Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meeting people - purpose

There are various reasons for using the meeting people protocol. Sometimes it's for what is called getting to know people, which is kind of like increasing your page rank with them.

This is often achieved by further exchanges after the initial stages of the protocol, called small talk, which is not to be confused with Smalltalk. These exchanges are more content-rich than the initial stages, yet needn't be cached. The statements that form this small talk depend on the context, but in some locales a comment on the weather is perfectly acceptable. This comment needs to be short, something like "nice weather we're having". Any detail on precipitation, or mentions of any weather telemetry equipment you may have recently purchased are probably inappropriate.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Meeting people protocol

There is a protocol when you meet people. It many ways it is similar to a protocol like SMTP, but with several redundant elements. For example the opening request can be "hello", which is in fact the word that the HELO that starts an SMTP session is based on the word "hello". Other words may be used, like "hi" or "hiya".

One trouble with this protocol is that there is not regulated by a standards body, there is no RFC, and any documentation you may find is non-authoritative and may contradict other documents.

Often the next step after the initial protocol exchange is "how are you?". Although this is framed as a question, the common answer is "fine, thankyou", which when converted to a boolean is often False. Despite that it remains part of the protocol. It is often followed by a returned "how are you?", to which the same response is expected.