I will take an example. Stack Overflow.

There are a lot of times when users and moderators tell us to resolve certain unsupported issues (i.e. topics which are unaccepted as questions in the site's expected format) in the chatrooms. There are a lot of times when an extended comment discussion ends with one of the users agrees to go to the chatroom when the Stack Exchange site tells them the discussion went too long (or perhaps a moderator moves the whole conversation to a new channel).

I know, and can guess, how to enter the chat room by typing the URL. It is hard to forget, specially if the Stack Exchange system tells you to do that and provides a link.

However, in the UI I cannot find any reference to the chat. No button. No link. No menu item.

I think it will be useful if among the buttons:

Questions | Jobs | Tags | Users | Badges | Ask Question

One more button was added being Chat (perhaps next to Questions). Additionally, a brief list of newest or hottest chat rooms would be useful on the main site page (this is: the main questions listing of the respective site) so the chat is encouraged.

Take an example: a user wants to discuss about which WebSocket library is better among many possibilities. Such a question is disallowed unless specific criteria are given, in the Q&A. However, the user thinks, somehow, answering the question will bring him value, somehow.

The following occurs:

  • The user posts the question to Stack Overflow Q&A.
  • The question is closed, since it is not constructive (assume the case no specific criteria was given, but just comparing for a better library).
  • The user wants to ask about this kind of questions and close reasons.
  • Experienced users and moderators tell him that Chat is available for those questions (the third place).
  • The user asks himself: "Chat? WTF? Is that stuff visited by people willing to answer questions and address problems?"

And perhaps, by connecting the chat with more than one link (e.g. as I said: by notifications or telling what new channels do exist), no doubt will exist that it is a more useful place than just a pile of migrated comments.

What do you think? Could the chat be improved, promoted, and more accessible to users so they recognize it as an existing part of the site?

  • 1
    It actually used to be in the top bar, before it was redesigned. Request to put chat link back there was declined. Apr 21, 2016 at 6:38

1 Answer 1


The easiest way to find chat:

Click on the "Stack Exchange" logo in the upper left corner of any page and you'll see the drop down menu for the site you're on.

One of the options in the first row is "chat".

The way to find chat if you like scrolling (or are already at the bottom of a page):

Scroll to the footer.

The fifth link in the top line of the footer is a link to chat.

Once you know where it is, it's easy to get to.

I don't support adding chat to the menu bar.

There are other features that already exist which you seem unaware of... which is understandable.

In the case of off-topic questions, particularly when it's a "good" question in general but likely too subjective for SE, it's common to tell users with sufficient rep that they're welcome to ask their question in chat to have a discussion with the users who congregate there.

To assist in this, there is a "magic link" for the chat rooms. If you type "[chat]" in a comment, it will render as a link to the chat room listing for the site you are currently on. An example message would look something like:

This question is too subjective for the main site and will likely be closed. You are, however, welcome to discuss it in our [chat] rooms.

This sort of comment is encouraged and very helpful. If there is a specific room you think is better, you may link to it directly by using a link in the comments to the room. Do note that users must have 20 rep to participate in chat, so inviting 1 rep users to chat isn't necessarily useful (though mods can manually invite a user to chat even if they're under 20 rep).

  • Could SE improve it and give it more presence in the way I added in the question? Perhaps engaging more users into participation Apr 20, 2016 at 22:47
  • ... I don't see how it needs improvement. I think it's perfectly acceptable as it is. If a comment chain is moved to chat, the moderator should leave a link in the comments to follow directly to the room with the comment chain.
    – Catija
    Apr 20, 2016 at 22:49
  • For comments moved, you're right. The main question regarding improvement goes for other uses, like leading users to chat when a question is not acceptable, and showing the users that chats are actually in-use and someone will likely help them in chat. Apr 20, 2016 at 22:54
  • The only way to lead a user to chat if a question is not acceptable is for someone to tell them "this question is too subjective for the main site but would be very welcome in Meta Stack Exchange Chat"... and they can easily add a link to chat in their comment using magic links. [chat] or using a direct link to a specific room.
    – Catija
    Apr 20, 2016 at 23:04

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