- 1 Bjoern's Slides
- 2 Extra Materials
- 3 Discussant's Materials
- 4 Reading Responses
- 5 Jason Toy - 9/18/2011 22:39:18
- 6 Steve Rubin - 9/20/2011 12:20:17
- 7 Derrick Coetzee - 9/20/2011 12:26:37
- 8 Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye - 9/20/2011 15:28:20
- 9 Laura Devendorf - 9/20/2011 18:19:09
- 10 Valkyrie Savage - 9/20/2011 18:55:33
- 11 Viraj Kulkarni - 9/20/2011 20:45:37
- 12 Amanda Ren - 9/20/2011 23:09:50
- 13 Apoorva Sachdev - 9/20/2011 23:17:06
- 14 Yun Jin - 9/20/2011 23:43:46
- 15 Yin-Chia Yeh - 9/20/2011 23:51:55
- 16 Hong Wu - 9/21/2011 0:06:27
- 17 Cheng Lu - 9/21/2011 0:15:23
- 18 Suryaveer Singh Lodha - 9/21/2011 0:59:12
- 19 Alex Chung - 9/21/2011 1:52:22
- 20 Ali Sinan Koksal - 9/21/2011 1:55:01
- 21 Peggy Chi - 9/21/2011 2:26:49
- 22 Galen Panger - 9/21/2011 3:23:36
- 23 Allie - 9/21/2011 8:05:12
- 24 Donghyuk Jung - 9/21/2011 8:19:39
- 25 Vinson Chuong - 9/21/2011 8:34:13
- 26 Sally Ahn - 9/21/2011 8:58:37
- 27 Rohan Nagesh - 9/21/2011 8:59:52
- 28 Shiry Ginosar - 9/21/2011 9:00:19
- 29 Manas Mittal - 9/21/2011 9:00:38
Jason Toy - 9/18/2011 22:39:18
Beyond Being There
Face-to-face conversation is argued to be the most effective form of communication between humans, its success can be seen in its prevalence in our lives. Jim Hollan and Scott Stornetta argue that because we judge and attempt to imitate face-to-face conversation with other methods of communication we create, these forms will always be considered inferior. Hollan and Stornetta use this paper to discuss other forms of communication and why they should be considered successes as well.
This paper presents a new framework for judging the success of communication methods and provides different approaches to improving electronic communications. Rather than believing that the "media and mechanisms of face-to-face interaction" are required for ideal communications, the paper argues that a good medium is one that is used by people whether they are close or distant to each other. To this effect, the authors claim that email is a very effective method of communication ,given its use by people who are both close and far, and its advantage over face-to-face conversation of being asynchronous. They introduce new ideas of enhancing online communications, for example: ephemeral interest groups, which appear to act like online forum threads, to engage users who are interested in the topic and increase audience participation among those interested. If the authors are to be believed, then both future research and products would break away from the paradigm of face-to-face conversation that communication technologies, such as Cisco's telepresence and Skype, attempt to emulate. Already we see some of the approaches mentioned to enhance email being put in practice. As I mentioned, ephemeral interest groups seem like online forum threads. In addition, our class' system of batch answers to the reading responses show similarities to semi synchronous discussions.
One strength of this paper is that it not just comes up with a new framework, but comes up with an example to show that it works. Email fits the bill by being a successful and prevalent communication means for people of any distance, even though it doesn't try to imitate face-to-face communication. In addition the paper acknowledges weaknesses in its arguments both of different approaches and their framework itself. However, the paper seems to mix up what it is saying sometimes. Much of the paper discusses why virtual forms of communication like email can be better than virtual imitators of face-to-face communication. But the idea of surpassing "the current concept of being there" implies to me that email or another form of communication would have to be more successful than physically talking to one another. Few, if any, people that I know would ever email someone standing next to them. While I can understand that email might be more effective than face-to-face imitators, and should be judged accordingly, I don't see this surpassing the actual thing anytime soon. In addition the paper appears to back email without considering other alternatives: for example internet relay chat (IRC), created in 1988. Instant messaging can be asynchronous if necessary (I can leave someone a message, or leave to do a short errand), but is usually much more fast paced and conversational than emails.
Groupware and Social Dynamics
This paper discusses the idea of groupware, software that is targeted towards collaborating groups rather than individuals. It goes on to discuss both problems, such as getting enough initial users to convert to a new groupware system (critical mass), and successes, such as email.
Jonathan Grudin discusses both successes and failures of current groupware and uses an analysis of both to come up with new approaches. For example, after acknowledging that a person would use individual features more than collaborative ones, we should consider unobtrusively building collaborative features into software like word processors. Future products can be designed around his suggestions such as unobtrusive collaboration, benefits for all groups, education of users, etc. The major problem this paper tackles, can be seen in other papers we have read as well: how can we help improve collaboration between people. In systems like DigitalDesk, a major benefit was being able to share documents with other people. Systems like Jefferson Han's multitouch frustrated total reflection or Microsoft's LightSpace allow for multiple users to interact with the same device. In "As We May Think", Vannevar Bush describes a method of sharing information gathered by one person with other users through the use of physical disks. However while all these systems take a physical approach, Grudin looks for ways to improve collaboration through better software.
Grudin does a good job bring up both good and bad use cases to support his points. The problem of groupware he tries to tackle is well-motivated: he is pushing for software design by the people for the people. He argues that based on the problems that users have had in the past and the failures of groupware, we should design the next iteration to improve these flaws to increase usability. However, one fault is that Grudin does not mention the opinions of actual users on his ideas. He refers to information from case studies, but does not active try to reach out to the community and run his arguments on good groupware by anyone, for example through polls or experiments. The conclusions of the paper are only his opinions on what makes better groupware, not a comprehensive argument, which weakens it. Another problem is that Grudin keeps a very clear divide between individual software, groupware, and organizational software. He doesn't consider the possibility that the divides between the three might weaken in the future. For example Atlassian's, Jira bug tracking/ticketing tool is a piece of groupware that crosses the border into organizational software. Jira is a contracted piece of software general enough that many different software companies can use it. However, in addition it shows signs of being an organizational software in that departments from an entire company can use it, including software departments (to track bugs), IT (to track equipment), and even human resources (to track new hires), thus requiring a large, possibly management spearheaded, drive to change the company to adopt it. In addition, Grundin's comments that groupware could be an unobtrusive part of software meant for individuals bridges the gap between individual software and groupware. The idea that the three types of software are strict categorizations, and each requires a different design, is a weakness of Grudin's paper.
Steve Rubin - 9/20/2011 12:20:17
The two papers for on computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) are papers from the first half of the 1990s that discuss the inherent difficulties of building groupware. The first mentions several ideas that could advance us beyond the supposed ideal of "being there," and the second gives an extensive list of problems that have traditionally arisen in enterprise-level groupware.
