A Microsoft engineer found a brilliant way to fix a big Teams problem

And… roll credits.


Image: Microsoft

You sit, you stare. You grin, you bear.

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Sometimes, you might even speak or laugh.

The whole video conferencing thing is, though, still fraught with issues that few anticipated.

How do you decide who speaks? How, in a bigger meeting, do you even know who’s spoken? And why is there always one person who pretends they’re on a beach?

There’s an issue, though, that plagues all this Zooming and Teaming. How do you end the meeting? How does everyone know that this is it, we’re done, switch channels, and go off to your next absorbing videofest?

Do you wave? Do you instantly blank the screen? Do you worry about what everyone will think at the next Teams meeting?

Microsoft engineer Scott Hanselman felt the problem acutely. As he explained on Twitter: “My Teams meetings always end so awkwardly and it’s not clear when to leave.”

This may be because Hanselman has many meetings with socially awkward types. Some of them are known as engineers. Yet no one, to my knowledge, has really offered any sort of Teams farewell etiquette.

Hanselman’s solution is utterly elegant. He created his own end credits.

When your meeting is a movie, what better way to signal to the Netflix-infused crowd that this is all there is, folks.

What makes this a glorious step forward for current civilization is that Hanselman is not without wit.

He lovingly calls the Teams affair “Meeting That Could Have Been An Email.” Many will surely chuckle, too, at the line “Scott Hanselman. Produced by Mr. and Mrs. Hanselman.”

Wit aside, there something entirely compelling about the meeting leader having a rolling title — or, indeed, some other visual or aural trigger — to let participants know they’re done.

A simple “The End” caption might be a start. Or how about a little fade-out music, such as you see at Oscars ceremonies to silence the effusive?

A further kink might be for the leader to choose the music for the fade-out. After a good meeting, let’s try “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn.

After an unproductive meeting, perhaps “Na-na-nah-na. Hey, hey-ey. Goodbye!” by Steam.

And after an angry, contentious Teams meeting, surely Edwin Starr is called for.

This has to be the way forward, doesn’t it? And just think of all the new personal data Microsoft will record and then present to its clients. (“Employee No. 12 chose War 17 times this week.”)

We can’t just leave everyone hanging with awkward waves, can we?

It’s such a terrible look.