[Air-l] CFP CSCW 2002 - Place and Virtual Community

Quentin (Gad) Jones qgjones at acm.org
Thu Jun 20 09:15:40 PDT 2002


The Role of Place in Shaping Virtual Community

A Workshop at the ACM's 2002 Conference on Computer Supported
Cooperative Work 
November 16, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA 
Submission: Position paper and profile by Friday Sept 20th 
Organizers: Quentin Jones, New Jersey Institute of Technology,
qgjones at acm.org 
Christine Halverson, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, krys at us.ibm.com 

The adoption of modern communication technologies increasingly situates
interpersonal interactions virtually.  This has had an enormous impact
on people’s social networks as community ties shift from linking people
together-in-physical-places to people-to-people-wherever-they-might-be
[18]. However, these changes have not lessened the importance of place,
be it virtual or physical, in shaping interaction patterns and

The term place means different things to different people, and this
workshop will examine these differences in relation to virtual
community.  In particular this workshop aims to explore the myriad of
ways that:
1) the design of virtual or hybrid spaces / places directly provides
common ground for user interactions; and   
2) communities use public interactions in virtual spaces to create
shared meaning.  
This exploration will in turn be used to enable an examination of
various aspects of virtual community development and maintenance.    

In recent years we have moved away from the notion that the ever
increasing virtualization of interpersonal communications has simply
led, as Meyrowitz’s [12] describes it, to a sense of placeless-ness. 
Instead, it is now widely accepted among computer-mediated communication
researchers that cyberspace abounds with virtual places within which
vibrant interactions occur [7].  Instead of focusing on the demise of
many of the physical Great Good Places [13] where unrelated people
relate, many have celebrated the growth in virtual places associated
with community [15].

These places where virtual community members interact are referred to by
a wide variety of labels including chat rooms [14], cyber-inns [4],
virtual settlements [9], commons [11], and conferences [8]. The
provision of such labels highlights the role of virtual places in
providing context for discourse. Of course, the context of place both
affects, and is affected by associated user interactions and the nature
and form of the client technologies used by members to interact. Some
systems are completely open to the public, such as LambdaMoo [16],
others are restricted to a membership [17], or a specific task or
purpose [5]. 

All these points highlight the importance of gaining an understanding of
the role of place in shaping virtual community discourse. This task is
made even more pressing by the advent of mobile client technologies that
use devices such as PDA’s or cell phones, and associated communication
technologies such as SMS and 3G, which complicates notions of virtual
community public places.

This workshop aims to explore the role of place in supporting virtual
community interactions. Among the questions we hope participants will
take on are the following:
· Is place designed? Accreted? Or renewed through interactions on some
regular basis?
· Is place a physical metaphor? Or expressed through issues of behavior,
understanding of presence, or discourse?
· How does place provide a context for your virtual community?
· When community members interact with their client technology how does
place impact on their interactions?
· What is the interaction between the design of user interfaces and the
ability of the participants to create a place for social interaction?
· What theoretical constructs have been useful to you in understanding
how interactions in community places have enabled people to stays tied

A variety of disciplines are pertinent to these explorations, including
architecture, sociology, linguistic and discourse analyses, and design. 
Each one approaches the ideas of place and common ground for interaction
from a slightly different perspective, and level of detail.  Other
disciplines may have pertinent insights and approaches.  We would like
to encourage them all. Important perspectives and issues include the
notions of space and place [7], common information space [1], common
ground in discourse [3], discourse architecture [10], genre theory [6],
and other detailed aspects of linguistics [2]. 