A classic approach to building communication devices is to, as closely as possible, emulate real-life, face-to-face contact. Hollan and Stornetta, the authors of "Beyond Being There," argue that this is a flawed ideal. The most obviously foresight that the paper had was the proposal of social networking via "computing personals." Realizing that computers were fundamentally good at some forms of communication--specifically those that are heavily data-driven--is a great insight. There were some ideas that the paper proposed that seem particularly dated in retrospect. For example, the use of semisynchronous mechanisms, or any method that would slow the movement of data, seems foreign in today's society of instant gratification. Their idea of "auditory paper," a supplement to natural language is interesting but bold: they strive to modify years of linguistic evolution with artificially created additions. I can criticize, but twitter sold people on communicating at the sub-sentence level (in some cases), so maybe we are more flexible with language than I am assuming.
The second paper, "Groupware and Social Dynamics," is focused more on the failures of past groupware software than on developing new ideas for the future. If nothing else, the paper captures just how difficult it is to create a piece of groupware that will succeed in a large company. The paper generally made the assumption that if a few employees do not like a piece of groupware, it will fail. This may be true among isolated small groups, but there is no real reason that a company cannot enforce the use of a piece of groupware just as it would, say, enforce the use of email for inter-office communication. The paper argues that groupware is generally considered as less vital than IT software by upper management, but I believe that's an arbitrary distinction. If a company mandates that software will be used, it will be used; people will get used to it. Among the paper's many points, the most important is the need to develop better methods for evaluating groupware. Until we can somehow quantify the success of specific groupware, the success or failure (and all of the author's bullet points) remain largely anecdotal.
Derrick Coetzee - 9/20/2011 12:26:37
"Beyond Being There" (1992) was one of the first works to question the dominant research assumption that communication technology's ultimate goal was to emulate face-to-face interaction. Characterizing face-to-face interaction as a medium with advantages and disadvantages, it highlighted opportunities for going beyond what is possible face-to-face (e.g. asynchrony as in e-mail, simple searchable automatic archiving). In retrospect these are clear looking at discretionary patterns of use of e-mail, instant messaging, phone, and texting by people who live and work in close proximity. Its anticipation of certain applications, such as "online personals," was strikingly accurate. Although compelling, I believe this work could have benefited from a more thorough investigation of existing patterns of use of communication software on the fledgling Internet and BBSs in 1992, which highlighted a number of the advantages of the medium.
"Eight Challenges for Developers" (1994) described challenges of building groupware, with explicit comparison to the construction of both individual and company-wide systems. These often centered around the complex social dynamics of groups. One of its primary recommendations, adding groupware features to existing individual apps, has proven successful in modern cloud apps like Google Docs. One interesting section summarized how disruptive e-mail technology can be in organizations: routine lateral and skip-level communication bypasses managers, who can no longer act as filters, and e-mails with breaking news can easily be sent to large numbers of people, ultimately leading to less strict hierarchical organization. This raises the question of how future successful groupware might disrupt organizations.
Although the work notes the high cost of evaluation, it offers little recommendation on how evaluation should be done or how it can be made more practical. Doing multiple field tests with complete systems, in a way that interrupts normal workflow, is a daunting proposition. It was also peculiar how they referred to emoticons as a problem with e-mail, when the same mechanism was identified by the authors of "Beyond Being There" as an advantage in conveying otherwise invisible nonverbal cues.
Both these works suffered from a focus on the traditional Western office, with colocated workers, a hierarchical structure, ready access to modern technology, and individualistic goals. Applying the same ideas to a more collectivist culture, such as China, to a flatter or more decentralized organization, such as an online community or teleworking team, or to microbusinesses in third world nations, would require very different principles.
Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye - 9/20/2011 15:28:20
Reading Response for:
Beyond being there, Hollan, J. and Stornetta, S, Proceedings of CHI 1992, pp. 119-125. Groupware and Social Dynamics: Eight Challenges for Developers, Jonathan Grudin, Communications of the ACM (CACM), 37(1), 1994, pp. 92-105.
The two papers for Wednesday discussion discuss two different problems encountered in CSCW (Computer-Supported Cooperative Work) research. Both articles give insightful diagnosis of current technology and constructive suggestions for future developmental trend of the specific technology.
The work ‘Beyond Being There’ casts a constructive idea to improve current idea of telecommunication to a higher level, from simply imitating ‘Being Here’ to ‘Beyond Being There’. Such a proposal is of much foresight because it conveys a notion which could much change our way of thinking about telecommunication. It argues to persuade us go beyond our current notion to create richness and variety of interaction that we have when we are physically proximate, and fabricate even better communication environment. This would make people prefer to user such technology even if physical proximity is available. The most constructive work of this paper is the author’s analytical conclusion of the framework of such communication tools, which consists of needs, media and mechanisms. This analysis enables us to figure out way to create communication tools which bears more richness and convenience than face-to-face communication.
The second article introduces the concept and discusses several critical issues in groupware. Based on the conclusion the author drawn from current development of groupware today, he summarizes eight challenges for groupware developers which to my point of view, is a very helpful conclusion. Among the eight challenges, I think three of them are most important, which are disparity in work and benefit, disruption of social processes and the adoption process, because I believe these three problems are the most essential ones we encountered in groupware today. The author also analyzes several successful examples of groupware and points out the reasons of their success as well as shortcomings to be improved. Last but not least, the author suggests us to shift to a work perspective rather a technology perspective to reconsider the process of designing groupware, which would make the final solution a much better one. In my point of view, I learn much important features of groupware from this article, and I have learnt that it is useful to make groupware features as additional features of single user software, which would make it less obtrusive to access and better integrated with current software products.
-Ayden (Sep 20, 2011)
Laura Devendorf - 9/20/2011 18:19:09
Grudin's article presents cautionary tales along with a set of guidelines to aid product developers in the development of groupware applications. Beyond Being There criticizes the then current state of research in tele-communications arguing for an approach that is less focused on simulating the physical world and more focused on imagining a system to exploit the strengths of the virtual world.
Grudin's paper uses the pitfalls of past systems and defines scenarios in order to steer groupware developers in a more productive direction. The article paints the picture that this groupware development was, in a sense, doomed in 1994. Too often engineers, myself included, forget that a group is much more that multiple people. A group yields intricacies of interaction that are often hard to model, possibly because they don't allow us to use our own intuition in the development, as Grudin suggests. The moral of the story is that groupware is hard, it's hard to develop and hard to test. It not only involves the participation of the groups involved but interweaving into the larger power system of the organization. I would be curious to see an updated version of this paper and how it would sound today now that groups may be a bit more accepting of new technologies and offices are increasingly "online". I would also like to apply the concepts of this paper to the discussions of smart-rooms and interactive tables that we have looked at in the past weeks. How does the group dynamic change the development of these sorts of tools and how do the tools change the group dynamics?
