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Chat Squatting

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FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969

(Continued from the General forum)

So if names were displayed as to who was in the room, and it said "sedjtroll" and "Nando," for example, what does that tell someone who wants to chat?

Why is it that the "squatting" behavior is useful or positive? I've listed some of the negatives.

Don't misunderstand me: helpful folks being in the chat room, ready to help folks out as they come through is awesome, a great service. But that's not what I'm talking about.

-- Matthew

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Chat Squatting

As one of the 'chat squatters', I think I ought to put foreward an arguement or two against the sentiment that there's anything wrong with chat squatting (which is often called Lurking or Idleing in the rest of the internet).

Regarding names:
As it is now, if someone sees 2 people in the chat, they might pop in to see who it is, find that it's Seth and Ran, who might not reply for 5 minutes because maybe we're asleep or reading BGG or out to dinner, and they leave. It appears some people might get frustrated by this, every time they pop in they see the same 2 names not chatting. As if the "2" is a false indicator that there's a chat going on. With names, if you see it's Seth and Ran, and you think it's likely that we're squatting and not chatting, and you don't want to waste your time loging in to find out, you can not bother. On the other hand, if you see that he 2 people are Captain Black and Darkehorse, you might think "hey, a real chat is going on, not just maybe" and suddenly it might be worth your 5 seconds to log in.

Why is 'squatting' behavior helpful or useful? Well, for those squatting it's nice because when conversation does pop up and we miss it, we can take a look later. This is handy when you can't make a scheduled chat, for example, but also when you know Nando and Captain Black will probably be in to chat about their games, which you often chat about with them, and you have to leave.

I guess the bottom line is, chat squatting is helpful for the squatter and not for others. If it weren't, noone would do it. Does that mean it shouldn't be done?

Regarding your negatives:
1. My first paragraph above addresses the "I was duped into thinking there was a chat going on" problem. The chat room is a room, not a guarantee that a chat is going on. We have scheduled chats, and the ability to schedule and/or post chats, and the ability to invite each other into the chat room for chats. I don't see why it's a crime to be in the chat room when there's not explicitly a chat going on.

2. My IM addressed the "Someone listened in on my chat" concern. The best arguement agains that is probably "It's not a private chat room", but a more useful one might be to suggest people could use the whisper command (as long as it's just 2 people anyway) in the chat room, in which case it would function exactly like the chatroom but without squatters listening in.

And finally, as Seb mentioned, those of us squatting would often LOVE to chat about something, and there's no real way to invite people who come and go from the site into the chat room than by simply sitting there. However looking at a blank screen is boring, so we do other things. We check back often, and sometimes people have come and gone.

In fact, when actively chatting people pop in, we all say hello, ask what they're up to or working on, and then they disappear without saying a word. That kind of behavior is just as annoying to chat squatters as chat squatting appears to be to others.

hpox
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Chat Squatting

Posted in the other thread

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Chat Squatting

sedjtroll wrote:
As it is now, if someone sees 2 people in the chat, they might pop in to see who it is, find that it's Seth and Ran, who might not reply for 5 minutes because maybe we're asleep or reading BGG or out to dinner, and they leave. It appears some people might get frustrated by this, every time they pop in they see the same 2 names not chatting. As if the "2" is a false indicator that there's a chat going on. With names, if you see it's Seth and Ran, and you think it's likely that we're squatting and not chatting, and you don't want to waste your time loging in to find out, you can not bother. On the other hand, if you see that he 2 people are Captain Black and Darkehorse, you might think "hey, a real chat is going on, not just maybe" and suddenly it might be worth your 5 seconds to log in.

Ok, but who knows this? Who should have to know this?

Quote:
I guess the bottom line is, chat squatting is helpful for the squatter and not for others. If it weren't, noone would do it. Does that mean it shouldn't be done?

If it has enough of a negative impact on the community, yeah, it means it shouldn't be done.

Quote:
1. My first paragraph above addresses the "I was duped into thinking there was a chat going on" problem. The chat room is a room, not a guarantee that a chat is going on. We have scheduled chats, and the ability to schedule and/or post chats, and the ability to invite each other into the chat room for chats. I don't see why it's a crime to be in the chat room when there's not explicitly a chat going on.

