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In the list of feature changes from 2011 (current revision) I stumbled upon this:

2011-01-07: Chat "whitelists" no longer allow specified users to talk regardless of their rep. Users with less than 20 rep now get only four hours of chat time before being locked out.

The linked posts also has this comment by Jeff Atwood:

we are closing this loophole. I support a one time 4 hour access link, but not this forever and ever backdoor.

I thought that write access to a room for a user who is below 20 reputation points can only be granted by a moderator or some other diamond-bearing user. (This is mentioned in several posts here on meta. And I have also seen some occasions when this was done by moderators on request.)

I gather that long time ago, granting access to low-rep users was possible to any room owner, not only mods - but this was changed in 2011. What surprised me was the mention of this access for four hours - I haven't heard about this before and I did not find some documentation of this anywhere.

It's very likely that this no longer exists. (After all, I only found this mentioned in an announcement from 2011.) But still, I have to ask - both out of curiosity and because I can imagine that on some occasions it might be useful.

Question. The above quotes mention short-time access for low-rep users. Does this feature still exist? Is it documented somewhere how exactly it works?

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    this is literally the first I have heard of it too. And there's nothing in the way that we give access to low rep users that mentions a time limit.... – Journeyman Geek Jul 12 at 12:16
  • @JourneymanGeek I was surprised to read about that, too. From Michael Mrozek's answer I saw that in the past room owners had this ability (without any time restriction). And I was trying to find out when exactly this was changed and whether there is a post on meta announcing the change. That's how I found the stuff I quoted in my question. – Martin Jul 12 at 12:20
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+50

I've never heard of a one time, 4 hour link being possible.

I think that comment is talking about two different things.

"We're closing this loophole" meaning that room owners can no longer grant write access to people with less than 20 reputation, as described here. The answer is about room owners being able to grant access, so that part of the comment makes sense to me.

"I support a one time 4 hour access link, but not this forever and ever backdoor" sounds like just an idea to me, not an actually implemented feature.

Especially since this other, earlier comment only mentions that the feature of granting write access is now restricted, and nothing about implementing a one time 4 hour access link, I think the list of feature changes is wrong.

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    A quick look through ... kinda looks like it was done by various folks in the community (pops wasn't a CM yet during that period) and someone got overenthusiastic about updating based off a comment. – Journeyman Geek Jul 12 at 12:34
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    Yeah, that's probably it: meta.stackexchange.com/revisions/59446/96 is where the 'feature' was added to the list, before that one was split up in several other answers, I guess. – Tinkeringbell Jul 12 at 12:39
  • @Journeyman So technically there's actually a bug? – Mast Jul 18 at 6:53
  • Or a 'feature' that was never implemented and the documentation is wrong – Journeyman Geek Jul 18 at 9:31
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    I endorse this answer. Can't find any trace of a temporary 4 hour window thingie. – Yaakov Ellis Jul 22 at 9:15
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    The explanation given in this answer seems to be quite likely. Would maybe some experienced user be willing to edit the list with 2011 feature changes - so that the incorrect information is removed from there? – Martin Jul 25 at 4:19

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