Yes, very serious. I teach this for a living, remember.
Who do you teach? Residents of some post apocalyptic wasteland where every ride is a battle of wills and elbows, wrongs are righted, lost strava segments are reclaimed........ and so on.
I've ridden (racing, touring, club rides) all over Europe and further afield and never ever come across this. I've never collected, or been collected by the rider next to me either.
Or maybe it's training created to allow for nodders who spend more time looking at their power meter than what's going on around them, I'm thinking Richmond Park here..........