# We need to talk about Chat

I would start this post with something along the lines of "without naming names", but I think it's time to pinpoint the issues we currently face in chat and take action.

This is a follow-up to The state of chat. This post aims to identify specific problems and specific problematic users. Because nothing has changed.

### Self-Promotion

A post / series of post by a user clearly affiliated with the content linked to (not exclusive to PPCG) for the sole or main purpose of promoting said content. This becomes a problem, when it is noticed by many different users. It's a serious problem, when this behavior persists, even after the user(s) has been asked to stop.

A few examples of recent responses that have gone unnoticed as it seems:

Quit "shamelessly" promoting your posts. At this point, you should be ashamed. (9 stars)

TNB is not a place to advertise your posts, whether on PPCG or elsewhere (13 stars)

As much as I like the bots, they have a separate room(s) for a reason. I don't mind a quote every now and then, but we don't need a running update (6 stars)

Deleting Messages

A user keeps deleting chat messages with no apparent reason. This becomes a problem, when the amount of deletions is unjustified, the flow of the conversation becomes disrupted and/or users joining the chatroom become disoriented as to why these messages have been deleted.

For heavens sake, stop deleting your messages. (5 stars)

A good alternative to deleting a message that you didn't think before posting, is to think before posting (19 stars)

This becomes a serious problem, when the deleted messages actually were relevant and exhibit a higher quality than most of the other content posted by that user.

[...] I don't get why you would delete a legitimate question, but regularly post nonsensical messages containing nothing but bad English and crying smilies. You should really start to think about your signal to noise ratio. (6 stars)

### Intentionally Lowering Quality

A user posts messages that add nothing to the conversation. Worse yet, the contain nothing but

• (redundant) text emoticons
• questions that the user doesn't really need answers to
• straight up noise

This is always a serious problem, and I'll explain why. A few months ago, when chat was quiet, a message occasionally appeared indicating something like "the last message was posted xh ago".

Now these messages have been replaced by "conversations" that are completely uncalled for, useless and a bad example for any user. Instead of an interesting chat log, followed by a brief period of silence, new users now encounter the worst side of TNB when visiting during these (previously) quiet periods. This influences other users.

[...] Spamming the room with noise will not be tolerated. (37 stars)

[...] Please don't speak like this. It lowers the tone of one of the few (usually) civilized places on the internet. (14 stars)

[in response to a message containing nothing but noise] unnecessary (4 stars)

### Arrogance, Drama1

Nobody said that. Don't create drama for no reason (9 stars)

Stop it already with the artificial drama! (7 stars)

I don't mind having you in this room, but sometimes I wonder if you're just intentionally trying to create drama that wasn't there. (6 stars)

Did you notice how all three above are directed at the same user? Over an unacceptably long period of time? Weird, seeing how their response to my statement

You'd think that after being repeatedly called out for sub-optimal behaviour in chat, one would try to reflect and improve. But somehow that doesn't seem to apply to a few members here. (link)

was

Me excluded. :{ [...], however, included.

which is provably false and defintely

a bit arrogant. (2 stars)

### Users

We all know who the users are that cause all of these and more problems. But let's take a look at the messages per user in Trash that have been manually moved there by a mod:

TùxCräftîñg:             95
LegionMammal978:         56
CrazyPython:             22
Matthew Roh:             16
EᴀsᴛᴇʀʟʏIʀᴋ:             16 (mostly msgs containing only carets)
R. Kap:                  15
Erik The Golfer:         14
CᴏɴᴏʀO'Bʀɪᴇɴ:            9
betseg:                  8
Molarmanful:             8
Destructible Watermelon: 7
dorukayhan:              6
Bálint:                  5
Mars Ultor:              3
zyabin101:               3


The root of basically all noise and low quality messages is TùxCräftîñg. Despite them being relatively "new", they already hold the questionable record of the most messages so bad they are already trashed.

zyabin101 is also on that list. But rather than posting straight up nonsense, they like to stir up trouble (see above evidence) and are generally completely resistant to any kind of notice by other users about their behavior. Here's a recent example of what I mean:

@zyabin101 Why do you always answer for other people. (link and then again here and here and here)

@zyabin101 minxomat still has a very valid point that you should probably not answer for other people. (link)

And just denying it even when caught in the act:

### What to do

See my answer for my suggestions.

