Our general chat room is Ten fold. We sometimes describe it as being, "just for gossip and grumbles". People occasionally ask substantive statistics or machine learning questions there, and we often request they ask on the main site instead. There are some simple reasons why questions should be asked on the main site instead of chat:

  1. The question will get more attention from potential answerers.
  2. There is more room to give a proper answer, and there are better facilities for doing so (e.g., formatting).
  3. The information will be better preserved and more easily findable by future people with the same question.

In light of this, it might be better to have something in the chat room's description that says questions should be asked on the main site (this idea comes from a suggestion by @ankii). Right now it just says,

CrossValidated general room.

What should it say?

  • $\begingroup$ How long can it be? $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 13:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have to endorse "gossip and grumbles" as I even believe that I put that expression into play as a very minor meme. The harder question is whether there is a negative to be added. It's usually @gung who ends up advising people not to ask a substantive question, signalling tactfully that it's a waste of time to do that in a chat room. But I don't like summaries including the form "Don't do X", as they seem unwelcoming, even with "Please" before, during and after, and a rationale. (No; that doesn't help much.) $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba, it's unclear, but it can be long enough. Some chat rooms have a description on the order of a comment (which I believe is 500 characters). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 14:46
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @NickCox, I agree that 'Don't do X' isn't very welcoming. It might be OK to have a positive comment in the other direction, though. Consider, "Please ask substantive questions on the main site". That communicates a similar message, in what seems to be to be a friendlier manner. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ I took the liberty of sharing this meta question in the chat. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ @StephanKolassa which led me here, Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – user230053
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


How about (136 characters):

CrossValidated's general room for gossip, grumbles, and idle chat. All are welcome. Please ask substantive questions on the main site.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think "substantive questions" is a bit too vague; maybe "statistical questions"? $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 8:20
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @amoeba, how about, "... ask questions about statistics or machine learning on..."? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 11:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I actually like "substantive questions"; I think that's better than omitting it $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 23:11

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