Kairos FAQ

This is an archival version of the Kairos FAQ, which ran from issue 2.1 through issue 6.2

The following are quoted or adapted from the most commonly-asked questions to Kairos by readers, publishers, contributors, and other interested parties.

True to the spirit of multiple ways of learning/seeing/reading in a hypertextual environment, these questions will not be dismissed with a single answer; rather, each member of the Kairos editorial staff will have an opportunity to answer as many as they care to. So, you might have one question with four answers ... which, combined, will give more of a perspective on how decisions are made and work is done in the production of this journal.

The Kairos FAQ will be updated with publication of each issue. If you have any other questions you believe should be addressed here, or you would like to comment on or offer critique regarding any of the answers which follow, please do not hesitate to contribute. ***[mailto] or [netThread] or both???

Some of these questions have been addressed in previous essays by Editorial Staff and/or Board members, and in those cases, a link to their work is included in the various answers.

1. What does "Kairos" mean, anyway? And why choose that for the name of this journal?

*Link to "Why Kairos" by Doherty

The original Greek meanings for "kairos" are complex and culturally dependent, but roughly the term can be interpreted as a combination of appropriateness and timeliness. In terms of rhetoric, "kairos" can be seen as an understanding of the subtleties of the rhetorical situation, particularly those dealing with time. I think the reasons this journal is named after this term are numerous: In terms of our hypertext focus and format, our name acknowledges the ways hypertext reintroduces time-related rhetorical issues by allowing the reader to become a more active part of the rhetorical act. In terms of the journal itself, the founders of Kairos were able to seize an opportunity and launch this publication at a propitious moment in our professional history. As the saying goes, "Timing is everything." -Greg Siering

And Kairos continues to reinvent itself, expanding, reorganizing, rethinking, and reshaping its format and approach as the "times change." We were among the first of the (then) few academic journals to (now) capitalize on frames in our interface and we have formulated editorial policies that recognize the leading edge of scholarship on documentation, linking, and archiving hypertexts. We pride ourselves as a publication whose development is fluid, taking place continually over time. -Claudine Keenan

2. How do you define "hypertext"? I notice that you claim to publish only "native hypertext" ... what's that mean?

Stuart Moulthrop coined the phrase "native hypertext." Our understanding of it, and what we encourage from our authors, means writing pieces that read best in hypertext. Most Web writing follows a print paradigm. See for example, <a href="http://www.slate.com/">Slate,</a> where the articles are single screened and links are to outside references. Those pieces can be easily downloaded and printed (one of <em>Slate's</em> goals), and very little is lost by not taking the links.

But consider Doug Brent's "Rhetorics of the Web." That is a piece that can only be comfortably read on a computer. The links to and from each node could never be explored in print as they are presented online. The piece's hypertextual structure captures Brent's hypertextual thinking, with its attendant logic, recursiveness, and associative modes.

On a related matter, some theorists (Guyer, Joyce) believe that the web is not as fully hypertextual as disk-based hypertext of which Eastgate is the premier supplier. Joyce distinguishes between 'constructive' and 'exploratory' hypertext. Constructive hypertext may be native, but it exists largely as the construct of a single author, and the links, while there may be many, are predetermined by the author. Web hypertext are constructive because they are read-only (chmod 644, anyone?). Exploratory hypertext, disk-based like Eastgate, allow a purchaser to enter into the hypertext structure; in addition to following the links and reading the nodes created by the author, they can also edit the nodes and links or add new nodes and links. Exploratory hypertext offers the readers the chance for fuller participation in the hypertext's space.

However, as Brent as shown by including a zipped version of his hypertext that could be downloaded and expanded on the Kairos reader's harddrive, and as tools such as WebWhacker make possible, Web hypertexts can be downloaded to a space where readers enjoy as much freedom to edit and add as they do by purchasing a disk-based system. It is even conceivable to place a Kairos web text on a class server, allowing all class members to have full read-write access to all the files, thus allowing a collaborative exploratory hypertext to evolve.

So archived Kairos articles that may be native hypetext (and not all are; for example, most reviews are not) are contructive, but if you download them and choose to edit and add to them, they become exploratory. Don't you just love choices? -Nick Carbone

3. Frames suck. Why are you wasting our bandwidth and download time?

Frames have been around for almost two years now just a little longer than Kairos itself. But it is only recently that they have begun to catch on. Kairos was one of the early inovators and experimentors with frames. As a result, they layout not to all peoples liking, and has evolved along with the Journal.

