The introduction of Office Communicator, or Jabber, or Skype to developer communication was one of the worst additions ever.

Email allows me to filter out distractions while focusing on a task.

If someone needs me, they can call me [emergency] or set up a conference call among team members [non-emergency multi-geography collaboration] or set up a meeting in a room [non-emergency same-geography collaboration].

What I hate the worst is when I’m interrupted in the middle of a puzzle and we have to go through the smalltalk ritual:

Person: “Hello Erik.”

Me: “Hi!”

[waits for typing which otherwise in person or on a call would be immediate]

Person [after almost a minute]: “How are you doing?”

Me: “Okay, and you.”

[waits for typing which otherwise in person or on a call would be immediate]

Person [after almost a minute]: “I’m doing well!”

Me: “What do you need?”

[waits for typing which otherwise in person or on a call would be immediate]

Person [after almost 2 minutes]: “I might need some help on this algorithm, can you refactor the sql for me?” Then suddenly the chat window is filled with SQL so much that I need to scroll.

Me: “Sure, glad to help. Email me, please.”

Meanwhile, I’m getting the same sort of request in multiple chat windows, and having to juggle to find which window is currently filled with a new chat message. I’m an old-timer, yes, but I also recognize gross inefficiency when I see it. There are studies out there about multi-tasking, and this is the worst kind of productivity destroying multi-tasking.

Communicator-style programs destroys productivity. I like to ask for a phone call after the small talk is exchanged.

Resident of Frogpondia.

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