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TL;DR: The Problem

This keeps happening in chat:

  1. Surprise at flags on vulgar messages. Language that would invariably get your comments deleted on the main site occasionally gets flagged and deleted in chat. Confusion reigns.
  2. Controversial topics leading to bickering and name-calling. Folks bring up polarizing topics in rooms dedicated to other topics and filled with people who joined for the same. Anger and resentment ensues.
  3. Moderators step in to try and resolve #1 or #2. Who elected them to solve our problems? Indignation follows.

These are inherently social problems; the first step toward addressing them is better communication. Therefore, I propose that we begin by re-writing the chat FAQ in an effort to clarify WHAT chat is for and HOW it can be used constructively.

I'll begin by laying out my own observations regarding chat...

Background

For five years now, Chat has been the red-headed stepchild of Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange: not a particularly good fit for a Q&A site, but still an integral part of the experience for many.

During this time, we've had some... Divergent evolution, so to speak: the perception of chat among the minds of those who use it has taken on different forms, and the perception of chat among those who don't regularly use it is something else again. This has led to problems.

Jeff envisioned chat as a "third place":

I think a web-based real time chat system like Campfire could offer that informal public gathering third place -- a space for people who love the topic to meet, discuss, and collaborate in a different way. It would foster community, and be complementary to both strict Q&A;, and meta-discussion.

This is essentially chat's charter, both the reason for its existence and the hope for what it would become. Over the years, folks have used a lot of different metaphors to describe chat: the watercooler (informal work conversations), the tavern (socialization after work), etc. These metaphors work, to a degree... But they also leak when stretched too far: you can't have 20 people all gathered around one jug of water, and rarely does anyone talk to everyone crowded into their local inn, much less expect them to listen and respond constructively. Yet, these scenarios are common in chat. And these forms of social interaction are the source of the problems described above, which cannot easily be resolved with fanciful comparisons to physical gathering-places.

I hold that the problems which arise in chat are rarely those of topic or language, although that is often how they appear; rather, the persistent problem in chat is participants who hold expectations for how they or others should behave which don't match the reality of either the system or the larger culture in which it resides. One does not repeatedly charge into a brick wall thinking it will move aside; one does so believing that the wall does not exist.

The actual nature of chat on Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange

These are incontestable facts:

  1. Chat is not IRC: conversations are permanent by default, public by default, and linked to your main-site user account by default.
  2. Chat is user-moderated: flaggers, privileged users and elected moderators all participate in deciding what is allowed and what is not.
  3. Chat is moderated: there are no "anything goes" chat rooms; all moderation tools and privileges operate in all rooms.

These facts imply a few things that are not always obvious:

  1. Chat is not transient: what you say tonight while drunk still exists, in public and attached to your account, tomorrow.
  2. Chat is not separate from Q&A: you have to participate on the main sites to establish an account that even allows you to chat; you earn the chat privilege on main, and can lose it there as well.
  3. You can't control who reads what you write in chat: transcripts are completely public, open to anyone, even people who aren't visible in chat, even people who aren't members of the main Q&A site. Your boss, your wife, your worst enemy, that annoying kid from 6th grade... They could all be reading your chat logs at their leisure, potentially even years after the fact.

Taken as a whole, these factors make chat well-suited as an auxiliary to the asking and answering that happens on the main Q&A sites... But poorly suited to many other roles, even roles that other chat systems commonly serve! I believe it is essential that we communicate these factors within the guidance given to chat participants, and do what we can to dissuade them from relying on chat for purposes they will find it ill-suited for.

Communicating the nature of chat

I said at the start that my primary goal here is to re-write the guidance that is given to folks using chat; indeed, several of my co-workers are already hard at work on this. As such guidance must necessarily be grounded in a shared understanding of the nature and purpose of the system itself, and that starts here: I've laid out my observations above; now, what have I overlooked?

Note that there are several outstanding technical issues with both flagging and room membership... If you're interested in these issues, please participate in the relevant feature-requests.