Frames provide kairos with a way to let authors and readers veiw multiple-resources of information in a single window. Our hope is that this alows for a synergistic and more truly hypertextual experience than can be garnered from simply veiwing a single source at a time.

Simultaneous to the frames version of the Journal, however, Kiaros is also maintained in a non-frames version. Try using Kairos with frames. If you still don't like it, switch to the non-frames version. -Jason Cranford Teague

They do if you have a text only browser and there's no alternative, or if you use a lap top and it's hard to read the text in the reduced screens. However, as a person who fits both those categories, two things I've noticed. The later versions of frames have been improved so that laptop viewing is improved. This includes Netscape's option to let you make a window within a frame full size. And Kairos has wisely and kindly and thoughtfully always provided non-frames options.

The next step will be encouraging writers to use alt="" tags in their image source tags so that graphics don't always read as [inline]. -Nick Carbone

4. Why are you archiving hypertexts? Shouldn't they always be malleable and updateable?

See also Nick Carbone's response to #2.


5. Peer-reviewed? Like a real academic journal? You can't be serious. (see also #8)

No, Kairos is not peer-reviewed like "real academic journals," if by "real" you mean print journals. Too many print journals in the academy are too quick to give a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down to a piece; it's pretty much ready as-is or it is rejected. And those of us who have received rejection notices will quickly admit how much more we respect an editor who provides useful, professional feedback, whether or not our article was accepted for publication. Realizing current editorial practice reflects little of the collaboration and collegiality we profess as writing instructors, we have instituted a collaborative peer-review system: The first phase is blind in that the editorial staff collects responses to a hypertext from the members of the Editorial Board and passes them along to the author, along with the decision on whether the work will be moved along to the next stage. Once a hypertext makes it to the second tier, the process becomes more collaborative; a number of Editorial Board members are assigned to work interactively with the author to further refine the work--in both content and hypertext style--and prepare the piece for publication. Making it to this interactive stage of our peer-review system is certainly not a guarantee that the work will be published, but we feel that our interactive methods lead to a better journal and a better field. -Greg Siering

Yes, but like a real virtual academic journal, not a real print academic journal. And we're very serious about this. Peer review is valuable and helpful, provided peers are constructive in their critiques and supportive. Since we have more space, the shift in emphasis is less about keeping items out, although we do reject pieces, and more about guiding a piece so that it can come in. So no, we're not liberatory and open, but we do care about quality and our readers' needs.

We're experimental and will try new things; we make room for teachers to include their students not just as objects of study or subjects of essays on pedagogy, which is the print norm, but also as co-authors. This is tricky, but appropriate for many projects, such as a student review of an OWL or a textbook, or a student perspective on writing on the web. Hearing there voices directly, rather than through the filter of a their teacher, offers a new dimension to the journal's contents.

This introduces students to peer review of a new degree, and requires editors and editorial board members to carefully articulate their concerns. -Nick Carbone

Links to MLA position on electronic scholarship here? Chronicle article featuring our own MD on Lingua?


6. Just what the hell is a "Links Editor," anyway?

In my job of Links Editor, I am responsible for making sure submissions to Kairos adhere to the spirit of our "Links Policy," a document that encourages relatively clean and navigable hypertext styles, and that ensures various webtexts can be integrated well into our Kairos shell. While most of our authors are so experienced in hypertext design that I mostly nod and smile at their thoroughness, I occasionally suggest revisions that will make the hypertext more effective in terms of its linking strategies: inclusion of new links, removal of "because we can link" links, and extension of hotlinked phrases that would make the links' destinations more clear. So I am somewhere in between a hypertext style consultant and a link-checker. I enjoy the former task much more. -Greg Siering


*. How do I submit something to Kairos?

