Uh, then why did they come here in the first place? For the dymt thread?
Extended debates about "expanding the community" are a red herring IMO. What attracts the most users is not the method, it is whether a good member culture has already been established via years of demonstrated quality in the host website ("are there interesting, reasonable people carrying the discussions?"), and whether the moderators are even-keeled and efficient ("will I be treated fairly?"). For TR, "yes" on both counts.
It doesn't matter why they came to the forums in the first place it's to get them to stay for longer. To attract their attention and make them become active members. The forums right now are all business and if you like your social community run like a business I guess all the more power to you. People aren't businesses though. Even if they come here to look for suggestion for upgrading their PSU, that doesn't mean it's the reason why they stay.
Humans aren't always logical creatures that look at the pros and cons of a social atmosphere, weigh it accordingly, and then decide if they want to stay or not based on package deals they get at every website. Be a bit realistic here. There is an entire area of social science based around this and it's not engineering.
A lot of people find TR through Google searches for issues they are having and Google has indexed the forums thoroughly. This is one of the reasons why we have so much spam to fight, TR is highly ranked on Google search so if the spammers can get a link to stick then they get in Google's results. A chatbox offers no ability to be indexed by the search engines so is less likely to attract new visitors.
The forums wont disappear, stop implying they will if a chat box appears. They'll carry on just as they have.
Be a bit realistic when it comes to swearing too. Lets not turn this into a discussion of parental responsibility.
Your issue when they made that comment was an inability to find new forum threads or keep track of thread discussions. UberGerbil and JustAnEngineer pointed out several resources for doing just that, both of which are completely exposed right on the front page by default and don't require you to register and/or login. Your solution, the chatbox, would NOT be exposed on the front page by default because it would require you to register and/or login first (a suggestion you yourself made earlier in this thread to accommodate people who don't want to see the chatbox by default).
Two different issues. I made more then one suggestion. The chatbox had nothing to do with thread visibility and vice versa. That applies to the rest of your quotes. There is more then one idea floating around in this thread.
Please provide examples of such sites - where a chatbox actually provides any practical use aside from such nonsense conversations as "what's up? - my dick is up, lolololol! -whatcha doin'? -scratching my balls, olololol!" or an additional source of spam advertisements.
You must be great fun at parties.
I am not talking about implementation. At all. My objection is not about the tech, it's about how people might use it. I'm not worried about redundancy, I'm worried about the lack of it. I don't care if shoot-the-breeze conversation happens in a chatbox. But if technical conversation happens there, and only there, then the forums suffer, and the site as a whole suffers, because the forums are a good chunk of both the collective memory and the externally-discoverable "face" of the site. (Again, unless the chatbox has some retention mechanism that allows that valuable content to be saved and searched)
Now it may be that virtually nothing of any lasting value will ever be written in the chatbox... but then I wonder at investing any development resources in creating it. Especially since there are plenty of other ways to do that kind of thing on the internet already; as Kurotetsu points out, Twitter even includes many TR staff and notables already. (And it at least is somewhat searchable and persistent)
Hence my statement about hyperbole. You're completely OCD about ultra meaningful conversations lost in the depths of the interwebs for ever more. Do you carefully write down every conversation that takes place in real life? Somethings are volatile and by that nature they're completely different then things that aren't. Both in how people perceive, approach, and interact with them. A chat box may not have anything meaningful ever said in it, but what to YOU and to ME is meaningful? Meaningful to me might be and interesting and insightful conversation that took place in a volatile piece of media. Heck it might just be that the conversation took place. It doesn't bug me that it's gone forever and it doesn't bug me that it was happened upon on a whim. You can't always distill social interaction into a carefully formatted piece of information.
Maybe this really isn't even about having a chatbox or losing information, it's about some of you not being able to read and preside over every conversation that hits this website, which makes you angsty. Something might happen that you missed. Looking at the post counts of those that are completely against this, it makes complete sense too.
If it really bugs you I'm sure you could log the chatbox for all that's worth and have it's entire contents dumped on a page for the rest of time so google can crawl it...