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    • 2010 CRC PhD Student Conference A Debate Dashboard to Support the Adoption of On-line Argument Mapping Tools Ivana Quinto ivana.quinto@unina.it Supervisors Zollo Giuseppe Iandoli Luca Department/Institute Department of Business and Managerial Engineering Status Fulltime Probation viva After Starting date February, 2009 Purpose – The literature affirms that an argument map is a representation of reasoning in which the evidential relationships among claims are made wholly explicit using graphical or other non-verbal techniques. Several web tools, also known as argument mapping tools, have been developed so far, which apply an organizational and visualization approach based on argument mapping (see i.e. Cohere, Deliberatorium, Debategraph, Truthmapping, etc). Argument mapping provides a logical rather than time-based debate representation of users’ contributions. This representation model has proved to provide organizations with several advantages in knowledge sharing and deliberation, such as: i. encouraging evidence-based reasoning and critical thinking (Buckingham Shum and Hammond, 2004); ii. improving the understanding of wide amount of knowledge; iii. driving conversation toward effective deliberation (van Gelder, 2003); iv. expanding our capacity to grasp more complex discussions (Conklin, 2006). Nevertheless those technologies still do not have widespread diffusion and the level of adoption both in small and large scale organizations is low. The aim of this paper is to investigate new technological solutions to support the adoption of argument mapping tools as technology able to foster online knowledge sharing and deliberation processes among remote workers and/or suppliers and customers. Literature suggests that the main barrier to adoption of mapping tools is, as for many mediating tool, the loss of information and feedback during conversation. During a conversation participants exchange, in addition to information, also evidences and/or requests for evidences, which help them understanding if listeners have understood or have not understood what the speakers have said (e.g., head nods or facial expressions). Ones understood, information will be used to update participants’ shared information (common ground). This process of making the understood information part of their common ground is called grounding process (Clark and Brennan, 1991).The grounding process is crucial for the success of a conversation, because it helps people to increasingly understand each other. Clark and Brennan claim that a cognitive effort is required by people in order to ground what speakers have said during a conversation. A possible way to measure this effort is the evaluation of grounding costs, which may vary on the basis of the medium used to converse. Page 86 of 125
    • 2010 CRC PhD Student Conference Online argument mapping tools leave users blind to a range of information that is readily available in face-to-face interaction (Smith and Fiore, 2001) and this hamper the level of acceptance by users. This suggests that any mediated conversation has a higher grounding cost compared to face-to-face conversation. Clark and Brennan (1991) and Kraut et al. (2002) identify ten constraints that a medium can impose on conversation among people. These constraints are desirable to reduce the ambiguity and grounding costs in conversation. Indeed, when one of them is missing, there will be a higher grounding cost, since people will be forced to use alternative grounding techniques. Argumentation technology adds a further constraint to the conversation because it forces users to respect pre-established communication formats and rules. Therefore, the loss of immediacy, due to the formalization, coupled with the lack of information about users, interaction processes, and generated content, entails the users a higher cognitive effort and time consuming to learn how to use the tool. This makes the benefit/cost ratio too low for the average user, thus causing limited adoption (Davis, 1989). As the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) suggests, in order a technology to be adopted, it is necessary that the benefits are higher than the costs deriving from the use of it. To tackle this problem, we propose a Debate dashboard in order to provide users with visual feedback about the interaction between users and the content generated by them. This feedback aims at reducing grounding costs and making the benefits associated with using of arguments maps more evident. The dashboard will be composed of visualization tools which deliver such feedback. We will distil the Dashboard features by building on results of a literature review on Web 2.0 tools for data visualization. In particular we will select those tools that have proved to help effectively representing huge amounts of data and to facilitate human understanding so that salient information becomes apparent (Nguyen & Zhang, 2006). Design/methodology/approach – We propose a literature review of existing visualization tools. We analysed thirty visualization tools, which have been classified on the basis of the kind of feedback they are able to provide. We identify three classes of feedback: Community feedback (identikit of users), Interaction feedback (about how users interact) and Absorption feedback (about generated content and its organization). We have to clarify that we focused on visualization tools already implemented and in use in real online communities and not on those that were only defined and projected “on the paper”. We analysed each of them to understand what are their key features, how they work, what kind of feedback they provide, and if there are any “best practices”; in other words, we used them to “inspire” the design and the implementation of the Debate Dashboard. As output of literature review, we selected the following six visualization tools (see table 1): As main criteria for the selection of the visualization tools, we considered: • the number of feedback that each of them provides, in order to reduce the number of used visualization tools; • the combination of feedback, in order to provide all individualized ones. Page 87 of 125
