Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Not to be unkind but I suppose most people are not really traumatised by merely seeing someone's name, even if they're not on speaking terms with that person. It probably falls on the side of convenience for the vast majority. For the Signal org, it's possibly even an existential issue, since it helps them counter network effects in the incumbents. It's hard to expect them not to do it, then.

Having said that, I think it would be nice for Apple to implement what you describe.

> but I suppose most people are not really traumatised by merely seeing someone's name

I mean there are cases where that can be devastating.

"Ohai here's your old abusive ex, here's a chat box just for good measure, good luck!".

There are people who I'd never ever want to be within a textbox and tap away from accessing me, for any reason, period.

You can get restraining orders in the physical world, the digital world however has no boundaries when the apps themselves are too stupid and are defined by real-world-illogical programming code. I wouldn't expect an app to understand a 'court order' but that's a real human construct. How do we design against that in the digital space, when you are so accessible that if you have a crazy dude following you you're basically forced to retreat as there's no effective measures/guards against this?

Well, a couple of things:

(a) You can't take seeing their name, but you keep them in your contacts? Don't you occasionally scroll past it with a call button right there, which is just as easy to hit and put you in touch with them? How is this any different? Seems a bit silly.

(b) As far as I know, research suggests hyper-avoidance is not a good way to resolve trauma. So I'm not convinced by the idea that this is harmful, especially when you can control it through (a).

A contact list often operates as a database of what number belongs to who, for guarding incoming calls. It can be a security tool.

In iOS and Android, incoming call blocks are in a separate database and explicitly not the contacts database.

You can generally block calls by number, without having them as a named contact.

I do see Waterluvian's point though. You might still have business with them yet you don't really want to deal with them otherwise. Knowing who this SMS or call was from can be helpful rather than blocking the number outright.

Then again, seeing their name when installing Signal and figuring "oh hey they have signal too" seems no less weird to me than seeing their name in my phone book and thinking "oh hey they have a phone too". If that really sets you off... that seems unlikely. So I don't really get this subthread, even if I see the general point that you might not want to be reminded of certain people on a regular basis (for me, installing a phone number-based social application is not a monthly occurrence).

> You can't take seeing their name, but you keep them in your contacts?

If I start getting abusive calls or texts from a usual suspect, I want to know who it is. My carrier-level number blocking resets every couple of years, and I cannot remember everyone's phone numbers.

Even if you don't keep them in your contacts, the connection tracking can be problematic if they keep you in their contacts.

"But what if you didn’t give Clubhouse access to your contacts, specifically because you didn’t want all or any of them to know you were there? I regret to inform you that Clubhouse has made it possible for them to know anyway, encourages them to follow you, and there isn’t much you can do about it... I got followers who weren’t in my contacts at all — but I was in theirs."


Why do you have the authority to dismiss many's experience of a feature? Because you can think of a way you would handle it and you've read some things?

Because we're all here talking about how things should be designed, which often inherently requires fulfilling some needs at the expense of others? Not quite sure how you expect those decisions to be made without people gathering to discuss the relative merits of each approach.

If you're about to tell me we should just implement every user request that they claim is of 10/10 importance to them personally, then I'm not even sure what to tell you. Have you taken all of a few seconds to consider what happens when two people make conflicting requests? Then we're back to evaluating things and discussing them again. How arrogant of us.

I appreciate the implied authority you've given yourself to be the conversation police, though.

In my case it wasn't traumatic, exactly. More, targeting.

There was an individual that I kept in my contacts, you see, for the the sole purpose that if he ever called me, I'd know to let it go to voicemail. We had been close long ago, but he stopped living in consensus reality and wasn't interested in treatment. I considered him disturbing but not immediately dangerous, just someone I didn't want to reconnect with.

When I installed Signal, he got the notification that I had done so, and immediately messaged me, along the lines of "Oh hey, you still exist! And I guess by the timing of this install, you must be at [security-focused event] this weekend, yeah? Hey let me tell you about my latest harebrained scheme..."

I understand that Signal needs to do that sort of connection to work behind the scenes, but they don't need to generate an alert on the guy's lock screen about me.

"Did this cause trauma" is not the bar we're trying to set here, any level of anxiety caused by tech companies misusing contacts is bad.

> Not to be unkind but I suppose most people are not really traumatised by merely seeing someone's name, even if they're not on speaking terms with that person.

Domestic abuse, harassment/sexual harassment, stalking etc are all more common than they should be.

I've got a dead friend that I'm reminded about every time I open signal. "DeceasedFriend is on signal!". No, no he is not.

I'm sure I could clear it, but I don't really want to yet.

On the whole, I still like the feature.

I'm sorry about your friend. I've had similar experiences with tech products, but I tend to think that unexpected reminders (of any kind) are all part of the process of dealing with loss. That hyper-avoidance seems an unhealthy route, popular though it is in modern discussions about emotionally difficult subjects.

Yep. I can't claim to know how everyone else responds to these things.

The Signal example isn't the worst. It's a mutual connection. It's not like they're emailing hundreds of people saying "Waterluvian wants you to get on signal!"

What's to stop them from doing that when they get sufficiently desperate? I don't even own my contact lists. They seem to grow on their own with anyone I've ever emailed.

Signal does it for anyone in your address book, not just mutuals.

Your "anyone I've emailed" example is a great reason not to use the same service you use to host your email to host your contacts.

Personally I would never in a million years sync my contacts to Google, which I assume is what you mean here (most people use gmail).

Probably. Contacts have been confusing. I've had Gmail list. My phone. What's in my Sim card. My Sony contact list...

I had a really infuriating time trying to clean them all up many years ago and I've just tapped out.

Same here. I recently went to LineageOS and use fastmail for email/contacts/calendar. It's been wonderful.

The problem I have with Whatsapp is even more than Signal: Not only they engage me to start a conversation with that customer to whom I only wanted to appear super-stern and rigorous, but they also send them my profile photo and my name!

My business name is not my private name! At least let me remain under my name in their address book, don’t give them information.

Signal shows contacts (and just bare phone numbers as well) inside the app which have not been in my contact list for years (but once were).

And this is how Signal suggests doing it https://support.signal.org/hc/en-us/articles/360007319011#io...:

> Remove someone from your Signal contact list

> Contacts must be blocked in order to be removed from your Signal Contact List. To learn how to block someone, click here.

I wish telegram had a setting for "Block everyone in my contacts list" Unfortunately it only seems to have the reverse

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact