Can chat rooms still add value to online communities?

by Martin Reed on 25 April 2008 in Articles

Do chat rooms have a future?

I have recently been writing more articles related to developing online chat rooms as I noticed I have neglected to really cover this area on the blog. This is quite ironic, as my first community website was a chat site! My articles on chat room development seem to be going down well although I have noticed a few readers commenting that they are surprised chat rooms are still popular, or even still around. Chat rooms are still around, and can still add real value to online communities.

Crunch the chat room numbers

Type the word ‘chat’ into Google and you’ll see 845 million results returned – not the sign of a niche that is going to disappear any time soon.

Chat trends

Google Trends shows a small decline in the ‘chat’ search term as shown above, but this is over a period of around four years. Over such a period of time, the overall decline is minuscule. If we extend the search to ‘chat rooms’ however, the decline is more evident:

chat room trends

Does this mean that chat rooms will soon disappear from the Internet? Not at all.

Chat rooms and Internet technology

Chat rooms used to typify interaction on the Web, particularly for the novice Internet user. The advancement of technology has resulted in websites that offer a wide range of community features that are accessible and relatively easy to use. The large social networks such as Facebook and MySpace couldn’t have existed ten years ago; chat rooms could though, and did.

Websites evolve over time, and the technology that supports them does the same. Online chat rooms used to be extremely rudimentary, with users simply submitting text to an HTML page that would periodically refresh. Now we have feature rich Java applications and some sites are taking a stab at Flash based chat rooms, too. Chat rooms will not disappear from the Internet – they will merely continue to evolve.

Chat rooms get a bad press. Although this is improving as people’s knowledge of the Internet increases, online chat still has an image problem. This is unfortunate as online chat rooms can be hugely rewarding and add massive value to an online community. Chat rooms that are well moderated and populated with mature, friendly members are the sign of a healthy, vibrant community. Inviting chat rooms result in people staying on your website for longer, creating a stronger bond with your brand and your community.

Online chat rooms do still have a place in online communities. They may have dropped off the radar, but they are still around, they are still popular, and they can still earn you great revenues.

Your thoughts

Do you think online chat rooms are dead? Do you think they are about to disappear? Have you tried to incorporate chat rooms into your online communities? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.

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Smiley April 25, 2008 at 4:34 pm

I don’t think chat rooms will disappear.

Sure, audio/video chat is becoming more popular. Sure, chat clients are becoming more popular, and yes; social networking sites are very popular.

But a lot of people still like to simply sit down and type to each other.

I think a social networking site can eventually be built AROUND a chat community, which is what I am planning to do in the future.

I’ll have profiles and a small social networking section on Friendly Chat, but I’ll always have chat rooms without any need to register.

As for the image problem, this is the area I’m working on. This is why I’ve turned staff to “customer support” and creating a friendly image, so far it’s working. People want to feel safe. They just don’t feel safe anymore in chat rooms. Perverts, scrollers, abusers.

Owners of websites just no longer care about keeping perverts and sexual abusers out anymore, as long as they’re making money, what do they care?

But I’m glad the big sites feel that way. Because that’s how us little guys get our foot in the door. Users come across our site, see how genuinely we truly care and how hard we try to make them feel comfortable and safe, they really appreciate the effort made and end up becoming loyal regulars.

I wouldn’t say chat sites are dying… I’d say that big chat sites are slowly losing their appeal because people are fed up of logging in to be bombed with “asl asl asl, cam cam, msn msn, what are you wearing?” and none of these big sites care.

I’m currently working on articles on my site to try and help people ‘chat’ without having to simply bomb people with “ASL?” – one of our slogans at FC is “let’s put the ‘chat’ back into ‘chatting” — referring to doing away with “asl” and sexual harassment.

But chat sites do need to move with the times too and realize people also want more than just chat. But, you’ve already got that covered at JC. Your e-mail penpals is social networking, is it not? You have your message boards, your chat, and your social networking side. You’ve got it covered, I don’t think JC has anything to worry about!

That’s the one thing I’m still missing, the social networking bit. But I’m working on it.

I think all chat sites need the message boards, the chat rooms, and some sort of profile system to attract people…………… but I think the main area owners need to focus on these days is their rules and policies. Not many other people will agree with me, but I can see it. I’m a chatter myself, so I know what I, as a chatter am looking for.