Kairos welcomes contributions from scholars pursuing a wide variety of online issues, from theory to praxis. Our journal carries regular Feature articles, a CoverWeb, Reviews, News, and Response sections, any of which are often interlinked, since the medium affords us this advantage. However, to keep submissions and peer review manageable, we ask that if you are considering submitting your work to Kairos, you first visit the various sections of a previous issue to determine which section best matches your work. Then simply direct your email inquiry to any of the editors listed below or click on the section name for the submission call page:

KEENAN; also Sections Editors CARBONE, BOWIE, EYMAN

8. If I'm published in Kairos, will it count as much as if I'm published in a journal like College English? (see also #5)

It depends on whose approval you are looking for and how you view your professional identity. If you are looking for the approval of the more traditional, "old school" establishment, and if your professional identity centers around printed text, then don't plan on getting the benefits from a Kairos publication that you might get from College English, CCC, JAC, or other print journals. If technology, hypertext, electronic publishing, and innovation are central to your professional identity, however, it makes far more sense to publish in an electronic journal like Kairos. We'll be the first to admit that publication in Kairos doesn't carry the same "ethos" that a CCC publication does... but we will also be the first to argue that we carry an entirely different kind of ethos that may be just as important-or even more so-in other situations. -Greg Siering

Yeah, right. And then the tooth fairy will give you tenure.-Jason Cranford Teague


9. I wrote a great paper for class that would really fit your audience. Can you teach me this HTML thingy, or will you make it into a hypertext for me?

Since Kairos seeks to publish "native hypertexts" (works that were composed as hypertexts and not just essays that were chopped up into pieces), we really aren't in the business of turning traditional papers into hypertexts; such changes would run far deeper than does an editor's responsibility. In certain circumstances we might be willing to consult with you on ways you might reconceptualize a current work as hypertext, and we will be happy to point you toward HTML guides and tools, but we cannot offer HTML instruction or personalized rewriting services. -Greg Siering


10. Is Kairos a Texas Tech publication?


11. I saw your advertisement for [insert position title here] ... how much does the job pay?

A truly collaborative publication, Kairos has arisen and flourished nationwide as a volunteer endeavor, the creation of Mick Doherty and fellow graduate students teaching in online environments (link back to the Hootie concert, right?) Since we have attracted so many outstanding professionals whose dedication to the journal has only increased its capabilities, we are currently developing grant proposals that will provide stipends for staff members in the future. -Claudine Keenan


12. Do you make changes to archived issues of Kairos after they are published?

In general, no. The purpose of archiving is to "set in virtual stone" a work as it was originally produced. (see question XX above for more information on our archiving policies) There might arise some need to correct an error, author's e-mail change, or serious coding problem later, but those circumstances are rare and are handled on a case-by-case basis. In most situations we look for the active version of the hypertext (usually on the author's home server) to be the one that changes, preferably with some type of 'revisions made" page that shows how the work has been revised since it was originally published. -Greg Siering

13. What do you do about 404s? Links are always going dead -- what do you do about external links you can't control?

Since we know we cannot keep all those links working, we've decided the next best practice is to institute the use of "External Links" pages. These pages list each outbound link within a hypertext and provide a brief description of the target site and the reason for the link; this should provide some helpful information to readers who run across broken links in archived issues. There is just no practical way to ensure all those links work forever, but we are trying to make sure broken links do not do too much damage to Kairos hypertexts. -Greg Siering

14. What kind of styleguide are contributing authors expected to use?


15. Do authors retain copyright on materials published in Kairos? What about reprint rights?

DOHERTY; CARBONE & EYMAN (former contributing authors)

16. How can I subscribe to Kairos?


17. Where can I get a printed copy of your journal?

You cannot. The very nature of hypertext and of Kairos defies the linearity of the printed page. The closest a person could come to getting a printed version of Kairos would be to print out each page of a hypertext and figure out a way to follow all the links between pages... and at that point the individual would go insane and just go back and read it online as it was intended. -Greg Siering


18. I saw your CoverWeb about MOOs. What's a "Coverweb"? What's a "MOO"?

MOO stands for "MUD, Object-Oriented," and a MUD is a "Multi-User Domain." Perhaps the simplest way to explain a MOO is to imagine all the hype of virtual reality and make it text-based. That is, users can have text-based conversations within textually described rooms, and they can build and program objects for others to interact with... all via keyboard rather than the goofy-looking goggles and wired-up gloves. Some people liken MOOs to fancy "online chat rooms," but they can offer so much more. -Greg Siering

