Chat/IM and email used to be 2 separate things

IM was sync/realtime and ephemeral - nobody expected you to read messages from a week ago, or from when you weren't online.

Email was async and persistent. You'd take time to compose a message, and expect a response in the order of hours or days, and if you were offline for a week, you'd go through those old emails and reply.

Now, in the wake of Slack, Discord, WhatsApp, and the like, the disctiction became blurred.

Also, IM used to have presence indication i.e. you could be online/away/busy/offline. You weren't expect to be online all the time, and you weren't expected to reply instantly when busy, away or offline.

Now the presence indication is gone. With mobile phones, you can be online all the time, and you're expected to.

I think both of these things - blurring the distiction between sync/async, and lack of presence indication - are bad, but I don't feel like I understand the whole picture.

Any ideas about pros/cons of each of those phenomena, and reasons why they happened?

I'm sure I can't be the first person to think about it, so if you know of a blog post or sth about it, pls send a link.

@Wolf480pl I'm not sure I need presence (or 'read') indication currently - for a long time I prefer sms over other tools because... i was able to receive the message, read it, ponder and reply when I felt like it (immediately or a bit later) and no one was bugging me' you were online and you did not respond!). so currently I turn off all status features and chat when I want. also leave the status indicator for a couple most important people with whom I chat a lot

@wojtek I'm not talking about the "read" indication, which is IMO more hamrful.

Also, IMs used to have this "invisible" mode where you'd look like you're offline, even though you were online.

Without any kind of presence indication, people tend to assume everyone is always online, and get anxious when they don't get a response.

With "read" indication, it's even worse, because if someone read it, and didn't respond, that's super anxiety-inducing. You don't think the person may be busy.

@Wolf480pl @wojtek check out deltachat on fdroid. It actually proves your point by using email as a transport for a fully functional modern chat app.

@qwazix @Wolf480pl I played with it and it seemed nice but... it wasn't very fast and mail has quite some overhead

@qwazix @wojtek
so that people expect me to reply to emails in the timeframe of minutes? Sorry, no.
Email is the last sanctuary of slow-paced long-form-ish communication, I don't w anna lose that.

@Wolf480pl @qwazix how did you arrive at that conclusion? I pointed out that without online indicator IM can be more email-like giving you peace of mint to reply at your convenience. Not the other way around (i.e. forcing you to reply to e-mail within minutes).

Tho, from my experience - email could sometime use some more timeliness because months is itsy-bitsy to long ;-)

@wojtek @qwazix if it has an IM-like UI, it encourages writing short messages quickly, which then people start expecting from others.

@Wolf480pl @qwazix But this is problem of the UI and people perception, not the tool/protocol itself.

Also - I tend to do things my way and if someone expect something else, well… those are theirs expectation and it's not my fault they are wrong ;-)
(I do leave option for improvements in my "flows" if convinced that some things may improve this or that)

@wojtek @qwazix yeah, it's definitely a UI/UX problem, and has little to do with the underlaying transport, except for the ability to see one piece of software's messages in some other piece of software.

@Wolf480pl @wojtek it actually does have something to do with the protocol. Before IMAP IDLE there was no way to fetch mail unless you actively pulled from the server, limiting timeliness.

It's a combination of UI, protocol, and choices. A character limit as exemplified by twitter is a very good way to create immediacy. This could be either a protocol limitation (sms) or a deliberate choice (twitter).

@qwazix @wojtek and high latency (be it a protocol limitation, or a deliberate choice) will encourage writing a longer message and putting more thought into it?

@Wolf480pl @wojtek probably. As is cost. When we got our first mobile phones in school, the cost of an sms was significant. Great thought went in before hitting send, to make sure that all relevant info was there and all fit in 160 chars, reducing timeliness.

Sometimes the sms contained bits like, "ring me once for yes, twice for no" so that the other party could respond "toll-free"

@Wolf480pl @wojtek Then there's the microculture of the locality, or online community. Whether it's more polite, for example, to interrupt an f2f conversation in order to answer the phone, or to leave the phone ringing and call back later differs along territory.

