Kairos Meet The Author Series

November 24th 1997

Featuring: Lee Libby the author of "_Passing Theory in Action: The Discourse Between Hypertext and Paralogic Hermeneutics"

Hosted by: Kairos Editors Nick Carbone and Jennifer Bowie

The following is the log of the session.

--Start log: Monday, November 24, 1997 7:07:29 pm LinguaMOO time­­

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A large room with distant light walls and lots of hazy, but too bright, light. There are several large pillows on the floor, and in the front of the room there is a small platform stage with a group of comfortable chairs. Type 'up' to step up on the platform stage.

Jennifer shows slide #1.

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Welcome to the Third KMTA _K_airos _M_eet _T_he _A_uthors MOO Series!

The Meet the Authors Series is a Lingua MOO forum in which the Authors of Kairos webtexts lead discussions about the issues raised in the texts as published. MOO Logs for these texts will be edited for publication and reaction in forthcoming issues of the journal.


Lee Libby, author of
Passing Theory in Action: The Discourse Between Hypertext and Paralogic Hermeneutics_

Hosted by Nick Carbone and Jennifer Bowie

If you have any questions on how to MOO contact Jennifer (type 'page Jennifer your question or concerns') or type 'help introduction'

Thank you for joining us.

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traci quietly enters.
traci arrives.

Jennifer shows slide #2.

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This discussion will be logged and archived.

***Please state your name and your affiliation***.

To continue this and other discussions of Kairos pieces, please consider joining our email discussion list, KMTA. To join you can send mail to Majordomo@utdallas.edu with the following command in the body of your email message:

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The log of this or other Kairos Meet the Author Meetings are available:

KMTA 1 November 10th with the Authors of "Hypertext Reflections" is at: http://english.ttu.edu/Kairos/2.2/response/moo1.html

KMTA 2 November 17th with Author/Teacher Matt Kirschenbaum and Author Doug Brent is at: http://english.ttu.edu/Kairos/2.2/response/moo.html

KMTA 3 This KMTA will be available at: http://english.ttu.edu/Kairos/2.2/response/moo3.html

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nickc is Nick Carbone, soon­to­be­formerly­of Marlboro College

Jennifer is Jennifer L. Bowie of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Response Editor of Kairos

Jennifer says, "Could everyone please tell us who you are?"

Ruthie says, "I'm Ruth Mirtz, Florida State University (my first time mooing, by the way)"

nickc is Nick Carbone, exasperated father whose kids think tickling is silly J

Jennifer says, "tickling IS silly"

Jennifer shows slide #3.

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Questions of the week:

Is hypertext really the great emancipator of the reader? Or have readers always been free? Is textual authority a given? Are hypertext maps just another kind of path to lead readers down? What's the big deal?

And from last week:

Is one piece of hypertext more important than others?

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Douglas­E quietly enters.
Douglas­E arrives.

Jennifer waves to douglas­E

nickc says, "I asked these questions because it seemed to me that part of Libby's argument was the hypertext was like paralogics, but seems to me, paralogics is based more"

Jennifer [to Ruth]: is you have any questions feel free to ask

Douglas­E greets everyone and apologizes for his tardiness.

nickc says, "on agreement between speakers to make meaning, whereas hypertext theory says meaning comes from reader primarily, thus the goal to make hypertexts more"

nickc says, "reader malleable­­i.e. constructive is better than exploratory"

nickc says, "but if reader makes meaning, does it matter whether hypertext is either kind?"

Ruthie [to Jennifer]: Thanks, I will.

Douglas­E [to nickc]: well, that's where you get into questions of whether the reader becomes author, and thus primary meaning­maker (or can there *be* a primary meaning­maker in either hypertext or paralogics?)

Jennifer says, "I think it matters on the type of hypertext it is, and how you want the reader to find meaning"

Libby says, "I think this is an interesting question. For me it has to do with why a person creates a text in the first place."

nickc [to Libby]: I think your argument was that even so, readers still defer to text and that hypertext will put them on more paralogic footing?

nickc [to Libby]: can you say more about intent of writer?

