Considering how rude to each other some people have been on threads lately, I'd probably choose to avoid such a feature in case of crapstorms.
I agree with Aus, people could post obscene things and/or rude things which would NOT be good for the younger generation on this site. I think we should keep this site as family friendly as possible. It also would be really hard to moderate, unless someone came up with an idea to have EVERY SINGLE message (time-consuming) be checked before being sent to another person(is that even possible??).
As for my vote,
I would have to say no. Good idea though Calypso, just needed a little more thought.
OH. I just remembered. On an online horse game I used to play (heheeh) their chat room, if you typed a bad word, the chat would automatically change it to "horse manure" Just a thought. Except we could have "fish poop."
Still, doesn't change my "no" on this subject. Unless everything else can be solved. Banning people from chat without banning them from the site is also a good idea. Maybe a certain number of posts before you can use it would be nice..
On an old forum I frequented we had one. It was poorly moderated and only members with over 100 posts could use it (to control spam). But I like the automatic "fish poop" censor! lol People get around it by d.o.i.n.g.T.H.I.S .. Links were not allowed, if someone wanted immediate response in their thread they would have to title it "please go see my thread [blah blah blah]"
I like the idea since this is a very active forum. And the facebook group means I have to be "online" for all my friends to spam message me! gaah
Could we do a beta shoutbox? Keep it for a month, take it down and do a survey to get feedback? I guess mods have lives outside of the forum though! lol ;)
Sorry to be the opposing voice again.. In my experience, chats are detrimental to information forums overall, especially ones where people are really passionate about what they're there for.
My concerns would be:
1. The previously mentioned crapstorms. People are already snarking in threads over tank size, being rude to responders if they don't like the answer, lalala. Imagine a chat full of that.
2. People in a panic using the chat rather than the forum for help all the time, and the chat becoming very clogged/ people getting frustrated at each other.
The several forums I've run only hosted chats once in a while, as a special feature, and that worked pretty well - we had guest talkers in, experts in their field and people could ask questions, etc, was awesome. Or just casual chat - once a month. I found that the best arrangement, overall.
Several other forums (not fish related) I'm formerly a member of developed 'chat cliques' which have been the downfall of the forum itself, and a recipe for ten kinds of nastiness. People left in droves due to butthurt and bad vibes in the end, and while I am a pretty tolerant person I was one of them, it got so bad. I'd hate to see that happen here as this forum functions better than many.