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Like completely cut-off from the rest of the chat rooms (on the Stack Exchange network).

The favorites are separate, and the current rooms are separate, (even the search) - all of it; it's all really annoying. (I just don't ever visit those particular rooms.)

Sorry if this came off as a rant, not so at all. I am just wondering why it's like this.


Here are some examples:

• Starting with the domain: https://chat.meta.stackexchange.com/

The Favorites:

Enter image description here

Within a room, I don't have access to my other active rooms:

Enter image description here

And vice-versa.

Even the logo:

Enter image description here


In all my rooms, I have access to other rooms I'm currently in, I can see all my favorites (no matter the site - besides Meta.SE), and I can search for any room as well. (besides Meta.SE)

Is this done on purpose? If so, what are the cons of having it the other way, etc.?

  • There's three chat servers. Meta, SO, and chat.se. Though, you can create chat rooms on chat.SE parented on MSE or SO. – Catija Jan 2 '18 at 22:34
  • As a note, for moderation/privacy reasons, CMs use chat on MSE as they are the only users with diamonds here. It also affects who sees chat flags... so you won't ever see SO chat flags on either of the other servers. SO mods have diamonds on both SO chat and Chat.SE. – Catija Jan 2 '18 at 22:43
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Chat.Meta.SE has a different purpose than Chat.SE both of which are distinct from Chat.SO.

  • The moderators on all 170 network sites (including Stack Overflow) have moderation tools available to them on the Chat.SE server.
  • The moderators on Stack Overflow are the only moderators who have moderation tools available on the Chat.SO server.
  • On the Chat.Meta.SE only staff (including the Community Managers) have moderation tools available and unlimited access to all rooms.

Where you're a moderator determines your ability to access certain rooms. Private rooms (moderator rooms) can only be accessed without special permissions if you are a moderator on the site/server the room exists on. Unparented private chat rooms (on the chat.SE server) can be accessed by all users with diamonds.

When it comes to Chat.Meta.SE, the staff use this separation to have super secret rooms where magic happens... mostly discussion of waffles, I assume. As you can see, this is confirmed by a Community Manager here:

Also of note that chat.meta has a bunch of internal, very active staff-only rooms that'd have to be migrated if that occurred. Merging them is not a particularly simple task only due to the appearance of it being less active. – animuson♦ Jun 17 '17 at 23:11

Though, despite my initial assumption that these rooms would be accessible to anyone with a diamond on the server, the reality is that staff have special access on their accounts that lets them get into these rooms. Merging wouldn't be impossible but it would be complicated and (my guess is that) there are more pressing things to handle.

In addition to these staff-only rooms, the CMs will occasionally use the Chat.Meta.SE server to have private conversations with users. Because the private rooms on the other two servers can be accessed by the site mods there, these rooms can't be completely "private", as the mods could find them at some point.

While rooms can be re-parented to other sites on the Chat.SE server under certain conditions (including SO and MSE), this isn't changing their server, which is impossible.


As to why it is this way, there was an intention at some point of creating a separate chat site for every network site. This was long ago:

To be honest, much of the "parent user" idea is still a leftover of the original plan to let each StackExchange site have its own chat site. You can see this in http://chat.meta.stackoverflow.com and http://chat.stackoverflow.com/ – having a "parent user" here obviously makes sense.

At some point, we decided that not every single SE site needs its own chat site; it's much nicer for the community to gather on http://chat.stackexchange.com. This was also in the very early days of expanding the Stack Exchange network via the Area 51 process. The very first SE 2.0 site (Web Apps) was launched around the same time as chat.

Note, "chat.meta.stackoverflow" is what we now call "Chat.Meta.SE". This was, as you can read, abandoned, instead favoring having a single chat server for all network sites other than Stack Overflow and Meta Stack Exchange.

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  • Our internal rooms actually require a staff-level access on your account (they're not just normal moderator rooms). Merging them wouldn' actually be any more promlematic and they existed when MSO hosted the server and the SO mods had diamonds there. It's just that the server is not as inactive as it appears to everyone else, and merging involves a lot more data that you might think, plus probably more code changes to make our rooms work properly on the different server. – animuson Jan 3 '18 at 1:55
  • Ah, I had wondered if that was the case. That makes sense, though. Probably also allows for the staff members who don't have diamonds to get to the rooms. – Catija Jan 3 '18 at 2:07
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Meta has its own server. SE also uses chat internally, and since only CMs and staff are mods here, it gives them a way to do internal chat privately (and lets be honest here, SE chat's kinda the best in many ways!). SO also has its own seperate chat server.

I also half suspect this also lets them deploy to a quieter server, with fewer and louder people before trying new builds on the much busier chat.so and chat.se servers.

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