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Imaginary Publications

11.   Collins, S. and Treloar, A. (2013). “The role of banter/craic in facilitating international technology-mediated communication”, Banteractions (formerly Transactions of the International Institute of Banter Studies), V25 N4, pp. 11-16.
Keywords: Computer-Mediated Communication, International Collaboration, Applied Banter.
Abstract: It is widely recognised that the channel provided by all forms of computer-mediated communication is impoverished  relative to face to face communication, which provides content, tone of voice and body language. Email/text messaging only conveys content (although the use of emoticons and more recently emoji is an attempt to compensate for this). Audio-conferencing adds tone of voice to content, and video-conferencing layers on some body-language cues  (although the restricted video bandwidth for most commercially available solutions, coupled with comms lag militates against this being as effective as it could be). Accordingly, the CMC literature is (or should be) replete with case-studies where communication is sub-optimal. As a result, most knowledge workers who engage in international collaborations work by the heuristic that in order to work effectively together it is necessary to first bond F2F, preferably in an informal setting such as a bar, coupled with ethanol-inducedreduction of inhibition mechanisms and concomitant social approval for otherwise inappropriate levels of personal-sharing. It is because of this wide-spread perception that it is important to report on counter-examples. The case-study detailed in this article involved a group that came together to organise an international conference. The group had not worked together previously as a unit, although some of them had some interaction/collaboration history. The characteristics of the group would normally lead to an expectation of significant challenges in remote collaboration: the communications channel was audio (using Skype, which introduces intermittent degradation of quality due to jitter, packet loss, compression, etc); the group was multi-cultural (Australian, Irish, German, Greek); the timezones for participants were up to 11 hours apart (providing an alertness mismatch). The group ended up meeting remotely for a total of 26 times. The first 8 times were prior to a majority of the group meeting F2F for the kind of bonding sessions outlined above. Despite this, the group clicked (see Treloar, A. (2014) "Perceptions of phalangeal percussion - measuring clickedness", in press) on the first audio meeting and immediately began to work effectively together. The result of the collaboration was a highly-successful international event that attracted over 500 participants. An analysis of the reason for this result, which runs against the consensus in the research literature, points to the pivotal role of banter/ craic in reducing barriers and facilitating effective communication. There is, of course, debate within the banter research community about whether banter in fact equals craic. It seems most likely that these two seminal concepts should be modelled as overlapping circles (a classic Venn diagram):  there is banter that could not be characterised as craic, and the concept of craic is found to be relatively ill-defined and may in fact include all of Irish social interaction. Nonetheless, in this case the intersection between banter and craic was, with these test subjects, found to be a framework which provided a suitable environment and stimulus for a successful international collaborative platform. Clearly the next step will be further collaboration with at least some of the same subjects to see if this experience was an outlier.
10. Treloar, A. (2012). “International Meetings and the Asymmetry of Perceived Travel Pain”, J. Aust. Discrimination Studies, V7, N10, pp. 1234-1244.
Keywords: Cultural Studies,  International Collaboration, Perception Studies.
Abstract: Part of the self-image of Australia has, at least since its settlement/invasion by the British, been a profound sense of distance.Indeed, Geoffrey Blainey coined the phrase "the tyranny of distance" to describe its influence on the national psyche. In the modern age, this tyranny is manifesting itself in a new sphere, that of international meetings. Planning of a number of different events involving international and local (Australian) participants has revealed to the author that distance is perceived in very different terms depending on the frame of reference. There is a wealth of evidence that a flight of 24 hours by a European (used in this article to mean someone from Western Europe, including the UK) to Australia is perceived by the traveller as significantly further (and thus more arduous) than the reverse flight by an Australian. Further work is required to determine the exact multiplier (which may itself vary by location or culture), but two sets of data points are illustrative. In one instance, travel by an Australian attendee from the East coast of Australia (c. 15 hours) to a meeting on the West coast of the United States was self-reported to be roughly equivalent in Perceived Travel Pain (PTP) to a flight by an American attendee from the East cost (c. 6 hours), yielding a PTP multiplier of 2.5. In another instance, travel by a group of Australian attendees to a meeting held in Prato in Italy (c. 24 hours) was self-reported to be roughly equivalent in PTP to travel by a mixed group of European attendees where the furthest distance travelled was c. 5 hours) for a PTP multiplier of 5. Note that in neither case was the PTP multiplier remotely close to 1. Additional research is needed to investigate whether the multiplier simply increases as a function of the longest travel time involved, or whether other cultural factors play a role. One possible approach would involve a series of international events along a line between the UK and Australia, gradually shifting the events Eastward until an PTP equivalence point is reached. A more sophisticated design would involve finding a similar balance point between five nodes: East Coast of the US, West Coast of the US, UK, Central Europe and Australia. Part of the challenge for the next phase of this research is determining the lowest cost experimental design needed to establish a sufficiently general PTP formula for an arbitrary set of participants. It is, of course, possible that this may be not be computable within a finite time.