  • 27
    Re. the 3rd point, I think expanding this might be the key to solving the current problem: "all moderation tools and privileges operate in all rooms and they will be used consistently to enforce a global, objective, not-room-determined code of conduct." I do think that code of conduct should be "if we'd delete it in a comment on Meta, we'll delete it here". – Undo Dec 10 '15 at 0:46
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    Let's solve a few easier problems first, @CandiedMango: if we can agree on a universal language, a universal culture, and a universal religion, then we can start talking about a universal set of vulgarities. – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 0:49
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    I trust in The Great Compiler. – CandiedMango Dec 10 '15 at 0:50
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    @Kev, It sounds easy, till you realize that different people define "Be Nice" in different ways. It's pretty much all downhill from there. – Ryan Dec 10 '15 at 0:56
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    I don't know if this should be an answer, but one problem I see (and I know others see it, too) is the idea of "room culture". Some groups of users feel like they function well together and have agreed-upon standards established independently. This is defended as "room culture", and it can be a problem, like when new folks walk in and see (in some cases) things like profanity. When moderation goes against this "culture", they get equally up in arms - especially when the moderator isn't from the room's home site. That attitude is one big problem I see, and it's inherent in the system. – HDE 226868 Dec 10 '15 at 1:04
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    @HDE226868 - Hear hear! Chat is not for a clique of regulars, it is for whoever happens to click the "chat" link. "Relax, everyone here knows my [insert type of offensive material here] comments are meant in jest" just doesn't fly. If it would cause offense to a significant portion of the theoretical population, don't say it. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Dec 10 '15 at 1:06
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    @HDE226868 Room Culture should be allowed, but out-of-hand room culture shouldn't. I shouldn't have to be punished for calling anything stupid, especially if it's a one-off incident. In fact, this gives me an idea... – Zizouz212 Dec 10 '15 at 1:14
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    Chat has been the red-headed stepchild... Hey! Why the ginger hate? 8-) – Nathaniel is protesting Dec 10 '15 at 2:06
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    There was a proposal made a while back (and then duped by me) that chat flags don't show up for the entire network right away; they would stay confined to the originating room for a period of time unless unactioned. It was well-received, but now I'm not so sure that's a good idea after all. That just enables "room culture" to get around the rules. – Buns Glazing Dec 10 '15 at 4:31
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    This discussion was heavily motivated by the realization that we can't fix tooling without fixing culture, @GnomeSlice; a sick culture and good tooling just gets sicker faster. – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 4:38
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    There are some excellent rooms, and many excellent people using chat, @BGM. For that reason alone, it is worth putting some though into this. – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 4:52
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    @WadCheber Chat is a clique of regulars. The regulars left the SF Comms room and ::tumbleweed::. Over a year and still ::tumbleweed::. No regulars no chat. – user147520 Dec 10 '15 at 7:11
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    My 2 cents: if StackExchange chat is massively dissimilar to other internet chat systems (which are often assumed to be private messaging) then don't call it chat. The analogy is broken if the features don't match. And privacy (or lack of it) is a pretty key feature. – Yvonne Aburrow Dec 10 '15 at 14:34
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    @Kitler Because “bad things happen in the dark”. – tchrist Dec 10 '15 at 15:46
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    TL;DR - Nothing on the Internet can ever be taken back so censor yourself before you do something you will regret. – user148287 Dec 11 '15 at 4:32

36 Answers 36

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-4

Use rewording the FAQ as a stepping stone

The increased attention to chat is a real opportunity to get work done with regards to the feature, and while updating guidance may be worthwhile it shouldn't be the only aspect addressed.

Adjusting a document with very low exposure will not significantly help. Not enough users read it. Those who do read it, or who would actually understand both the changes to it and the historical precedence there, don't need it.

Room Culture

"Room culture" is basically just the overall reflection of who is there not what a group of people defined it to be (as much as that may be the goal at times). Almost all major rooms have a wiki setup, and in the wiki none of them say to use profanity or drive off "outsiders". In fact, the rooms are very welcoming.

Users new to the room often enter callously. An issue faced with "outsiders" or "new users" visiting chat resides in the fact that chat is instant. The major rooms have major contributors in there, often there are users who are in the top 0.001%. The exchange was never designed to be able to specifically target users to answer questions. However, chat is misunderstood by people unfamiliar with it as a way to instantly gain access to that caliber of user directly and pose questions. Often people will come in to chat with an air of entitlement and immediately interrupt the discussion with a demand that their problem be addressed right now - this never goes over well.

