I never had any illusions that we at ACW Web Central could keep up with everything happening in computers and writing on the web. I envisioned a clearing house with a number of links to other webmeisters who had assumed more specific linking responsibilities, but that hasn't happened. Other webmeisters, and there are some incredibly imaginative and industrious ones out there, don't particularly want to limit their own "agenting" to a specific area (writing courses that use email lists, for instance) and give the links they accumulate in other areas to other webmeisters.
In other words, webmeisters don't want to be a limb on somebody else's tree. Everybody wants to be the first stop on the "one-stop shopping" list. (What can I say? Sigh. People.) Since we're all volunteers with not a dime or a minute's release time from the other world of work we all have, what energies discipline a hierarchical structure of computers and writing agents? Computers and Composition, our community's premier print journal, grew from the astonishing labor and love of a few people, Cindy Selfe and Gail Hawisher being principal, but within a knowledge-management structure well understood by everybody in the business. It may have started as a mimeo printout mailed to ten people, but its goal was clear, and ABLEX, honored among foresighted publishers, as Jean-Luc would say, "made it so."
Whither goeth ACW pages? Rhetnet ? Kairos ?
I'm sure the Internet is going to rapidly go far beyond mega-firehose power. The problem has never been Mac vs. Windows, Daedalus vs. Connect, the hardware problem or the software problem, but rather the knowledge problem -- the "wetware" problem ("wet" referring to both the organic nature of the brain and the sweat most of us generate when our students turn on their workstations wondering if writing instruction, that most resistant to change of all human endeavors, is actually going to be different this time).
"What," Karl Malden asks, "WILL you do?" Trent Batson and I and ACW members have found ourselves both progenitors and captives of a new kind of societal learning process, one in which we are holding the firehose, but it is flinging us about, largely out of control, and we are crying out, "It's good! It's good! It supposed to be out of control!" But sometimes with a decided lack of conviction.