JCSCW Vol. 32 (2023)

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  • Journal Article
    Revisiting the Digital Plumber: Modifying the Installation Process of an Established Commercial IoT Alarm System
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Castle-Green, Teresa; Reeves, Stuart; Fischer, Joel E.; Koleva, Boriana
    The ‘digital plumber’ is a conceptualisation in ubicomp research that describes the work of installing and maintaining IoT devices. But an important and often understated element of commercial IoT solutions is their long-term socio-technical infrastructural nature, and therefore long-term installation and maintenance needs. This adds complexity to both the practice of digital plumbing and to the work of design that supports it. In this paper we study a commercial company producing and installing IoT alarm systems. We examine video recordings that capture how a digital plumbing representative and software development team members make changes to both the installation process and supporting technology. Our data enables us to critically reflect on concepts of infrastructuring, and uncover the ways in which the team methodically foreground hidden elements of the infrastructure to address a point of failure experienced during field trials of a new version of their product. The contributions from this paper are twofold. Firstly, our findings build on previous examples of infrastructuring in practice by demonstrating the use of notions of elemental states to support design reasoning through the continual foregrounding and assessment of tensions identified as key factors at the point of failure. Secondly, we build on current notions of digital plumbing work. We argue that additional responsibilities of ‘reporting failure’ and ‘facilitation of change’ are part of the professional digital plumbing role and that commercial teams should support these additional responsibilities through collaborative troubleshooting and design sessions alongside solid communication channels with related stakeholders within the product team.
  • Journal Article
    “It’s cleaner, definitely”: Collaborative Process in Audio Production
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Deacon, Thomas; Healey, Patrick; Barthet, Mathieu
    Working from vague client instructions, how do audio producers collaborate to diagnose what specifically is wrong with a piece of music, where the problem is and what to do about it? This paper presents a design ethnography that uncovers some of the ways in which two music producers co-ordinate their understanding of complex representations of pieces of music while working together in a studio. Our analysis shows that audio producers constantly make judgements based on audio and visual evidence while working with complex digital tools, which can lead to ambiguity in assessments of issues. We show how multimodal conduct guides the process of work and that complex media objects are integrated as elements of interaction by the music producers. The findings provide an understanding how people currently collaborate when producing audio, to support the design of better tools and systems for collaborative audio production in the future.
  • Journal Article
    Becoming a Guest: On Proximity and Distance in Mental Health Home Treatment
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Hochwarter, Stefan; Schwarz, Julian; Muehlensiepen, Felix; Monteiro, Eric
    Mental health home treatment is a service where patients with severe mental illnesses are visited by a multiprofessional psychiatric care team at their homes. In Germany, inpatient-equivalent home treatment as a specialized form of home treatment has been offered by hospitals since 2018. In its early stage, the shift of care activities out of the hospital toward the patient’s home opened up a new set of problems and blurred the existing boundaries. This ethnographic study follows two home treatment teams and provides an in-depth description of their work. The findings are presented by three themes from our data analysis: (i) closeness and familiarity; (ii) bridging the distance; and (iii) tensions of proximity and distance. We then discuss the findings with the guiding lens of Becoming a Guest , which refers to the ambiguity of proximity and distance. The contribution for computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) is twofold; on the one hand, we provide a detailed account of mental health home treatment, and on the other hand, we outline a conceptual model that helps to describe and analyze similar cases. We conclude the paper with directions for further research.
  • Journal Article
    EquiP: A Method to Co-Design for Cooperation
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Çarçani, Klaudia; Bratteteig, Tone; Holone, Harald; Herstad, Jo
    In Participatory Design (PD), the design of a cooperative digital solution should involve all stakeholders in the co-design. When one stakeholder’s position is weaker due to socio-cultural structures or differences in knowledge or abilities, PD methods should help designers balance the power in the design process at both the macro and micro levels. We present a PD method that addresses the power relations arising during the design process and draws on theories about participation and power in the design and organisation of change processes. We contribute to Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) by using the PD method to design computer support for cooperation on cognitive rehabilitation between people with Mild Acquired Brain Injuries (MACI) and their healthcare professionals, where strengthening the cooperation is considered an element of patient empowerment. This method is presented as a contribution to the intersection between PD and CSCW. The discussion of power in PD contributes to the discussion of cooperation in CSCW. We found that EquiP supported the creation of choices, and hence the ‘power to’ influence the design. This method can contribute to a power ‘equilibrium’ and a positive-sum power relation in PD sessions involving all stakeholders.
