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The Nineteenth Byte, CGCC's main chat room, is no stranger to silliness. However, especially recently, I've felt there's been a much larger volume of off-topic conversations. In order to prevent discussion of the site being buried, I propose that we create a second room, for TNB's silliness or otherwise excessively off-topic discussion.

Advantages:

  • Improves the signal-to-noise ratio of our main room
  • Makes our site appear a bit more professional
  • Allows off-topic discussions to continue without being interrupted by on-topic discussion and events, and vice versa
  • We already need to make and maintain spin-off rooms like The Edge of Propinquity or Unicode Spam for particular types of off-topic discussion, so this could reduce need for future rooms to need to keep track of
  • Brings more attention to CMCs, CMQs related to language development, sandbox feedback requests, dicussion of site policy, and other things that we wouldn't want quickly buried
  • Prevents the starboard being spammed with off-topic jokes, instead of things on-topic to CGCC

Disadvantages:

  • Determining what belongs in which room, and moving it, will take some work from ROs and mods
  • The off-topic discussions could be possibly considered a part of the room's culture being taken away
  • We'll need some way to communicate this to new users and ensure people choose the correct room to start a discussion in
  • We'll need to ensure the room doesn't die out (this would only happen if a) off-topic conversation starts occuring in TNB exclusively again or b) we all suddenly stop discussing off-topic stuff at once)

I think this could be a good change, as the silliness being opt-in wouldn't hurt it much, and would stop on-topic discussion from being buried. Opinions?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm thinking we'd still have plenty of offtopic in TNB even if we had that room, as IMO most offtopic convos start out relatively on topic but slowly get offtopic. Still, I would love a room dedicated to offtopic content, as long as it is appropriate and SFW. \$\endgroup\$
    – Seggan
    Apr 19 at 21:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel kinda responsible for this :P - talking about canvas contributed to a lot of this stuff \$\endgroup\$
    – allxy
    Apr 21 at 1:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @allxy Don't worry, I think even I'm far more responsible for it than you. I think it mostly has to do with a lot of new people joining all at once, right as a lot of the older users are taking breaks and CGCC is experiencing a brief lull in activity, so it's just a perfect storm of things that would reduce on-topic things to talk about, and promote off-topic conversations. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21 at 2:07

3 Answers 3

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I don't think having exactly two rooms like "Code Golf on-topic" and "Code Golf off-topic" is a good idea. It will fragment the discussions as on-topic and off-topic are blurred.

However, I am also frustrated by the continuous off-topic conversations in TNB, and I feel like our "Be On-Topic" rule is not working. So I propose

Encourage people having off-topic conversations to make their own rooms

We kind of do this already, but if we could just do it earlier in the conversation, and more often, to catch more conversations.

This has the advantage that we can still keep the culture of TNB in TNB, without breaking it up. If we just make it more standard practice to move out into a new room more often (maybe with a bit of help from ROs etc), then we'll be able to keep things on-topic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My problem with this is that often, the off-topic conversations are just generally off-topic, not something that would need its own room. Thus, a single room for generic off-topic-ness would be useful. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, much of the more problematic off-topic noise is noise, not actual discussions. Moving four messages about feeding ants or college spam to its own room just isn't practical. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21 at 4:24
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To begin with, I think the amount of off-topic chatter in the room is a problem - in fact, its one of the reasons I've been less active in chat recently, and I believe a few other users have said the same.

That said, I don't think the solution to the problem is a spinoff room. In my experience with non-TNB spin off rooms, they generally die fairly quickly, and such a room would just be a temporary fix. Instead, I think the solution is for us ROs to properly enforce the chatiquette:

Don't: Make Noise

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.

I agree with pxeger's answer as well, in that we should more actively encourage users to create spin off rooms if they want to continue an off-topic conversation. But, I think it misses the key point about having room owners for such a room as TNB:

At the end of the day, TNB is and should be about discussing this site, and code golf. The room is open to general discussion, and we are extremely lenient about what people can and do discuss, and that shouldn't change. But, a line in the sand should be drawn somewhere, and it is up to us as room owners to draw that line.


So, while I agree that, if people want an off-topic conversation to continue, creating separate rooms for that conversation is a good idea, I mainly believe that we - both us room owners, and everyone else in the room - should be more proactive in stopping or moving off topic chatter out of TNB.

Note that, while ROs and mods have the tools to actually move off topic chatter from TNB, I encourage regular users to speak up and ask people to stop or create a room if they believe the room conversation is becoming too off-topic.

Finally, I strongly disagree with the idea of one single room for all of TNB's off topic discussions. The chat system, and the chat rooms, are designed for rooms to be disposable and there's nothing wrong with having a room active for a little bit as people discuss e.g. their opinions on whether Ethereum or Bitcoin is a better currency, and then the room dies after the conversation is over.

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Make a room for off-topic discussion

I support doing this, over using rooms for individual off-topic discussions. My reasoning is:

  1. Quite often, the off-topic discussion isn't really to do with a single topic. Making a whole room for, e.g., a 20m conversation about a typo someone made, just makes things disorganized, and increases the amount of work it takes for a mod or RO to move an active off-topic conversation.
  2. Although this separates some of TNB's culture, since we always have been a bit silly and off-topic at times, I think there's plenty of room for CGCC and golfing related silliness in TNB itself, and off-topic jokes can go elsewhere.
  3. Determining what's on-topic and off-topic is a bit subjective, and an RO or mod would need to be present to make the decision and move the messages, but any solution to this problem will require subjective judgements of what's on-topic.
  4. This will allow people to start off-topic discussions in a room that already has people that are willing to participate in them, whereas if I have to make a room for that specific off-topic discussion, I'll have to advertise my off-topic discussion in TNB to get people to join.
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