JCSCW Vol. 26 (2017)

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  • Journal Article
    Augmenting Multi-Party Face-to-Face Interactions Amongst Strangers with User Generated Content
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 43070) Kytö, Mikko; McGookin, David
    We present the results of an investigation into the role of curated representations of self, which we term Digital Selfs, in augmented multi-party face-to-face interactions. Advancements in wearable technologies (such as Head-Mounted Displays) have renewed interest in augmenting face-to-face interaction with digital content. However, existing work focuses on algorithmic matching between users, based on data-mining shared interests from individuals’ social media accounts, which can cause information that might be inappropriate or irrelevant to be disclosed to others. An alternative approach is to allow users to manually curate the digital augmentation they wish to present to others, allowing users to present those aspects of self that are most important to them and avoid undesired disclosure. Through interviews, video analysis, questionnaires and device logging, of 23 participants in 6 multi-party gatherings where individuals were allowed to freely mix, we identified how users created Digital Selfs from media largely outside existing social media accounts, and how Digital Selfs presented through HMDs were employed in multi-party interactions, playing key roles in facilitating strangers to interact with each other. We present guidance for the design of future multi-party digital augmentations in collaborative scenarios.
  • Journal Article
    A Case Study of How a Reduction in Explicit Leadership Changed an Online Game Community
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 43070) McEwan, Gregor; Gutwin, Carl
    Leadership is considered critical to virtual community success. Leaders engage in important community activities such as encouraging members and building social structure. These potential benefits, however, have rarely been empirically tested. We were presented with an opportunity to explore this issue while studying an online board-and-card-game community. During our study, the community experienced a major change in leadership when the founder – and formal leader – decided to substantially reduce his involvement in the site. This provided us with the rare opportunity to carry out a case study of leadership reduction in a real-world community. To look at the effects of leadership on community behaviour, we analysed 16 months of activity logs, supported by interviews, to compare the community before, during, and after the founder’s withdrawal. We observed strong variability in the effects of a leadership reduction – some results were in line with the “leadership hypothesis,” but others were unexpected. In some cases, we found evidence that reducing formal leadership can have negative effects on the success of the community; but in other cases, we found surprising sources of resilience to the reduction in leadership activities. Our study is the first to look at the details of how leadership (and a reduction in this role) affects several types of sub-community within a board-and-card game site, and the first to consider some of the factors that lead to differences in the effects of leadership reduction. Overall, we found that negative effects on sub-communities were closely tied to the specific activities that the leader provided, and the degree to which he was the only person able to provide those roles. The broad strokes of this finding agree with the leadership hypothesis, but there are several unexpected elements within the main story: the negative effects were less drastic than we anticipated, and all of the sub-communities (even the most dependent) survived the transition. The strong resilience of some of the sub-communities seems to be connected to their ability to “fall back” to a foundation of shared activity (i.e., game play) – an idea that has been introduced in earlier work but never studied empirically. This research helps designers to understand the complexities of leadership in online communities, providing an important foundation for developing and supporting online groups.
  • Journal Article
    An Analysis of the Use of Qualifications on the Amazon Mechanical Turk Online Labor Market
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 43070) Sodré, Ianna; Brasileiro, Francisco
    Several human computation systems use crowdsourcing labor markets to recruit workers. However, it is still a challenge to guarantee that the results produced by workers have a high enough quality. This is particularly difficult in markets based on micro-tasks, where the assessment of the quality of the results needs to be done automatically. Pre-selection of suitable workers is a mechanism that can improve the quality of the results achieved. This can be done by considering worker’s personal information, worker’s historical behavior in the system, or through the use of customized qualification tasks. However, little is known about how requesters use these mechanisms in practice. This study advances present knowledge in worker pre-selection by analyzing data collected from the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform, regarding the way requesters use qualifications to this end. Furthermore, the influence of using customized qualification tasks in the quality of the results produced by workers is investigated. Results show that most jobs (93.6%) use some mechanism for the pre-selection of workers. While most workers use standard qualifications provided by the system, the few requesters that submit most of the jobs prefer to use customized ones. Regarding worker behavior, we identified a positive and significant correlation between the propensity of the worker to possess a particular qualification, and both the number of tasks that require this qualification, and the reward offered for the tasks that require the qualification, although this correlation is weak. To assess the impact that the use of customized qualifications has in the quality of the results produced, we have executed experiments with three different types of tasks using both unqualified and qualified workers. The results showed that, generally, qualified workers provide more accurate answers, when compared to unqualified ones.
