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It seems quite clear that the arqade site is not a forum and after looking at posts by new users it seems that quite a few of them do not know this and try to treat it as such.

I was wondering if anyone had the idea of creating an arqade forum. I would like to suggest this for consideration.

I am aware that there is a chat associated with the arqade site, which is visible to the anonymous users and indexed by search engines. It seems to be similar to a forum in many ways, but is also very different to one.

Perhaps the chat could be utilised in a similar way as a forum, with a little more focus on a particular topics. I've noticed that it's possible for people to create chat rooms, with any name they like and they can also add a description with tags. Perhaps this functionality could be used as a place for people, new users in particular, to discuss things and ask questions that don't meet the requirements of the main arqade site.

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    It takes 20 rep to chat, so brand new users won't be able to actually chat. – Dragonrage Sep 18 '16 at 1:22
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    People have proposed stuff like this over and over, and the answer is always the same - no. It kinda goes against the whole spirit of the network, which is to find good answers to good questions. Sometimes, you just gotta face the fact that there isn't a home for every question on SE. There is a learning curve, for sure, but that's to separate us from forums, because that's not what the network is about. – Ash Sep 18 '16 at 2:05
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    To put it another way, you are suggesting that we section off or add a part of this site specifically to support the kind of content that we have chosen not to have on the site in the first place. – murgatroid99 Sep 18 '16 at 2:55
  • @murgatroid99 I've noticed that people can talk about anything in chat, there no restrictions on what you can ask or discuss, very much like forum, but very much unlike the stack exhange question and answer format, so it seems like a place to ask about things that are off topic on the q&a site. – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:00
  • @Dragonrage i believe that room owners can allow users below the rep threshold to chat, so it's conceivable that a room could be created for an offtopic post and the user that made the post could be given the ability to chat in there – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:05
  • @Ash diverting offtopic posts to the chat would help with the learning curve, because people can ask specific questions and interact in real time, i think that closing questions as offtopic with a generic message often comes off as abrasive and unfriendly, and is likely to turn people away putting them off of learning how things should be done – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:10
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There are lots of video gaming forums already. The world doesn't need yet another. Creating an Arqade-branded forum would be putting a massive amount of work into creating something that nobody needs.

Or, put another way:

standards http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/standards.png

But what about just using chat?

As a standard practice it wouldn't work. The feature set of chat just doesn't support this use.

The occasional attempt to do so might work, but those would be the lucky exceptions, not the rule, and most people we sent to chat for their questions would be disappointed (and possibly feel mislead).

Most of the reasons it wouldn't work come back to the fact that chat's design is tailored to serve its official purpose. A thriving forum needs a different design.

For reference, the official purpose of chat is to be an

informal public gathering third place — a space for people who love the topic to meet, discuss, and collaborate in a different way. It would foster community, and be complementary to both strict Q&A;, and meta-discussion.

Chat's features are optimised for making it a place to hang out and socialise and discuss with fellow enthusiasts about a site's topic. Though it could be (attempted to be) used for overflow questions that are off topic, too broad, or primarily opinion-based, most such attempts would be strangled by the lack of infrastructure supporting them.

Chat rooms aren't indexed by search engines for their titles like Q&A posts are; the chat site's design doesn't encourage browsing the list of rooms; chatrooms aren't exposed elsewhere than that rarely-browsed list, making new ones easy to never notice; message activity notices for them don't exist on-site (you'd have to set up a personal RSS notification with external software); chat has a much, much lower level of traffic than the main site does; — just for a few anti-features that I can think of off the top of my head.

Chat just isn't designed for being a discussion forum instead of chat. Sending people there with the promise that they'd get satisfaction for their discussion topics would be making promises that the software's design won't keep.

(You can do an experiment right now to see this in action. Pick a question that has one of those reasons from the list of closed questions and make a new chat room with its title for a name, and turn its body into the first message. Then observe whether it gets any traction.)