9. Treloar, A. (2011). “Confusion, Collision, Culture and Convergence: an analysis of the negotiation of passing behaviour in London”, J. Pedestrian Studies (not to be confused with the Pedestrian Journal of Studies), V1, N1 (Inaugural Invitational Issue), pp. 10-19.
Keywords: Cultural Studies,  Traffic Management, Urban Design, NeuroLinguistics
Abstract: As is widely recognised, the world is divided into countries where vehicular traffic passes on the left-hand side of the road and those where it passes on the right-hand side (as a parenthetical note, the way that the word "right" is used here for what is self-evidently the wrong side of the road is a semantic reversal of the same form but opposite polarity as the meanings assigned to the word "sinister" - See Treloar (2011), "Lefthandedness and Systematic Oppression", in press). Many countries have taken the legalised passing preference and adopted it via community consensus in other motion contexts such as walking, escalators. Let us introduce some formal notation and refer to this as Passing Preference Partiality (or P3). Passing on the left is denoted as P3L, and passing on the right as P3R. In any given country, let us denote the default as P3, and the alternative as P3'. P3 can change depending on the settings, where the most significant are road (R), footpath (F) and other modalities such as escalator or travelator (O). Using this notation, in the US and Europe P3=P3R(R, F, O), but in Australia, P3=P3L(R, F, O). Given that in the UK P3=P3L(R), one would also expect P3=P3L(F, O). However research in a number of cities has indicated that this is not the case. In London, the percentage of  P3' (F, O) appears around 50% for all pairwise encounters. In Birmingham and Manchester this drops to 35%, and in Edinburgh even lower to 25%. In other words, the pattern in the (F, O) settings moves back towards the (R) setting as one moves further away from London. The current working hypothesis is that visitors to the UK in general and London in particular from P3L countries are reverting to their default patterns of behaviour in settings where P3 is not constrained by legislation (such as F and O). As a result, there is an increase of poorly negotiated pairwise encounters, and what has been described in the literature as the Dance of Indecision (DoI). Instances have been observed of up to six repeats of unconsciously synchronised moves of both participants to left then right as they approach, with a resulting eventual collision. The final resolution of the underlying mechanism behind this behaviour will need to wait on the development of mobile Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) devices, thus allowing real-time monitoring of brain activation in different passing settings. Further research is also needed into the relative influence of the factors that contribute to the higher incidences of P3'(F, O) in the UK. These factors might include proportion of the population with P3', distance of the city from Europe, availability of subliminal influences such as foreign-language programming, influence of jetlag in impairing cognitive processes in new arrivals).The London Olympics in 2012, combining changes in transportation arrangements for locals and an influx of visitors from non-P3 L countries, presents fertile ground for further research.
8. Groenewegen, D., and Treloar, A. (2010). “Adaptive Meeting Protocols and the Neglected Issue of Banter”, Banteractions (formerly Transactions of the International Institute of Banter Studies), V22 N4 (Bumper Holiday Banter Issue), pp. 238-263.
