Beyond On-hold Messages: Conversational Time-buying in Task-oriented Dialogue

Soledad López Gambino, Sina Zarrieß, David Schlangen


Abstract
A common convention in graphical user interfaces is to indicate a “wait state”, for example while a program is preparing a response, through a changed cursor state or a progress bar. What should the analogue be in a spoken conversational system? To address this question, we set up an experiment in which a human information provider (IP) was given their information only in a delayed and incremental manner, which systematically created situations where the IP had the turn but could not provide task-related information. Our data analysis shows that 1) IPs bridge the gap until they can provide information by re-purposing a whole variety of task- and grounding-related communicative actions (e.g. echoing the user’s request, signaling understanding, asserting partially relevant information), rather than being silent or explicitly asking for time (e.g. “please wait”), and that 2) IPs combined these actions productively to ensure an ongoing conversation. These results, we argue, indicate that natural conversational interfaces should also be able to manage their time flexibly using a variety of conversational resources.
Anthology ID:
W17-5529
Volume:
Proceedings of the 18th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue
Month:
August
Year:
2017
Address:
Saarbrücken, Germany
Venues:
SIGDIAL | WS
SIG:
SIGDIAL
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
241–246
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/W17-5529
DOI:
10.18653/v1/W17-5529
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Soledad López Gambino, Sina Zarrieß, and David Schlangen. 2017. Beyond On-hold Messages: Conversational Time-buying in Task-oriented Dialogue. In Proceedings of the 18th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue, pages 241–246, Saarbrücken, Germany. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Beyond On-hold Messages: Conversational Time-buying in Task-oriented Dialogue (López Gambino et al., 2017)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/W17-5529.pdf