  • There is no need to create an arqade branded forum because it has a chat system that is very much like a forum – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:01
  • @D.Va The most characteristic feature of a discussion forum is a list of discussion threads, which chat doesn't feature. You can sort of consider the set of rooms to function similarly, but in practice they are not used that way (breaking the association) and the UI of the chat site makes using them that way difficult (breaking the association again), ensuring that chat doesn't function like a forum. Chat does serve a purpose, but it isn't first “to be a discussion forum where off-topic questions can go.” – SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '16 at 15:15
  • I've observed chat rooms being used for discussions that resulted from lengthy comment exchanges on questions and answers, there's not much difference between that and having a discussion about a question that is considered to be offtopic, specially if you consider that it is possible that the question could be edited in such a way to make it on topic following such a discussion – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:20
  • @D.Va Yes, that happens. That's fine when it happens, but it wasn't built for that purpose and therefore it only kinda works, sometimes, for getting off topic questions answered. Given more time with chat, you will see that it isn't actually well-suited for what you're proposing. (And that's on purpose, because it's designed to be well-suited for something else.) – SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '16 at 15:22
  • @D.Va Further to that: if you have a new proposal, you may want to post it as a new meta question. Trying to propose something new (compared to your meta Q up top here, I mean) in just comments is a great way to never be heard by anyone except the answer's author. – SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '16 at 15:24
  • what title would you suggest? i feel that all the ideas are already present in the original post – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:28
  • what is chat intended for exactly? i have not see this stated anywhere – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:29
  • @D.Va Hold up, you're right—I had originally skipped right over the bit about chat in the question, since my immediate reaction was “that is wholly unworkable”, and I forgot that it was even in there. No new question is really needed then. :) I'll put some of my reasoning for why chat wouldn't work/shouldn't be used into the answer. – SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '16 at 15:30
  • Making a char for every closed question would not be appropriate, but having the option to do it might be. I'm not certain that the disappointment at having a question closed is better than the disappointment of being unable to find an answer in chat, this is going to vary from person to person, but I tend to think that having the chance get an answer is better than having no chance. – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 20:05
  • Here is an example of what I'm talking about Discussion about Aditya Jain's question: (no tags). to summarise, the user was invited to a chat, the person that invited them explained how stack exchange works and tried to be helpful. it's not realistic to expect every question to be given this type of treatment, but it's also not unrealistic to have the option to do this if need be. its fair to say that the text in this chat room will do a much better job of explaining things than a generic close reason. – user126536 Sep 21 '16 at 0:39
  • Here's the showstopper problem: creating the option requires more than zero minutes of developer staff time to create it. For something that is the opposite of the company's goals for these sites, that's not going to happen. – SevenSidedDie Sep 21 '16 at 1:06
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No. We don't create sites for the things SE doesn't take. That's essentially a dump site, and doomed to fail. Nobody will stick around there, and it just leads to a completely dead site.

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    Just because you wouldn't use or like such a site doesn't mean it's "doomed to fail". I certainly don't want us to branch out into a forum either, but you should make an effort to rein in your opinions and express them as your own opinions, not as objective fact. – Invader Skoodge Sep 20 '16 at 12:46
  • @Strix Its been tried. Programmers was exactly this for SO. It was junk, and failing until they put some quality standards in place. It is objective fact, tried and true. – Frank Sep 20 '16 at 13:08
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    That would be a good datum to put in the answer. – SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '16 at 15:19
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    @Frank "Programmers was exactly this for SO" - Programmers was never supposed to be a forum. Granted, it was poorly defined & attracted crap questions, but that doesn't make it a forum any more than pre-ITG-ban Arqade was. I also dislike OP's idea of an 'SE Forum' but I have to agree with Strix regarding opinion vs objective fact: we cannot say for certain that "Nobody will stick around there" and that it's 'doomed to fail' given that SE has never investigated the idea of building a forum before (and likely won't, but that's beside the point). – Robotnik Sep 21 '16 at 1:28
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As neat as it would be to have forums with subject matters directly corresponding to the subject matters of the various stacks, and with similarly robust community moderation, that's a whole new project with different design considerations than the current Stack Exchange network.

You could just use existing forum technologies, but what would be the point of that? There are already forums out there using those technologies.

This is one of those situations where there isn't enough motivation to re-invent the wheel, when functional forums already exist.

  • Instead of reinventing things why not use the chat system, which already has many forum like features. – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:12
  • @D.Va Uh, yep. That's agreeing with me, right? I think that's agreement. – DCShannon Sep 20 '16 at 15:22
  • The chat system is not used in the way i have described, there is no pathway from closed questions to the chat system unless i'm mistaken – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 15:27
  • @D.Va Oh, so you want to migrate closed questions to chat? You can currently migrate comment chains, and can just link to the original question. Developing more features to make it more like a forum would be re-inventing the wheel (forum). Maybe you could just make a feature request for migrating a question to start a chat thread? I still don't think that's really needed, but it's a smaller, more manageable request. – DCShannon Sep 20 '16 at 15:32
  • one of the motivations behind the feature request is that there are posts that are considered to be offtopic by certains users at that particular time, they are closed and deleted and usually nothing more happens after that. there's no need to develop more features because all the features are already there.it's already possible to create a chat room with any title and any description, it's already possible to allow low rep users to chat there. it's already possible to open a chat based on a comment chain. – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 16:02
  • the effort required to implement this feature seems quite minimal as most of the work has been done already.. – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 16:06
  • the stack exchange chat is very much like a forum and if you think about the meaning of the word, that's what it actually is, thought it is not the same as the generic forum systems that you are likely to encounter if you search for "forum" using a search engine, it serves much the same purpose that they do, but without adverts, private messages, thread bumping, paging etc. the reality of what it can be and is used for is very much the same – user126536 Sep 20 '16 at 16:13

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