Sad to say—and mostly due to my own schedule—I haven't been hanging out in The Upper Room as much as I once did. While the lions share of that is is my own choice, lately when I have dropped in there I've observed a trend that I think could be corrected to benefit of all. Quite honestly, the room hasn't been a very inviting place to monitor of late. Chat has loose rules and there isn't really a set topic scope, but at the same time that room it particular is denoted as the general purpose chat room associated with this site. My hope for the room would be that hanging out in there periodically would be roughly equivalent to taking a pulse on the community. For that to be the case, there has to be a reasonable cross-section of folks hanging out in there and, however many rabbit trails are followed and and however tangentially, the base-line conversation should relate to the community in some way.

Lately that has not been the case. Most recently the room has been completely hijacked by someone doing a bit of johnny-on-the-spot proselytizing. If you don't believe me, look at the star wall. Every single one that shows up (at least at my screen size) are messages of folks objecting to his message. That's 100% of the current top 10 stared messages are denouncing the efforts of one user. That's not to say that what that user is doing is wrong—there is no rule against talking about whatever in there as long at it stays respectful. As evidenced by the fact that others have engaged this user in lengthy conversations also suggests at least some folks are willing to put up with that. Nor is it all one user's fault. Before the current episode we've had several other cases where this same situation has played out. I'm not trying to blame an individual here. At the same time I feel like the room itself has gotten derailed and needs to be put back on the tracks.

To that end I suggest we startup a semi-permanent siding in the form of a Apologetics Room1. The purpose of the room would be to house conversations that not everybody may want to follow: specifically fielding anybody that felt an urgent need to do proselytizing and any long running debates that otherwise get in the way of general purpose chit-chat. It would be open to all users all the time just like The Upper Room is, but rather than let those kinds of thing just go by in the general room while most people ignore them they would be asked to repair to that room.

We have a precedent for this having opened Creationism vs. for the purpose of fielding long-running YEC/OEC/Etc. debates and keeping them out of the way of the general room. Those interested in actually following these more involved discussions can do so more easily without people shooting the breeze in-between, and the general room serves as more of a foyer that isn't an objectionable place to be as some find the more passionate discussions can be.

What do you all say? Is the community behind this direction?

1 Anyone care to suggest a catchier name? .

  • 1
    I don't think I'd have an objection, but are you proposing to enforce this? What I mean is, if the same user continued to use the Upper Room for the same purpose, would he be directed by a mod to the Apologetics room? If so, I think it could take some fleshing-out of what exactly would be considered objectionable/off-topic in the Upper Room. If not, I doubt opening a separate room would accomplish much. Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 16:25
  • @Mr.Bultitude I think moderators can move chat messages between rooms. Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 17:23
  • @Mr.Bultitude As Caleb said, it has worked pretty successfully in the past. Basically, yes, a user starts going off on something and someone, usually a mod, tells them to go to the other room.
    – user3961
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 17:24
  • 1
    Why not just a dust bin? I mean, there's more than proselytizing craziness out there. I'd like to see it all in one room.
    – user3961
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 17:26
  • @fredsbend If you think one room is better lets have an answer to that effect. That's what I brought this here to feel out.
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 19:09
  • 2
    @Mr.Bultitude Yes I am proposing enforcing this, but only in the same vein as all other chat moderation to date which is pretty light. Basically that would be just asking a few conversations to punt over to the other room if they were monopolizing the room. I expect this to be pretty easy to handle, as the previous cases we've handled this way have been.
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 19:18
  • The Stacks Exchange is not a Christian ministry, so we may want to consult with the Staff, if proselytizing is okay here. It's probably not; however, I've read before that some Evangelical Christians can't seem to resist the impulse to proselytize. It's like a temptation, really. Maybe they should turn themselves over to God and ask God for forgiveness or something.
    – Double U
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 2:51

3 Answers 3


Well then that settles it. This suggestion got +10 +11 upvotes and I haven't heard a peep to the contrary, so consider it done. For your chatting pleasure I present:

Apologetics 'n Paraphernalia

From now on that room should be the go-to place if you've got a long running debate that includes apologetics and/or polemics or you're trying to convince somebody they are Just Plain Wrong™. If you want to get such a conversation going ask the other party to join you in that room. If you see such conversations going on, kindly suggest they migrate. If there are problems, ping a moderator for cleanup.

