RE: [unrev-II] Collaborative Discussion Tools

From: Jack Park (
Date: Fri Apr 13 2001 - 08:37:35 PDT

  • Next message: Garold L. Johnson: "RE: [unrev-II] Collaborative Discussion Tools"


    Do you really need to reorganize the raw discourse, or just re-present it in
    periodic summaries?

    Gary, Jeff Conklin has some profound insights that really need to be better
    understood. Thanks for bringing that up.


    At 08:05 AM 4/13/2001 -0700, you wrote:

    Sorry, I got too quick with the cutting and lost the attribution..


    Eric Armstrong wrote:



    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.

    [Garold L. Johnson] Neil Larson built a communal hypertext system that ran
    on a LAN, and the experience that he and his users had was that it required
    a trained knowledge worker to reorganize the input into properly structured
    hypertext that it didn t happen automatically. Without this, the result
    became hopelessly tangled.

    The discussion on the Extreme Programming wiki also demonstrates that they
    found continuing refactoring necessary to keep the site useful.

    I am ambivalent about attribution. I agree that in any problem solving area
    there cannot be anyone whose opinion *must* bet accepted because of who they
    are or what their position is. In certain decision making processes,
    however, I think we are stuck with attributions for approval / disapproval
    when there is a formal decision to be made. Certainly attribution at the top
    for discussion makes good sense.




    Garold (Gary) L. Johnson

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