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Quite a while ago, an incident occurred in The 2nd Monitor where some users continued a loud conversation whilst 'site business' (a user asking about site scope) was happening. When they were told to pause their conversation, or at least slow it down, they didn't take much notice.

The moderator in the room at the time mute-kicked the two of them, and when they returned, he suggested they take their conversation elsewhere.

They proceeded to make The Nth Monitor, a watercooler of sorts.

After the situation cooled, a 'decision' was made to move 'off-topic' conversations to The Nth Monitor when they began to interrupt site business.

As time went on, the ROs (and moderators) got a little more lenient on what they were moving, and instead of moving out of pure necessity and situational requirement, it became about moving whenever an off-topic conversation occurred.

On the one hand, The Nth Monitor is treated similarly to the Trash room (a dumping ground for very bad messages), however, instead of trash, off-topic messages are dumped there.

On the other hand, The Nth Monitor is viewed as the break room where The 2nd Monitor would be considered the meeting room.

Some of the chat regulars (including myself) grew a bit disgruntled by this over time. Trying to start of have conversations that ultimately will probably get moved to The Nth Monitor seems a little bit pointless.

Moving conversations solves the immediate problem of defusing a situation without resorting to mute-kicking or expecting users to pause their conversations, but users begin to avoid the room and the site by proxy.

In rolfl's answer, he described the chat policy as:

  1. The 2nd Monitor is the main chat room for the site.
  2. Official business always takes priority over anything else.
  3. General chat about Code Review is always welcome.
  4. Idle chat is allowed as long as it is not a distraction to the purpose of the room - which is for maintaining the Code Review site and its community.

I don't see how moving all 'off-topic' conversations is part of that.

Some conversations relate to projects with rooms dedicated to them, such as Rubberduck and Cardshifter and moving them to relevant rooms seems fine.

Is 2nd Monitor too strict with which conversations are deemed okay?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Crap should get moved to Trash, not to Nth. That's at least one point that should be corrected in general policy. Nth is not a dumping place for total crap. \$\endgroup\$ – Pimgd Jul 14 '16 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pimgd, we have very little actual "Crap" in our chat room(s), which is Awesome. \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Jul 14 '16 at 13:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Trying to start of have conversations that ultimately will probably get moved to The Nth Monitor seems a little bit pointless. Why? Just continue it there. I fail to see a problem. There's no mute-kicking going on. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Jul 15 '16 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ As of 2018-11-13, The Nth Monitor has been frozen due to inactivity. \$\endgroup\$ – 200_success Nov 13 '18 at 21:58
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I really feel like point 4 of @Rolfl's Chat Policy is what gives way to what has been happening.

When conversation starts to get way off-topic, then the messages are moved to keep other users from thinking that The 2nd Monitor is a watercooler chat room, because it leads to a slippery slope where the "incident" may occur again.

The more users that we have talking about absolutely off-topic topics, that couldn't possibly become on-topic chat for the The 2nd Monitor, the more likely that the situation will occur again.

IMO, the current RO's have been very diplomatic about moving messages.

I do see a lot of moving messages to other chat rooms like VBA Rubberducking or Cardshifter TCG, I don't see this as an issue, and I see more of this type of moving than moving to the The Nth Monitor.

The movement of messages to the Nth is more to prevent the type of discussions that won't produce much, if any, value to the site or its users by the continuation of the conversation.

The definition of value is one that is set by the mood of the site itself, we are a code review site, so we are going to focus on developer development more than anything else.

The running jokes are usually kept in check by Room Owners (ROs), this is done by removing stars, usually from a wall of messages that don't mean anything to the site, much like a conversation about (for example) Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton being moved to The Nth Monitor. These things clutter the chat room, without giving use a better understanding of some development process or train of thought.

In order for rules(or in our case a guideline) to best function they need to be enforced regardless of "feelings" one way or the other, and by this I mean that the guidelines are based, not on the user's feelings, but rather on the content of the discussion they are having with another user.

If users that come to The 2nd Monitor looking for code or development discussion start seeing political discussions or fashion advice takeover the transcript, they are going to "feel alienated" as well because they don't find pleasure in reading that kind of content, which is why they came to The 2nd Monitor.

So the answer is really a question,

What do you want the topic of The 2nd Monitor to be?

We all agreed that the site should stay roughly on topic. We (ROs) aren't killing the jokes, or the playfulness of chat, we are keeping chat on-topic, we are guiding the discussion away from the stuff that has little or no meaning to Code Review (and/or software development).

We aren't even talking about one off chat messages, we are talking about lengthy discussions that are (usually) blatantly off-topic for any meaning of the word software development.

My Answer to your main Question:

No, The 2nd Monitor is not too strict in which conversations are deemed appropriate for Code Review (and/or software development).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 'current RO's have been very diplomatic' how are the ROs being diplomatic if they're ignoring how users feel about message moving and they're working off vague criteria? \$\endgroup\$ – Quill Jul 14 '16 at 14:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Quill Honest question: Have you told them how you feel about it before? If so, what was their response? \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Jul 14 '16 at 14:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SimonForsberg I have, but I haven't had substantial conversations about it before though \$\endgroup\$ – Quill Jul 14 '16 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quill, simply my opinion that ROs have been very lenient and well within the bounds of only moving what is necessary \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Jul 14 '16 at 14:33
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IMO the rules/guidelines are good like they are. I usually (like most regulars) have a browser tab open for the second monitor chat. If I am away from my desk and I see wow in the last 30 minutes there are 100 messages posted I am disappointed if I check and see sports/politics/etc. posts.

I would like to see more often a message like: We should discuss this in Nth from a user involved in such a discussion.

But nevertheless,

  • If a current discussion in the 2nd is about programming but not explicitly about code review it is ok with me.

  • Having some joke posts if it isn't excessively is ok for me as well.

  • Site business and everything related to code review/reviewing code is always ok

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    \$\begingroup\$ I really like your suggestion that users volunteer to discuss in Nth. Maybe it's a matter that we just need to communicate more. \$\endgroup\$ – Phrancis Jul 14 '16 at 17:24

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