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Product: Cell Phone: Unreachable
SMOOS   (+3, -1)  [vote for, against]
Short Message Opt Out Service.

If I choose not to be disturbed, I can turn my phone off or ignore the call. The caller is given the option of leaving a message which I can then respond to in my own time.
I can add a further layer of non-contactability by choosing not to divert my calls to voicemail.

There is no option to block text messages though. They'll always come through once the phone is turned back on, along with the imposed obligation to respond. Although text messages can be useful, there are times when I'd prefer not to receive them as they occasionally end up in a number of exchanges that would have cost far less money, time and fewer misunderstandings by just dialing my number.

A recent message from my mother highlights another issue regarding text etiquette:
"I've just met a lady who has a staffie from the same litter as Jessie! What are the chances?"
Is this rhetorical? Does it require a response? If I don't reply, is it considered rude? More often than not I don't reply to this sort of message and am considered rude.

What I'd like is the option to activate a sort of out-of office-reply service that bounces a message back from my carrier's server to the sender whenever a message is sent to me. It would say something to the effect of "I'm not receiving text messages right now. Your message will not reach me. Please call me if you have anything to ask or important to say."
The message would be set by the subscriber.

Here endeth the rant.
-- shudderprose, Jun 29 2009

Reminded me of these creatures... [csea, Jun 29 2009]

Shudderpose, you're not wrong - I have a friend who I had to gently remonstrate along these lines who would go as far as sending really short (sometimes even single-word) messages. I don't think it's rude not to reply - sometimes if there's a question, then sure you should, but little snippets of experience can be gathered up, remembered and remarked upon face to face in what is sometimes referred to as a 'conversation' - it doesn't need to be transmitted 24-hour rolling-news style as-it-happens.
-- zen_tom, Jun 29 2009

//sometimes if there's a question, then sure you should//

I tried not make the idea too much of a rant. Agree with what you say re conversation but can't ignore this! If someone else wants to know something from me, why should I have to pay to give them an answer?

I don't twitter or tweet, but from what I understand, it's only one way communication, unlike text messages that reward the sender with that reply he/she needs to reassure them that they're important to somebody.
-- shudderprose, Jun 29 2009

Why has nobody responded to this? Hello....?
-- shudderprose, Jun 29 2009

Maybe they have, but you haven't received the messages?
-- Jinbish, Jun 29 2009

Did you check your Twitter account? I just took a twit.
-- swimswim, Jun 29 2009

I think the SMOOS idea is good. But if the carrier chages you, would you be prepared to pay? I am not sure I would. If your smartphone is realy smart, it should allow you to implement your idea as a program. You'd still pay for an outgoing sms, though.
-- doanviettrung, Jun 29 2009

Of course the carrier would charge - that's what they do, and yes, I'd pay. But do they need to charge? Shirley bouncing a message back involves just as much chargeable goings on as passing one on to my phone? They'll justify it somehow I'm sure.

Re smartphones - I had one up until the beginning of the year. I have since dug up my old Nokia 3310 which I charge once a week. I find the choice of 3 different message alert tones a bit gimmicky but with any luck I won't be needing them in future.
-- shudderprose, Jun 29 2009

//"I've just met a lady who has a staffie from the same litter as Jessie! What are the chances?"//

L= Lady in same geographical area as M.

M = Mother in same geographical area as L.

P(i) = is the ith puppy from litter.

B(x) = breed of dog (Staffie in this case ie B(s))

P(B(x)) = is the probability of breed. I.e. Popularity of B(x).

P(breeder|geographic area) = probability of breeder breeding Bx in geographic area. But we know geographic area is common so it becomes P(breeder).

N = number of litters per unit time.

S= Strange

0 (zero) = The chances of you fitting all this information on a reply text to your Mum.
-- 4whom, Jun 29 2009

[21 Quest], does this carrier of yours offer a service whereby you can have a personalized message sent to anyone who sends you a message, explaining why you're not receiving messages at that particular time, that can be activated by you, at any time?

Perhaps you should re-read the idea. But thanks for doing all that research for me. You're a gem.

[4whom], thanks to you too. I'll be seeing her tonight and will use this in my defense.
-- shudderprose, Jun 29 2009

But [21Q] [shudderpose] doesn't want to block ALL SMS's just those ones that are below a threshold of pertinent information. Text messages like "Help! I think I'm having a baby!", "pub, 6:30?" might be (or might not be) more important than ones that say "it's sunny here", "going home now" or "r u still awake?"

[edit] Oops - sorry [sp] it took me ages between typing that anno and pressing OK - so I missed your previous post.
-- zen_tom, Jun 29 2009

Just a short synopsis on the sms protocol.

The sms was created as a method of communication from service provider, or carrier network, to subscriber. This protocol was adopted in the first days of TDMA and CDMA. It was basically a sew-in of the old pager system into the current, or up and coming, cell-based communication systems. Nobody in the early days, and I mean nobody, saw it as a method of communiction. For example, even though the protocols existed on the networks, not one of the early handsets had a method of creation of "pager messages" (I think they were actually called PAMS at one stage). Some sparky, I think here in RSA, figured this could be bi-directional. And so the birth of sms, from device side. And also the birth of free device-side sms propogation as long as it had a chance of charge-able phone time (The notoriuous "Please call me"). Well that happened a few years later, but it was on the cards very early on, as patent applications will attest to.

So basically the sms-c (Short Message Service center) sits at the base stations ( in fact it doesn't even run into the subscriber servers as it presumes the handshaking protocols have been tied up already). It does a time based run for billing porpoises. But it always assumes a handshake from subscriber to network without actually investigating it. It is for this reason that it becomes difficult to switch it off. Sure you can opt out of large runs (these are usually not created by a device but rather by a file input, and that file input is into the central database and then sent to the relevant sms-c's).

The situation is thus, you can "opt" out of receiving *all* sms comms, or large-run sms comms, by agreement with your carrier. You can opt out of transceiving all sms comms, by setting your sms-c number on your device to "null" or arbitrary. But you can never opt for receiving "chosen comms". This is because the sms-c closest to you, does not interact with the central databases. So you are wrong [21_q...] and so are you [shudder...]. However, [shudder...] has the upperhand here. I presume you could engage your particular device to do something of this ilk, but certainly not purely from the network/service provider side. For example you could actually set up your device to process predetermined sms-TX at predetermined times. One of these tx times could be attached to an arbitrary sms-RX event, or not, but you would have to code that decision into the device side. It is simply not possible for the sms-c to make this decision as they are essentially "dumb" terminals.
-- 4whom, Jun 29 2009

I got the impression from reading the idea that the author wants the ability to turn this feature on and off at will, and with ease. There is an analogy to the simplicity of turning off the phone to avoid voice calls. As well, the author states that "there are times when I'd prefer not to receive" text messages; i.e., there must be times when the author would prefer to receive them. Having to activate it through your carrier is not going to work for this process.

I would disagree with the assertion that this is baked. Even if it were, it is certainly not widely known to exist, and therefore I also disagree with the m-f-d application in this case.
-- tatterdemalion, Jun 29 2009

random, halfbakery