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Although new communication technologies have compressed the space and latency between participants, leading to new forms of computer mediated interaction that scale with the number of participants [Klein, 1999], there still exist no audio/video calling solutions that can accommodate the type of group conversation that takes place in a group of four or more. Groups of this size frequently schism, forming two or more sub-conversations with their own independently operating turn taking systems [Egbert, 1997]. This paper proposes that traditional audio/video calling fails to accommodate schisms because a) there is no way to signal intended recipiency, b) there exists only one, largely blocking audio channel, and c) leaving and joining audio/video calls is too difficult to schism. A solution is developed called assemble.live that uses enables users to move throughout a virtual room, and is designed to enable multiple sub-conversations to emerge. From a few recorded sessions of use, it is clear that while this enables multiple conversations to emerge, its affordances for signaling intended recipiency are insufficient.
Senior Honors Thesis. Advisor: Tim Tregubov.
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Benjamin P. Packer, "Assemble.live: Designing for Schisms in Large Groups in Audio/Video Calls ." Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report TR2017-828, May 2017.
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