It's not a crime. It's confusing, and turns people off to the chat room, as was expressed right by someone immediately after I posted about "squatting." It's not a crime to leave the "open" sign out on your door after you close your business for the day, but it's certainly confusing to potential customers, and might well keep them from coming back if they feel duped. No crime, just confusing and has a negative impact on people who don't happen to "know" that certain names in the chat room are... dunno, "fake," for all intents and purposes.

Quote:
2. My IM addressed the "Someone listened in on my chat" concern. The best arguement agains that is probably "It's not a private chat room", but a more useful one might be to suggest people could use the whisper command (as long as it's just 2 people anyway) in the chat room, in which case it would function exactly like the chatroom but without squatters listening in.

It's not a crime to read over someone's shoulder on the bus or in the park, but it's impolite. I don't see why you, for example, should get to read every single thing I post in the chat room. Why do you get to leave a tape recorder on at the park bench when I'm trying to talk with my friend? Just because it's a public place doesn't mean that everything I say should be recorded by a third party.

Quote:
And finally, as Seb mentioned, those of us squatting would often LOVE to chat about something, and there's no real way to invite people who come and go from the site into the chat room than by simply sitting there. However looking at a blank screen is boring, so we do other things. We check back often, and sometimes people have come and gone.

And I acknowledge this problem. And while there's no easy solution, it's also why I suggested that if someone is going to be away for more than 15-30 minutes, they're not actually there to respond to people, so it doesn't really matter what the "squatter's" intent is if they're not participating in the discussion.

If I saw this in the chat room when I came on (with persons X and Y in the chat room for hours now):

Quote:

8:02pm Person A: Hello?
8:04pm Person A: Anyone there?
8:10pm Person A: Oh well.
8:20pm Person X: Whoops, sorry I missed you, was AFK
8:40pm Person B: Hello?
8:45pm Person B: Well, good luck!
8:50pm Person Y: Dang, missed another one. I'm interested in chatting, just hang on a little longer.

Then I'd think, "Hey, persons X and Y are hanging out to chat, and are extending the invitation to folks, but just keep missing them.

Instead I see:

Quote:

8:02pm Person A: Hello?
8:04pm Person A: Anyone there?
8:10pm Person A: Oh well.
8:40pm Person B: Hello?
8:45pm Person B: Well, good luck!
9:10pm Person C: Hey guys!
9:15pm Person C: Have you guys played Verflixxt?
9:20pm Person C: Hello?

So there are 3 people who wasted their time coming into the room and got a bad impression of it. And those are the people who actually posted. The ones who came to listen in and waited for the window to pop up and the thing to draw and all that and then saw that the last comment was over an hour ago yet don't type anything don't even show up.

Quote:
In fact, when actively chatting people pop in, we all say hello, ask what they're up to or working on, and then they disappear without saying a word. That kind of behavior is just as annoying to chat squatters as chat squatting appears to be to others.

Those people are walking into a room, find that there are strangers deeply discussing something they know nothing about and can't follow, and don't needlessly interrupt. I can't imagine why that's anywhere near as annoying as having someone effectively pretending they want to talk to you and then standing there silently when you try.

-- Matthew

sedjtroll
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Chat Squatting

FastLearner wrote:

Ok, but who knows this? Who should have to know this?

Nobody has to know that. This is just how internet chat works. If you see a pattern then you can learn from it. There's less of a pattern without the names shown.

Persoanlly, I would like to see the names shown not to see if it's a 'real' chat or not, but to see if it's my chat buddies in the room, or other people. If I don't have anything I really want to chat about, but I see Ran and Rick in there, I might pop in to say hi or see how Heir and Regent is going - something I know about. If I see 2 people I don't normally chat with and I don't have anything in particular to talk about, then I might not bother. That's what I liked about having the names show up on the front page, nothing to do with idling.

Quote:
Seth wrote:
I guess the bottom line is, chat squatting is helpful for the squatter and not for others. If it weren't, noone would do it. Does that mean it shouldn't be done?

If it has enough of a negative impact on the community, yeah, it means it shouldn't be done.

Well then I guess I'm arguing that it hasn't got enough negative impact on the community.

Quote:
It's not a crime. It's confusing, and turns people off to the chat room, as was expressed right by someone immediately after I posted about "squatting." It's not a crime to leave the "open" sign out on your door after you close your business for the day, but it's certainly confusing to potential customers, and might well keep them from coming back if they feel duped. No crime, just confusing and has a negative impact on people who don't happen to "know" that certain names in the chat room are... dunno, "fake," for all intents and purposes.

