the ONLY case I can think of is to be able to perform client side commands and not interfere with SERVER side idle times. For example, if Im testing out an alias to be performed solely client side, why should my idle time SERVER side change? I didnt do anything SERVER related to change that idle time. it actually produces a FALSE idle time. server idle time should have NOTHING to do with what client specific actions are doing UNLESS they interact with the server.
This may be a nit picking or not good enough argument, but it's the only case I can see to change it. personally, I dont understand why //echo $me would cause the idle time to change - sure I'm not idle cause I'm still active, but not to the SERVER.