CSCW and Distributed Systems
T. Rodden and G. Blair
Oct 8, 1999


Discussion

The authors point to the fact that some of the CSCW systems shortcomings arise from characteristics of the underlying distributed system that serves as a platform for the CSCW system. In particular, the authors point that the traditional, system-centered design of distributed systems aims to provide high degrees of transparency. This, while useful in some scenarios, imposes a given view on collaboration that might not be the appropriate one in other circumstances. As such, the authors propose a change in the design philosophy of the distributed systems, from a system-centered to a user-centered.

While the paper as a whole makes sense to me, some of the particular recommendations prompt me to raise an eyebrow. On of such is the requirement to recognize explicitly the structure of the group or organization. This I think is too constraining, as they tend to be dynamic and fluid structures and expressing them explicitly might be too difficult.