I particularly enjoyed the writing of Beyond Being There and how it used analogy (the shoe and the crutch) to illustrate abstract concepts. I also thought their approach to problem solving was artful in a sense as it looks at what the medium communicates on it's own. The article goes on to list a number of possible communication strategies that exploit the possibility for asynchronous, anonymous and archived communications. I believe that the author purposely leaves out negative implications of his examples. Perhaps he felt these aspects weren't constructive in development and research. By ignoring the negative implications, he paints a false picture of one medium being universally and generically "better" than another. The article foreshadows the success of systems like MySpace and Facebook which allow for what he called "computing personals." As an approach to development, I found the article very helpful.
Valkyrie Savage - 9/20/2011 18:55:33
The big ideas of Beyond Being There and Eight Challenges for Groupware Developers were that users like interacting with each other, and that technology can facilitate it if designed properly. There are cautions against careless design that ignores the users’ preferences, particularly in situations where just a few users are the target audience of a product.
Beyond Being There was entertaining as an historical document. They predicted Facebook, instant messaging, ... their insights preceded Skype! It was a good read. I'm uncertain whether the messages of Beyond Being There are still relevant in all circles (though they are in some, certainly). For instance, during my time in industry during internships, it was far more common for people to IM each other, *even when they were in the same room.* How's that for beyond being there? There's a flow that I'm not sure was considered appropriately in the paper: yes, information bandwidth is greater in person, but for information that is related to a task that one is already engaged in, that isn't necessarily the optimal thing. I don't have to stop thinking about code and think about my officemate's loud shirt or the story he's telling about his cat if I don't have to turn around and look at him or talk to him directly; context can be as narrow as desired in chat situations. IMs can also, though, fit into the semi-synchronous communication. Their transient nature ("instant"!) makes it easy to forget about what was said previously and jump in on any point in a conversation. It's not a real conversation, after all, and when people meander away from their computers for extended periods they are free to catch up at their leisure. I guess there isn't really a standard code of conduct about IMs yet, though...
I also liked their discussion about designing shoes rather than crutches; it's something that many don't think about. In the fury to iterate faster and faster on products, we sometimes lose sight of products that aren't iterations...
The Groupware paper also brought up interesting considerations. Their 8 challenges list seemed pretty close to right, although really what most of them come down to is understanding the group being developed for and being flexible in design. To be fair, flexibility isn't something that computers are known for (yet), so that's really the crux of the challenge, isn't it? We need to design software that isn't really support for a group, but that functions as a member of the group. It needs to "get" the group members and grok their individual tasks and interpersonal relationships (both formal and informal). We don't even have an appropriate language for many of these informal relationships, which will make it difficult to explain them to a computer! Fortunately, many companies these days (at least in the tech world) are moving towards flatter and flatter hierarchies that might circumvent some of the problems mentioned.
Viraj Kulkarni - 9/20/2011 20:45:37
Beyond being there' claims that most telecommunication systems aim to mimic face to face conversations assuming that talking to someone face to face offers the best quality of conversations and you cannot exceed or better that. The paper says that this need not be true and offers other methods of telecommunication that go against some of the characteristics of face to face communication. The paper, 'Groupware and social dynamics', outlines the problems that should be addressed while developing groupware applications.
'Beyond being there' does raise a very important point that face to face communication may not be the best way to communicate. I liked their approach towards this problem but I was disappointed with the examples. The examples are vague and ambigious and do not precisely say what their 'system' consists of. There are very few mentions of user studies or other indications of how people would actually use their proposed systems.
The second paper talks about some of the typical issues with groupware applications that hinder their adoption and use by people. The authors have done a good job of identifying these issues. They give examples of failures with an explanation as to why these products failed. They also mention email and databases as successes and talk about why they worked. These analyses are pretty insightful.
Amanda Ren - 9/20/2011 23:09:50
The Hollan paper focuses on finding a new medium of communication to solve the problem of people being physically distant.
This paper is important because it chooses to focuses away from immitating face to face conversations. I thought it was interesting when it was pointed out that we know we have no real solution when people will use one way to communicate with those far away, but choose to actually be in presence with those close by. Instead, the authors choose to propose ideas that focus rather on what is not met in the physical proximity. They suggest creating an ephemeral interest group, allowing people to access information on others, anonymous posts, and use of semisynchronous mechanisms.
This is relevant to today's technologies because you can see a lot of what they mentioned in current social networks. There are online communities that allow users (all anonymous) to ask others for personal advice. Also, online profiles allow people to access information about others. I do also agree with the counterarguments they presented. There are advantages of imitation, such as the use of telepresence in businesses. Given the life size of participants and appearance of eye contact, people will be comfortable conducting meetings like they are used to.
The Grudin paper points out eight challenges in developing successful groupware products.
This paper is important because it lists out challenges present for groupware products compared to single user products. One of the interesting points is that groupware needs to enlist a certain amount of users to be useful, and those users may not all benefit the same. I thought it was interesting that the paper pointed out that even though email was designed not to recovnize the supervisor-subordinate distinction, it is critical in the workplace. Its informality allows it to bypass hierarchical levels. One current technology I can see this being relevant to is the use of Piazza for class Q&A. The professors will have the extra work of answering all the questions posted (if student users do not do the work of answering questions too), yet they also benefit from having to deal with answering the same question multiple times.
Apoorva Sachdev - 9/20/2011 23:17:06
This week’s reading was focused on groupware software systems and on analyzing the problems associated with imitating face-to-face approach for long-distance interactions. Jonathan Grudin presents some of the problems that groupware faces and compares these problems to instance of single user application and information systems. He also analyzes why emails are one of the more successful examples of groupware implementations and what are the commonalities between email and other successful groupware software. On the other hand Jim Hollan and Scott Stornetta argue that the traditional belief of imitating face-to-face approach is limiting and ideas based on that modeling would never be able to replicate the non-verbal cues associated with face-to-face interactions and hence would never be favored over it.
Both the papers were theoretical in the sense that they were analyzing the present ideologies and compiling a list of problems instead of implementing a new interface per say. However, I feel that the approach suggested by Hollan and Stornetta is helpful for designing future interfaces because the current video-conferencing systems still don’t offer the fidelity of in person interaction (either you have eye contact with everyone in the room or with no one) inhibiting communication. Maybe the future of video conferencing lies in virtual spaces. For instance, during Mr. John Tang’s presentation he showed us video conferencing using avatars as well as virtual rooms, where participants were transported into a new space and are moved around as more participants enter to give a feel of a real conference room. The key is not to imitate but to come up with new ways of interaction not based on competing with face-to-face directly but rather focused on the disadvantages of face-to-face.