Those customers won't see the open sign unless they're at the store anyway, so if they're duped they lose a matter of seconds time at most, and they might gettheir hopes dashed that they could have gone in... same thing here, being 'duped' into thinking someone was chatting and then finding out they weren't is really not earth shattering.

This is how internet chat works, there are chat rooms, people idle in them, and sometimes people chat.

Quote:
It's not a crime to read over someone's shoulder on the bus or in the park, but it's impolite. I don't see why you, for example, should get to read every single thing I post in the chat room. Why do you get to leave a tape recorder on at the park bench when I'm trying to talk with my friend? Just because it's a public place doesn't mean that everything I say should be recorded by a third party.

This is a good point and a valid concern. I think I don't agree with the tape recorder or the reading over the shoulder analogies - not that they aren't accurate, but because again - that's the standard for internet chat.

Also, if I walk in during a conversation, or if I'm there, at my keyboard, but not participating in the chat, I'm still reading over your shoulder or putting a tape recorder on the park bench. Is that any less heinous? It's not as if you can't see exactly who's listening when you chat, and you can't control who's in the room and who isn't.

Maybe that's the crux. The wy chat rooms work, you can't control who's in it and who isn't, so the sensible thing to do is to accept that people idle in chat rooms. It's difficult to make them not, and it's difficult to argue whether it's right or wrong (because that's a matter of opinion). So instead, why not work with what you got... accept that people idle in chat rooms.

Quote:
Quote:
...looking at a blank screen is boring, so we do other things. We check back often, and sometimes people have come and gone.

And I acknowledge this problem.

I wouldn't call this a 'problem' perse, as that implies there might be a solution. this is simply the way it is.

Quote:
...if someone is going to be away for more than 15-30 minutes, they're not actually there to respond to people, so it doesn't really matter what the "squatter's" intent is if they're not participating in the discussion.

If the squatter is away, then there probably wasn't a discussion going on. If a discussion springs up while they're away and they return, they might well participate in the discussion.

Quote:
...So there are 3 people who wasted their time coming into the room and got a bad impression of it.

I don't know what to say. Those people need to understand that this is how internet chat works. It's not specific to this website. I doubt those people, even if annoyed, will be so turned off by that particular experience that they will never use the chat room again, or that they would leave the site or anything drastic like that.

I complain about traffic, but I still drive my car. There's not always good chats to be had, but I still hang out in the chatroom. People are within their right to get a little annoyed at the prospect of chatting turning out to be nothing at all, but that's not the kind of thing they can reasonably blame on anyone. I sometimes go into the chat room and people are going on and on about production costs and print runs, and I can't stand that stuff. Do I get to post saying it's bad ettiquate to chat about business in the game design chat room? I went in there looking for discussion of game ideas and mechanics! OF COURSE NOT, so how is that any different?

Quote:
...the last comment was over an hour ago yet don't type anything don't even show up.

How about some kind of beep or something when there's activity? That would get pretty annoying perhaps when there's a discussion. Maybe something with an on/off switch so you could surf the web and if someone says something you will hear it.

My irc client (pirch) has a little light in each tab, so if someone says something in a window that's not active, the light comes on (or flashes). So if there's nothing going on, I can chat in another window, and if someone says something I can tell without actually flipping back to that window.

Quote:
Those people are walking into a room, find that there are strangers deeply discussing something they know nothing about and can't follow, and don't needlessly interrupt. I can't imagine why that's anywhere near as annoying as having someone effectively pretending they want to talk to you and then standing there silently when you try.

And I can't imagine how that's any different from popping intot he chat room and finding noone talking at all.

And also, the phenomenon I was referring to was when there's not a particular discussion going on, just chats, and we all basically drop what we're doing to greet the person and they leave without saying a word.

sedjtroll
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Chat Squatting

There appears to be a little talking head guy in the chat thingy on the left of the main page (compliments of hpox?), I imagine it indicates whether things are being said in the chatroom.

So assuming that works right, problem solved?

- Seth

(go technology)

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Chat Squatting

For me, no, the problem isn't solved. The conversation recording thing is still a problem for me. It was the lesser of the two, but it is still a concern.

Of note: your experience with chat on the internet is certainly different from mine. I've never, including on IRC, had to deal with people lurking for hours, not responding or anything.

-- Matthew

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