10.0796 new online: American texts; PMC; JCMC

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 20 Mar 1997 08:03:09 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 796.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: John Price-Wilkin <jpwilkin@umich.edu> (60)
Subject: Making of America Project at University of Michigan

Subject: Postmodern Culture 7.2 (January, 1997)

[3] From: tracihon <tracihon@scf.usc.edu> (217)
Subject: JCMC newest issue is out!

Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 20:33:02 -0500 (EST)
From: John Price-Wilkin <jpwilkin@umich.edu>
Subject: Making of America Project at University of Michigan

[ Part 2: "Included Message" ]

From: John Price-Wilkin <jpwilkin@umich.edu>

Making of America
at the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Digital Library is pleased to announce the
availability of an extraordinary new electronic collection of American
writing. A part of the Making of America project, these materials are a
powerful demonstration of several pieces of digital library technology
developed by the University of Michigan. Currently included in the UM
online collection are some 200,000 pages of American publications from
1850 to 1900; by mid-year, the collection will extend to include
approximately 650,000 pages, including several journals. The University
of Michigan MOA collection is available at:

The Making of America project is a collaborative effort between Cornell
University and the University of Michigan. Funded primarily by the Andrew
W. Mellon Foundation, the focus of the project is American social history
from the antebellum period through reconstruction. Cornell and Michigan
are working to develop a distributed architecture to provide access to the
two collections through a single interface at each institution. Materials
currently available from Cornell may be found at
Work is underway to facilitate cross-collection searching for the two efforts.

Digital Library Resources for the Humanities
The implementation at Michigan demonstrates a number of unique approaches
to building systems for access to scholarly resources. Capitalizing on
Cornell University's extensive experience in preservation-quality imaging,
pages were scanned as 600dpi TIFF images through a conversion bureau,
using specifications jointly written by Cornell and Michigan. In a
subsequent process designed by Digital Library Production staff at the
University of Michigan, a subset of the scanned pages were treated with
locally developed routines for automatic OCR. A relatively low-level of
SGML, using the TEI Guidelines, was applied to the OCR. This encoding is
used to hold bibliographic information, text, article-level information in
journals, and page references. It also serves as an extensible framework
as titles are identified for more thorough proofing and richer encoding.
Images are stored as high resolution, preservation-quality 600dpi TIFF
images, and are rendered to various levels of GIF in real time.

SGML-based Access Systems
We hope that users of the system will appreciate some of the functionality
developed through UM's nearly eight years of experience with deploying
SGML-based access and delivery systems. Attractive, easily navigated
displays of results showing the number of occurrences per page are
combined with displays of the page image, circumventing many of the
problems encountered when relying on OCR alone. As we have opportunities
to "clean up" and more richly encode OCR'd texts, the system will begin to
show dynam ically-rendered HTML with links to the page images. The
mechanisms used for the MOA system will be provided to participants in the
UM's SGML Server Program (see http://www.hti.umich.edu/misc/ssp/).

Next Steps
Development and design of the system continues. The current
implementation will be exhaustively vetted with focus groups of local
users, especially experts in the fields covered. We would also encourage
others to send comments and suggestions to moa-info@umich.edu. Also, as
time and resources permit, texts will be extracted from the system,
carefully proofed and corrected, and encoded at a much higher level of
SGML. These enriched resources will allow us to continue to improve
functionality in a numbe r of different directions. For more information
about the Making of American project in general, and the Michigan
implementation in particular, please see:

Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 16:47:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Postmodern Culture 7.2 (January, 1997)

P TMODERNCU UREPOS ODER ULTU E an electronic journal
P TMODERNCU UREPOS ODER E of interdisciplinary
Volume 7, Number 2 (January, 1997) ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors: Eyal Amiran
Lisa Brawley
Stuart Moulthrop
John Unsworth

Review Editor: Paula Geyh

Managing Editor: Sarah Wells

List Manager: Jessamy Town

Research Assistant: Anne Sussman

Editorial Board:

Sharon Bassett Phil Novak
Michael Berube Chimalum Nwankwo
Nahum Chandler Patrick O'Donnell
Marc Chenetier Elaine Orr
Greg Dawes Marjorie Perloff
J. Yellowlees Douglas Fred Pfeil
Jim English Peggy Phelan
Graham Hammill David Porush
Phillip Brian Harper Mark Poster
David Herman Carl Raschke
bell hooks Avital Ronell
E. Ann Kaplan Susan Schultz
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett William Spanos
Arthur Kroker Tony Stewart
Neil Larsen Allucquere Roseanne Stone
Tan Lin Gary Lee Stonum
Saree Makdisi Chris Straayer
Jerome McGann Rei Terada
Uppinder Mehan Paul Trembath
Jim Morrison Greg Ulmer
Larysa Mykata


