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This might sound preposterous with how few of us are frequently in the current chat, but I'm wondering if that could not be remedied. I'm asking this to gauge the community's interest in adding more chats, but centered around a certain topic. This was partly inspired by noticing that, e.g., StackOverflow had a multitude of chats dedicated to specific languages. Perhaps we could do the same, if there's enough interest.

I reason that some people might not find general chat appealing, but would find it if like-minded people gather together for specific purposes. I myself have no reason to go to Literature.SE chat, but if they had a targeted discussion on the Iliad, I, who used to teach it, would be there regularly to chime in. Some effort would have to taken by the chat's creator to cultivate a lively discussion, but there should at least be initial interest, which is why I am asking here.

The two that immediately spring to mind as something the community might be interested in is a chat entirely in Latin and a chat on learning other ancient languages.

I know that many among us have penned not a few sentences in Latin on this very site, sometimes even in the chatroom. But would a dedicated space encourage such a thing? Would anyone feel emboldened to write or write more if everything in that chatroom was in Latin?

This wouldn't mean that writing Latin must be kept only to that site, just that there would be a place for it.

The other idea I had come up with is a space for learning other ancient languages, ideally tangential to Latin. (Ancient) Greek is one such language that we already allow questions for on the site, but a dedicated room for "learning" might prove a fertile ground for new questions on the main site. Similarly, such language as Old English, Old Norse, Ancient Egyptian, Akkadian, Sanskrit, and Hebrew might not be so welcomed for questions, but if, say, 3 or 4 or people are interested in learning it together, the chat could be a place to collaboratively learn, share, and ask questions. These languages aren't directly related to Latin, but the methodology of studying them, and the shared connection of a language steeped in ancient history and philology, give them a commonality that cultivates overlap.

The benefit of chats over questions is that there's a more relaxed atmosphere, and people can ask for or express opinions or other types of questions that are generally off-topic on the site.

What is the community's opinion on this? Is this something that you would personally want to take part in? Have you wanted to create a chat room of your own before?

I'm keeping this open and open-ended to continually elicit ideas.

4 Answers 4

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A couple of thoughts:

  • Anyone with 100 reputation can create a chat room and is free to do so. Not many chat rooms have popped up spontaneously under our site, but the door for it remains open.

  • If anyone likes a specific chat room topic, I'm happy with the topic being given a shot. Just go and try and see if it sticks. Some rooms will die out and be forgotten, some may be resuscitated later, and some may even become popular. I'd let it go pretty organically without too much planning; we can adjust things later if need be.

  • I can well imagine that a number of users would like a specific kind of a room but don't feel strongly enough about it to get it started. That's what this question (or opinions expressed in the main chat) is good for: collecting ideas that we might work as a chat.

  • I'm happy with keeping everything in one room, so I personally feel no pressure to expand.

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  • "That's what this question (or opinions expressed in the main chat) is good for: collecting ideas that we might work as a chat." Yep, this is precisely why I made this: just gauging interest.
    – cmw Mod
    Dec 20, 2022 at 22:00
  • @cmw That's how I construed it, but I only had general remarks. Would it make sense to add short CW answers for people to vote on, like "I'd like a room where we only speak Latin" or "I'd like a room where we can ask silly questions" or "The one room is enough for my needs"?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Dec 20, 2022 at 22:02
  • I figured I'd let users suggest on their own, but perhaps I could add the two I suggested as well.
    – cmw Mod
    Dec 20, 2022 at 23:08
  • I like the idea of a chat dedicated to only speaking in Latin. Not to the exclusion of the main chat but as a dedicated space where someone can always expect to have conversations solely within the Latin language.
    – Adam
    Dec 21, 2022 at 19:09
  • Chat rooms automatically archive after a period of inactivity, do they not? That's the only issue I see with proactively opening some, although that also makes maintenance easy if a room doesn't pan out as being useful.
    – Adam
    Dec 21, 2022 at 19:10
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    @Adam They freeze after a week, but they can be unfrozen. What happens after a longer period of inactivity I don't remember.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Dec 21, 2022 at 19:18
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I see the benefit of a Latin-language-only chat room. Not that people can't converse in Latin in the main chat, but having a dedicated room with that expectation would be helpful. It would encourage and foster live conversations in Latin that can help build engagement and generate additional questions for the site.

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If people want it, I think they should have it.

However, I personally wouldn't be thrilled: even more rooms to keep up with, and our users might be split a bit between rooms—but we already have so few users.

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    Agreed on both points! I have nothing against new rooms being created if someone wants to do so, but I don't really see myself frequenting more rooms than I currently do.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Dec 22, 2022 at 16:15
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If the current CHAT is undersubscribed how can increasing the specialisation change this? It's like the reataurateur who is losing money deciding to raise the prices. If he couldn't fill the place at the original prices... People come-and-go on CHAT which gives it a free-and-easy air; some contributors converse in Latin, some of the time e.g. cmw; Seb; Joonas; Cerberus; Nickimite; Vegwatcher; Tyler Durden; & Unbrutal_Russian...Even if some of these only make infrequent appearances.

I wouldn't like a room where Latin discourse was obligatory. It takes (me) time to prepare and check Latin. Others may also find this which is potentially discouraging. A specialist site may be frequented only by a small group of contributors (e.g. the above). How, then, would such a site differ from CHAT as we know it?

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    A Latin-only room would certainly not be for everyone; I am sure you are not the only user who would feel discouraged to enter. That's not really an issue, as the main room is going to stay up anyway and nobody forces anyone to enter any new ones. The only change would be that there is an additional new place for a new activity. But I do agree that such a room might not be viable, given the level of chat activity we've seen.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Dec 22, 2022 at 16:14
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    Hi tony. I think I wasn't entirely clear, so I'll edit op sometime when I get a minute to explain my reasoning. Long story short, though: some people might not find general chat appealing, but would find it if like-minded people gather together for specific purposes. I myself have no reason to go to Literature.SE chat, but if they had a targeted discussion on the Iliad, I, who used to teach it, would be there regularly to chime in.
    – cmw Mod
    Dec 23, 2022 at 0:38
  • @cmw: Joonas, above, has made it clear that setting-up a new site is easy. If that is so then please proceed. Guys like me will have to work faster. What might not be easy is the generation of interest. There's only one way to find out.
    – tony
    Dec 24, 2022 at 10:53

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