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Reinventing trust, collaboration and compliance in social systems

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A workshop for novel insights and solutions for social systems design

Hosted at CHI 2006
April 22-27 2006
Montreal, Canada

Aim of the Workshop

Designing social systems that support trust, collaboration, and compliance has emerged as a core concern in the fields of human-computer interaction

(HCI) and computer-mediated communication (CMC). Research to date has focused on policing mechanisms, stable identities, reputation systems, and rich media channels, among other approaches. However, these approaches are often costly, negate the benefits of anonymity, or rely on the truthfulness of participants.

This workshop aims to provide a forum for novel alternative approaches that have, in our view, been overlooked or under-utilized to date. Further, we want to address how the analysis of existing social systems and user-centered design methods can help in the design of social systems that support trust and collaboration.

Examples of Novel Approaches

We have grouped currently emerging research and design approaches to trust and cooperation into three guiding approaches. Workshop participants are encouraged to take these brief discussions as departure points for the novel themes they wish to address.

1 - Self-awareness Mechanisms

It is well established that the sense of self-awareness online can be increased with the use of stable identities and visual identification in rich media. However, anonymity (e.g. resulting from a lack of visual identification) contributes to freedom of expression and an increased sense of privacy. Consequently, we believe that there is a need to find ways of eliciting self-awareness that goes beyond visual identification without compromising the benefits of anonymity.

Potential themes are:

- Novel awareness-eliciting methods that do not rely on the use of stable identities or visual identification. Those can include avatars, social proxies or other visualizations (e.g. IBM's Babble).
- Public and private aspects of self-awareness.
- Tools for measuring self-awareness (e.g. questionnaires, physiological measures, linguistic analyses).
- Approaches for examining the impact of self-awareness on behavior (e.g.cooperation, politeness).
- Concepts, evaluations, and case studies of systems that have unique approaches to building self-awareness (e.g. bio-feedback, emotive instant messaging).

2 - Reparative Mechanisms

There are strong incentives for considering forgiveness as a possible reparative mechanism in online environments. For example, the act of issuing forgiveness alone is known to stimulate the offender into voluntary actions of repair. Moreover, punishing the offender for a low intent action (e.g. bad ratings for accidentally delivering the wrong product) will often result in anger and future low-compliancy behaviors.

Potential themes are:

- Findings from psychological, sociological, and ethnographic studies on human reparative actions that can form the basis of novel trust-building mechanisms.
- Concepts of reparative facilitation methods and tools inspired by social psychology (e.g. forgiveness, apologies, action reversal).
- Concepts and examples for the integration of reparative tools with existing trust and reputation mechanisms.
- Evaluative studies on the benefits of repair mechanisms.

3 - Social Recommender Mechanisms

This approach holds that, rather than enforcing set norms within a community (e.g. through policing or reputation systems), designers of social systems can increase levels of perceived trustworthiness by ensuring that individuals with similar norms and values are matched. As an example, an online gaming platform may not necessarily facilitate optimal gaming experiences by enforcing one code of conduct, but by matching players with similar playing styles.

Potential themes are:

- Examples (e.g. experiments, case studies) of improved matchmaking and social recommendations that have increased the number of fruitful encounters within a group.
- Descriptions of domains and scenarios in which such an approach can be effectively used.
- Empirical findings that can inform the design of matchmaking and social recommender algorithms.

4 - User-Centred Design Methods

In addition to the above we want to emphasize the need to learn from carefully observing existing social systems and development processes.

Controlled experiments, ethnographic research, and interviews - amongst others - are important methods in the tool-box of user-centered design that should also drive new developments in social systems design.

Potential themes are:

- User studies (e.g. experiments, interviews, ethno-methodology, focus groups, observational studies, log data, conversational analysis, grounded theory, contextual inquiry, interpretive inquiry) that reveal the limitations of current social systems.
- Interpretive methods for transforming qualitative and quantitative results into requirements for new applications.
- Case studies reporting on the design process by which user research findings were fed into the development of novel prototypes that support cooperation and trust.


Participants are requested to set their proposals into the context of current research and design towards demonstrating the novelty of their work.

We welcome position papers, initial reports on experiments and field studies, or design case studies in the CHI 2006 Extended Abstracts format (

Submissions will be reviewed by the programme committee.

Submissions should be emailed by 16. January 2006 to:

Important Dates

16. Jan 06: Paper Submission Deadline

20. Feb 06: Author Notification

20. Mar 06: Camera Ready Copies due

23. Apr 06: Workshop at CHI

Intended Audience

We specifically anticipate three groups of participants to benefit from this workshop:

- Researchers who work in established tracks of trust research (e.g. reputation systems, social computing).
- Researchers who have an interest in the topic, but who feel that their approaches or methods have not been adequately represented in the debate to date.
- Industry experts, interaction and system designers, and user researchers who are working in industry.

Program committee members

- Dr Nathan Bos, University of Michigan, US

- Prof Pamela Briggs, University of Northumbria, UK

- Dr Scott Counts, Social Computing Group, Microsoft Research, US

- Prof William Dutton, Director Oxford Internet Institute, UK

- Dr Florian N. Egger,, Geneva, Switzerland

- Dr Annika Hinze,Waikato University, NZ

- Dr Matt Jones, Swansea University UK

- Cliff Lampe, University of Michigan, US

- Dr Steve Marsh, National Research Council of Canada

- Dr Jeremy Pitt, Imperial College London, UK

- Prof Jenny Preece, University of Maryland Baltimore County, US

- Prof Angela Sasse, University College London, UK

- Dr Abigail Sellen, Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK

- Prof Susan Wiedenbeck, Drexel University, US

- Lorenzo Wood, Director of strategic services, Framfab Ltd., UK


- Dr. Anne Adams, University College London Interaction Centre, UK

- Asimina Vasalou, Imperial College London, UK

- Dr. Jens Riegelsberger, Framfab UK

- Philip Bonhard, University College London, UK


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