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I keep coming to chat to discuss various board-gamey things. But it's always empty. I feel that a good chat community is one of the ways to get a good community together in general, and increase traffic.

If people come here for chat, and learn that the people here can answer questions, this will become the place they come for answers.

How do we do this?

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    From my experience, the best thing to do would have someone parked in chat for most of the time, whether that's a mod or a top user. It's like a restaurant -- you want some people in there on opening day, or else no one will be in there. – Aarthi Sep 23 '12 at 19:20
  • @Aarthi Challenge accepted! – Pureferret Sep 23 '12 at 20:28
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Aarthi's comment is, I think, really the best approach. Until there are enough people who naturally hang out in chat, people have to "seed" it by making more of an effort to hang out there and talk about things ... or even to play. (Depending on the game, players may want a separate room. Random comments may work better in some play-by-chat games than others.) And it's not like seeding the main site by asking questions we really aren't facing, because this is simply making people more available in case someone drops by for whatever reason ... quality of conversation in chat isn't at all the same type of issue as quality of questions on the site.

I don't think this is much different than asking how to grow the site in general, because everything basically depends on everything else. Chat becomes more active with more people on the site. More people means more questions, more answers, and more meta activity. More people in chat means more off-topic questions diverted there (because there's actually someone around to answer, or to try to answer; it doesn't sound quite the same to say "you can ask this in chat, though" when no one is there to help) and more conversation. More conversation in chat can lead to more questions on the main site. It's just hard when the site hasn't yet reached critical mass and it isn't clear how we can get more active participants on the site.

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I think another good way to draw people in is t have some kind of event in chat, perhaps a recommendation event, where we talk about all of our recent/favourite games. Hopefully that will foster more communication and more questions from everyone.

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    Scheduling recommendation events sounds like a great idea to me, especially if we can advertise them in a banner or through a meta "question" or whatever ... some way to let people know "look, it's not that we don't like recommendations, we'll handle them, just not as questions on the site", but at the same time, we're giving them a specific time and place to have them answered. (Once chat has regular visitors, it may not be necessary to schedule rec events.) – Dave DuPlantis Oct 16 '12 at 12:37
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See if you can drop any requirement for reputation to post to chat- if it becomes lively you can always consider raising it again and you can always remove pests later. Like many SE chat room- this one is lifeless.

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