I spent a little time on the 3Bubbles beta chat tonight over at the 3Bubbles Blog. Lots of folks over there, including Scoble and Dave Winer. As I said earlier, I like the technology.
There are some 1400 people trying to get a beta invite, so I’m not going to even try, but having developed some chat rooms on ACCBoards.Com and other very popular sites, and having seen the inevitable disruptive kiddie crew run rampant in the chat tonight, here are 5 things 3Bubbles needs to do to make its application work. Some of this may already be included.
1) Allow the option to require registrations. Drew told me tonight that there will be an image and email verification. They should also make it an option to hold all registrations in a queue until approved by the webmaster. The disrupters will try to reregister with another email address and this will help control that.
2) Create an easy way to ban users, by user name, by email and by IP address. I can guarantee you that if the IP address ban isn’t included, everyone will be sorry. It’s a must have.
3) Allow an option to prohibit registrations from a user defined list of email domains. For years, we prohibited registrations at ACCBoards.Com via the free online email providers. That sounds harsh, but believe me, it was necessary.
4) Allow webmasters to create a list of prohibited words that will show up only as ****** in the chat. This cuts down on link spam and inappropriate language.
5) Allow the webmasters to create moderators with the ability to ban users, but not the ability to change the application settings, etc.
Based on my experience tonight, I think this is a very good application. Not for a one chatroom for every post sort of thing, but for a one chatroom for every blog sort of thing.
But I can tell you from vast experience that the single biggest challenge will be to keep the disrupters at bay. There simply must be a lot of easy to implement tools to keep them out of the chats. Otherwise the good chat content will get lost in the noise, and when that happens, the real chatters get rightly frustrated and move on.
More on 3Bubbles later.