I would like to request you consider adding better control over incoming chats. In our particular case, I have a community attached to a blog with over 100k users. The owner of the blog will become inundated with chats since any of our paying members are allowed to chat with other people. It would be much better if there were a feature that allows a person to approve/reject incoming chats, or at least disable others from initiating the chat. This way, other users would need to request permission to chat with him.
Currently, chats can either be turned on or turned off (all or nothing) so there is no way to protect a popular user from being overrun by chats apart from disabling their ability to chat altogether. Neither scenario is good.
This seems like a good safeguard. On a site with 100k users there’s a big difference between “I was just chatting publicly with this person and want to continue privately” versus “This person I’ve never heard from just sent me a message” — we have flags, but flagging is a bit harsh if someone you don’t know just sent you “hi” and you’re not interested (how long do I have to talk to this person only to find out that they’re spam? sometimes it’s a while).
Discord does this, and I find it to work well in situations where you’ve joined a server with many people.
In their case they have a friend system, which is how they specify “members you may not know” so that doesn’t apply to us. Maybe the trust level system is a reasonable analogue? i.e., “filter direct messages from new members”?
The first time you receive a message from someone, they give you buttons to accept/ignore/report (on the lower right here, if you’re unfamiliar with their layout):
Yes, we actually have a Discord server (switching to Discourse!!), and we are happy with the way they handle this. Allowing a user to either accept or reject an incoming chat and adding that person as a connection works well.
For us, trust levels wouldn’t work because a large number of users are at higher trust levels and we’d still want a way to be able to filter incoming chat requests by some mechanism.
I’ve reviewed this a little more closely and the main problem is that it also shuts of private messages. So, there is no “easy” way for a user to request permission to speak with you. Their only option would be to post something publicly. If there were a feature like this for chat only then it would be an okay short-term solution, but as it stands now this will be tough.