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SO Chat: Why is it that “Only members of Stack Overflow with at least 20 reputation may talk…”?

I just tried the new feature to move a conversation to chat, and got the message indicated in the title.

The whole reason the comment chain got so chatty is because this is an inexperienced person who doesn't quite "get it" and isn't likely to get a lot of reputation any time soon. Isn't this exactly the sort of conversation that should be taken off-line?

I think if someone is invited to a chat by someone with enough reputation, it shouldn't matter what their own reputation is - they should be allowed into the chat.

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    20 rep isn't that hard to get. – ChrisF Jul 22 '11 at 21:08
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    @ChrisF, it might not be hard if you have some experience, but this appears to be a student stuck with one little detail on a homework assignment. They're not even aware that the lack of rep is harmful; I'm the one trying to initiate the chat, not them. – Mark Ransom Jul 22 '11 at 21:11
  • I realise it's you trying to create the chat, not them. I also didn't realise it was a single question they were having problems with. – ChrisF Jul 22 '11 at 21:12
  • See the comments on this answer to the linked question. There might be a short window in which you can invite them to chat. NOTE: I haven't tried this. – ChrisF Jul 22 '11 at 21:15
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    Switching to a chat room to discuss these things is not mandatory; just use the comments system, and flag the comments as obsolete when you are done with the discussion (if they create too much noise). – user102937 Jul 22 '11 at 21:15
  • @ChrisF, I don't think it's quite the same. I'm trying to discuss a specific corner case that I think hurts the site. – Mark Ransom Jul 22 '11 at 21:25
  • @ChrisF, I tried the chat within 15 minutes of their leaving their last comment. If there's a window, it's not long enough. – Mark Ransom Jul 22 '11 at 21:27
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    Some people comes here with experience, for career, some comes for high reputation so they can place their SO account on their cvs.Those people can easily have 20 rep.However others, comes SO because they need help, because they cannot solve a problem or two.They can't get 20 rep because they don't have enough knowledge to answer any question.I totally agree with Mr.Ransom, this is a great idea for those who need help. – Bastardo Jul 22 '11 at 21:32
  • @Mark - as I said I haven't tried it so it could well be loop hole that's now been closed. – ChrisF Jul 22 '11 at 21:36
  • The suggested duplicate about an online classroom is clearly not a duplicate of the question at hand. Mark is talking about encountering an individual who asked a question, who needs help, for whom there is someone willing to help them, but we can't. It's crazy. The entire purpose to help answering questions, but we're fighting the system rather than using it to help people. – Robert Ryan Jul 24 '12 at 20:48
  • @RobertRyan, thanks for the support. I wasn't even aware this was closed! I suggest supporting this proposal: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/100291/… – Mark Ransom Jul 24 '12 at 20:55

We've discussed this before (but possibly not on meta; I can't find it). It's possible for regular users with 100 reputation to create a chat room, and then they can add other users to the explicit write list to allow them to talk, even if they don't have 20 reputation:

Screenshot of the explicit write access list

Since the facility already exists, it should probably be used by comment-to-chat -- it should create a chat room, copy all the comments, and add the people involved in the conversation to the explicit write list

  • Wow, I never knew this. But then, I didn't know much:) – Thursagen Jul 23 '11 at 1:19
  • Jeff said back in January that this loophole has been closed. Is this still true, or does it only work for moderators? – Cody Gray Apr 13 '12 at 17:40
  • @TheEstablishment It still works for mods, since they need to pull users into chat for private conversations – Michael Mrozek Apr 13 '12 at 18:13

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