So, one of the common ways to deal with a type of question that comes up that isn't appropriate for the site, but is on topic, is to do a chat. I'm curious, is there any interest to do a periodic chat for recommendations? I think it would be quite interesting, maybe to do once a month or so. Thoughts?

Added by Gilles: We're currently having a semi-weekly event, every other Wednesday at 19:00 UTC (21:00 CEST, noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern, 7am in .nz). That's obviously not going to be convenient to everybody, so I propose making it a weekly event and alternating the time of day and day of week. If you'd like to participate but can't make the current time, please propose an alternate time (and day).

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@Pearsonartphoto - sounds cool to me. I think you can create events for chat rooms. It would a nice balm to soothe the heartache of the recommendation seekers. –  Mark Rogers Mar 18 '11 at 3:43
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yes, chat supports events.. let us know if you have any feedback on how to make the event support better. It's decent, but could be improved. –  Jeff Atwood Mar 18 '11 at 9:54
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As we approach the time of the event, you may want to edit your question to have a link or directions to access chat. –  Keen Mar 18 '11 at 13:52
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@Jeff Atwood - I created a feature-request on meta Add title, time and link to next chat event in the front-page chat widgets, if it's not to your liking that's cool, but I think it would really help all of the chat room events. –  Mark Rogers Mar 20 '11 at 17:03
    
If this is successful, and I hope it is, perhaps we could create a scifi-recommendations chat room? The transcript + starred items would then be free of the meta-y discussion which is probably nicer for most users. We can associate multiple rooms with the site I think. –  Tony Meyer Mar 24 '11 at 4:20
    
@TonyMeyer: If you feel like starting a recommendation chat room feel free. –  Mark Rogers Mar 24 '11 at 20:24
    
@Pearsonartphoto - how did it go? –  Wikis Mar 25 '11 at 8:07
    
@mark I see from Gilles's answer below that it's possible to get transcripts just for the event. So perhaps a room isn't necessary. –  Tony Meyer Mar 25 '11 at 22:15
    
This question is tagged [featured], but there's not a whole lot of information for regular folks to know. Can this question be updated with the schedule, links to the archives, or something? –  user366 Apr 12 '11 at 17:39
    
I propose Sunday 09:00 UTC as the alternate time. Opposite end of the day, and weekend rather than weekday, so as to hopefully catch as many people that can't make the Wednesday 19:00 time as possible. –  Tony Meyer May 22 '11 at 6:50
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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

So we've had the first recommendation chat. 7 people participated, and at least one book was bought.

Two hours was a bit long. If we're to do this regularly, I recommend to stick to one hour; if that's not enough, we can just do it more often.

We should vary the time. We picked a compromise time during USA working hours and European sleeping hours, I think alternating between US evenings and European evenings (and more if people are interested) would be better.

(Of course people are welcome to ask recommendations on the chat at any time. The point of the event is to get many people at the same time so we can have a real conversation.)

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So, I'm just going to assume that this will work, and start the next one up for next Wednesday from 2300-100 UTC time. That should be from 4:00-6:00 p.m. West Coast time in the US, I'll let everyone else figure out what time that is locally.

If this is successful, we can try for chats at different times. Feel free to come early/ stay late as well.

First recommendation chat — see the transcript

http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/198/conversation/recommendation-chat-1-2011-03-23

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I'm UTC+1 until the end of next week, so I'll attend the beginning and go to sleep at some point. –  Gilles Mar 18 '11 at 8:35
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Suggestions:

  • Drop the datetime from this question's summary, because it makes this look out of date.
  • As suggested, alternate between European-centric and US-centric times. Create two events that reoccur every two weeks rather than one that has to be updated each week. (And that way people can see that there's a chat better suited to their time only an extra week away).
  • Move one of the two away from Wednesday. Selfish-reason: I can't really do any time Wednesday but could do just about any time other days of the week. Unselfish-reason: it seems possible others have this issue as well. e.g. US is Wednesday, Europe is Thursday (which other day doesn't matter).
  • Is it possible to have upcoming events listed in the room itself (e.g. under the starred items) rather than just in the rooms page? It seems likely that would increase the visibility. (If not, do others think opening a meta.stackoverflow.com request for that is a good idea?)
  • Is it possible to have upcoming events (even just the next event) listed by the "visit chat" link in the main site sidebar? Same deal with visibility.
  • For as long as we are trying this out, have a very brief link in the FAQ next to the point that explains that recommendation questions are not ok. ("Try the weekly recommendations chat"?)
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1: status-completed. 2: That was the plan already. 3: sure, why not. 4: yes, do open a MSO request if there isn't one already. Moderators can “pin” (a sort of “super-star” that takes precedence over stars) a message, we did that for the first rec chat. 5: Chat events turn into a system message (just below the top banner on the front page), but only when the chat is about to start, which I agree is too late. 6: On the contrary, I think a link should be added to the FAQ only if the rec chats become an established feature. –  Gilles Apr 8 '11 at 23:50
    
Mark has a meta.so post for the 5th item already: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/83938/… –  Tony Meyer May 22 '11 at 6:40
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What do people think about having a recommendation chat weekly on Wednesday at 8:00pm Eastern US time.

8:00pm Eastern time is:

  • 1:00am Thursday UTC Time
  • 7:00pm Central Time
  • 6:00pm Mountain Time
  • 5:00pm Pacific Time
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I propose: every other week at 8pm Eastern, and every other week at a decent time for Europeans –  Gilles Mar 28 '11 at 21:32
    
I admit that I don't really understand US time zones that well, but wouldn't 17:00 Pacific be 00:00 Thursday UTC? time.gov tells me that Pacific is UTC-7, and 17+7=0. –  Tony Meyer Mar 31 '11 at 9:14
    
@TonyMeyer: I think I got it right, but feel free to make some edits. Also if you want to add the time for your time zone, please do so. –  Mark Rogers Mar 31 '11 at 13:39
    
I don't understand US time zones well enough to be confident I'm right :) Adding everyone's time zone probably isn't necessary - I think everyone outside of the US is comfortable with UTC. (I'm UTC+12 which is particularly simple). –  Tony Meyer Mar 31 '11 at 20:08
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