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Like many if not most folk who make a living with
computers, for the past few years, Ive spent as much or
more time communicating with others via chat software as
with voice, or full-featured sight and sound (ie: in person).
Even if all parties type and read fast and well, and have at
a library of the most ingenious and appropriate
emoticons know to the art, a major functional gap
between pre-ubiquitous electronic communication, face-to-
face or over-the-phone chatting and ... chatting, is
obvious to me (though its taken some thought to put a
finger on it): you cant tell with as much certainty if your
partner is a text chat expects a reply as you can in a voice
So I propose a pretty straightforward new pair of buttons
be added to chat applications the world over: Expectancy
up and down. This would be coupled with some sort of
display on the partnered app - a number, a meter, a
changing face, sounds, etc. conveying how strongly one
expects a reply. As your partner fails to reply, you can
signal your impatience by clicking your up button,
raising her/his meter in a polite yet clear and persistent
way, without cluttering the chat window (which, in the biz
world, we often save into notes) with an annoying stream
of yt?, ??? or more emphatic text utterances.
||[+]. It could be made backwards compatible by agreeing to a text-based way of indicating expectation, e.g. a series of carets or V's, which would also serve as such a signal and could be converted to an expectation meter at the other end if the facility exists.