An Internet chat rooms is a website, a section of a website, or a feature of an online service like America Online that allows individuals with a shared interest to speak in real time. In contrast, forums and discussion groups enable members to publish messages but do not provide interactive communications. Most Internet chat rooms don’t require special software; those that do, like Internet Relay Chat (IRC), allow users to download it from the Internet.
Users of chat rooms create an account, pick a username and password, then log into the room of their choosing (most sites have multiple Internet chat rooms). In most chat rooms, there is a list of users who are currently online, who are also notified when another person enters the chat room. Users write a message into a text box to chat. Other users react almost instantly after seeing the post in the bigger community messaging section. Lingering allows users to visit chat rooms and view messages without actually sending any.
Because chat room communications are spontaneous and accessible right away, there is a risk of misuse, which might be deliberate or not. Site hosts frequently post a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list to help users understand proper Internet chat room behaviour, such as introducing yourself when entering a room, making it clear when you are directing a question or response to a specific user, and reporting disruptive users, for example. Disruptive users may vocally attack other chatters, monopolise the discussion, or simply disable it by entering the same word or phrase repeatedly into the conversation, a technique known as scrolling (which is strongly discouraged).
There are currently groups devoted to old movies, Irish genealogy, baton twirling, and psychic readings, to name a few. A listing of chat sites may be found on several websites, such as Yahoo. Others, such as MSN Web Communities, walk users through the process of setting up their own online chat room.