The question has arisen elsewhere, so this is my possibly lame attempt to pitch in and hopefully lead to some clarification of somewhat foggy issues.

The General Chit Chat (GCC) has been evolving quite a bit as of late -- some would say for the worse perhaps -- but I think there's a lack of understanding about what this segment of AO is for. I'm no authority, but I'll suggest to you what I think it is.

GCC is meant to add a dynamic to the AO community. All in all, I see it as serving two main purposes:

1) To provide a miscellaneous forum for those who have questions that don't fit the mold of the other topical forums. For example, video games, industry developments, and other technology but not necessarily security-related topics.

2) To improve the overall interactivity of the AO community. Much of AO is built on professional relationships and trust, which is what, I think, sets AO apart from other forums. Go check out the other security- and technology-related forums. You'll get questions answered, but you'll never network together the kind of contacts you can potentially make here. In the security world, it's also important that you trust who you're taking advice from. You don't get that level of interactivity without "getting to know" other members, and you don't get to know them without first just chit-chatting with them. So again, here we have GCC. Get to know your fellow AOers so you can network professional contacts here more effectively. Find out who they are and what they're about.

However, I'd say there are purposes that GCC is NOT supposed to serve.

1) Nonsense -- to a certain degree anyway. There's always a level of nonsense that results from the "letting-off-steam" humor that frequents AO and inhabits the personalities of its members. However, all things in balance, this is one thing that can go to a harmful extreme. Threads that are nonsense-only do not help the AO community, and are "too much of a good thing", so those should be avoided. The occasional interjection of nonsense, when appropriate, is widely welcomed, however -- especially by ME.

2) Complaining/Flaming -- GCC is a world of its own in a sense, but it still adheres to the same general guidelines of AO posting. Flaming and complaining/whining about insignificant issues (mind you, not the same as expressing ligit concerns) does not in any way facilitate an improved AO community. It only detracts from it.

So, I hope these thoughts will prove useful for the further enjoyment of the GCC. Chat on!