A friendly site with no perverts and where I can actually CHAT, and not simply be asked “asl asl asl” <- it’s the ASL brigade that are ruining chat rooms. People just aren’t conversing anymore. How can a CHAT room survive without… CHATTING?

So I’m going to go my own way, discourage such abbreviations and encourage actual conversations & banter, keep out perverts unlike 99.9% of other sites who see them as “user numbers”.

“So what if they’re pervs? We have 300 people online.” — quality over quantity. I’d rather have 16 regular chatters all having fun and banter and conversing, rather than 1600 perverts shouting ASL at each other.

Chat rooms with the right ideology, or adopt the right ideology will survive in the future. Chat rooms that stick to the “user numbers is the most important thing, we can’t just ban everyone offends a few females” frame of mind will slowly wither and die away.

That’s my opinion, anyway.

Amish Made Furniture April 26, 2008 at 11:00 am

I couldn’t agree more. My experience in some chat rooms have left me with very bad taste. Unless the membership is monitored and moderated, they are insufferable. I personally would not like to participate in chatrooms. Just go to any Yahoo chat room and log in and see what happens. Even their “Spiritual” chat room is full of weirdos.

Eric Martindale April 27, 2008 at 6:16 pm

I don’t know – I’ve had great luck with implementing a chat on one of my sites about roleplay. What we did is implement a full chat – and then expand upon traditional chat functionality.

We embed a stateless chat on all content pages, which enables users to interact immediately while they’re viewing or generating content. This has been vastly successful, and leads me to believe that chat isn’t going away – it’s just changing.

To make a chat add value to an online community, you’ll need to innovate. This is something that Martin and I have always said – generate something new and unique for your community, and you’ll keep visitors coming back for more and more.

Carl-Johan Sveningsson April 28, 2008 at 7:43 am

Hi there,

Interesting little article – my $0.02 are that one thing which definitely has declined in the current internet is realtime group communication! Simple as that – there are non-realtime group message boards and individual to individual realtime instant messaging or non-realtime email, but the realtime group communication segment such as IRC is declining (because of the rise of newer techs?).

With that partitioning the benefits and drawbacks of each method become very obvious, and I found myself a place which I felt could benefit from this sort of relaxed, instantaneous group communication – The Swedish Young Scientists Foundation – . The decline of classical foundations (“föreningsliv”) at least in Sweden is a whole other topic…

Anyway, I will try to sell this to them with the means necessary, for example doing a ChatZilla install-and-connect screencast to show how simple it is to use IRC for whoever doesn’t feel like installing and getting themselves Skype instead.

Any comments on promoting these kinds of things or working with these issues are very welcome, do you know of any further great resources on the topic?


Bat April 28, 2008 at 7:52 am

Hi Tommy.
I agree with you totally about constant “asl”, it is annoying, but, whilst I can understand you wanting to discourage users from constantly asking asl and actually start chatting, (that,s good because it is after all, what chat rooms are for, to chat,) What do you do if users ignore requests not to bombard other users with “asl” though, do you ban them? And as for the perverts, I couldn,t agree more about keeping them out. The problem is, that a lot of the time, the pervs will sit in the lobby using a totally innocent name, you,d never guess that they were a perv. So unless another user pc,s you and tells you that Jenny 24 is actually a pervert aged 56 called Bill who keeps pcing them asking them to cam and have phone sex, how do you know? You are always going to get at least one weirdo in chat rooms, i,ts unavoidable. Also what do you do about users who just sit in the lobby or the rooms and just “watch” the convo but don,t actually join in? Do you eject users who don,t chat? It may well be that they are simply new to chat and are getting a “feel for it” as it were and watching to see how everyone chats. I certainly don,t think chat rooms are going anywhere, well I hope not lol or I,m out of a job. Sites like UK Chat closed their doors a while ago saying, amongst other things that they felt that the time for chat rooms was over. I don,t agree atall. There will always be chat rooms. Look at MIRC, there are thousands of rooms to choose from there.

Smiley April 28, 2008 at 10:49 am

Hi Bat,

No. We take no action against them at all if they do use ASL, we don’t have to. We politely “discourage” it. I have a very loyal regular member base.

