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I think the biggest issue with a chat area on any community is that user generated content/solutions are not easily indexed and as such lost, you may ask a question in chat and get an answer "great" however that answer could help 100's of others but has been otherwise lost and so same questions are raised and same answers given.
I know its not always great to wait for a reply on any community especially when you need an answer but the beneift of having a vault of everyones questions and solutions over the year means that generally speaking you will "most of the time" find your answer in an instant with a simple search.
I also feel chat is too "121" conversational so you would also lose the benefit of a crowed sourced solution, especially with this community as we have global users who are not alwasy online at the same time all the time.
I agree with your reasoning that a chat is certainly not the way to answer questions efficiently. Take a huge skype group for example: Be offline for a week and you'll be flooded with new messages overwhelming you on the time they spawn.
But! I think a general chat for random chatter and discussions might bring life to the community and create a more family like environement where everyone can talk about anything Lithium related! It would enforce our bonds as a community and make us all more talkactive.
We could even add a seperate gamification model where active members get rewarded (spam gets punished). I know it's possible I saw it on a few other chats aswell...
^ Something like that. I didn't include my profile picture or name for privacy purposes.
Anyways TL;DR: A chat enhances the bonds the community has and and could bring more life into it!
Looking forward to your reply~
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