I've been involved in several chats hosted on MSDN recently. Today I was talking to someone internally who was also working on scheduling chats for his team. We both complained about the overhead involved in scheduling and running a chat at Microsoft. In truth there aren't many barriers and Jana's team does a great job working with the current system and process. Sure, the step by step documentation we have look intimidating, but the process works like this for us:
At a recent chat I asked the participants how they had heard about the chat. A majority of them seemed to imply that they found out on the day of or close to real time an decided to stop by. This made me wonder...
Why not have more topical chat rooms like IRC channels for teams to use so there is no need to fuss with a central scheduling calendar. Then the team could decide to host a chat at any moment, post a blog entry, a newsgroup post, etc go into the room, and start answering questions with the people that heard about the chat in real time and where interested in stopping by.
Any thing else you think we could do to make the developer focused chats better? In the mean time I think its time to train more moderators. :-)