Be Careful When Scheduling Events Using Siri

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2020/05/13/be-careful-when-scheduling-events-using-siri/

Adam Engst recently scheduled a Zoom call with colleagues on a non-profit board and had to apologize when one of them was irritated at ending up in Google Hangouts by himself for 10 minutes. The problem arose due to a confluence of issues with Siri and Google Calendar—read on to learn how to avoid similar embarrassments.

It sounds like what you were really after was a reminder rather than a calendar event? “Remind me to Zoom with Mickie and Gary at noon today” would probably have done what you wanted without the problems.

Yeah, I learned this the hard way too. Sending calendar invitations without Siri telling you it will do that is bad. If it’s asking you to choose people it should tell you it will send them an invite as well.

Using a reminder doesn’t block the time in a calendar so it’s not quite the same thing.

Yes, a reminder would have posted a notification at the right time and would have worked fine in this case, but as @osric notes, it wouldn’t then appear on my calendar, which I share with Tonya. I do use Siri to create reminders heavily for things that Tonya doesn’t need to see that I’m doing.

Siri tried to be smart and invited them to the event without telling me.
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Speaking as someone who doesn’t work in a large organization, calendar invitations make me uncomfortable. […] Plus, when I receive invitations, I don’t know what will happen if I accept, reject, or ignore the invitation.

Speaking as someone who did work in a large organization, calendar events made me uncomfortable, especially after I did something that caused an Accept to be sent. I don’t recall what I did, but I promise you that it wasn’t click on anything that said anything like Accept—and I don’t know what happened after the program assumed I meant to accept the invitation.

Not only does some programmer think that I will want to respond the way he or she expects, the programmer also assumes that the choice is so obvious that it needs no explanation or warning.

Same here. I get it that in large organizations like mine this is a great tool. But I’d still like to maintain more granular control on my end every nice in a while.

I noticed a while back that I cannot remove an event from my Calendar.app without that being relayed to Google as a decline. Now while that might correct in 95% of the cases, in this one it clearly wasn’t. Some of us have meetings we attend basically automatically (especially recurring ones that take place in locations we’ll be at anyway) but we prefer to keep our calendars uncluttered. I would appreciate more options here. Hidden ‘pro’ options a la set defaults via CLI are fine.

I’d also like to be able to ‘hide’ events irrespective of attendance. A calendar is as much about overview of my time as it is a tool to say yes or no to others to their invitation.

Oh yeah, I’m very uncomfortable when deleting an event I didn’t create results in a decline. Often it’s just because it ended up on the wrong calendar and won’t let me move. I don’t want it and the event I’d create on the right calendar to both be there (duplication nags at me, even if it’s not functionally problematic), but I’m nervous about deleting the unnecessary (for me) event because I don’t know how that will be communicated to the person who created the meeting.

Is there alternative syntax for Siri? Perhaps ‘add appointment with Joe at 4 pm to calendar’ might be different than ‘schedule appointment with Joe at 4 pm’. Siri can’t understand me when I say ‘schedule’ anyway. What does she want, “sked jewel” or “shed jull”?

There are definitely a few different syntax options, like “add appointment” but I think they’ll all invite people if you specify names.

I used “sked jewel,” being American, but “shed jule” worked fine too, even without switching to British English. :slight_smile:

Simple question: is there any way to stop siri from sending invites?

Not that I’ve found, but I’m all ears if others have.

I used to think putting the name in quotes would avoid it, but even that did not work just now.