  • Journal Article
    Representative Participation in a Large-Scale Health IT Project
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Zahlsen, Øivind Klungseth; Svanæs, Dag; Dahl, Yngve
    User involvement is widely recognized as best practice in the development of information technology (IT) systems. In large-scale IT projects, the involvement of users and other stakeholder groups is typically in the form of representatives, as opposed to the direct (in-person) participation characteristic for smaller projects. The potential new sharing of power that representative participation entails vis-à-vis direct stakeholder involvement, and the implications of such a shift, are an important discussion in the context of participatory design. This paper extends and adds to previous work on this subject. Drawing on stakeholder interviews conducted as part of a case study of an electronic health record implementation project in Norway, this paper seeks to describe and analyze problems that can arise with representative participation in a large-scale project. Our focus is on an observed decline of interaction between health professionals participating actively in the project and their advisory units consisting of colleagues without a formal project role. The paper describes how the project’s structural arrangements might explain this decline. The paper also describes how the participating health professionals’ involvement of the advisory units at regular intervals early in the project (broad involvement) was replaced by more ad hoc and competence-oriented approaches (narrow involvement). We further use the organizational structure of democracies as the basis for two analogies, (I) participants-as-political-representatives and (II) participants-as-technocrats. The observed decline in interaction between the participating health professionals and their advisory units can be seen as a transition in role from user representative to technocrat. Generalizing from the case, we suggest that (1) a project’s structure strongly affects the possibilities of participating users to consult other users (e.g., non-participating colleagues) about issues concerning the design solution, (2) a project’s structure conditions the role of participating users and who, or what, they represent, and (3) representative participation requires rethinking a project’s structure.
  • Journal Article
    The Dark Side of Recruitment in Crowdsourcing: Ethics and Transparency in Micro-Task Marketplaces
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Xie, Haoyu; Maddalena, Eddy; Qarout, Rehab; Checco, Alessandro
    Micro-task crowdsourcing marketplaces like Figure Eight (F8) connect a large pool of workers to employers through a single online platform, by aggregating multiple crowdsourcing platforms (channels) under a unique system. This paper investigates the F8 channels’ demographic distribution and reward schemes by analysing more than 53k crowdsourcing tasks over four years, collecting survey data and scraping marketplace metadata. We reveal an heterogeneous per-channel demographic distribution, and an opaque channel commission scheme, that varies over time and is not communicated to the employer when launching a task: workers often will receive a smaller payment than expected by the employer. In addition, the impact of channel commission schemes on the relationship between requesters and crowdworkers is explored. These observations uncover important issues on ethics, reliability and transparency of crowdsourced experiment when using this kind of marketplaces, especially for academic research.
  • Journal Article
    Suspicious Minds: the Problem of Trust and Conversational Agents
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Ivarsson, Jonas; Lindwall, Oskar
    In recent years, the field of natural language processing has seen substantial developments, resulting in powerful voice-based interactive services. The quality of the voice and interactivity are sometimes so good that the artificial can no longer be differentiated from real persons. Thus, discerning whether an interactional partner is a human or an artificial agent is no longer merely a theoretical question but a practical problem society faces. Consequently, the ‘Turing test’ has moved from the laboratory into the wild. The passage from the theoretical to the practical domain also accentuates understanding as a topic of continued inquiry. When interactions are successful but the artificial agent has not been identified as such, can it also be said that the interlocutors have understood each other? In what ways does understanding figure in real-world human–computer interactions? Based on empirical observations, this study shows how we need two parallel conceptions of understanding to address these questions. By departing from ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, we illustrate how parties in a conversation regularly deploy two forms of analysis (categorial and sequential) to understand their interactional partners. The interplay between these forms of analysis shapes the developing sense of interactional exchanges and is crucial for established relations. Furthermore, outside of experimental settings, any problems in identifying and categorizing an interactional partner raise concerns regarding trust and suspicion. When suspicion is roused, shared understanding is disrupted. Therefore, this study concludes that the proliferation of conversational systems, fueled by artificial intelligence, may have unintended consequences, including impacts on human–human interactions.
