What are Public Chats?

Public chats are a discontinued feature within Skype that allowed people to come together and post in public chats on a chosen topic – it was not necessary for the users involved to exchange contact requests in order to chat to one another online.

The option to create new public chats was removed in Skype 4.0 for Windows, and Skype does not support or monitor any public chats currently taking place – this is the responsibility of the user who created it (called the moderator), and only they can control who can speak, promote users to hosts and eject disruptive members of the chat.

Up to 150 users can participate in a public chat simultaneously. Anyone can join a public chat, and they cost nothing to create, host or join.

Joining a chat

To join a public chat, click on a snippet (a piece of HTML code leading to the chat). In some instances the host of the chat has chosen to moderate memberships to their chat, and it may take some time for the host to accept or reject your application.

For security and anti-spamming measures once a joiner has been rejected from applying to a public chat they will not be allowed to reapply – the moderator will have to add them manually.

To leave a public chat, simply click on the Leave button on the toolbar or type /leave into the chat and press Enter. You will no longer receive messages from this chat.

Moderating a chat

There are three different moderation modes for public chats:

  • Anyone can post messages in this chat
  • Participants need my permission to start posting messages
  • Participants need my permission to start reading and posting messages (joiners are put in a queue and must wait for approval to read and post messages)

If you are the moderator, you can change these setting by going to Options > Public chat settings. From here you can also lock the picture, topic, or change the community guidelines.

Adding and Ejecting Participants

If your moderation rules are set to Participants need my permission to start reading and posting messages you will need to accept or reject new joiners into your chat. As a host you will be notified when a new joiner applies to your chat.

To accept individual participants click on the green Accept button or the red Decline button. If you have a queue of joiners you would like to accept or deny all, you can click on the menu heading Waiting and select Accept All or Reject All.

If you have a participant who is being disruptive you can eject them and ban them from reapplying to your chat. To do this:

  1. Right-click on their contact card in the participant list.
  2. Select Eject and Ban.
  3. Confirm you wish to eject and ban the participant.

The creator or hosts of the chat can manually adding rejected or ejected users back into the chat by clicking Add more people to this chat if required and following the prompts.

Removing offensive material

As a host you can do this by right-clicking on the message and selecting Remove Message. Where the message was, the text will note that it wasremoved by you after you close and reopen the chat.

Appointing another host

To appoint another user as a host to your chat, right-click on their contact card and choose Promote to Host. All hosts in your chat will appear at the top of the Chatting bucket.

Appointed hosts can accept and reject joiners, eject and ban users, set both users or the chat itself to read-only, and change the topic or picture settings. They cannot promote other hosts, change the moderation rules of the chat, eject and ban other hosts, or permanently end the chat.

Ending a chat

As the creator of a public chat you are not allowed to leave the chat - you can only end it. To end a chat, go to Options > End Chat.

Acting hosts cannot end a public chat, but they can leave it by clicking on Leave in the toolbar or typing /leave into the chat window and pressing Enter.

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