Strange_Conversations
2016


How might we use digital tools to battle miscommunication during collaboration?


Strange_Conversations is a series of conversations between collaborating individuals taking place inside Google Docs. Each conversation has an intervention meant to address common pitfalls in communication - imbalanced contribution, mistranslation, misinterpretation, negativity and so on.

Good communication is crucial to good collaboration. Frustratingly though, good communication is hard to achieve. Many collaborations struggle with language/culture barriers, incompatible personalities and imbalanced power dynamics within the group as well as keeping a positive atmosphere where people can share ideas freely.

Strange_Conversations addresses these issues by moderating participants' conversations through various rules which restrict and direct the flow of their interaction.


Though it is true that having a conversation in a virtual space might lack some of the nuances of embodied conversation, it might also be that it allows for other types of nuance and added context.







Intervention 1/ Please don’t hog the conversation Intervention one changes sizes of font according to amount contributed to the conversation. When a collaborator hogs the conversation their font gets progressively smaller.

Intervention 2/ What do you mean?
Intervention two flags words that have multiple meanings in different disciplines and displays all of them.

Intervention 3/ ELIZA
Intervention three adds to the conversation ELIZA - a program mimicking a psychoanalyst created in the 1960s.

Intervention 4/ Found in Translation
Intervention four translates each sentence through participants mother tongues and then back to English.

Intervention 5/ You Complete Me
Intervention five halts participants in mid sentence so that other participants may finish them.

Intervention 6/ You’re Great
Intervention six forces participants to start every sentence with something positive by supplying all beginnings of sentences.