[Members] Terminology (and about the Glossary on the wiki)

JC Brand jc at opkode.com
Fri Feb 9 11:40:12 UTC 2018

Hi folks

I took a look at what the Glossary on the XSF wiki says for MUC rooms, and I
would like to make the argument why I disagree with its recommended term of "group chat".

The glossary is here: https://wiki.xmpp.org/web/Usability/Glossary

Firstly, let me state that my proposed term is "Chatroom" spelled as one word
(note, the glossary uses both "chat room" and "chatroom").

Why one word? Because we have bathroom, bedroom, boardroom and classroom all
spelled as a single word.

In the cases where we have two separate words, like living room, we have the
present participle (+ing) which seems to form a rule of keeping the words
separate, or we have some ambiguity on whether we're talking about a room or
simply space (e.g. "storage room").

* So why "chatroom" and not "group chat"?

I think there is a subtle difference between a "group chat" and a "chatroom".

A group is a distinct entity. I guess like the ship of Theseus, the members of
the group can all change over time, while the group is still the "same" group,
but generally a group refers to a specific group of individuals.

If all participants in a group chat leave the chat, is it still a group chat?

A MUC room is in this sense not a group, especially if it's public and not
restricted to members. Instead it's a place (i.e. room) in which people can
enter and leave as they please.

Even if all occupants leave the room, the room still exists as a place people
can go back to.

A chatroom can also contain two people, do two people form a group? No,
they form a pair.

With MIX it's perhaps a bit more ambiguous, although I still believe it should
be "chatroom".

* Why not something like "Channel"?

I tend to think that applications like Slack use "Channel" to
specifically distance themselves from the more old-school terminology.
I might be wrong here, but this is my impression.

I don't think the Jabber community needs to distance itself from such
terms in order to brand itself.

Everyone who's been on the internet since a while knows what a chatroom is. No
need to repurpose other words, like "Channel" which is already a very ambiguous
term and which probably doesn't translate very well into other languages.

I'm interested to hear other people's thoughts on this and also what other
languages use for this.


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