  • Journal Article
    What if it Switched on the Sun? Exploring Creativity in a Brainstorming Session with Children Through a Vygotskyan Perspective
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 2017) Kinnula, Marianne; Molin-Juustila, Tonja; Sánchez Milara, Iván; Cortes, Marta; Riekki, Jukka
    We contribute in this study a first step in theory-based understanding on how creativity in collaborative design sessions relates to the elements that are present in a creative act. These elements include group composition, objects present, practices used, and previous knowledge of the participants. The context of this study was our search for lightweight methods for technology design with children, which can be used in a school context with large groups, will require as little amount of training as possible, and can be set up quickly. We formed a mixed group, consisting of young children, an older child and an adult, with the aim of involving children in creative collaborative brainstorming during the very early phases of design, so as to come up with fruitful ideas for technology development. We report our process and examine the implications of our results in relation to different elements that trigger and affect creativity in the collaborative design process. Use of Vygotsky’s cycle of creativity as our theoretical lens together with timeline analysis method presented in the paper were essential for seeing beneath the surface of what happened in this complex, collaborative creative process. Our results can be used for further methodological development of creative collaborative sessions, both with children and adults.
  • Journal Article
    Re-Infrastructuring for eHealth: Dealing with Turns in Infrastructure Development
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 42826) Grisot, Miria; Vassilakopoulou, Polyxeni
    In this paper, we examine infrastructuring in the context of developing national, public eHealth services in Norway. Specifically, we analyze the work of a project team engaged in the design and development of new web-based capabilities for communication between citizens and primary healthcare practitioners. We frame the case as a study of re-infrastructuring to signify a particular occasion of infrastructuring that entails facilitating a new logic within established social and technological networks. To make sense of the particularities of re-infrastructuring, we draw from research in infrastructure studies which considers embeddedness as a resource in infrastructure evolution. We analyze how actors worked to re-infrastructure through adapting primary care information systems, information flows and representations of patient data. Our findings show how the work of re-infrastructuring revolves around addressing two key design concerns: a) bringing novelty without being trapped in the existing arrangements or harming what is in place, b) bringing changes that are within a specific direction although they happen through distributed decision taking.
  • Journal Article
    This Is Not a Fish: On the Scale and Politics of Infrastructure Design Studies
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 42826) Parmiggiani, Elena
    Interconnected workplace information technologies (information infrastructures) are distributed across user and system types, agendas, locales, and temporal rhythms. The term infrastructuring describes the design of information infrastructure not as a bounded phase but as a continuous collaborative and inherently political process. From the perspective of ethnographers, however, this conceptualization presents the practical challenge of dealing with the political work involved in infrastructuring and in its study. In this paper, I discuss the challenges of infrastructuring activities for ethnographic research. Based on a self-revealing account of my three-year ethnographic study of an oil company’s project to design a platform for subsea environmental monitoring in the Arctic region, I discuss how my framing of infrastructuring was the result of my process of constructing the ethnographic field in my research. I combined four mechanisms to scale my ethnographic method to investigate infrastructuring across heterogeneous dimensions. Drawing on my practical experience, I discuss how my process of constructing the field let me discover richer possibilities for understanding the politics involved in the study of infrastructuring.
  • Journal Article
    Paper Practices in Institutional Talk: How Financial Advisors Impress their Clients
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 43070) Dolata, Mateusz; Schwabe, Gerhard
    Paper is a persistent element of financial advisory encounters, despite the increasing digitisation of the financial industry. We seek to understand the reasons behind the resilience of paper-based encounters and advisors’ resistance to change by understanding the paper’s roles in financial advisory encounters. While applying multimodal analysis to a set of field and experimental data, we point to a range of prevalent advisory practices that rely on the use of paper documents and hand-written notes. We focus on the choreography of paper and how this intersects with the participants’ institutional identities and goals. Specifically, we show how advisors’ paper-oriented actions seek to convey a positive impression about the advisor and about the bank to the client, i.e. how they engage in seemingly mundane practices to impress their clients. Paper is far more than a medium for saving and presenting information: it is an interaction resource, a semiotic resource and an institutional resource; all these aspects of paper come into play during a financial advisory encounter. The manuscript concludes with suggestions on the design of technologies that may potentially replace the paper in financial advisory encounters and assesses the likelihood of this in light of the results.