Microculture could be as tight as a group of friends that has a certain (usually unspoken) etiquette as per what is considered polite regarding timeliness in communication.

@qwazix @wojtek yeah, but sometimes the expectations become unhealthy.

@Wolf480pl @wojtek yes and it's our job to manage them, because the protocols obviously won't and the companies designing the UI's feed on engagement so they don't want us to.

Of course using ethical software and protocols is always a choice but unfortunately the state of XMPP clients is sad and it is not helped by the recent push to yet another kitchensink standard, matrix.

@qwazix @wojtek
Either way, we still first need to understand how humans communicate, why they tend to land in these unhealthy expectations, and how the UX affects that. And while we're at it, we may as well come up with a model of what we need from the UX and protocol to encourage healthy behaviours, even if we don't get to implement that UX and protocol.

@Wolf480pl @wojtek that's a very good idea. Then the ethical messengers can have a basis to stand on instead of just trying to copy the engagement-driven ones.


xmpp on android is great

xmpp on ios is plagued by sleepytime ios

xmpp on MacOS will be rescued by Dino (and monal being less lazy in their omemo progress)

xmpp on windows requires tolerating windows

@Wolf480pl @wojtek

@qwazix @Wolf480pl @wojtek
xmpp on linux has libpurple variants, a hostile dev environment, and user demands not backed by bounty money

xmpp via web made strides with MovIM (but then the joys of electron)... and then the guy with the sheep avatar giving up on omemo key management

xmpp powers many texting alternatives in a non federated or evil walled garden way

i also enjoy wickRme

a great conversations fork is pix-art messenger

@excecate @qwazix @wojtek
but every implementation supports different XEPs, and the important ones are supported only by Conversations.

Show more

conversations leaks into ZOM and ChatSecure

ZOM still has EVEN WORSE defaults than conversations, and recommends servers no one should use


@qwazix @wojtek

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@Wolf480pl @excecate @qwazix define "important ones"? what do you miss in other solutions?
Also - this is one of the problems with complete openness and interoperability - in the end it all boils down to the lowest denominator… though there was progress with #OMEMO but there were leeeenghtly discussions on #xmpp #xsf mailinglists and there are still some issues.

bottomline - it's not so trivial

@excecate @qwazix @wojtek
you mean internet rinigng?
Cause I'm pretty sure GSM ringing does work like that.


one ring from my perspective calling you on cdma isn't necessarily you hearing one ring

@qwazix @wojtek

@excecate @qwazix @wojtek
one ring, as in:
Call someone, disconnect before they answer.
two rings:
call, disconnect, call, disconnect.

@excecate @qwazix @wojtek
also, on GSM, you don't start hearing the beeps until the connection reaches the other person's phone. However, depending on that phone's settings, the first ring may be silent or just vibrations.


oh that second use case is what i would have proposed

@qwazix @wojtek

@Wolf480pl @excecate @wojtek yep that, exactly. Older phones were better at this, when caller heard first beep receiver started hearing ringtone. Now you need to leave it ringing for a bit more risking being misinterpreted for a real call.

@Wolf480pl I don't like 'invisible' mode as it usually resulted in 90% of my roster appearing offline and everyone starting a chat with 'are you available', which was just silly.

I haven't run into problem with expectations of my immediate response without status indicators so that may be cultural or environmental thing?

and fortunately you can turn of read indications making it even better

I was proponent of status indicators a while back and they still have their place but less so


bugging stops when you set availability to busy dnd or not available?


@excecate @Wolf480pl it *might* but then someone could see that you are online and then still decide to write to you and if you don't respond (because you had DND) then the other party may still be annoyed. In case of presence-less IM the problem is simply gone.

I was quite offended when google removed status in hangouts but that may have been a right move (though they made it a walled garden so they can get out of my lawn ;) )


in zero presence there is the expectation of swift response if not immeditae

your case can be solved by setting presence per contact or group, or training your friends in etiquette better



I won't use texting without presence

and i will delete from roster those users who cripple features on xmpp

sms is not the only texting

let's break people from that

I don't think anyone believes anymore that SMS is the only texting.
Now they believe FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, and the like are the only texting.

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