In the groupware paper, the author analyzes the slow inertia people face in adapting to a new system especially when the system is more beneficially to the higher hierarchy i.e. the managers than the subordinates and when it lacks strong organizational backing (in IS case). He mentions that a viable system may be built on existing single user applications to ease the transition, however a lot more possibilities have to be considered. This is especially true when groupware system relies on a lot of data accumulation by its users - they are less likely to succeed. An example I can think of for a groupware system is Piazza, till last semester only one of my classes was using it to answer questions and this semester all my classes have a piazza account. This is because the barrier to entry is considerable low; also the benefit is mutual for both the person posting the question, its subscribers and the professors using it to answer questions. Thus, while developing application one should do a cost/benefit analysis, extensive research into the group dynamics and consider ease of use.
Yun Jin - 9/20/2011 23:43:46
Eight Challenges for Developers: In this paper, it introduces the origins of groupware, describes specific problems, and put forward some suggestions for better development of groupware. The author describes eight challenges for groupware developers because of technical, social and political factors. And these problems are: disparity in work and benefit, critical mass and prisoner’s dilemma problem, disruption of social process, exception handling, unobtrusive accessibility, difficulty of evaluation, failure of intuition and the adoption process. Among these challenges, the first five requires better knowledge of the intended users’ workspace. The final three requires changes in the development process. The final challenge is focusing on the sensitivity of groupware of its introduction in workplaces. To better support the significance of these challenges of the groupware in the paper, the author uses an example of email. Products like email is used successfully in groupware cause it overcomes these challenges. And we can see the importance of adopting a workplace perspective instead of a technology perspective from the example of email. More importantly, the author also describes several methods to overcome these challenges due to the social and behavioral factors. These methods are following: 1) extend the use of single-user in group setting by adding groupware features; 2) find niches where existing groupware succeeds; 3) build on object management or shared IS; 4) find ways to provide direct benefits for all group members; 5) educate managers and developers about groupware; 6) a better understanding of decision-making processes in development.
Beyond Being There: This paper points out the problems of imitating face-to-face communication and proposed an alternative method to solve the telecommunication problems. To help elaborate the proposal, this paper describes a series of example projects and responds to potential criticism based on the issues which are in terms of need, media, and mechanisms. The problem of telecommunication is it creates a system that affords users the same richness and variety of interaction. To solve this problem, researchers used the method named “being there” which means establishing audio and video channels between distant locations. However, this kind of imitation has a number of problems and serious limitations due to its awkwardness and ineffectiveness. And in this paper, it proposes a new approach which focused on the communication part rather than tele-part.To illustrate the advantages of this new approach, the paper enumerate some examples. These advantages are increased visibility, lower user cost of access and interaction, support the maintenance of interactions, encourage people to discuss issues, and encourage a greater range of responses. This paper also provides several responses towards critiques, such as advantages of imitation, culture and intersubjectivity. This paper provides methods corresponding to these problems. However, in my view, there are also some other limitations of the alternative method of imitation of telecommunication. Now I describe them following: 1) It’s more convenient for people to use imitation of physically proximate reality and users are accustomed to it. 2) Lacking practical and sufficient evidences showing the credibility of these tools, users could not be convinced.
Yin-Chia Yeh - 9/20/2011 23:51:55
Today we read two papers about software designed to cooperate with multiple people. The eight challenge paper first compares and contrasts groupware with individual software and IT systems for organizations. It then discusses eight challenges groupware developers often met and possible ways to address these challenges. While the eight challenges paper aims at general groupware development, the beyond being there paper focuses on telecommunication. It argues that instead of imitating face-to-face interactions people should think about how to make telecommunication tools more powerful so that people would want to use it even when face-to-face communication is available.
After reading the eight challenges paper, I felt that it is almost impossible for a groupware to bear any functions other than communication or data storage, such as Email, Google Doc or Internet disk. The examples of other groupware, like meeting support system and workflow system seem to suffer from the social processes problem as mentioned by the author. However, I am not sure if they are good examples since in my personal experience this kind of software mostly are part of company IT system so everyone is forced to adapt to them. I am wondering if there are any other examples of groupware falling outside of the communication/storage category. Without clear examples in mind, it is hard for me to fully understand some challenges like exception handling and unobtrusive accessibility.
The beyond being there paper is much easier to understand because it limits the topics within telecommunication. I also like their idea of focusing on communication part instead of focusing on tele- part. One example of that is one feature I always hope skype can include, the electronic blackboard, which allows user to draw images on the fly. It is quite useful when you need to explain something hard to describe or write. I also like the idea of semisynchronous discussions which aims to solve the problem of initial discussions dominate the direction of following discussions, though this idea is sometimes against user’s will of getting instant response. While I like the ideas in this paper, I think imitating face-to-face interaction is still very important because this is the most comfortable means of communication for people. Luckily these two directions are not mutually exclusive.
Hong Wu - 9/21/2011 0:06:27
“Beyond Being There” describes the problem of supporting the communication in electronic media. “Eight Challenges” lists several challenge for group telecommunication.
“Beyond Being There” claims that many applications to do telecommunication is to create a proxy on the other side, like “being there”. However, the effort is not successful and the paper proposal to “beyond being there” by examining the problem in term of needs, media and mechanism. I’d like to add another term -- psychology. Study the psychology of the people who wants to use telecommunication seems also the essential foundation of the research.
“Eight Challenges” focused on the groupware which is between individual and organization applications. The paper shows the example on videoconference, coauthoring features and so on. Besides the challenge mentioned in the paper, I think groupware software needs to consider the balance between privacy and sharing. Google Doc, Google Calendar and Dropbox are the good examples of groupware.
Cheng Lu - 9/21/2011 0:15:23
The first paper, “Beyond Being There”, discusses the problems of telecommunication with this presupposition and presents an alternative proposal for grounding and motivating research and development that frames the issue in terms of needs, media, and mechanisms. The general telecommunication problems seems to be to create a system that affords us the same richness and variety of interaction that we have when we are physically proximate, so many current efforts to accomplish this attempt is to create a sense of “being there”. The majority techniques applied include audio and video channels between distant locations. Any system which attempts to bring those that are physically distant into a physically proximate community by imitating physical proximity will always keep the former at a disadvantage. This is due to the essence of “being there”. If we ever hope to solve the telecommunication problem, we must develop tools that people prefer to use even when they have the option of interacting in physical proximity as they have heretofore. To do that requires tools that go beyond being there. To create such tools, the paper suggests framing the problem in terms of needs, media, and mechanisms. The goal then becomes identifying needs which are not ideally met in the medium of physical proximity, and evolving mechanisms which leverage the strengths of the new medium to meet those needs. In conclusion, the paper suggests we should abolish the concept of “being there” and develop further techniques to achieve our ultimate goal.