    • 2010 CRC PhD Student Conference Table 1: Selected visualization tools Visualization Chat Comment Conversation Exhibit PeopleGarden Wordle Tool Circles Flow Map II Copresence X Cotemporality X Mobility X Simultaneity X Sequentiality X Visibility X Relevance X Structuring X Profile X Activity Level X Social/organiz X ational structure As we have already mentioned, we consider these selected tools as a sort of starting point. Indeed, our aim is the improvement of them through the addition of further features and functions in order to make them more effective in providing feedback. On the basis of these six visualization tools, we set up an early visual prototype of the Debate Dashboard. We will test the Debate dashboard both through mapping tool expert interviews and through a survey with a semi-structured questionnaire. The tests aim at verifying if, providing feedback about users, interaction process and generated content, effectively reduces the grounding and sense-making costs; in other words, we want to corroborate that this feedback reduces the users’ cognitive effort of using online argument mapping tools. Originality/value – Our paper enriches the debate about computer mediated conversation and visualization tools. We propose a Dashboard prototype to augment collaborative argument mapping tools by providing visual feedback on conversations. The Dashboard will provide at the same time three different kinds of feedback about: details of the participants to the conversation, interaction processes and generated content. This will allow the improvement of the benefits and reduce the costs deriving from the use of argument mapping tools. Moreover, another important novelty is that visualization tools will be integrated to argument mapping tools, as until now they have been used only to visualize data contained in forums (as Usenet or Slash.dot), chat or email archives. Practical implications – The Dashboard provides feedback about participants, interaction processes and generated contents, thus supporting the adoption of online argument mapping tools as technologies able to foster knowledge sharing among remote workers or/and customers and supplier. Based on this assumption several achievable advantages can be identified: • Improvement of the coherence of discussion (Donath, 2002) - this feedback helps users to participate the conversation in the right way, as it allows users to understand participation rules, the structure of discussion and its evolution; Page 88 of 125
    • 2010 CRC PhD Student Conference • Easy individualization of workers’ knowledge, skills and competencies - this happens because in every moment we can know who is talking about what and therefore who has that information. This allows one to identify who are the “right” people, who have the skills and knowledge to help co-workers and managers achieve their goals (Danis, 2000); • Development/Increase of awareness of presence and activity of other workers (Erickson, 2000) - the awareness of activity of collaborators enables people to guide their individuals efforts and contribute towards reaching a collaborative goal. This plays an important role in enabling effective collaboration among distributed work group members; • Reduction of misunderstanding; • Reduction of cognitive effort required to use mapping tools; • Improvement of the exploration and the analysis of the maps - this feedback improves the usability of the object (the map) improves, thus allowing users to pitch into the conversation in the right place. Keywords: Debate dashboard, On-Line knowledge sharing, Visualization tools, grounding cost. Page 89 of 125
    • 2010 CRC PhD Student Conference References Buckingham Shum, Simon and Hammond, Nick. 1994. “Argumentation-based design rationale: What use at what cost?”. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 40(4):603-652. Clark, Herbert H. and Brennan, Susan E., 1991, “Grounding in communication”. In Resnick, Lauren B. Levine, John M. Teasley, Stephanie D. (Ed), Perspectives on socially shared cognition, Washington, DC, US: American PsychoKieslerlogical Association, pp. 127-149. Danis, Catalina M., 2000, Extending the Concept of Awareness to include Statistic and Dynamic Person Information. SIGGROUP Bulletin, 21(3), pp.59-62. Davis, Fred. 1989. "Perceived Usefulness, Perceived Ease of Use, and User Acceptance of Information Technology," MIS Quarterly, 13(3): 319-340. Donath, Judith, 2002. “A Semantic Approach to Visualizing Online conversation”, Communication of the ACM, 45(4):45-49. Conklin, Jeff, 2006. Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems. Chichester: Wiley. Erickson, Thomas, and Kellogg, Wendy A. 2000. “Social translucence: an approach to designing systems that support social processes”. ACM Trans. Computer-Human Interaction,7(1):59-83. Kraut, Robert E., Fussell, Susan R., Brennan, Susan E., and Siegel, Jane, 2002, “Understanding Effects of Proximity on Collaboration: Implications for Technology to Support Remote Collaborative Work”. In Pamela Hinds and Sara Kiesler (Eds), Distributed Work, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pp.137- 162. Nguyen, Tien N. and Zhang Jin. 2006. “A Novel Visualization Model for Web Search Results”. IEEE Transaction On Visualization and Computer Graphics, 12(5):981- 988. van Gelder, Tim, 2003, Enhancing deliberation through computer supported argument mapping. In Visualizing Argumentation, eds P.A. Kirschner, S.J. Buckingham Shum, and C.S. Carr, pp. 97-115. London:Routledge. Page 90 of 125