From Creative Collaboration to Digital Plumbing

Yes, a new issue of your favorite CSCW journal has arrived (Volume 32, Issue 3) – with no less than ten contributions exploring various aspects of practice-based computing.

At the heart of our digital designs are the voices and interests of those we seek to serve. Two papers in particular stand out for their commitment to this inclusivity. “EquiP: A Method to Co-Design for Cooperation” by Çarçani et al. not only describes a novel method, but also delves into the nuances of inclusive design practices. Similarly, “Representative Participation in a Large-Scale Health IT Project” by Klungseth Zahlsen et al. goes beyond mere participation and asks how representative our current platforms really are, especially when they’re central to something as important as health.

The environment and education – arguably two of the most important areas in discussions about the future – are vividly represented here. Sandjo Tchatchoua et al’s paper, ‘Green IT Meaning in Energy Monitoring Practices‘, brings the marriage of technology and sustainable practices to the fore, urging us to consider how our digital actions resonate with our physical world. At the same time, Yıldız & Subaşı pull back the curtain on the inner workings of educational institutions in “An Institutional Perspective: How Gatekeepers on a Higher Education Interact for the Organisation of Access“, underscoring the weight of decision-making and power play at these gateways to knowledge.

The research becomes more intriguing as we drift into the nebulous space between humans and their machine counterparts. Deacon et al. in “‘It’s cleaner, definitely’: Collaborative Process in Audio Production” unravel the myriad layers in which humans engage with technology in audio, an often underestimated sensory experience. This exploration sits nicely alongside Ivarsson & Lindwall’s “Suspicious Minds: the Problem of Trust and Conversational Agents“. In it, the authors wrestle with a pressing problem of our time: how do we manage trust when we engage in dialogue with digital entities?

Crowdsourcing, that digital phenomenon where the many become one, is critically examined by Xie et al. Their paper “The Dark Side of Recruitment in Crowdsourcing: Ethics and Transparency in Micro-Task Marketplaces‘ is a powerful narrative. It doesn’t just highlight the enormous potential of crowdsourcing. It also warns of the lurking shadows and calls for a more ethical and transparent space.

Our final trio of papers takes us straight to the heart of human-technology collaboration. “Progressivity in Hybrid Meetings” by Buyukguzel & Mitchell offers a bird’s eye view of the delicate dance between physical and digital meetings, asking what progressivity really looks like in such spaces. Meanwhile, in “Revisiting the Digital Plumber“, Castle-Green et al dive deep into the digital framework, offering a fresh perspective on the digital underpinnings we often take for granted. And in the deeply affecting “Becoming a Guest: On Proximity and Distance in Mental Health Home Treatment” by Hochwarter et al, the authors ask us to consider the role of the digital in the most vulnerable spaces of our psyche.

Together, these papers interweave themes of power, trust, collaboration, and complexity, offering a insights into the evolving landscape of cooperative work and technology. Be sure to explore them further.

This text was generated by ChatGPT4 (with some minor editing by DeepL), in the spirit of computer supported editorial labour.

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