Tom Erickson
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The CHI 2002 Discourse Architectures Workshop


We are in the process of preparing to make position papers publicly available.



Meeting Agenda

9:-9:45: Session 1 (Introduction)
Welcome, 30-sec round-the-table intros, structure and purpose, intro remarks
9:45-10:45: Session 2 (Social Coherence and Graphs)
Speakers: White, Haythornthwaite, Paolillo
Discussion Leaders: Hara; Sack
(15 minute break)
11-12: Session 3 (Egocentric Relationships, Faces, and Clusters)
Speakers: Farnham, Neustadter, Whittaker
Discussion Leaders: Rogers, Kellogg
1:30-2:30: Session 4 (Threads, Intertextual Relations, Tables, and Trees)
Speakers: Halverson, Eklundh, Newman
Discussion Leaders: Fisher; Herring
(15 minute break)
2:45-3:45: Session 5 (Participants, Topics, Circles, Boxes, and Pages)
Speakers: Donath, Smith, Wolff
Discussion Leaders: Jones; Erickson
(15 minute break )
4:00-5:30: Session 6 (Synthesis and Wrap Up)
(optional) group dinner

Sessions and Position Papers

If you have trouble accessing a position paper, it is best to contact the author directly (see the "Discourse Architectures Workshop Responsibilities and Agenda email of 4/4/02 for email addresses), as Tom will be out of email contact from April 6 - 14.
Session 2 (Social Coherence and Graphs)
Howard White (speaker)
Caroline Haythornthwaite
John Paolillo (speaker)
Noriko Hara (discussant)
Warren Sack (discussant)
Session 3 (Egocentric Relationships, Faces, and Clusters)
Shelly Farnham (speaker)
Carman Neustader (speaker)
Steve Whittaker (speaker)
Yvonne Rogers (discussant)
Wendy Kellogg (discussant)
Session 4 (Threads, Intertextual Relations, Tables, and Trees)
Christine Halverson (speaker)
Kerstin Severinson Eklundh (speaker)
Paula Newman (speaker)
Danyel Fisher (discussant)
Susan Herring (discussant)
Session 5 (Participants, Topics, Circles, Boxes, and Pages)
Judith Donath (speaker)
Marc Smith (speaker)
Greg Wolff (speaker)
Quentin Jones (discussant)
Tom Erickson (discussant)


Original Workshop Proposal

The goal of this workshop is to examine the issue of coherence in computer-mediated (text-based) conversation (CMC), and how it can be visualized graphically. Coherence, broadly defined, is that which in a discourse connects utterances with utterances, utterances with people, and people with other people. It is, in short, the "glue" of text and conversation. Coherence is manifested in and through patterns of message exchange (including turn-taking, threading, and cross-posting), citation and other forms of intertextual reference, and social networks. Visualizations of coherence phenomena take the form of graphical user interfaces and graphical representations produced by quantitative and/or qualitative analyses.

In this workshop, we will approach the issue of coherence from two perspectives: design and analysis. As designers of CMC systems, we often sense that computer-mediated conversation has a tendency towards drift, dissolution and chaos, and that participants in CMC have to do extra work to 'stay on course.' Therefore, we solicit approaches to designing CMC systems that aim to support participants in achieving coherence in their conversational interactions. We especially encourage reports of novel CMC system designs that support coherence, as well as analyses that visualize ways in which participants have developed practices that support the achievement of coherence in conventional CMC systems.

At the same time, as analysts, we recognize that computer-mediated conversations are often not as chaotic as they appear to the untrained eye. Coherence lurks below the surface, and we have developed a wide range of analytical techniques for uncovering and explicating it. Often these techniques involve diagrams or other graphical representations of structure (among utterances, persons, groups, or some combination of these). We solicit descriptions and demonstrations of analytical techniques for representing coherence in CMC.

We use the phrase 'Discourse Architectures' as a rubric for both of these perspectives. That is, we are interested both in the structure or architecture *of* discourse (the ways in which the utterances which form a conversation interrelate and build upon one another), and in architectures *for* discourse (the ways in which CMC systems can be designed to shape the conversation that takes place within them).

The basic premise underlying the workshop is that the understandings of coherence developed by designers and researchers can usefully inform one another. Analytical representations based on discourse research and/or theory might, suitably modified, serve as interface designs, and the interplay between graphical user interfaces and the achievement of coherence by users might advance research understandings.

Long Version: See


Tom Erickson

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