4.1 Grounding mechanisms are use to built shared sub-spaces

4.1.3 Grounding the Strategy

Grounding the problem-solving strategy is a more varied process. A strategy is a rather persistent piece of information. For instance for some pairs the 'spatial split' strategy remained valid for almost one hour. But, of course, either partner may change strategy at any time. As it is an abstract concept, the strategy cannot directly been accessed by the partner; it has to be communicated and understood (level 3), and - to some extent - it has to be agreed upon (level 4). The cost of grounding varies according to the level of precision in the strategy. It doesn't only include the effort necessary to discuss the strategy, but also the cognitive effort to decide upon a strategy. The cost of non-grounding is not too high. Non-shared strategies may lead to collecting redundant information, which is not dramatic since the problem space is not too large. It also may lead to overlook some facts, which may be more detrimental. Hence, the level of grounding varies between pairs: in example 8, they describe the strategy in great detail. Later in the problem solving process, strategic discussion aims to set intermediate goals (examples 9 and 10) or to negotiate the next action (example 11), but this is much rarer (the cost of grounding being too high regarding to the benefit).

Some information about the strategy is actually conveyed (made accessible - level 1) by other means. During data collection stage, the strategy (who ask questions to who) can be acknowledged by MOO action (example 12) or it simply can be inferred from observing the partner's position in the "Auberge" or by looking at the information on the whiteboard (example 13). In the data organization stage, the strategy can be inferred from observing the evolution of the whiteboard. Pairs 1, 4, 6 and 7 proceed by dismissing one by one all suspects who either have no motive, no chance to get the gun or to kill. This 'pruning' strategy is not explicitly grounded but it emerges clearly from the graphical representation in which the suspects are dismissed one by one either by crossing the note which mention them (pairs 1, 4 and 7) or by a adding a label on them (pair 6).

Grounding in Multi-modal Task-Oriented Collaboration - 3 SEP 1996
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