Update: the new Chatiquette has been instated. We are still interested in hearing feedback, so feel free to continue to give feedback here.

As previously noted, the current Chatiquette for The Nineteenth Byte is ineffective. Hence, the room owners have been working on a revised Chatiquette to address the concerns of the community.

Our goal in making these revisions was not to add stricter rules. Rather, our goal was to have better boundaries for what behaviors are appropriate or inappropriate in chat. The community already had expectations for appropriate chat behavior that make chat a more pleasant place for everyone, and we wanted to clarify and make explicit those expectations.

The revised Chatiquette can be found at the end of this post. Please review it and post any feedback below. We want to hear what the community thinks, so the current Chatiquette will not be replaced until sufficient time has passed for us to receive feedback and make any changes as needed.


This is a set of guidelines for proper chat etiquette in The Nineteenth Byte. While following these suggestions is a great way to get along, it's not, nor will it ever be, a complete list; always use your own judgment and self-control. Remember, you're not the only one chatting in The Nineteenth Byte. Be considerate of other chatters.


Be Nice

  • Be Nice means being patient and welcoming, especially to new users. It means not being rude, and being polite instead. And it means avoiding name-calling, bigotry, harassment and inappropriate language.
  • The Nineteenth Byte may be a user’s first experience with PPCG, so be a good ambassador.

Be On-Topic

  • While off-topic conversations are allowed in The Nineteenth Byte, they should not get in the way of on-topic discussions. The Nineteenth Byte's purpose is to provide a place for users to discuss PPCG.
  • Please pause an off-topic conversation or continue it in a different room created for the conversation if there is an on-topic conversation going on. The room owners will be happy to assist the latter choice by moving the off-topic messages to the created room.


Don't Be Disruptive

  • Being disruptive means doing anything that prevents, impedes, or discourages other users from using The Nineteenth Byte for its intended purpose. This includes continuing off-topic conversations while an on-topic conversation is happening, or posting nonsense that makes it harder to follow conversations.
  • Additionally, engaging in vitriolic discussions or baiting others into engaging in them is similarly disruptive. We're all here to have a good time.
  • Don't abuse oneboxes. Certain types of links will be inlined into chat. While posting interesting pictures/animations is OK in moderation, consider just posting it as a regular link instead. Links to images are preferred because 1) they take up less vertical space, allowing more of the conversation to be seen, and 2) some users have slow internet, limited bandwidth, or use mobile data for chatting. A link to an image is much less disruptive. The same applies to excessively large code-blocks.
  • Don't promote your own content too much. Promoting your own content is absolutely OK, but there is definitely a point at which it becomes excessive. Avoid promoting off-site material unless it's related to the topic of discussion. Sharing posts that you want feedback on is perfectly fine, but sharing things just in the hope of getting more upvotes is not. The rule of thumb to follow is "If somebody else had posted this, would I still really want to share it?" If the answer is yes, then go ahead. More guidelines on self-promotion.

Don't Make Noise

  • Sometimes, there isn't anybody talking in chat. That's perfectly fine. Don't send messages just because the room is quiet.
  • Consider whether your message is actually adding anything to the chat room. If not, please keep it to yourself. If the message wouldn't be missed if it were gone, it probably doesn't add anything.
  • Don't use The Nineteenth Byte as a dumping ground for your thoughts or actions. Consider whether a topic would be relevant to others before talking about it. We're here to have discussions, not to listen to someone's stream of consciousness.

Don't use chat flags for chatiquette violations

  • Chat flags are only for urgent or offensive violations of network wide SE policy, and alert all 10K users and mods across all SE chat rooms. Instead mention it to a room owner. If it needs to be private raise a custom flag (in need of moderator intervention) on main (not chat) on one of your own posts.


The room owners of The Nineteenth Byte have a duty to keep the chat room a nice place. In a perfect world, they would not need to use their moderation tools, because everyone would be respectful of each other, and use chat appropriately. However, situations do arise where moderation is necessary, and in those situations the room owners will take action.