Keywords: Rapport, CSCW, Meetings, Banter Theory
Abstract: It has been long recognised that the creation and maintenance of rapport is essential to the successful conduct of meetings. Where the meetings are being held in a computer-mediated environment, such as multi-party videoconferencing, this rapport is even more critical. What has not been sufficiently considered in the literature to date is the crucial role of banter, and the effects on banter of the interactions between meeting style preferences and the bandwidth of the communications channel being used. Based on extensive analysis of a series of meetings held both face to face, and via video-conferencing, we have derived a formula that enables us to calculate the “banterwidth (b)” of a meeting as the amount of banter that can (or should) be mediated over a given channel. Put more formally:
banterwidth equation
where d = duration, w = bandwidth of the communications channel at any given time t,  if is the number of meeting attendees who are interaction-focussed and tf is the number of meeting attendees who are task-focussed (all of these parameters need to measured at time t as the number of the attendees and the channel used may change over the course of the meeting). One way of applying the banterwidth principle is for meeting attendees to identify and adopt appropriate banter behaviours in different settings (see table below).
Interaction-focussed attendees Moderate BanterWidth: Banterers awareness of visual and auditory cues will need to be enhanced High BanterWidth: Banter can almost proceed as for a face to face meeting
Task-focussed attendees Low BanterWidth:
Banter tolerance reduced to nearzero
Moderate BanterWidth: Banter acceptable but will need to be carefully restrained

Low Bandwidth Meeting High Bandwidth Meeting
Further research is needed with a wider range of channels and participants to see if this formula generalises. The authors are fortunate to have a workplace environment , if not necessarily willing experimental subjects, which acts as an ideal testbed for this further research.
7. Treloar, A. (2009), "The paradox of size: observations on alpha male information technology preferences", Special "Boys Toys" Joint Issue of J. Gender Studies/J. Technology Adoption, Spring/Summer.
Keywords: Psychology, Technology Adoption, Gender Studies
Abstract: One of the male psychosexual stereotypes, but no less true for that, is that larger is better. This is observable across such diverse domains as bodybuilding, 4WD/SUV acquisition, and home cinema installations. Recent research, building on the existing work correlating testosterone levels with stockmarket performance, has demonstrated that this preference for size is also positively correlated both with hormone levels and the status of the individual within his own social groupings (of course, these latter two factors may themselves be positively correlated). This paper reports research showing that the domain of personal technology (and particularly information technology) is an exception to this general rule. In particular, when it comes to things like mobile phones and laptop computers, smaller is generally perceived to be better. Further work is needed to elicit why this should be the case, and also to clarify the underlying mechanism behind the interesting 'boundary technology' of digital cameras where at the same time smaller is better (for small point and shoot) and bigger is better (for large SLVs, and particularly zoom lenses). It is possible that a Freudian analysis couched in terms of 'hiding and concealment' as opposed to 'demonstration and display' may be productive here. It is also the case that significant research funding will be required to purchase the entire matrix of small to large technology options across these different domains.
6. Treloar, A., and Treloar, D. (2008), "An analysis of the relationship between actual age and perceived walking speed", First Festschrift for Eadweard Muybridge, Vol. 2, Supplement C, Annex IV, pp. 1035-1044.
Keywords: Movement studies, Psychology, Physiology, Perception
Abstract: This invited paper for the first time takes an integrative approach to the widely recognised problem of mismatches in perceptions of walking speeds by The Other. In contrast to previous work, this analysis does not simply dismiss the issue as purely perceptual but draws on a rich dataset resulting from nearly a centuries combined observational feedwork. In addition to the walking settings from existing research (the street, shops), one of us (Dr A. Treloar) was able to draw on fieldwork in a university setting, as well as significant overseas and airport data. The other of us (Revd D. Treloar) was able to draw on her extensive experience of walking behaviour across the entire school age range. As is well known, mismatches in walking speeds are particularly vexatious in educational settings. The conclusion from this research is the novel insight that walking speeds display a left-skewed bell curve relationship with age. That is, they are slow early in life (probably affected by age-related locomotion constraints), rise gradually to a peak around 40 years of age, and then decline thereafter (again, affected by age-related locomotion constraints, but of a different kind). This new theory might be mis-perceived as a variant of Dr A. Elk's hypothesis relating to brontosaurus morphology, but is in fact our theory which is ours. As the cause of frustration with walking speed mismatches has been shown to be based on actual slow speeds rather than perceived slow speeds, the only effective interventions would appear to be (i) cognitive behavioural therapy for the sufferers, (ii) a process of age-targeted removal of the cause, or (iii) intensive training in dodging, obstacle prediction and collision avoidance. The next phase of this research will undertake a series of double-blind trials (potentially dangerous in the case of approaches (iii), and possibly (ii) depending on the targeting mechanism) to determine the most effective approach.
