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Most paint shops hold paint contests on a regular basis. Some hold them once a week, and some have contests several times throughout the day. Paint contests last anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. The person or people running a paint contest start with a pre-cut avatar, which everyone can see. Everyone who has decided to join the contest takes a screen shot of the avatar, loads it into their paint program, and competes to create the most appealing avatar. Sometimes the chat rooms vote on the best avatar, other times the folks running the paint contest decide who the winners are. There are other variations to paint contests too: sometimes there is more than one pre-cut avatar used and contestants can choose which one to paint. Some paint shops also hold email paint contests, in which people mail in their entries. Paint contests are immensely popular in avatar-based chats.
Paint shops in chat are unique to avatar chat. Who visits paint shops in chat? Painters, of course! "Painters" refer to chatters who "paint" avatars. This can mean creating an avatar from scratch, but more often it means starting with a "pre-cut" avatar. This can be a regular size avatar or a mega sized avatar. Pre-cut simply refers to a black and white image. Painters take this image and use a paint program, such as PaintShop Pro, FireWorks, or Photoshop, and turn it into a work of art. They add color, "tubes", and special effects. Sometimes they add a chat name, so the avatar is personalized for the chatter. Paint shops are often run like small businesses, with owners, staff painters, and other staff members dedicated to bringing traffic to the paint shop, keeping order in the paint shop chat rooms, and officiating paint contests.
What are chat events? Auditorium events are large chat rooms that usually operate very differently than regular chat rooms. While regular chat rooms hold an average of 25 people, auditorium capacity is determined by the scalability of the chat software and hardware and the amount of available bandwidth. Robust chat auditoriums can manage 10s and even 100s of thousands of chatters simultaneously. Obviously that many people simply can't talk all at once. Instead, people at the chat event sit in rows that function like chat rooms. Each row can talk amongst themselves and also see the text from the auditorium stage. Somewhere in the chat software is a link or a button that will let you send a question to the stage. There are folks on stage receiving these questions – they decide which ones get sent out for the guests to answer and for the audience to see.
Most chat services offer chat events. Small chat events are often run by members of the chat community or by the staff of the chat services. These small chat events are usually held in a regular chat room that holds anywhere from 25 to 40. They often take the form of games, such as sports trivia, film trivia, and general trivia. Others are support-oriented, such as tech support chat or chats to help you build web pages. Other popular room events include poetry chat, psychic chat, and truth or dare. Room events can be lots of fun, because everyone in the room can participate. Large events usually require you to submit your questions. The questions are put into a queue and selected by the people on stage to answer at some point in the event. Room events, with everyone taking part, can get very lively.