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Context Markings in Instant Messaging

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000029732D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Jul-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Jul-09
Document File: 2 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue



This article describes a method to identify logical context of a message in an instant messaging system. Since instant messages tend to be short and have few references to what the message is in response to, in multi-user chat sessions identifying context of a message is key in understanding the actual meaning. This invention provides mechanism to both identify and capture implicit and explict content of a message.

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Context Markings in Instant Messaging

In a multi-user discussion over instant messaging, such as an ongoing conference, it is typical to have multiple participants issuing statements nearly simultaneously. This leads to a difficulty in determining the context of a given statement, leading to difficulty interpreting the sequence of statements.

For example, user P5 might see the following sequence of messages:

P1: We should use option 1 or option 2 to implement Feature 73A491265. P2: I believe option 2 has fundamental flaws. P3: I believe option 1 has performance issues.

P4: Yes, I agree.

At this point, nobody except P4 really knows whether P4 is agreeing with P1's statement, P2's statement, P3's statement, or a subset of all three.

The literature does not speak to specific solutions for this problem. The usual technique is to ask for clarification at the point where confusion is detected, as in

P5: With whom? P1 or P2 and P3? P4: I agree with P1 and P3. P1 is right, those are the only viable solutions we have right now; P3 is right, the naive implementation will have serious performance problems. P5: I give up. Let's find a real conference room where we can hash this out. P1, we'll call you from whatever conference room we find. Really wish you were here in sunny RTP instead of trapped in the Boston Airport. Do you have your cell phone?

An additional solution is required to allow reconstruction of the conversational flow both during the conference and after the co...