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Until recently, there were feeds that did the following in The Sphinx's Lair:

  • Post every new question posted on Meta
  • Post every question that had a bounty placed on it.

This resulted in maybe a maximum of five posts per day.

Recently, a new feed has been added to The Sphinx's Lair that posts every new question posted on the main puzzling site. This has resulted in at least 16 posts in the last 24 hours.

I have found that the frequency of posts disrupts the flow of conversation in The Sphinx's Lair, and is more of a detriment than a benefit to the chat users.

[See this discussion for a few more opinions on the matter.]

My question is

Should we keep the feed that posts every new question from puzzling.stackexchange.com to The Sphinx's Lair?

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    $\begingroup$ Easy solution is to change the feed type to a dropdown on the top of the screen as opposed to messages in chat. $\endgroup$ – Aza Nov 2 '16 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Emrakul - How does that work? Seems like the best of both worlds, i.e. my opinion is that it's good to have them appear in chat somehow (I've seen them spawn discussions), but it's bad that they disrupt actual conversations... $\endgroup$ – Alconja Nov 3 '16 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja I'm trying to get a screenshot, which is apparently a little more difficult than it seems. It shows up as a box in the upper left corner of the screen, with a line-by-line list of questions. It doesn't take up much space, and is easily dismissable. (I'll delete this comment and replace it with a screenshot link when I get one.) $\endgroup$ – Aza Nov 3 '16 at 2:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Emrakul Urgghhhh, that type of feed looks horrible. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 4 '16 at 1:08
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FWIW I ...

  • quite like it

  • think it's a little too intrusive and would be better if (I've no idea whether this is possible) its posts looked like ordinary users', without the extra-wide margin and big bold linky header and image and tags in boxes

  • don't feel strongly one way or the other, and would not be greatly upset if it went away, nor if it continued as it is.

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Should we keep the feed that posts every new question from puzzling.stackexchange.com to The Sphinx's Lair?

If some users find it useful, then yes. Those who don't should just ignore the bot


I personally ignored the user Sphinx, because I don't see a great benefit in it for me except saving me two seconds when switching to the "Active Question" or "New Questions" tab and clicking "x questions with new activity". If I don't have one of these tabs open, I don't want to be informed about new questions anyway.

For those who find it useful, a more subtle message would be nice:

enter image description here

I obvsiouly don't know if this level of customization of a bot is possible, but I strongly hope you have other options than just starting some standard, pre-made bot.


The only concern I have with Emrakul's suggestion is that it sounds like there's no real notification that a new question was posted. That's probably why some people find the current bot good, because even users who are AFK will eventually see the bot message when scanning through the messages they missed. (And also, as Alconja noted, it's probably more likely to spark a conversation when it's posted in chat, because you can't overlook the message)

If there is a notification with the dropdown-suggestion, I hope it isn't too prominent (i.e. a huge red box with the number of new questions next to the box) and that every user can disable this for their chat.

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  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, the bot can't be made more subtle. We don't have control over exactly what it posts. $\endgroup$ – Aza Nov 13 '16 at 0:24
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The "Sphinx" bot is better than the dropdown because:

  • you can "ignore" the bot, as you can any other user
  • after a screenful of chat, the bot's box scrolls up off the screen, whereas the dropdown stays there occupying space needlessly
  • the number of unread questions in puzzling.SE is in any case shown by a number in parens in its tab's text
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