Libby [to nickc]: I used to think that writers were supposed to try and deliver up something meaningful for readers.

nickc [to doug­e]: but according to Derrida and the gang, reading is writing, so whether the text is hyper or codex, readers make meaning and author's intention doesn't matter as much

Mick quietly enters.
Mick arrives.

Mick says, "hello?"

Jennifer says, "without the author's intentions you have nothing"

nickc [to Libby]: I'd say they still are; even in h­text where readers can have full read/write capabilities, like some StorySpace stuff

Jennifer waves to Mick

Cynthia [to nickc]: I'm don't think Derrida and the gang would say author's intention doesn't matter...but they would say that an author doesn't always know their intentions either..ala the unconscious being unrepresentable

Douglas­E [to Libby]: also, it seems to me (although I'm not versed in paralogics by any means) that the agreement between speakers, as they come closer to codifying meanings agreeable to each party works better the more dynamic the interaction (eg synchronous vs. asynchronous); therefore, the more fluid the reader­author­reader interaction in hypertext the closer to paralogics it becomes­­right?

Mick had all four e­mail accounts at work down simultaneously today ... :­( Sorry to be late. We were dog­shopping.

Libby [to nickc]: Now I write with the idea that I am writing for myself and if someone else can find meaning in my work that's great, but that is not really the purpose

nickc [to Cynthia]: right, should have said can't be divined, necesarily by reader, and isn't necessary that reader get it exactly

Jennifer hums how much is that doggie in the window

Douglas­E [to nickc]: certainly (reading is/as writing)­­but the activity of reading vs. the activity of writing is what may become blurred by hypertext, not just the epistemological stance.

nickc [to Libby]: but how far do you go to help them find meaning in your work­­sounds like Elbow's "closing my eyes as I speak" piece

Jennifer says, "even with hypertext the writing is already there, its written, however the paths are the readers (although still "Set in some degree by the author) How blurred does that make it?"

nickc [to Douglas­E]: or maybe not the activity so much as the space (ala Bolter and J­Eiola), from the margins and the notebooks *into* the text itself

Cynthia [to Libby]: there's a lot to say about the question of saying goodbye to audience...(Vitanza's terms, not mine...though I often write, mostly write, I think, with no audience in mind)...but in hypertext, is there not a technological layer that does need to consider browser as audience :)

Libby [to nickc]: Actually I don't go very far intentionally. But because I have been trained in a certain way, I think my investigative path speaks to others who come from a similar school.

Mick says, "Call me a curmudgeon, but I never really saw how hypertext changes the act of writing, as Doug means it (I think) ... the form, the media, are different ­­ but if we assume invention is a social act, then it is the same *across* media."

Jennifer agrees with Mick

Douglas­E has disconnected.
Douglas­E has connected.

nickc [to Libby]: that's an interesting argument: sounds like your saying that your habits come for a discourse community and that you've internalized them

Douglas­E nods nickc and curses his evil, evil ISP.

Cynthia [to Libby]: I wanted to know whether you read Vitanza's work on paralogy? You cite some essays in his CyberReader, but I think in Vitanza's "Three Counter­Theses" essay he talks a great deal about paralogy...just curious to know if that influenced any of your research on paralogy

nickc [to Libby]: so that others who have done the same can follow the path almost intuitively

nickc [to Ruthie]: how're you doing?

Daniel quietly enters.
Daniel arrives.

Daniel says, "Hi all"

Libby [to Cynthia]: I have not read Three Counter­Theses. I apologize if my responses are a little slow. I 'm new at this.

Cynthia smiles.

nickc [to Mick]: but invention is not solely a social act­­it's also a cognitive act

Ruthie [to nickc]: Just fine, just listening, too slow at the moo commands to join in

Cynthia [to Libby]: no apologies necessary! this is new territory for some of you here tonight :) We're patient...plus lots of textbeing thrown at you!

