DrakeAnubis

Multi-Threading IM Conversations

26 posts in this topic

This is sortof what I wrote on my blog:

With email you can have mutiple independent conversations with the same individual. You might have an email exchange with your boss about the companies tax return, another with him about the IT budget, and RSVP to his party in a third....

It'd be cool to split an IM conversation into multiple threads as well. Frequently I'm talking with a friend about something random and at the same time troubleshooting his flash flash installation.

Heres a quick link to the multi-threading conversation mockup I created.

Would anybody else find this useful, or is it just me and the three people I bounced this idea off of?

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So you basically just want multiple tabs/windows for the same person? Seems pretty simple; in fact, I'd be surprised if this isn't implemented somewhere already. (Unless chat/IM programs default the same person to the same tab/window.)

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in fact, I'd be surprised if this isn't implemented somewhere already.

It's not, and I searched for a long time trying to find it. Its embarrassingly simple that my programing knowledge can't code it (although in my defense, I don't know the Adium/Pidgin plugin architectures)

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You know, nifty idea.. not that I could pull it off, multiple conversations isn't my idea of fun, but have you considered protocol limitations?

For instance, typing notification.. I don't know how it's implemented, but could it be made compliant with this multi-threaded idea? and how would this functionality be implemented in a way that retains compatibility with the actual vendors clients? it would require appending additional metadata to messages, not horrible, but might be ugly if every message is prefixed with some random string.

What you should do, is propose a Jabber/XMPP standard (If one doesn't already exist..) a JEP/XEP... and then.. write a plugin for pidgin or adium that can be compliant. (Perhaps, go as far as writing plugins for other clients too..).

I agree, a vendor-neutral approach would be nice... but, until I see a working implementation, seems like a waste of time.

EDIT: Jabber/XMPP might have the required functionality, there is the concept of resources, user@domain.com/home and user@domain.com/work, and all conversations can have <subject> headers.

EDIT2: Found it, XEP-0201.

Edited by BSDfan
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[1] Typing notification... could it be made compliant with this multi-threaded idea?

[2] How would this functionality be implemented in a way that retains compatibility with the actual vendors clients?

[3] A vendor-neutral approach would be nice... but, until I see a working implementation, seems like a waste of time.

1. Typing notification, on all protocols, is completely incompatible. Not exactly a show stopper, but annoying. Although you could carry this information across the protocol as text.

2. There should be a sort of handshake, If one party tries to initiate another conversation and the other party doesn't respond, then it shouldn't continue appending data to the message. However, it would be pretty obvious if the other party doesn't have the plugin because the human would ask about the strange text. Besides, I don't know anyone who uses the vendor client, they are usually bloated and ad-supported.

3. A vendor-neutral approach is practical and easy to implement. Off-The-Record (OTR) is the most popular cross-platform, cross-client, and cross-protocol IM plugin and uses this same approach for it's end to end encryption.

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I don't see this as terribly useful. How many times are you really and truly having more than one conversation with a single person at the same time? Even if you are, why would you need a separate chat window for each topic? Even if you are, do you really need two separate windows?

Also, Jabber already has the ability to implement this and in fact it was considered and built into the protocol in the form of resources. A Jabber client can create as many resources as needed, each resource having its own unique address such as username@server.com/resource. This is useful for multiple locations (home conversations don't bleed into work conversations, IMing with the same account on two different computers doesn't get confusing, etc), but it can be used to implement your idea.

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How many times are you really and truly having more than one conversation with a single person at the same time?

Jabber already has the ability to implement this and in fact it was considered and built into the protocol in the form of resources.

IM is my primary method of communication, I spend more time talking to more people over IM than any other form of communication. I would use this functionality on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

Jabber is a neat protocol but its only used by 40-50 million people (most of which are private sector and government), and the small percentage that uses Jabber publicly does not contain anybody that I know. In fact, I've never even had somebody offer me their Jabber ID. <_<

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Doesn't seem very useful.. just use e-mail / newsgroups / forums..

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Jabber is a neat protocol but its only used by 40-50 million people (most of which are private sector and government), and the small percentage that uses Jabber publicly does not contain anybody that I know. In fact, I've never even had somebody offer me their Jabber ID. <_<

I only use Google Talk, which is Jabber. It also interacts with AIM as well ;)

So you'll have to force your contacts to use a plugin or third party client. How is that different than forcing them to use Jabber?

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So you'll have to force your contacts to use a plugin or third party client. How is that different than forcing them to use Jabber?

It's usually easier for somebody to drop in a plugin or (in a case like pidgin) just check the box to enable it, rather than setup an entirely different protocol.

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How many times are you really and truly having more than one conversation with a single person at the same time?

Jabber already has the ability to implement this and in fact it was considered and built into the protocol in the form of resources.

