Designing and Visualizing Computer Mediated Conversation
A workshop at CHI 2002
Tom Erickson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Susan Herring (email@example.com)
Warren Sack (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last updated: June 13, 2002
The position papers are no longer available: Context Tom if you care...
About the Workshop
The goal of the workshop was to investigate the relationship between conversation
and the design of CMC systems. Specifically, we proposed to examine conversational
coherence from the perspective of graphical interfaces. Our approach was to
invite researchers and designers of CMC systems to submit position papers that
addressed how they dealt with the issue of conversational coherence in their
work. For researchers this often involved theories of coherence, or analytical
methods (grounded in some theoretical perspective) for examining ways in which
coherence is achieved. For designers this involved approaches to designing systems
that foster or encourage some form of coherence, or analyzing the ways in which
coherence is achieved (or not) in existing systems. In both cases our focus
was on the role played by graphical representations, either in support or illustrating
analysis, or, in the context of CMC systems, in the way graphical representations
served as a resource for the production and maintenance of coherence.
Sessions and Position Papers
- Session 1: Introduction
- Welcome, 30-sec round-the-table intros, structure and purpose, introductory
- Session 2: Social Coherence and Graphs
- Howard D. White. Cross-Textual Cohesion and Coherence.
- Caroline Haythornthwaite and Michael Twidale. Visualization of Conversationally
Constructed Social Networks.
- John C. Paolillo: Social Coherence in Computer-Mediated Communication.
- Noriko Hara (discussant)
- Warren Sack (discussant)
- Session 3: Egocentric Relationships, Faces, and Clusters
- 1. Shelly Farnham.Visualizing Discourse Architectures with Automatically
Generated Person-Centric Social Networks.
- 2. Carman Neustaedter & Saul Greenberg. Supporting Coherence with a
3D Instant Messenger Visualization.
- 3. Steve Whittaker, Quentin Jones, Loren Terveen. Using personal social
networks to support communication.
- Yvonne Rogers. Discussant
- Wendy Kellogg. Discussant
- Session 4: Threads, Intertextual Relations, Tables, and Trees
- Christine Halverson. Building Coherence through Analysis and Potential
Design Implications: position paper not available
- Kerstin Severinson Eklundh and Henrry Rodriguez. Exploring coherence relationships
in online group discussions around Web documents
Paula S. Newman: Treetables for Reading Archived Discussions
- Danyel Fisher. Discussant
- Susan Herring. Discussant
- Session 5: Participants, Topics, Circles, Boxes, and Pages
- Judith Donath. Visualizing Conversational Coherence
- Marc Smith
- Greg Wolf. Visual Discourse: Explicitly constructing the visual representation
of a conversation. position paper not available
- Quentin Jones. Discussant
- Tom Erickson. Discussant
- Session 6: Synthesis and Wrap Up
- Susan Herring. 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
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.
A full length version of the proposal.