Jennifer says, "we've all been in the beginner's seat before"

Cynthia [to Libby]: It's a difficult essay, but quite useful I think. It's in the MLA collection called _Contending With Words_.

nickc [to Ruthie]: what's the paper you're working on on?

Mick thinks this connection is extremely tenuous ... I will look forward to reading the log of this session. I hope everyone here will also subscribe to KMTA­L to further the discussion. Enjoy!

Mick has disconnected.

nickc thinks that's an appropriate title for Victor's stuff

Libby [to nickc]: I do believe that I have been conditioned by my discourse community. I am struggling to get over it. (If that is at all possible)

nickc [to Libby]: getting over a discourse community? I don't know, kind of like being a cultural catholic­­don't practice the religion any more, but can't quite leave it either

Libby [to Cynthia]: I will read it asap. That is one of the benefits I have enjoyed in the course of publishing via Kairos. I have gotten great referrals to information that is new to me.

Cynthia [to nickc]: and I thought that was just a Southern Baptist thing :)

nickc wonders if hypertext will change what is meant by academic discourse community

Ruthie [to nickc]: What's "the paper" you refer to?

Cynthia [to Libby]: Is Thomas Kent on the faculty where you are?

nickc [to Ruthie]: I thought you were working on a paper for some reason and must have you confused with someone else

Daniel says, "I've wondered about the ht and discourse community status as well. For instance, how does design language complicate the normal content aspects of a community?"

Libby [to Cynthia]: Yes, he is the Chair of the English Department at Iowa State University.

nickc Nick looks for an answer to Dan's question in _Connections_

Cynthia [to Libby]: thanks, I thought so, but wasn't sure. He might not cotton to having Vitanza's paralogy paralogically discussed with his paralogy :)

Daniel says, "Well, that's probably not in the index ;)"

Libby says, "I hope that hypertext changes the discourse community. Actually, I think that my participation in this discourse community is only because of my use of hypertext."

The housekeeper arrives to cart Mick off to bed.

Cynthia [to Libby]: I thought you did a great job of laying out the issues, the parallels and paralogical distinctions

nickc [to Daniel]: or put another way, how does the added layers of complexity change what it means to compose oneself (comport oneself) in a discourse community

Libby says, "I am new to publishing. My comfort with hypertext gave me the confidence to publish at all."

Douglas­E [to Daniel]: what is 'design language'?

Cynthia [to Libby]: your 'sidegression' term is kewl

Daniel says, "I like the impulse that ht enables some to enter into a new discourse community, but wonder, following Cynthia;'s praise for your laying out the issues, think that the community is ht and also theoretical, etc."

nickc [to Libby]: I don't think it will change much in terms of hierarchy

Libby [to Cynthia]: Now I will definitely have to read Vitanza's paralogy.

Daniel says, "[to Douglas e] I'm thinking of the way that Libby's piece works in terms of a community that talks about building hts as well as theories. I think the essay complicates nicely the standard recommendations of designers, so it fits with and clashes with that community."

Libby [to Daniel]: I'm not sure I understand. Can you elaborate for me?

Daniel says, " [to nickc] I like the notion of added layers of complexity. And I guess overlapping communities."

Douglas­E nods Daniel

nickc [to Libby]: do you not have as much comfort with writing for say a print journal as you did with hypertext?

nickc [to Daniel]: yes, especially since more and more design decisions are based on theory about what hypertext should do

nickc sees a lag settling in
nickc has disconnected.
The housekeeper arrives to remove nickc.

Daniel says, "One point that I liked about the essay was the way that it complicated my ideas of how to teach ht design. The standard line is standardize. Map things out and reveal information progressively. Your essay does otherwise and would likely be challenged by software creators, etc. On another level, thogh, it does what it says, talking about choice and then mirroring that in the essay, so it would appeal to some who are thinking about design issues."

nickc quietly enters.
nickc arrives.
nickc whiplashed by a disconnect

Libby [to Daniel]: Oh yes, I hope it would be challenged.

