New Chat Feature Coming This Week

New Chat Feature Coming This Week
5 (100%) 1 vote

Due to popular demand, we’re releasing a new Chat feature for your network this week. The release is currently slated for Thursday night. We will finalize the release time and date as we complete testing and QA in the next two days.

Here’s a screenshot of the new Chat feature on the Main Page, with more details and screenshots after the jump. Click on any image to see a full page version:

You’ll be able to add your new Chat feature directly to your network from your Features page. Once you drag it into your social network, you can choose to place it in the left, center, or right column of your Main Page. It will also have its own Chat tab in the main navigation. Here is Chat in the left column:

Left Column View

Here is Chat in the right column:

Right Column View

When you add the Chat feature to your network’s right hand column, it will show up across the pages on your network. This is the same thing that happens today with any feature you add to your network’s right hand column. If you choose this option, then your members will automatically appear in the Chat feature’s Online list as they are signed in and navigating your network.

Here’s the Main Chat tab:

Main Chat Tab

Instant Messaging

You’ll be able to click on anyone who is online and chatting to open an instant message session. Here’s the prompt you’ll see:

And then a new tab within Chat will open for you to talk privately with this person.

Online and Chatting

If you sign into a network and are on a page that has the Chat feature displayed on it, it will automatically show you as online. You can choose to show yourself as offline, which will take you completely off the Chat’s Online list. You will not show up at all and Chat will remember your offline status until you sign out and sign back in or choose to show up as Online again.

We offer another online indicator on the profile page and the members page. You’ll still show up as online here if you are not on a page with Chat or chosen offline status from within Chat. This is because this online status indicator is a feature on all networks, independent of whether they have the Chat feature installed. For this reason, if you enable the Chat feature they will both be there but remain separate.

A Few Other Details

  • There will be a set of smilies and emoticons at launch. We’ll also offer a quick tutorial on how to change or add your own custom set of smilies and emoticons. (And, no, this does not mean that we’re adding smilies and emoticons to the discussion forum just quite yet.)
  • Your Chat feature will take on the fonts and key colors of your network. You’ll also NOT be able to change the CSS on it in the initial version. If you have custom CSS, there is a strong possibility that your Chat module may seem broken and we won’t have a great way to investigate and fix it immediately. I know that sucks, but I want to set expectations that there are edge cases with custom CSS that we won’t have a chance to test thoroughly before we release Chat.
  • There will only be one Chat instance per network, but the ability to Instant Message up to some currently undefined number of people simultaneously.
  • There won’t will be a way to hide the Chat feature from the Main Page and only have it on the Main Chat tab in the first version. We plan to offer this shortly. We will be offering this in the initial version. (Thanks, Russell)
  • We will not have a buddy list of your friends on the network who are also online and chatting in this initial version. We plan on adding it shortly.
  • We won’t be able to launch with the ability to block someone from inviting you to chat. We plan on adding it shortly.
  • There won’t be a way to moderate Chat or delete individual chats from the Chat feature in the initial version. We plan to add this option in a future release.
  • When someone is banned from the network, it will also ban them from Chat and remove any chats they have contributed.
  • You have to be signed in to participate in the Chat. For example, if your network’s Main Page is visible but you have to sign in to see the network, clicking on the Chat module will pop open the sign up page. (Thanks, Jana!)
  • There won’t be a way to contact someone who is on the network but offline from within the Chat feature. The best way to contact them will be to send them a private message from the message center.
  • There won’t be a way to show up “offline” to the Main Chat while participating in private IMs in this initial version. We hope to address this in the future.
  • If you invite someone to a private instant message and they decline your invitation, you will not get a notification in this initial release. We will address this shortly.
  • There will not be any type of chime or sound notification of new messages in this initial release. We hope to add that to a future version.

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41 thoughts on “New Chat Feature Coming This Week

  1. Karen Clanton

    we,r no longer want the CENTER for International Settlement as our blog address please don,t updated til our next web log
    Thanks Karen Clinton

  2. Karen Clanton

    I am one of the officers for the Center for International Study and Development (CISD) formerly known as Center for International Settlement and Development. A former employee created this web blog (using my name as the point of contact) for our organization. She left and we cannot find a password in order to manage the blog.

    We need to have an organizational focused or professional blog … This is the situation. There are individuals who are posting materials for other than what the blog was intended, to advocate for tribal, nomadic, and indigenous people. I am therefore requesting NING’s assistance in this matter.

    Karen [private contact info redacted]

  3. Marie Feazell

    The last post I see here is in 2008. Is it possible now to save the chat transcripts? Thanks.

    1. Eric Suesz

      Chat transcripts are not available for download, Marie. It’s not a feature we’ve built since this blog post was written. Hope this helps.

