This meant firstly, frequently ringing telephones were a disruptive annoyance, as each party on the line had to stop to listen every time the telephone rang in order to determine according to the ringing cadence if they were the party being called on any given ring.
Secondly, if any party on a given line should so be inclined, there was the insidious opportunity to listen in on other parties' calls.
British users similarly benefited from the party line discount.
Farmers in rural Australia used party lines, where a single line spanned miles from the nearest town to one property and on to the next.
One of the last manual telephone exchanges with party lines in Australia was closed down in 1986 in the township of Collarenebri, where most town residents had a telephone number of only three digits, and to make a call outside the exchange area it was necessary to call the exchange to place a call.