Thursday, February 4, 2010

On-Line Versus Face-to-Face, Thoughtful Thursday

Our group is progressing towards having a system up on experimentation in having a set of voters setting up a complicated legal structure. An example will be a penal code, e.g. determining the penalty or even if it should be legal if a person should possess a gun. Our initial system is based upon the ID3 algorithm. and the weopons they use. And they will be "talking about it."

Should we use voice, exchanging of messages, or is face-to-face communication needed?

Dr. Alphonse Chapanis answered my question. He studied ten types of communications to solve practical problem. One of these was directly comparable to a professor working with a student; one party had assembly instructions and the other was trying to put together the item. He found the mean time to solve the times as follows:

  1. Communication Rich, 29 minutes
  2. Voice alone, 31 minutes
  3. exchanging hand written messages, 53 minutes
  4. typing messages by those with touch typing skills, 67 minutes
  5. typing messages back and forth by those who were slow typists, 69 minutes
He summarizes the results that voice is critical but other commuication modes are not. Those who had access to voice simply used more words, message, sentence, etc, (as many as ten times as fast) as those using more limited means.

This article was published in Scientific American in 1975, Volume 232 (3) 36-42. I found it in the book readings on Computer Supported Cooperative Work edited by Irene Greif.

This is an older paper and it covers only pairwise commuications. Dr. Chapanis raises the question if the results vary for groups or other types of commuication--such as voting in our case rather than getting a single answer or accomplishing a single goal. I will be researching these and including those in later Thoughtful Thursday pieces. Dr. Peter Muhlberger reports on on-line and conventional deliberations as improving social trust in solving community problems and continued the deliberative democracy research effort and partially addressing the concerns over Americans being interested in stealth democracy. I will discuss Dr. Muhlberger's work and related work later

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