Jabber is a neat protocol but its only used by 40-50 million people (most of which are private sector and government), and the small percentage that uses Jabber publicly does not contain anybody that I know. In fact, I've never even had somebody offer me their Jabber ID. <_<

Google Talk, Livejournal and Facebook(eventually..) all use Jabber/XMPP now.. I think you're underestimating it's significance. ;)

Edited by BSDfan
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How many times are you really and truly having more than one conversation with a single person at the same time?

Jabber already has the ability to implement this and in fact it was considered and built into the protocol in the form of resources.

Jabber is a neat protocol but its only used by 40-50 million people (most of which are private sector and government), and the small percentage that uses Jabber publicly does not contain anybody that I know. In fact, I've never even had somebody offer me their Jabber ID. <_<

Google Talk, Livejournal and Facebook all use Jabber/XMPP now.. I think you're underestimating it's significance. ;)

The top four instant messaging protocols have a combined 679 million active users (granted 317 million is china alone). Livejournal has a demographic that is based strongly outside english speaking countries, and is irreverent to my audience of myself and people I talk to.

Also i think you can argue the fact that services which use jabber (Google Talk, Livejournal, and Facebook) are irrelevant because (to my current knowledge, I'm frequently wrong) they don't interconnect. (you can't talk to your Livejournal friends from Facebook). Infact, I would go so far to say that google recognize that Google Talk is limited in this way and added AIM support in order to build it's audience.

I agree that Jabber makes all other protocols look like a joke, but of the top five IM protocols (Jabber Included) there are 1576 million total users. Only 90 million ("only", as if 90 million is a small number. I wish I only had 90 million dollars) use Jabber.

It's also important to note that when people use services like Google Talk and Facebook IM, they are using something based on Jabber. They did not suddenly elect on their own will to use a Jabber based protocol (technical people excluded).

I'm not saying that Jabber isn't the better protocol, I'm saying that when you consider that jabber represents only 90 of the 1576 million IM users (in just the top 5), and that those 90 million jabber users have serious issues with interconnectivity. I rather hack together something that will work on all platforms (including jabber) rather then make a "better" jabber specific version that leaves 1576 million (total) IM users (including my target audience of me and 9 people that I know) in the dark.

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Regardless of which IM protocol is better (though Jabber is!), I still don't think this is a useful idea. It shouldn't be that difficult to implement though, I've written some Perl scripts for Gaim and it's not hard. However, actually getting other people to use it can be tough. I tried to use the Gaim GPG plugin a while ago, but no one was really interested in using it. Unless they share your vision it's probably not going to happen.

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How many times are you really and truly having more than one conversation with a single person at the same time?

Jabber already has the ability to implement this and in fact it was considered and built into the protocol in the form of resources.

Jabber is a neat protocol but its only used by 40-50 million people (most of which are private sector and government), and the small percentage that uses Jabber publicly does not contain anybody that I know. In fact, I've never even had somebody offer me their Jabber ID. <_<

Google Talk, Livejournal and Facebook all use Jabber/XMPP now.. I think you're underestimating it's significance. ;)

The top four instant messaging protocols have a combined 679 million active users (granted 317 million is china alone). Livejournal has a demographic that is based strongly outside english speaking countries, and is irreverent to my audience of myself and people I talk to.

Also i think you can argue the fact that services which use jabber (Google Talk, Livejournal, and Facebook) are irrelevant because (to my current knowledge, I'm frequently wrong) they don't interconnect. (you can't talk to your Livejournal friends from Facebook). Infact, I would go so far to say that google recognize that Google Talk is limited in this way and added AIM support in order to build it's audience.

I agree that Jabber makes all other protocols look like a joke, but of the top five IM protocols (Jabber Included) there are 1576 million total users. Only 90 million ("only", as if 90 million is a small number. I wish I only had 90 million dollars) use Jabber.

It's also important to note that when people use services like Google Talk and Facebook IM, they are using something based on Jabber. They did not suddenly elect on their own will to use a Jabber based protocol (technical people excluded).

I'm not saying that Jabber isn't the better protocol, I'm saying that when you consider that jabber represents only 90 of the 1576 million IM users (in just the top 5), and that those 90 million jabber users have serious issues with interconnectivity. I rather hack together something that will work on all platforms (including jabber) rather then make a "better" jabber specific version that leaves 1576 million (total) IM users (including my target audience of me and 9 people that I know) in the dark.

You're very wrong, Jabber/XMPP networks *can* interconnect... private networks do exist, but most of the networks are public, a Google Talk user can talk to a Livejournal user, etc.

Not only that, but *ANYONE* can run their own Jabber/XMPP server and communicate with said users, It's the IM equivalent of email.

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Unless they share your vision it's probably not going to happen.