  • You should select this, as it is now a policy.
    – user3961
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 23:22

The user in question already has their own dedicated chat room. But I guess he wants to do more than talking to themselves. Unless people engage him I think he'll keep posting in the main room. So I doubt this idea would help much.

  • 3
    You're partially right in the engagement issue, but there is more to it than that. With the previous room situation there wasn't a clear intent from the community that they wanted the room back. That's why I brought this to meta—because even though I was feeling like the situation needed fixing there wasn't anything I could enforce as a moderator without being somewhat arbitrary. There isn't something intrinsically wrong with allowing that stuff in TUR if we want it there, but if enough people weigh in here in support of not wanting it then we can make that happen.
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 21:27
  • 2
    Also by proposing a general purpose room I think it will be useful for more that just the one current troll. I could even see some legit debates (as opposed to the absurdity that sparks when Islam vs. Only he is good. go at it!) happening in there from time to time.
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 21:29
  • For the side room to work we'd need clear policies about what kind of conversations aren't allowed in TUR. Maybe this is just me, but I'd find it really hard to categorise the problematic discussions.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 21:37
  • 2
    I'm actually not particularly worried about that one. To me it seems apparent when something has gone too far—whether it's just a really involved discussion and non-participates are getting in the way or the polemics are being laid on too thick. And it wouldn't just be my judgment, anybody using the room would be welcome to suggest that something would be more appropriate elsewhere. The nature of chat means there are not—cannot be—hard line divisions between topics, but at some point it becomes apparent to somebody that the line has been crossed.
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 21:49

I like the idea, but I believe that a room for just one thing will eventually lead to the need for a room for another thing ... and another thing. Then after a year or two we might have a bunch of rooms for all kinds of stuff that is all really in the same vein.

There's the Upper Room. Then there's "other". Users over 2K rep can create their own rooms if they feel so inclined. I've done it a few times and I've seen other users do it to. Users under that rep can visit the "other" room if they want to get really involved in a topic. They can also ask for a new room, which most of us would probably be willing to create for them.

What to call this "other" room? I believe the convention for extended discussions that don't really belong anywhere is to call it "noise" or even "dust" or "garbage". I don't particularly like the connotations of calling someone else's words garbage; it is quite disrespectful. But that's what it is. As far as the purposes of this site go, such discussions have nothing to do with it. The name needs to make that clear.

I'd rather come up with something practical and descriptive, rather than colloquial. So something stupid like "Shoot the breeze" doesn't really give the room any significant meaning. Likewise, the jargon "dust bin" or similar will probably not be understood by many and will certainly cause offense when you try to tell them that's where their messages belong.

Unfortunately, I can't come up with a name better than "other". Too much on my mind at the moment.

  • What do you think of how the Creationism vs. room played out? Considering we've been through this a time or two before but it's been relatively rare to have a topic this big monopolizing things, I'm less convinced that this would be overkill or that it would be the start of a slippery slope than you seem to be. Does the way the last round worked out bother you?
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 20:48
  • Also, thanks for making this an answer. In retrospect I'm not sure it needed to be, I initially miss-understood your comment to suggest that TUR was a dust bin and all this polly-wag should just keep going on in there. I see from this answer that isn't what you were suggesting at all!
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 20:56
  • @Caleb Yes, I agree TUR should remain mostly about the site. The creationism vs. room is a much bigger topic. The transcript shows people's willingness to discuss it at great lengths for months at a time. There really isn't another topic like that here. So we could just open rooms for certain people as they get off-topic in TUR, or keep a dust bin open and send them there. I guess there's really no benefit of one over the other. In light of Only, whom we are talking about at the moment, he's already got a room at the moment called "The Structure of God." He's spent many pages there.
    – user3961
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 21:15

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