The second paper, “Groupware and Social Dynamics”, briefly outlines the origins of groupware, describes eight specific problem areas, and finally examines groupware successes in search of better approaches to supporting work in group settings. Computer support has focused on organizations and individuals. Groups are different. Repeated, expensive groupware failures result from not meeting the challenges in design and evaluation that arise from these differences. Many expensive failures in developing and marketing software that is designed to support groups are not due to technical problems. They result from not understanding the unique demands this class of software imposes on developers and users. Desktop conferencing, videoconferencing, coauthoring features and applications, email and bulletin boards (b-boards), meeting support systems, voice applications, workflow systems, and group calendars are key examples of groupware. Labels vary: groupware, collaborative computing, Workgroup computing, multiuser applications, computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) applications. What is included? Not everyone agrees. Begin by asking, “Was this software designed to support groups? Is it being used to support groups?” Email and b-boards are well known, but few other groupware prototypes and products have done as well despite considerable effort. Successes exist, but progress is slow and can lead in unanticipated directions.
Suryaveer Singh Lodha - 9/21/2011 0:59:12
Beyond being there - The general telecommunication problem seems to be to create a system that affords us the same richness and variety of interaction that we have when we are physically proximate, even when we are physically distant. Many current efforts to accomplish this, attempt to create a sense of “being there,”. mainly by establishing rich audio and video channels between distant locations. This approach though seems good and familiar, but inherently keeps distant individuals at a disadvantage. We must look into developing systems which people prefer to use even when they are in close proximity of each other. If we can come up with such systems, we can atleast try to solve the inherent problem descrobed above. For example, communicating via email is a step towards solving the problem. I'm not of the view that email communication is better than face-to-face communication with rich audio-visual channels, but just trying to drive a point that in professional scenarios, even people sitting in the same office prefer to communicate via email, instead of just going over and talk about the topic. Such a mode of communication breaks distance barriers and irrespective of the physical location of the recipient(s) of the message - in the same office or different city/country/continent, the level of involvemnet is the same. Such mode of communication also has one major advantage, ie it is inherently archived and is searchable. It is only when we come up with telecommunication systems which can nullify the effect (bias) of proximity for a better interaction, would we really solve the problem of telecommunication. The authors also hypothesize that people engaged in ephemeral interest groups that aren't present rate themsleves as more a part of the community than those who don't use it and are present. One example which comes to mind is of "reddit" and other bunch of groups/organizations which only exist online (probably on facebook). The authors also talk about low cost electronic access to information about others as an effective way to learn about people and then initiate contact with individuals one finds interesting. Also anonymous exchanges encourage people to voice their opinion more freely than they would in a face-to-face discussion encounter.
Groupware and Social Dynamics - An organization may adapt itself to a large computer system, but a small application program must adapt to the organization, fitting into existing work patters and appealing to everyone who must support it. Groupware lies in the middle of the two. Groupware must be treated as a product, which may not be proprietary/ internal to a MIS, and must be designed and evaluated to obtain a broad, competitive appeal. The author talks about 8 challenges for groupware developers. There is disparity between work and benefit, for example - automatic meeting scheduling benefits meeting convenor, but the system works only if all other members of the group do put in extra effort (work) to maintain electronic calendars. Achieving a 'critical mass' of users is essential because a groupware will be deemed useful only if a high percentage of group members actually use it. Groupware can lead to disruption of social practices as groupware will remain insensitive to tacitly understood personal priorities/ feelings unless such information is made explicit. Groupware must also be able to adapt to user practices and not just go by the book, it should be able to help the members fo the group do their work more efficiently and thus must try to incorporate known best practices which are not present in a guidebook. This information can be very diffucult to find and depends heavily on the amount of good documentation available.Groupware requires more careful implementation in the workplace than product developers ever confronted.
Alex Chung - 9/21/2011 1:52:22
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
A large number of informal interactions are necessary to create and maintain working relationships. Thus the amount of collaboration falls off as the distance grows between two parties. The holy grail of telecommunication technology is emulating the same level of interaction regardless of distance.
Needs • cue variety • feedback • message personalization • turn taking • repair • stylized openings
Media • proximate reality • face-to-face interactions • 3-D high resolution visual and auditory
Mechanism • eye contact • body posture • stereotypical openings and closings in spoken language
Strengths of tele- • asynchronous communication • anonymous communication • automatic archive
Ephemeral Interest Group – these ephemeral interest groups provide a means of initiating friendship with zero cost to the users. However, zero cost also means that these groups are disposable and only intended to last a few hours or at most a few days. What kind of friendship is the author suggesting?
Recently, I have stopped all incoming Facebook feeds because it is taking me too much time to go through and to delete them. The zero cost lowers the barrier of a meaningful communication which means people are posting a bunch of craps that nobody cares about. Furthermore, the user compounds the problem by establishing connections with more people than one can manage. Like Shannon’s Theorem, the amount of noise outnumbers meaningful transmissions and the quality of communication is lost.
Meeting Others – online tool such as meetup.com serves an excellent example of using technology to decrease the cost of initiating contact. However, it must be followed by real-world interactions, in which, the distance factor comes into the equation again. Therefore, people who joined interest groups online often live close to each other.
Considering that the paper was published in 1992, the author has rightful pointed out the characteristics of today’s communication technology. Yet I wonder what Hollan and Stornella think about the trend of text messaging. It is meant for instant communication like voice but with a higher cost because it takes both hands and less easy to comprehend. What is the motivation behind texting? It is neither anonymous, ephemeral nor asynchronous.
Overall, the author suggests that we should leverage the strength of new medium. But instead, the author has declared defeat by stating a narrow scope of practical use of telecommunication technology.
Groupware and Social Dynamics – eight challenges for developers
Groupware involves more stakeholders. More users and permutations of usage cause developers to consider more trade off in designing and evaluating groupware products.
First of all, email is not a new concept. It is essentially the same as regular mail except for the instantaneous transfer. It isn’t surprising to find email system to be popular in business world because its automatic archiving feature can trace back to the responsible party.
Secondly, the stated challenges are nothing new. They are common for any product development process. Stakeholder’s analysis, exception handling, risk assessment, managing expectation, and critical mass are fairly common among product, service, and business model development.
Surprisingly, these problems are still with us today. Developers are still struggling to integrate old businesses with new technology. Unlike single user application, groupware involves many unexpected uses from user exploration. It is important to study usability issues through testing.