Users who violate this chatiquette will be warned, and the violating messages will be removed. Additionally, room owners may kick the user from the room at their discretion. For violations of network-wide policy, which includes aggravating users in the room with repeated violations of this chatiquette, a network-wide suspension may be applied by a moderator.

If your messages are removed, or you are kicked or suspended, please reflect on the cause and make an effort to not violate the chatiquette in the future. If, after reflection, you believe a room owner action was inappropriate, please feel free to bring it up with the other room owners or on Meta for review.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I have my doubts that this will change anything to the state of TNB, as this new Chatiquette is basically identical to the previous one, besides clearer, more precise wording, in that it is a set of do's/don'ts that a lot of people won't read thoroughly, let alone assimilate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fatalize
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 12:04
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @Fatalize If people aren't going to read and follow the Chatiquette, that's on them. At least with the revised version, it will be easier for us room owners to point to something and say "this is what you're doing wrong". \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 12:05
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is an improvement over the old Chatiquette. Maybe we won't have hour long text wars over what constitutes as noise now. This writeup leaves a bit more in the hands of the moderators/room owners which is a good thing in my opinion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Poke
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 13:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should add some words about star spam \$\endgroup\$
    – Pavel
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 18:44
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Phoenix Star spam falls under the general category of being disruptive. If we were to list every way a user could be disruptive, this Chatiquette would be very, very long. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 21:42
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "If the message wouldn't be missed if it were gone, it probably doesn't add anything." This is very hard to judge. Half the time I'm not sure if what I say in TNB will get a response or not. You could remove thousands of messages and I bet no one would notice but that doesn't make them worthless. The nice thing about a chatroom is that if there are some irrelevant or unimportant messages they'll be off the screen in a minute or two as the conversation progresses. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 0:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @HelkaHomba I agree with what you're saying. That bit is more focused towards nonsense messages - messages with no meaning, that could never start or contribute to a conversation. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 1:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mithrandir Abusing chat flags falls under the scope of network policy. The role of the Chatiquette is to cover things that network policy doesn't. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ "The role of the Chatiquette is to cover things that network policy doesn't" ...but there is overlap, and that makes these rules as phrased confusing. Strictly, "libelous, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harassing, hateful, [or] offensive" behavior violates both the Stack Exchange TOS and the Be Nice rule. Because it violates the latter, it's strictly a chatiquette violation, which suggests such behaviors should not be flagged based on how you read the flagging restriction here. \$\endgroup\$
    – H Walters
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 18:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HWalters Be Nice is a network-wide policy. It's not specific to the Chatiquette. We include a reminder about it in the Chatiquette. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego That's true too. I simply mean the phrasing could be clarified; the rule here says: "Don't use chat flags for chatiquette violations". \$\endgroup\$
    – H Walters
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ A consideration: Make a note that if the user is really being disruptive to the point of getting a chat suspension, they need to seriously review their actions against the SE chat rules because a chat suspension is far more severe than a room level mute on a single user for being disruptive in the one room. (Many of us diamond moderators on other sites show restraint with chat suspensions, but chat suspension globally is a far more severe thing than being kick-muted by an RO) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 13, 2017 at 13:47

4 Answers 4


As a moderator on another site, I would really appreciate it if you could add something to your chatiquette about flagging. Since the TNB has its own set of rules and is very strict about remaining on topic, avoiding noise etc, when people in the room try to enforce this chatiquette, they end up using the only tool they have available: flags.

However, flags are shown to all moderators from all sites across the network and, depending on the flag type, to all >10k reputation users as well. This means that things that would be absolutely fine in any other room of the network end up getting flagged and then we get one or both of the following:

  • irate mods/high rep users who don't understand why you'd be wasting their time with something that is clearly not flag-worthy.
  • irate TNB users who just want to have their room nice and clean and follow the rules this community has defined and don't understand why these foreign types come in and complain about things they don't understand.

This is absolutely not the fault of the folks in TNB who are just trying to do their best. It is a problem with the system. However, I would suggest that you add something about not flagging things that aren't actually offensive. I remember coming into the TNB because someone had flagged a message which was simply:

u wot m8

Since flags are shown to all moderators, and most of us don't hang out in the TNB and have no way of knowing you all have your own set of rules, that flag looked like pure noise. I realize it wasn't, but I had no way of knowing that at the time.

