Sametime 7.5 Etiquette

Sametime 7.5 has new functionality which shows you at the bottom of the chat window when the person you are chatting with closes their window, thus ending the converstation. In previous versions you’d never know and just keep the conversation going, unaware the recipient had closed the window. So my etiquate tip would be to ensure you close the conversation in the chat before closing the chat window.

Addition to original post

Steve made an excellent comment.

“my tip would be slightly different, when you really need to end a conversation you need to explicitly close it, however when you receive a windows closed notification, assume only that the other person has nothing more to say – NOT that they are not open to you continuing to say something.”

I think the real answer is that organisations need to consider how users will react to new functions and ensure that guidance and information is available.

4 Comments

  1. This is an interesting issue, as we discussed yesterday, I often close IM windows because I have nothing else to say at that time. That doesn’t mean I am happy for other parties to continue the conversation – so I am not saying it’s ended by closing the window. What I am actually saying is that my focus has switched to another activity and I find it easier to switch focus when I don’t have an IM window hanging there – daring me to say something!

    This works well for me because I use Trillian, which preserves all context of the conversation, so closing the window is irrelevant. Now that Sametime and other clients also preserve message history this behaviour will likely become more common. However Sametime 7.5 causes a bit of an issue because it reports that a person has closed the window. In your case you infer a different meaning than my intent, if I am really ending a conversation.

    So my tip would be slightly different, when you really need to end a conversation you need to explicitly close it, however when you receive a windows closed notification, assume only that the other person has nothing more to say – NOT that they are not open to you continuing to say something.

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  2. Thats a good point. I’ll actually include that in the post. It is clear that with new functions organisations should consider best practices and some guidance.

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  3. Another possibility is that somebody has just come within eyeshot of the other person’s monitor (maybe a manager), and the other person doesn’t want the somebody who has approached to see that they’re chatting.

    Or they don’t want the somebody to see what they’re chatting about.

    In that case, sending another message right away to re-open that person’s chat window could have unfortunate results — especially if the chat history is displayed prominently in the re-opened chat window.

    To give a nice example (I can think of plenty of nasty ones), let’s say you and Bob are planning a surprise party for Alice. You’re chatting happily, and right after you send the message “So, the party for Alice is tomorrow at 5:00, right?”, Alice walks up to Bob’s cube. Bob closes his chat window real quick so she won’t see it but then you — seeing that the window was closed — send another message like “Dude, don’t close your chat window on me. :-)”, which pops up on Bob’s monitor along with all the chat history that he didn’t want Alice to see in the first place.

    Anyway, that’s another possibility, if you’re talking about what to assume when someone shuts a chat window.

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  4. Julian, Thanks for the comment and one aspect I hadn’t considered. I do think most users would re-open the chat window by continuing to IM if they felt they hadn’t finished a conversation. It will be interesting to see!

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