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General Chat timings

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I had a thought the other day, and now I've got over the trauma of trying this thinking thing, thought I'd throw it out there.

Currently we have general chat before support chats, with the overall timing window usually being 7-10pm.

Has there been any consideration of swapping things around so that the last hour is general chat rather than the first one? e.g. support chat 7-9pm general chat 9-10pm.

It might be a way of ending things on a more positive note sometimes, but would also allow people who can't necessarily make the early slot to get into general chat some times, and also bring the support chat times earlier for those who have school/college to get up for or parental restrictions on internet use later in the evenings.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think that'd be quite hard to do, as people would be dealing with problems, getting support and then it'd be "right, it's general chat now, no more talking about your problems".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It might be necessary to close and reboot the room to help draw the distinction, but support chat currently has a fixed end point.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To be honest, I'd much rather have it as it is at 7-8. I like general chats, and 9-10 is too late.
    Also, I'm sure there would be overspill from support chat to general chat if they were the other way round, as I mentioned above. People would get upset about having to stop talking about their problems even though chat was still open.

    I think the only option would be to have them on separate days, but I don't know how feasible that'd be for the mods. I'd like to see general chat being longer than an hour a week.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can come into support chats and talk about general things. I know that can be difficult sometimes, but it is completely fine if you want to.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm well aware that it's possible to come into support chats and talk about general things, but it's not quite the same.

    Since the split between support chats and general chats, support chats seem to be getting more and more heavy going. It was an idea that might help to get a wider variety of people into chat. As BAs post makes clear, the 7-8 time slot and the 9-10 time slot suit different people.

    Am not saying it would definitely work, but equally there's nothing to say it definitely wouldn't. It would also offer support chat earlier in the evening for those who are looking for support.

    There used to be a great side to chat that covered things other than mental health support, which seems to have fallen by the wayside somewhat. Possibly because more of the people involved in that used to come into the second half of chat which is now very mental health support heavy and which doesn't gel so well with 'Does she/doesn't she like me' line.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not sure it would work. I think chat needs a bit of a review really. Last time I joined general chat I was talking and said I'd had a tough day at work and was told to 'save it for support chat'.

    If complaining about a tough day and letting off steam isn't general chat then what is. Add to the problems with following the discussion at other times then i don't find myself drawn to chat a huge deal anymore. It's been mentioned a dozen times but the client is still not terribly lovely.

    Tbh though the new support counselling session might be a new avenue for chat.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is kind of what I was getting at I guess.

    Support chat is heavy going, and there's limited outlet for the stuff that used to be in chat. Think I was hoping that if there was a later 'general' chat session it would be an outlet for all the gripes and moans and dilemnas of every day life.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    hey guys,
    Thanks for your posts on this :)

    Shyboy, I think the explanation of what 'general chat' is needs to be reviewed - we were thinking maybe 'fun chat' - but that probably doesn't quite cut it, so any ideas on alternatives are welcome :) Essentially it does need to be a place where people have a break from talking about each other's problems, have a bit of fun/banter and get to know each other on a different level. I :heart: reading general chat transcripts, they make me smile every Tuesday morning.

    Having said this, you shouldn't have been responded to in the way you were - being able to express having had a bad day is what happens at the start of any regular conversation - and so the response should have been something along the lines of: "Sorry to hear you had a tough day, hopefully coming to this chat will make it feel a little less tough." Try to remember that one experience doesn't define the whole service and that Wayne is currently doing his best to ensure people don't feel excluded just because they mention not feeling too great as they enter general chat. I'm sorry to hear you're not drawn to chat any more. Would be great to see you at the new 'positive action' chat - head to the thread to sign up if you're up for it. Early feedback will be crucial to the development of this new avenue :thumb:

    Aside from this, the crux of the problem is that our software doesn't support two chat rooms and we currently don't have resource to replace it. This means that there's probably going to be a bit of an ongoing issue with meeting the diverse needs of everyone. So, at the moment our fundraisers are working to identify some support in this area to help us get to the point where we always have two chat rooms running in tandem - one where people can just go for a natter about anything (anything goes style) and one where people can go to get peer support around TheSite topics. This is what we're working towards and will do our best to get as soon as possible. (although these things do take time).

    Scary, I'm a little confused as to why you think the current environment isn't suited to talk about dating/crushes though - if anything the difficulty around talking is more about how busy it is than the topic - please be careful about making generalisations about people who talk about mental health issues and what they're willing to talk about or how they will perceive those topics in relation to their own problems.

    I also just want to highlight that for those people who remember the 'golden days' when chat has less mental health support - these were also the days when on average 5 or 6 people would come to chat, and on some nights, Jim V and I would open on a Sunday for one or two people. The appeal of chat for a broader audience in the last two years has been because it's become a place for much more solid peer support - and a chance to talk about things that people struggle to talk about offline.

