The GIS chat room is very quiet.

I think chat would be useful for urgent questions, like the status of web services etc. These questions are not useful in the long run but very helpful in the short run. I'd like it to show at least the first 140 or so characters from the last chat comment. Currently it does not do this.

1 Answer 1


We intentionally didn't do this, in case a 20 rep user (the minimum required to talk in a chat room) left some off-color chat remark in the room -- this would then be broadcast across the main site and meta.

I guess the same thing is technically possibly by changing your user name to something weird, but we didn't think showing live chat messages was really the right approach here; it'd be sort of like putting the last chat message on a billboard in Times Square.

  • How about doing this only for comments left by users meeting some required rep threshold? Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 23:19
  • @Kirk In light of @Jeff's comment, it might suffice to have a mechanism whereby a user could flag a chat comment for moderator attention (in a positive way). Mods, in their turn, can post public notices and have other ways to bring things to the community's attention.
    – whuber
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 21:04
  • @whuber Yeah, just like Times Square, I guess we need to be vigilant about broken windows in the chat room. Still, the problem in the chat room right now isn't vandalism, but simply a lack of traffic. As SOA spreads, the chat room seems like a good place to inquire about the status of spatial services. Sometimes it might be a matter of "you can't get there from here", the service might work fine for someone in another location. Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 21:39
  • @Kirk The stats site has made an effort to increase chat traffic by means of a quasi-regular "journal club." Maybe something analogous might work here?
    – whuber
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 22:04
  • 1
    @whuber hmm, the idea of showing a starred or pinned message certainly has more potential. But I'm still worried about the .. irreverence .. of chat. A lot of stuff gets starred that isn't necessarily useful, because chat is more of a "corner bar where we hang out after work" experience. The proverbial third place. Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 16:56
  • @whuber Yes, that journal club looks like a good model to follow. We could schedule it and then put highlights in the blog, assuming that happens. @jeff yeah I like the bar analogy, maybe we could get things rolling with a question to pull in traffic from the main site: What happens when 3 GIS analysts walk into a bar? Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 22:49

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