There is neither a first word or a last word. The contexts of
dialogue are without limit. They extend into the deepest past and the most distant future. Even
meanings born in dialogues of the remotest past will never be finally grasped once and for all, they
will always be renewed in later dialogue. At any present moment of the dialogue there are great
masses of forgotten meanings, but these will be recalled again, at a given moment in the dialogue's
later course when it will be given new life. For nothing is absolutely dead: every meaning will
someday have it's homecoming festival.
--Mikhail Bakhtin (Estetika 373)
The Jester project was conceived as a beginning, a place to begin to weave together the different stories of MOO, reaching into our recent past, reaching perhaps even farther into our pedagogical and theoretical stances, renewing our dialogue which we believe will continue on. We hope we have had a brief "homecoming festival" and look forward to more of the same. For now, Kristian and Janet have a temporary sense of closure , even though that includes a bit of ranting , reflecting on what we have seen and heard thus far. However, we also know even this sense of closure will change as our administrators enter the conversation (as we hope they will).
We see departmental guidelines such as "One Department's Guidelines for Evaluating Computer-Related Work" , offered in this CoverWeb by Seth Katz, as tentative new beginnings to an important conversation where we are just starting to consider how to evaluate our online work and play. We believe that the valuable contributions that ITC & CCCCCCC Project to Establish Guidelines for Promotion, Tenure, and Academic Recognition of Those Working with Computer Technology (with serious consideration of labor practices) should be brought into play along with departmental guidelines considering what constitutes the play of "scholarly" and "rigorous" work. They play off each other. Janice Walker offers MOO experience in Fanning the Flames: Tenure and Promotion and Other Role-Playing Games, problematizing how we value off-line and online publications (Is it paper <---> Is it hypertext?), pointing to exactly what frustrates and/or delights the most as newbies fall into hypertext or MOO. How we begin to value our play and work online most likely will be from the outside/in inside/out...an interplay where the boundaries have disappeared and many find that taking a deep breath and taking the leap will serve to get them across that chasm.