You log in using your MetaFilter username and password, but with some small changes. You can use Chat from a web browser or a chat client.
Using a web browser:
The easiest way to try it out is to click on the "Chat" link at the top of the page, or visit chat.metafilter.com in your browser.
To log in to browser-based Chat, format your username as follows. Use all lowercase, even if your MetaFilter username contains uppercase letters, but you can include spaces and other special characters as normal:
Using a chat client:
The chat server uses the Jabber/XMPP protocol. If you don't want to use a browser-based chat, you can also connect with various Jabber clients that support group chat. These include Adium, Pidgin, or Spark. On an iPhone, JabberB and OneTeam both work with the MeFi chat server. Android users can try Jabiru. And there's a longer list of clients for various systems here.
To log in with a chat client, format your username as described above, being sure to use all lowercase. (This whole string is your Jabber ID.) If your username contains spaces or punctuation, for chat clients you'll also need to escape those characters. To escape a space, use \20. (For other special characters, see this link.) So a name like Example User would login using:
If you use an alternate client, you'll also need to know the name of the group chat room:
I'm having a problem, might be a bug. What should I try before contacting the mods or posting to MetaTalk?
There are a few things you should try before contacting the mods or reporting a bug in MetaTalk.
1. Clear your cache and do a hard refresh. Here are Wikipedia's instructions on how to do this with various browsers.
2. Log out and log back in again.
3. See if the problem persists across multiple computers and/or internet connections and/or browsers if you can.
4. Check to see if you are running browser extensions that may interfere with site features. Try disabling them.
5. Make sure you are allowing googleapis.com and cloudfront.net to run scripts on the site. [Why?]