I just visited the chat room and it is so complicated.

  1. Can anyone explain me what is happening there?

  2. Why do I see so many edit buttons and enter buttons?

  3. Why isn't this simple like other chats?

  4. Is it only technical chat happening?

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  • 5
    Perhaps a screenshot of what you are seeing would be handy: I don't see 'Edit' or 'Enter' buttons.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


Let me see if I can address these elements:


Our chatrooms allow you to paste StackOverflow links and directly display a preview of a question, answer, tag or user. It's what Faheem did, you can see the title and body of the question, together with Mike's picture and the number of votes this question received until now.

Update: Joseph also pointed out that certain sites are also "expandable", like a Wikipedia article, an Amazon product and others. :-)


This is some sort of dropdown menu, if you click it, it will expand to this one:


You have:

  1. a permalink, which is a permanent link to that especific message.
  2. a reply link, which adds your next message to that discussion thread.
  3. a star, if you want to mark it as interesting.
  4. a flag, in case this user said something very bad or spam.
  5. you can also flag for a moderator review.

Regarding item 3, if you or somebody else liked the message and marked it as interesting, you'll see:


All those three icons are shortcuts to the dropdown menu we saw earlier.


If someone stars a message, it will appear in the right column of the chat. If you see a number right after a star, it represents how many people starred it.

Yellow stars represent the ones you marked as interesting.


This arrow means that, e.g., Martin replied to one of Joseph's messages. You can use the reply action in the dropdown menu or use the shortcut. You can also use @username to call his/her attention.

Update: Joseph also pointed out that the arrows help you to follow the discussion thread. :-)

Markdown is allowed in chatroom.

  • 1
    The first item (turning a linking into a 'preview') happens for a few sites, for example WikiPedia, in addition to StackExchange pages and the like.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 10:33
  • 1
    The 'back'/'forward' arrows are there to make it possible to follow the 'thread' of a discussion: hover over them, and you get the previous message highlighted. It's useful when there are parallel topics being talked about.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 10:34
  • thanks a lot for the answer :) Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 16:14
  • 1
    The reply arrows are also clickable and will make the chat scroll to the referenced message.
    – Caramdir
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 16:17
  1. People chatting there about TeX and other things. This is much less formal than comments (not to mention answer and comment posts).
  2. I don't know exactly what you mean with edit buttons. Simply go to the main TeX.SX chat room at http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/41/tex-latex-and-friends and you can chat immediately.
  3. It is a StackExchange specific chat so it has a lot of StackExchange specific bells and whistles. Most the time they don't interfere with the normal chatting. In fact it took me a while to even see them.
  4. No, you can chat about everything. Please keep it TeX.SX related in the main TeX.SX chat. You can open own chat rooms or visit other StackExchange chat rooms from other StackExchange sites as well. The chat isn't fixed for one StackExchange site.
  • 3
    Ad 4.: In the last 24 hours there was talk about Italian cities, soccer games, LaTeX3 planning, basketball and probably other “off-topic” topics I missed.
    – Caramdir
    Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 21:29
  • @Caramdir: True, which is fine as long it isn't starting to take overhand. People should feel at home in the chat, after all. Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 21:34

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