Ali Sinan Koksal - 9/21/2011 1:55:01
"Beyond being there" advocates the need to free CSCW research from the then-dominant point of view of imitating face-to-face communications. This attitude results from the presupposition that physical proximity is the ideal model for communication and the best we can do is to incorporate its features to the maximum possible extent. This actually prevents one from considering mechanisms that can better match communication needs than face-to-face meetings, and that are only made possible by new media.
I think the main argument of the paper is a very solid one. Research should aim to come up with new mechanisms that should not be a fall-back method when distance between collaborators is too large to have face-to-face conversations. Imitating features of physical proximity will always put alternative techniques in a worse position, and these features are not always as fruitful when incorporated into new media.
I was also very impressed by the vision of projects that the authors have been working on in 1992. Would the authors be surprised to see how successful their initial concept of "computing personals" (persona?) has proven to be today? The asynchronous nature of the new media and the possibilities of automatically recording an archiving communication seem to be compelling arguments too.
Meanwhile, I was less convinced about other ideas, such as the batch publication of responses in discussions. This could result in redundant effort by multiple people in cases where a single answer to a question could have been sufficient. In the context of discussions, it seems that this also leads to the challenge of merging these independent discussions together to form a productive collaborative environment. The example of ASL as an improvement over today's spoken natural language did not seem very compelling either. Spatial location indications to refer to objects are likely to cause confusion as this would most likely increase the cognitive resources required for communicating.
Jonathan Grudin's paper explores challenges that should be addressed in designing software supporting group work. The eight challenges that are discussed directs developers towards some rules of thumb for avoiding "groupware failures" which can be considerably expensive. One of them is to build on successful previous work, e.g. extending single-user applications with group work support. The work also argues about the importance of better understanding decision-making processes in work groups to match the needs better with computer support.
This is a highly-cited paper that clearly pointed out a considerable number of problems and helped having a better understanding of the issues related to groupware development. What I found most impressive in this paper was the lesson to extend existing successful applications with groupware capabilities. This can help in many aspects: use of groupware should not be a burden even for infrequently used features; also it can ease the process of adoption.
Peggy Chi - 9/21/2011 2:26:49
After having discussed about interfaces designed for individuals and organizations, we now move on to systems for groups and communication. Hollan and Stornetta addressed the importance of human communication in the perspectives of needs, media, and mechanisms, and discussed several example systems. Grudin presented challenges of groupware designs.
Assisting one user is not an easy task; Interacting with a group of users is even more challenging that involves many human-to-human issues. I'm particularly interested to know: for cscw systems, what kind of roles do computers take? As a decision-supportive, passive agent? As a higher-level coordinator to distribute information? As a team member that contributes but also understands individual work? Johansen in 1988 proposed a CSCW Matrix that categorize groupware into same places/different places, and same time/different time. This gives us a sense about the different context developers need to think about.
Furthermore, is the system's goal to achieve the overall public goal, or also to consider individual purposes? Would the assistance change the collaboration structure? (e.g. users who own much more information gain the control.) Grudin mentioned the disparity in work and benefit, but this issue may be even more complicated toward certain fields.
Reference:  Johansen, R. (1988). GroupWare: Computer Support for Business Teams. The Free Press.
Galen Panger - 9/21/2011 3:23:36
The Hollan/Stornetta piece, “Beyond Being There,” I thought was interestingly ambitious, but I still had to laugh when they suggested the real question should be, “What’s wrong with (physically proximate) reality?” Sometimes technologists just seem so eager to push bits on people.
But it’s obviously true that some non-FTF mediums are adopted and used by people in close physical proximity. Email is certainly one, and it’s a great success. IM is another—how many meetings do people in organizations spend having side conversations on IM while sitting right next to one another? (This certainly happened at Google when I was there.) And Facebook and its variants have displaced other mediums (including, perhaps, FTF) for keeping in touch with just about everyone—close or far away—as we collectively spend lots of time on them. So clearly they’re better than FTF for maintaining a large number of weak ties. And they even add dimension to our stronger ties.
These are successes. They add dimension, rather than try too hard to imitate FTF. But there’s kind of nothing wrong with FTF interactions. There’s no shoe for FTF interactions, because there’s nothing wrong with them (it doesn’t hurt like our feet do on rough terrain to be in the presence of others). And most of the examples presented in the paper, and some of the biggest successes of CMC, seem at best marginal improvements on some dimension of FTF. They are improvements as utilities. And, by the way, we already have FTF mechanisms for some of the supposed advantages of CMC. We have anonymous ballots, and various brainstorming techniques that preserve one’s intellectual freedom, and ensure that one person’s perspective doesn’t dominate.
Still the magic and fulfillment of FTF remains, and still the challenge of reproducing that fulfillment and satisfaction for long-distance telecommunicated interactions remains. I get quite a bit of meaning from email conversations with important people in my life, like my advisor or members of my family. But close relationships need to be sustained with real, present, FTF interactions. It’s a magical medium—we were designed for it (evolutionarily speaking), and are highly trained for it. Just because there are opportunities “beyond face-to-face” doesn’t mean we won’t stop trying to reproduce it.
On the groupware article, I think one of the more important points is that “solutions” to collaboration problems can impose costs on others, even when they reduce costs for some. Feels sort of like a classic collective action problem. Who bears the costs? Who reaps the benefits? Do enough people benefit enough to achieve critical mass for the tool? Those are the key questions, I think.
Allie - 9/21/2011 8:05:12
The two papers in our latest reading response are a less technical, but nonetheless interesting.
In "Beyond Being There", Hollan and Stornetta contend that digital communication should aim to create a sense of "being there" by creating systems that provide the same experience as physical interactions. The assumption is that collaboration between two people taper as the distance between them increase; and even audio/video mediums result in merely audio interactions rather than coming close to a real, face-to-face interaction.
For most people, when presented with the choice of face-to-face versus a substitute, would choose the actual interaction. "Beyond Being There" believes the fundamental differences would always remain, that rather than "being there", the digital experience would simply be "broken". Cue variety/feedback/message personalization/turn taking/repair/and stylized openings are just some of the things that would be amiss when a physical experience is replaced with a substitute one.
The paper lauds email as a successful form of information communication, where parties _do not_ have to be free at the same time. Computing personals, which sounds an awful lot like social media, is also a possibility for maintaining interactions. The digital experiences offers a certain level of anonymity, in which users are more likely to communicate problems and issues in their relationships than they would in person. Semisynchronous modes of interaction spurs a greater range of responses than normal mediums.
In addressing the problems of digital communication, the paper believes auditory interactions has greater impact than non-face-to-face interactions. It gets a little vague with "beyond being there", addressing issues of culture and intersubjectivity.
