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As of today the topic of our main chat room is worded as follows:

General discussion for german.stackexchange.com. You may speak both German and English here.

So everybody speaking German or English is welcome to talk and discuss matters on the German language or on issues with our site. We should not change this.

But having the topic "German language" only may be too restrictive as often we may want to just chat along about various other topics. In such off-topic threads a good question on the language may eventually arise.

  • Now would it be a good idea if we tried to keep such off-topic discussions in German?
  • What reasons would there be to not speak German in chat?

The idea behind this is that by speaking German we may invite learners, or advanced non-natives to participate, and actually learn.

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I believe this is a very good idea, but I have some problems with it:

orthography

Let's face it, almost no one watches his spelling in chat, even more so for uppercase/lowercase words. It might lead to the impression, some words are written in a different way than they "really" are.

consistency

I personally have great difficulties sticking to German in that chat, because whenever there is some English interjection, I automatically swap to English (and usually stay there).
Foremost because I am just accustomed to chatting in English, but also because I want everybody to understand "exactly" what I am saying.

difficult puns, references and intentional errors

yes I am looking at you @Takkat and @NevikRehnel. Damn your jokes, puns and about everything you write is awesome, BUT some (read: much) of it requires a level in language that might even be above the average native speaker. And that makes things problematic.

We can't expect (even advanced) learners to follow your thoughts and distinguish intentional errors from correct phrases in German.

What can we do?

I'd suggest splitting the chat up. One for speaking mostly German, where we can invite advanced learners or people who are uncomfortable with English.

The other for asking questions and Site Discussion with English as the main language.

This does not have to mean we ban the respective other question from chat, but better avoid lengthy discussions and chit-chat in that language.

  • The issue we have is that a chat in English on a topic other than German is (like in other site main chat rooms) highly off-topic but we could overcome this by saying we want this to be a learning example. – Takkat Jan 29 '14 at 12:46
  • I do agree that my/our jokes aren't always easy to understand. But any learner of German will run into situations like these all the time "in the real world". So unlike in your job interview where your potential employer expects you to laugh at the right time and respond correctly, chat provides a "safe place" where people are always free to ask about whatever they don't get. As Takkat points out, I think this contributes to the learning potential of interested learners. – Nevik Rehnel Jan 30 '14 at 7:53
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    I don't like to see another chat. @Takkat was alone in the chat for a whole while. I can see some potentially risk that splitting it up will eventually end up there again. – Em1 Jan 30 '14 at 8:12
  • @Em1 you'll just have to hang out more as well :P That said and my previous comment notwithstanding, I agree with Vogel's suggestion to create another room focusing on German discussion only, and one open to other languages (IMO preferring English is okay, but others should not be banned) – Nevik Rehnel Jan 30 '14 at 8:14
  • @NevikRehnel Well, please don't count on me. I don't have enough time for this right now. – Em1 Jan 30 '14 at 8:18
  • @Em1 (slightly digressing here, but regarding few people on chat: IMO StackExchange overall is not promoting the Chat enough, most users are entirely unaware of it; if possible, I advocate putting out some promotions on the DE site, like a sticky post in the questions list or whatever works) – Nevik Rehnel Jan 30 '14 at 8:18
  • @NevikRehnel: the main chat room should stay the main room to discuss German language or the site. Other topics are off-topic for this room. – Takkat Jan 30 '14 at 8:20
  • @NevikRehnel I agree. We could have something like "you've got a question which is not appropriate for this site? Just try asking in chat!", whereas we should go some further there about what is 'not appropriate'. I'm referring to the many question that receives zero upvotes because they're asking for some trivial translations or such. – Em1 Jan 30 '14 at 8:20
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    I agree with @Em1. Having two chats will mean I won't be in both. I think the chat is fine as it is, we should just prefer more German and should allow off-Topic discussions in German in the main room, as it always was. – OregonGhost Jan 30 '14 at 8:21

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