diagnostic dialogue

"There's a simple way to find out if an operating system has been well
designed. When you get an error message, go to the help system and
look up the exact words in that message to see if there was enough of
a concept of an architecture that they have a consistent vocabulary to
talk about what's broken." - Bill Joy, quoted at sysprog.net

A diagnostic dialogue is dialogue with the primary purpose of identifying a problem - and applying processes and terms optimized for that purpose. It is problem-based and not solution-based. Crocker's Rules are a well known example, voluntarily permitting etiquette to be relaxed or ignored in favour of more and more accurate information exchange.

not dialogue mapping

A contrasting approach is dialogue mapping http://cognexus.org/index.htm which relies on social norms and is just another form of facilitation or mediation. Like all social methods it is subject to groupthink and to producing self-justifying rationale rather than actual explicit argumentation, e.g. rationale management not issue-based argument.


An essay on diagnostic dialogue in the context of an open project: openproject yahoogroup message 5.