Time in Interpersonal Media:
Deserialized on-line interaction

Davis Foulger
Oswego State University

April 3, 2002

There are a wide variety of media:

Propinquitous Interactive Media Intimacy, Face-to-Face Interaction, Social Dancing, Small Group Interaction, Brainstorming, Family Interaction, Participatory Games and Sports, Classroom discussion
Live Presentational Media Speeches, Lectures, Town Meetings, Judicial Proceedings, Ritual Ceremonies, Legislative Assemblies, Mobs, Theatrical Performance, Bonfires, Political Rallies, Live Musical Performance, Sporting Events, Puppet Shows
Static Art Media Cave Paintings, Bas Relief, Oil Paintings, Dioramas, Quilts, Pottery, Sculpture, Architecture, Animatons, Photographs, Filmstrips, Holographic Recordings, Signs, Billboards
Correspondence Media Letters, Notes, Memos, Telewriting, Telegrams, Telex, Facsimile, Tape Letters, Personal Video, Recorded Telewriting, Electronic Mail
Publishing Media Books, Daily Newspapers, Magazines, Video Recordings (Videotapes, DVD Video, etc), Weekly Newspapers, Journals, Recordings (Records, CD's, Cassettes), Newsletters, Mechandise Packaging, On-line information, Online databases, Online services, Electronic Publications, MultiMedia Documents (VideoText), Billboards, Direct Mail Advertizing, Microforms
Telephonic Media Telephone, Teleconferencing, Intercom, C.B. Radio, Ham Radio, Family Radio, Videophone, VideoConferencing, Internet Telephone (CU See Me), Instant Messenger
Dynamic Art Media Silent Film, Motion Pictures, Film with Subtitles, Talking Animatons, Lightboards
Broadcast Media Broadcast Television, Cable Television, Satellite TV, Digital TV, Radio, Talk Radio
Interactive Mass Media Hypermedia, Video Hypermedia, Computer Conferencing (Newsgroups, ListServes), Cooperative Composition, Voice Mail, Electronic Bulletin Boards, Streaming Audio and Video, Voice-into-text concurrent interaction, Virtual Reality, Interactive Television

These media have a wide variety of characteristics

A number of these characteristics relate to time:

message or modality related performance or production based creator and consumer characteristics he existance of specific role intermediaries transmission, feedback, and storage characteristics
  • rhythm
  • repetition /redundancy
  • date stamp
  • time stamp
  • linear structure
  • interactive structure
  • length measured
  • message timed
  • entails greetings
  • entails leave taking
  • personalized greetings
  • personalized leave taking
  • formal opening ritual
  • formal closing ritual
  • live
  • real time dynamic
  • turn taking
  • in stages
  • parallel unrelated component messages
  • scheduled?
  • regular period
  • natural transcript
  • prerecorded elements
  • fully prerecorded
  • planned
  • drafts
  • rehersals
  • scripted
  • Performance Cycle
  • continuously regular
  • creator initiates
  • creator closes
  • creator responds
  • performer travels to audience
  • time synchronous group size
  • part of performance
  • consumer preparation
  • consumer initiates
  • consumer closes
  • audience travels to message
  • directors
  • performers
  • production staff
  • transcribers/recorders
  • editors
  • selectors
  • content checkers
  • content integrators
  • reproducers
  • distributors/carriers
  • advertisers
  • critics
  • speed (minimum)
  • synchronous two way transmission
  • message travels to audience
  • audience feedback time
  • immediate (in message)
  • min resp to feedback time
  • max resp to feedback time
  • randomly accessible
  • asynchronous access
  • indexed
  • performance persistance
  • production persistance

Considering time as an issue in communication is hardly new:

Some observables in the relationship of time to pre-Internet media

Issues of time linearity raised in pre-internet media

Time is not the only source of linearity

Internet media change the game, providing opportunities for

I won't talk about all of these today:

Today's focus will be on existing interpersonal internet media

With some minor reference to the telephone

Consider, for instance, the Canonical Telephone opening

(adapted from Hopper, 1993):

Stage Conversation Comment
Summon/Answer ((RING))
R Hello Non-commital statement of presence
Identification/Recognition C Hello Ida? Forcing initial identity query to other
R Yeah Test 1 passed. Acknowledge identity
Greeting Sequence C hi, - This is Carla Caller self-identifies in greeting
Face to face and instant messenger start here
R Hi Carla If recognition checks, test2 passed
Telephone with caller ID might start here
Initial Enquiry/Answer C How are you. E-Mail might start about here, with greeting and business incorporated
R Okay.
Business of call   ... Computer Conferencing would start here

In this, we notice

Identification is a common feature in interpersonal media
But identification and recognition it is usually built in to the medium

Every medium has structural characteristics
that effect the structure of messages
and even our choice of language.

