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? .