I've been a member of an online community that's mostly aimed at kids - although we've got members aged 8 to in their 20s - for almost four years now. There's a live chat available (with some pretty aggressive word filters). Now, I don't drop in very regularly - I drop in around one every couple weeks, usually. I used to be much more active on the forums, but most of the people I know there I know from like 2 years ago (of those who are still around) - I don't know the younger generation very well.

Now, when I drop into the livechat, I'll often just talk to the few people that I know... ignoring the rest of the people. Now, most of the time the other people in the chat aren't actually interested in chatting; they're more interested in role-playing. But I'm more interested in chatting with the people I know, like discussing one girl's YouTube channel and stuff like that. So I'll often just put everybody else on ignore (because it can be hard to keep track of a conversation when you've got a stream of unrelated messages).

What I'm wondering is: Is this rude to the other users of the room? If they try to talk to me I won't even notice, because I have them on ignore... and this could be 'clique'ish, because it's basically just two or three users who've known each other for a couple years ignoring all the newer people. (This is... at least a year and a half after the oldies vs. newbies war that left the site in ruins and with a severely depleted population, but I really don't want to cause it to resurface.)

Is it acceptable to ignore everyone else in the room and talk to only specific people?

  • 11
    I guess some kind of private chatrooms are not possible or impractical? Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 18:38
  • 3
    Right, that feature does not exist.
    – Mithical
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 18:40
  • How much do you ignore these people? If they say hi, do you say hi back? Or do you just not respond to their queries.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 21:35
  • @corsiKa - using the actual ignore feature.
    – Mithical
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 21:35

4 Answers 4


What I'm wondering is: Is this rude to the other users of the room?

Yeah. People respond to being intentionally ignored in a chat room about as well as they do to being ignored in real life. (Which is really, really poorly).

A public chat room is a shared space, where multiple conversations can happen at the same time, and anyone can join in and communicate with anybody else. By putting everyone except one person on ignore, you are not only completely ignoring anyone who might be trying to join into your conversation (just by chatting along), you are also completely missing out on what else is going on in the chatroom.

You might be talking through any number of conversations, with any level of seriousness. You might be ignoring any number of people who are just looking to join in a simple conversation. You might be repeating what other people have already said on the same topic. You might even be reacting to conversations that aren't really meant for you, because you're only seeing half of them. It's confusing for everyone else at best, and very rude and/or annoying at worst.

The ignore feature on public chat rooms is supposed to be used for people who are really being problematic, not to turn a public room into something that looks like a private room. It should be used sparingly. If you only want to talk with a few people, you should get their contact details and communicate privately with them.


I agree with the others, it is rude. It may or may not be noticed, but ignoring anybody that may innocently try to add to your conversation is being unkind and unfair for your own convenience, which is basically the definition of rude.

However they respond to you is deserved, if they are hurt or dislike you or insult you.

It is fair to ignore others having a private flame war or something, they are misbehaving. It is unfair if somebody comes to the site for the purpose of friendly chatting about whatever topic comes up, and you make them feel unwelcome by ignoring their innocent overtures to be friends, or at least friendly.

  • "However they respond to you is deserved...." but if they're on "ignore," it's not like OP will have to worry about that or deal with it, for the most part, right? Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 17:03
  • 2
    @PoloHoleSet That is a rather sociopathic mindset, in my view: A person that cares nothing for anybody else's feelings unless they have to "deal with it" directly. Should I apply that to burglary, rape or murder? If I can engineer a way that I don't have to "deal with" the misery and grief it causes, then I should feel it is acceptable? The issue isn't whether the OP has to deal with it, the issue is whether he should intentionally inflict negative feelings in another person for his own convenience.
    – Amadeus
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 18:41
  • 1
    I'd say "However they respond to you is deserved, if they are hurt or dislike you or insult you." is going too far. Sure, ignoring other people in this way is rude, and it's certainly reasonable that people will respond to it in a certain (undesirable) way, but there do exist other more extreme responses that would be entirely out of line.
    – David Z
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 22:58

It's at the very least unsmart.

You're holding a public conversation, in a public space, broadcasting the conversation to every person in the chatroom. By abusing a public chatroom for a private conversation, you may occasionally be fooling yourself into acting like it is a private conversation, which will lead to you occasionally saying things that cannot be said in a publicly broadcasted conversation - and that will definitely be offensive, and may even get you banned from the chat eventually.

Even apart from this issue, you're adding noise to the public channel - you're not part of the conversation so from the point of view of everyone you put on ignore, you just spam the channel with irrelevant and pointless messages, which will cause people to put you on ignore, or to report you for spam or for being a bot, which also may get you banned.

Remember, there is no court that tries to figure out if banning you is fair and just - there's either a single person making the decision, or a fully automated system based on number of people you've annoyed, and there's no recourse.


Yes it’s rude and not politically correct. Things you have to consider:

  • How do the people you are talking to feel about you ignoring everyone else, how will this effect their relationship with the other peers, and most likely, consequently with you?

  • How do the people you are ignoring feel about you ignoring them? Just because there is no verbal or written communication directed towards you, it doesn’t mean no communication amongst the other peers regarding the issue doesn’t exist.

In the background of every thing it is plausible that these ignored peers have developed opinions about you, opinions that could influence negative actions towards you.

Humans are naturally analytical, investigating everything in their environment. By not directing any attention towards them, you leave judgement of self solely based on their observations and reasoning, whether logical or not.

I grew up a very quiet and direct person, and learned all this the hard way. When you think that just because nothings been said and there is no relationship between you and another person, you end up finding out this person has written an entire book on you during your silence.

If you do not define yourself, they will define you. What will be the consequences of that definition?

  • 26
    Umm... How is it not politically correct?
    – Mithical
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 10:27
  • 6
    I wouldn't think of political correctness as having anything to do with this context, whether or not it is rude. Could you explain that? What version of political correctness are you invoking here and what do you mean by it? Your answer doesn't go on to clarify any of this. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 12:32
  • 1
    "Not politically correct", lol'd Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 15:48
  • 2
    @ArwenUndómiel - I think Iam Pyre is shooting for something more along the lines of standard chat-room etiquette and norms, more than what is more commonly referred to as "politically correct." I can't judge the veracity of that assessment, as I am completely ignorant about chat rooms, in general. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 17:02
  • 2
    @ArwenUndómiel Politics does not always mean government. Consider the definition of politics, as per MW, "the total complex of relations between people living in society" - in this case, it would mean "doing so will harm your relationships with those people." Which is the same thing that they mean when politicians say something insensitive.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 20:52

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