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Currently our main chatroom, The Nineteenth Byte, has only the 4 PPCG moderators as room owners. Since the chatiquette is not applicable to other Stack Exchange sites, using chat flags for breaches of chatiquette which are not also network-wide offenses is problematic - wasting the time of 10k users across the network.

Unless there's a better solution, would it be a good idea to have more room owners, so there is one present at most times of day to deal with things that we wouldn't want to use a chat flag for?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a bit unsure, so I'll be on both the sides of the issue: I'd say maybe yes, because perhaps some mods may be asleep when other regular, trusted community members are available and can help deal with issues in the chatroom. However, maybe not, for example, who's to guarantee that the room owner selection processes is as rigorous as the mod selection process? \$\endgroup\$ – Buffer Over Read Aug 25 '16 at 2:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you please remind us what room owners do and how they relate to chat flags? \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Aug 25 '16 at 3:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @xnor Room owners can kick/mute users, trash messages, put the room in timeout, and change the room topic. More info here IIRC correctly from my own room, they can pin and unstar messages, but that post didn't mention those. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Aug 25 '16 at 3:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting: only one of those moderators lives outside the US. This has time-zone-related implications: some hours, whenever Martin isn’t around and everyone else is asleep — e.g. right now, 11:00 UTC — the room is basically unmoderated. \$\endgroup\$ – Lynn Aug 25 '16 at 10:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Lynn To avoid any confusion elsewhere, only one of the active moderators lives outside the American continents (rather than just the US), but your point about time zones is still just as relevant. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Aug 25 '16 at 11:29
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We agree with your concerns and that having additional room owners would help covering both time zones and the volume of posted messages.

Effective immediately, we've appointed the following users as room owners of The Nineteenth Byte.

Let us thank them for volunteering, and may the odds be ever in their favor.

We'll be happy to appoint additional room owners if this turns out not to be enough.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "may the odds be ever in their favor." i dont like what this is implying... :| \$\endgroup\$ – Downgoat Aug 27 '16 at 0:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Shouldn't we have had a vote on meta for the new room owners? And what good does it do to appoint mods as room owners? They already can do everything a room owner can. Essentially, we've only gained 3 new room owners. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Aug 27 '16 at 7:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mego as a chat mod, becoming a room owner doesn't give me any additional powers. However, it does mean I now know I have the full backing of the PPCG mods to go ahead and use that power, which I previously held back with as I felt it wasn't really my place unless there was something obviously offensive. The stars in chat and upvotes here also make me feel we have the backing of the community. Before yesterday I had never used the kick function in chat. Within hours of being made a room owner I used it twice to quietly prevent things escalating. I feel very privileged to be trusted with this. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Aug 27 '16 at 15:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mego I suggested an election when approached about being a room owner. I understand this was urgent so it was more important to make a quick decision. I think the PPCG mods made very good choices. The mods' job is to serve the community, so if anyone wants to suggest anything like periodic elections, a maximum term for room owners, more ROs, fewer ROs, elections on demand, or anything else I can't think of, this can be raised on meta and the community can show how it feels about it. Dennis has already said "We'll be happy to appoint additional room owners if this turns out not to be enough." \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Aug 27 '16 at 15:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax Urgency is no excuse for not doing the appointments the way they should be done - with an election. It irks me that, despite being a room regular and frequent chatter, I didn't get to offer any input on the decision. I'm sure I'm not the only one. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Aug 27 '16 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mego 1. As trichoplax already said, making chat moderators room owners is mostly symbolic. While they do not gain any (relevant) privileges as room owners, The Nineteenth Byte gains two room owners that have full moderator privileges. 2. We asked five members of the community to help us moderate chat; we needed them now, not after a two-week election process. I consider the recent events in TNB all but an emergency, and dealing with situations like this one is the raison d'être of site moderators. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Aug 27 '16 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dennis If things were really getting so bad that an immediate solution was needed (which I disagree with - the majority of the problems were coming from a single user), the appropriate immediate solution would have been to put the room on ice for a bit, not completely bypassing the community. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Aug 27 '16 at 18:51
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Absolutely

We have a very active chat room. Many users actively participate in TNB without even participating in PPCG. It's also the best way to be introduced to our community. For example, I participated on the site only just a little until I started hanging out on TNB and getting to know the users that make up the site. That's when I became seriously addicted to the site.

It's been discussed before how a lot of problems new users have with the site come not from a lack of rules (in fact, I would almost say we have too many rules!), but from a lack of understanding who PPCG is, and why the people who use it behave the way they do. It's a fantastic place not only to discuss site policy, but also a place to have interesting conversations with people of very different opinions, and to learn a lot of very interesting things. Hell, I've learned more about linguistics from TNB then from anywhere else in my whole life!

So I think we have an incredible oppurtunity in our hands and we need to make sure we keep this the best possible room it can be. If a single user can completely disrupt a room for several days, something is wrong.

I think our room is unusual just because of the sheer amount of messages we regularly get, and it's easy to take that for granted. Out of curiosity, I decided to compare the amount of activity we have compared to other chat rooms on the network, and the results are crazy. Keep in mind, these rooms also have unusually high amounts of activity.