Like many of our papers, considering it was written almost 2 decades ago, the ideas discussed herein are rather visionary. Google voice/video and Skype are recent, but functional products that have allowed people to communicate rather frequently over long distances via a computer, for free. It can be argued that people sometimes prefer digital communication over face-to-face interactions for reasons different from what that of the paper, for it has rather become the norm, and entire communities exist in the cyberspace, and the culture psyche of our our society has become entrenched in some ways in maintaining an digital identity over our real, physical ones.
In "Groupware and Social Dynamics", published 2 years later from "Beyond Being There', Grudin takes on a much more pessimistic view of digital communication in the context of groups in a business setting. Groupware, as he calls them, have fundamental design flaws that complicate, rather than provide collaborate and support in groups. The idea is that developers in 1994 are facing groupware problems for the first time, having previously exclusively developed for individuals. Groupware is misleading in that its target is usually smaller than large systems. It is usually an outside vendor product rather than developed in-house. Here, Grudin presents research that no company specializing in voice technology has become profitabe, which simply isn't true given voice/video conferencing. Grudin believes Groupware inevitably distributes roles differently across the group; and disparities are apparent when the person speaking has a higher status than the listener. Prisoner's Dilemma is also mentioned in which individuals, in further their own self-interests, sacrifice the goals of the group. This is rather far fetched, for Groupware wouldn't be facilitating the exposure of such behaviors; and is rather a managerial and organization issue at large. Grudin goes on to say that subtle and complex social dynamics emerge within Groupware, and that intuition is trumped when such certain situations occur in the context of a group: i.e. supervisor-subordinate distinctions. As a commercial product, Groupwares do not operate under the same marketing strategies, for it must appeal to each member of the group in order to do well. This is false, as organizations may impose rules enforcing members of its group to utilize Groupware.
Being in the early '90s, Grudin agrees with the writers of "Beyond Being There" that email is a successful platform of Groupware. However, problems arise in business settings for manager when his employees can disseminate information rapidly. Broadly speaking, "these electronic social formations represent new sources of industrial conflict... they are seen as subverting legitimated organizational structures."
Grudin attempted to address the issues surrounding Groupware, but is rather myopic in that the assumptions he made have largely been resolved via modern technology. In today's business world, Groupware has become an indispensable part of conducting businesses, especially in multinationals where people must overcome barriers of time zones and distances. These opposing papers reflect a time when the possibilities of future technologies have just entered discussion, and no one knew what would work. I wonder what the authors think today, looking back on the world that has that has actualized since.
Donghyuk Jung - 9/21/2011 8:19:39
Beyond being there
Beyond Being There was a research project at Bell Communications Research in 1991 and 1992. The key insight of this paper was that computer and communications technology cannot in the foreseeable future achieve the same quality of human interaction as that afforded by physically proximate reality. Thus, they aimed at making computers help people communicate in ways that cannot be done in physically proximate reality. From my experiences, a face-to-face conversation or working environment has a great advantage of transmitting intrinsic information between people and other telecommunication mechanisms or medium cannot simply mimic it. However, human interaction via computers has its own advantages over face-to-face communication when it deals with extrinsic information like electronic documents. For example, Google Docs allows people can do faster, real-time collaboration by creating and sharing documents on the web. This unique advantage cannot be done in a face-to-face working environment.
Groupware and Social Dynamics: Eight Challenges for Developers
Grudin points out that groupware has suffered in part because it has many of the problems that single-user applications suffer from in terms of usability issues, plus a whole set of new challenges introduced by the group-based nature of the tools. As the subtitle implies, his article focuses on eight of these problems.
1. A work versus benefit disparity: Groupware systems often require work from people who do not benefit directly from them (e.g., people adding data to a calendaring system so that the person doing the scheduling can benefit) 2. Critical mass and prisoner dilemma problems: Groupware cannot succeed unless a larger number of people use it at the same time and this creates a collective action problem. 3. Social, political and motivational issues: Groupware violate social and organization taboos or threaten political structures that existing in an organization. 4. Exception handled issues: Improvisation and error handling common in organizations are not built into workflow based groupware systems. 5. Unobtrusive accessibility: Often the features that support group processes are not used frequently but must still be accessible enough to be used. 6. Difficult of evaluation: We have trouble learning from failed groupware projects do to a lack of evaluation routines. 7. Failure of intuition: Intuitions in current software development environments are often poorly suited (or run against) the best actions in a groupware setting. 8. The adoption process: Introduction can require more care, planning, and effort that most software developers consider.
There are a series of reoccurring possible solutions as well that Grudin suggests: 1. The biggest is to add groupware functionality to existing applications. 2. Find and exploit niches were groupware is already succeeding. 3. Build on top of existing, successful IS projects. 4. Build systems so that they benefit all members. 5. Do a better job of educating managers and developers about groupware. 6. Build a better (sociological) understanding of the decision-making processes in organizations to help design groupware better.
Vinson Chuong - 9/21/2011 8:34:13
Hollan and Stornetta's "Beyond Being There" argues that communication interfaces should not be judged by how closely they emulate face-to-face conversation but rather by how well they meet the needs of users. Grudin's Eight Challenges for Developers discusses the challenges in designing and deploying groupware systems and warns developers of the differences between groupware and software which targets individuals.
For many of us, the quality of "being there" is still the gold standard when it comes to communication. We resort to other, "lesser" forms of communication only when face-to-face communication is unavailable. Hollan and Stornetta argue against this mentality. They propose that instead of judging the weaknesses of other forms of communication against the strengths of face-to-face communication, we should instead be judging the various forms of communication by how well they fit the needs of users. Their primary example is the success of email, which fulfills needs that are distinct from face-to-face conversation.
For me, the primary strengh of email is its speed and efficiency. I can transfer any amount of information to any number of people without the overhead of initiating face-to-face contact or carrying hard-copies of media which cannot be expressed with speech. Email also has the advantage of being easy to store and remember.
Consider StackOverflow and similar Q/A forums. Their primary strength is the speed with which users can query the collective knowledge of a community and obtain relevant answers.
And then, there's the internet whose main strength is to allow one or many people to broadcast information to whomever is interested.
But wait, all of these communication technologies are widely used and are very successful. Yet, we don't often compare them to face-to-face conversation--they co-exist. I think that we've already achieved "beyond being there".
Groupware is an umbrella term that refers to a set of technologies which facilitate communication of specialized types of information between members of a group. For example, calendar applications allow groups to communicate availability and appointments. Their strengths are in the efficiency and the directness with which those specialized types of information can be manipulated. In some sense, the various examples discussed above can all be thought of as groupware. Grudin's "Eight Challenges for Developers" can be thought as an extension of Hollan and Stornetta's "Beyond Being There" in that he gives a breakdown of how to evaluate user needs with regard to groupware. Combined, these two papers give a useful framework moving forward in developing new forms of communication which can co-exist with face-to-face communication.