If someone comes in shouting ASL ASL ASL… people ignore them. They don’t ignore them completely, they just ignore the abbreviation. All members do it. They just chat to them. As an example

New enters the room

Reg 1: Yeah, I agree Reg 2, it could be an ear infection if you have pain down that side of the face. I’d go to the doctor

New: hi pplz asl plz im a stoopid txt talker asl plz

Reg 2: I will, Reg 1. Thanks for your advice. Hi, New :) welcome to Friendly Chat. How are you?

New: hi asl plz asl asl asl asl asl

Reg 1: Hi, New :) welcome to the site. If you need anything just ask.. there’s usually a Support person in, they must be on their tea break lol

Reg 2: lol, can’t get the staff these days

New: asl plz

Reg 1: How are you, New?

New: fine tnx asl plz

Reg 2: That’s good, New :) What do you do for a living?

New: im a student at college doing sociology, how old are you all please?

Reg 1 : I’m 34, New. And how old are you?

You get the idea. We try provoking proper conversation. It doesn’t always work.. but it works a lot of the time and they actually end up CONVERSING.

It was Martin’s initiative, actually. It was from him I learnt that users mimic the owner, so that’s the example I’ve been setting and all the regulars have followed suite.

So chat rooms aren’t dying. BIG chat sites are dying because people want a sense of community and want to CHAT. They no longer want ASL ASL ASL.

As for perverts in PM, US law requires private conversations to be logged. If a user complains about a pervert, I can check the private message log and see if it’s true.

You also know my work very well, Bat ;) you know I always have an undercover female name lurking somewhere to catch the perverts out.

This is what chat sites need, and this is what chat site users want.

Mr Woc April 28, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Hi There

Chat rooms will always be around in some capacity, second life is essentially a big chat room really, so they will always be around.

I have noticed a decline in interest in chat rooms though, there are several reasons for this, I think the increase in social networking sites has been the main reason why people dont use chat rooms anymore, they are safer and easier to avoid nutters and perverts !

But other issues like badly run chat rooms which have put people off chat rooms, because of the shocking private messages or people getting insulted in the main room, has turned people away from chat rooms.

I saw somone mention IRC earlier, there is defo not much interest in this anymore, there is a pretty simple answer for it really, its CRAP simple as that lol, too many bots, too many pervs and not enough chatting, recipie for disaster, and IRC is not the only party guilty of doing nothing about this, there are several websites in the top 10 on google, which shouldnt be there, as they have no moderation, no thought for users and are just a money making excersize for webmasters, these kind of websites hurt our reputation as chat room owners.

So now i dont link to them anymore, i only link to websites that i think are being run responsibly, as i want to promote a good experiance of chat rooms, so people can meet some normal people and talk without the hassle of being stalked or being hit on !


Bat April 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Yes Mr Woc, IRC is crap. I used to use it many many moons ago when I first got onto the internet. bots are dreadful things. We prefer “real people” at Just Chat.
Yes people getting abuse in pm is something that concerns us obviously, just as abuse in the room does. Users have the option to turn off private chats if they wish so they can,t get bombarded with “pervy” requests. They can also ignore individual users in the rooms if they wish. The trouble I often find is, the users don,t actually use this facility even though it,s there. They simply expect you to come in and eject the user. Fair enough, but what do they do when you arn,t there? I know of users who, instead of using the ignore function when there has been a gonk disrupting chat, have actually sat there for over an hour watching the crap this user typed and also arguing back with them, thus inflaming the situation and making it worse. Why? Where is the sense in that? Surely it makes more sense to ignore the abusive gonk, so that the other users can continue with their chat in peace?
And yes Tommy, I know you very well young man. I know you probably have a “female ” sitting there somewhere to catch out the “perv”. Good idea actually, signing in twice then booting the perv.. hmmmm. Your giving me ideas. ;)

Smiley April 29, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Bat, James Belfast & I always used to work together on JC

One of us would login as an innocent girly sounding name while the other in as Guide, and we’d PM the one in as staff all the names of the perverts to boot.

It was very effective.. and I’ve taken that kind of work that I’ve learnt at other places and using it to benefit myself now.

Gillian April 29, 2008 at 10:11 pm

@ Smiley

Wow, that looks like a lot of work. I am almost sure that 90% of people are not ready to make such sacrifice. But I understand its necessary to be done.

