Is there a term for having a conversation within earshot of someone for their benefit? Kind of like an opposite of eavesdropping.

This topic came up as a coworker and I who are already on the same page on a topic started an email conversation on that topic including some managers. We ended up having a discussion on the topic over email for the benefit of the people who were just reading and wondered if there was a term for what we had just done.

EDIT: As people are asking for more details

We were discussing our future plans for keeping our tech stack current at work. The conversation went roughly like so (very much abbreviated):

CW (Coworker): The industry is moving in this direction and we should be thinking about what we do next.

Me: It's also relevant that these technologies are 20x faster than what we currently use.

CW: We should also look at these technologies being made by cloud services companies.

Me: These are called "Platform as a Service" (PaaS). PaaS is intended to provide the following benefits: ...

  • 1
    If you were using email to conduct your conversation, it's not eavesdropping on the part of the recipients. You're actually addressing them, even if only via cc:.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 22, 2016 at 5:24
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    If "in person", I would say that the conversation was "staged", similar to a "stage whisper". Dunno how well that works for an email interchange, though.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 23, 2016 at 0:23
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    "Open conversation" or just "conversation for the audience" seem to say it pretty well.
    – The Nate
    Mar 23, 2016 at 4:06

2 Answers 2


I am unsure as to how you have structured your "conversation".

If you look at something like this, then we can call it a "symposium". Two individuals are having a discussion, and the rest are listening in to that. But in this case it is assumed that people have come with the intention to listen to this conversation.

I am unsure if there is a term for a similar event, but when the decision to have this conversation for the benefit of others is entirely in the hands of those who have the conversation, and the rest of the listeners are accidentally there.

  • All you can say is something like Nelly and Hilda carried on a loud conversation for the benefit of all and sundry around them.
    – WS2
    Mar 22, 2016 at 8:57
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    @WS2 Perhaps we can make it... polyaudition sounds fine. Many people are listening.
    – v010dya
    Mar 22, 2016 at 9:35

I'd suggest written debate.

This is a common feature in current-affairs magazines, where two journalists or subject-matter experts will conduct a debate, often from opposite points of view. The first writer makes a proposition, the second writer makes a counter-argument (a rebuttal) and perhaps a counter-proposition, to which the first writer responds again, and so on.

The New York Times's Upfront Magazine often features this kind of written debate; and it seems to me that this is exactly what you have conducted via email for the benefit of the passive readers.

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