Jennifer will be right back

Cynthia [to Daniel]: good point..the genre we are comfortable theorizing in becomes complicated by the fact that theorizing hypertext in print is really kind of against the grain of the medium itself

Libby says, "That is one of the exiting points of working with a hypertext. I can try and demonstrate ht situations while I theorize about them. I find this to be very cool."

Daniel says, "[to Cynthia] Yes and even on a smaller level. The theory that focuses on choice and negotiation works best in an ht genre like Libby's. A theory looking at web as evolutionary/small shifts in communication might want a standardized menu bar or a linear ht"

nickc [to Libby]: and really very necessary too, because the reading in ht experience is vital to having a sense of it

Libby [to nickc]: Welcome back. I agree that print does not translate the ht experience.

Jennifer is back

Daniel says, "[to Libby] One way that print can translate ht is by analogy. What do you think of comparing your opening page to the topic paragraph of an essay?"

Jennifer says, "however there have been examples of hypertext in print, those choose your own adventures, but that's about as hypertext as print gets"

nickc [to Daniel]: whenever i read some theorists, i see them describing essentially the kind of hypertext they tend to write, the same way T.S. Eliot's poetic theories fit his work

nickc drowns in lag, but at least there are snow flakes to watch

Libby [to Daniel]: I must admit that a good open in print can convey a tremendous amount.

Cynthia says, "when I teach Michael Joyce's book Of Two Minds, I often get mixed responses because students who have no experience reading hypertexts, much less writing one, find it hard to 'connect' with :)"

Jennifer says, "Unless the reader chooses to make a reading hypertext. But then the information is not often designed for that"

Jennifer says, "the reading and information in my above statement being print"

Libby [to Cynthia]: How can you teach about hypertext to an audience that has no experience with it?

Douglas­E has disconnected.

Daniel says, "I enjoyed reading the reactions to Joyce in last week's log. I wonder if it might also be the case that students have little experience with theoretical prose "

Jennifer says, "wouldn't teaching hypertext to an audience with no experience be better than teaching to those with set expectations, those minds that grasp could do things those with more set ideas may not be able to"

Libby [to Jennifer]: That is an interesting way to look at it. I can see that giving them some information before they are exposed might help their understanding and comfort level.

Daniel says, "Teaching to those with no experience works fine, I think, but reflecting on what is happening when one composes ht, works better after building some ht project."

Jennifer says, "I learned about hypertext as part of a summer class, and wrote a hypertextaul story knowing about hypertext, in general, but with little experience. I knew some of the theories but not all the practices. I wonder how my story would have differed"

Libby [to Daniel]: I agree. For me the entire process has been trial and error.

Daniel says, "[to Jennifer and Libby] What might the relationship between theory and practice be, then?"

nickc [to Jennifer]: no, take a look at Fowler's book on English Usage­­heavy cross referencing­­if you follow one entry and all the cross references and their cross references, you can read for hours

nickc says, "'see also'=the link of the past"

nickc used to have students write ht in paper classroom by making mobiles of texts that hung and cross referenced one another with yarn

nickc [to Jennifer]: oooh, don't know if the blank slate analogy works here

Libby [to Jennifer]: I wrote hypertexts before I knew the theory.

The housekeeper arrives to cart Douglas­E off to bed.

nickc [to Libby]: didn't your experience writing them shade how you interpreted the theory?

Libby [to nickc]: Absolutely. As I came across theory that explicated my experiences, I embraced it. Now I have to go back and fill in the blanks.

Jennifer says, "I only learned some theory, it was actually more of a "here's some people's ideas what do you think" method of learning. Humm maybe a hypertextual way of learning it"

nickc [to Libby]: or you can contest the blanks

Jennifer says, "I don't think a totally blank slate would work with hypertext, but maybe more of a vague slate..."

Libby [to nickc]: Well sometimes I do contest the blanks, but often I move from theory to theory finding interesting pieces in each.

nickc [to Libby]: and in that movement, do you take bits and pieces and invent a more useable whole, do you pick up strands and weave your own?