  • Journal Article
    Tying Knots: Participatory Infrastructuring at Work
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 42826) Bødker, Susanne; Dindler, Christian; Iversen, Ole Sejer
    Today, most design projects are infrastructuring projects, because they build on technologies, competencies and practices that already exist. While infrastructuring was originally seen as being full of conflicts and contradictions with what is already present, we find that many contemporary reports seem to mainly address participatory infrastructuring as horizontal co-design and local, mutual learning processes in which people attempt to make the most out of available technology. In this paper we expand our view of design activities in three dimensions: First, how participatory processes play out vertically in different political and practical arenas; second, on the back stage of design, the messy activities that occur before, between and after the participatory workshops. And third, on their reach; how they tie into existing networks across organizations, and how agency and initiatives become dispersed within these networks. To illustrate and discuss the process of participatory infrastructuring we use a case study from an educational context. This particular project contains a diverse set of design activities at many organizational levels revolving around technology, decision-making, competence-building, commitment and policy-making. The project highlights these complexities, and our discussions lead to a vocabulary for participatory infrastructuring that focuses on knotworking, rather than structure, and on both horizontal and vertical reach and sustainability. This vocabulary is grounded in the meeting of the literature on infrastructuring, participatory design, and activity theory, and leads to a revised understanding of, for example, learning and conflicts in participatory infrastructuring.
  • Journal Article
    Infrastructuring for Cross-Disciplinary Synthetic Science: Meta-Study Research in Land System Science
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 42826) Young, Alyson L.; Lutters, Wayne G.
    Traditionally infrastructure studies are post-hoc analyses of emergent phenomena. While acknowledging the contextual complexity of co-evolution, there has been a turn toward exploring these processes from a design perspective. In this paper we examine a new interdiscipline, Land System Science, whose scientific inquiry is predicated on a deep and ongoing integration of radically disparate data from across the natural, physical, and social sciences. We report the results of a three-and-a half year field study of meta-study practice. In doing so, we perform infrastructural inversion to foreground the backstage scientific work practice to identify points of infrastructure. We used these insights regarding breakdowns and workarounds to inform the design of GLOBE, infrastructural tools that support this community’s needs for communication, cooperation, and knowledge construction. Our insight comes from being embedded both with domain scientists and software developers. Through four cases, we highlight the scientists’ unique challenges, strategies developed to address them, and the system components designed to better support many of these tactics. Specifically, we address the difficulties of finding, standardizing, interpreting, and validating data. This advances the infrastructuring literature by illustrating how design can be used to engage a scientific community in active self-reflection.
  • Journal Article
    Exploring the Difficulties African-American Middle School Girls Face Enacting Computational Algorithmic Thinking over three Years while Designing Games for Social Change
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 26, No. 0, 43070) Thomas, Jakita O.; Rankin, Yolanda; Minor, Rachelle; Sun, Li
    Computational algorithmic thinking (CAT) is the ability to design, implement, and assess the implementation of algorithms to solve a range of problems. It involves identifying and understanding a problem, articulating an algorithm or set of algorithms in the form of a solution to the problem, implementing that solution in such a way that the solution solves the problem, and evaluating the solution based on some set of criteria. CAT is an important scaffolded on-ramp as students develop more advanced computational thinking capabilities and apply computational thinking to solve problems that are more constrained and require greater expertise. Supporting Computational Algorithmic Thinking (SCAT) is both a longitudinal between-subjects research project and a free enrichment program supporting and guiding African-American middle school girls over three years as they iteratively design a set of complex games for social change. This article explores Scholars’ reflections about the difficulties they faced while using CAT capabilities as they engaged in collaborative game design for social change over those three years. We particularly focus on how these difficulties changed over the course of three years as well as new difficulties that emerged from year to year as Scholars become more expert game designers and computational algorithmic thinkers.