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"ACM SIGCHI General Interest Announcements (Mailing List)" <[log in to unmask]>
Tom Erickson <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Mar 2000 17:16:22 -0600
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Tom Erickson <[log in to unmask]>
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                                     ***DEADLINE EXTENDED***

.                                   CALL FOR PARTICIPATION


                                    PERSISTENT CONVERSATION:

                          Part of the Digital Documents Track of the
             Hawai'i International Conference on Systems Sciences (HICSS)
                                Maui, Hawai'i, January 3-6, 2001


WHAT: Minitrack and Workshop on 'Persistent Conversation'
             (e.g. email, MUDs, IRC, etc.)
WHO: Designers and researchers from CMC, HCI, the social sciences,
           the humanities, etc.
DATES: Abstract submission - ***April 20, 2000*** (new deadline);
             Paper submission - June 15
CHAIRS: Thomas Erickson, IBM T.J. Watson Research Labs ([log in to unmask])
               Susan Herring, Program in Linguistics, University of Texas at
               Arlington ([log in to unmask])


This minitrack and workshop will bring designers and researchers
together to explore persistent conversation, the transposition of
ordinarily ephemeral conversation into the potentially persistent
digital medium. The phenomena of interest include human-to-human
interactions carried out using email, mailing lists, news groups,
bulletin board systems, textual and graphic MUDs, chat clients,
structured conversation systems, document annotation systems, etc.
Computer-mediated conversations blend characteristics of oral
conversation with those of written text: they may be synchronous or
asynchronous; their audience may be small or vast; they may be highly
structured or almost amorphous; etc. The persistence of such
conversations gives them the potential to be searched, browsed,
replayed, annotated, visualized, restructured, and recontextualized,
thus opening the door to a variety of new uses and practices.

The particular aim of the minitrack and workshop is to bring together
researchers who analyze existing computer-mediated conversational
practices and sites, with designers who propose, implement, or deploy
new types of conversational systems. By bringing together
participants from such diverse areas as anthropology,
computer-mediated communication, HCI, interaction design,
linguistics, psychology, rhetoric, sociology, and the like, we hope
that the work of each may inform the others, suggesting new
questions, methods, perspectives, and design approaches.


We are seeking papers that address one or both of the following two
general areas:

1.  UNDERSTANDING PRACTICE. The burgeoning popularity of the internet
(and intranets) provides an opportunity to study and characterize new
forms of conversational practice. Questions of interest range from
how various features of conversations (e.g., turn-taking, topic
organization, expression of paralinguistic information) have adapted
in response to the digital medium, to new roles played by persistent
conversation in domains such as education, business, and

2.  DESIGN.  Digital systems do not support conversation well: it is
difficult to converse with grace, clarity, depth and coherence over
networks. But this need not remain the case. To this end, we welcome
analyses of existing systems as well as designs for new systems which
better support conversation. Also of interest are inquiries into how
participants design their own conversations within the digital medium
-- that is, how they make use of system features to create,
structure,  and regulate their discourse.

Ideally, papers should also address the implications of their
analysis or design for one or more of the following areas:

a) ANALYTICAL TOOLS.  The effort to understand practice can benefit
from an array of analytical tools and methods.  Such tools may be
adapted from existing disciplinary practices, or they may be
innovated to analyze the unique properties of persistent
conversation.  One goal of this minitrack is to gain a fuller
understanding of the kinds of insights offered by different
analytical approaches to persistent conversation.

b) SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS.  Even as the persistence of digital
conversation suggests intriguing new applications, it also raises
troubling issues of privacy, authenticity, and authority. At the same
time, it has beneficial effects ranging from making a community's
discourse more accessible to non-native speakers, to laying the
foundations for mutual support and community in distributed groups.
Authors are encouraged to reflect on the social implications of their
observations, analyses, and designs.

c) HISTORICAL PARALLELS.  From the constructed dialogs of Plato to
the epistolary exchanges of the eighteenth century literati,
persistent conversation is not without precedent. How might earlier
practices help us understand the new practices evolving in the
digital medium? How might they help us design new systems? What
perspectives do they offer on the social impacts (present and future)
of persistent conversation?


The minitrack will be preceded by a half-day workshop on Tuesday
morning. The workshop will provide a background for the sessions and
set the stage for a dialog between researchers and designers that
will continue during the minitrack. The minitrack co-chairs will
select in advance a publicly accessible CMC site, which each author
will be asked to analyze, critique, redesign, or otherwise examine
using their disciplinary tools and techniques before the workshop
convenes; the workshop will include presentations and discussions of
the participants' examinations of the site and its content.


April 20: ~300 word abstracts due*
April 24: Receive feedback on abstracts
June 15: Papers (up to 10 pages in length) due
Aug. 31: Paper accept /conditional accept /reject and reviewer feedback
Sept. 30: Camera-ready copy due
Jan. 3-6, '01: Conference
* Note:  Early submission of abstracts is encouraged. Abstracts
    submitted by April 1 will receive feedback by April 8.


*  Submit an abstract of your proposed paper via email to Tom
Erickson and Susan Herring ([log in to unmask], [log in to unmask]).
*  We'll send you feedback on the suitability of your abstract, and
paper submission instructions.


*  On HICSS:
*  On the Workshop and Minitrack:
*  For a look at papers from the first minitrack, see
Tom Erickson
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Email: [log in to unmask] (preferred); [log in to unmask](IBM confidential)