Sorry if this has been asked before but this has bugged me for some time

Usually to contact someone the badge is tapped and something is said like 'riker to bridge', yet when someone is in danger its often mentioned that we'll keep an open comm channel at all times: eg in a voyager episode where Neelix is looking for the traitor onboard

BUT in that same episode (and others) when the person is in danger with an open channel they still have to tap their badge and say 'neelix to brid...' and opps hes been knocked out

So my question is what is the advantage of 'keeping an open channel at all times'? It seems to have no advantage over how the comm badge usually works

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    There seem to be two distinct questions here; "What's the point of having an open comm channel" and "Why did Neelix tap his communicator if he had an open comm channel in Voy: Investigations?" – Valorum Aug 2 '16 at 14:07
  • its not just episode x, its happens in few episodes where they try to tap the badge but get stopped by the villain (in TNG it happens too), my question is whats the benefit if you still have to tap the badge as normal, and thanks i couldnt remember the episode name – Matt Aug 2 '16 at 14:11
  • If you can think of a second example, I'd be willing to accept that it's something that happens semi-regularly. – Valorum Aug 2 '16 at 14:26
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    In this specific case it seems like Tuvok was already on his way to Engineering when Neelix made the call, so if we assume that Security WAS monitering his comchannel and noticed something, they wouldn't have gotten there faster than they already did. Maybe he tapped to the bridge out of reflex and forgot the open commchannel. Also, come on, an open commchannel to Neelix of all people? The security officers would go nuts, they probably did it for a few minutes and then asked if it was okay to shut it off and let him ring in if there's trouble. ;) – starpilotsix Aug 2 '16 at 20:15
  • @Matt - I still think you should split this into two distinct questions. I have a pretty solid answer for the second part of the question (Why did Neelix tap his communicator if he had an open comm channel in Voy: Investigations) but the first part is pure opinion-based. – Valorum Aug 3 '16 at 21:10

The question of how comm badges work and do you need to activate the link and get a response before talking or can you just listen in to any sounds the person on the other end may be making was highly disputed among a group of STNG fans. That eventually led to to Phil Farrand writing the Nitpickers Guide to the Next Generation and its sequels. So people have been asking questions about communicator protocols for over twenty years.

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