The question for you is:

• What specific action can be taken to mitigate this behavior?
• What is our long term strategy?

IMO it's time to define hard(er) limits for this behavior (i.e. when to apply a ban etc.). Tips like "set an example" prove to be a bit useless, because that (apparently) does nothing to improve overall quality. Use the linked meta question for such tips. This question is more aimed at moderators.

• This is one of the few times when I wish I could off a bounty on meta, haha. Thanks for bringing this up, it's a very important discussion to have, and I agree with pretty much all of your points. – DJMcMayhem Sep 26 '16 at 20:30
• I agree with this entire post. I used to hang out in chat here and there because I was interested in learning about new golfing tips or new esolangs. I haven't in months because of exactly this kind of behaviour. – Morgan Thrapp Sep 26 '16 at 20:43
• zyabin101, after being called out then said "@EᴀsᴛᴇʀʟʏIʀᴋ @/all Please don't think I'm annoying. Or you'd get in my ignore list." link ... and later in response to mınxomaτ link – mbomb007 Sep 26 '16 at 20:50
• "(redundant) text emoticons" Could you give some examples of this? I am not entirely sure what you mean by redundant, because they convey a certain tone that would otherwise be conveyed with emphasis. – Conor O'Brien Sep 26 '16 at 20:51
• I agree with the post. Some of the maturity issues in chat may come from physical immaturity. Some of the users are in their teens, and lack of experience (or discipline) could contribute to sending immature messages/responses. But that's no excuse to not learn. With all the professionals spending their time in TNB during work hours, there's plenty of people to use as role models when it comes to chat. – mbomb007 Sep 26 '16 at 20:55
• @ConorO'Brien I mean literally multiple (prolonged) emoticons in a single message. – user42643 Sep 26 '16 at 20:58
• @mbomb007 I would wager that being a teen does not necessitate a lack of maturity, though I would say that immaturity lies mostly amongst that age group. – Conor O'Brien Sep 26 '16 at 20:59
• Thanks for taking the time to link to all these examples! This is especially useful for users that live in a different time zone and don't read through the whole transcript to know what's going on. – xnor Sep 26 '16 at 21:25
• @ConorO'Brien There's some good evidence of that, e.g. Doorknob. You. I like to think I am also good evidence of that. – DJMcMayhem Sep 26 '16 at 21:56
• @DJMcMayhem This is true--and you are certainly very mature, and make a good case.. – Conor O'Brien Sep 26 '16 at 22:01
• @Fatalize That wording is less than ideal. It's not that he is generating all the noise - he is generating the vast majority of the noise. – user45941 Sep 27 '16 at 7:00
• @MorganThrapp if it's putting people off chat that makes the case stronger. Is there anyone else who stays away or chats less frequently because of the noise? – trichoplax Sep 27 '16 at 12:19
• @BetaDecay I would say this is acceptable if you haven't had enough feedback on it. "Promoting" it after 5 minutes in the sandbox is bad. – Fatalize Sep 28 '16 at 6:39
• @BetaDecay I'd like to actually extend that further. We have 3 feeds into TNB: New questions, new sandboxed posts, new meta questions. If any of those aren't getting feedback after a good amount of time, feel free to post it. – Nathan Merrill Sep 28 '16 at 14:41
• Could you please provide the query used? – LegionMammal978 Oct 3 '16 at 22:00

In light of recent issues, two users have been suspended for 7 days. Please Be Nice and don't discuss their suspensions.

Remember that chat flags are visible to all 10k users on the entire network, and even moderator-only chat flags are visible to all SE moderators in chat. Therefore, use them only for events that require immediate intervention.