Now compare that to our room. Here in The nineteenth byte we have a whopping 12.5k messages a week, and yet we only have 5 room owners, one of which who is no longer active on our site/room.

Now, I'm not saying that just because these other rooms have a lot of room owners we absolutely must have a lot also, but at the same time, we should react appropriately. AFAIK, we are the most active room on the network, and we have less official room owners, not more. If users are regularly complaining and unable to take care of troublemakers, clearly something is wrong.

So here's my proposal: we should find some users who are

  • active in TNB, preferably at times that existing mods are not

  • Mature and have earned the approval of the community

And appoint them as room owners. Ideally there should be at least 2-3 such users, but I don't think 5-6 would be innapropriate. (Although the exact number is up for debate)

How we decide on these users is another matter entirely. If it's clear the community agrees with me, we can figure that out later.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I know a very qualified candidate ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Rohan Jhunjhunwala Aug 25 '16 at 1:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Many users first experience with PPCG, or even SE in general will be with our chat room" Really? How are they finding it? \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Aug 25 '16 at 7:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m not saying it’s many, but consider the fact that some of our users come from anarchy golf. Also, I personally had experience with StackOverflow, but never with the community (i.e. its chat rooms). \$\endgroup\$ – Lynn Aug 25 '16 at 10:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree any new room owners should be active in TNB and community approved. Given this approval, I don't think being a 10k network user is essential. We have plenty of those who can already handle chat flags, without needing to be room owners. Making someone a room owner will automatically give them the power they need to deal with things for which we can't flag. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Aug 25 '16 at 11:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax Yeah, you're right. Now that I think about it more there's no reason they need to be 10k users. I've removed that from my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Aug 25 '16 at 13:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor although I don't know how accurate that particular sentence is, I think even if most people visit main before chat, the experience in chat is still important (affecting the level of feedback that sandbox posts receive, for example), and I agree with the rest of this post. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Aug 25 '16 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax, I have absolutely no problem with initiatives to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of chat, since that's the reason I myself left it. But it took me a long time to find it in the first place, which is why I'm surprised that it should be anyone's first interaction with the site. (As an aside, given that you can't chat until you've earnt rep I expect that anyone who found chat before main would be frustrated regards of the SNR). \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Aug 25 '16 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @petertaylor To me, it felt like TNB was my introduction to the community, even though I hag used the site before. I realize my first sentence didn't make a whole lot of sense, and I've updated my answer to explain what I meant when I said that. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Aug 25 '16 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor that's a good point about the rep requirement, and I'll stop wondering about whether there might be people who find chat first now... \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Aug 25 '16 at 13:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I found codegolf through some really cool challenges and later learned there was an active chatroom. As I frequented the site more I found that I wanted to be able to vote and comment on answers (I'm not much of a golfer). I started actually talking in chat after I posted a couple challenges to the sandbox and found that it's a pretty decent community of people. I now idle in chat on weekdays while I'm at work so I can pop in when I need a break. Chat has since become the primary reason I visit codegolf despite not participating every day. Chat experience is important. \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Aug 25 '16 at 14:07
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I don't think it's necessary. As it stands, there are many moderators who are active in The Nineteenth Byte besides those of PPCG. These users have been entrusted to uphold the standards of the Stack Exchange network and should thus be trusted to uphold the standards of respectful discourse and common sense that should dictate chat.

"I'm not a moderator but I still want to help!" That's very much appreciated. If users are posting noise or other nonsense, ask them to stop. If they continue to post nonsense that disrupts on-topic or otherwise respectful discussion, at some point it reaches a level of disrespect that, at least in my opinion, warrants moderator intervention, since "be nice" is Stack Exchange policy. In that case, ping one of the friendly neighborhood moderators. If it gets really disrespectful, a moderator flag may be justified. However, note that flags should not be used for upholding Chatiquette "policy"--it is not official policy. Use flags wisely.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The fact that we even need to have this discussion signifies a larger problem, IMO \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Aug 24 '16 at 22:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess the fact that we needed a chatiquette in the first place was evidence of a problem. Since the discussion has come up a couple of times in chat and 10k users from elsewhere don't see the flagged messages as a problem (and hence complain about the flags), I thought it might help to bring the discussion here. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Aug 24 '16 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ No offense Alex, but you haven't been extremely active in chat recently. We've had almost three straight days of one user causing pain for everyone in TNB. Flags have done nothing except for bringing mods and 10K users in to tell us to only flag blatantly offensive posts, and even mod flags have done nothing to take care of the problematic user. If that's the best we can do when someone wants to be unpleasant, TNB might as well not be moderated. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Aug 25 '16 at 0:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe adding room owners isn't the right way to fix it, but it's really frustrating to try to fix a problem with the tools we have, only to be repeatedly shot down. Either way, we need to figure out how the community as a whole should respond to serial offenders of the chatiquette, official or not. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Aug 25 '16 at 0:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I completely disagree. Like DJ said - you haven't been around during the especially problematic times. It's very frustrating to try to use both of the options available to regular users to point out trouble, and be told that neither are appropriate. Though this isn't a complete solution to the problem, it will certainly help. Ideally, SE will support chat more and give us more tools to moderate chat. But we all know that the gears at SE turn slowly, especially towards chat. We need help now, not next year. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Aug 25 '16 at 7:05

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