As a new folder in Nov08 I enjoyed reading the global chat during folding although I was too shy to participate at first. The community exchanged pleasantries about the weather, shared bits of their personal lives, talked about computer tech and folding issues and helped newcomers find their feet for example. It took me a long time to participate in the chat which is now always on on my screen and helps me stay connected to the folding community.
Alas, as of late, global chat has at times turned into an egocentric posturing outlet for certain individuals. I will always check the top score and note who has achieved that result, most of those players get there quietly and are sometimes congratulated by their group mates, that is how it should be. My opinion is that we do not need those individuals themselves to shout down at the rest of us with their high achievement. I can see it on my screen! No, I am not jealous of them, some folders are truly outstanding and it is good to see new names appear at the top, I am not that way inclined but would like to point out that it may be very off-putting to newcomers who find themselves working on the main competition puzzles for the first time and are then also met by this intense pressure to succeed when they are trying to cope with the basics. Not only that, but when they do speak up in Global Chat, are at times instantly pressured to join a group straight away. It is perfectly ok to point somebody towards the group section of the main site but surely, they can read and will join the one most appropriate for them when the time is right for them (this is how I found my group). In my opinion it is not until they have advanced somewhat as a solo player and are more sure of their ability that players are ready for the group stage of play; otherwise they find themselves as nothing but Evolver servants which nobody wants as a permanent option.
I would like to suggest that the Global Chat be returned to what it was presumably designed to provide for us: - general community chat - and that existing folders refrain from posturing with their high achievments and go to Puzzle or Group Chat for that instead where they can bore their own group members with it at liberty.
It would be nice to read about something else in Global Chat for a while:)