Can the links to useful chat rooms be made permanent?
I don't think they need to be made permanent, I just think the selection algorithm should take more into account then just recent activity.
One thing that could be done to prioritize certain rooms over others is to take into account how many users have marked a room as a favorite. I would guess that many users have clicked the star on the comms room. I think how many people have marked a room as a favorite would be a better hint about how active a room is. A room with a large number of stars should be prioritized above a room with some recent activity.
If not that, then perhaps side-bar selection should take into account total activity for the day/week instead of activity in very the short term. The 'Room for coredump and Jacob' had a total of 16 messages compared to the Comms Room which tends to have over 1000 messages a day.
I suspect if someone had the time they could come up with a formula that would take into account the favorites, total activity, and recent activity and come up with some way that would prefer established active channels but allow newly created very active channels to float up to the top for a short period of time.