I just want to give some guidelines as best I can.
The important thing here is that we don't mind crackpots. We want to welcome them, want to engage with them and learn about how they came about their beliefs. They are as welcome here as those of us who hold more orthodox beliefs.
However, if they'd like to engage in this site, it's meta and it's chat rooms they have to play by the same rules as everyone else. The most important of which is the following:
Civility is required at all times; rudeness will not be tolerated. Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you because we’re all here to learn, together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know, and bring your sense of humor.
Please note that expletives are not allowed. If you use expletives on this site, you may be issued a warning or a suspension.
That goes for everyone. orthodox and heterodox we're all required to maintain civility towards one another. Engaging in debate is part of what chat is for (it's not a great vehicle for it, but it's a lot better than trying to do it in the Q&A part of the site).
I'm going to issue the following guidelines specifically for our users in general when a user in chat is behaving in an incivil manner. Terrible debate tactics and strategy is one thing, being abusive, repressive or downright rude is another matter.
Maintain your composure. Don't descend to the level of the person who is trying to goad you. We're mostly adults here, be the better person and don't engage childishness.
If you're engaged in the debate be mindful of how you debate. We're called to be representatives of Christ and to model his behavior. This might be a restatement of the first point, but I'm trying to be slightly more specific. Be firm, but respectful.
Terrible tone is one thing from a user, and it's mostly ignorable. However, if the user becomes abusive, uses bad language or does something else inappropriate, please flag that message. (I'm going to add a paragraph on flagging in chat down at the bottom).
Ping a mod. Caleb, El and I are almost always on in chat. Jack Douglass and Affable Geek are also chat moderators and hang out in our rooms regularly. Ping one of us if you see something bad so we're aware.
Again, maintain your own composure. For the most part our users do an excellent job of this. But I cannot repeat it enough, we must behave better than the users we have problems with. We cannot descend to their level.
Ok to wrap up, I want to talk a bit about chat flags, religious site moderation and how all of that works on Stack Exchange. So you're aware, a chat flag for offensive content alerts every single person currently active in chat who is either a moderator of any stack exchange site, or has 10k combined network reputation. That's a lot of people, so if you flag something in chat, be prepared for an influx of 5-15 moderators or high rep users from across the network.
This isn't a bad thing, but it does sometimes lead to folks who don't know what's going on acting rashly. That said, among moderators there is a general consensus that mods of the religion sites will handle flags from the rooms about religion. You should probably know that all of the moderators of religious sites (this site, Biblical Hermeneutics, Islam and Judaism) communicate. We do this because (among other things) often when a user causes trouble on one of our sites, they cause trouble on several of the religion sites. This kind of cooperation and collaboration usually means that we're pretty well informed when a new user is causing problems and have discussed what's going on, and what our options are if they continue to misbehave.
One last thing, and this is worth mentioning (and I completely forgot to here). There is an ignore feature in chat that mutes a user across all chat.se rooms. Don't be afraid to use it if you can't keep yourself from engaging certain folks.
All that to say, If you see something bad, let us know.