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When should a question, suggestion, discussion-starter, or the like be posted in chat (The Upper Room) and when should such be made a Meta question?

It seems that for items with little historical significance, posting to chat might slightly reduce clutter in Meta.

Given the definition of The Upper Room as "General discussion for Christianity.SE, pseudo-meta support, and help formulating questions", I guess I am mainly asking "What is 'pseudo-meta support'?". ("help formulating questions" also seems to have a boundary shared with Meta, but chat does not seem to work well with low-interest items that would involve significant content--a post can more easily fade into history.)

(Obviously, items not related to the site do not belong in Meta.)

  • May I add a tangential comment? Once a mod wanted to take me aside to discuss something in chat. After looking at it the first time, I couldn't find it again. – pterandon Jun 23 '13 at 22:20
  • @pterandon Chat also seems to require a minimum 20 (SE total) reputation for posting. (Is there an exception for replying to directed messages?) This would seem to make chat less suited to helping truly new SE users. Read The Fine Manual suggestions might not be sufficiently helpful. (Somewhat related issue: some post comments as answers because they lack the rep. to post comments.) By the way, I think making a post a favorite helps search--but such requires foreknowledge. (I am not very active in chat, so I am mostly uninformed.) – Paul A. Clayton Jun 23 '13 at 22:32
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Chat and meta serve quite different purposes and as with different tools you can sometimes use them for something that they aren't quite designed for, but it will do the trick anyways.

Generally we use chat for discussion, it provides an outlet that is not present in the stricter context of the main site and only slightly looser context of meta. So it tends to be less on topic and much more about getting to know the other chatters.

The "pseudo-meta support" aspect of chat comes in that sometimes you've got a question that might be a bit quicker than a meta post deserves. "How does functionality X work?", can "X do Y?" Generally we've got a few users who are very familiar with the engine or know how to find the answer. It wouldn't hurt if these queries went to meta, but generally they can be handled quickly in chat.

On question formulation, back and forth is sometimes necessary to hammer things out and that's often better done in chat than on meta. Often, rather than pasting the entire text into chat I'll link to a document with my post in it as that seems more convenient to me and doesn't gum up chat with long form messages (although they are supported quite well).

As far as knowing when it's time to take something to meta. It never hurts to start it in chat and sound it off a more experienced user who can then tell you "hey, it's time to take this to meta if we're going to continue it. Meta gets a lot more eyes (And has a better presentation) than chat does where there are just a few active users.

Meta also exposes ideas to the most important of SE concepts, voting. Things that are site policy discussion, or even tag-synonym requests get posted on meta so that people can vote and comment on them. Meta is naturally more pointed than chat and it's easier to vet ideas on meta than it is in chat.

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    +1 as useful; will probably accept since this sounds like a relatively authoritative answer. Too bad there isn't an algorithm for this--a computer could decide which humans should be bothered (if any :-). – Paul A. Clayton Jun 23 '13 at 22:52
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Post in meta if you want someone to come by at midnight and tell you to post in meta.

If you post in chat you're likely to get a mod response, but since they're almost always wrong about everything, you probably only want to do that sparingly. But it's good to know they're there when you need them and they mean well and are usually very nice unless you go out of your way to insult them, but then you're more likely to get ignored. So it's probably a good idea to only post positive upbeat messages and links to funny YouTube videos in chat and leave everything else to meta.

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    This answer is soooo meta... – Shog9 Jun 25 '13 at 1:39

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