According to my opinion, there are 3 main/official chat rooms in our site:

  1. Ask Ubuntu General Room
  2. Raiders of the Lost Downboat
  3. Island of castaway thoughts

What is the official policy regarding becoming an owner of the aforementioned chat rooms?

Let's take a look at some of my guesses:

  1. In Ask Ubuntu General Room, all the owners are either a moderator in Ask Ubuntu or a former moderator. So is this the official policy?

    If this is the official policy, shouldn't it be uniform? What I mean by uniform is, all the present moderators and former moderators should be the owners of this room, but that isn't the case.

    (And why are former moderators the owners of the room? Is letting former moderators retain the ownership of the room a tribute to the former moderator for their moderation?)

  2. In case of Raiders of the Lost Downboat, it looks like people who were/are actively involved in helping in moderation are the room owners.

  3. I have no clue about the criterion for being a room owner in Island of castaway thoughts.

In case if we do not have a policy regarding ownership of official chat rooms, should we create a policy or continue having no official policy/rule?

John Wick Rules GIF

  • 1
    AFAIK any room owner can make any other user a room owner, being a mod doesn't matter, I guess the main chat could be different. You can even make your own room that you own askubuntu.com/help/privileges/chat-rooms
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 12:04
  • 1
    I'm not sure what the official policy is. Not all the channels are 'official' in my opinion. AUGR is because it's our core room. Downboat is because close voting, etc. But I don't know if the castaway thoughts thing is actually what I'd call 'official' or not. Owners can assign owners, and though many are 'ex moderators' you're going to have the situation of "They were instrumental on the development of the room" or similar and had original owner access. We haven't removed it but we didn't give it "just because" they used to be a moderator, it's a holdover.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


There are many chat rooms in the Ask Ubuntu space of the network. Of the three you mentioned, only Ask Ubuntu General Room is what I would call official, since it was created at the dawn of time when the site came into being for the purpose of being its chat room.

Back then the creator bot, or whoever was there in the primordial swamp, said

This is a general discussion room, but please feel free to create more subject-specific rooms (a single room with every possible discussion isn't very helpful)

And askubuntuers went forth and created many chat rooms for all the purposes for which they wanted chat rooms.

For example, they created the Downboat, whose meandering history I have elsewhere documented. Note that the room has been repurposed (or at least, its purpose has evolved).

They also created the Island of Castaway Thoughts. That happened because some users of the Downboat such as myself and Eliah Kagan would at times start talking about something in the Downboat relating to a post, and the discussion would become long and technical and contain large code blocks and so on, or the conversation in the room would gently veer into some other thing unrelated to moderation, so it was felt that in order for people to comfortably use the Downboat for moderation, there needed to be a room to bail out off-topic conversations into, and the Island serves that purpose.

There are many other rooms which people have created and used for their needs and interests.

I would like people to have

  • autonomy
  • empathy

and use those things to

  • enjoy using chat
  • achieve things they want to use chat to achieve
  • allow others to enjoy and achieve things too by being adequately respectful, considerate and, when joining an existing room, on board with the spirit of that room

Especially to help the last point along, some degree of moderation is needed at times. And we have arrived at my point, which is that the purpose of room ownership is moderation. Poor room owners are expected, to some degree, to try to moderate the rooms they own. But room owner privileges are limited to being able to read deleted messages and to move messages from their owned room to any other room where they have write access.

Each room, depending on its purpose and its inhabitants, has its own moderation needs. The Downboat, for example, almost never has any issues that can't be completely dealt with by the ability to move messages (usually to the Island), so room owners of the Downboat are in a position to fulfill its moderation requirements. AUGR is a different story - in the past it was an unpleasant environment for me on quite a few occasions, and some of those situations were mitigated by interventions made by moderators.

Moderators have room owner abilities in all rooms*, and can also edit and delete messages by other users, so they have no need to be room owners. Someone once made all the current moderators of Ask Ubuntu owners of AUGR, but there is no particular reason for that to be the case. If any of the existing room owners were to express a wish to be removed as room owner (or if, like, their cat started using their account to move messages randomly as a prank), they could be removed. Since several moderators frequent AUGR, I do not think there is any need to add additional room owners (though anyone could post on meta requesting or suggesting the addition of room owners). Neither do I think there is any need for a policy to be formulated with regard to room ownership - room owners can be simply added (and removed) as per need and willingness, and the moderation needs of rooms are various and evolving.

* that is, all rooms on the chat server that Ask Ubuntu is on. There are many other sites on this server, but Meta Stack Exchange and Stack Overflow are on other servers, I think. Also, mods are shown flags for moderator attention in any room on the server, so a flag in any room will quickly attract a mod. Rude/abusive flags are also shown to all users who have 10k reputation across their sites, so those get handled even faster.

  • So are you implying that room ownership doesn't matter for the mods as they have the power of a room owner (+ additional powers) without being a room owner because of the mod privileges? Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 18:49
  • This links might be helpful: chat.stackexchange.com/… and chat.stackexchange.com/… Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 19:23
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    yes - there's no need for a mod to also be a room owner because of their extra powers. Room ownership implies particular responsibility for the room, but mods of a site can be considered to have some responsibility for its chat rooms anyway imho, at least if they frequent them. Room owners should be people who frequently use the room
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 7:01
  • What if a user, who is a room owner, rarely visits the chat (let's say the last visit was more than a year ago)? Should they be removed as room owner or is removing them as room owner rude/impolite? Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 18:39
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    @RandomPerson There isn't really a problem with people remaining room owners when they aren't active - that's like an interesting trace of the room's history :) A lack of room owners (or at least mods) frequenting the room would be a problem - if none of the current owners are regularly present, then some responsible interested person (or people) should probably be appointed
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 18:07
  • I am quite saddened to say that AUGR is an unpleasant environment even now. Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 14:45
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    @RandomPerson do you think room ownership changes could help with that? (Or, do you have any other thoughts about it you want to mention?)
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 17:27
  • I don't think room ownership has anything to do with AUGR being an unpleasant environment. It's quite unfortunate to see messages being posted in AUGR to avoid the room from freezing. That has become the state of the room. People don't chat much in AUGR, for reasons which I have no idea about. I think we should be more welcoming to new people in the chatroom and invite more people to the chatroom. Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 17:34
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    @RandomPerson yes, one problem with chat is that it is rather difficult to find!
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 17:38
  • I am not sure if it's really difficult to find. The chat is just beside log out. Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 17:45
  • 1
    @RandomPerson I've never logged out XD
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 4:37

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