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RailsConf 2019 - Hacking Verbal Communications

RailsConf 2019 - Hacking Verbal Communications

Our native systems of conversational flow control might work fine for talking face to face, but they start to have problems when put into many of the conversational scenarios that arise as part of working on a modern development team. Other groups have faced similar challenges and come up with ways to facilitate and improve communication. I'm going to focus on a simple system of hand signals used by the Occupy movement who adapted them from the Quakers. These hand signals mitigate a number of problems with group discussions, including problems of communication over a laggy connection, and working with remotees.

Ryan Alexander

April 30, 2019

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  1. Hacking Verbal Communication Systems #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  2. Ryan Alexander (He/Him) [@]RNAlexander[.com|@gmail.com] #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  3. I <3 Feedback #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  4. #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  5. Flow Control and Consensus Modeling #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  6. Flow Control #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  7. We have complex semi-conscious real-time algorithms which we use in

    collaboration with other people’s complex semi-conscious real-time algorithms to control the flow of the conversation. #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  8. The Village Where I Couldn’t Keep Talking #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  9. The Village Where I Couldn’t Keep Talking #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  10. Our Algorithms are Not Identical. #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  11. Even if our algorithms were identical we’d all still be

    using our own individual weightings. #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  12. So let’s hack those algorithms! #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  13. #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  14. Two Flaws in Our Native Algorithms… #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  15. Race Conditions and Jerks #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  16. We use pauses in our language as part of the

    flow control signalling, this generates race conditions #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  17. Using a visual channel for explicit signalling allows people to

    avoid some of the race conditions #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  18. You make better decisions when all the information is present.

    #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  19. Inserting yourself into conversation is a skill that is unevenly

    distributed, and does not correlate to the value of what is to be said. #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  20. Consensus Modeling #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  21. The ‘speaking’ set of symbols also act as an active

    polling system for consensus around flow control #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  22. Subtitles for the conversational meta-track #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  23. Can be much friendlier for neurodiverse individuals #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  24. A Few Implementation Points #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  25. Works great with an explicit facilitator (makes their job easier)

    #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  26. Can help encourage underrepresented people to contribute #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  27. Doesn’t work audio-only / disadvantages seeing-impaired #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  28. Not the only game in town but be careful #ConvoHack

  29. Confession Time #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  30. The more you use it, 
 the less you might

    need to use it, but don’t let it slip into undocumented dogma #ConvoHack @RNAlexander
  31. Send the Right Signals #ConvoHack @RNAlexander

  32. Give it a try, and thank you! Handsignals image and

    more information: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement_hand_signals #ConvoHack @RNAlexander