Live Chat Room for Richmond, Again

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IMG_2256.JPGI'm trying out a concept for a new local website,, and I want to get your feedback.

The main point is pretty simple: provide a real-time discussion room for Richmond/Wayne County citizens to talk about the issues of the day, chit-chat, and whatever else seems useful, any time, day or night. The way it's set up now, a "robot" will periodically insert a headline, weather report, event, etc. from local sources into the room for those joined in to talk about. Users can carry on private chats with each other if they choose. Real names are encouraged, relative anonymity is certainly possible.

If it takes off, I plan to have moderated discussions on a particular topic, and/or moderated live interviews with local folks about particular projects/news item/etc., where those joining in could ask their questions directly. The same concept could be used for "liveblogging" an event like a City Council meeting, a Mayoral debate that sadly isn't open to the public, an interesting speaker, etc. Eventually, the one chat room could expand into topic-specific rooms if desired.

While I recognize that online chat rooms don't lend themselves to anything near the quality of exchanges as real-world encounters, my hope is that this format for online discussion might encourage behavior that's more engaging, interesting and respectful than what happens in some of the traditional online forums available now. But who knows - it could go the other way too.

So, it's an experiment.

Please feel free to join in (or not) and let me know what you think. The site is in "beta" but it should work fine; if you have any trouble joining the chat, just let me know.

(Yes, I've been here before, so perhaps I'm just repeating myself. But hey, if the Internets are good for anything, it's inarticulately hammering away at the same vaguely relevant point in the name of personal amusement, yes?)

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