a zone and you have enough reputation, you'll see a "create a new room" button at the bottom:

Clicking on it will allow you to create a brand new room. There are theoretically no restrictions, but keep in mind you can't delete the room once it's created, so think twice before doing so.

Inviting a user to chat

The most straightforward way is to create a chat room, and then post a comment on one of the user's posts, or as reply to one of his/her comments linking to the room - use the URL you see when you view the room itself. Once the user clicks on the link, he'll enter the room.

However, there is also a more elegant way when the user you want to invite already has a chat profile. In this case you don't need to create a room beforehand. Go to the proper zone, e.g. Stack Overflow, then click on the "users" tab:

Here you can search for the user you want to invite. If you find him/her click on the name to reach his/her chat profile. Once there you can click on "start a new room with this user":

After confirming, a room will be automatically created and the other user will get a notification in his/her inbox with an invitation to the new room. All you have to do is wait for him/her in the room. (All the rooms named "Room for X and Y" were created this way)

That's it! Enjoy chatting! :)

  • Does association bonus count toward the 20 for SO and MSE chat zones, or is it like the 110 rep requirement for answering protected questions? Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 17:21
  • 1
    @tepples yes it does, having 200 rep in one single site means you can chat everywhere. More than that... someone found out that simply associating your account on 20 sites (even if you have 1 in all) gives you the ability to chat in the main SE chat (not SO or MSE though) since each of the 20 accounts "has" 1 point, and they sum up to 20. Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 20:23

Chat has an FAQ that probably answers most of your questions as far as typical use of chat.

As for the creation of rooms, you can visit https://chat.stackexchange.com as you have, then click "Create a new room" (also linked there). That will ask you for a room name, description, and related site. I've actually never done that, honestly, but it looks pretty straight forward. I'm also a moderator, so it's difficult for me to test that functionality.

Once you're in a room, you can just copy the address bar for a link to it. You can also grab the shortcut from the room's "info" page.

That all said, if you're certain that all comments on the post should be moved to chat, you could flag it for moderator attention, and he or she can automatically create a room and move existing comments into that room. That's better in a lot of cases because it grants a consistent UI (the tags, room description, and title are all taken from the question, then the linking comment is consistently worded).

  • 1
    Mods can only auto-create the room when there have been enough comments in a short-enough amount of time to trigger an auto-flag. Sadly, we can't do it at will, so I'd much rather see users be proactive at the beginning of what they know is going to be a tangential thread. :-) Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 5:14
  • Sorry for unaccepting, but the other answer is a lot more detailed. Thanks for the help.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 20:26
  • @jpmc26 No problem! I would actually have suggested you do that, had I seen it. :) Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 22:23

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