  • The medium may not be the message ...
  • ... but it is certainly embedded in the structure of the message
  • We invent our media in five distinct spheres of invention:
  • Characteristics enable uses
  • but use in the face of characteristics creates problems
  • that are resolved in practices like
    • "identification/recognition"
    • handles
    • from fields
  • This paper is exploring this path from characteristics to practice

The same is true for all media

Another Telephone Example: Continuity of Discourse Trajectories

(from Hopper, 1993):

informal and broken langauge. not like opening D We ate at- at Jorges
M Was it goo:d?
D Um:: it was all ri:ght
M pt hhhh you know, I don't think that's as good as a lot of poeple think it i:s
D We:ll- no I don't either - and nuh- we ate over there- there's a new one- across from Aquarius?
smooth turn overlaps M Uh huh?
D   and it's kind of a di:ve. I really didn't enjoy it
M     O:h yeah We've been over the:re befo:re.
long pause   (0.6)
topic shift D bu:t um- (0.3) I had two margaritas and I: (0.4) felt like a truck hit me this morning.
serial adherance to topic M Two: margaritas well their margaritas are strong Risty no wonder you don't feel so hot.
D     I know it feel-
They wer- I- I hear:d ( . ) that they were mad from everclear instad of tequila or maybe they do it with both.

In this, we notice:

Now consider an Instant Messenger interchange:

(from personal archive; used with permission)

Dialogue Topic Act Comments
user1: Back from the studio, I see. 1 1 A minimal greeting
user1: How was it? 1 2 Unbroken language
user2: not too shabby 1 3 No orientation
user1: So you had a good time? 1 4 Interleaved respones
user2: we still have some mixing to do, but everything's recorded now 1 5 expands on 3.
user2: yep 1 6 replies to 4.
user1: That's great. 1 7 replies to 5.
user1: Mom said you were coming down with something. 2 8 Interleaved topics
user1: Was the recording engineer happy? 1 9 replies to 6.
user2: yeah, I have a cold, but it didn't really affect the recording too much 2 10 replies to 8.
user1: That's good. 2 11
user2: yeah, we kept him laughing 1 12 replies to 9.
user1: Yes, but was he happy with the music; the recordings. 1 13
user2: we have an amazing acoustic version of falling down as a hidden track 3 14
user2: yeah, I think so 1 15 replies to 13
user1: I thought you might have the double bass up for just that song. 3 16 replies to 14
user2: yep 3 17
user1: A hidden track? 3 18 extends 16
user2: yeah, its unlisted on the album, but is the last track 3 19
user1: Ah, very good. Is it the only version of falling down, or a second. 3 20
user1: Can you kick SETI? 4 21
user2: its a second version, and sure 3 & 4 22 replies to 20 and 21
user1: Good stuff, and good stuff. 3 & 4 23 Note the dual threading.
user2: indeed 3 & 4 24

Note in this:

Things get even more interesting
when we look at
Wiki Collaborative Composition spaces

Some Context

Why Wiki Works

Any and all information can be deleted by anyone, including yourself. Wiki pages eventually represent nothing but intelligent discussion and informed consensus because it's so much easier to delete flames, spam and trivia than to indulge them. What remains is naturally meaningful.

Anyone can play and have fun. This sounds like a recipe for a low signal-to-noise ratio - surely wiki gets hit by the unwashed masses as often as any other site. But to make any sort of impact on wiki, you need to be able to generate content. So anyone can play, but only good players have a desire to keep playing.

Wiki is not WYSIWYG. It's an intelligence test of sorts to be able to edit a wiki page. It's not rocket science, but it doesn't appeal to the VideoAddicts. If it doesn't appeal, they don't participate, which leaves those of us who read and write to get on with rational discourse.