So, I would respectfully suggest you add an entry to this new ruleset which explains that flags should only be used when something is really urgent and/or offensive. To deal with the other annoyances you (very understandably) want to get rid of, may I suggest you elect enough room owners to ensure someone with the ability to kick misbehaving users from the room is always present?

With enough local room owners who know your culture and rules, you will have a much easier time enforcing the chatiquette and you won't have to keep explaining your culture to all these ignorant network mods drawn by the flags. Win-win :)

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I second the "Elect more room owners" things here. Rather than heavily using the chat flags system, which will very VERY rapidly incite a diamond storm to your room, you should elect room owners familiar with the culture, and refrain from using system-wide chat flags on things, and instead prod the ROs. This also makes it easier on us moderators who get annoyed quickly about the "waste of flags" and such. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 18:22
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ I second this. I've said before, both in chat and here in meta, that flags are not the correct way to enforce room-specific guidelines. Unless a post or user violates SE-wide rules, abstain from flagging and ping one of us. If it's something that has to be said in private, raise a custom flag on main. This isn't ideal, but lacking room- or site-specific flags, it's the best we have for now. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dennis
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Abusing chat flags falls under the scope of network policy. The role of the Chatiquette is to cover things that network policy doesn't. However, we do have a bit of a flagging problem in TNB. Unfortunately, there's little that room owners can do about it - only moderators can see the data needed to determine who cast flags and act on that. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 20:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego I was thinking more along the lines of including flagging guidelines in the chatiquette. Since, if I understand correctly, the idea is to have a document that explains the rules of conduct for TNB, I am just suggesting that some general suggestions about how/when to use use flags and, more importantly when not to use them would be helpful. Room owners have nothing to do with flags, they are just people with tools that let them deal with the problem instead of having to flag. Essentially, they can kick misbehaving users. \$\endgroup\$
    – terdon
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 20:36
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasWard FWIW, I'm pretty sure that most of the flagging going on is not concerned users going Oh no, someone broke the guidelines, I'm going to flag it!, but one or two users who have realized they can get a reaction out of users and mods when they flag harmless messages with no punishment. I don't think adding more room owners would really help with that, since messages that aren't problematic in the first place are being flagged. I do however agree that correct flagging procedure would be worth mentioning in the chatiquette. \$\endgroup\$
    – DJMcMayhem
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DJMcMayhem Then failing that, moderators cross-network should be permitted to wield a hammer and an ice beam to freeze the room and punish users. That said, since we aren't all mods with god access, we can't see easily who flagged what without poking Shog or a CM, and if we have to do that we may as well start issuing chat suspensions for abuse of flagging (just saying) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @terdon As DJ said, the flags aren't on messages that the room owners could deal with. They're being used as a trolling tool. There is nothing that the room owners can do about them - only moderators and CMs have the tools to deal with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 21:32
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasWard I fully agree with suspending users for abusing flags. The issue is that it's impossible to tell which users are the ones abusing the flags, and that RO's have no way of dealing with flag abuse. If the flagging really is trolling as I suspect, freezing the room would punish the wrong users (innocent chatters) and reward the flaggers (getting a big reaction and causing trouble). \$\endgroup\$
    – DJMcMayhem
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego actually, flags are indeed sometimes used against posts breaking the local TNB rules. I know from personal experience. I am not interested in the trolls here, trolls will be trolls. I am referring to well-behaved users of TNB who use flags to enforce your chatiquette. That's the only reason I am suggesting including guidance on flags. ROs can help there since they can kick the offending user and that is z viable alternative to network-wide flags. These aren't people abusing the flags, they are people using the only tool available to them and it just happens to be the wrong tool. \$\endgroup\$
    – terdon
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 22:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @terdon I am constantly in TNB, and I have not seen a single flag used to try to enforce the Chatiquette since before the room owner election. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 23:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've added a paragraph on chat flags. Any feedback welcome. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 11:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax perfect, thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – terdon
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 11:26

Say what "Be Nice" means to us

Right now, the "Be nice" section starts with "Stack Exchange enforces the Be Nice policy network-wide. That means you must Be Nice in chat, too." and a link. This is a bit more standoffish ("enforces") and impersonal than it needs to be.

