To my knowledge, the wonderful EP team are currently working on an EP chat module, as there have been many requests for such a thing.

It will be very interesting to see how it turns out, and I think that the impact a chat module will have on the EP will be very dependent on the way that the chat module functions.

In advance of that, I have some vague ponderings.

One of the things that makes the EP special is the release of experiences and secrets and feelings into a public space, but still retaining some sense of identity. I think that particular combination of things is the real secret to it, and what makes it work is the safety. Part of that safety is provided by the sense of containment - what is on EP stays on EP until you invite it into your world. The current posting system does put a barrier between people, but I think that is is a very important barrier - it is part of what makes it safe to share.

Another thing that I have noticed about the EP is that there is definite clique formation, but the cliques are hard to detect unless you spend a lot of time looking at people's stories and profiles. I suspect a chat module could make the cliques more obvious and thus diminish the inclusive sense of community that makes the EP special.

Chat is also time and typing intensive. There is only so much time in the day. I have basically stopped writing long stories due to PM load alone. Will EP story and comment output fall off dramatically because of chat? I would guess... probably not. But it remains to be seen.

One of the great things about the EP is it encourages well formed prose (compared to most places on the web), and I think it encourages people who would not ordinarily write to write about themselves, which is a wonderful thing. It has the capacity to generate well considered, thoughtful and reflective stories. None of this is compatible with an IM mindset.

I think IM systems are likely to raise the incidence of DRAMA. Nobody likes DRAMA.

I am also concerned about the prospect of EPers misbehaving towards other EPers. Hopefully there will be adequate user controls and moderation in place, but I suspect it will just be a At Your Own Risk sort of endeavour because IRC/IM land is very hard to moderate.

I do not mean to be doomy and gloomy and anti-chat. But I am yet to be convinced it is necessarily a good idea; after all, more is not always better.
TheTardyDodo TheTardyDodo
31-35, M
11 Responses Aug 8, 2007

Will this be something like Skype where we can see each other. If so it will be great. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

I have reservations about a group EP chat, but think a one-on-one EP chat would be a good thing...

SmEbRo Sayz:LOL

The EP ain't a democracy ;) It's an EPocracy! :D

How about a vote?

To simplify matters, why not denote ONE of the chatsites as the place for EP'rs to gather - Form an EP group within that site with subgroups? You can maintain all the privacy you wish to at this point - divulging as much or as little as you wish, utilizng a different User ID if you like, and so on. <br />
<br />
Safety and privacy are my top concerns. My utmost top concern socially is maintaining that special something EP has created with it's groups that allows you to truly connect to people on a much deeper level via your commonalites in experiences. Should I decide to participate in an IM module as an EP'r ... I worry much of this would go to the wayside; making chat aquaintences with surface connection rather than the deeper connections fostered by the EP site format. I worry if I utilize my EP User ID in the EP chat or any other chat forum with a designated EP area that there will be the danger of non-relating people victimizing me through my contributions. Etc. Etc. Etc.<br />
<br />
And like Celainn, I too would hate to see this site end up as nothing more than cyber acronyms vs. the wonderful prose it is now with the limited cyber talk.<br />
<br />
I worry about this and am quite anxious to hear the thoughts of EP staffers.

Hey all, thanks for all of the comments and thoughts! We share all of your concerns and insights on the IM feature. We are undertaking a number of new initiatives to improve the site (a new user interface for example) and the chat feature is something we are discussing. I think you have all identified really important issues we are thinking about and we'll keep you posted as the discussion continues.

agreed. in a way this is like a public diary, a blog. and you share what you want to share, when you want to share it. with chat there would be some kind of pressure. "why arent you talking to me?" etc. most things take more than a few sentences to express, hence why so many stories on here are more than one liners. misinterpreatations are bound to be abound.

I probably won't use it, that’s just me...I don't really find any buzz in chatting. I like to consider my responses with all the pause I want.<br />
Dunno, see how it goes, seems like the logical extension, some people will be more likely to linger there then others.

Hey thanks, I didn't know about the new chat thing in development. What kind of chat is it - do you know? A personal-between-two-ppl, or a big chatroom where everyone can jump in? Well, here is my two cents worth. I've tried the whole chat within subject areas thing, and I must say, it was a rather nerve-wracking experience. When a small group of ppl start chatting about somethin, it's hard for another to feel confident enough to jump in. And often the original chatters are so intensely involved in what they're discussing, the stray comment is ignored or only acknowledged with a "Yeah, good point. Anyway..." Very demoralising.... :[ Of course, the EP being full of supportive and accepting ppl as it is, this probably won't be that great of a problem. I suppose that there will always be ppl who enjoy the chat option, but then there are so many other chat services out there - they could always create another account if they want to maintain privacy and anonimity...

i have the very same concerns. i think chat will introduce a whole new set of problems ... you begin to meet people who don't necessarily understand you - unless the chat is set up much like PalTalk wherein groups of people meet within areas of the chat system - but what's to stop people from entering areas they do not belong? what's to stop non EP sharing people from entering chat (people we don't know anything about because they are not sharing experiences and stories.) what's to stop these nonsharing people from preying on those within certain groups after having done some homework? the list goes on and on<br />
<br />
in my mind, this could be a rather dangerous thing considering some of the fragile people on EP and what they've shared. their stories posted they are much more vulnerable in chat setting than they would be normally.<br />
<br />
moderation is most likely going to be quite necessary in order to protect the very things at the basis of EP - sharing, safety, anonymity, and being surrounded by those similar whom you can read their stories as well.<br />
<br />
in my humble opinion ...