    B-A, I agree, it would be good to have more general chats - book club and film club are also strands of this that are really great craic and many more people could benefit from. We currently still have two free wednesday 7-8pm slots a month that at some point in the future, we will pitch to you guys to tell us how you want to use them. We currently need to keep Tuesday and Thursday nights free for expert chats and training slots for peer advisors - again this would probably change with new software.

    Finally, Sunday 9-10pm could become a general chat slot in the future when we have more stability with new volunteers. Scary, you volunteering? :razz: If you think it will work - this is an opportunity to show us how... :)

    As ever, I can't emphasise enough, our volunteers are the super stars of chat and making sure we support them all fully is one of our top priorities and will be a factor in any kind of extension to the service.

    Hope this helps clarify where we're at... now go and make me happy and make more posts on the boards. ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not in chat that much these days, so these might not be representative experiences.

    I think the reason it feels to me like support chat isn't the place is that when the 'lighter' support issues are raised they're competing so tightly for peoples attention that can give the impression of ignoring or trivialising chatters with 'weightier' support issues. Like you say, the numbers in chat have spiralled over the last couple of years - which is a resounding endorsement of it's success.

    It was actually the load on the mods that was one of the things that got me thinking about what variations might help/alter. The impression I get is that generally the 8-9 slot in support chat is busier than the 9-10, which possibly means earlier is better for support. If that was the case then doing some swap over might help. There are a lot of 'if' and 'possibly' in there, but hopeful gets the idea across.

    As for the hint, I'd happily volunteer to cover a later general chat slot on Sunday nights. I can't reliably be in from work for anything that starts at 7 and that can't be unusual for the top half if the target demographic.

    I was trying desperately hard to avoid making any kind of generalisation - but found it difficult when trying to articulate something that was a general 'feel' rather than based on particular statistics.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd quite like a later general chat for the record ;) I'm usually caught up with work etc at 7, or have just got home so making dinner etc, or putting in a few hours studying before relaxing for the evening.

    I think it needs to be clearer that talking about general stuff is ok in support chat. Sometimes if people are talking about support stuff, and there is another conversation going on about say.... body hair (a favourite of Sam's :p), then some people say things like 'everyone is ignoring me' or 'I'll go and sit in the corner by myself' etc etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    then some people say things like 'everyone is ignoring me' or 'I'll go and sit in the corner by myself' etc etc.

    Yes. This needs addressing. It's a massive problem in chats and makes me want to avoid them. I went to chat last night and left because I couldn't cope with the general grumpiness when someone doesn't get replied to straight away.
  • plugitinplugitin Noob Posts: 2,197 The Mix Regular
    then some people say things like 'everyone is ignoring me' or 'I'll go and sit in the corner by myself' etc etc.

    I think a later general chat would be good too; I'm normally climbing on a monday when general chat is, so I can never attend (although I would love to!). And same goes for other nights around the same time - cooking or studying normally.

    As for the bit I've quoted, this can be a problem too. It really winds me up and it sometimes seems that the mod is expected to talk to everyone alone in great detail, which of course can't be done. It is something that does make me want to avoid chat.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    plugitin wrote: »
    I think a later general chat would be good too; I'm normally climbing on a monday when general chat is, so I can never attend (although I would love to!). And same goes for other nights around the same time - cooking or studying normally.

    As for the bit I've quoted, this can be a problem too. It really winds me up and it sometimes seems that the mod is expected to talk to everyone alone in great detail, which of course can't be done. It is something that does make me want to avoid chat.

    if we can back off talking about individual behaviours here then that would be appreciated. Not really fair in such a public medium...

    Thanks :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    How about saying that with the increase in popularity of support chat, it has become very busy with people looking for support with some pretty heavy issues in life. As such, support chat often moves very fast which can create a perception that discussions on lighter topics would be unreasonable competition for space in the discussion.

    (it would of course be possible to swap 'heavy' for 'Health & Wellbeing' and 'Light' for 'all the other thesite topics'.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    **helen** wrote: »
    if we can back off talking about individual behaviours here then that would be appreciated. Not really fair in such a public medium...

    Thanks :)

    Helen, my post wasn't intended to be about individual behaviours. More of a scenario developing where chat is used as a way of getting individual full on support from mods. Which isn't reasonable, achievable, or fair on other users or mods in support chat - and it is this that makes it hard to bring up 'lighter' issues in chat. However the new Thursday chat sounds like a brilliant offering for those who need that level of support.

    And as for general chat - it is great that it is there to compliment the others. But given the target age range of TheSite (including people who work) mixing up what's at 7-8 and 9-10 sometimes might be a nice idea?
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    However the new Thursday chat sounds like a brilliant offering for those who need that level of support.

    Thanks for your post yellow - makes sense :)

    Just to clarify - Thursday is still very much peer-to-peer - Matt is a facilitator not someone to provide one-to-one - it's a sharing and suggestions chat more so than an intense support chat.

    Just about to PM Scary about Sunday 9-10 sessions :)
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