For instance: "Be nice means being patient and welcoming, especially to new users. It means not being rude, and being polite instead. And it means avoiding name-calling, bigotry, harassment and inappropriate language."

Then, we could follow this up with mentioning that it's a SE policy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this rewording. I'm editing it in now. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 22:36

Having only just noticed:

For violations of network-wide policy or repeated violations of this chatiquette, a network-wide suspension may be applied by a moderator.

For violations of network-wide policy, yes. No problem with that. For repeated violations of chatiquette, you're standing on very unstable ground.

Moderators enforce network policy. Moderators do not enforce chatroom-specific, non-official rules using moderator-only functions like suspension. Kick people, sure, but suspending people for violating local, unofficial rules shouldn't be happening. Unless they also happen to violate network policy a bunch, of course, and in this case chatiquette and network policy are sufficiently aligned that in the majority of cases if someone continually violates chatiquette, they're likely to also have violated network policy.

This sentence should probably be reworded to

For violations of network-wide policy, a network-wide suspension may be applied by a moderator.

Network policy also includes listening to mods/ROs when they tell you to stop doing something, so chatiquette is still covered by this - but it avoids threatening suspensions for non-suspendable offences.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Being a constant nuisance in chat is grounds for a network-wide suspension. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 11:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mego Yes, but that's a network-wide thing, not a chatiquette thing. I'd suspend someone for that whether they did it in TNB or elsewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 11:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ All the guidelines in the Chatiquette are for not being a nuisance. Naturally, some of the guidelines address things that are less severe than others, and so it would take a lot more incidents for a chat suspension to be considered. We're not trying to play by different rules - anything that would get you suspended in TNB would also get you suspended in any other room. We're just trying to make it clear what behavior is expected. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 11:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're not trying to play by different rules, then make that explicit by only threatening suspensions for network rules. Threatening suspensions for chatiquette sounds like you're trying to add rules, whether you actually are or not, and that sounds bad. \$\endgroup\$
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 11:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ How about this? "For violations of network-wide policy, which includes aggravating users in the room with repeated violations of this chatiquette, a network-wide suspension may be applied by a moderator." We need a way to clarify that bothering people with stuff that is in violation of the chatiquette is itself a violation of the umbrella Be Nice policy. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2017 at 11:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ That works for me. \$\endgroup\$
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 12:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @El'endiaStarman I also like that wording. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 12:15

Why Host It Externally?

Should administrative content hosted on external sites ever be binding? Current top answer says no.

Why put the chatiquette on github rather than in a meta post all privileged PPCG users can maintain?

Who maintains the github chatiquette when the users with permissions for it are no longer interested in PPCG? What if a new mod would like to edit it but would prefer not to make a github account?

There are already several mods and TNB room owners who no longer frequent PPCG.

I'm not talking formality of informality. Make the rules as soft or hard as seems right. Just, what happens if all the mods and RO's suddenly succumb to Pythonitis? How does the community take over without being able to maintain established rules?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The Chatiquette is maintained here, on this meta post. The github pages site is just for a shorter link and nicer styling than Markdown provides. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 5:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego Ok. Thought this was just a rough draft area. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 13, 2017 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ This was where we first posted the original draft of the Chatiquette. We've incorporated suggestions from here into the Chatiquette (and the question body reflects those changes). This will be the home of the Chatiquette. The GitHub Pages site will just be a HTML version with better styling and a shorter link so that the room description isn't horrendously long. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ codegolf.meta.stackexchange.com/q/12220 does not seem horrendously long \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 13, 2017 at 21:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's longer than ppcg.github.io/chatiquette, which is just barely short enough to fit in the description without the description getting truncated (like the Jelly training room). \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 21:39

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