An issue facing Room Owners is with the term "Owner" and the idea of ownership. These rooms are not private. These rooms are not owned by the room owners. They are property of Stack Overflow, the traffic is driven by Stack Overflow, and the history of the room is the result of years of contributions from users who mostly may not be present. The facility of a "Room Owner" is merely to maintain the room's discourse, not to actually own the room. It should really be called a "Room Conservator" because that is the actual role of that authorization.

The current state of chat

I dispute the claim that chat is problematic or in bad shape. There are millions of messages in chat transcripts which means that they passed the test of time for not being removed by the "working" flag system or by the intense scrutiny of users. That one out of a million or a dozen out of a million are problematic do not represent a systemic problem. So long as feature development and attention to the chat feature remains elevated chat will only get better. What it really needs is feature refinement and hopefully there is still time for the team to work on that.

A third place as Atwood said. It is subject to the Be Nice policy. That really should be enough, and it is. Users of the rooms are generally respectful of each other. When that respect breaks down, so does the room. A common misconception is that "each other" only contains the user that the message was meant for and not the broader audience at large. It is important to keep in mind that messages in chat are meant for everyone, and as a result making broad generalizations often go very poorly.

What would help going forward

Moderators need more tools to be able to quickly ascertain the history of the room and the context of a dispute. When the history and context is understood, moderators have no problem taking action. However, moderator time is very limited and spending an hour or two reviewing each incident in chat is to say the least inefficient. Improving the ability of moderators to review incidents in less time will lead to more efficient chat moderation.

The idea of increasing transparency in chat is a great one. Just like the main sites had an increase in the ability to see historical content with regards to flagging, chat should too. This would allow the flagging mechanism to become more relevant and would also have a rich history of activity already present today, right now. Allow moderators and room owners (for their respective room only) the ability to see a history of flagged messages and the conclusion of the flag somewhere.

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    I'm not sure "almost all major rooms have a wiki set up" is accurate - I can't really recall many rooms I've been in that have had such. – Ash Dec 10 '15 at 23:22
  • @AshleyNunn - That is because you haven't been in any of the Stack Overflow rooms (list of rooms). To be honest I am surprised that the bridge doesn't have one. – Travis J Dec 10 '15 at 23:27
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    Ah, okay, that would make a difference, I don't really spend time in SO rooms as I am not a dev in any shape or form. The Bridge doesn't have one because there's never been a real need to have a wiki - we all generally know what works and what doesn't, and guide new chatters as best we can. – Ash Dec 10 '15 at 23:30
  • @AshleyNunn - That is why I said "almost all". Clearly The Bridge is a major room, but consider that it composes most of the chat for Arqade, and compare that with Stack Overflow which composes roughly 50 times that activity and it begins to be more important to have some guidance on what differentiates the rooms. – Travis J Dec 10 '15 at 23:33
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    "almost all" really only comes down to SO rooms that I've seen. Seeing as there are way more rooms on SE than SO "almost all" seems a bit far fetched. – ɥʇǝS Dec 11 '15 at 0:03
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    @ɥʇǝS - I am not sure you looked at the numbers. So just to be clear, SO has more rooms than all of SE, more users, and more sent messages. Further, if you look at the rooms list for all of SE (chat.stackexchange.com/rooms) you will see that there are still many which include a link to some documentation about the room. – Travis J Dec 11 '15 at 0:08
  • @TravisJ hmm, okay, SO does appear to have a few more rooms than SE. However your point about rooms having wikis still doesn't stand. Of the 20 most active rooms right now 1 has a wiki page, and that's just a link to a meta thread. – ɥʇǝS Dec 11 '15 at 0:12
  • Expanding that to the 20 rooms with the most users. 1 with a wiki (same one as earlier). – ɥʇǝS Dec 11 '15 at 0:14
  • @ɥʇǝS - Why are you stuck on excluding Stack Overflow? You just agreed that it was a majority of chat. – Travis J Dec 11 '15 at 0:16
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    @TravisJ more rooms doesn't really mean anything.. I bet if you ran full stats SE would have more active rooms than SO does. But total room count is the only easy stat to run so that's what I err, ran with. Why are you so intent on throwing out the rest of the network? – ɥʇǝS Dec 11 '15 at 0:17
  • @ɥʇǝS - It is inclusive, as in all. You seem to be the one stuck on only examining one narrow aspect. Also, you may want to hold on to your money, looking at activity at the end of the work day is a bad bet. – Travis J Dec 11 '15 at 0:19
  • Quoting Shog from earlier: I'm glad you asked that, @Iain: in the past 30 days, 6355 distinct users have posted something on chat.SO, 4256 on chat.SE, and 354 on chat.MSE. So chat participation is somewhere around 1-2% of active main-site users. – Shog9♦ 11 hours ago – Andy Dec 11 '15 at 4:43
-4

I have a few ideas on how we could reform chatrooms to be less toxic in general.