5. Hood, R., Tell, W. and Treloar, A. (2007), "The Name's the Thing: some considerations when selecting a field of human endeavour as a consistent theme for acronyms of technical projects", J. Appl. Toxophilism, April 1 special issue.
Keywords: Archery, symbolism, applied linguistics, whimsy
Abstract: As is widely recognised, the most critical decision to be made at the start of a technology project is not the choice of technology, but the choice of the project acronym. Many novice e-research technologists rush this crucial step, with potentially long-term negative consequences for branding, credibility and the "giggle" factor. The decision on acronym is particularly important if one anticipates a series of related projects. This article describes some desiderata for deciding on how to consistently theme project acronyms. One must select an area that has significant specialist vocabulary (to provide lots of choice), a preponderance of short terms (few project acronyms can convincingly be longer than about 52 characters), and a reasonable mix between vowels and consonants. As a particular case study, the article analyses a related set of e-Research projects undertaken in Australia during the first decade of this century: Australian Research Repositories Online to the World (ARROW), Dataset Acquisition, Accessibility and Annotation eResearch Technologies (DART), Australian eResearCH Enabling enviRonment (ARCHER), and Building Rules for Access Control to Electronic Resources (BRACER).
4. Treloar, A. (2006), "Suitcase size selection as a correlate with gender dimorphism", Trans. Appl. Container Studies, Special Luggage Issue, Vol 203, Spring.
Keywords: Gender Studies, Design Theory
Abstract: An observational research study identified opposite-gendered pairs of subjects together with their luggage in an international travel setting. In all of the cases observed, the size of the suitcases was different. In most of the cases (3 out of 4, significant at p < 0.001) the male member of the pair was associated with the larger suitcase and the female member of the pair with the smaller suitcase. This is despite anecdotal evidence from the domestic clothes storage  sector that a greater amount of space is typically required for storage of female clothes (based on number of items rather than volume of each item). Because of the small sample size, and the observational nature of the data collection, further research is needed in a variety of settings. Dimensions that might be significant include setting (national versus international),  mode (air, train, boat), class (economy, premium economy, business, first). This suggests a 24 cell matrix that needs to be incorporated into the phase two research design.
3. Treloar, A. (2005), "Solar-Silico-Saline Therapy: Fad or Fantasy?", Int. J. Wellness, Vol 100, No 2.
Keywords: Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services/Tourism/Tourism Behaviour
Abstract: This paper describes a single-subject experiment involving a 180-degree work-life balance repolarisation, coupled with a zero-tolerance approach to the use of any form of information technology. The research project builds on earlier research reported in Treloar (2003). The subject initially experienced feelings of loss of purpose, coupled with an ongoing desire to see if any new emails had arrived in the last minute, and what the latest slashdot posting was about. After repeated courses of integrated solar-silico-saline therapy these symptoms diminished markedly. A side-effect, the desirability of which should perhaps be viewed as highly context and task-specific, was a reduced sense of the passage of time, or even of the importance of such passage. On return to work, it is believed that the subject will experience greater motivation, increased clarity of thought, and a better perspective on how to proactively manage an increasingly complex task portfolio. In addition, it is hoped that the subject will be more fun to work with. Due to the limited sample size, and the restricted experiment duration, more research will be required as a matter of urgency to validate these findings.
2. Treloar, D. (2004). "Technology tough love - how I got my husband to go computer cold turkey", J. App. Spousal Mgt, Vol 32, Spring.
Keywords: Recaltricance, Self-Justification, Reflection, Action
Abstract: [yet to be supplied by author]
1. Treloar, A. (2003), "Sun, sand and surf - an innovative new treatment regime delivers real relaxed results", Int. J. Wellness, Vol 99, No 1.
Keywords: Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services/Tourism/Tourism Behaviour
Abstract: [not completed due to fieldwork-induced damage (sand/salt water rendering laptop inoperable)]

©Andrew Treloar, 2010. W: http://andrew.treloar.net/ E: andrew.treloar@ands.org.au