We love to have a public chat room where anyone can join and talk, fostering people's interaction.
But sometimes people in a chat room need to be moderated, like when they talk too much off-topic, start using local languages frequently, all in all, degrading the quality that We, the owners, and the community wishes to have.

As a result, all the owners of our room, including me, discussed and later decided to make ours as a Gallery room where people need permissions to write. and as predicted by one of us, we did upset quite a number of users.

We had to take this hard step because public rooms currently don't give any moderation rights to the room owners to perform any task which can help keep the room consistent (like flaggng users, reporting user's messages as spam, removing certain messages, muting a user for sometime. any of them isn't there).

Can we have anything like this, which lets us follow the Allow-All-Block-Few policy rather than Block-All-Allow-Few approach that we currently are following?

EDIT Why we want to do this:
In our room, we had a simple rule:

  • First search StackOverflow for the problems that you're facing. you'll probably find your answer
  • If that doesn't work, post a new question, and link us to it, we'll answer it there, and in case it needs live discussion, we'll chat about it.

This simple rule/request was to make sure that

  • All the users of StackOverflow get more variety of questions in the end
  • So that they can search for them, and get answers. In turn, trying to make StackOverflow a better place for people in trouble.

Instead, guys who have access to chat, just jump in and start bombarding people with questions. This way, StackOverflow will never have a question about a problem which is unique and many users won't be able to search for it, since only Questions & Answers appear in Google and other searches.

Just to make sure that everybody plays by the these simple rules, for the good of the community, we wanted any feature like that.


2 Answers 2


You can, in this order(I'm not sure why you think you can't – everybody can, including room owners).

  • Ask people to play by the rules. Sometimes that might just work. Regarding "when they talk too much off-topic", remember chat is a little lighter than the main Q&A site. I haven't looked at your particular room, but (for the regulars here – I know I'm repeating this story) calling the cavalry because someone in the PHP room dares to mention their breakfast is waaay overboard.
  • Flag messages that don't belong as "spam/offensive/inappropriate". If enough users agree (and few enough users disagree) with this flag, the message will be deleted, and the user will be suspended from chatting for 30 minutes.
  • Flag a message for moderator attention, asking a moderator to step in.

I'm not a big fan of the Allow-All-Block-Few method, because it feels like this:

no homers club

  • Thanks for the input. about your first point, we already are doing a lot of it. I am editing my question to include more of the concerns. About the other two points, don't you think it wouldn't be instant if we follow the steps that you mentioned?
    – Aman Alam
    May 7, 2011 at 8:41
  • @SheikhAman: "don't you think it wouldn't be instant" -- I'm not sure what you mean by that?
    – balpha StaffMod
    May 7, 2011 at 8:42
  • @balpha if I flag someone or a message, that would require a moderator to take action or to step in, that's surely going to take some time, and increase some burden for the moderator too, to understand what's really going on. while the owner knows what the matter was and when a disciplinary action should be taken to "mute" or block a user for 30 minutes or so.
    – Aman Alam
    May 7, 2011 at 8:52
  • @SheikhAman: A spam/offensive/inappropriate flag does not require a moderator to step in.
    – balpha StaffMod
    May 7, 2011 at 8:58
  • @balpha will that block that user for a particular amount of time? I guess no. that's something a mod needs to step in for. and will this remove that message from the chat?
    – Aman Alam
    May 7, 2011 at 10:28
  • @SheikhAman: Read my answer. "If enough users agree (and few enough users disagree) with this flag, the message will be deleted, and the user will be suspended from chatting for 30 minutes."
    – balpha StaffMod
    May 7, 2011 at 10:42
  • @balpha you mean its an automated system that makes a decision. what are the exact number of flags from users that it takes to perform an action?
    – Aman Alam
    May 7, 2011 at 16:00
  • It is the same issue you've already witnessed a few months ago with the only difference that more users participate now. They are totally moving away from asking questions on the site. Instead the just use the room for private Q&A or support sessions. From what I understood back when you stepped in and rebuked the users that behaved like that it is not what the SO chat is here for. For that kind of stuff Android developers have a separate IRC channel. May 7, 2011 at 16:47
  • Thanks Octavian for the support.
    – Aman Alam
    May 9, 2011 at 7:13
  • Image seems broken ;p May 2, 2018 at 1:26

If you have a problem with a specific user, flag a chat message of theirs. Moderators on any Stack Exchange site are automatically moderators on all SE Chat rooms, and the flag alerts show up live in our chat window, so you'll probably get a moderator's attention quickly. I don't think you can leave a moderator message on chat flags, but if it's really bad, flag a post of theirs with more detail, or contact a moderator privately via email for assistance. A stern talking-to by a mod should be enough to fix most behavior, but if it continues, we are able to suspend them from chat if necessary.

  • Okay, but doesn't it putting too much of work on Moderators? The room owners are already there for tasks like this, I think. They should be able to at least mute someone for a particular amount of time
    – Aman Alam
    May 7, 2011 at 6:41
  • 5
    I agree that giving room owners more control would be good.
    – nhinkle
    May 7, 2011 at 6:56

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