It has been brought up lately that our chat has not been the same for some time now, which is mainly expressed in lack of activity when compared to previous periods (60 messages per day versus some 400 (?)).
In absence of human chatters, the room has been dominated by the main site questions feed 1 , Babelfish. It was then pointed out that the number of feed's messages (their appearance, them cluttering the chat) is acting as a deterrent for good conversation, especially if it's spread across hours, e.g. when someone posts at 10:00, someone else replies at 16:00, with ~10 feed messages in between.
Personally, I agree that in this case a room without the questions feed is better than a room with 10 feed messages in a row.
There are a few solutions
We can leave everything as it is. One could see what it looks like by going here and reading on - there were 8 hours of non-stop feeds.
We could convert the feed to a ticker - then the new questions would appear in a box in the upper region of the screen, instead of being posted like an ordinary chat message. Be advised that the ticker feeds need to be dismissed manually by clicking on them, and there's no way to "ignore" this feed, as one could do with Obie/Babelfish. There's a history of hate towards the ticker feed on main meta.
Remove the feed altogether 2, 3 .
the advantage here is that the feed would no longer cause any clutter and annoyance in any way. The obvious (disputable) disadvantage is that the users will have to go the "newest questions" page to see the newest questions. Sometimes I find it helpful to just visit the chat and see some recent questions, without having to visit the actual site and browse through the list, though it's not really difficult either.
What does the community think?
1 Simple math - SFF averages at ~25 questions per day. With 60 messages per day, the main feed makes almost the half of all messages right now. Or a third, if that number doesn't count feeds - I don't know.
2 Notice that we can always bring it back, when we increase our activity.
3 (Note that I'm only talking about the feed that posts new questions from the main site. All other feeds - meta, XKCD, At Wit's End, Literature, Movies, blog, and bounties - are infrequent enough and could remain in place. But then again, it's all open to suggestions.)