Basically, LiveJournal needs an interim solution that will work until we get around to developing a really kickass one... something that almost anyone could use, and which would be painless for community administrators to implement. I think I found the solution. We can use AOL Instant Messenger buddy chat forums.
For instance, an anime community could add a link to their community journal that looked a lot like this:
The format of the link looks like this:
<a href="aim:GoChat?roomname=ljanime" >
Since there might be other special interest chats on AIM that are called Anime, we would standardize on calling these links
"lj" plus the name of the community. Chat rooms for LiveJournal communities such as lj_biz and lj_dev would just be known by their normal names minus the underscore, which is considered an invalid character for chat room names.
While these chat rooms aren't perfect, they are good enough to meet our need for potentially hundreds of chat rooms right now. The availability of AIM is widespread, with clients for just about every computer, as well as a web-based AIM client, and the implementation for our users couldn't be easier. Admittedly, it's not open source, but until we have an open source solution that works well, we should use what we've got. I am more than welcome to entertain other ideas, but this seems like the best solution for now.
Feel free to give it a try for awhile. I have added a link on the top of the lj_biz page for lj_biz chat. We can kick things around for awhile and see how it works for us. Please join me for a bit of light discussion and ideally some heavy traffic. Lets see if we can't break something! ;-)