At his point we have 20 questions tagged . 4 have accepted answers, and only 2 are on the unanswered tab.

We also have 17 questions tagged . 3 of which have accepted answers, and only 1 is on the unanswered tab.

In both cases some of the questions have needed some back-and-forth in the comments to refine the question, and others have been understood, and answered, rapidly. In a limited number of the questions the chat facilities have been employed to either address the question itself, or to find an answer when the question didn't seem to fit well into the Q&A format of StackExchange.

These types of questions are important to the users of the site, now and in the future. Not all, however, are a good fit for the StackExchange Q&A model. Some are too localized, or too broad, and are likely to be closed, in time. The need, however, will exist for our users in either case.

I propose that we have a chat room for the site, other than the main chat room, to which we can point users when they ask a question that is unclear, too broad, or too localized for the site, yet may be salvaged after extensive discussion. The comments to a question will often result in an automatic invitation to a chat room when they grow long. Doing so, however, is only visible to the users active in the comment thread, or who later happen to visit the question later. A dedicated chat room could be "watched" by active users, and when someone posts there we can join the conversation without having to find the question and follow the link in the comments section.

In response the most recent use of chat for this, I created a room and gave it a topic and name such that it could be used for future questions as well. If the community decides this is a good idea, the room can be kept open, and once we have mods appointed they can take ownership of it. If the community decides against this idea, the room can be allowed to die on its own time.

  • $\begingroup$ Would using a room like this on a regular basis suck away content from the site? I see why it was helpful for the question we dealt with today, but I'd be worried about having it as a regular go-to. $\endgroup$
    – Ben I. Mod
    Jun 14, 2017 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ @BenI. I'd see it more as a way to refine the questions that might otherwise get closed as unclear, too broad, or too localized, that they become good questions rather than close-vote candidates. $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2017 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I see what you mean. A room of divination, then. It sounds like it could be quite useful. :) $\endgroup$
    – Ben I. Mod
    Jun 14, 2017 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @BenI. I'm no Oracle, and without the OP present it'd be pointless. Something like the Nth Monitor of CodeReview, for example. Focused discussion on a single question to help the OP refine the question for good reviews. $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2017 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


Actually, inspired by Raphael's comment here, perhaps a better use of a permanent location would be an area to coach/help folks figure out how to ask their questions properly. Getting used to that is tricky, problems are fairly regular, and having a nice boiler-plate text that points them towards help would probably be appreciated by many.

Conversation in a room like that would naturally gravitate towards the problems that people are actually having, so it would probably end up fulfilling the role you've proposed here anyway.

  • $\begingroup$ That's the general idea. Not to answer their question, thought that will happen too, but refine the question so that it can remain open and get results. At the same time, not using the main room for that, so that people in the 2nd room are there just to help with the current question. $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2017 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Two things about chat: 1) Users with no network rep can't enter chat. 2) In my experience, most users that post very poor questions won't put in any effort, so you'll need a process to deal with such on the site either way. (That said, chat is a good way to communicate with willing users, much better than comments.) $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Jun 16, 2017 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ (1) certainly puts a bit of a damper on the whole enterprise. It still seems worth it, though. How often do folks take you up on the offer? $\endgroup$
    – Ben I. Mod
    Jun 16, 2017 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ Based on Raphael's comment that you linked to, if we do keep the room, what should our stock comment be when pointing an OP to that room? $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2017 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ How about something like: Welcome to CSE! We're glad to have you. This question needs a little work. Don't feel bad! Keeping the questions and answers high quality is how this community stays relevant and useful, and it can be quite tricky. See here for tips on asking questions about , or if you are uncertain how to improve your question, feel free to come by our chat and ask. $\endgroup$
    – Ben I. Mod
    Jun 17, 2017 at 3:26

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