Nuo Ma – Reflection 8



In the first paper, the author would like to study the problem of evaluating group brainstorming productivity and breadth. He proposed to observe the effect of internal diversity: cultural differences, and external diversity by supplying extra stimuli (pictures.) As for user study, two person groups were asked to perform 3 brainstorming tasks via a chat room and provide pictures as external stimuli. The results shows that, conversationally retrieved pictures emphasizing the quality of stimulation enhanced both the originality and the breadth of ideas generated. Pictures emphasizing contextual coherence supported productivity to a lesser extent than the Stimulus method, and did not facilitate breadth. However I think the author’s approach of addressing cultural diversity was not convincing.

In the second paper, the author study the effects of group diversity on group productivity and member withdrawal in wikiprojects. The author has several hypothesis, includes how tenure diversity and interest diversity affect group productivity and withdrawal rates. The author extracted features from all data acquired from wikiproject, including various independent, dependent and controlled variables. The results shows that increased tenure diversity lead to better group outcomes up to a certain point, it can also lead to better task distribution. Low exit barriers may cause negative effects when tenure diversity is too high and users get frustrated. As for interest diversity, it shows only positive effects, however lack of negative effects of interest variety is inconsistent with offline studies.


These two papers focus on online group working. I find the conclusions draw from above match the personal experience that I have. For example, in terms of external stimuli, I find it extremely helpful when I am looking for general / broad knowledge of a certain area, a lot of the times, I just browse through google image results. To explain using the results draw from the papers,  congruence doesn’t really help in this process because it was really used to sync two participant’s idea onto the same pace, because it is a sheer reflection of the topic covered in the conversation. The stimulus method, in the other hand, provides more diversity, thus stimulate more ideas when working solo. To generalize the idea to group working, the mixture of both fashion should contribute better to group brain storming. And, seen from today, the author can definitely use more advanced ML methods to analyze text and provide pictures, since the method provided in the article seems to stick a bunch of older methods together and may have less precision in this process. As for cultural diversity, the author claim with appropriate support, cultural differences may introduce beneficial diversity that enhances task outcomes, but I find the methods hardly convincing and cannot think of an alternative way of addressing this issue. As for the second paper, I think two things are really important: level of expertise and exit barriers. The higher the expertise required, the higher enter barrier for users to participate. In this process, higher interest diversity really reflect the diversity of their personal qualifications, thus may cause less conflicts when working on the same piece, causing linear improvements of group outcome. That’s why I prefer to say is the primary reason that is causing the curved tipping point in terms of member withdrawal, not exit barrier but rather entry barrier.