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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?

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  • $\begingroup$ How long can it be? $\endgroup$ – amoeba Oct 16 '19 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ 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 Oct 16 '19 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). $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Oct 16 '19 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ @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. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Oct 16 '19 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ I took the liberty of sharing this meta question in the chat. $\endgroup$ – Stephan Kolassa Oct 17 '19 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ @StephanKolassa which led me here, Thanks! $\endgroup$ – user230053 Oct 17 '19 at 13:00
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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.

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    $\begingroup$ I think "substantive questions" is a bit too vague; maybe "statistical questions"? $\endgroup$ – amoeba Oct 17 '19 at 8:20
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    $\begingroup$ @amoeba, how about, "... ask questions about statistics or machine learning on..."? $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Oct 17 '19 at 11:24
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    $\begingroup$ I actually like "substantive questions"; I think that's better than omitting it $\endgroup$ – Glen_b Oct 20 '19 at 23:11

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