The problem is ultimately that we don't have a very active meta.
Ideally, chat is the place that a quick answer to an established meta question can be answered. IE: is X in scope? can be answered quickly in chat if it's a definite yes, but if there is a question then that kind of thing needs to go to meta so the entire community can see it.
Chat is a very niche locale on SE sites, it's not well known and it's not used by most people. However, the formalized location for making site decisions is meta.
However, on a site like this one, meta participation is kinda low and meta voting is even worse than meta participation. That simply means that often meta posts are conversations between a few key users.
Sure it makes it look an awful lot like chat, but ultimately things are decided here and not in chat.
As far as questions that have a series of comments instead of an answer, sometimes that's juts the best way to figure out the situation.
Looking at the questions that are in the unanswered tab (either having no answer or no upvoted answer), most of them are announcements that require no response unless someone disputes the announcement.