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Last week, we made a new chat room (This Is Fine) to house political and news discussion, and encouraged all such discussion to take place there rather than in our regularly scheduled chat room (The Bridge).

So far, this has been a success! We're going to keep This Is Fine in place for now.

But we still want your feedback! Please leave any suggestions for how we might improve the chat room, or any well-constructed arguments telling us that we're idiots and we should never have done this, as answers below. We are open to modifying the policies currently in place if it leads to a better chat experience.

For example, should we keep this room as a "news" discussion room, or should we narrow its scope to "politics" or some other description? How exactly do we determine what conversations must take place in This Is Fine vs. The Bridge, as there were a few gray-area decisions to be made even in the trial week.

  • Great news! I've only been suggesting this for like a year but what do I know. – GnomeSlice Aug 29 '17 at 0:57
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    You know nothing, @cazc_941 Snow – SaintWacko Aug 29 '17 at 13:12
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    I don't know who this cazc person is, but based on that one comment clearly they're exceptionally insightful and we should make them our king. – Shog9 Aug 31 '17 at 0:01
  • @cazc_941 If you can find any evidence, Shog9 will be compelled to actually make you our king. – wizzwizz4 Sep 5 '17 at 18:13
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I think it should remain a "News and Politics" chat room, but we should probably define what that actually means a little bit better. The politics part I think is fairly self evident, but I don't think the news part is as cut and dry. There was some limited discussion in the room about whether entertainment/gossip news should go there instead of The Bridge, and my opinion was no, it doesn't belong in TIF. Similarly, sports news (not that we get a lot of it) and especially gaming news doesn't belong in TIF either (at least most of the time). Other subjects, however, might not be as easy to decide on. Where does satire go? If it's politically charged, probably in TIF, but what about other kinds?

The discussion on this, I think, needs to be one of the priorities.

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    +1 Agreed 100%. There's still some kinks we need to work out, and the exact scope of the room is one of those things. However, it seems to be working great so far, so our goal is to work out the kinks along the way, rather than ditch it all together. – Wipqozn Aug 28 '17 at 15:02
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    Nothing is ever perfect out of the gate but being open to changes and different interpretations is why stack exchange is awesome. There is no "this is the only way it can be" that I've seen here....except when it comes to is it safe to eat corpses. – Zissouu Aug 28 '17 at 20:21
  • Gaming news can maybe go in the league or overwatch channels if it's an extensive discussion on those games. Otherwise I'd say it's probably fine for the bridge. – Dragonrage Sep 2 '17 at 12:34
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My opinion has always been that the general/default room should be primarily related to the topic of the host site. Many sites can get away with an overlapping topic in rooms simply because those sites don't have chats as active as ours. We don't need a separate room for every single topic, but I think any discussion that a reasonable person would agree tends to smother the 'on-topic' discussion and take over the room would be a good candidate for separation. Over the past year or so, that has almost unilaterally been confined to topics of political and social activism.

This is not to say that these discussions are not worth having, but they are very often not conversations that every user in the gaming chat wants to be a part of on a daily basis.

In addition to giving more regular users an opportunity to opt in or out of certain discussions, I really feel this does present a more welcoming and relatable atmosphere to any new users who find their way to our general chat room. We want them to stay!

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If at all possible, I feel like we should have some kind of direct link from The Bridge to This Is Fine so it's easier to find.

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    I like the idea, but there is no permanent and elegant way to do this. We don't want to have a pinned message forever and you can't put links in the room description except as raw URLs. – Invader Skoodge Aug 30 '17 at 13:02
  • How about a feedbot who posts a link to the room periodically? Twice a day or something? – GnomeSlice Aug 30 '17 at 16:54
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The idea of a chatroom for just news and politics is interesting, but I think it misses part of the goal.

From what I understand, people come to TB to escape reality. They're tired of messages about politicians failing their constituents, of disasters and terrorist attacks, of companies taking anti-consumer decisions. The Bridge was a safe haven from all this doom and gloom. It was a relaxing and kind place, filled with likeminded people, who prefer to just post memes, laugh at stupid shit, vent about whatever silly thing is happening at work, discuss games and tech and generally just have a break from reality.

But then in recent months, the mood in the Bridge started to change. Certain events began being discussed at great length, including the very things that we wanted to escape: shitty politicians, shitty events, shitty companies. And that put some people off.

The idea of This Is Fine right now is to have a dedicated room for doom and gloom (hence the somewhat ironic name based on the dog in the burning room). I think we should stick with that when deciding what to put where. If the news is entertainment (TV, movies, gaming, music), upbeat or just really funny, put it in the main room where people can laugh about it, make jokes and keep having their escape from reality. But if the news is political, talks about people dying or is just really sad, then put it This Is Fine.

This way, The Bridge can be our "fun room" where we put on a mask and are happy, the default room for escaping reality. And This Is Fine can be our "serious business room" where we can discuss the darker aspects of life, an explicitly opt-in discussion room.

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    The second paragraph is just not true. We've never shied away from talking politics or religion or sexuality or identity or philosophy. It's just that the realities of the current year make it very hard to ignore current happenings and they way they affect us, even personally. – badp Aug 28 '17 at 13:09
  • In fact, my main concern is that this split effectively becomes a gag order on those affected to put up (take it to the Eternal Trump Presidency Hellfire Central) or shut up. – badp Aug 28 '17 at 13:14
  • I agree with @badp. News about Florida Man was frequent in The Bridge, as were other "why would you do this?" news articles. – MBraedley Aug 28 '17 at 13:17
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    @badp I don't like the TB/TIF split either, but we originally wanted to do the split because of all the "shitty X" news that was posted in The Bridge and how it was making some people no longer want to visit. I'd say that if we want to get those people back, we need to keep the "shitty X" news out of the Bridge. – Nzall Aug 28 '17 at 13:19
  • @MBraedley Those would still be appropriate for The Bridge, because those things are mainly posted because people want to laugh about them, not moan about them. – Nzall Aug 28 '17 at 13:22
  • I'm not sure why this is so heavily downvoted. The "This Is Fine" room has been doom and gloom (with some bits of gallows humor thrown in) since it started. Everything I've heard about the motivations behind the new room was to split out the "the world is a mess right now" commiserating because it was overwhelming other discussions in The Bridge. Splitting it based on good feels/bad feels seems to match what is happening currently and it is working so far. – GodEmperorDune Aug 28 '17 at 20:23
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    @badp could you elaborate more on how the split becomes a gag order? How do we balance your concerns with the needs of those that still want to chat in the bridge but don't want to deal with heavy topics repeatedly overwhelming the room? – GodEmperorDune Aug 28 '17 at 20:35
  • @GodEmperorDune The top starred news on TIF are good news, like the one about Canadian passports allowing an "X" for gender. Hardly "bad feels" news. – badp Aug 28 '17 at 20:47
  • @badp the VICE documentary on the charlottesville white supremacist rally has just as many stars as the canadian X gender passport news. But starred posts may not be as good an indicator as the number of overall messages on each topic. – GodEmperorDune Aug 28 '17 at 20:54
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    @GodEmperorDune part of what made politics explode on the bridge was that politics was actively happening to us. What comes first, the fact that it's politics of the fact that they're happening to one of the social circles/groups/minorities that we already represent, everything else be damned? I'm afraid that on this one I have more questions than answers, or I'd have posted an answer. – badp Aug 28 '17 at 21:00

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