The Sand Trap is now frozen for good. No more golf balls getting stuck in the bunker!

This is the last one about freezing The Sand Trap I promise. There might be more about ensuring TNB doesn't go too wild but this is the final installation in the TST freeze trilogy.

During March, I proposed an experiment to freeze this site's dedicated off-topic room, The Sand Trap, for 3 weeks.. Afterwards, I opened a discussion to collect feedback on whether the experiment was successful. That discussion received positive feedback from the community (2 well received answers calling the experiment a success [one of which is mine], and the other answer there is heavily downvoted for quality of answer reasons).

Therefore I come to meta with one last TST-related request: to permanently freeze The Sand Trap and to de-recognise it as official.

Why it should be permanently frozen: a recap

Originally, TST was created as an overflow room for when off-topic conversation in TNB became too excessive and would start to drown out on-topic conversation. The idea was that the off-topic conversation would be moved to TST allowing the on-topic TNB conversation to take priority. At first thought, that seems like a great idea: have a place where people can freely talk however they want, while still allowing all the culture and fun of TNB and while still ensuring TNB doesn't let on-topic messages go to waste.

However, in practice, TST ended up draining the life out of TNB. In creating a room for noise, the only thing left in TNB is code-golf-related discussion, which, even though we have a whole site for it, doesn't really do well as a pure chat room. No really a dedicated code golf chatroom was tried once. It froze from lack of activity. A comment on a suggestion to have a dedicated off-topic room all the way back in 2016 summarises my point nicely:

Let's assume that we made a separate room for general discussion, and transformed The Nineteenth Byte into the "code golf discussion only" room. Assume that the policy is enforced somehow. Because "general discussion" is a superset of "code golf discussion", eventually everyone will move to the less restrictive chat room, and we'll have the same "problem" all over again. The Nineteenth Byte will become that "special new room" that died.


Further, the existence of TST has contributed to the decline of activity in TNB in the following ways (copy-pasted from my original freeze experiment post):

  1. Having a dedicated on-topic and a dedicated off-topic room leads to a level of fragmentation of discussions; when posting a new message, should it go into the on-topic room? Or should it go into the off-topic room?
  2. Because conversations can be moved at any time, you might as well start conversations in the off-topic room, saving everyone a bit of time. Thus the group of people who would often start conversations is reduced to those posting only serious messages.
  3. The crackdown on noise was too harsh. People (including myself) were jumping at the bit to have things moved out of the room, and to make sure that people didn't start long "noisy" conversations.

In summary, the creation of The Sand Trap took away what made TNB interesting, and its existence led to an environment where any concept of fun was quickly driven away.

Technical details

If this post is well received by the community, and there are no well-received answers in opposition to this proposal, The Sand Trap will be permanently frozen. I plan to do so in 2 weeks (May 12 2024). The transcript will remain readable by all, but new messages will not be able to be sent in TST, nor will messages be able to be moved there by non-moderators.

The mention of TST in the room description for The Nineteenth Byte will be removed.

A notice will be sent in TST to explain why the room has been frozen, to link to this meta post, and to indicate that it should not be unfrozen without consensus here on Code Golf Meta.

What happens if noise becomes rampant again? Do we go through a whole process of unfreezing TST?

The Sand Trap will remain frozen unless community consensus decides that a) there is a noise problem and b) unfreezing TST will not create the same activity-draining problems it already has.

If TNB noise levels start to rise, then Room Owners (ROs) and Code Golf Moderators can move problematic conversations to one-off create-at-time-of-conversation chat rooms. That's the intended nature of chat, to move things and create disposable rooms when needed.

And if needed, alternate solutions to TST unfreezing can be implemented, like adding new Room Owners, using bots to highlight on-topic messages or any number of things I haven't considered.

Final thoughts

TNB used to be great. It used to be where I and many others would spend all of our time. I know for a fact I'm not the only one who thinks TNB has lost its activity. And I also know that people responded well to the freeze experiment. To quote pxeger:

I was pleased to see it revived this week, and I think I'm more likely to engage with conversation in TNB than TST


So let's freeze and move on from the thing draining TNB of its life. Let's get rid of the thing ruining what was once the best chatroom on the whole SE network.

Let's make chat permanently great again!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Excuse me?!? Did you just publicly shame, condemn, put down and damn my answer!?! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 28 at 13:07
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @TheEmptyStringPhotographer no, he simply said it had quality issues, as already mentioned in the comments to your answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Seggan
    Commented Apr 28 at 13:20
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @TheEmptyStringPhotographer if anything, it's saying that even though it's downvoted, it's only downvoted because of quality, not because it's agreeing the experiment was a success \$\endgroup\$
    – lyxal
    Commented Apr 28 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ (@)lyxal @seggan yeah it was kind of a joke \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 28 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


I support closing The Sand Trap

To clarify, this is not my opinion as a mod, rather that of a regular user of CGCC.

This should not be surprising; I was against the creation of TST. But, this experiment has valuably shown that, while TNB may have had a varying relationship with off-topic discussion, ultimately, it is the right place for said discussion.

In my view, the existence of a spin-off, off-topic room has, would, and does lead to a decline in conversation in the main chatroom, a room where the rules for engagement are substantially more lax than those for most chatrooms. And, to be frank, this experiment has only supported this view; TNB was declining in activity, and closing the "off-topic" room directly lead to an increase in activity with a very little corresponding lack in quality of discussion.

My opinions on the entire concept of a "TNB off-topic room" can be found in my linked answer. I stand by those opinions now. After empirical data supports them, I see, frankly, no need for TST. In my opinion, the best thing to do is to freeze it and move discussion back to TNB.


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