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In 2014 @AmericanLuke asked:

Another aspect up for discussion is where we should hold the chat? There is not much chat happening in our main room, Roots. Perhaps we are diluting interest by having two separate rooms. Should we merge the two and hold our chats in the main room or keep there own room?

and today @ColeValleyGirl concluded an answer to Improving the Weekly Chat, 2017 edition with:

Or we could fold it all back into Roots and put the effort into keeping one chat room alive...

Is there a compelling case for G&FH SE continuing to maintain two chat rooms (Roots and Genealogy Conference)?

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  • Have we now decided to do this?
    – user104
    Dec 22 '17 at 9:45
  • @ColeValleyGirl I'd hoped that there might be a discussion of any downsides to deactivating a chat room first. I know that I occasionally search chat for earlier conversations, but not so much that it would worry me to lose that forever (if there is no archive kept).
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Dec 22 '17 at 9:55
  • Even if it's frozen it's still accessible -- try any of the existing frozen rooms.
    – user104
    Dec 22 '17 at 10:00
  • @ColeValleyGirl Do you know if it rolls over to an archived/deleted state from frozen after some period of time or does it remain frozen/archived forever?
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Dec 22 '17 at 10:02
  • I've just visited one that's been frozen for over 1800 days... don't know if there is a limit, but it's a long one if there is.
    – user104
    Dec 22 '17 at 10:24
  • @ColeValleyGirl I'll suggest in the mod room that we proceed with ceasing to use the Genealogy Conference Room, unless the community thinks that it is Roots that we should decommission.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Dec 22 '17 at 10:27
  • I read AndyW's answer as proposing we retain Roots.
    – user104
    Dec 22 '17 at 10:44
  • @ColeValleyGirl that's how I read it too but before requesting that the community discontinue using either I want to know that the consensus has been reached between more than just the three of us that have participated in this Meta Q&A so far.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Dec 22 '17 at 11:56
  • It's a hard call -- the question has been open for a month, and the only answer has been upvoted (wth no downvotes).Should we not act on Meta questions as all (even ones where the only responses have been affirmative)? Or are we going to ask another question to test whether people really meant to vote on this or ignore it?
    – user104
    Dec 22 '17 at 12:04
  • I would like to point out that December, especially the second half of December, is a poor time to make decisions. The community doesn't visit often in the best of times, and at this time of year, many people have other commitments because of the holidays.
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Dec 22 '17 at 20:28
  • @JanMurphy agreed about December but the question was asked in November -- and we rarely see anything in Meta after the first week of activity on a question. I dont care much about the answer -- I'm not one for chat -- but I am worried that Meta isn't functioning as a place to take decisions (which are then implemented). If Meta isn't an engine for change, we don't have one.
    – user104
    Dec 23 '17 at 7:28
  • @ColeValleyGirl Late November is also problematic for the USA because of Thanksgiving (Canadians sensibly have theirs in October). But never mind -- the important thing is, I share your concerns with Meta not functioning well these days.
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Dec 23 '17 at 18:01
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I would like to keep the two chat rooms but as the late, great baseball manager Yogi Berra said, "If people don't want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?"


One problem that was not considered when the question was raised -- at the moment, we have reminders set up for the Weekly Chat which are linked to the Conference Room. See Moving scheduled event from one chat room to another?

Do we want to throw that mechanism, and make people sign up all over again? To me this is unnecessary work and requires energy that could be put into the site elsewhere.

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  • If it is not trivial to move the weekly chat to Roots then I agree that we should leave the two rooms open.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Dec 24 '17 at 8:02
  • How many people subscribe to the reminders -- is it really a problem given how few people participate?
    – user104
    Dec 24 '17 at 8:17
  • It bugs me that when we're discussing tags, the argument seems to be that we should plan for further growth, but then we turn around and undo past work on the grounds of low volume or 'no one is using it'. Are we planning for the future, or not?
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Dec 24 '17 at 21:52
  • We should be planning for the future but there's nothing stopping us breaking a single chat room back into 2 in the future if the volume deserves it. I just wonder if having two largely inactive chat rooms is contributing anything to the vigor of the site right now.
    – user104
    Dec 26 '17 at 19:32
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No, there is not a compelling case - we should merge the chats into a single room.

A second room for topic-based discussion does make a lot of sense - it stops the general banter from the main room treading all over the more focused chat. But we simply don't have the chat volumes at present to make this a serious problem.

Separation just gives us two sparse chats. @JanMurphy's sterling work on the weekly chats often spends a week just echoing in the Conference, while Roots has been suspended for inactivity a couple of times this year. Although the Conference has more messages overall than Roots, it has half the number of all-time users (20 vs 40) which suggests that fewer people are even seeing the content there. That really doesn't help.

(If those numbers are correct, given the site stat of 4135 "users", only ~1% have actually typed anything into Roots at all, and 0.5% in the Conference!)

I don't believe we're actually realising any benefit from having two rooms, so I think we should consolidate chat to a single room. It's presumably not too hard to split out again if the omnichat becomes congested, anyway.

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