Firstly, currently some chatrooms are flat out unacceptable. Some of those are on SO or Workplace, which is supposed to be a Professional environment. So, people need to start taking the offensive language ban seriously. And I think more heavy punishments need to be part of that:

  1. Don't stop incrementing the suspensions until its at 2 years.
  2. Set guidelines for moderators to dish out heavy chat suspensions (1-2 years) for repeat offenders.
  3. Make it clear that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
  4. If room owners refuse to cooperate, remove them or the room.

Current moderation of chat is lacking and not strict enough.

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  • 2
    What makes chatrooms unacceptable? Which standards did you apply? Suspension will only address the symptoms, not the root cause I'm afraid. You seem to suggest that room owners are part of the problem instead of the solution. Is that correct? – rene Dec 11 '15 at 20:08
  • @rene yes. Room owners have tools to prevent this kind of filth from staying in their chats. Room owners who fail to wisely use those powers need to be removed. And its easy: People who post this stuff just get perma banned. After a couple 5 year or so bans, people will get in line. The soft moderation theory doesn't work for chat. Chatrooms (especially such as the c++ lounge or the php room) are currently the underbelly of SE. Its disappointing for a site with such high QA standards to have standart chats full of filth (rude/offensive/inappropiate comments). – mag Dec 11 '15 at 20:11
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    As a room owner I can only kick-mute users and move stuff to trash. Apart from that I can only use words. And I don't believe in your idea of moderation. I already have a boss that tells me what to do. There is no need to go to these chatrooms and read their filth, right? – rene Dec 11 '15 at 20:27
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    Room owners have only a few tools to help @Magisch. I addressed this in my answer to this question. Permanent bans go against Stack Exchange's philosophy of allowing a user to learn from mistakes. There was a related post on the value of permanent bans on Community Building – Andy Dec 11 '15 at 23:05
-4

Just a quick idea on the profanity issue drawing on ancient history (in the pre-internet age -- my username is OldManYoung after all). There were these online communities called BBS's which had chat rooms. Such systems used various software solutions to solve the bad behavior issues and one of those features was called a "badwords filter". The BBS system operator (sysop) could enable a default list of profanity, edit the list, or ignore the list as they saw fit. The results of a badword being used in a post could be any of the following:

  1. rejection (the post would vanish into the nullspace)
  2. flagging (the sysop would be notified, nothing more)
  3. moderating (the post would be held until a moderator cleared it)
  4. confirmation (the poster would be asked "are you sure?")

Another feature was called the "twitflag" where the sysop could flag a user as an official pain-in-the-neck ("twit") and what would happen is that everything the user posted would become visible ONLY to that user and the sysop. A user would sometimes not even realize that he/she was being ignored and nobody else would have to listen to his/her garbage at all.

I think a software solution could be used, using option 4 above. If a user tried to post an offensive something in chat the system would hold the message and respond with "Your language is not professional, are you sure you want to post this in the permanent room chat logs?" [continue or edit].

That and maybe some twitflags would be good too. :)

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  • SE doesn't use hellbans, aka twitflags. – Nathan Tuggy Dec 12 '15 at 3:45
  • @NathanTuggy - Thanks for linking that discussion, I have to agree that twitflags would not be appropriate for SE (even SE Chat) after reading that. However, I still think my suggestion on confirming badwords is a good idea for dealing with chat profanity. It is very transparent and reminds the user if they cross the line, yet leaves the final choice and control of what to post in the user's own hands.In other words it gives the user a moment to rethink before saying *&$@*#(! they'll regret later. – O.M.Y. Dec 12 '15 at 6:49
-4

Close chat. It's the only sensible option.

In my opinion, SE chat is just a medium for people with different levels of political correctness sensibility to bicker. It doesn't add enough value to the site to offset the productive cycles it chews up as groups of users wage pointless flag wars instead of using the site to create useful content.

The chat function should be disabled. There are plenty of places outside SE that can provide all the benefit of having a "third place".