  4. Evan

    Hi Cocteau!

    There’s no way to do that now, but we’ll definitely look at adding those features in the future.


  5. Evan

    Hi Magda!

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the new Chat feature. At this time, it’s not possible to save or log these chats. You also can’t have separate public chats (you can have separate private conversations), but that’s definitely something we’ll look at in the future.

  6. Magda K

    Hi guys,

    First of all WELL DONE on this feature! It will really make the difference to the way we use ning!

    I have one question: is it possible to save the chat after it is finished? Say that i want to do a chat with all members of my network and then save the text of this conversation for future reference.

    Also, is it possible to separate chats? Say that I want to have a chat with all members once a week, starting a new topic every time?


  7. Evan

    Hi Tony!

    We don’t have any plans for voice chat. We’ll look at adding sound notification in the future.

    Thanks for your feedback,

  8. Tony Ramos

    Will there at some point be a sound notification that someone wants to chat with you. Although the message pops up next to the chat most of my members miss it. Also is any future release going to include voice chat?

  9. Lee Burchfield

    I’ve noticed an issue in chat with the list of online users. There’s a “more” link you can use to view “more” users. But once you click that, there’s no obvious way to get back to the first set of users. You can click in the search box and search and that resets it, but it would really help to have a “back” button.

  10. Mary Ann

    Love the screenshot, especially the reference to William Carlos Williams. Love the idea of chat, too. Can’t wait. Thanks!

  11. dokun

    i LOVE it!! :):) THANKS! THANKS! THANKS! :):)

    the only thing i worry about now is i see in the screenshot that if i put it on the right then the small member pic are 7 on a row… thats making the pics very very small… 🙁 is there a way to adjust that so that we can have for example 3 or 4 bigger pics on a row and then the possibility to scroll to see all the pics.. allot of thetimes i have 80 or more members online in chat and it would be nice to see the bigger pics….

  12. Antony Christian

    Im looking forward to adding chat to my sites,hopefully it will generate more members to join them!

  13. Chris

    I agree with Andy.

    It will be great to have Chat “Moderators” to moderate the chat session, kick-out or temporarily suspend unrully members, delete vulgar words. etc.

    I’m also using XAT right now and I have around 10 moderators comming from different timezone.

    I hope that Ning will add this option.

  14. andy

    Looks great guys………….cant cait to get it switched on!!!

    One question though, can we have “Chat” admins that may be separate to the main site admins?? Currently i use XAT chat and have a number of Chat Admins (moderators) who help out on the chat…………..but they don’t have ANY Site Admin privelidges, something that i am keen to continue if possible 🙂

    I hope its a yes! lol!



  15. Thomas Hoey

    Looks very good, so far, you seem to have all the bases covered. Can an admin delete invidvidual message, and how far back can the messages be scrolled or saved? Maybe you told us that above and I missed it. I understand that a member can be banned but sometime just deleting one offending post can make a great deal of difference in the conversation.

  16. Maria

    this is great! I have one question, is it possible to just have a *tab* for the chat – and not have it appear on the main page? I would love to have the chat feature but don’t want the conversations to be seen on the front page if you know what I mean?

    thanks !

  17. Chris Holland

    Congratulations guys, it looks really good 🙂 Well. I had a good run with webChattr … 🙂 Yet webChattr does have a few more things up its sleeves …

    As I get ready to implement new features such as automagically-created Network Group chats, there is a slew of neat things webChattr already offers that may be of interest to our Network Creators:

    – webChattr can show-up on all members profiles pages if NCs opt into it.
    – webChattr can be opened or closed by individual chatters.
    – Avatars link to users’ profiles.
    – ability to pop out a window so you can keep browsing the network in the main window.
    – ability to ignore any particular user for the duration of a chat session with a single click.
    – 100 original and really sexy smilies 😀
    – users can create their own rooms instantly and congregate in ’em.

    … and last but not least …

    The webChattr interface was built from the ground-up to offer a fantastic experience on the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and one day Google/Android-powered handheld devices.

    Since its public release in February, webChattr has consistently been listed on the Apple site as one of the top Social Networking app, allowing thousands of iPhone users to chat from anywhere at anytime, over WiFi, EDGE, or 3G.

    As Ning releases an iPhone view into Social Networks, I’m looking to work closely with Ning to bring live chat to your iPhone 🙂

  18. Assumptan360 Admin

    Wow! Thanks for all the hardwork, guys.

    I am really excited to get this feature added to my network. 🙂

  19. Alexander Falkenberg


    When launching the NEW CHAT, it would be great if you could write the CSS somewhere, how to change the “Hight” of the chat. (For example if you have it in the “right column” and you think its to high.)


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