Pimentel, M. G., Fuks, H., and de Lucena, C. J. P. Co-text loss in textual chat tools. In 4th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Modeling and Using Context (CONTEXT2003) (Stanford, CA, USA, June 2003), vol. LNAI 2680, pp. 483–490. [url]
This paper present some basic statistics on the co-text loss, the phenomenon that occurs in a chat session when a participant does not establish a conversation thread. According to the authors, co-text loss occurs each time the reader is unable to identify which of the previous messages provides the elements that are necessary to understand the message that is being read.
One of the identified cause of the co-text loss is the lack of linearity of a chat text. The authors propose two different tools that could be used to overcome this phenomenon: HyperDialog allows the users to structure their conversation in threads; and MediatedChat, where the user cn chose a specific turn-taking mechanism (e.g., free contributions, where each participant can send a message at any time; or circular contributions, where the participants are organized in a circular queque).
The author report that co-text loss is more likely to occur during free contributions. Precisely, during the branching-out phase of the free conversation other topics started to be discussed that made co-text more likely to occur.