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  • 1
    None of the other places have as good integration, actually have ties back into the system, and are outside of the control of SE (so now election chat is... where?) and thus things like Teachers Lounge and private mod rooms would need to be elsewhere... and that causes a lot of problems. Chat is a necessary part of Stack Exchange today and how the various communities function - just some people don't appear to be able to handle that level of maturity needed. But that isn't reason to shut it all down. – user213963 Dec 14 '15 at 0:31
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    Election chat, teachers lounge, mod rooms, etc aren't my target. My target is people that haunt SE chat while asking or answering questions - they're the ones that will inevitably form bonds that lead to offensive familiarity, and they're the ones who start flag wars wasting everyone's time. – Basil Dec 14 '15 at 15:49
  • While they are the problem that is here, disabling such an otherwise critical piece of the stack exchange software (what happens when discussions occur in comments and need to get moved to chat? how do moderators chat with specific users?) this suggestion is largely throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Turning it all off cannot be the solution. – user213963 Dec 14 '15 at 15:58
  • The examples you mention could be covered by simply making chat available to mods only. And the rule of moving to chat for long comment chains could be removed. The UI hides a lot of comments anyways so the back and forth ones wouldn't get in the way. – Basil Dec 14 '15 at 23:04
  • I hang out in Game Dev chat because I like talking with the people there. Because there's a feed for new questions on the site in chat, it means that a certain number of people who are logged on right now see the questions as they come up. This means some questions get answered way faster than they would otherwise. This is a very real benefit chat gives to the main sites. – Almo Dec 15 '15 at 20:11
  • You could do that in slack, and then if you ever offend someone in arcade chad, you don't end up causing a bunch of flags and hurt butts. The comms room moved to slack and we still keep an eye on the serverfault stuff from there, and while we lose the stream of new members generated by links from SE, we gain not needing to worry about offending people with self deprecating jokes. – Basil Dec 16 '15 at 14:17
  • You use the words "familiarity" and "bonds" as if they would denote something bad. – sbi Dec 17 '15 at 19:57
  • Not in my opinion, but in a mandatorily public and persistent venue, this kind of locker room humor will inevitably cause friction. I'm a better sysadmin because of my relationship with the people in the Comms room, but we don't always have our frictionless facade on around each other, and that's what's needed in public. – Basil Dec 17 '15 at 20:17
  • Chat is comment overflow. If you remove chat, the words will end up on main and meta in the form of comments. – user212646 Apr 17 '19 at 23:28
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Revising the FAQ won't help, no one reads it anyway. Other than us feeling good it won't help.

Instead, we should treat this as adults and:

  • drop chat flags as there is a wide consensus those are worthless.
  • Have room owner additions be approved by a moderator or SE member so only people you are OK with get to determine room policy.
  • Keep a general track of popular rooms. A "Hi, how are you doing" from a moderator once a month or so should be helpful.

It's obvious chats are informal. It's obvious we still don't want discussions that are terrible to be held here and no matter what we do there will be disagreements.

