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Lazers is the feedbot which posts questions to The Bridge, the general chatroom for Arqade. It's nearly as old as The Bridge itself, and old school users will likely remember when it's avatar was the ever adorable Servebot.

However, over the past year the activity in The Bridge has dropped significantly since the early days, and it's gotten to the point that Lazers messages (which are rather large) have started to make up large portion of the transcript. This has had the unfortunate side effect of drowning out other conversations going on in The Bridge, which isn't ideal.

Due to this, the moderator team has been exploring with the idea of altering the behaviour of Lazers. So for the past few weeks Lazers has been altered to only post Arqade questions which become Hot Network Questions. It seems to have worked fairly well. Lazers still has a presence on The Bridge, but without the downside of drowning out other conversation. The users in The Bridge seem happy with it, but I know not everyone pops into The Bridge frequently enough to realize a discussion around changing Lazers was even happening.

So we figured it was time to come to meta to get some additional input from the community around Lazers in The Bridge. Are users happy with changing Lazers to only post Hot Network questions? Are there any other suggestions to how we could alter the behaviour of Lazers to address the above issues? Using the ticker feeds was briefly discussed, but the general reception to them was negative.

Some additional things to note:

  • This doesn't need to be a permanent change. We can always revisit Lazers in the future if activity in The Bridge increases.
  • This change is only for regular Lazers, Sepia Lazers, which posts questions from Arqade Meta, won't be changing
  • Not all sites have a question feedbot, so it's not something we're required to have.
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    Also, folks are free to suggest "Leave Lazers alone you oil thirsty mod!", but I was hoping we could find a way to keep Lazers while also reducing its screen presence in chat.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Jul 26 at 23:16
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Lazers should continue to only post Hot Network Questions (HNQ). As much as I'll miss Lazers having such a large presence in The Bridge, I'd rather it didn't drown out actual human users (sorry robots!). To me, switching lazers to only post HNQ allows Lazers to stick around, without it silencing out other conversation.

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    I will add that if there was a way to have Lazers post messages as text links, instead of as the fairly large "Question Previews" then I'd be all for that solution. Sadly that's not something the SE system support as far as I'm aware. A custom RSS feed could likely be made to support this, but that would require someone to actually create and host one.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Jul 26 at 23:10

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