They may not even be there.

As at least one of my correspondents confessed to me, it was basically luck on my part that I found him at all, since he's rarely by the computer while it's downloading files. And rather than being the exception, he may well have been the rule. After all, the easiest thing to do in a P2P situation is to run a search on a number of items you're interested in getting, queue up those that seem to be available, and then hope that at least some of these will download successfully while you either go to sleep or attend to other business. In a situation such as this, if someone tries to initiate a conversation they're not going to get a response not because of any disrespect on your part, but instead simply because you're not there.

There have been times when I've left the computer open, hopefully downloading something, throughout the night. In the morning I'll notice that someone has tried to send me a message, which of course I wasn't awake to receive. I'll usually reply with an apology and explanation of why I didn't respond, but of course this message probably won't reach the person to whom it's being sent because he or she is no longer sitting in front of the computer. Sometimes that message won't get through at all because my recipient has already shut the computer off. It's in situations such as this that we realize just how much of a chance encounter meeting by P2P really is.

Go to: Strangers on a network.