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Discussion on: Working Remotely and Written Communication

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ikirker profile image
Ian Kirker

Maybe this is just because I spent so much time as a kid MUDding, but, far from being "terribly asynchronous", I find text chat to be the best synchronous communication medium, if people are engaged. You can paste links, re-read what what people said to check context, and keep an automatic log to refer to when the conversation is over. And, it's harder to interrupt someone mid-sentence (accidentally or otherwise) or dominate a meeting.

I find audio-only phone calls stressful and unreliable, and video conversations quite strange and distracting, in part because of the odd personal space violations (people never have their webcams at appropriate distances) and wandering eyes.

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deceze profile image
David Zentgraf • Edited on

I suppose it really depends on the "texting etiquette" of your fellow participants and what you're talking about exactly. A one-on-one is often not a problem, but a group conversation often devolves into chaos if several people are typing at the same time, I find. Because nothing is keeping you from "talking over" one another, and then it can become really difficult to refer back to previous points and respond to everyone appropriately.

I prefer a completely asynchronous medium like email or a ticket system, where slow thought out replies are the norm. For meetings, I prefer video.

I have to add that I primarily work with people from other cultures and different business roles, so that might exaggerate the problem. If you're all from within the same culture and are doing roughly the same work you may be intrinsically more on the same page.

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ikirker profile image
Ian Kirker

That's a fair comment: text definitely relies on being able to keep track of conversational fork/joining and respecting a certain implicit conversational turn, and I agree that the more diverse your group is, the worse I'd expect that to work.

I do wish all the replies to our ticket system were thought-out, though, however slow they might be. There's nothing like having to slowly draw initially-omitted detail after detail out of a person over e-mail, like pulling teeth one by one.