Wiki evolves in place. Folks have time to think, often days or weeks, before they follow up some wiki page. So what people write is well-considered.

Wiki participants are, by nature, a pedantic, ornery, and unreasonable bunch. So there's a camaraderie here we seldom see outside of our professional contacts.

... and it's often fun. And we all know people play nice when the game is fun.

So that's it - insecure, indiscriminate, user-hostile, slow, full of difficult, nit-picking people, and frivolous. Any other online community would count each of these strengths as a terrible flaw. Perhaps wiki works because the other online communities do not.

Note the "time to think" and "pendantic, ornery, and unreasonable" language. Both will matter.

The WikiWikiWeb works without explicit rules as there is a strong commitment from the WikiCommunity to keeping the Wiki clean and nice. We all use it, so we all try to maintain it in a usable state.

Contrast WhyWikiWorksNot...

Note the "no rules" language

One of the key advantages of WhyWikiWorks is that it AllowsUnplannedEnhancements - for instance the efforts to VisualizeTheWiki. -- NickArgall

I think this separation of people into those who care to learn to type TAB SPACE COLON TAB for block quotes, and VideoAddicts is a bit extreme. F'rinstance, I'm looking into Wiki as a means for us to develop an internal knowledge base where I work, but these editing rules are not gonna fly. My manager currently seems to be enamored of Word docs. Getting him to switch to a new, somewhat arcane editing system will be... hard. I wonder if there are any other Wiki-like systems that have friendlier editing rules? -- JohnLusk
Note the interactive elements, all signed.

Interact 1

wiki logo Davis Foulger

I am currently a Visiting Professor at Oswego State University: http://www.oswego.edu/~dfoulger, where I teach human communication. This year, my teaching focus is Interpersonal Communication and Communication Ethics. I'm broadly knowledgeable in the field, however, and if I'd taught at the University of Maryland this year (an option), I would have taught Communication Theory, Research Methodology, and Interpersonal Communication. My real interests (currently) are "Computer-Mediated Communication Systems" and the "Invention and Evolution of Communication Media".

I have a business, too: http://www.evolutionarymedia.com. It is not a coincidence that my business focuses on the things I am most interested in.

Of course, if you just want to know some random thing about me, you can always visit my home page: http://www.davis.foulger.net (a pointer to http://davis.foulger.info). Heck, you'll even find a little Java game there.

Davis Foulger


A Demo Page

Content Act

wiki logo Moral Question In Media


Note: This page was started with just the simple case and two questions as a demo of how a Wiki worked. The intent was to sell the idea of starting a seperate Wiki site for these kinds of cases. That sell job is still underway, and I've left the page here until I can get my own Wiki going. Unfortunately, this page has started a small furor on this Wiki because it is viewed as off topic and pedantic. Since I put it here, at least three other people appear to have added comments. That actually makes the demo better, and the comments are interesting, so I've left them. It remains my intent to move this page after I have my own wiki going.'' -- DavisFoulger



Demo: Suppose I post a simple ethics case. A television station is experiencing declining ratings in a competitive market. One day, by accident, the female anchor of the six o'clock news moves the wrong way, exposing a breast. Ratings go up, and the producers, catching on to the apparent correlation, encourage the newscaster to have more such accidents.


     1 - How appropriate is it to try to improve the ratings of a news show
         by encouraging salacious content that has nothing to do with

         the news that is being reported?
A: Usually an ethics question poses some sort of moral dilemma, but there's no dilemma here. Even if one felt that one had a moral obligation to the stockholders to improve ratings, the risk of having this policy found out and damaging the corporation is too high. 2

I'm sorry, but what do you have against breasts? News shows are mindless pablum served to drooling thralls by the ?BrainlessBroadcastMedia. A bit of tit is much less salacious than endless film loops of religious loonies destroying great works of engineering, don't you think?

Remember, these folks are hired on the basis of their looks and voice. Their sole function is to deliver what is written by (one would hope) professionals. At least the BBC are honest about this and refer to their studio talent as "news readers." This may be true today, but there are still many people in the industry who entered the industry before this was true; e.g. the cast of 60 Minutes (?AmericanCulturalAssumption alert).


Personally, nothing, but different people have different ways of thinking about different things, and some of those opinions are important enough to pay attention to. That doesn't take anything away from the question of film loops of religious loonies. That is simply a different case with another set of questions.