MPE April 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Funny, I remember when chat rooms used to be the biggest and greatest thing on the Internet. I really don’t see the point in chat rooms for 99% of sites. I much prefer forums now since you don’t rely on someone else being there at the moment and can carry on conversation for a longer period of time about a much larger variety of things.

The only places I really see chat rooms nowadays are on sports sites. ESPN and such have chats all the time where people submit questions and the writer answers them in real-time. That really is it.

Martin Reed - Blog Author April 30, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Smiley – I completely agree with you; the big sites are suffering because conversations are largely unmoderated resulting in an unpleasant atmosphere without any real interaction or relationship building. Being able to see what the big sites do wrong, and ensuring you cater to the disaffected is a great strategy for success.

Ramana – Again, I think this is one of the biggest problems with chat rooms and why they have such a poor image in the minds of the majority. People think that what happens on the larger sites happens in all chat sites – this certainly isn’t the case; every chat site is different, just as every online community is different.

Eric“chat isn’t going away – it’s just changing” ; I couldn’t agree more. Has anyone else noticed the instant messenger recently introduced in Facebook?

Carl-Johan Sveningsson – There has definitely been a big increase in one-2-one instant messenger applications, but perhaps this is because they are at an earlier stage of their product lifecycle compared to ‘group’ chat rooms. I think IRC was only really attractive to technical users – as they move away, there are no new users to replace them. As a result there will always be a demand for group chat rooms – people still want to socialise in groups and meet new people; these needs cannot be satisfied in one-2-one instant messenger products.

Bat – I think you make a good point; there is only so far you should go when trying to ‘modify’ user behaviour; if you go too far, you risk coming across as overly dictatorial resulting in it becoming extremely hard to develop a successful online community!

Mr Woc – You’re right; Second Life is basically a giant graphics-based chat room. I think people are still interested in online chat rooms, they just need to be shown them in friendly, approachable and welcoming communities. Unmoderated chat rooms with no interest or attention from the site owner give people a bad impression and result in them thinking that all chat rooms are equal. They aren’t.

Gillian – It’s the effort that smaller communities go to that makes them a success and enables them to compete with the larger sites.

MPE – Forums are great, but they don’t satisfy the same needs as online chat rooms. I think both have their place; indeed as you mention, sometimes there are occasions when online chat rooms are the best form of communication on a community website.

Smiley April 30, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Eric – “chat isn’t going away – it’s just changing” ; I couldn’t agree more. Has anyone else noticed the instant messenger recently introduced in Facebook?

Never used Facebook but it’s true. Chat is changing and sooner or later we’ll all be forced to catch up. Chat is becoming more expensive, too.

My client has its downfalls, it’s flash. Flash is experimental as a chat, bugs are being ironed out all the time. But the tech guys are great and it is so customizable.

Once I have enough profits I can add audio/video – group or private.

There’s an instant messenger built into my client. When a registered user logs in they have a contact list just like an instant messenger. They can just stay out of the rooms, keep the client minimized and chat in private to their friends. Joining a room is optional.

It has all the fancy stuff that advanced users want. PicShare, where you can send a pic (but I’ve made it so they can’t right click and save the pictures.. to enhance privacy), there’s picture drawing, sounds, all the little stuff people like to play with.

Personally I don’t like them. I just like to type.. but we have to keep up with the times.

Nicole Price April 30, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Now with private chat with approved people, I would never venture into a chat room again just for some random conversation with someone I do not know. It’s the kind of thing new users of the internet do for an initial kick and the fun of it. I guess the fad dies down with age snd better use of the internet.

Jenna May 2, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Good post. I must say I haven’t been in an actual chat room in years! I never got anything good from it!

John Walters May 4, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Chat rooms are definitely not dying. There will always be a need for instant messaging with people who you did not previously know.

Chat rooms are just going to take on different forms. They have to become more personal so that people actually get something out of them.

With sites like Facebook you can meet new people but you are unable to talk to them ‘instantly’ or over Webcam.


Smiley May 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Audio/video is in demand these days, yes.

Unfortunately, it’ll cost me £200 a month to add the feature. So I need to figure out a way to pull in some serious revenue in the future to add that feature.

Perhaps once I can afford to add the feature, I can charge people to use the feature. My client has ‘usergroups’ where you can hide chat rooms from people not in that usergroup. So I could charge people £10 p/month to enable the audio/video chat rooms.

