Tool-Mediated Coordination of Virtual Teams in Complex Systems

Title: Tool-Mediated Coordination of Virtual Teams in Complex Systems

Authors: Michael Gilbert, Mark Zachry (Human Centered Design & Engineering University of Washington Seattle, WA USA)

Abstract: Support for coordination in online spaces, specifically in peer production systems, has frequently been an after-thought. In the absence of such support, the users of such systems must work to find an emergent order that drives shared project goals and leads to equitable processes. In short, they must rely on the “wisdom of the crowds.” As our study demonstrates, however, the reality is that often the system tools available for coordination, evaluation, and work articulation are not suitable to the task at hand. Our study, first, takes a theoretical approach to understanding how tool-mediated coordination functions within peer production systems. Secondly, we enumerate the methods available to identify automated and semi-automated tools that function within such systems by quantitatively and qualitatively analyzing trace interactions and their utility in Wikipedia over a year-long period. Finally, we identify potential vacuums where new design interventions have the greatest potential for enhancing peer-production systems.

This contribution to OpenSym 2015 will be made available as part of the OpenSym 2015 proceedings (or companion) on or after August 19, 2015.

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