What is the right meaning of the word "initiation" in this context? "The process of being formally accepted" or "the beginning of conversation". At first I chose the 2d option, but context made me a bit confused.


Excerpt from the link:

So, in that hypothetical future, email is part and parcel of the whole mix of conversational media. Conversational media have several basic events:
* discovery,
* conversation initiation,
Initiation. In thirty years your software agent/proxy/broker will field offers of new conversation before they reach you. Think spam filter meets alerting service meets professional assistant. Services will compete on how well they interact with you, how accurately their filters reflect your preferences for interruption and notification, and how well they negotiate a mutually agreeable blend of time and media. These "inboxes" will have a wealth of data to use to calculate whether, when, and how to notify you or to start a conversation:


1 Answer 1


I can see why you might be confused about the meaning of initiation in this context. The answer is speaking both about starting a conversation and about filtering potential contacts based on criteria. However the meaning here is "to start a conversation" not "formally accept a conversation".

A better definition for initiation (as the act of being initiated) is "to formally accept (someone) as a member of a group or organization usually in a special ceremony". In general initiation in this sense is used when talking about a person (or possibly an animal) being accepted for membership in a group and not necessarily being formally accepted in other ways (like allowing a message through a spam filter).

  • Just to possibly clarify: "initiation" in the sense of "formally accept": Some organizations have very formal "initiation ceremonies" were new members come onto a stage, their names are announced, and they are given a certificate or a pin or badge or some such token, to formally declare, "this person is now a member of the group". In other groups there is an initiation that consists of some physical challenge, like when I was in college, to be initiated into a fraternity one had to carry a load of bricks between all his classes for a day. I'm sure some are more serious.
    – Jay
    Jan 13, 2016 at 18:01

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