ASIS&T 2007: Social Computing as Co-Created Experience

Social Computing as Co-created Experience
Karine Barzilai-Nahon

Gatekeeping: information control. Lots of concepts throughout literature, concept dating back to the 1940s. Somewhat fragmented. Ways gatekeeping is defined — what’s the rationale for gatekeeping: protection, preservation of culture/social, linking, facilitator, editoiral, disseminator, change agent, access.
Barzilai-Nahon’s definition is Network Gatekeeping. Information control (not in negative sense) but in sense of channeling, facilitating, editing, adding, deleting information. Focus not on the gatekeeper, but on the “gated” — those whom gatekeepers act on. Four attributes of gated:
P Political power
I Information production
R Relationship — frequency, duration
A Alternatives — information society creates more autonomy because we have more alternatives.
Dynamism between gated and gatekeepr.
Research asked two questions: What kinds of message do we delete and why? They found about 8 reasons for deleting messages in forums. Main reason — if someone hurt the community. Then spam. Then off-topic messages.
Gatekeeping self-regulation mechanisms. For example — censorship, editorial, channeling, localization mechanisms. There are designated gatekeepers and informal gatekeepers. Designated — managers in a formal role — and informal — community members. All gatekeepers tried to keep homogeneity.
90% of “guest” users were, according to IP addresses, regular registered members who were entering anonymously. People often used guest account to make critical comments they didn’t want made under their real persona. These comments often got deleted.

The Four Attributes

Do gatekeepers have politial power in any context, online or otherwise?

Two Takes on Virtual Design: The Construction of Expertise and Embodied Design in Second Life Deisgn Teams
Kalpana Shankar

Collaborative Virtual Environments [CVE] (There, Active Worlds, Second Life). These are defined by collaborative design, mied reality, ecoerce, education, and enterprise. Not stricly games.
What’s in a metaverse? Builds — there’s nothing there when the first user goes in. Users build the world around them. Users can occupy space at the same time or at different times. Live chat and leaving a message. Live interaction via avatar.

Research questions

1. How does virtual collaboration affect and influence deisgn activities in Second Life?
2. How does the designer’s experience of embodiment shape emergent design practices?
3. How is design executed?
4. How does SL design become integrated in real world design?
Methodology. Learned about SL through interviews and SL’s “sandbox” — a place to learn the space. Then recruited two design teams to observe and interview. Interviewed in SL, via chat.
Then, once understood what they wanted to observe, did ethnographic observations — watched teams work, gathered chat logs, conducted follow-up interviews.
Embodiment: The bodily aspects of human subjectivity: the human body’s physical presence. There’s also the “experience of physicality” — how users see themselves and present themselves to others.
Presence: Each user has a unique graphical representation. There are rules — you can’t walk through walls, you can’t be invisible. Artifacts are similar. They can be given and received. Like in physical world.
Awareness: Understanding viewpoints and attention of team members is crtical in collaborative design activities. Gestures to point at things, verbal “over there”
Location: Space vs. place. SL users create spaces conducive to the activity they’re doing. Even though there’s no “need” for it in SL, people create elaborate spaces in SL.
View Manipulation: You can see youself on the screen, but can also look in other places. Avatar is not eyes.


Technical infrastructure and the notion of presence. People create a space in wich to work, and then build team identity. This requires management and knowledge of whom you are working with. Lots of uncertainty because you don’t know about the avatars the way you would abe real-world people.


Q: How does perspective (first-person vs. over-the-shoulder) change interaction?
A: Some research done, but not much. But perspective needs a lot more work.
Q: What are benefits of social capital in online communities?
A: Social capital serves the individual — you get listened to more. For example, eBay’s new ad campaign (“Shope Victoriously”) — idea that it’s better to compete than to cooperate. Virtual social capital is not the same as real-world. But it does aid connectedness.
Q: What studies have there been to compare avatars with real world person, and why they choose the avatar?
A: Not really. Avatars are fairly limited — out-of-the-box you can’t change things a lot (with programming, you can).