It has already been requested that the magic link insertion when typing [chat] in a comment be improved to allow specifying which chat room (as a site may have a number of rooms).

In addition to this, I'd also like to see [chat] without a room specified be a link directly to the main room for that site, rather than just to a list of site rooms.

I use this shortcut mostly when inviting relatively new users to chat. Linking them to a list of rooms with no indication of which one they should use is confusing. I can't see any potential benefit to showing them multiple rooms the first time they ever see chat. It seems more useful to show them the main chat room first, and let them learn about other chat rooms from there.

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    @Bookend if this request sees enough demand, perhaps that will change. Even if not, I'd be happy with just treating the oldest chat room as the main one as a compromise... – trichoplax Jun 26 '16 at 13:31
  • @Bookend See my answer, which would probably be easier to implement. – Rand al'Thor Jun 26 '16 at 13:35
  • @Bookend The system will protect one room associated with each site from automatic freezing, and the intent is that that room be the main one for the site. I'm not sure how it chooses which room to protect, but it may be the oldest. – David Z Jun 26 '16 at 14:28
  • @DavidZ Are you sure? Since when? The 'main' Puzzling chatroom suffered automatic freezing several times, including back when it was probably the only one, before the secondary and more active one existed. – Rand al'Thor Jun 26 '16 at 15:23

Counter-proposal: make [chat] link to the list of all SITE rooms rather than ALL rooms.

I can see the positives of giving people:

  • a choice of different rooms, for sites which have multiple associated rooms (such as mine, Science Fiction & Fantasy)
  • the ability to inspect a room first rather than jumping straight into chat, where their presence will immediately be visible to a bunch of strangers.

For these reasons, a list of rooms might be considered preferable to a direct link into a particular room. Also, is there always a single 'main' chatroom for a given site? On Puzzling, for example, the chatroom which was originally set up to be the 'main' room has hardly any activity nowadays and has been upstaged by a second chatroom which is much more active. Linking to the list of site rooms rather than the list of all rooms would almost certainly be an easier change to implement, since it doesn't require keeping a systematic record of which the 'main' room is for each site.

On the other hand, the current system is bad: if you're a new user who's not familiar with SE and you get linked to a list of all chatrooms, how are you going to be able to tell which one to use? That's going to lead to a higher probability of people coming into a random room and saying something off-topic, which can cause problems, or of people simply not knowing where to go and abandoning the whole idea of chat. The fact that [chat] links to the list of all rooms has long been a pet peeve of mine.

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    Although the link is just "http://chat.stackexchange.com/", it defaults to the "site" tab for new users, and shows rooms only for the site from which the link was followed, so I think the behaviour you suggest is already the case for new users who haven't yet selected the "all" tab. Even after selecting the "all" tab, the site rooms will still be prioritised to the top of the list. – trichoplax Jun 26 '16 at 14:03
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    I think we should be asking how often there is a single main chat room for a site, and how often it is the one the system thinks it is. If Puzzling is the only site that has this situation you're talking about, does it make sense to prevent dozens of other sites from getting automatic direct links to their main chat room for that one exception? (There is also Stack Overflow, but that probably has to be handled differently anyway.) – David Z Jun 26 '16 at 14:31

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