blog: Receiver-side Cutoff

With the corona crisis comes an increased use of remote work tools, especially communication tools to substitute for face to face interaction. There has been a lot of discussion about security, privacy and the like - what I haven’t seen discussed much is the burden different tools put on the different parties involved. What I miss dearly in some tools is a Receiver-side Cutoff - a convenient way to hinder senders from sending further content. Not delay, not silently delete - hinder. Something every communication service should have.

I’ve had to use a matrix / instance - and I’m not a fan. Other people can invite me to rooms and direct chats, I can’t seem to limit this in a sensible way, and people can continue writing me even when I’m logged out. It’s like email and mailing lists, only worse: The gooey GUI further lowers the threshold for sending badly thought-out messages. A textual chat room is not a substitute for a stringently organized meeting. A textual direct chat is not a substitute for face to face interaction if one party can continue rambling when the other is absent.

The phone, intrusive as it is, at least limits the number of simultaneous senders to one. And it can conveniently be switched to not disturb. Email is a bad offender in this regard - ideally my company inbox should reject any internal message not authored by the chief executives outside my working hours. But matrix feels even worse.

[Update 2023-02-06:] The truly broken thing about this: The higher your perceived value to others, the bigger the asymmetry between number of senders and receivers. All forms of communication foster this to some degree, but most have some form of natural limitation. If you take away the limitation, most people will instinctively react by trying to not display any valuable skills or traits. Some will try to please everyone and inevitably fail. A few learn to set boundaries, but have to defend them with increasing demands on time and self-assertion. This is a shit experience for everyone.

Posted in tech fatigue
2020-04-15 21:36 UTC