Several times some users suggested that it might be useful to have a separate chatroom to help new users. (Directing them to various resources, suggesting how their post(s) can be improved, help with tagging, MathJax, searching for duplicates, etc. It is clear that for a newbie, the experience with posting the first question might be rather overwhelming - even if somebody was lurking for some time, it is difficult to be aware of all various do's and don'ts. So it is useful to have nearby somebody who is familiar with the site.)

For example, something a bit similar to this was mentioned in Jyrki Lahtonen's comment on Meta Stack Exchange:

A possibility that appeals to me would be to move "tutoring" to chatrooms, and keep the Q&A area well organized. As another veteran user put it "Confused newbies are confused in their own unique ways". There is nothing of permanent value in storing the cure to each and every individual confusion.

Here is another similar suggestion from chat:

Perhaps it would be good to have a chatroom that all new users can visit, prior to gaining rep. This would at least provide a means to connect with other new users, and potentially, not so new users  who take part in the room to help educate new users, answer questions about the site, point them to resources.

However, proposals like this might run into several problems. Some of them are technical - new users do not have sufficient reputation to talk in chat. But even if we ignore this restriction, there are several possible issues.

The main question. Would such a project be feasible at all?

Since the room of this type has been mentioned a few times, I'd guess it is reasonable to discuss whether or not this would be possible at all.

I will, elaborate on each of them in more detail, but some of the possible problems are:

  • Would this be allowed by Stack Exchange at all?
  • Would the moderators be willing to add such users when needed?
  • Would there be enough experienced users willing to help in such a room?
  • Would the new users be able to use it?

It is a load on resources. Which is a reason why Stack Exchange might be against massively adding new users to chat. I'd guess that one of the reasons to require some minimal reputation for using chat is that granting chat access to everybody would mean very high requirements on resources. (After all, the chat is intended as an additional feature to Stack Exchange network, not as a general place to chat for anybody, even people who aren't in any way connected to SE.) I remember a comment on Meta Stack Exchange (from a relatively experienced user) saying that granting chat access to many users might be considered abuse. See also the answer (and the comment from balpha) on the older question on this site: Is it possible to reduce the need of 20 rep for chat? I need it for making a chat for my classmates.

It would mean increased workload for the moderators. Currently the only possibility how a user below 20 reputation points gets to chet is that a moderator explicitly gives this user write access to the room. (It seems that in the past this possibility was available to any room owner, but this was changed at some point in 2011.) So for any new user who would need access to chat, some action from a moderator would be needed. (In the past, I have seen moderators granting chat access to some low-rep users - so I suppose they are willing to do so on occasion. But it was in a few isolated cases, not on a large scale.)

It is rather time-consuming for the users willing to help. If a "chatroom for newbies" is created, will there be enough users willing (and able) to help? From the increasing number of the unanswered questions and growing review queues we can see that the resources of the volunteers who work on this site are already stretched out as it is. You can also notice that some relatively low-rep users who have at least the reputation to access chat sometimes ask various questions in chat - my impression is that quite often they end up without getting any answer. (Of course, asking a mathematical question in chat is different from discussing how an already posted question can be improved. Stil, in both cases the user who decided to help has to invest some time into that.)

Chat might be difficult to use for new users. Among other things, the new user has to create a chat account before a moderator can grant them access at all, see this answer: Allow inviting people with rep < 20 to private chat? New users might need some time to learn how to use chat. Especially using mathematics in chat might prove to be problematic. (Learning MathJax is a problem also in posts on the main site. But getting it to work in chat is an additional obstacle.)

Let me stress that the aim of this post is not to advocate either for or against such room - it is intended as a discussion whether this would be even possible.

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    $\begingroup$ I obviously support this idea, and would participate in the tutoring effort. It would be better if we didn't have to increase the load on moderators. Otherwise we need their co-operation. Also, I "had to" edit a typo I made in that quoted text (noticed it a bit too late back in the day). $\endgroup$ Nov 4, 2020 at 21:07
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Thanks for the response (and for the edit - I should have noticed that myself). I guess that in your comment you meant tutoring in the sense "teaching math" - rather than teaching people how to use the site. Still, your comment was part of the inspiration why I posted this, so I thought that I should mention it, even if it is not about the same thing. (I have already mentioned this in chat.) $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2020 at 9:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yeah, I had math tutoring in mind :-) But the idea that users could be educated about the do's and do-not's of the site in this way has merit also. $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2020 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak a thumbs-up of support from me ! $\endgroup$
    – Spectre
    Nov 5, 2020 at 12:43


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