Dear Readers,

With our January, 1997 issue, Postmodern Culture begins
publishing with the Johns Hopkins University Press.
Hopkins' innovative Muse project promises to advance
the art of electronic publishing in ways that will
benefit the journal and its readers. Johns Hopkins
Press will also provide much needed financial and
technical support. This new arrangement entails some
changes in our operation, but we'll continue to bring
you innovative and challenging interdisciplinary work
and hope you'll continue with us in this intellectual
and publishing adventure.

Postmodern Culture will continue to be published three
times each academic year: September, January, and May.
As each new issue of the journal becomes available it
will appear simultaneously at the journal's current
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on JHUP's Project Muse online journals site
(MUSE.JHU.EDU). The Virginia site will offer the
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The change from free electronic distribution to a
combination of free and for-fee access may surprise
some of our readers, so it deserves an explanation.
Since the founding of the journal, the University of
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PMC has been and continues to be the work of many
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Nonetheless, the journal incurs numerous costs,
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Gaining financial solvency is one reason we've
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We're very pleased that Johns Hopkins has agreed to
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PMC finds a stable home and secures its future; we
think that this arrangement offers as much as possible
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If you are affiliated with an academic institution,
please encourage the library to subscribe to the Muse
collection and/or to PMC.

Thank you.


Editors, Postmodern Culture



Arkady Plotnitsky, "'But It Is Above All Not True':
Derrida, Relativity, and the 'Science Wars'"

Maria Damon, "Lenny Bruce's 1962 Obscenity Trial:
Public Culture and the Jewish Entertainer as
Cultural Lightning Rod"

Tony Thwaites, "Currency Exchanges: The Postmodern,
Vattimo, Et Cetera, Among Other Things (Et Cetera)"

Heikki Raudaskoski, "'The Feathery Rilke Mustaches
and Porky Pig Tattoo on Stomach': High and Low
Pressures in _Gravity's Rainbow_"

Penelope Engelbrecht, "Bodily Mut(il)ation:
Enscribing Lesbian Desire"

Steven Jones, "The Book of _Myst_ in the Late Age of


Paul Andrew Smith, "Radio Free Alice"

Gregory Wolos, "Son of Kong, How Do You Do?"


David DeRose, "'A Lifetime of Anger and Pain': Kali
Tal and the Literature of Trauma." Review of Kali
Tal, _Worlds of Hurt: Reading the Literature of
Trauma_. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge UP, 1996.

Thomas Vogler, "Dressing the Text: On the Road with
the Artist's Book." Review of _Dressing the Text_

Lynda Hall, "Holly Hughes Performing:
Self-Invention and Body Talk." Review of Holly
Hughes, _Clit Notes: A Sapphic Sampler_. New York:
Grove, 1996.

Tammy Clewell, "Failing to Succeed: Toward a
Postmodern Ethic of Otherness." Review of Ewa
Plonawska Ziarek, _The Rhetoric of Failure:
Deconstruction of Skepticism, Reinvention of
Modernism_. Albany: SUNY Press, 1996.

Sujata Iyengar, "The Resuscitation of Dead
Metaphors." Review of "Incorporating the Antibody:
Women, History and Medical Discourse," a
conference held at the University of Western
Ontario, October 5-6, 1996, and the accompanying
exhibition "Speculations: Selected Works from
1983-1996," by Barbara McGill Balfour.

Mike Hill, "What Was (the White) Race? Memory,
Categories, Change." Review of Noel Ignatiev and
John Garvey, eds, _Race Traitor_ (New York:
Routledge, 1996) and Mab Segrest, _Memoir of a Race
Traitor_ (Boston: South End Press, 1994).




