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Technical Workshop: Suggestions for Improvement

Technical Workshop: Suggestions for Improvement

The following are Goldman's suggestions for improvement for the draft pattern piece.

A shorter pattern name would be better: maybe “Conveying Feelings”?

The first sentence seems to wander and is hard to follow. Maybe break it into two shorter sentences: “People want to convey emotions because No Man Is an Island, especially when writing an Intimate Communication. Even were they to take the time for a Slow Letter, some are unable to show their emotions well.”

Also in the context, would it be more appropriate to refer to the pattern “Group Discussions” rather than “Workgroups,” that is, “In Group Discussions there needs to be a way to keep misunderstandings under control...”?

How about using some synonyms for “convey”? The third paragraph of the pattern's body uses “convey” four times in as many sentences. Wouldn't “express” or “communicate” also work? For example: “For many, the act of trying to communicate emotions in words takes them out of those feelings, making it even harder to express them.”

The sentence “It depends on each of us” doesn't seem quite right. Why “depends”? How about something similar like “It is different for each of us”?

There seems a tendency in the software patterns community when writing a pattern in Alexandrian format to put the problem statement before the “therefore” and the solution after it. I prefer the way Chris Alexander includes a full discussion of the problem and possible solutions in the body and reserves the section after “therefore” for the instructions on how to solve the problem that summarizes the earlier discussion. (For example, see the pattern “Alcoves” where the use of alcoves is fully discussed in the body of the pattern.)

So for this pattern I would move the history of the emoticon to just before the “therefore.” I would follow it with the paragraph that starts “Emoticons can express” and the sample emoticons. Then some additional material explaining how avatars have been used in interactive chat systems would be welcome. Maybe even include some images of different avatars expressing various emotions? It would also be good to include some examples of meta-statements, like “<flame on> xxxx <flame off>,” and maybe explain how they came from early text formatting commands. It might even be good to include two short text messages, one just plain text and the other with emoticons to temper the message.

Maybe everyone is now familiar with smileys, but it might be good to mention to view them sideways.

Also it might be worth mentioning that people have created thousands of different smileys but only a few are in common use. Maybe mention that there's even a 93-page print emoticon dictionary with 650 examples (Doherty and David Sanderson, Smileys, Sebastopol, Calif.: O'Reilly and Associates, 1993).

Once one includes graphics, why not multimedia too? A short voice clip can set the tone for a message, while a background sound track of incidental music can also help establish a mood.

The final remark seems very general and it's not clear how it relates to this pattern in particular. Maybe it belongs in the introduction to the pattern language?

Is this pattern completed by some other patterns in the language? Does it tie into the cultural part of the pattern “Host and Introductions and Culture”?



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