City/Community Group Chats

Thanks to everyone who came to our weekly online event :slight_smile: We covered some interesting topics, but the main one was, should we have a “community chat” or messaging feature for everyone in a community?

Some of the concerns were:

  • At what levels do we have community chats? World, Country, Region, State/Province, City, Neighborhood?
  • How many community chats could you be a part of at once? Your “home” community and the one you’re visiting? Are there times where you’d want to be part of more than two?
  • How would we decide the borders of a community?
  • What would we need to do in order to make large community chats less chaotic, for example in big cities?
  • Would community chats affect/harm community forums, where information could be better organized?

Curious to hear your thoughts on this feature that has been discussed since early on.

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At what levels do we have community chats? World, Country, Region, State/Province, City, Neighborhood?

  • self-regulating. Culture, population density, sub-cultures within a geographic region, …

How many community chats could you be a part of at once? Your “home” community and the one you’re visiting? Are there times where you’d want to be part of more than two?

  • let us choose and let the organizers of each community decide what works

How would we decide the borders of a community?

  • see answer one. Geographical/political borders are so outdated. This website is proof.

What would we need to do in order to make large community chats less chaotic, for example in big cities?

  • Let everyone be creative and let’s all learn from each other. Out of chaos comes order.

Would community chats affect/harm community forums, where information could be better organized?

  • They should go hand in hand. Important topics discusses in a chat can be written down in a forum.
    That’s exactly what you did here.
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Very much agree with that! I guess it’s complicated to get all that working smoothly with location awareness and vicinity… but it would be great if we would have a setup that doesn’t map out the world following existing political or supposed geographical borders, but is evolving alongside communities’ presence on the platform.

Our current idea is that each community defines its own border. Borders are still important for us to define the domain of moderation for each place, but you’re entirely right that existing administrations borders are often outdated and counter-productive, it’s something we’ve heard a lot from a lot of people. Also every country deals with regions differently so it’s important that every community defines their region themselves.

I think this is more easily said than done. This would require that mods around the world monitor the chats and transform important conversations into forum topics. I’m not sure that’s an approach we can enforce worldwide, maybe there’s some other structural approach.

I think this is the key. First let’s roll out forums, then later on group chats in certain locations to test the results and see what solutions communities come up with. If something is very successful we can build more infrastructure to support that and roll it out globally.

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If we have message boards and Hangouts and PMs I don’t really see the use for a Chatroom. You’re just scattering the community in so many functions that the conversation will be fractured too. Specially in the begging, when you don’t have that many users, the activity should be as centralized as possible to make it more fluid.

I admit that I’m biased, I’ve never been a fan of chatrooms, they get creepy very fast, MHO, but well, maybe someone had other experience IDK.

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On the flip side of that, it will be a fast way for someone to pick up on wrong intentions. If someone does something creepy in a chat room, more people will notice it early on before the person is creepy in person perhaps.

We will need moderation/flagging tools in the chats as well, and quite possibly also a mechanism for affecting community standing (something like a “thumbs down” for something someone wrote) could do. Just something else to think about…

Thanks @Aleja… but alas, for a brief moment I had forgotten about creeps. Hahaha.

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Yeah I think both hangouts and chat rooms require a minimum density somewhere before they’re usable.

We should definitely approach chat rooms as experimental, and if they’re detrimental to communities we should turn them off.

In your experience with chat rooms, were they moderated?

Lol yeah they might function as a creep trap. Hopefully not too much though that it makes it useless for anything else

Some were, some weren’t.

That’s a huge point: moderated local chat rooms would require a lot of people working 24/7. Is this realistic?

We wouldn’t necessarily need them to be moderated at all times. We could use a flagging system similar to this forum, where if a message gets a few flags it gets temporarily removed, and a mod can look at it later to decide what to do.

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I recommend you take a look at element as a client, it could be super useful to just use software that exists and looks good. I set up a test server for trustroots, take a look at that and let me know if you want me to set up one for you.

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Community leaders can be responsible for creating or reviewing. Ultimately the idea is that the leaders are somewhat aware of their area. For instance, where I live is technically considered Stockholm area, but I wouldn’t consider it 100%. Sure, it’s in the region, and it’s easily connected, but it’s irrelevant to people not specifically looking to come here for a reason. On the other hand, I like being considered part of Stockholm, because other wise I wouldn’t be as active. This is largely related to rural vs. urban issues previously discussed.

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