Related Readings




Arkady Plotnitsky, "'But It Is Above All Not True':
Derrida, Relativity, and the 'Science Wars'"

o Abstract: The article considers a remark by
Jacques Derrida on Einstein's relativity. This
remark has been widely circulated without proper
scholarly and philosophical treatment in recent
discussions around the so-called "Science Wars,"
in the wake of Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt's
_Higher Superstition_, and then Alan Sokal's "hoax
article." By examining several specific responses
to Derrida's statement and his work in general by
scientists and others, the article argues that
this circulation is a symptom of a deeper problem
that permeates the current intellectual
landscape--still the landscape of "two cultures"
(scientific and humanistic) in spite, and even
because, of massive transformations of both these
cultures and of the interactions between them
during recent decades. This problem shapes the
reception of the work of Derrida and several other
figures, such as Jean-Francois Lyotard, Michel
Serres, and Gilles Deleuze, on the part of the
scientific community. The article examines the
circumstances, contexts and meanings of Derrida's
remark, and considers the general question of
reading philosophical texts, such as Derrida's,
that engage or refer to mathematics and science.
It also suggests a reading of Derrida's statement
itself that will, hopefully, lead to more
productive responses to the work of Derrida and
other recent thinkers on the part of the
scientific community.--ap

Maria Damon, "Lenny Bruce's 1962 Obscenity Trial: Public
Culture and the Jewish Entertainer as Cultural
Lightning Rod"

o Abstract: In 1962, comedian Lenny Bruce was tried
for obscenity in San Francisco and, for the only
time in his many subsequent arrests and trials,
acquitted. The trial transcript documents a moment
in San Francisco's history, bringing together the
social currents surrounding the emergence of a gay
men's community; the discourse of expertise and
the town/gown politics of the Irish/Italian police
force against the "long beards" at Berkeley; and
the tensions between the language of juridical
process and that of the carnivalesque. San
Francisco was shortly to become a center for
several different countercultures noted for their
flamboyant aesthetic and their emphasis on
alternate social organizing units (the spectrum of
gay relationships, hippie "tribes," Third World
arts communes, etc.), which questioned the
traditional relationship of sexuality to
reproduction and family life. I want to argue
that, though he was neither gay, San Franciscan,
politically active in the conventional sense, nor
literary in the conventional sense, Bruce's role
as hyperverbal Jewish "entertainer" (in-betweener)
set his trial as a moment signaling cultural
change in San Francisco. Further, this scenario
resonates with more recent and ongoing debates
about the role of non-normative artistic
expression in civic life.--md

Tony Thwaites, "Currency Exchanges: The Postmodern,
Vattimo, et cetera, Among Other Things (et cetera)"

o Abstract: A frequent criticism of the idea of the
postmodern is that it lacks both clear referent
and conceptual coherence. It may be more useful to
see what is going on in such debates in terms of a
performative and asyndetic logic, whose figure is
the instability of the list, neither coherent nor
incoherent. Drawing on the work of Gianni Vattimo,
this article tries to reframe the terms of the
debate by suggesting a concept of the aesthetic
which would be neither simply vanguardist nor
populist, but linked intimately to the possibility
of community, history, the political and

Heikki Raudaskoski, "'The Feathery Rilke Mustaches and
Porky Pig Tattoo on Stomach': High and Low Pressures in
_Gravity's Rainbow_"

o Abstract: On one occasion Mikhail Bakhtin
describes his famous "chronotopes" as places
"where knots of narrative are tied and untied".
While it is very difficult to find chronotopes
like these in Thomas Pynchon's _Gravity's Rainbow_,
many passages in the text nevertheless keep
asking: where and how do characters and readers
(and the text itself) position themselves? What
time are they in? The novel certainly posits the
existence of an epic, unilinear, and apocalyptic
time; however, this kind of time never arrives
inside the text. Thus possibilities for novelness,
something new, remain. What positional
possibilities, then, does this leave for
characters and the narrator? This essay tries to
find answers to this question by studying how the
binary opposition of "high" and "low" works in the
novel in various respects.

These positionalities prove "highly" unstable in
the novel. The vain search for high unities
results in low-feeling melancholies. On the other
hand, only through low, popular cultural genres it
is possible, at least momentarily, to feel high.
Neither high canon (as, obviously, in Joyce's
_Ulysses_) nor low carnivalism (as in Bakhtin's
reading of Rabelais) prove capable of attaining
supremacy. Yet this does not have to lead to
"postmodernism" as neutralized relativism.
_Gravity's Rainbow_'s labyrinthine carnivalism is
different. Although there are no pure, closed
sites for low marginals, either, positional
tensions will not ease off. On the contrary: just
because transcendental subjects and dialectical
syntheses turn impossible, the novel is able to
maintain hard and urgent questions of

Penelope Engelbrecht, "Bodily Mut(il)ation: Enscribing
Lesbian Desire"

o Abstract: "What do lesbians really want?"

