2. Analysis of MOO and WOO Environments

2-5 Concluding remarks and recommendations

To conclude this part of the report, one can say that the WOO environment seems to be really relevant for communities of researchers to use it as a communication system, and as a collaborative work place. This environment can be considered as a communication system with usual metaphors of mail, phone, answer phone, etc., but people can also be more imaginative and create new modes of communication allowed by the extensive property of the MOO.

At first people get seduced by the synchronous aspect of communication. It seems to bring them a new sense of belonging to a community. Soon, people can build their own working environment (virtual offices, notepad, books, etc.) and feel they can have some control of the MOO database from the inside of it (people are characters on the moo, they have an object number).

Regarding the various MOO experiments that have been reported. It appears that some communication rules can be more effective than others. Indeed, a MOO meeting taking place with about 5 persons is far more effective and enjoyable than a meeting of 20 characters. This is partly due to the text-based feature of the MOO server. Nevertheless rules can be invented to support such a big meeting of 20 persons. Also, it is more effective to have a communication goal, like a problem to solve, a face-to-face meeting to organise or an article collaborative writing for instance than no goal at all. Indeed, the MediaMOO description of an endless conference reception should be frustrating after a while if no conference has be organised one can talk about.

At this very moment, the MOO and more especially the WOO environments are communication system tools but their main advantage over other CMC products is that all can be remodelled on a current basis according to the user's needs. Would it be the communication features, the social rules, the management of information, etc. This environment is relevant at this point but it can still be improved a lot. MOOs are a first instance of "Cyberspace integrators". A lot of concepual problems of how to organize "virtural environments for research and education" can now be addressed even in purely text based MOOs. WOOs now allow to inspect and manipulate MOO objects from a WWW browser and to use the MOO as flexible and adaptive WWW (HTTP) server. In the very near future, new graphical MOO/WWW clients will without doubt make MOOing easier and add or improve MOO integration with other Internet Services.

To summarize, MOO and WOO environment are adequate for the following activities:

Nevertheless it seems inadequate for the following activities:


VMDL/MOO Report - 17 FEB 1996

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