Multiplayer mode and emotional triggers


I’d love to hear thoughts from Figma users that are dealing with anxiety caused by the multiplayer feature - if there is anyone.


I’ve been searching without success for discussions or articles about this topic, so I decided to make my first post to see if anyone feels the same.

While I see multiplayer mode as one of the most innovative features ever for design processes and collaboration (especially during pandemic remote work), it has also created several anxiety triggers for me due to excessive-always-on collaboration. Every time I see an avatar or a cursor popping out, my anxiety hits me badly.

I’ve been working with digital + web design for some years now, so naturally experimented with dozens of design software and tools and none of them caused me this type of feeling.

I wonder if the Figma team got any user feedback or data about this, but sometimes I have the feeling that it’s a burden because it empowers non-designers, especially managers and CEOs (that can fire you, you know what I mean…), to collaborate too much.

On several occasions I found myself being real-time pixel pushed/maneuvered during video calls. On others, I woke the next day to find my designs completely changed (blessed be version history). Also, people clicking and editing the same elements, at the same time as me, is disturbingly annoying and feels like a tug of war.

As a quick turnaround for this, I started making private copies to work and focus on my own, but everyone is aware of the feature, so they will ask you to keep it shared.

Does anyone feel this or am I alone? Certainly, it’s a personal struggle, but I think an option to turn off the multiplayer feature, not only the avatars/cursors, would solve this problem for the sake of my mental health.


Thanks for sharing this @timburg82. While it’s not something we hear a ton of, I can definitely see how in certain instances multiplayer mode could feel more anxiety-inducing than helpful.

This is one of the reasons why we have a drafts space which is private by default and requires an explicit action to enable sharing/multiplayer mode. I use drafts all the time especially when I want to test something out and don’t want to clutter the teams space or cause any confusion by having it open.

I haven’t heard of specific cases though where teams were requiring everyone to always work in the open and not utilize drafts or other private spaces.

As far as being able to turn off multiplayer mode, how would you see that working? Would it be a temporary thing? Would editors who have access to the file no longer be able to access it? Would this action be limited to the file owner, or would anyone be able to turn it off?

I’m curious to learn more about how you’re thinking about this. :blush:

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Hey Josh, thanks for the reply!

About the draft mode, it works best for my freelance or personal work. During my last two professional experiences, which my team used Figma, this feature was used by bosses and upper-level coworkers to micromanage my online presence by following me via observe mode.

One of them had dedicated monitors, creepy. So I thought this was stepping into some serious privacy issues, besides the whole anxiety thing. In some companies, upward feedback is not accepted, so you just have to accept things or look for another job.

I’m not saying this has something to do with Figma, necessarily. I just believe this feature was designed with good intention, but some or few people are buying it for a wrong and abusive purpose.

As far as being able to turn off multiplayer mode, how would you see that working? Would it be a temporary thing? Would editors who have access to the file no longer be able to access it? Would this action be limited to the file owner, or would anyone be able to turn it off?

I like all your ideas, especially the “temporary thing”, but I can’t say how they would be implemented. Maybe it could be turned off when the user is in edit mode. FigJam does this iterative process perfectly, so maybe a plugin that makes the Figma file content frames exported as static images or instances to a FigJam board.

While going through this, I thought about something similar to developers git-flow: developers work alone in teams that use the same codebase (Figma file), each one of them has their own separate branch (maybe a user track or copy with authentication) that can be merged into the main branch. With this, they supposedly work simultaneously and separately in peace and can “iterate” sometimes during code review or pair programming.

Anyways… I still love Figma, I just wanted to share this experience and some ideas :slight_smile:

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A simple way to hide your avatar from appearing to others would be easiest. Others could still work on files and collaborate with others but the “stalking” part would be more difficult and “screen watching” would be impossible.


The main reason I passioantely hate figma is the multiplayer cursors. I turn it off and it gets turned back on every time I log back in or refresh the page.

I’m a dev, i don’t actually work with figma, I just implement the designs created by our designers.

Figma on its own looks pretty good but this collaborative mode, multiplayer cursor isn’t just super annoying but it feels like a huge security/privacy issue to me.

Makes me loathe this product. With all my heart. Unfortunatelly I’m forced to work with it :disappointed_relieved: :sob:

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I “break the circuit” in my head, by ‘tapping their shoulder’ in slack – usually as a 'can I help you find something" haha

that way I don’t go on imagining stuff!

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You are very right.

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I also dislike it. It definitely triggers me. I’m working late right now, and suddenly I saw one of my coworkers across the pond appear in my file. They are a stakeholder and not a designer, so it was a bit odd; I thought he only had the presentation mode access. Anyway I’m a bit embarrassed because I don’t NEED to be working this late, I just sometimes work while I’m watching TV, lol… I quit the program immediately I was so triggered but I don’t know how long he was watching me working and I really wanted to finish my project but I am literally unable to do that while someone is watching. I refuse. It’s so uncomfortable.

Please for the love of god allow us to kick people out of our designs! There should be settings for “working mode” and “collaboration mode.” I hate this.


It seems like it’s a company problem, not Figma’s… Let’s imagine visibility can be turned off in Figma, what stops people from asking you to turn it back on?

It’s so annoying and triggering! I thought I could get some work done at night without people poking around in my file but someone is actively in it right now, after 8pm (a product manager) and they have a frame selected, which is SUPER distracting. I wish I could kick people out, even just temporarily and have like a “do not disturb” mode.

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Alyssa, does your company have access to branching? It’s not a complete solution to this problem and comes with its flaws if people edit the main file while you’re on a branch, but I’ve gotten some control and peace-of-mind back by working on branches. I give my stakeholders the link to the main file and they don’t seem to discover the branches as easily, leaving me to work mostly in private until I’m ready to merge the changes in.

It also really bothers me that the “hide multiplayer cursors” option has no memory and constantly turns itself back on. I don’t care that people are in the file with me usually, but it’s very distracting to try and think with my PM’s or dev team’s cursors flying around.

This was discussed in June 2021 and still we don’t have a feature for this. I am actually stressed out with this right now. Please have this ready.