Opening Weekend at WP Chat

It’s been a few days since I’ve launched WP Chat, and I’ll admit I was very surprised how quickly it took off thanks to a little viral marketing on Twitter.

Some big names joined us in chat including well-known WordPress designers such as Brian Gardner, Jason Schuller, and Darren Hoyt, WordPress community rockstar Jeff Chandler, and WPMU gurus Ron and Andrea Rennick, among others.


While it was very successful on its first Friday night, I couldn’t help but notice activity diminished greatly in the following Saturday and Sunday. I received a lot of great constructive feedback on Twitter and directly in the chat. It seems a number of you would rather have an IRC channel instead of a purely web-based chat like phpFreeChat. If I chose to use IRC, there would still be a web-based interface on the actual website so you would not need to use an IRC client to access it.

Identity Issues

Understandably, some were concerned that there may be impersonators in the room, considering there is no registration required and you can choose any nickname you’d like. While I didn’t perceive this to be a problem, I believe it’s a legitimate concern for the future. This problem may be partially solved if I choose to transition to an IRC network, as you would be able to register your own nicknames easily. Or if I chose to keep the current chat interface, requiring registration to access the chat may also help.

Weekly Time

Some of you mentioned you would like to have a fixed weekly time for chat activity to occur. While the chat could remain open 24/7 for impromptu chats and whatnot, I was thinking a set time each week could be a good idea as I’m sure all of you have busy schedules, but could have a set aside time for some laid-back WordPress-related chatter and networking with other like-minded individuals.

Your Thoughts

So I have two questions that I’d like to hear your responses in the comments:

  • Would you rather have an IRC-based chat? – This way people who would rather chat via IRC clients could join in, and people who don’t could still access chat via a web-based interface here. Seems like a win-win situation to me. If you have any suggestions on IRC networks and/or web-based clients to use (for the WP Chat website) I’d love to hear them.
  • What is a good time for you? – I’d like to have one time per week where most people could gather in the chat at once. I’m thinking Friday at around 8 PM (EST) might work, but I understand this may not be so convenient people in different time zones.

Looking forward to your responses. Once I’ve gathered enough feedback I’ll make a decision regarding the IRC and weekly time.

13 Comments so far

  1. I had a good time in the chat with all the other rockstars in attendance. After you left, identity certainly became an issue. We had fake mullenwegs, fake adiis even a guy named GPL came in the chat lol. The chat degraded into identity tests which derailed any means of communication as we didn’t know who we were talking to. While username registration can be seen as a barrier, I see no other choice. If you decide to go with an IRC channel, make sure we can register a nick on their.

    I’m all for scheduled chats as it gives everyone an opportunity to know when and where the chat will be. If people could show up to my podcast at 8PM Friday nights, the chatroom should be no problem.

    • Yeah Jeff, I’m starting to think that registration may be a necessary inconvenience. While I want to keep this chat free and open to everyone, I think the idea of people impersonating big names like Matt greatly outweighs the inconvenience of signing up for an account.

  2. Can’t say I’ve actually tried it yet, but from what I’ve heard, sounds like a great idea! I’m rather jumping in here, but personally I think a weekly time would be best – that way Twitter traffic etc would be maximised as well.

    • Hey Alex, I’m thinking the same thing. The weekly time is just a set time where everyone could get together, but the chat itself would remain open to anyone who wanted to use it for quick chats in the meantime.

  3. I can’t believe i missed the big chat :( anyway lets start off with, i cant read the comments completly on ff3.5 because of the float on the avatars. And secondly if your thinking IRC you should setup a server your self so that way you can control the register of nicknames and channels. And this could be a great thing for the wp community offering diferent sites/blogs with there own secure chat room on a server dedicated to web design/developtment. Just my thought.

    • Hey Omar, I think I fixed the comments problem, anyway…

      I was thinking of setting up my own IRC server because if I used some big network like Freenode, a lot of nicknames would probably already be taken (pretty sure “Leland” is taken, for example) and it would be easier for me to verify identities and such.

      Problem is I have little experience in setting up my own IRC server. I wonder if there are any web hosts that specialize in this sort of thing and could help out in setting up an IRC chat server?

      Another concern about setting up my own server would be the cost involved. At the moment I host this site on a HostGator reseller account and the price is relatively low. I’d imagine a dedicated chat server would be pretty expensive for a site that really isn’t set up to be monetized at all.

  4. Well i know a bit about this, and a server for about 100ppl is around 50-150$ depending somethings. I got a friend that knows about this but he only speaks spanish lol. Only hard part is setting them up then its cake.

  5. “What is a good time for you? – I’d like to have one time per week where most people could gather in the chat at once. I’m thinking Friday at around 8 PM (EST) might work, but I understand this may not be so convenient people in different time zones.”

    That works out to be about 3 am for us in Australia :p

  6. Hi!

    I’d like to make a suggestion regarding impersonators. Would there be a way for you to keep the chat public, and at the same time allow people to register if they want, and on your side “validate” some of the accounts. Thus you could make a difference between public users, and “verified” personalities for WordPress rockstars and regular users of the chat.

    Don’t know if I am clear enough, but a different color for verified users and a small warning badge explaining the difference between verified users and public users could solve part of the issue, don’t you think?

  7. Hey Leland,

    I’ve just learned of your new site from Jeffro’s post. It sounds like a great idea and I’m sorry I missed the inaugural chat:(

    I like jeremy’s idea above or somehow providing both public and “verified” logins, but personally, it really doesn’t matter if I have to register…it’s worth it I’m guessing;)

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