All cases are independent in your mind? Nice set of compartments in there, must make morality very easy to discuss.


Certainly one discusses cases separately. Each case has a variety of issues associated with it, but the case is not the object, but rather a vehicle for exploring the issues and the ways in which different people can make different decisions based on how they prioritize those issues. The goal is to get people to do complex thinking, and the range of issues that can be applied to any given case are complex enough without complicating things still further with case collisions. That is not to say that case collisions don't happen in the real world or that you can't do colliding cases as well. I do. But the first problem is to encourage complex thinking and tolerant expression.

Counter-A: Moral dilemmas make good moral questions, but they aren't the only legitimate ones. Even when good seems obvious and evil seems beyond question, some people will make decisions that other people will deem immoral and/or unethical. There remains a moral choice, and one that at least some television producers and performers have answered differently than the one you feel is the only answer. There are, of course, implications. You may, as these stations have, get ratings. You also invite controversy and, at least among some, outrage. There may yet be a price to be paid at any of many levels. 3

Next time you take a shower, look in the mirror. This is what incites you to moral outrage? A billion people on the planet can't read and don't have easy access to fresh water or a telephone, species extinctions are proceeding at 10,000 times the rate of a century ago, and you're up in arms about a picture of a nipple? What the hell is wrong with you? Different people are outraged by different things. What is the problem with that? Vive le difference, even when the things that other people are outraged over seem trivial to me. The problem is that television continues to focus the minds of the people on trivialities while the real threats to their existence are paltrified via praise by faint damnattion(http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?PraiseByFaintDamnation).


Television is simply a mass entertainment media. People had the same complaints about Broadway shows 100 years ago. I understand the point, but I don't really believe the sky is falling.

 2 - How should the news anchor respond in this situation? What effect 
      will various choices have for her career
A: Since the producers are obviously morally corrupt, the news anchor should log all events, consult a lawyer, contact appropriate authorities, and initiate an exit strategy, while simultaneously resisting the suggestion on the grounds that it exposes both the station and her to profound risks. Her career should continue quite nicely at some other station. If she yields to the suggestion, then she will be at the complete mercy of the producers, and her "career", such as it is, will be entirely in their hands. 2

"News anchor"s will do anything for a buck. And what authority except for an old-lady's knitting circle will give a damn?


Perhaps some news anchors will do anything for a buck. I'm sure that's not a universal, and that it need not remain one to the extent that it is. The same goes for old-lady's knitting circles (and investment clubs).


Of course it's universal. They read what they're given to read by their producers. Their producers do what they're told to do by their management. And their management are running a corpocratic business the same as any other business. You sit in your ivory tower and imagine that things are otherwise. You claim to be a serious researcher into these matters - why can't you present some evidence instead of this pusillanimous "perhaps"?


I don't think you have any more evidence than I do, but I do in fact know of cases of journalists moving on instead of giving in. It is not unheard of. Unfortunately, perhsps, nobody keeps statistics on such things. And actually, I don't claim to be a serious researcher on such matters. I am simply acting, based on 18 years of computer industry experience and additional experience in research design and statistics, as a consultant to a group that is serious about their research on such matters. My serious research is on computer-mediated systems and the ways in which media are invented and evolved. The quality of that research is up to others to evaluate, but I've been happy with the feedback so far. I'd prefer to stick with issues of reason rather than personalities.

Counter-A: Certainly an option, at least in a litigous society like the United States, but one which at least some newspeople have answered differently. Again, there may be a price. 3

Why don't you try turning off your TV and making a genuine moral inquiry for a change? This page is simply more evidence that ?VideoAddiction attacks the viewer's faculty of critical thought.


I get so tired of seeing the word addiction applied to things that it has absolutely no relationship to. Saying a person is video addicted is like saying they are sex addicted or food addicted or work addicted or face-to-face interaction addicted (I've never heard this one, but we spend more time in this medium than any other, so why not). Yes, most of us mix face-to-face communication, food, sex, work, and entertainment (often via video) in creating the tapestry of our lives). Some people may overdo one or another of these, but most mix all in moderation, and even those who overdo one or another can (and often do, at least for short periods) change to a different pattern without going into clinical withdrawl. Sometimes metaphors are complete crap. Most addiction metaphors fall in that category.


