Ok, as someone who came in after chat was shut down, I thought I'd throw in my two-cents. I don't care that there isn't a public chat. I could care less.
That said, there's a big difference between not having a public chat, and not being able to say a single thing to another user privately. Every single word I say to anyone on this site is part of the public record, and that bugs me.
I've mentioned in my last blog that I have a pasta I'm planning with two possible endings. Right now my only real option is to post it in the Writer's Workshop with both endings attached, and ask people which they prefer. I'd like to have an ending selected before it ever got to the Writer's Workshop, and was publicly unveiled. Having to ask publicly "which of these two endings do you think is better?" just makes me uncomfortable. It's like Ford is unveiling a bunch of car parts and asking the general public to vote on how they should be assembled, rather than consulting a few experts!