About the Minitrack
- This interdisciplinary minitrack and workshop brings 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 chat, instant messaging, text messaging, email, weblogs, mailing
lists, news groups, bulletin board systems, multi-authored Web documents,
structured conversation systems, textual and graphical virtual worlds,
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
- 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, managment, and the
like, we hope that the work of each may inform the others, suggesting new
questions, methods, perspectives, and design approaches.
About Paper Topics
Turn-taking, threading and other structural features of CMC
The dynamics of large scale conversation systems (e.g. USENET)
Methods for summarizing or visualizing conversation archives
Studies of virtual communities or other sites of digital talk
The roles of mediated conversation in knowledge management
Studies of the use of instant messaging in large organizations
Novel designs for computer-mediated conversation systems
Analyses of or designs for distance learning systems
- We are seeking papers that address one or both of the following two
- 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 entertainment.
- Design. Digital systems do not currently support conversation
well: it is difficult to converse with grace, clarity, depth and coherence
over networks. But this need not remain the case. Toward 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
- Examples of appropriate topics include, but are not limited to:
- For other examples of appropriate topics see the list of previous years'
The Workshop [tentative -> now confirmed!]
- For the past four years the minitrack has been preceded by a half-day
workshop; we hope this will be continued for 2005, but will not know for
sure until April. The intent of the the workshop is as follows:
- 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. The workshop is primarily intended for minitrack
authors, although other participants are welcome provided they are willing
to prepare for it as described above.
Instructions for Abstract Submission
- Submit a 250 word abstract of your proposed paper via email to the
chairs: Tom Erickson <email@example.com>, Susan Herring <firstname.lastname@example.org>
by the deadline noted above.
- We will send you feedback on the suitability of your abstract shortly
Instructions for Paper Submission
- HICSS papers must contain original material not previously published,
or currently submitted elsewhere
- Do not submit the manuscript to more than one Minitrack Chair. If unsure
which Minitrack is appropriate, submit the abstract to the Track Chair
- Submit your full paper according to the
detailed formatting and submission instructions found on the HICSS website.
Note: All papers will be submitted in double column publication format
and limited to 10 pages including diagrams and references.
What the Minitrack is like
The Persistent Conversation minitrack at HICSS is halfway been
a conference and a workshop. The minitrack includes a broad range of papers,
and makes an effort to bring together researchers and designers from many
disciplinary backgrounds. Authors and a core of interested participants,from
multiple disciplines, spend a day together, presenting and discussing papers
on the topic of persistent conversation.
Papers range from those that describe innovative system designs to analyses
of existing systems and practices. The pictures below provide a glimpse
of the minitrack.
Fernanda Viegas presents "Newsgroup Crowds and AuthorLines: Visualizing
the Activity of Individuals in Conversational Cyberspaces..." by
Ferndana Viegas (MIT Media Lab) and Marc Smith (Microsoft Research).
Sheri Condon presents"Temporal Properties of Turn-Taking and
Turn-Packaging in Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication"
by Claude Cech (University of Louisianna at Lafayette) and Sherri Condon
(The MITRE Corporation).
HICSS also strives to provide time for quality discussion, with a format
that reserves 30 to 50 percent of a paper's slot for discussion. Above John
Paolillo holds forth as Susan Herring and other minitrack participants listen.
Below, Tom Erickson, Sherri Condon, Claude Cech and Fernanda Viegas listen