Robert Riemann

21/09/2018 - BETA Symposium Prague

Characteristics of Communication

What is Communication?



Communication is when Alice tells Bob something.

Communication shall be defined as the act of passing information encoded in messages from senders through a channel to recipients.


Communication Studies or

Information Theory

Not every message contains information:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor.


Fun Fact

What is Information?

Information Theory:

  • description of a state
  • basic state: bit X = 1 or 0
  • measured as entropy H
Binary entropy plot 00.51 00.51 Pr(X = 1) H(X)

What is a Channel?

The channel is the medium that allows to convey the message.


  • over the air (speaking)
  • over wire (LAN)
  • electro-magnetic waves
    (WLAN, Bluetooth, Satellite TV, GPS, GSM/LTE,
    smoke signs)


Channel Characteristics

  • simplex, half-duplex, full-duplex
  • transmission range
  • quality
  • costs per unit of information
    (the smallest unit of information is the bit 0 or 1)
  • volume (bits per time)
  • speed (meter per time)
  • distributed vs centralised (topology)

History of Channels

  1. everything is small, costly and very distributed
    (horse post, gossiping)

  2. everything is large and centralised and monoplex (TV, radio), cheap

  3. everything is large, duplex (social media), high volume (big data), fast and cheap (fake news) and in High Definition!



How much GiB data do you download when watching 1h Netflix in HD?

3 GiB

How much GiB data do you need to send every human being the message ‘Hello!’?

5.3 GiB

Governance Models for Communication

  • Who can discover which recipients? (Directory?)
  • What format (encoding) of messages is imposed?
    (length limit, text, pictures, links, video)
  • How is sending and receiving of messages or notifications authorised and controlled?
    (per sender/receiver/topic)
  • Who determines sorting/priority of messages?
    How are received messages sorted/prioritised?
  • Who pays the transmission costs?
Mail Mailinglist Facebook Page
Directory none (hidden) list Facebook
Format free, but rather small mails free, but rather
small mails
constrained by Facebook
Authorisation none by list owner FB users/none
Prioritisation ordered by time ordered by time unknown
Scalability 1-to-1 n-to-n mostly 1-to-n
Archive distributed central ?
user based all-in per page (topic)

Modern Communication

State of the Art
Directory yes, configurable
Format free, but semantic, with search, responsive, etc.
Authorisation yes
Prioritisation transparent, configurable (time, popularity, topic)
Scalability n-to-n
Archive yes, configurable
per user or user group, per topic, per message
(mentions, subscribing to tags, topics, blocking, etc.)

BETA Forum

  • access-restricted, support of Google Login
  • get access to topics per
    • BETA Branch
    • BETA Team
  • (un)subscribe to notifications per
    • topic (individual thread)
    • ad-hoc groups (Forum PMs)
    • BETA Branch (Forum categories and Groups)
    • BETA Team (Forum tags)

BETA Forum (2)

  • full-text search
  • upload documents
  • co-edit posts (wiki-mode)
  • FAQ knowledge database
  • intuitive formatting (compatible to our websites)
  • app-mode (Android, iOS?) with notifications
  • configurable digest mail (weekly newsletter)
  • mention people to draw their attention
  • dictionary of all BETA volunteers
  • mailing-list mode:

BETA Forum (3)

  • Forum profile is reused on BETA website
  • Forum username is used to get you a
    mail address:
  • BETA Forum GDPR compliance
    is taken care of by BETA Europe
  • BETA Forum is paid by BETA Europe
    (worth: 100$/month)

Website Contact Page

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Considerations concerning Communication

By Robert Riemann

Considerations concerning Communication

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