[unrev-II] Collaborative Discussion Tools

From: Eric Armstrong (eric.armstrong@eng.sun.com)
Date: Thu Apr 12 2001 - 18:54:31 PDT

  • Next message: Denham Grey: "[unrev-II] Collaborative tools report"

    "Garold L. Johnson" wrote:
    > Several studies have shown that there are some difficulties in trying
    > to capture discussion in specific interaction patterns such as IBIS. The
    > major difficulty appears to be an unwillingness of participants to commit
    > to structure too early.
    > ...
    > I believe that systems such as IBIS are far more useful if they have
    > this flavor of ‘this is how the discussion would have gone if we knew at
    > the beginning what we know at the end'...

    I have argued that the ability to reorganize material is a necessary
    ingredient for a discussion tool. Your post clearly states what that
    facility is necessary.

    In addition, in a conversation at the Knowledge Technologies
    conference, a clear description of why automated IBIS systems
    can't work was given by Jeff Conklin (the author of such a

    In a nutshell:
      Automated collaboration systems fail for lack of a
      moderator who:
        a) Understands when a new issue has in fact been
           raised, as an implicit part of someone's objection

        b) Recasts the comments, identifies the real question,
           and gets it posted.

        c) Removes the personal parts of the statements,
           reframing things in a way that keeps everyone
           focused on the issues.
           (BTW: He found that *not* attaching names to
            ideas was important, for that reason.)

    So the ability to reorganize and reframe the discussion
    is important for the sake of moderating it, as well as
    for isolating the important bits later on.

    He also mentioned that *avoiding* attribution was important
    to keeping everyone focused on the possibilities, and
    offering alternatives, so they wouldn't be afraid of
    "being the author of that dumb suggestion".

    So it would appear that the author-attribution should
    include everyone at the root of the discussion tree, and
    no one on any of the nodes underneath.

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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Apr 12 2001 - 19:06:25 PDT