How about an Off-Topic thread?
Proposal: A thread in the off-topic forum that would serve for random miscellaneous conversation (Hopefully without adding to post count).
Every forum I've been to, no matter the subject, has had an off-topic thread. As far as I've seen, it's helped build really strong communities.
I know we have a chat section set up, but this seems like an over-complication for what could really be a simpler idea. For one thing, someone else has to be online and using it at the same time as you if you want to have a conversation. In this case, I think a passive conversation system, as is seen in threads, would be a better way to include everyone. Especially considering not all of us are active at the same time. For example, if I ever wanted to speak to Paddy, who lives in Ireland and therefore is 12 hours behind me and his winters are my summers (that kind of a thing)*. But if I wanted to have a conversation with him, then we'd both have to stay on the forum, in the chat, without being allowed to leave and do other things.
Additionally, I think it works better if people can jump into the conversation at any time. If you join the chat it's not like you can see past conversations. I could stroll into an Off-Topic thread and see that Isis and Teggz are talking about how much they hate football, and I can chime in that I hate football as well, etc, etc.
We already have a system implemented in the chatrooms, but this seems like a far simpler and more accessible solution which will help strengthen the community.
*This sentence is a joke, if you didn't get it. I'm not that ignorant.
Ignore everything I tell you not to do if you can do it well.
HAVE YOU CRITIQUED ANYTHING LATELY?
What is the problem?
Why is it a problem?
How can the author fix the problem?