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CMC Discourse Architectures

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Discourse Architectures:
Designing and Visualizing
Computer-Mediated Conversation

- What: A Workshop on Designing and Visualizing CMC
- Where: CHI 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- When:
* Submission: Position paper and profile by January 25, 2002
* Notification: Accept/Reject feedback by February 22, 2002
* Workshop: Monday, April 21, 2002
- Organizers: Tom Erickson, Susan Herring, Warren Sack

- Thomas Erickson,
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

- Susan Herring,
School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University

- Warren Sack,
School of Information Management and Systems, UC Berkeley


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.

By January 25th, submit the following (preferably electronically):

1. Submit a position paper of no more than six pages. The paper should include
(a) A discussion of your understanding of "coherence", as a theoretical or analytical construct, or as a practical result of the use of a CMC system.
(b) A description of your approach to analyzing or designing to support coherence, applied to a specific CMC system or data set.
(c) Examples of the graphical representations produced by your approach, and some discussion of what they reveal about or how they support coherence.

2. The position paper should include, as an appendix, a profile of yourself consisting of:
(a) a short biography (no more than 250 words)
(b) the discipline(s) you are situated in
(c) a brief description of your relevant analytical and/or design work, with references (URLs preferred)
(d) a pointer to someone else's design or analysis that you think is interesting (URLs preferred)

3. Those from outside of the HCI community should note that you are NOT required to pay the conference registration fee if you only want to attend the workshop. First-time attendees are most welcome.

- On the workshop: contact the organizers
- On CHI 2002:
- For a web-based version of this CFP:

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Last updated: January 23, 2002 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0