In the absence of a way to notify only PPCG moderators in chat, you can flag any post of a user on the main site instead, using the in need of moderator intervention options and a custom flag reason. If the affected user hasn't posted on main, you can flag one of your own posts instead.

• They're only visible while there are messages in the flag queue. After a flag has been raised and before it gets handled, a blue circle what displays the number of pending flags appears in a corner of your avatar. – Dennis Oct 3 '16 at 6:18
• Ok, thanks! =) Do you know if I get to see chat flags even if I'm not in a SO chat room too? I've never noticed it before... I'm assuming it's the avatar on the left side in chat... – Stewie Griffin Oct 3 '16 at 6:30
• Yes, that avatar. Chat SO and chat SE seem to be pretty much decoupled, but you have more than 10k rep on both, so you should see flags wherever they're raised. Flags aren't frequent though and usually get handled in a few seconds. – Dennis Oct 3 '16 at 6:40
• @WeeingIfFirst Quill made a neat tool called PopcornSE that allows 10k network users to see chat flags after they have already been handled. – user45941 Oct 3 '16 at 18:40

This is one of those situations where I feel a temporary chat ban would be in order (3 stars)

Exactly. Just because chat is a general discussion, doesn't mean the discussion has to be this low quality. We learned over the past few months, that giving tips to users to better themselves is not very effective.

So I suggest:

• keep trashing conversations that have no place in TNB and thus raise the quality new users experience in our chatroom
• start applying chat bans if users refuse to respond to criticism (especially if that criticism comes from a moderator)
• how would this be enforced? chat room moderation is almost micromanaging. – user56309 Sep 26 '16 at 20:51
• @tuskiomi Perhaps with a flag to draw the attention of mods. TùxCräftîñg and zyabin101 are lowering the quality of TNB, so it's a valid reason to flag. – mbomb007 Sep 26 '16 at 20:52
• Although tips on how to improve are not always effective, I'd prefer to be part of a community that gives such tips. If the tips are rejected then yes removing problem users seems necessary, but I have also seen the positive side, where users thank people for feedback and amend their behaviour immediately. – trichoplax Sep 26 '16 at 21:36
• @mbomb007 Flags for moderator attention in chat will get declined in these cases. They are visible to all moderators of Stack Exchange, and unless it is handled by a TNB regular, they won't see the big picture. – Dennis Sep 26 '16 at 23:39
• Since it's my message you quoted, I agree of course. I propose handing out a week-long chat ban to the problem users. – user45941 Sep 27 '16 at 6:10
• @mbomb007 Besides, I thought that it wasn't the moderators' jobs to police chat – Beta Decay Sep 27 '16 at 6:29
• @BetaDecay Chat is as much moderated by moderators as the rest of the network. – Alex A. Sep 27 '16 at 14:17
• Lets be honest: everybody ignores people outside their "group". The chat has this very strict set of people. Anyone outside it, won't even have a chance to talk on the chat. People just say trash for attention, in my opinion. Fix this, you fix had of the problems there. This is my opinion. – Ismael Miguel Sep 30 '16 at 22:55
• "start applying chat bans if ..." I disagree with the if. Apply them now. Ban TuxCrafting and zyabin101. mınxomaτ's post is not evidence that we need to start paying attention to these trouble-makers; it's evidence that we've been letting them get away with this stuff for far too long. IMO mınxomaτ has pointed out more than enough behavior from these users to merit a week-long chat ban like @Mego said. – Lynn Oct 1 '16 at 23:34
• @Lynn I agree. It's time for the new room owners to show their teeth. – user45941 Oct 2 '16 at 0:41
• @Lynn I fully agree. It's now far beyond any kind of reasonable limit. I will resort to drawing mod's attentions to chat whenever there's an issue (that's all I can do). BTW, here's a recent incident that happened in response to your comment. smh – user42643 Oct 2 '16 at 12:12