1. Bannon, L., and Bodker, S. Constructing Common Information Space.
Proceedings of the Fifth ECSCW. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands
, 1997. 
2. Brennan, S.E. and J.O. Ohaeri. Why do electronic conversations seem
less polite: the costs and benefits of hedging. in WACC '99. 1999. San
Francisco,  CA  : ACM.. 
3. Clark , H. Arenas of language use. University of Chicago  Press,
Chicago, 1992.  
4. Coate, J., 1992. Innkeeping in Cyberspace, In: Directions and
Implications of Advanced Computing (DIAC-92), Computer Professionals for
Social Responsibility, Palo Alto, CA.   
5. Erickson, T., et al. Socially Translucent Systems: Social Proxies,
Persistent Conversation, and the Design of Babble. in Human Factors in
Computing: The Proceedings of CHI 99. 1999. Pittsburgh, PA : ACM Press. 
6. Erickson, T. Making Sense of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC):
Conversations as Genres, CMC Systems as Genre Ecologies. In the
Proceedings of the Thirty-Third Hawaii International Conference on
Systems Science. January, 2000. IEEE Press. 
7. Harrison, S. and P. Dourish, 1996. Re-place-ing space: The roles of
place and space in collaborative systems, In: Computer Supported
Collaborative Work, ACM, Cambridge, MA pp. 67-76. 
8. Hiltz, S.R. and M. Turoff, 1981. The evolution of user behavior in a
computerized conferencing system, Communications of the ACM, 24 (11
November): 739-751. 
9. Jones Q. 1997. Virtual-communities, virtual-settlements &
cyber-archaeology: A theoretical outline. J of Comp Mediated
Communication 3(3).  
10. Jones Q., and S. Rafaeli 2000. Time to Split, Virtually: ‘Discourse
Architecture’ and ‘Community Building’ as means to Creating Vibrant
Virtual Publics. Electronic Markets: The International Journal of
Electronic Commerce and Business Media. 10(4) 214-223. 
11. Kollock, P. and M. Smith, 1994. Managing the virtual commons:
Cooperation and conflict in computer communities. In: Computer-Mediated
Communication, (Ed. S. Herring), John Benjamins, Amsterdam. 
12. Meyrowitz, J., 1985. No sense of place, Oxford University Press
Inc., New York. 
13. Oldenburg, R., 1989. The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops,
Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts, and
How They Get You Through The Day., Paragon House, New York. 
14. Reid, E. M., 1991. Electropolis: Communications and community on
Internet Relay Chat, Honors, History, University of Melbourne.
15. Rheingold, H., 1993. The virtual community: Homesteading on the
electronic frontier, Addison-Wesley,   Reading, MA. 
16. Schiano, D.J. and S. White. The first noble truth of CyberSpace:
People are People (even when they MOO). in CHI 98. 1998. Los Angeles CA
: ACM. 
17. Schlager, M. and P. Schank. TAPPED IN: A New On-line Teacher
Community Concept for the Next Generation of Internet Technology. in
CSCL '97, The Second International Conference on Computer Support for
Collaborative Learning. 1997. Toronto : ACM. 
18. Wellman, B., "Physical Place and Cyber Place: The Rise of
Personalized Networking" International Journal of Urban and Regional
Research 25, 2 (2001): 227-52.

There have been a number of past community workshops, covering formation
of communities, construction of infrastructures and understanding
aspects of group formation and vitality. Recently there has been more
emphasis on how to study and understand active communities.  We would
like to expand this to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved
as they relate to place.

The full day workshop will be divided into three sections: 1)
Exploration of participants’ examples of how the design of virtual place
provides common ground for user interactions; 2) An examination of how
communities use public interactions in virtual spaces to create shared
meaning; and 3) A synthesis session where participants will explore
various aspects of virtual community development and maintenance. 

If attendance is high we may break into subgroups for more intense
discussion.  If this is the case then each smaller group will report
back with their key ideas. 

By the end of the workshop participants will have a catalog of examples
of existing virtual places and an accompanying critique of their
strengths and weaknesses for supporting user interactions  

By Friday Sept 20th, submit the following to qgjones at acm.org

Proposals should be no longer than 6 pages and should include
description of the following aspects. 
1) An existing place used to support community (or communities);
2) An examination of how the place/s under consideration provides common
ground for user interactions; and
3) Theoretical ideas or approaches that help you understand context and
social interaction, or an exploration of virtual community development
and maintenance.

Position papers should explain how the author’s work relates to the
workshop theme. We are particularly interested in seeing perspectives at
a variety of levels from high and meta to micro- scales. 

Position papers will be reviewed by the workshop organizers and the
final organization will be adapted to take into account the number
expected and the range of submissions. We expect about 12-15
participants, but could expand up to 20.  If size approaches the maximum
we will adjust the workshop organization to spend some time broken into
small groups so that the quality of the discussions remains high. 

We look for a wide range of participants.  System architects and
designers who have thought about and implemented supports for social
interaction, social psychologists, linguists and sociologists who have
studied online interactions, and others we may not have previously

Those from outside of the CSCW community should note that you are NOT
required to pay the conference registration fee if you only want to
attend the workshop. However, first-time attendees are most welcome, and
we encourage you to look over the array of offerings on the conference

- On the workshop: contact the organizers qgjones at acm.org,
krys at us.ibm.com 
- On CSCW 2002: http://www.acm.org/CSCW2002/
- For an expanded web-based version of this CFP:
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