You can't argue the point seriously, so you simply call the argument "crap"? A TV professor indeed. Addiction is a self-reinforcing behavior with harmful side effects. The physical effects of video addiction (http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?PhysicalEffectsOfVideoAddiction) are quite obvious, but plainly TV is psychologically addictive as well. TV stultifies its addicts' ability to relate directly to others and to think clearly for themselves. Simultaneously it consumes the time they could spend remediating this damage, while supplementing their psyches with corporate-sponsored porridge. The result is individuals who create nothing novel, families who relate to one another at only the most superfluous level, and cultures with an inability to support diversity of opinion. And, perhaps, academics who become unable to discuss anything except such imaginary boojums as the moral dimension of a nipple ...


What was there to respond to. I do have my television off almost all the time. Some weeks my viewing goes all the way to four hours, and I am almost always doing something else (surfing, reading, doing research, writing, grading papers, holding significant others) when I do so. You didn't know that, but made other assumptions anyway. I decided that I would respond to your your use of flawed addiction metaphors rather than respond to your erroneous assumptions about me.


I have read much of the work on the effects of television, at least in summary form. Much of that work has appeared first in Journal of Communication (and almost all shows up in summary form there). I've been a subscriber and/or regular reader for over 25 years now. I've talked to George Gerbner (probably the leading light in television effects research over the last 40 years and a long running editor of JofC), among others, about that work. I can't disagree with many of the findings, but often find that the findings are based on inadequate controls and inadequate consideration of obviously parallel situations.

Children under two probably are damaged when overexposed to television. They are probably similarly damaged by overexposure to empty cribs in empty rooms. The real issue, one suspects, is inadequate attention from adults, but this, while obviously as true to the situations reported as overexposure to television, is not tested or mentioned in these studies, even when a huge control population of crib damaged children can be found in parts of Eastern Europe.

People who spend an excessive number of hours watching TV (and not exercising) are prone to overweight. But I didn't get my overweight watching TV. I got mine programming for a living (which also entails spending excessive hours sitting, usually surrounded by nothing better to eat than candy bars and soda). A fair number of pre-television scholars got their overweight from spending excessive hours sitting in libraries reading. And one suspects that excessive numbers of hours sitting in cars driving is at least as an important contributor to adult obesity as television viewing is. Oddly, I don't see CDC campaigns against programming or excessive driving. I also don't see historical comparisons to the comparable effects associated with "excessive reading" (and I know there is really no such thing; that the real issue is excessive sitting).

TV has recently been joined by another major locus of context-free research, cell phone use while driving. I don't disagree that talking on a cell phone may be a distraction to drivers. I just don't see how it is any bigger a distraction than talking to a passenger sitting next to you is. Odd that I don't see any research being done on the dangers of talkative passengers or any laws being drafted to make it illegal for drivers to talk to their passengers.

An interesting nuance in the history of media is the systematic demonization of highly popular new media for their negative effects (physical, moral, or otherwise). These new media inevitably displace, to some extent, older, once demonized media, that then rise, phoenixlike, to respectability. Movies made live theater respectable. Television made movies respectable. Comic books made juvenile novels respectable. Horror Comics made Superhero comics respectable. Mad Magazine and its clones made horror comics respectable. Rock and Roll made Jazz respectable. Cellular phones are probably making pay phones respectable. Instant messenging will probably make something (maybe straight face-to-face gossip) respectable. The question I ask is "what would make television respectable?" Video games? Holodecks? I'm sure it will be something.


This is, by any standard, a wild ride

But wait, there's more

I won't parse this one down other that to note that it started with just this:

I have invited some students who are working on a "case study" to do their collaboration here. The case study involves some newsroom staff at a collection of television stations who interrupted afternoon children's programming to broadcast what turned out to me a nut committing suicide (they didn't know that, of course, until the nut blew his brains out, but its not like he didn't set himself on fire and consider jumping off a bridge first).

wiki logo Suicide On Childrens Television

DavisFoulger's CommunicationEthics? class may collaboratively edit a case study here, with work ending no later than Thursday, October 11. The case study involves some newsroom staff at a collection of television stations who interrupted afternoon children's programming to broadcast what turned out to me a nut committing suicide (they didn't know that, of course, until the nut blew his brains out, but its not like he didn't set himself on fire and consider jumping off a bridge first).