Although the acronym MOO stands for MultiUserDungeon, Object-Oriented, the simplest non-technical way to describe a MOO is this: a virtual reality, a place where users from distant locations all log into the same server and share the same screen to communicate. In a MOO, the virtual reality does not usually involve 3-D graphics, though, because most MOOs are text-based, making them the perfect environments for writing classes, where the importance of *words* becomes paramount. Some people may immediately think "oh, like chat," but MOOs are richer than chat because they provide a sense of space. Many are organized into rooms or private areas, each of which is usually well-described and fully interactive. As most veteran MOOers say, "the best way to understand a MOO is to visit one." -Claudine Keenan


19. What's an "InterMOO"?

An InterMOO is simply an interview we've held in a MOO (see the entry above). These printed conversations have much of the feel of an interview you might read in another magazine, but since they are captured "live," they hold even more characteristics of a transcribed conversation. These InterMOOs are very interesting ways to see what's on the mind of some important people... in a very informal and intimate way. -Greg Siering

20. What do you mean when you talk about "bridge pages"?


21. Could you please provide a text-only or less-graphics-intensive version for the connectivity-impaired?

As for a text only or a version with less graphics, Kairos has a policy of allowing the individual authors complete control over the visual apperance, layout, and grpaphic content of their article. We feel that this is important as a way of promoting experimentation with online discourse. But as a result, Kairos surrenders much of the control traditionaly associateed with print journals. -Jason Cranford Teague

22. Do you need more people on your editorial board?


23. Do you think there's any danger of the journal appearing too fragmented (not organized) due to conflicting linking strategies--maybe making it tough on the reader? Or might that bad craziness as Hunter S. Thompson says, be a signature of the journal?

Sometimes we step in to suggest revisions to an author's linking strategies-as Links Editor, I am always pushing authors to make each link's destination very clear---but much of the beauty of Kairos is that we try to stay in the business of *suggesting* in most cases. There are so many exciting possibilities in terms of hypertext style and design out there, and to force authors into any particular style would be contrary to the ideals of hypertext and this journal. -Greg Siering

Kairos has a policy of allowing the individual authors complete control over the visual apperance, layout, and grpaphic content of their article. We feel that this is important as a way of promoting experimentation with online discourse. But as a result, Kairos surrenders much of the control traditionaly associateed with print journals.

We also believe that "on-line literacy" is a new skill that many of us are still developing. Possibly in the future we will codify our presenton and linking style when we feel that it has developed and matured sufficently. But don't hold your breath. -Jason Cranford Teague

24. What's with you reader/response/interaction section? First there was Letters, and something called Pixelated Rhetorics, then there was "Kairos Interactive" ... now it's just "Response." This is only your fifth issue ... what gives?

See my response to #1: "We pride ourselves as a publication whose development is fluid, taking place continually over time..." And add to that: As rhetorical strategists in this new medium, we are ever-responsive to the changing needs of our audience and will continue to adjust the Response Section in particular to satisfy your needs as readers and to make your participation as simple and productive as possible. We invite and encourage your voice in the ongoing conversation that concerns all "teachers of writing in webbed environments."-Claudine Keenan

25. Who does graphics and image design for Kairos and its contents?

Our production Manager, Jason Cranford Teague (teaguj@rpi.edu) handles the interface design and all top level graphics for the journal. This includes the cover, TOC graphics, and bridge page graphics.

All design and graphics for individual articles are handled entierly by their respective authors. -Jason Cranford Teague

26. I wanted to download the files and read them later, but found that there was no one file with ALL the text in. Staying online to read them all is time consuming and $$$. Is it possible to provide all the small html files into one big one. or am I missing the point of it all?

In issue 2.1, Doug Brent provided a zipped file that contained all the files within his hypertext, in part because he personally sees off-line viewing as an important alternative for those using dial-up service providers. In the future, we might encourage more authors to offer similar options. In the meantime, readers who want this off-line option might consider getting a program like WebWhacker that allows readers to grab entire hypertexts for off-line reading. -Greg Siering


***27. How do I cite a hypertext in Kairos when I'm writing an article or paper?

Since this is a fairly long and debated answer we suggest you check out:


28. Do I need permission to link my site to Kairos? Will you link Kairos to my site, please?

You don't need our permission to link to Kairos, although we are always happy to hear about such links. Just be sure to give an accurate annotation describing the journal; we've seen some odd ones out there so far.

