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As per usual, a few of us were in the chatroom talking about code dump questions, subjective questions, localized questions, and other general off topic questions trying to figure out what to do with them because some of us REALLY WANT TO HELP but the question is inappropriate for the site so we end up in a moral grey area in trying to figure out how to handle it.

One way we have started helping people who ask bad questions is by encouraging these users to join the chat so we can have a discussion on their question or problem. As I touched on a previous meta question (I really want to get people into the chat as you can tell) a lot of times these bad questions are from new users without the reputation to chat though.

As I and a few other users were once again talking about this problem in the chat room we came up with the idea that user created chat rooms could be used for this purpose.

In an ideal future scenario, you could keep the scope of a room to a single question and the room could be removed after a certain amount of inactivity so that it doesn't get too cluttered. In the ideal future, there would be a button on a question that you could click to create a chat room that would automatically grant the OP access to chat in the room and there would be a very obvious notification in his site inbox and on the question itself that the question has been promoted to chat, or something like that. I think a notification of a new chat room in the main site chat room would also be useful, much like the meta question notifications that show up nice and big right in the chat area.

In a more realistic, near future thinking world - this could be as simple as letting anyone join user created rooms. Someone with high enough reputation already has the ability to create chat rooms so there is a limit/barrier as to who can do this. This high rep user would create the room, probably as a gallery to prevent bots from coming in and spamming (I assume this is why there is a low rep barrier) and leave a comment on the soon to be closed question inviting the OP to chat with a link.

Getting these users into chat to talk out their (inappropriate for the site) game dev related questions and problems should result in the users having a better understanding as to why their question is inappropriate for the site, because I'm sure it would come up in the chat conversation, and get them coming back for help in the real chat when they have enough rep for off topic questions, and on the QA portion of the site for on topic questions which is an improvement in community as well as site question and answer quality... hopefully.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thinking about this, I think the only user created room the OP should be able to enter is the one created for them. Otherwise anytime anyone creates a room to talk about something, the spammers can auto jump in. Likely not be too much of a problem, but it might be prudent to include that restriction. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jun 22 '13 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would an invite mechanism be a possible way of working around this? I.e. don't remove the barrier (it serves a useful purpose in dealing with spammers) but allow explicitly invited people who are below the required rep to participate? It may also help to encourage them into the chat as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Maximus Minimus Jun 22 '13 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mh01 That's what this question is about. Though, there doesn't appear to be action on that front, so we were discussing alternatives to help bring the issue into view again. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jun 22 '13 at 15:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually I just found this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/99491/… It appears mods can already do this in essence. Create a room and give a user explicit write access. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jun 22 '13 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just checked, I have access to give a user explicit write access to a chat room. I'm totally going to start using that. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jun 22 '13 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 So the barrier can be lifted for each individual. But only if you have 10k+ rep or you are a mod, right? \$\endgroup\$ – sm4 Jun 22 '13 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sm4 I'm not sure what the lower limit is. I know it's available to me, but I don't know when it started being available. I can allow any user write access to a room, regardless of their reputation. I have the following options under info->access: i.imgur.com/Ajm33Al.png \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jun 22 '13 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 The question you linked says anyone with 100 rep can do that in their own room. But 10k rep gives you priviledge to use mod tools. Can you do this in any room or just in the one you created? \$\endgroup\$ – sm4 Jun 22 '13 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting find. Who knew. I imagine its the "owner" of a room that can do it. I know Josh was promoted to be a room owner a while back... maybe that's why? I wonder what it would take to get more chat room owners for the main chat... though I suppose user created rooms is enough. \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Jun 22 '13 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sm4 Only on rooms where I am the owner. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jun 22 '13 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ You own any room you create. \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Dorsey Jun 22 '13 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Correct. Also, Josh could likely give people access to the main chat since he's an owner of that room too. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jun 23 '13 at 15:41
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We have successfully tested the method I described in my comments. The steps are:

  1. Ask the new user to create an account for http://chat.stackexchange.com/
  2. Create a new chat room for the issue you want to talk with the new user about
  3. Add the user to the Explicit Write Access list (see image below).
  4. Give the user a link to the chat room to join in and talk

enter image description here You should be able to use their user profile URL to have SE automatically find their chat user account. If you add them using their profile URL and no user is added, it means they haven't created a chat account. Their user ID on gamedev is not the same user ID as their chat account.

Requirement for using this method:

Once the chat is finished, try to get a useful question and answer out of it and post it to the main site. These chat sessions are not in a format that's useful to anyone searching for a similar issue in the future. While it's a good thing to help a new user, it's also important that we're not spending all our time doing that in chat, since it doesn't help the next new user.

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