If 20 people subscribe.. that’s the costs covered.

I’ll always keep basic text rooms though.

filme May 5, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Chat rooms will no disappear totally. I believe they will be incorporated into social network sites, in a similar fashion to how Facebook recently has done so giving the user more freedom.

Martin Reed - Blog Author May 5, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Smiley – I am not sure chat software is becoming more expensive in itself, it’s just that any added features can be pricey as they consume huge amounts of bandwidth and server resources; particularly voice and video chat. It can be a tough decision for a chat site developer to decide just what features to offer users – you don’t want to overwhelm them, and should only invest in features that members want, and will use.

You’re right about Flash – I don’t think it is quite there yet in terms of reliability as a chat solution compared to Java.

Nicole – I respect that; some people like meeting new people in a chat room environment, others prefer to just chat with people they already know. It’s all about meeting the needs of your audience.

Jenna – Nothing at all?!? You must have been going to the wrong ones!

John Walters – I agree with you. Instant messaging is great, but it relies on you knowing how you are communicating with in advance. What about those that want to meet new people? Forums are not as effective at building immediate relationships between members than chat rooms can be.

filme – Agreed, yet I still think there is a place for open chat rooms that don’t require people to know each other in advance before being able to initiate a conversation.

Bat May 5, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Tommy whilst voice and video chat sounds like a great idea, how do you moderate it? If you have two people chatting to each other, “face to face” and one tells you the other one has threatened them, how do you deal with that? That is why we don,t allow cam/msn in user names on Just Chat because we can,t moderate that form of chat. Do you think that users will pay 10 pounds a month to use this feature? Would you, as a “normal user” want to engage in voice/video chat with someone you didn,t even know? I personally wouldn,t want to use that kind of thing.

Sandra Prangenberg May 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm

The problem is, that a lot of the time, the pervs will sit in the lobby using a totally innocent name, you,d never guess that they were a perv. So unless another user pc,s you and tells you that Jenny 24 is actually a pervert aged 56 called Bill who keeps pcing them asking them to cam and have phone sex, how do you know? You are always going to get at least one weirdo in chat rooms, i,ts unavoidable. Also what do you do about users who just sit in the lobby or the rooms and just “watch” the convo but don,t actually join in? Do you eject users who don,t chat? It may well be that they are simply new to chat and are getting a “feel for it” as it were and watching to see how everyone chats.

Chat May 7, 2008 at 7:01 am

First off thanks for the new chat post!

I don’t think chat rooms are going to die off. Like smiley said I thank chat rooms are becomming an integrated clog in the social networking machine. I belive that someday pure 1990′s “chat sites” may become less popular due to social networking /w chat rooms. I know myspace has chat rooms integrated in but im not sure about facebook. When i first started my online community i wanted to stay away from having “chat / rooms” in my domain name because of the movement of having more then just chat / rooms on the new social sites. When i started building up my traffic I wished i added the “chat” into my domain for higher search results but recently i have changed my time back. Along with smiley I have built my online community around my chat rooms.


Smiley May 9, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Bat, recent legislation means private conversations have to be logged. ChatBlazer conforms to this legislation and I can see everything said/done in private.

I do plan on adding audio/video in the future, obviously it will have to be a subscription service. So only users who want it will have it. Their paid subscription along with banner ads will hopefully cover the costs.

Martin, Flash isn’t ‘quite’ there yet – but it is coming along very nicely. ChatBlazer v7 is very nice, but is not without its bugs and flaws. CB v8 is out this summer, I’m anticipating its release and very excited for it. It looks promising.

I love how customizable it is. I’m learning new things about it every day. What I’ve done though, as you’ve said you don’t want to overwhelm people, and for some reason my site gets a lot of people that are new to chat rooms and the internet all together. Must be something in my keywords that attracts them. I’ve removed most of the public features. In public.. well actually I’ve removed them all. It’s just type and press enter, except for emoticons & fonts.

Amongst the rotating banner ads, I have instructional banners to help people with private features. Picture sending, picture drawing, personalized audio messages etc. So they can learn and play over time.


Chat rooms have come a long way, huh?? I really don’t think their end is nigh, either. I think traditional chats are coming to an end, and I think people are growing tired of big chats because of the perverts.

I believe a site with an anti-perv mindset really has a future.. in the future. Just takes time.