Currently, we do not link to other sites, except within the body of articles or site reviews. As we continue to grow, however, we have spoken of various means of mutual-promotion and creation of a "useful links" page, so we might do something along these lines in the future. If you have a specific idea in mind for mutual-promotion, send it along to us; your suggestion might give us something to consider. -Greg Siering

29. Do you take creative submissions? Will you publish fiction?

Kairos is proud to recognize its companion publication, RhetNet... -Claudine Keenan


30. What does Kairos do to help the vision-impaired?

Good Question. I have no Idea. -Jason Cranford Teague


31. How does Kairos approach competition with other web-based journals in the field, such as RhetNet, Pre/Text ElectraLite, and CMC Magazine?

Repeat after me.We love John December. He is much cooler than Cat's. We're going to see him again and again. -Jason Cranford Teague


32. How do I access back issues of Kairos?

Just go to the Kairos home page at http://english.ttu.edu/kairos. There you will see a list of the past and current issues. -Greg Siering

All back issues are accessable from the kairos home page (http://english.ttu.edu/kairos). In addition, Kairos has a search engine that will search the current and back issues of the journal. -Jason Cranford Teague


33. How many people read Kairos? What kind of audience do you target? Do you have non-English versions of the publication?


34. Will there by any more huge design overhauls any time soon?

Yes! The Web is a constantly evolving and changing medium, and Kairos is only published twice a year. As a result large changes need to be made each volume (i.e. year) in order to keep up with the latest technologies and with criticizms and compliments from readers. These overhauls represent evolutionary changes in the nature of the Web itself. Our early pages where fairly simple HTML. Volume 1 was based around frames. Volume 2 reduced the number of frames and introduced a JavaScripted remote control. Future versions of Kairos will include Cascading Style Sheets and Dynamic HTML. But never fear, we will not ignore those with browsers that can not handle these new formats, but always keep a bare bones version of the Journal. -Jason Cranford Teague

35. I can't access Kairos. Why?


***36. Now, you're not the only ones guilty of this, but still... Why do you make your pages so wide?

Wide pages... Moot point. Don;t think we need to include this one. -Jason Cranford Teague

37. Is there an e-mail version of Kairos? Does Kairos have a listserv for discussion and/or feedback?


38. How do I know if there's something new at the Kairos site?

Whenever a new issue of Kairos is posted to the Web, a thumbnail version of the cover is posted on the Kairos Homepage under the title "Current Issue."-Jason Cranford Teague


39. What's this award you give out every year? How do you pick the winner? What do they win?


**40. Quick comment from a color blind visitor: I found your graphic links very hard to read. It's just part of me that if it's too hard to read I just give it a miss. The stats tell me that about 8% of men and only 0.4% of women are thus affected. It may be a thought to run web pages past someone who is colour vision deficient ; the designer may be missing out on some of the target audience without realizing the possibility.

-Jason Cranford Teague

41. Your editor is in Dallas, graphics and production manager in London, UK, and the rest of your staff is scattered from Indiana to Pennsylvania to Massachusetts to New York. How do you DO that?

We use e-mail a *lot*! We have listservs for both the staff and the editorial board, and those lists get quite busy at times. We also hold occasional MOO-based meetings so that we can have rapid-fire, real-time conversations. And we do use the phone once in a while, but since that can get costly, it's mostly the last option when someone's e-mail account seems to be down. In a way, it seems only fitting that an electronic journal such as Kairos should be run in such a distributed manner. -Greg Siering

The electronic age is wonderful. I can't imagine doing it any other way. As Greg Siering said its mostly email communications, which really fills up the account fast. Many of us spend larger amounts of time online anyway, so it's almost "natural" for us to do it this way. -Jennifer Bowie

See my response to #11 . Teaching and working in online environments has enabled us to create and re-create the journal twice each year via email, web pages, and MOO sessions. We rarely telephone, and even more rarely meet face-to-face, but when we do, we are always "linked" by our dedication to this journal.-Claudine Keenan


42. I'm an author in a previous issue, and I just changed schools and domains. Nw all my mailto: links are dead ends, and I'm afraid my web won't work any more. What should I do?

We try to get our authors to use relative links wherever possible to facilitate such moves, but the best technological plans often go awry. If you changed schools and need your archived hypertext updated somehow (e.g. the mailto: links or our links to the active hypertext), please let us know and we can work out a plan of action. We'll figure out a way to update your archived version and correct links from our bridge pages with a minimal fuss and revision of the original document. -Greg Siering