So I've caught the do-a-thing bug from robrigo and the BitShares Institutes idea, and we think building a trollbox via IRC is going to be a good value for my contribution since I have some node, angular, irc experience. I have a couple questions that would be really helpful answered, though, and of course further thoughts would be great as well.
First of all, I'm trying to figure out if the actual run-time qt wallet includes a running node service. It seems that the JS IRC solutions I'm finding depend on at least a small node shim, presumably since browsers don't do real sockets.
It seems that node is not used by the GUI, so adding a little translation middle-man there is not an option... so we're looking at irccloud.com. This nifty, mostly-free service will allow us to use IRC over a websocket connection, thereby eliminating any new, client-side dependency.
My plan is to add some options to the preferences (default off) to define the irccloud connection info. Setting this up would toggle visibility of a "#bitshares IRC" nav item on the inner end of the top-right navigation. Toggling _that_ would cause a right (resizable) sidebar to appear. This sidebar would show a spinner until it establishes a connection to freenode #bitshares (perhaps one day #bitshares-trollbox) at which point, the chat history and input line at the bottom would be shown.
I'm hoping that by hiding the functionality in the settings, I can appeal to folks who would rather not deal with any of this functionality.
However, I think it would go a long way to making the experience more friendly, particularly to new people as they can get their questions answered.