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 sometimes restrict and direct the flow of their interaction. Though having a conversations in a virtual space might lack some of the nuance of embodied conversation, it allows for other types of nuance and added context.
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.
2. What do you mean?
Intervention two flags words that have multiple meanings in different disciplines and displays all of them.
Intervention three adds to the conversation ELIZA - a program mimicking a psychoanalyst created in the 1960s.
4. Found in Translation
Intervention four translates each sentence through participants mother tongues and then back to English.
5.You Complete Me
Intervention five halts participants in mid sentence so that other participants may finish them.
Intervention six forces participants to start every sentence with something positive by supplying all beginnings of sentences.