Student Work Goes Here

Wiki Community Commentary Goes Here

I was disappointed to find an argument instead of content [on the original Wiki page]. But I agree that it's "off topic" for [the original] wiki. May I suggest posting to http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?WhyClublet? See http://clublet.com/c/c/why?CultureAndPoliticsRoadmap -- ?JeffGrigg

[But that's not a good idea if permanence is not wanted. Could use ?AndStuffWiki, where a page is removed if left empty for a couple of weeks.]

More Background

DavisFoulger has invited (a few of) his students to discuss suicide here. In the spirit of reciprocity I invite all (ok, better just a few) wiki readers to attend his classes and discuss computer programming there. -- ?WardCunningham

Where is his class, and at what time does it meet? Care to provide driving instructions to it?

To clarify Ward's statement. I enabled four students to collaboratively edit a document here. The four students are not my whole class, but fair is fair, and I will certainly try to enable Ward's invitation.

I teach my classes at Oswego State University, located in Oswego, NY (about an hour from Rochester, NY). This particular class meets in Lanigan 208 at 2:20PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Directions and site maps are available on the SUNY Oswego Web site (http://www.oswego.edu). As I have spent more of my life programming than doing anything else but sleep, listen, and perhaps interact interpersonally, I have already discussed programming in this class in a limited way. It has been very limited, as it is a course in "Communication Ethics", but I'm sure there will be no harm in adding some additional discussion on the topic.

If one or more here would like to join that class to discuss programming and/or my faux paux on this Wiki, I might suggest coming on December 6, when we will be discussing Ethics and "new media technology". Perhaps, on that date, you can join us in constructing and discussing a case relating to "the informal rules of collaborative discussion spaces and their inadvertant violation." If you are serious about coming, please e-mail me in advance at mailto:davis@evolutionarymedia.com so I can be sure to have adequate seating. I can probably manage up to about eight guests without changing rooms.

My apologies for violating the rules of this Wiki, Yes, I know that http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?WhyWikiWorks specifically says that there are no rules. I knew better than to believe that statement, but fell into its trap anyway. There are always informal rules in communication media, even when the formal rule is that there are no rules. I learned that when I, like Ward (see http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?WardAtIbm ), worked at IBM and was (pretty much as a volunteer) responsible for much of the company's computer-mediated discussion facilities. The problem with unstated rules, usually, is learning them. Call this a crash reminder of what I had observed in previous research.

I had mistakenly thought, after reading the invitations on the WelcomeVisitors and related pages, that it would be OK to experiment a little here while I worked out the mechanics of setting up my own server. I am working on that as time allows, have much enjoyed reading Bo and Ward's "The Wiki Way" as a part of the process, and probably would have it running already if I hadn't hit some minor technical problems with Perl execution on the Sun box my Oswego web materials are located on.

This particular experiment (this page) was a response to an immediate problem four of my students are having. They are having trouble meeting to write their "case study", at least in part because one group member is party to a case that is currently being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and is therefore constantly out of town. The circumstance is an unusual one, and I thought that Wiki collaborative discussion and composition might help. Hence I created this page here, with absolutely no idea of how offensive the local Wiki community would find the idea. I am actively working on setting up my own Wiki server and promise to go away as quietly as you folks will allow. In the meantime, presuming this discussion hasn't scared them off, I hope you will tolerate my four students in the spirit your welcome pages suggest. Again, I apologize for having violated your community. -- DavisFoulger

You didn't so much violate the community as piss off the http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?RecentChangesJunkies.

[Using the "minor edits" feature was suggested, but it would have been entirely inappropriate. -- ?JeffGrigg]

See also http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?CommitSuicide, http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?MoralQuestionInMedia, http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiConsensus, http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?SocialAcceptabilityOfWikiVandalism

War breaks out on the personal page.

