03 August 2009

The Emergence of Google Wave-Etiquette

Since the materialization of Google Wave as a fledgling, real-time collaboration platform, early-adopters have added the word Wavetiquette (Wave-Etiquette) to their lexicon.


[wave-et-i-kit, -ket] –noun
1.conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in waves, wavelets or blips.
2. a prescribed or accepted code of usage, as in a wave conversation thread.
3. the code of ethical behavior regarding professional practice or action among the members of a profession in their wave communication and collaboration.

July 2009. Wavetiquette is a compound word consisting of the English word wave and the French word étiquette. Wave is derived from old english wafian which means to wave. The French étiquette means prescribed behavior.

Etiquette, decorum, propriety imply observance of the formal requirements governing behavior in a Google Wave thread. Wavetiquette refers to conventional forms and usages: the rules of wavetiquette. Decorum suggests dignity and a sense of what is becoming or appropriate for a civilized person. Propriety implies conventions of morals and good taste.

Wavetiquette - Points to Consider

First and foremost, Google Wave is built on the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol XMPP. XMPP is the proven, secure, and extensible Jabber instant messaging platform we have all grown accustomed to using.

Imagine a voluminous thread of discussion with multiple participants where you can see each letter others are typing and you may edit your and other's content at will. Some standards of behavior are needed to keep the flames to a dull roar.

On the Google Wave Sandbox Developer's Preview, early adopters J Aaron Farr (Daniel Teichman, Ross Garler, et al.) initiated a wave conversation on wavetiquette listing the following points of etiquette to consider:
  1. When to edit a wave versus commenting?
  2. Should you edit your own response or respond to your response?
  3. Starting new waves versus resurrecting old ones (and how to politely point people to older waves)
  4. Is correcting grammar and spelling always ok?
  5. Any thoughts about adding new people to wave?
  6. How to keep waves "on topic"? Should we?
  7. How to respect the original author(s) of a wave?
  8. How to keep wave groups on topic?
  9. Do you let the person finish their thought before commenting?
Many of the challenges to Google Wave growth and adoption are soft issues rather than thorny technical issues.
How do we create suitable visual metaphors?
such that participants understand the conversation and are not stepping on each other.

And, early-adopters must establish and explore standards of behavior, that is
What are the social norms?
The introduction of Google Wave to mobile devices like the iPhone presents other soft issues. See a video of Google Wave demonstrated on an iPhone.