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How much reputation do you need to participate in chat?

It's an easy answer, right? You need at least 20 reputation to participate in chat. /privileges/chat even tells us so.

But for which chat site(s) is that?

Because we have at least three chat domains:

And the chat FAQs (See: 1 2 ) don't make it clear which site you need to have that precious 20 reps from in order to participate.

The confusion is compounded by support requests like this one where the user had enough reputation but couldn't access chat, and this one where the user gamed their general StackExchange rep and could participate in chat.

And all the above is made a little bit more unclear because once you earn the association bonus then you can just register with the associated site and this is no longer an issue.

So what's the correct answer for how much reputation and where does it need to be from in order to chat?"

Is the correct answer "You need to have at least 20 reputation on a site in the domain that the room belongs to in order to chat in that particular room?" And if that is correct, is that for all chat rooms within a given domain or is there an additional per room check tying back to the owning site of the room?


Wait, what?! Who cares?
Well, it's easy to shrug this off once you've earned 200 rep. However, when you're trying to provide guidance to other users about inviting them into chat, it's important to know just how much reputation and from where a new user needs to have in order to participate in chat.

Sidenote: This question is closely related as it explains what additional privileges you get in chat with increased reputation or room ownership. But it doesn't address where the precious reputation needs to be earned.

Also related: It appears that StackOverflow Portuguese chat sites and StackOverflow Russian chat sites use the StackExchange chat domain.

  • 1
    There was an answer to my question given by ShadowWizard (now deleted) which linked to another meta post which explained that domain stuff. Cant find it atm. Shog9 said something relevant here. IIRC, get 20rep on SO or on Meta.SE and you get access to all chat.se rooms. Get 20rep in any of the sites linked to chat.se, you get access to all chat.se rooms (but no access to meta chat and SO chat) and get 20 combined rep on SE network, you get access to chat.se linked rooms. I might be repeating stuff, but just adding my views. – Lamart Jun 3 '15 at 19:15
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    @Lamart is referring to this bug report - turns out the 20 reputation requirement also counts the 1 reputation one starts with, so having 20 accounts, all with 1 reputation, is enough to be able to chat. – Shadow The Dragon Wizard Jun 3 '15 at 20:17
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Note: This is a suggested answer based upon some research I've done. It really ought to be confirmed by an SE Community Manager or SE dev.


Using the information provided in this chat history1 attributed to this sketchy community member, these appear to be the rules.

  1. Meta StackExchange (MSE) and StackOverflow chats are separate and require a user to have 20 rep on the respective site (MSE or SO) in order to participate in chat.

    • So you have to have a MSE profile with at least 20 rep to participate in MSE chat.
    • Likewise, you have to have a SO profile with 20 rep for SO chat.
    • MSE rep doesn't count for SO chat and SO rep doesn't count for MSE chat.
    • Other SE site rep doesn't count for either MSE or SO chat.
  2. Chatting in StackExchange chat is a bit easier. You need at least one of the following:

    • 20 rep on MSE
    • 20 rep on SO
    • 20 rep on any other SE site
    • combined 20 rep on any other SE sites.2

1 Hat tip to Lamart for pointing me in the right direction
2 Note, this may actually be a bug and subject to squashing at a later point in time.

  • This tutorial by Shadow Wizard sheds some light on this topic too. – Lamart Jun 4 '15 at 10:35
  • The last bullet refers to any other SE sites. I think it should be all SE sites since a combination of SO-10rep , Meta.SE-5rep , ELL-5rep allows a user to chat in all rooms based on chat.se domain. – Lamart Jun 4 '15 at 10:44
  • @Lamart - That could very well be, and that's why I put a disclaimer at the top of the answer. It would be nice to have the above details fully vetted by an SE dev. But I also understand that answering this is a lower priority for them, so I don't expect an official update in the immediate future. – GlenH7 Jun 4 '15 at 11:30
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    True. Shadow Wizard placed a bounty on my bug report so I think someone from SE will check it out and most probably sort this out too as they are related. And +1 – Lamart Jun 4 '15 at 11:58

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