The Racketlon Chat, first introduced in October 2003, just
got a new look.
Choose from many discussions (threads) going on in parallel or start a new one! Click here to check it out!
In cooperation with Google (an American company that is world leading within
web services, such as "the Google Search Engine") The Racketlon Chat
has just been moved to a new address and upgraded with some new functionality,
1) Multiple Threads.
Most importantly support for multiple "threads" have been introduced - meaning that messages related to the same topic are now grouped together. This will assist chatters to simultaneously keep many discussions active while avoiding the "intertwining absurdities" that have sometimes characterised the old "classic" version of the chat.
2) Restricted Anonymity.
From now on everyone that wants to post a message will have to be a member of the chat. Becoming a member is a very easy process (see below) that basically means that you register your e-mail address and choose a password to go with it. In order to post a message you will then need to be logged on. Your e-mail address will be used as your identifier, implying less anonymity than at present. (If you are worried about spam you should be reassured that your e-mail address will not be openly published. It will be visible only after human interaction.) Less anonymity is meant to increase the quality of the discussions. Let's see how that works :-)
No worries! It has been a priority to keep things simple.You will need to log on to post a message. That's about the only new thing that may cause confusion.
All you need to know to get started
1) Reading the chat
Just like before the chat is readable by anyone. No need to log on for that. To visit the chat, simply click the usual link on the Racketlon.com startpage (or click here) and you will see a list of topics. One more click (on the topic you are interested in) and you will see the messages that belong to that topic. (In order to give the new chat a flying start a selection of recent messages have been imported from the old chat.)
2) Joining the chat
In order to be able to write to the chat you will, as said, need to be a member of it. To become a member just click "Join this group" and follow the on screen instructions.
a) If you already have a Google account
...(which will e.g. be the case for everyone with a "gmail" address) the process will only require about one minute of your time.
b) If you don't have a Google account
...you will first be asked to create one. This will mean a few more clicks (and about two more minutes) since you will need to verify your e-mail address. (An e-mail will be sent to you and you will need to click on a link in that e-mail. Tip: If no e-mail arrives be sure to check your spam folder!)
3) Writing to the chat
In order to be able to write messages you will need to be logged on. Once that is done posting messages will be just as easy as it used to be, although now you have the choice between starting a new thread ("New post") or adding a message to an existing thread ("Reply").
4) That's all!
Posting your first message is just a minute away. Scroll through the existing threads and chances are that you will find many of them unfinished waiting for you to add an argument or two to clear things out. Let's all give the new chat a good start!
The new chat has been implemented by means of a service offered by Google called "Google Groups". Technically, therefore, The Racketlon Chat is now a "Google Group". One consequence of this is that the chat, by nature, is "e-mail based", which in turn opens up for the following functionalities;
1) Write from e-mail.
Each message posted is actually an e-mail sent to the e-mail address of the chat, which means that it is possible to post messages on the chat not just through the web interface described above - but also from your normal e-mail interface. Just send a normal e-mail to the chat's e-mail address (email@example.com) and it will be posted on the chat.
2) Read from e-mail.
Inversely, messages posted on the chat can be read, not just from the web interface, but also as e-mails arriving to your normal e-mail inbox. But maybe you do not want an e-mail every time someone posts a message on the chat? No worries! This function can be turned on or off according to your liking.
Other new features that you might find useful include:
The topics and messages can be viewed in many different ways; The main page of the chat shows the topics sorted with the one that received the latest message on top. Instead you may want to list them in the order that they got started. Or you may prefer the "classic" view - i.e. the view offered by the old chat (by message irrespective of topic, latest message at the top). A message can also be viewed on its own separate web page, which makes it possible to link to each individual message.
If you acquire a taste for a certain author (such as e.g. "JOD" or "KL") you can generate a list of all that author's posts of the past and go through them all for an entertaining read.
Top posters of all time (or alternatively this month) are listed under "About this Group"
And, of course, since the new chat is based on a Google application the messages can be searched for keywords - in a way familiar to users of the popular Google Search Engine.
In addition, when you are logged on, you will e.g. have access to the following features:
You can express your consent (or disapproval) with individual posts by rating them. The average rating of each rated post is displayed next to it.
If you have a special interest in certain discussions you can "star" them for easy retrieval (just click on the "empty" star in front of a thread and it will become yellow. All thus "starred" threads are easily retrieved by clicking "Favorites" at the top right)
...and there is more. Check it out! And happy chatting!
P.S. The Breaking News function is unaffected by this upgrade of the chat. Messages that contain news of general interest are still referred to Breaking News for increased visibility.
P.S.2. The old chat will remain readable for some time. You will find a link to it in the Racketlon.com ABOUT section.
P.S.3. Questions? Then post them on the new chat! (Alternatively, for general help on the Google Groups service, click the "help" link at the top of the chat page. Or, if everything else fails, drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org )