Other CSCW tools such as the popular CUSEME or more sophisticated ones such as SUN's ``ShowME'' do offer advantages for small group work. They have voice and video support. Also, most tools offer shared white boards on which people can draw. Now there are certainly situations where such tools are needed. Voice support is good for people who can't type, video support is interesting for non-verbal communication and being able to draw things improves solving a interesting class of problems. Note that the Jupiter system (Xerox's multi-media MOO extension, REF !!!) does add a white board. For most academic cooperative work, all those tools are nice, but not a necessity and sometimes synchroneus written communication has its advantages as we shall argue. Tools like CUSEME can be quite easily installed, but more powerful tools are expensive and/or difficult to install. They are appropriate for tightly knit working groups that do have the necessary equipment. On the other hand MOO clients are free and easy to install. In addition we always should be aware of the bandwidth problem. Despite recent fiber optics technology, bandwidth always will be a scarce resource. MOOs (and its successors) should be open to take advantage of that.
Now, one big question that has to be raised (not just for this technology) is whether professional workers do have time for yet another communication channel. Better and more global information from all over the world, new partners in cyberspace are somewhat diminuising the capacitiy of individuals to stucture and judge information. In short, time for thinking shrinks ! (see [Fleissner, 1995]). However, one can learn to handle this overload. A good example is email. In the earlier days email was a fast means of communication. Today many people choose to deal with it like with regular mail, i.e. take some time for replies, do that only at certain hours and simply trash uniteresting messages. On the MOO, one can also develop such strategies, e.g. connect only at certain hours or slow down communication (isolate one self in a locked room) and reply to pages at longer intervals (except if something important comes up). In that respect, MOOs perform certainly better than other CSCW tools.
[More and better stuff needed here].