CSCW Session – Mathletics: Markets and Modeling


Moderator: “Nothing says 8:30 a.m. on the last day of the conference like a math and theory-heavy session.”

Can Markets Help: Applying Market Mechanisms to Improve Synchronous Communication

CMU People. Natch.

Basic upshot: Sender does not now how costly interruption is to the receivers, and the receivers do not know how important the communication is to the sender.

Possible solutions:

  • Full disclosure: disclose all information in communication. Problems: Privacy issues; people may not use the disclosed information.
  • Payment markets (and the focus of this session): Can we utilize markets to improve communication efficiency, and how elaborate must hte market be to derive benefits?

So, how about if you put $5 on the value of the sent communication. Then receivers can filter out communication requests on price.

Benefits of market:

  • Privacy is prserved
  • Important and ugent communication wil have higher payments
  • Receivers compensated for interruption.

Prior work has shown that markets can increase gains for senders and receivers. But, in real life, people aren’t very good at estimating things, estimating value.

So, they did a lab study. Participants come in and earn money by solving puzzles. they can ask for help from other participants. And communication (ask for help) is run on a no-price market, variable-price market, fixed-price market.


  • Market participants earneda bout a dollar more than no-market
  • and the fixed-price market seemed to perform the best.
  • Variable price market performed worse, but also was more prone to error and higher cognitive costs (assessing a number of prices)
  • Variable price market had significantly higher time to make decision compared to fixed-price market

Interesting stuff.

Network Structure, Position, ties and ICT Use in Distributed Knowledge Intensive Work

Competing models/theories to explain technology use:

  • Technology Acceptance MOdel (TAM)
  • Social Influence Model
  • Significance of social structural, position, and ties not well-accounted in the above models

So, what social structures affect ICT use?

Weak ties! Hearing a lot about that this conference.

And now, a completely impenetrable explanation of method. Oy, I am not smart.

Long Title: Investigating the Effcect of Dicsuiion Forum Affordances on Conversational Structures

Looking at thread structure of bulliten boards. Like, explicit or implicit threads.

Question: Is the way the discussion presented have an effect on how people internalize the discussion. (?) “Determine whtether these differences affect how people ‘talk’ ”

Investigate the contribution of “Time” and “Similarity”.

Basically they’re looking at “flat” (blog-like) thread structure vs. threaded thread structure and see if that has an impact on the language that arises.

What they found: People drop cueues to other text in threaded discussions, use them heavily in non-threaded discussion. SHOCKER!

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