[Bug 668833] Re: When the user is busy, the status should be enforced

Dario Bertini berdario at gmail.com
Sat Oct 30 18:21:54 UTC 2010

** Description changed:

  Binary package hint: empathy
- There are main online presence statuses:
+ There are three main online presence statuses:
  available, away and busy.
  The first is obvious, the second should hopefully also be managed
  automatically by the software, and the third one...
  The third one is at least a little bit controversial, but i think we can
  sum its purpose this way: you have for whatever reason your client and
  connection loaded (it does automatically starts on login or whatever),
  but you don't want to be bothered
  Programs should shield the user from having to manage manually these
  things, so they shouldn't care about the implementation difference in
  Unfortunately, due to technical limitations in the library or political
  decision from the companies managing the serves, not every service may
  supply all the relevant statuses...
  Let's look at the purpose of the statuses:
  Available: you want to let all the other contacts that may need/want to address you that you're online
  Away: you want to warn all the contacts that you may not be able to answer because you are right away
  Busy: you want to let everybody know that you don't want to be contacted right now (except maybe for VERY important reasons, the ones that tipically require that you shouldn't rely on a IM service to deliver), and if you're online shouldn't matter to them.
  Right now, empathy as a problem concerning the busy status: when the
  user selects this status, his priority is clearly that of NOT being
  contacted, but instead, if the service doesn't support a busy status
  (i'm thinking of facebook right now) he's displayed as available (and he
  doesn't even know about it, because the GUI doesn't tell you that!)
  This means that it's instead very likely that he will we contacted, and
  that's the thing the user didn't want on the first place...
  To solve this, by giving more importance to the untraceability of the
  user i think we should change our fallbacks and, when we know that a
  service won't support a certain presence status (busy in this case) we
  should fallback to:
  |→invisible ...the others won't be able to contact you... too bad, but that's a lesser evil than the other way around
  |→→→offline ...if invisible isn't supported either, not being able to see the others that are online is again way less important than displaying yourself as available (another problem is that you'll have to wait 2 seconds to connect again when you'll want to be available again, but this is really an issue of meager importance)
  Obviously the fallback should act on a per-protocol basis, and if (but i
  doubt ) it's needed, a config flag in the preferences could be added to
  revert the behaviour to the old default
  This may be seen as a limitation of facebook, but originally it made
  sense: facebook chat was available only on the web site... and if you
  were "socializing" on the web site, you were expected to be available
  (or momentarily away) for others...
  Obviously now, with the xmpp service available to IM client that are
  always running in the background, this has become an issue, and even if
  it could be considered a facebook issue, it's still a defect we can fix
  ProblemType: Bug
  DistroRelease: Ubuntu 10.10
  Package: empathy 2.32.0-0ubuntu2
  ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.35-22.35-generic
  Uname: Linux 2.6.35-22-generic x86_64
  NonfreeKernelModules: wl
  Architecture: amd64
  Date: Sat Oct 30 19:45:12 2010
  InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" - Release amd64 (20100429)
-  PATH=(custom, user)
-  LANG=it_IT.utf8
-  SHELL=/bin/bash
+  PATH=(custom, user)
+  LANG=it_IT.utf8
+  SHELL=/bin/bash
  SourcePackage: empathy

When the user is busy, the status should be enforced
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