Bat May 11, 2008 at 7:32 am

Yes Tommy I know all private convos are logged, they are with us, I was asking how you moderate voice and video chat. If one user gets abuse whilst using this service,on your site, are you as the site owner libel in any way if it ISN,T moderated? I,m just not sure how this whole thing works and to be honest with you, I think that kind of thing is a perverts paradise. I mean just imagine dear old Tony using it. He finally gets to “see” who he is abusing. I,m glad that we don,t use it. As a “normal” user I certainly wouldn,t be comfortable using such a thing.

Smiley May 11, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Oh, no. I wouldn’t be libel. Just put a few more sentences in the TOS and I’m covered. Plus it’s an optional feature, it isn’t turned on all the time. They will ‘request’ cam similar to how it’s done on MSN.

Not sure if cam is private actually or group cam only. But if it’s group we can see them. Anyone doing naughty things they shouldn’t will be banned, despite paying for it.

Martin Reed - Blog Author May 12, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Sandra – I would never eject someone just because they weren’t publicly getting involved; as you say, they may just be getting a feel for the community. The truth is, it is impossible to determine who is an ‘undesirable’ user without seeing what they are saying. There is nothing to stop undercover staff from using the chat room, though – they can then take action if such users initiate conversations of a nature that you do not want on your site.

Cody – I agree with you. I think there is still a place for online chat rooms but sites need to be able to offer more if they want to retain their users. This is the reason why Just Chat now has a forum, a free email penpals section and free ecards.

Smiley – I wasn’t aware of the legislation you refer to, can you provide a link?

Smiley May 13, 2008 at 3:12 pm

I believe it’s only US legislation, since ChatBlazer is US, they’ve had to conform to the law and so have I, being on their servers. About 65% of our visitors are American anyway for some reason.

Here’s a snippet;
ChatBlazer Helps Companies Meet New Mandatory Government Compliance Requirements

Winston-Salem, NC December 18, 2006 — Friday, December 1, 2006, a story hit news stations nationwide that would change businesses forever. The U.S. Supreme Court administration approved rules that would require businesses to track e-mails, instant messages (IMs), and other electronic communications and store that data for use in litigation that affects the business. Many businesses will now have to deal with the stress of finding software solutions that comply with these new rules.


I’ve had to include this in my privacy policy to make sure my users know they can trust me. I only ever read public transcripts. I never, ever, EVER read private transcripts unless there has been a serious complaint via the contact form.

Only I have access to the transcripts, too.

Privacy Policy on transcripts;

Erin May 14, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Great article. I could not agree more. I do not think that chat rooms are disappearing. THey are evolving, however… so some chat sites will be depleted, but not without the replacement of new sites… the miracle of life. Use AIM and IMVU for example. AIM last evolved into animated smileys, whereas IMVU is animated chat… the room, everything is virtual. And now, even IMVU is evolving into a revenue business, selling credits and objects for people to purchase in order to make chatting more stylish.

Larisa Spinks June 24, 2008 at 8:05 pm


I would welcome some advice, we are running asocial networking site at present and trying to position it as non-adult, how do I keep guys off the site who only wish to sit in front of the webcam with their ding dong on display?

Advice welcome!

Martin Reed - Blog Author June 26, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Erin – Yup, I agree; chat rooms are evolving. The instant messenger programs will probably improve in terms of interoperability and website chat rooms will continue to become more accessible. It is also interesting to see new revenue generating techniques emerge.

Larisa – You need to make it clear exactly what your site is for, and what is not permitted. Write up some rules, and promote these throughout your site. A clear, prominent mission statement would also help.

Guy September 24, 2008 at 11:15 pm

One of the hardest things to do with running a chat server is keeping it on topic.. It’s nearly impossible to police it all of the time, especially video and audio chats where log tracking is so hard to do..

Definitely making sure people know what you expect of them when they enter is a good thing, and a quick hand on the ban button helps too..

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 6, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Guy – I don’t think chat rooms need to have a set topic. Sure, you can suggest themes, but you should let people chat about anything they like (within your site rules) – after all, imagine trying to get a real life room of people to talk ONLY about one specific subject.

Christina March 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I came across this posting a little late. I typed the word “chat” into google to see how many results it would return 2 years after this post was created. The number is down to half of what it was, from 845 million to 440 million.