Which is better for a given deliberation? To meet in person or to meet remotely through telepresence?

During Epoch 2020, thanks to CoronaVirus?, the topic has become important again.

Advantages of telepresence


See also



new: 2021-01-29 03:21 UTCLionKimbro:

I live in a household of 10 adults and 1 child, a 3-5 minute drive from our other community house with about 8 people living in it.

Our situation looks something like this:

  • Forum x1/week is In-Person – ~10-12 people attend in person, and ~3-6 people attend virtually (who CAN’T attend in person)
  • Forum x1/week is All-Virtual – ~10-22 people attend virtually
  • Spiritual Quest is x1/week – x4-x5 people attend in person, sometimes Gavin attends virtually
  • House Meetings x1/week – ~6-9 people attend in person, Tony is in Michigan and he attends virtually
  • House Dinner x2/week – ~8-15 people attend, entirely in person
  • Movie Night x1/week – x4-x5 people attend in person, separately at each house, and then there is sometimes a virtual conference call at the end

When we have serious topics of grave concern, we meet entirely in person, no exceptions. For example, when Rachel announced her pregnancy to the community, this was done in-person.

We have a ban on using Slack to discuss emotionally charged topics. If there’s a serious disagreement, we’ll be talking about it FaceToFace?, which, thanks to Zoom and Discord and Skype and Google Hangout, no longer implies “meeting in person.”

See where I’m going with this? In the majority case, things are hybrid.

Incidentally – that one: “When you have a mirror or a camera on you, you think about yourself (rather than assimilate to the group identity)” – we have definitely felt that, and so when we are doing Forum with multiple cameras on the physical space, we block out the local-facing cameras on the screen by putting a blank notepad window in front of them..!

new: 2021-01-29 03:21 UTCLionKimbro:

Side-note – Timur – Would you – … When you say, “Some, like TimurIsmagilov, disagree though,” would you instead actually specify your disagreement, and perhaps put it on a nested line underneath? Something like, “Timur holds a counter-view: x, y, z,” spelling out what it is. For myself, when I read “Some, like TimurIsmagilov, disagree though,” it feels like with-holding, with an implicit sort of, “Well, nobody asked me.” If it’s important enough to mention, my personal request, is that you describe some of the actual content of it. I’m genuinely curious what it is, and would like to see reference.

There is another – “face-to-face is the gold standard (some disagree with that assumption)” – (1.) It’s implicit when you say “there is an assumption,” that it is merely an assumption; Calling it an assumption expresses doubt, already. (2.) If there is disagreement, I want to know some of the content of the disagreement. A way to express that there is ambivalence, without opening up an unwanted discussion, would be to ask a question (“What are some of the reasons, for and against, viewing face-to-face interaction as the gold standard?”) That opens up space for discussion, and introduces the topic. Another way is to state something in the discussion part of the page, saying, “Hey, I know people think that f2f is the gold standard, but may I introduce some of my doubts?” Still another might be to simply make lists, like you did for telepresence: “What are the advantages of face-to-face?” “What are the disadvantages?”

new: 2021-01-29 16:43 UTCTimurIsmagilov:

In the majority case, things are hybrid.

It doesn’t apply to every community though. No one on CommunityWiki knows me personally-physically, for example. It’s not going to change soon. Still, it is true for StarCommunity, I like it 👍

would you instead actually specify your disagreement, and perhaps put it on a nested line underneath?

Sure, I’ve elaborated now, take a look.

new: 2021-01-29 03:21 UTCLionKimbro:

Finally, because BeyondBeingThere? is paywalled, I would like it’s ideas of note to be summarized in a page, because I don’t want to pay to access it.

new: 2021-01-29 03:21 UTCLionKimbro:

I might express the content as:

Advantages of TelePresence

I am thinking, of course, in the first place of the extraordinary network of radio and television communications which, perhaps anticipating the direct inter-communication of brains through the mysterious power of telepathy, already link us all in a sort of ‘etherized’ universal consciousness.TeilhardDeChardin, TheFutureOfMan

  • Can meet when in-person is impossible
    • Very long distances (multiple-countries, international meetings)
    • Even across town, or even across short drives (intra-city, school lessons during CoronaVirus?)
  • A mirror/camera on you forces you to see yourself, and enforces self-consciousness (vs assimilation into group identity). 1
  • Access to web pages, information databases, anything accessible in the virtual environment, with less implication of “being rude.”
    • 🍄I note that it’s not considered rude in every environment. Younger people where I live don’t mind scrolling the phone as you speak.
  • You don’t have to wear pants, if the camera doesn’t go down, and nobody has to know.

See also:

  • BeyondBeingThere? [1] – an ACM paper on arguments in favor of TelePresence over meeting InPerson?.

Advantages of InPerson

The modern human evolved across hundreds of thousands of years, in the context of actual encounters in natural ecologies. Myriad personal nervous systems – stretching not just within the individual, but also across the space of community and cross-community, include the neurology of empathy, of voice and listening, of attention, and of touch. Sex has always been an organizing element of society, and affection by touch has been one of the sacred dimensions of recognizing and relating personal interaction.

Some of the advantages of InPerson? include:

  • The expression of empathy and intimacy through human touch can only be done in person. 2
  • People rely heavily on BodyLanguage. A video chat just can’t express all subtleties of human reactions.
  • People also use the environment outside of the body to communicate: Movement in the space, pointing, physical objects, physical space.
  • Microphones, speakers, connection problems, even SoftwareDisgust, introduce layers of obstruction and distraction, that do not arise in person.


1. There is a school of philosophy which smiles disdainfully at these and kindred forms of progress. ‘Commercial machines’, we hear them say, ‘machines for people in a hurry, designed to gain time and money.’ One is tempted to call them blind, since they fail to perceive that all these material instruments, ineluctably linked in their birth and development, are finally nothing less than the manifestation of a articular kind of super-Brain, capable of attaining mastery over some super-sphere in the universe and in the realm of thought. ‘Everything for the individual !’ -- such was the reaffirmation of my brilliant friend, Gaylord Simpson, (George Gaylord Simpson, The Role of Individual in Evolution, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, vol. 31, no. I, 1941.) in a recent outburst of anti-totalitarian fervor. But let us grasp this point clearly. No doubt it is true, scientifically speaking, that no distinct center of superhuman consciousness has yet appeared on earth (at least in the living world) for which it may be claimed or predicted that one day it will exercise a centralizing function, in relation to associated human thought, similar to the role of the individual ‘I’ in relation to the cells of the brain. But that is far from saying that, influenced by the links which unite them, our grouped minds working together are not capable of achieving results which no one member of the group could achieve alone, and from which every individual within the collective process benefits ‘integrally’, although still not in the total sense.TeilhardDeChardin, The Future of Man, 1946
2. This may change in the future, but when that epoch arrives, this page will need to be rewritten, at a minimum, regardless.

Define external redirect: CoronaVirus FaceToFace InPerson BeyondBeingThere

EditNearLinks: BodyLanguage