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Standback and I have been discussing what time the weekly chat should be, so more people can attend.

  • Should we have it at the same time every week? If so, what time/day would you prefer? (Times in UTC would be best, or just specify your time zone and I'll do the math.)
  • Maybe we could do different times on an alternating schedule? Early on one day, next week later on a different day, and so on? We have users in North America, England and Europe, India, the Middle East, South Africa, and more.

How do other sites handle this?

  • Note: The next chat is on Tuesdays 1600EST (other timezones here) as a temporary measure until we get some more feedback about times. – Neil Fein May 22 '12 at 4:34
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I think having it at the same time every week for some stretch of time is important, particularly when trying to establish what is basically a new thing for most people. Changing it every week (first week Mondays at noon, second week Tuesdays at 9PM, etc) would add more confusion than access.

That said, we don't have to carve one time into stone; it's perfectly reasonable for this to change on, say, a monthly or bimonthly basis. When it's been at the same time for a stretch, anyone should feel free to propose a change.

As for how other sites do this, the only one I'm familiar with is Mi Yodeya, which chose Wednesday (mid-week) at a time that works in the currently-in-use timezones (Israel through US west coast). If we ever get active users in Australia we'll have to rethink this.

  • Going with Tuesday at 9pm EST and Thursday at noon EST for now, as per the other suggestions. I agree that having chats at the same time on the same day is vital. Not sure if we have enough people to support two weekly chats, but we'll find out soon enough! – Neil Fein Jun 7 '12 at 1:53
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Monday late morning-early afternoon (EST) is bad for me, since I usually have rehearsals then. Would prefer to avoid the Jewish Shabbat, Friday evening - Saturday evening.

Times to avoid:

  • UTC Mon 1400-1700
  • UTC Fri 1800--Sat 2100
  • I take it you mean EST not UTC as UTC refers to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordinated_Universal_Time which is synonymous for all practical purposes with the UKs GMT. EST varies to be four or five hours behind UTC... – One Monkey May 17 '12 at 14:24
  • @OneMonkey Thanks, but I meant what's written here. The chat software schedules events in UTC and translates that to individual users' time zones. – Neil Fein May 17 '12 at 15:15
  • Ah, I see, I am unclear on the scheduling specifics of shabbat, or rather was. – One Monkey May 18 '12 at 9:35
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Well, I think the most natural solution is to have more than one weekly chat, but use the same topic for all chats during the week. Chatters can read the transcript to spark new discussion on some earlier point if they like, or just jump in with something new.

As for me, I stay logged into chat while I'm at work, but can't really participate unless it is lunchtime, which for me I can push anywhere from 1100 to 1300 EST. Otherwise, I'm at home with my family and unplugged. Four in the afternoon is pretty impossible, since I am getting ready to leave work and commute.

Here's my suggestion. Three weekly chats scheduled to cover one night and two lunchtimes in our coverage area. (I propose only one nighttime event because presumably people will have more flexibility in their evening schedules than in their lunch schedules.) Then alter as necessary.

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    Back when we were having these we sometimes struggled to achieve critical mass. We will get enough additional participants to make multiple chats per week viable? Are there enough people who haven't been participating so far, but would at other times? – Monica Cellio Jun 6 '12 at 15:38
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    Let's find out. Scheduling two weekly chats, both at different times. – Neil Fein Jun 7 '12 at 1:43
  • The Tuesday one is working well, the Thursday one has mostly been a ghost town. Any preferences for when else to do the "extra" chat session? Or should we stick with the one on Tuesdays? – Neil Fein Jun 29 '12 at 2:08
  • @Neil Let's move Thursday to 1800 UTC and see if that works better. – Kit Z. Fox Jul 1 '12 at 0:46
  • @KitFox - Sure, give it a shot. Let's see what happens. – Neil Fein Jul 1 '12 at 0:48
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I'm not sure if there is a universal good time considering when people work and get home. I'm in PDT time zone myself, so what is good for me (6-7pm) is late if your in EDT (9-10pm). Naturally the reverse is true, a good time for people in ADT means I'll be stuck at work and can't attend. Of course that's also just for North America, in doesn't take into account the rest of the world.

It might be best to have the meetings at a fixed day of the week/time, but rotate the timezone between four or so each week. The other choice might be to have something on a weekend to lesson the changes of problems with work for some of us.

I think a first step might be to get a rough idea of everyone timezone to see how spread out we are temporally speaking.

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