Held Tuesday, September 28, 1999
- Experiment/demonstration: MOOving around
- Central issue: How do the Internet and hypertext create and affect
- What is a community?
- What types of communities are there?
- Can hypertext help build communities?
- Daily handout:
- Palattella, J. (1998). ``Pictures of Us.''
Lingua Franca, 8, 5.
- On Friday at noon in Science 2413, Rich Salter of Oberlin will be
talking about ``History Mechanisms'' and ``Trails'' in educational
hypertexts. I encourage you to come.
- Once again, I was sorry to see so few of you at the convocation talk.
These talks are particularly valuable, and it would be good to see more
of you there.
- You don't need to come up with any questions for Thursday's reading.
- Don't forget that your drafts are due on Thursday.
- We won't do anything with Williams today, but will consider him again
I thought it might be interesting to start class by visiting a MOO
(probably LambdaMOO). I'll admit that the first time that I used
a MOO was Monday, so I'm no expert, but we might try anyway. Otherwise,
we'll just spend more time on discussion.
Today, Rebecca and I thought we might discuss the impact of hypertext,
the Web, and the Internet on communities. How do these technologies
support new communities or affect existing communities? Today we will
begin by considering types of electronic communities. We will
continue this discussion on Thursday.
- Web sites. Often emphasize collection of resources.
- Chat rooms. Synchronous chat.
- Bulletin boards. Asynchronous chats.
- MUDs and MOOs. Primarily synchronous virtual realities. Often textual.
Your message headers suggested some fairly negative reactions to
the readings. I'm sorry to hear that, and I look forward to some more
discussion as to why the reactions were so negative.
Questions from: Adam, Ellen, Jake, Kevin, Marti, Sean
- How does greater use of electronic mail associate with depression?
- How does one walk from one room to another in a 'mansion'?
- Getting right at the heart of the text: are MUD's and MOO's hypertext? Are
they merely chat-based games? Are they a combination of the above?
- The World Wide Web allows for communication with people and systems all over
the world. If interaction with other emotional beings contributes to our
mental and physical health then why do people become more depressed and
introverted with increased online time?
- The APA article claims that increased Internet social activity
generally tends to cause depression and withdrawal from the social
environment. I, however, have spent over three years involved in the
Internet in some way, and I have found that Internet activity actually
qualifies as social activity. Why do I say this? Several of my best
friends have been people thousands of miles away, and, in fact, my
fiancee found me online and things developed from there. (this person
is not one of those who lived thousands of miles away) I have found
that Internet social activity is a valid form of social activity and
should be treated as such; however, I am curious as to what the rest
of the class feels on this matter.
- I do not see online alter-worlds as a hypertext. I see these
``simulives'' as a
reflection, or perhaps a refraction, of real world life. These are
real people having real thoughts interacting in a fully real way exept
that its not 'real'. Their thoughts and conversations (the base of
this existence), just as in real life, are connected, associated,
related, interacting, reflecting, contradicting, affecting, and
otherwise interrelating. Perhaps if we look at society and human
interaction itself as a form of hypertext then these online alter-egos
and simulated worlds are simply a small sub-web of the great
interconnected hypertextual existence that is humanity. I see online
alter-worlds as a hypertext.
- The ``Internet Paradox'' experiment only applies to several varied
households in Pittsburgh. What happens when households in small towns,
farms, other cities, etc. are studied?
- If participating in a vulgar online conversation bothers you, then why do it?
- Does participating in a Mud conversation sound pointless, boring, and
annoying to anybody else, or is it just me?
- If lambda or the others who were raped needed counseling, should they seek
it in RL or VR? Could something like that that occurred in VR be
understood in RL terms, especially by someone who has never been in
- Although some may feel more connected through VR than through RL, what does
this say about the lack of interactions and truth in our society?
- Does the development of a governing body have implications that anarchism
can't really exist? (It can exist until something outrages the participants?)
- Are people who are already depressed and/or lonely more likely to seek weak
friendship on the Internet?
- Have any studies been done on the affects of Internet use in the office?
i.e. communicating through email instead of the phone?
- Is the Internet putting people in less contact physically? Is that healthy?
- After reading about the effects of Internet use in ``Internet
Paradox'', how similar would you say the home computer is to the
- What is the future of Internet law? Will the Internet develop an
independent code of laws, will current law expand to cover the Internet, or
will it become an ungovernable medium?
- Will virtual societies, such as MUDs and MOOs, develop their own
formal and enforceable laws?
- In the Curtis piece, he mentions that he
was/is still working on an application of the MOO technology that
would ease telecommuting. Is there a more modern analog to the MOO,
either in the entertainment world or, as Curtis was working on, in the
- Wouldn't you agree that, in the scheme of things, the computer (and
the internet in particular) is less detrimental to our development
than TV? (TV is merely a passive entertainment form -- raw stimulation
-- with no interaction. In a computer game, we at least have to think
and develop some skills.)
Monday, 22 March 1999
- Created as a blank outline. (Can you tell
what I was doing during Spring break?)
Monday, 27 September 1999
- Filled in student questions.