Chantal Jandard has done some science that seems to prove some thoughts I had on conversational metadata. Turns out, it might be a UI issue:
Designers must be aware of their role in social UIs and give the same thought to social dynamics that they would to legibility, scalability and others. They must be aware of what social friction they are introducing or reducing, and they need to ask themselves, “How will this UI make my user look to others?” and “How will this UI affect the quality of social interactions?”
After all, if a communication UI can’t communicate properly, what’s the point?
— Facebook and How UIs Twist Your Words — User Experience Design (UX) — Medium
It’s a data point, not solid proof, but the idea is worth exploring in detail. When we’re interacting with strangers online, we grasp for anything that gives us more data on the interaction. This includes the UI of what we’re using to communicate. And none of it is as useful as the real thing.