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Enhancing the Quality of Email Dialogue using Artificial Intelligence

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Enhancing the Quality of Email Dialogue
Design challenge
Design possibilities
Periodic array of levels
Policy implications
Software considerations
References

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Introduction

The explosion of email, and the consequent attention overload for any one individual, can only increase -- probably exponentially. Currently the main techniques for managing this are:

  • ignoring messages or deleting
  • providing minimalistic, courtesy or automated responses
  • unsubscribing from listservers, or not subscribing in the first place
  • use of filters to file messages for possible later perusal
  • use of 'unlisted' email addresses to avoid involvement
  • dependence on human list moderators and gatekeepers

The challenge for the future is to devise software techniques to enhance the quality of e-dialogue within the increasingly dense pattern of communications. An associated challenge of considerable importance is the tendency of listserver dialogues to decay into exchanges amongst a small subset of participants, possibly with silent observers, possibly with progressive loss of subscribers. The question is what criteria to use in determining when this pattern is healthy rather than dysfunctional -- and what whoever might do about it, if anything.