Libby [to nickc]: Perhaps my learning method was hypertextual before ht appear in its current state.

Daniel says, "Interesting points about discovering theories and learning from people's ideas...bits and pieces. I like the collaborative slant here and think that borrowing on the Web might actually fit in. If someone borrows an icon or a script there's communal theory behind it and practical learning/use as well"

nickc [to Libby]: I think everyone's learning is like that to some degree­­picking up strands and weaving them together­­sometimes it's expressed in a single piece of thought, an essay

nickc nods Danile

nickc makes that Daniel ­­Da nile's what you get when you can't say yes

Daniel says, "[to nickc] Back to discourse communities. I've always liked the borrowed/mentored explanations over the mastery of conventions models."

Jennifer says, "much of my learning in communication has become the picking and weaving. I find that's how I work best (and I don't just mean communication, but I use communication perhaps as the loom)"

nickc nods Daniel­­me too

nickc says, "I think there's a place for hypertext to reinvigorate that aspect of discourse communities, and I think, with some care, it can bring students into the community more fully and quickly"

Jennifer says, "Last week we discussed how many don't like or perhaps "get" ht, do you still think it would work"

nickc says, "I think too, the willingness to share, to let some things be communal property is very important in that scenario of community"

Jennifer wonders how much ht pulled her in

Daniel says, "I like that project. One thing I''ve found in mywork, though, is that it is often the class design or the project implemented that does most of the work. HT is a terrific vehicle, but giving students the keys is where to start."

nickc says, "which is why share icons, or in Dan's case, share scripts, in cynthia and jan's case, shared MOO core, matter so much"

nickc nods Daniel­­if they have keys, the gate ain't so bad

Libby [to nickc]: I tend to weave my own. Which often leaves me wondering if I am out of the loop because I rarely embrace something completely.

Libby [to nickc]: But what about you. Did you have the theory first, or the ht experience?

Libby [to Daniel]: I agree. There does seem to be a much more communal feeling.

Libby [to Daniel]: If someone mastered conventions, could they translate that into new creations?

Libby says, "I am familiar with the phenomenon."

Libby says, "I think my connection is going bad."

Daniel says, "[to nickc] That's what I've enjoyed about recent discussion is the balance that seems to be striking between ht=emancipatory theory and the ht building by students=emancipatory projects."

Cynthia sends a pox on the netlag monster

nickc [to Libby]: but sharing what you've woven, and doing it so graciously, really belies that out­of­the­loop fear because you both invite and are invited into loops

Cynthia has to bow out of the discussion to make a long drive home

Cynthia waves bye to all

nickc notices it's after 9, usual wrap up time

Daniel says, "[to Libby] Well that's a bit of a paradox, maybe, bc mastering the conventions might close of critique of them. Are you also thinking, though that learning the conventions was creating something new, and maybe altering those conventions in the process. that would be a healthy way"

Cynthia has disconnected.

Daniel waves bye
Daniel has disconnected.

Jennifer shows slide #10.

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The hour had come and gone.

Thank you for joining this session of

KMTA _K_airos _M_eet _T_he _A_uthors MOO Series!

The recorder is about to be turned off.

If you are interested in joining the KMTA mailing list to further discuss this or other issues, you can send mail to Majordomo@utdallas.edu with the following command in the body of your email message:

subscribe kmta


The log of this or other Kairos Meet the Author Meetings are available:

KMTA 1 November 10th with the Authors of "Hypertext Reflections" is at http://english.ttu.edu/Kairos/2.2/response/moo1.html

KMTA 2 November 17th with Author/Teacher Matt Kirschenbaum and Author Doug Brent is at: http://english.ttu.edu/Kairos/2.2/response/moo.html

KMTA 3 This KMTA will be available at: http://english.ttu.edu/Kairos/2.2/response/moo3.html

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nickc looks the end.

­­ End log: Monday, November 24, 1997 8:08:17 pm LinguaMOO time ­­