Kairos: Past, Present and Future(s)

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September 1995: @MediaMOO
(Doherty's Thread)

We spent so much time online together that Siering built an office in MediaMOO where we would hold and log weekly "staff meetings." The topics ranged from what our editorial process would be to ... well, what should we call this thing?

Given what we saw as the myriad possibilities of what we might publish — a journal without page limitations or the borders of Bolterian writing space — we agreed on the name Kairos, which Kinneavy defined as "situational context," but which we took to mean much more.

"The word has roots in both weaving (suggesting the creation of an opening) and archery (denoting the seizing of, and striking forcefully through, an opening)," the new Kairos Web site would soon proclaim. "In hypertextual environments ... we are writing differently; we are reading differently; we are learning differently; we are teaching differently. Kairos is a journal that addresses these facts individually and syllogistically."

With little more than a name and an editorial staff in place, the publication now more or less resembled CMCM — but to provide a truly recognizable peer-reviewed publication, it would also need an editorial board. And here's where we — no, make that I — made an editorial decision that, in retrospect, was probably a mistake.

Early MOO-based staff meetings centered around the idea that graduate students were generally doing the most interesting and important work in hypertextual media, and that senior faculty rarely had an appreciation for that work. So in a sweeping generalization disguised as a political "statement," I decided that our editorial board would not include any tenured faculty. Virtually everyone on the staff disagreed with the idea, but for the first (and not last) time, I invoked editorial veto and enforced a questionable decision.

We invited instead those other graduate students and junior faculty we knew well and respected — Lee Honeycutt, Eric Crump, Chris Boese, and, of course, Becky Rickly, among others — to constitute the first Kairos editorial board. They did terrific work, creating and refining a new kind of interactive peer-review process. But again, in retrospect, inviting the brilliance of Lisa Gerrard or Bill Condon to participate could only have helped the cause of a "startup" journal like Kairos.

Next — October 1995: Troy, New York

Kairos Will Have Been ...
(Salvo's Story)

Kairos logo circa 2002 ... and beyond?