Oh, well I think that might be where the miscommunication is. Acknowledging that this is completely selfish, I don't care about other people using it, and I don't think the idea is very popular. I wanted it for myself and the 5-9 people I frequently talk to whom I could convince to install the plugin. As well as the people whom work under me and don't have much of a say in the matter.

I was just curious if anybody else thought it was a neat idea, apparently not :P

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You're very wrong, Jabber/XMPP networks *can* interconnect... private networks do exist, but most of the networks are public, a Google Talk user can talk to a Livejournal user, etc.

Not only that, but *ANYONE* can run their own Jabber/XMPP server and communicate with said users, It's the IM equivalent of email.

I am sorry, I didn't mean to say that they are limited by the nature of the protocol from interconnecting, thats ridiculous. It's used by google because it's an open standard. My point was that from within Facebook, you can not connect to your Google Talk friends. To the majority of users this inability to interconnect and the branding (ie, Google Talk, Facebook IM...etc), is going to make it seem like the networks are closed. And in the cases of Google Talk and Facebook IM, they are.

I use Adium and Pidgin to connect into a work Jabber IM server, Google Talk, and Facebook IM. This is all the same protocol, but because the networks are closed, it has to make three separate connections.

Simply put, Its an open protocol being used to power closed systems (in the cases of its popular implementations).

Edited by Drake Anubis
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You're very wrong, Jabber/XMPP networks *can* interconnect... private networks do exist, but most of the networks are public, a Google Talk user can talk to a Livejournal user, etc.

Not only that, but *ANYONE* can run their own Jabber/XMPP server and communicate with said users, It's the IM equivalent of email.

I am sorry, I didn't mean to say that they are limited by the nature of the protocol from interconnecting, thats ridiculous. It's used by google because it's an open standard. My point was that from within Facebook, you can not connect to your Google Talk friends. To the majority of users this inability to interconnect and the branding (ie, Google Talk, Facebook IM...etc), is going to make it seem like the networks are closed. And in the cases of Google Talk and Facebook IM, they are.

I use Adium and Pidgin to connect into a work Jabber IM server, Google Talk, and Facebook IM. This is all the same protocol, but because the networks are closed, it has to make three separate connections.

Simply put, Its an open protocol being used to power closed systems (in the cases of its popular implementations).

That's not right either, if you have non-google contacts in your buddy roster, you most certainly can talk to them... you can even add them using the "Google Talk" application, that's crap though... I connect to Google Talk via Pidgin.

Facebook chat, as I said, will be *eventually* implementing Jabber/XMPP.. it's not available yet, LiveJournal also allows non-local users.

You *REALLY* need to start doing your research, spreading FUD is not cool at all.

http://www.livejournal.com/chat/

http://www.google.com/talk/otherclients.html

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I don't know that I'd ever need this sort of feature during a conversation, however it might be nice for separating portions of a single log from a long conversation that covered multiple topics(which I imagine the feature is there I just don't need it).

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You *REALLY* need to start doing your research, spreading FUD is not cool at all.

Text is a horrible medium for judging emotion, so I apologize if I am making a mistake, but I naturally want to interpret that as an arrogant statement with implied authority, as well as a person attack.

At no point in time did I mean to suggest that I was, or have done, any solid research, and/or that any of my statements should be taken as absolute truth. To make this clear I acknowledged previously that I am, and this is an example, frequently wrong. However it would have been simple for you to correct me and provide your supporting links without that particular attack on my character. Although I don't pretend to be some mythical lord of accuracy, by any stretch of the imagination, I don't appreciate being accused of intentionally providing misinformation -as if I had some grand scheme to discredit the interoperability of Livejournal's IM client- and I was speaking based on knowledge that I thought to be correct.

It is one thing to argue that I am wrong and have made some grievous error, but its another issue entirely to insult me directly. Again, if I misinterpreted your remark I apologize, but if you said that knowing full well that I would take offense, regardless of how correct it may be; Your bad manners are exceeded only by, your bad manners.

Edited by Drake Anubis
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Back on topic and ignoring previous statements, I believe the mutli-threading implementation would be as simple as writing a script to prepend each message in your conversation with a tag based on which pane the message was entered. The client would then put tagged messages into their own unique IM pane, therefore allowing multiple conversations with the same recipient. Does that make sense?

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The discussion got heated, and the end result was personal attack, my apologies to Mr.Anubis.

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I was just curious if anybody else thought it was a neat idea, apparently not :P

Pfft. If *you* think it's interesting and worth doing, then it is. Crap on whatever anyone else thinks about it. :)

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I was just curious if anybody else thought it was a neat idea, apparently not :P

Pfft. If *you* think it's interesting and worth doing, then it is. Crap on whatever anyone else thinks about it. :)

Just to add...

Follow your curiosity. Isn't that why you are this deep into computers anyways? Hack.

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