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    It's not that obvious to everyone. I'm sure we can both think of a few examples. All of the serious cases happen not with new users who don't know what a chat is, but with veterans who have indeed read the FAQ, or at the very least know what's written in it. – Madara's Ghost Dec 10 '15 at 19:17
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    FAQs are useful as an available resource for us to point to when someone is violating site policy. New users get pointed to them often. It's an easy way to give a reference for a policy claim. – jpmc26 Dec 10 '15 at 19:22
  • @MadaraUchiha that's just shoving the problem under the carpet. The current FAQ prohibits everything that happened (at least the serious cases) - so it appears that no, veterans don't read or don't care about what is written in the FAQ – Benjamin Gruenbaum Dec 10 '15 at 19:23
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    Flags are not as worthless as some claim. At this point, removing flags would be essentially admitting that chat can't be user-moderated; if that's true, then chat can't exist here. I don't believe that's true, although it's clear more than a few people wish it was - which is why I say this is a social problem. – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 19:31
  • @Shog9 remove for user flags (and not moderator flags) or make them in room, kick mutes let us deal with most cases anyway. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Dec 10 '15 at 19:32
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    As I said elsewhere, tooling can be improved but only if we're able to agree on a goal for it. Kick-muting works if there are room owners around; there are LOTS of rooms with no owners or absent owners. Kick-muting doesn't delete; you still need flags or a moderator to clean up the mess. Those behaviors could change - heck, flags could trigger kick-muting for that matter - but that'll only work if enough folks are willing to use them judiciously. A room owner recently decided that politely asking folks to be nice was a kick-bannable offense; you can't fix that with better tooling. – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 19:35
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    @Shog9 right, we both agree it's a culture issue - which is why I suggest room owners need to be sanctioned by you guys so you have a fitting culture. Room owners can then moderate. You can enforce chat rooms have active room owners by freezing the room instead of auto-promoting users. When a room reaches 50k messages if the automatic owner has not been approved yet - room gets frozen. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Dec 10 '15 at 19:37
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    @Shog: The replies to the question you linked to imply that flags are mostly worthless. The two most-upvoted answers say so. – sbi Dec 10 '15 at 19:46
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    I would like to see room owners be approved by moderators or SE members. That would help make better ROs. However, the balance of power would need to be there. Regular users shouldn't be at the constant mercy of a power hungry RO – Sterling Archer Dec 10 '15 at 19:55
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    The two most upvoted answers are authored by people who don't see most of the flags in chat, @sbi. Long-term, we need more transparency... Not more papering over of problems. – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 20:35
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    Having the ability to see flags in flight only guarantees you see flags when you're around and are quick enough to catch them - which implicitly means you see more of the ones that are controversial than those that are clear-cut, @sbi. FWIW, we had a lot of the same issues on the main sites back when moderators and high-rep users didn't have any historical information on how problems were dealt with; most of the transparency surrounding post history and review history arose in response to this. Remember back when offensive flags were displayed next to every flagged post? – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 20:42
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    Yes, two anecdotal answers score higher than the one posted much later after we'd collected data. Are you arguing for more arbitrary, subjective, context-agnostic decisions in chat, @sbi? I don't think so. – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 20:55
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    @Shog: I have not chatted much in the recent months, so I might have missed some changes, but last time I was a regular, all the regulars said the flagging is broken. TTBOMK this hasn't changed, although I admit ICBWT. Opinions cease to be "anecdotal", however, when they are shared by a majority. – sbi Dec 10 '15 at 21:02
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    "Perception is reality" is a fair critique, @sbi. All the more reason to increase transparency. – Shog9 Dec 10 '15 at 21:11
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    Why all these downvotes??????? +1 – user309534 Dec 11 '15 at 19:39
-10

These have been the problems with internet based real time chat for 30 years.

If this is a problem to you, shut down chat.

This is the only effective answer.

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  • 4
    That might be true but Stack Overflow (the company, that is) started on a quest to make the internet a better place. For the Q/A based context they seem to do a pretty good job. Let's assume this question tries to include chat in that make the internet a better place philosophy. Your answer isn't really helpful. It could serve as a comment on the question. – rene Dec 11 '15 at 19:58
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    Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. – user206222 Dec 11 '15 at 20:00
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    It is a fundamentally flawed concept. No, if they want to solve 30 years of problems with a dying medium (live, real time text chat is dying), they will fail. Pure and simple. So if these are problems, then amputate the infection. – Tritium21 Dec 11 '15 at 22:28
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    Apparently non-live, non-realtime text discussions are not doing too well either when the only solution some people can see is "give up and go home". If Edison had that attitude we would all be typing these posts by candlelight and gasflame. – O.M.Y. Dec 12 '15 at 3:12
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    There is something in this - I'm not saying that chat should be shut down per se, but if SE Chat is a problem that SE is unwilling to deal with one way (by investing in supporting it, etc) and SE is also unwilling to just leave it as it is, then there aren't many options left. Either support it or end it; trying to walk along the middle of the road is a great way to get hit by traffic from both directions. – Rob Moir Dec 12 '15 at 15:18
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    As I said, this is a social problem; I described what chat is... What it becomes beyond that is up to the folks using it. It can be a useful tool, or an abomination; which way it goes depends mostly on the folks using it. This is true of Q&A sites too, of course... We've shut down some pretty heinous examples there in the past as well. If, for example, a majority of folks really, really, really wanted chat to be a PUA hangout, we'd have to respect that... And give up on the idea of ever trying chat again. – Shog9 Dec 13 '15 at 3:06
  • If this is a problem to you, don't visit chat. – user212646 Apr 17 '19 at 23:32
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