Some days ago, I was surprised by a message that I am the new chat room owner of The frying pan.
Nobody, not even the moderators here, knew why, or what I am supposed to do with that, or what privileges I have. I just happened to have made a slightly verbose conversation in chat a few days ago. As it is ridiculously simple to do so, I hadn't read the faq before using (or known that there is one) and I doubt that most other users read it. It isn't all that interesting if all one wants is synchronous communication.
Now some intricated mechanism for orphaned chat rooms had logged my activity and selected me as the new owner. I don't mind that. But it came very sudden, and I was really confused. I tried out what my new privileges are (and not thinking to revert my nonsense until it was so late I had to ask a moderator to bail me out), combed the meta here, then the meta on SO (where I learned about the orphanded room mechanism), then finally found the faq for chat.
My proposal is that a message is created, which should in some way be shown to new chat room owners. This message should contain:
- An explanation of the "new owner for orphaned rooms" rule
- An explanation of what the community expects of a chat room owner. I still don't know much on this point, but with the slowgoing chat here, it doesn't seem to bother anyone that I'm doing nothing.
- A short list of all tools now available to the owner, and maybe an explanation of their intended use. I found pinning hard to understand? What it is supposed to be used for?
- A link to the Chat faq.
It would be best if the owner was able to access this information at later points too (so not just a message in chat).
Credit for this proposal should go to @Sobachatina, who expressed this as "You'd think they'd mail you an instruction manual when you were appointed leader." (original message)
If you want to know exactly how much confusion such a new appointment creates, you can read the transcript.