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The Computers and Writing conference is well known for its rather informal, highly supportive atmosphere. Unlike the other academic conferences in our field that are often crowded with nervous, slightly combative participants and frazzled, slightly defeated job-seekers. (The MLA comes to mind. For another opinion about this aspect of past Computers and Writing conferences see Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine), the Computers and Writing conference is essentially a meeting place for like-minded academics (and other related professionals) who are intent on making the conference as friendly as possible, and who are actually there to learn from each other.

Everyone I met was obviously tired of the fighting the daily departmental battles that most of us encounter in our attempts to be taken seriously as English scholars and as good writing instructors. Therefore, no one had any interest in jockeying for superior position during conversations or during post-presentation discussions. If an academic title did come up in conversation it was usually mentioned quickly, then dismissed in a fairly conscious attempt to demonstrate that at this conference titles were not important. Graduate students, adjuncts, commercial software developers and full tenured professors were all treated with equal amounts of respect and polite consideration. Everyone had something worthwhile to say, and everyone had a worthwhile contribution to make to the cooperative spirit of the conference.

©David Gillette, 1996