I raise this question in my essay, and offer a
conditional answer that devolves from the
inter/active relation of lesbian Other/Self and
lesbian their lesbian Desire, that Desire characterizing
and characterized by alinear %jouissance%.

Because that pro/vocative lesbian %jouissance% may
be construed in analogy to Derridean %differance%, I
perceive lesbian Desire as enscribed in erotic
textual site(s) of "saturated %aporia%." I explain
how the "un/mark" refers to those ambivalent signs
of bodily mutilation--s/m-inflicted bruises, scars
of assault, and particularly mastectomy
scars--which may be read and re-read as
transformative signs, for example, of pain which
becomes pleasure, of horror which metamorphoses
into and through healing.

These bodily un/marks comprise the multi-valent
signifiers of a corporeal mut(il)ation which not
only gestures toward an "essentialistic" lesbian
embodiment, but which also articulates that
essential materiality as/in an inter/active
performativity. I observe lesbian sign, text, body
as mutable situations of relational Desire even as
they enable the endless mutation(s) of lesbian
Desire, a mutual activity which remains ever

One answer to the question? Lesbians Desire more

Steven Jones, "The Book of _Myst_ in the Late Age of Print"

o Abstract: This essay considers the CD-ROM game
_Myst_, arguably the most widely experienced
hypernarrative (if not exactly hypertext) of our
time. In _Myst_ and its paratexts--prequel, sequel,
sources, and marketing--we see dramatized some
fundamental cultural anxieties surrounding the
emergence of hypertext in the late age of print.
The primary sign of these anxieties in the game is
the ubiquitous image of the magical "linking"
book, floating above the landscape or concealed in
the machines that structure the game-play, clearly
representing hypertext and what it portends for
the aura of the Book in the late age of print.
From the game and its books we move to an
important precursor, Jules Verne's _The Mysterious
Island_, which serves in turn as a link to the
subgenre of Victorian adventure fiction and its
bookish obsessions with technology (and islands).
Then, linking forward to a recent work, Neal
Stephenson's SF novel, _The Diamond Age_, the essay
concludes by suggesting how _Myst_ inevitably
exceeds the boundaries of its authors' intentions,
aura, and back-story novelization. The essay
recognizes that, on the one hand (as J. David
Bolter has argued), the book may be moving to the
margins of culture, but on the other hand (as
Maurice Blanchot reminds us), culture remains
tenaciously "linked to the book." At the heart of
a mass-audience hypertext adventure game, the Book
in _Myst_ signals a profound anxiety over the
impending absence of the material book as an
object of cultural significance.--sj


UNTIL RELEASE OF THE NEXT ISSUE AT http://www.iath.virginia.
edu/pmc/issue.197/contents.197.html. FOR ACCESS TO BACK
(http://muse.jhu.edu) THE ON-LINE JOURNALS PROJECT OF

Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 10:07:36 -0500 (EST)
From: tracihon <tracihon@scf.usc.edu>
Subject: JCMC newest issue is out!

We are pleased to announce the newest issue of the
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication:

Volume 2, Issue 4, March, 1997

Network and Netplay: Virtual Groups on the Internet

Edited by Fay Sudweeks, Margaret McLaughlin,
and Sheizaf Rafaeli

A special abridged version of the AAAI/MIT Press
volume scheduled for publication in June, 1997

Now available on our HUJI server at


and the new USC-Annenberg School server at

JCMC is a refereed scholarly journal, fully indexed and
searchable, with a conversation board for posting
notices and exchanging messages about the articles.

Table of Contents and Abstracts:

Editors' Introduction to Network and Netplay

Sheizaf Rafaeli, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Margaret McLaughlin, University of Southern California, USA
Fay Sudweeks, University of Sydney, Australia

On-Line Smiles: Does Gender Make a Difference in the Use of
Graphic Accents?

Diane Witmer, Purdue University, USA
Sandra Katzman, Interac Co. Ltd., Japan

In the gender-bending world of computer-mediated communication (CMC),
is it possible to determine the gender of a message sender from cues in
the message? This study addresses the question by drawing on current
literature to formulate and test three hypotheses: (i) women use more graphic
accents than men do in their CMC, (ii) men use more challenging language
in CMC than do women, and (iii) men write more inflammatory messages
than do women. Results indicate that only the first hypothesis is partially
supported and that women tend to challenge and flame more than do men
in this sample group. The authors also discuss implications and pose
questions for additional research.

