IOS (and maybe MMS in general?) group messaging seems broken from a conceptual standpoint, and I want to understand:
1. How is it supposed to work
2. Why doesn't it work this way
3. How cell phone users can petition the responsible parties to fix it.
Group messaging (Texting/IOS messaging many people and allowing reply-all) could be an incredibly useful feature, but it lacks the information/control to really achieve this, and is instead just incredibly annoying.
I own an iPhone 5. I have turned off Group Messaging because it annoys nearly all my friends without iPhones.
I have seen Apple's FAQ here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5760
, but it really doesn't answer many questions.
The way I understand it, group messaging is controlled by the conversation starter. If that person's phone has group messaging on, any replies to that conversation get sent to everyone else in the conversation. However, nobody on the conversation knows if it is a group message, and (at least how my friends use it) this leads to a lot of message spam. Often, even days after a conversation, if you are not careful about creating a new conversation (instead of replying), the message still goes to everyone. While it hasn't happened to me, I can imagine a lot of accidental embarrasment/conflict coming from this type of system.
1. How is group texting actually implemented? Does one phone act as a master and relay the conversations around? Or does apple/the carrier implement this somehow?
2. How can I tell if I am on a group message? I have turned off group messaging on my phone, and that seems to change how the indicators work.
3. Are there any initiative or technologies that are trying to fix this? Is there any way to get the carriers and phone manufacturers to fix this system? (Aside from other 3rd-party messaging apps, I guess)
Improvements I can think of quickly:
Make sure phones have an indicator for if this message is a group message or not
Make it clear when composing a message if it will be sent to multiple people.
Implement a system for knowing who is on a conversation.
Implement a system for leaving a conversation.
Enable phone-level features like "Never reply-all"
Enable conversation-level switching between group messaging and normal(old-style?) broadcast messaging