Problem: chat is empty

The main chat for the site frequently freezes due to infrequent usage.

I want more people to use it.

But I think the name is the source of the problem.

Looking the room up is always an exercise in frustration for me.

Ways I find a specific chat room here:

  • type in a memorable substring including the name (e.g. "tavern") in the address bar and get it from my history,
  • find mention of activity in the sidebar,
  • join all my favorite rooms, and look for the name listed on the side.

I don't think "scratch" when I want "emacs". The default text in the *scratch* buffer says:

;; This buffer is for text that is not saved, and for Lisp evaluation.
;; To create a file, visit it with C-x C-f and enter text in its buffer.

I'm looking for "Emacs". The room is named after a buffer we put junk into. That buffer is always there (by default), and users learn to ignore it.

Naming is hard. The following Q&A decided to make the name of the Emacs room, *scratch*: How should we name our chat room?

Can we please change the name?

This name is clever. This name is fun.

But this is a bad name because it's not working, and I suspect it's not working because other users have the same experience that I do. To me, the asterisks say "ignore". The word "scratch" screams "ignore".

I propose a rename: "Emacs Chat". It's clear. It says exactly what it is and what we do there.

What about the stakeholders?

legoscia, the one who proposed the name three years ago, is never there. Neither are the other voters (by my count). But I am. I don't live there, but I lurk there most days. And I think we'll get more stakeholders with better branding.

I don't think the current name is working.

What do you think?

  • 1
    My own reason for not coming to the chat here, is that I use IRC. Finding the chat room was never a problem for me (there's a "chat" link available via the menu "hamburger" button, located top right). It doesn't mean you shouldn't change the name of course. – YoungFrog Nov 17 '17 at 4:13
  • 4
    I've never had a problem finding it. I don't use it because whenever I've been there it's empty. Perhaps it's empty because our community is too small to support unstructured real-time chat. Or maybe IRC already fills that niche, and another chat room would just dilute a small group even further. That said, there's nothing to lose by trying a name change. We can't make it any more empty. – Tyler Nov 17 '17 at 18:54
  • 4
    I don't really use the chat room here or anywhere on SE. But I tend to agree that the "cute" name *scratch* doesn't exactly advertise that it is the chat room for emacs.SE. – Drew Nov 18 '17 at 0:04
  • 1
    The fix for an empty chatroom is people in the chatroom. As an emacs-ism, I actually like scratch. – Realraptor Dec 2 '17 at 18:39
  • I'm not really active on the chat room since I use IRC a lot more than SO chat. If the name is an issue, perhaps we can make it prominently visible either on emacs.SE info pages or documentation pages? – user17812 Dec 5 '17 at 20:29

As discussed in Chat, I think

Emacs: *scratch*

would be a reasonable compromise, since you think that the word Emacs should be included in the room name.

  • Feels very old-timey, but if that can be an acceptable compromise between the most active chatter and the rest of the community, I'm for it. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' May 23 '18 at 6:41

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