Sally Ahn - 9/21/2011 8:58:37
In "Beyond being there," Hollan and Stornetta emphasize a need for re-evaluating the "telecommunication problem," by shifting its focus from imitating physical face-to-face presence to analyzing the needs of human communication and creating a new medium that people will prefer to use regardless of physical proximity. In Groupware and Social Dynamics, Grudin addresses the failures of collaborative softwares and attributes them to eight specific challenges for groupware developers.
Considering that Hollan and Stornetta's "Beyond Being There" was published two decades ago, it is interesting to compare their hypotheses with the current state in telecommunications. I find it rather ironic that the authors were so deeply concerned by people's preference for face-to-face interaction over communication systems. It is now common to hear complaints about our era's addiction to texting, instant messaging, e-mail, etc. and the neglect of face-to-face conversations. Clearly, the authors' message played a significant role in shaping the form of telecommunication we see today. I think they achieved this by pointing out the advantages of electronic communication that cannot be found in face-to-face interaction (e.g. asyonchronous/semisynchromous interaction and anonymity). They exemplify these strenghts through vivid scenarios, some of which bear striking similarities to social media that millions of users interact with on a daily basis today (e.g. their "Meeting Others" example and Facebook).
It's rather intersting to note that despite the apparent success of listening to Hollan and Stornetta's advice, there seems to be a renewed interest in "imitating" face-to-face physical interaction. Video conferencing tools are starting to receive more notice; it is not too long ago that Apple introduced FaceTime, and high-definition video conferencing is an active pursuit in industry. Of course, video quality and network reliability has come a long way since the publication of this paper. Nevertheless, the authors' claim is that seeking to "imitate" physical presence is inherently doomed to faliure, regardless of the quality of the imitation.
Rohan Nagesh - 9/21/2011 8:59:52
The first paper "Beyond Being There" describes the need for developers to implement telecommunications that are more focused on the "communications" and less on the "tele." The second paper "Groupware and Social Dynamics: Eight Challenges for Developers" highlights some key distinctions between designing for groups, large organizations and individuals, and then proceeds to offer cautionary advice and suggestions to groupware developers.
The first paper's main goal is to develop communication systems that users would use in favor of in-person interaction even when in-person interaction is readily available. One example includes email, which has become so popular and ubiquiitous that it is preferred in many situations. It provides users with a level of anonymity and an easy archive to search or later retrieve conversations. The authors postulate that these inherent "communications" aspects of email have made it so successful.
A fundamental tenet of the authors is that systems that attempt to focus on the "tele" side of things inherently place the distanced user at a disadvantage over those who are co-located, regardless of how close the technology will actually get to being there. While I do agree that this will never quite be like "being there," I do think the authors perhaps would have changed their stance or at least softened their stance had they seen some of today's advanced group video applications, such as Google +'s Hangouts feature.
The second paper provides some tips and tricks for groupware developers to make applications and software that are widely adopted. First and foremost, I wholeheartedly agree with the authors that there are fundamental differences in design principles among designing for groups vs. organizations vs. individuals.
That said, since the authors are not proposing a new interaction technique but rather tips and tricks and challenges for developers, I agree with their core message and find Challenge #7, the lack of intuition to be the hardest to overcome.
Shiry Ginosar - 9/21/2011 9:00:19
The computer supported cooperative work papers discuss two different issues in this area. While "Beyond Being There" presents an alternative to imitating face to face communication in supporting communities online, "Groupware and Social Dynamics" discusses problems and suggested directions in designing software that allow groups to work together.
It is interesting to read "Beyond Being There" in the context of the era in which it was written, and to notice that in essence it has foreseen many of the online interaction tools we use today. At work, it is often easier to chat with a co worker than walk over to have a discussion, especially when coupled with the ability to copy code snippets or URLs into the chat window. In our personal lives we meet new friends and make connections using social network software systems that expose our personal profiles with interesting facts. Most of the online communication mechanisms we use do not try and replace physical presence and almost all of them are asynchronous in nature and thus allow us more control of our communication time, much as the paper envisioned.
Looking at online communication from this perspective seemed very fresh and insightful to me as a user of these technologies. Interestingly, the paper describes some capabilities that are not yet implemented in widely available systems, and therefore could still inspire future research. In particular, capabilities of interest could be the ability to mark a previous remark in a chat that one would like to respond to as conversation often get jumbled, and the use of marking for anaphora resolution (e.g. which previously mentioned object does the term "that" refer to?).
While an interesting take on the subject of groupware, the Grudin paper was less inspiring to me mostly due to its wordiness. The general ideas presented in it were an interesting take on the differences and similarities between the design processes for software created for groups, for organizations and for individuals, but I found that the good core ideas were drowned in a sea of long winding text.
Manas Mittal - 9/21/2011 9:00:38
After reading this (Hollan et al) paper, I am reminded of Nicholas Negroponte's assertion. Nicholas says that (and Hollan appears to agree) that computer-facilitated communication complements and augments face to face communication, and does not supplant it. In addition, being able to communicate over a distance lets one put a premium to face-to-face communication, therefore, it really augments rather than supplants f2f communication.
Communicating vs Doing things: Most of audio channels enable you to communicate (exchange mental bits). In real life, people do things together. They go on a hike. They have dinner, etc. Interaction is placed in context of other things. Most communication channels place the onus on communication rather than co-doing.
With regards to the Cruiser Video System: Was the study longitudinal, what was the cost. Did the behavior change happen over time?
Needs: Human requirements that facilitate interaction. eg: cue variety, feedback, personalization Media: What mediates communication Mechanism: Informal communication needs enabled by the medium. (eye contact, body posture etc). Emoticons. LOLz. Pokes. Friending on facebook.
Discussion points - How many times do you actually laugh out loud when you LOL. - Average 1K text messages per day per teenager. - Facebook, Chat: Enabling new interaction mechanisms. Poke.
- In practice, for a groupware system to succeed, you just need critical mass. For example, for the calendaring application, organizationally, there is an expectation of an updated calendar, and so all organization-related things are put on that calendar, which are often the only meetings that a Individual Contributor to go to.
- "groupware features will work better if integrated with features that support individual activity". Example: Microsoft word integrates change tracking, and also uses that for collaborative change tracking.
- "Scrum", commonly instituted in software development scenarios is often a groupware system instituted by the organization which works. Think more about this.
- Difficulty of evaluation: I think, every evaluation ought to be longitudinal to make sense.
- Decision makers like applications that benefit one set - Managers (self-bias, + leverage bias)