Davis Foulger 1
When I first arrived at this Wiki, I wrote a nice description of myself. That description has since migrated to my own Wiki. I still play here, however, so if you have an interest in my relationship to the computer industry, you can find far more detail of it than anyone might ever want to read in my hypermedia resume: http://evolutionarymedia.com/davis/resume). More interesting info, including a pleasant Java game, can be found at my personal home page (http://www.davis.foulger.net). My Oswego State University home page (http://www.oswego.edu/~dfoulger) has info on the classes I'm currently teaching. My SetiAtHome (see also DistributedComputing) Stats are at http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/cgi?email=davis_foulger%40prodigy.net&cmd=user_stats_new. My business home page (http://www.evolutionarymedia.com) has some inadequate information about my fledgling consulting business. 10

I have now (as of October 9) set up my own Wiki and moved the pages that have caused such controversy here (MoralQuestionInMedia and SuicideOnChildrensTelevision?). I don't expect my Wiki will be terribly interesting to folks here, but if you want to come and play, it is currently located at http://evolutionarymedia.com/cgi-bin/wiki.cgi (note that the location could easily change). I have, with Ward's blessing, modified WelcomeVisitors somewhat to make experiences like mine less likely. I have also suggested, in DiscussionOfCategories, a new category, CategorySandbox?, that might be used to reduce the impact of errors like this ones I've made here.-- Davis Foulger


A group of my friends and colleagues may be using this page: DavisFoulger to discuss the ethics of polluting a focused, long standing wiki community with a bunch of irrelevant pedagogical rants when you already have your own server where you could host them and you could easily run up one of the myriad free WikiClones there instead ... -- PeterMerel.

I'm sorry you and your friends feel that way. I took the WelcomeVisitors page at its word, and have created three pages, including this one, as experiments while I worked on setting up my own Wiki. I haven't polluted other pages on this Wiki, and I don't think I created any of the rants associated with the ones I did create (except maybe now on this page). The second page I created, MoralQuestionInMedia, was intended to demonstrated the power of Wiki as a collaborative medium to a group of scholars. I had proposed that we (the group of scholars) set up our own Wiki for the purpose of collaboratively developing Ethical Cases across a variety of fields. The demo, which started out as about 100 words in WikiWikiSandbox, did a pretty good job of demonstrating that value, and the "rants" made a useful contribution to the demo. I moved it to a new page from Sandbox so the demo would be preserved for continuing use over the next week or so. The second page, SuicideOnChildrensTelevision?, was intended to solve a specific problem some students were having this week. My apologies.
I have since moved them to my own Wiki. -- Davis Foulger last

[Note that Peter has his own wiki! Try using 'minor edits'. Also see WriteNewPages.]

Thanks for prodding me into exploring further. I really didn't want to like Peter after his threatened gang violence against my trivial little experiments in Wiki use. I was ready to push him off in a corner as just another software guy who has made up a weird and pretentious title for himself, but now I've read VeryGoodSeats, and I like Peter. I'm sure that, if we met on an airplane, we would share witty puns and discuss some interesting backwaters of language choice. Heck, I've made up weird and pretentious titles for myself too.
You like me?! Now the gang is going to have to really rough you up! Ward, hand me the tire iron. Um, Ward? Hey, fellows? Gang? Hey, wait up, where are you all going? --PeterMerel hulking off striking surly poses and kicking cans. 8

:-) -- Davis

Davis, after a week away from Wiki I realized when checking RecentChanges tonight that I must have missed all the excitement! I have also found on Wiki that discussion of certain topics - especially programming, music, and science fiction - is pleasant and agreeable, but discussion of controversial topics leads to more heat than light. I'm certainly a newcomer to Wiki myself and can't speak on anyone else's behalf, but I am dismayed to learn of the negative reception your new pages received. Please let me know if you will be accepting non-academic visitors to your Owsego wiki when it is set up. -- ChrisBaugh, Sat 10/6

Thanks, Chris. A nice comment about the value of the "minor edits" button has calmed me considerably. Controversial topics do create interesting problems for discussion groups, and there are elements of Wiki "style" that may actually make Wiki a more difficult place to have controversial discussions. It certainly appears to push discussions towards a format that I've referred to as polar debate in previous research. I'll let you know on the scope of the Oswego site after I have it set up, but its nice to know that someone may be interested. Practically speaking, there may not be much I can do to keep folks out, and I can't think why I would want to, but first I have to set it up, and given my recent experiences with Windows and Sun-based CGI serving, the first step will probably be to set up a Linux box.



In this, we notice:

Interactive internet media can warp
and in some cases obliterate
time linearity