What the Tuesday Cafe is

. . . it's a place to meet and talk with scholars who have similar interests

The Tuesday Cafe is a virtual meeting place on MediaMOO, a MOO designed and made available by Amy Bruckman at MIT. Only people who are engaged in media research, including teachers of compostion and rhetoric, can have characters on MediaMOO.

People who meet at the Tuesday Cafe to discuss computers and writing and teaching are actually logged on to a computer at MIT's Media Lab. The Cafe regulars have characters on the MOO so they can recognize each other (more or less) by name, but many people, especially those new to MOOing and to the Cafe, log on as guests. A visit to the Cafe (most) any Tuesday night will show a list of people present as well as a number of people who show up as

These guests are visitors who don't have characters on MediaMOO.

The Tuesday Cafe crowd MOOs in the Netoric Cafe, but they are logged on from all over: Alabama, Hawaii, Texas, California, New York, South Dakota, Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, sometimes Austalia, England--all over.

MediaMOO is different from other MOOs in the restrictions that are placed on the people who have characters on it. They must be "media researchers," so they typically are not "undergraduates who should be doing their homework," as Amy Bruckman once put it. They are people--mostly scholars--engaged in research, and they are serious about their research, however witty they may be in conversation. Also, many MOOs allow users to be anonymous, but because MediaMOO was designed as a place for people researching the media to construct and articulate a network, a community, all users are identified, as are their research interests.

. . . it's a part of the Netoric Project

The Tuesday Cafe is also part of the Netoric Project, coordinated by Tari Fanderclai and Greg Siering. The Netoric Project defines itself thus:

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Welcome to


A Series of Electronic Conferences and Discussions
Developed for the Synchronous Exploration of Issues
Concerning Computers and Writing

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. . . it's a place where people can begin

Many of the "newbies," as new computer users are sometimes called, just show up and join the conversation

because in its simplest form, all MOOing is is conversing

but people who prefer to read before diving in can find a guide to help them get started. Many experienced MOOers are willing to assist a newbie in trouble.

. . . it's a place where worlds are made

The Tuesday Cafe is a Cafe--a "third place"--in the virtual world constructed on MediaMOO. It is an environment that the Cafe regulars and visitors create, week after week, for

We all have responsibility for the ambience and the tenor of the environment. We create it as we go. We construct it out of socializing.

In The Whale and the Reactor, Langdon Winner says,

"Social activity is an ongoing process of world-making."

And I say,

"World-making is an ongoing social activity."

Introduction to the Tuesday Cafe.
What are some of the benefits offered by this kind of community?
What are some of the disadvantages of MOO discussions?
How do people get to the Cafe?
Works Cited

Last updated: 10 June 1996. Questions and comments? Please e-mail Sharon Cogdill at scogdill@tigger.stcloud.msus.edu.