Given that:

  • chat rooms are public at the moment of creation (i.e. there is no point in hiding something what was not private)
  • chat rooms are not actually ever "deleted" (mods and users with enough reputation can see them)

I request that all expired chat rooms transcripts and transcripts for rooms deleted automatically for whatever reason (like having too few messages) are made public (i.e. accessible by a link).

For example, a chat room can be created from prolonged comments. This discussion is valuable but not accessible.

Until inactive chat rooms are made readable moving comment discussion to chat rooms is a counter-productive move. All comments are left on the site for years but chat room transcripts which are intended as a replacement evaporate for some reason. Like it or not comment section is a source of information for users too. It is a bug from user perspective.

I am not talking about rooms that were explicitly deleted.

  • You mean like an archive? Dec 22, 2016 at 15:49
  • @PythonMaster kinda. Dec 22, 2016 at 15:49
  • "forever public" - you mean let all users see the transcript of deleted rooms, not only moderators and high rep users? Jan 8, 2017 at 11:06
  • @ShadowWizard as a user I do not know what "deleted room" is. From a user perspective I want to see whatever was written in a chat room spawned from comments by moderator or users forever, like with comments. Jan 8, 2017 at 11:33
  • 1
    @EuriPinhollow current behavior is consistent with deleted question and answers, which only moderators and high rep users can see. Jan 8, 2017 at 14:11
  • 4
    @ShadowWizard as a user I am not caring about it. I only care about chat transcripts being as available as comments which they are thought to be substitute of. Jan 8, 2017 at 14:22
  • Concur - just had this situation flagged by a 5k user. They have more than enough rep to chat (20) but not enough to see the deleted chat (needs 10k) even though this user was one of those whose comment had been migrated to this chat room.
    – Criggie
    Mar 8, 2020 at 1:05

1 Answer 1


The marriage between move-comments-to-chat and chat's features is not quite perfect, but like a good marriage it has been slowly improving. Something like this would drastically improve the usability of move-to-chat by better matching expectations. After all, isn't littering Main sites with

let us continue this discussion in chat

… which turns out to be just a dead link, doing a disservice to regular Main-site readers and users? Sure, those could be cleaned up as obsolete, but why not make a small change to chat to make these links follow the principle of least surprise and not be dead links.

It's odd that we would automatically create so many dead links, when dead links are so anathema to SE.

Counter-proposal: Only freeze move-to-chat rooms

Move-comments-to-chat rooms are a distinct category of chat room and shouldn't be treated exactly the same. However, the easier the change, the more likely we'll actually get the feature, right? So instead of changing links and messing with transcripts, why not just not delete the room?

A frozen room can be accessed and read just as easily as a transcript.

(Aside, this would have the bonus of making valuable move-to-chat rooms more likely to stay alive and useful, as a visible but frozen room is easier to for someone to notice & request to be unfrozen by flag, just like regularly happens with more “normal” chat rooms that occasionally get frozen, but are active enough to not be deleted. This improves the viability of move-to-chat rooms, and by extension the practical utility of our moving comments to chat feature.)

Adding an exception to the freeze/delete script to detect and not delete chat rooms that have an associated post would solve this, giving us accessible moved-to-chat rooms. They shouldn't be too hard or processor-intensive to identify: the first message is always a link to the question posted by the “Stack Exchange” bot.

One con

We'd have more rooms littering chat. But then, I don't think we're actually worried about this, since we're OK with frozen rooms littering chat's room lists anyway, and we're already eager to create move-to-chat rooms. Having a few more frozen rooms hanging off the bottom of the lists of rooms is not much of a real problem.

  • Undeleting existing rooms is a task too. Jan 10, 2017 at 22:57
  • @EuriPinhollow Yes. But for this purpose, a frozen-not-deleted room would fully satisfy the feature request's goals already, no flags or mod action necessary. Being able to more easily request unfreezing is just a bonus feature of this counter-proposal. Jan 10, 2017 at 23:09
  • Ok I was somewhat off my stance as a user. Actually undeleting rooms would be easy enough from a programmer perspective. Let's see what staff say. Jan 11, 2017 at 1:28
  • @EuriPinhollow Trivial to program, yes, especially since it can be done manually now by a mod. I'm not sure how an algorithm would decide when to undelete though since there's no meaningful event (other than serving the first 404?) after deletion, so I expect that would be the non-trivial programming challenge. Better just to not delete in the first place, leveraging the existing flow control in the daily scripts. Jan 11, 2017 at 2:04
  • I think freezing has the unwanted feature that existing info in the chat cannot be easily commented on. That a non-frozen room clutters the chat room list is in my opinion an unfortunate side effect. That the room itself is listed at all in the room list is the reason for the side effect. I don't think it is interesting for it to be listed at all: those kind of chat rooms are just for readers of the question / answer. Leave them out of the active room list and the problem disappears. Dec 30, 2018 at 9:25
  • @MaartenBodewes Wanting to read old rooms under posts is the much more common use case. Wanting to post new chat messages is much rarer, and flagging to get a mod to unfreeze would take care of it. Having unlisted but active chat rooms would cause far more problems than it solves, and would be unnecessary once people can read and choose to flag to request unfreezing. Dec 30, 2018 at 15:32
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    @MaartenBodewes you can still reply to comments instead of using replacement chat room (except when the user you want to ping only replied to chat room). Reading old chat rooms transcripts is the main problem. Dec 31, 2018 at 15:55

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