Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics


Posted by shannonclark on November 3, 2002

Collaboration – a real example (posted to Ecademy blog)

I posted the following to Ecademy

This weekend I was working with a friend to help her finish her PhD dissertation (she is defending it Tuesday!).

The first way we collaborated was simple email – she send me document(s), I read them over, edited them, and sent her back my notes/changes/updates.

We also played the voicemail tag game – her office has very poor cell reception – and no landline (academic office – no “real” phone near her office, at least the one with her computer) – so all afternoon and evening we have left voicemails for each other, or have been able to talk, but not when we both were in front of a computer.

So, I suggested that we try using Yahoo! Messanger (since I have that open, and I recalled that she had an account as well) – however, first we exchanged a series of emails to get from her to me her Yahoo! account name. Then, once I had added the correct account name – I tried sending her a message – but she then emailed “having problems with Yahoo…”

Not sure what the problems are – but the underlying point is that though all this technology is available – sometime the “old” methods of emails and phone calls work just fine – albiet a bit slower than IM might be.

So, we have ended up doing all of this via a large series of rapidly sent/replied emails – modifying the subject lines as neede – crude but workable. Probably the most emails I have ever exchanged with one person in a matter of hours (over 50 I think).

My point is that you adapt to what is workable – and though there are many alternatives – often the simplest (but with a structure imposed) solutions are the best.

We adopted a one-editor philosophy, she would inform me of changes to make, I made them in the text, and then confirmed with her what I had done – this resulted in one edited final document, a clear trace of what was done (and why), and the final document has now been sent to her for further editing (passed off the editor’s role)


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