  • Journal Article
    An Institutional Perspective: How Gatekeepers on a Higher Education Interact for the Organization of Access
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Yıldız, Zeynep; Subaşı, Özge
    There is growing research on how collaborative systems could support equity in shaping access for marginalized communities in different contexts. Higher education institutions are essential contexts for examining issues around equity-based organization of access for diverse populations, including people with disabilities. However, there is a shortage of research in CSCW investigating equal access in higher education settings. To address this gap, in this case study, we aim to have a closer look at how gatekeepers (people who are responsible for accessibility) in a higher education institution organize access for members with disabilities. Gatekeeping has long been discussed in disability justice to examine systemic and institutional barriers for people with disabilities. We reveal how gatekeepers interact and collaborate around existing institutional communication channels to collect access-related requests and distribute access in the higher education setting. Our data shows that existing practices come with institutional challenges hindering equity and inclusion for members with disabilities. Key issues revealed through our findings are (1) communication tools and non-shared definitions around access, (2) lack of tools for experience documentation, (3) ineffective feedback loops around access requests, (4) impact-based prioritization for access requests. We discuss how our analysis contributes to equity-oriented system design for future collaboration around organizing higher education access at the institutional level.
  • Journal Article
    Green IT Meaning in Energy Monitoring Practices: The Case of Danish Households
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Tchatchoua, Nadine Sandjo; Boulus-Rødje, Nina; Mitchell, Val
    Eco-conferences like COP26 in Glasgow (UK) in 2021 have brought the debate on energy consumption and climate change to the fore. Given that a third of the energy produced worldwide is consumed in the home, it is pertinent to investigate how households use emerging technologies that allow households to monitor their energy consumption. This paper investigates how Danish households use green IT to monitor and manage their energy use and studies the related meaning householders attach to the green IT. We present qualitative data collected through interviews with 14 households, electric car owners mostly, who have adopted an application to monitor green energy availability – and its derived consumption. The paper highlights these householders’ green energy monitoring practices with an emphasis on the meaning they make of the green IT application they used. Our study found that households can use more green energy without interacting continuously with the green IT application. This contrasts with a common assumption in the field of green IT design that consumers must continuously engage with the green IT to consume more green energy. We also posit that including householders in future green IT design is paramount for designing successful green IT applications. Finally, this paper calls for household energy consumption studies to view energy consumption as a service where specific practices are matched to energy sources – rather than viewing energy availability as a solitary incident.
  • Journal Article
    Progressivity in Hybrid Meetings: Daily Scrum as an Enabling Constraint for a Multi-Locational Software Development Team
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 32, No. 3, 2023) Buyukguzel, Safinaz; Mitchell, Robb
    Meetings that involve both collocated and remote participants can be hindered by various technological and human difficulties. Taking an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic approach, this paper investigates how participants establish and maintain progressivity in hybrid meetings ensuring the continuous flow of work. Based on video-recorded data from hybrid daily Scrum meetings at a software development company, we focused on instances where participants are interrupted by problems diminishing the meeting progressivity. Our micro analysis shows that in the meetings resolution of work-progress related trouble is prioritized over the resolution of technical problems. To establish and maintain progressivity, participants orient to the organizational imperatives while simultaneously circumventing technical problems arising in the meetings. In overcoming problems, the different layers of organizational goals and meeting goals are accounted for in the common effort to get work done by (a) reminding of the time budget; (b) sticking to the agenda (c) reconfiguring responsibilities to fill in for missing members; and (d) referencing shared resources that reflect team progress. This analysis suggests that to improve hybrid and/or online meetings, practitioners should aim to increase the social intelligibility of activities scheduled for meetings by defining improved and specific meeting frameworks that promote continuity and reduce ambiguity.