Framing Flames: The Structure of Argumentative Messages on the Net

Edward A. Mabry, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

The purpose of this study was to assess the use, in computer-mediated
communication, of the strategic message structuring tactic known as
framing. Interlocutors in computer-mediated environments have software
supported systemic resources facilitative of constructing messages
using framing tactics in their argumentative discourse. It is hypothesized
that framing strategies are related to the emotional tenor of a
disputant's message and that a speaker's emotional involvement with
an issue should be curvilinearly related to the appropriation of framing
as an argumentative discourse strategy. Results from the analysis of 3000
messages, obtained from a diverse sampling of computer-mediated discussion
groups and forums, provided support for the primary hypothesized
relationship. A speaker's emotional involvement was significantly and
curvilinearly related to two message framing devices (message dependency
and coalition building) and a measure of conciliatory face-saving moves.

Telelogue Conversations

Alexander E. Voiskounsky, Moscow University, Russia

Mediation processes form the basis of human psychological development.
Speech signs play a crucial role in the internalization of mediating
means. In the computer-mediated communication (CMC) field, speech has
its own peculiarity, thus modifying the possible directions of the
internalization process. The analysis in this chapter shows the specifics
of CMC speech, i.e., telelogue speech. In particular, features and
attributes inherent in oral and written forms of speech are found in
dialogues, monologues, and polylogues (telelogues). Analysing English
usage by those netters for whom it is not the mother-tongue, one could
find a peculiar kind of pidginized 'network English' being formed.

"HMMM... Where's That Smoke Coming From?" Writing, Play and Performance
on Internet Relay Chat

Brenda Danet, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
and Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies,
The Smithsonian Institution (1996-1997), USA

Lucia Ruedenberg, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
and New York University, USA

Yehudit Rosenbaum-Tamari, Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
and Israel Ministry of Absorption of Immigrants, Israel

Digital writing is strikingly playful. This playfulness flourishes
particularly in synchronous chat modes on the Internet. This paper is a
study of writing, play and performance on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). We
analyze a "virtual party" on IRC, whose highlight was a typed simulation of
smoking marijuana. Three interrelated, yet analytically distinct types of
play are discussed: 1) play with identity; 2) play with frames of
interaction; and 3) play with typographic symbols. We adopt a qualitative,
textual, and micro-sociolinguistic approach, drawing on work in discourse
analysis, the study of orality and literacy, and the anthropology of play
and performance. In all play there is reduced accountability for action.
In the material world, masks and costumes at carnival time liberate
participants; here, the ephemeral, non-material medium, the typed text, and
the use of nicknames provide the mask. Although the improvisation analyzed
here is typed and occurs between geographically dispersed strangers, it has
fascinating affinities with "live" interactional forms such as jazz,
charades, and carnivals.

Using the News: An Examination of the Value and Use of News
Sources in CMC

Steve Jones, University of Tulsa, USA

This study examines one facet of the penetration of personal computers
into everyday life. It seeks to discover how members of a Usenet newsgroup
value and use news sources. Electronic news sources predominated. An
important finding is that media use was not tied to the user's
geographic locale. The study raises several questions for future research:
What are the rhetorical dimensions of media use in electronic communities?
How might our understanding of readers and communities be affected by
new patterns of media use in electronic communities?

Conduct Control on Usenet

Christine A. Smith, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey CA USA
Margaret L. McLaughlin and Kerry K. Osborne,
University of Southern California, USA

In this paper we explore the nature of offensive conduct and its treatment on
Usenet. Specifically, we examine the frequency, form, and tone of reproaches
for misconduct on five newsgroups: rec.arts.tv.soaps; soc.motss; soc.singles;
rec.sports.hockey; and comp.sys.ibm.pc.games. Where possible, subsequent
accounts offered by offenders are also examined. Results indicate that
few individuals respond publicly to their reproachers and that complete
"traditional" remedial episodes in Usenet are relatively rare. Discriminant
analysis supports a tentative conclusion that different offense types
elicit reproaches which vary in form and tone. Furthermore, the tenor
and frequency of reproaches for particular offenses vary according to
supporting the thesis that norm violations are differentially treated
in Usenet "communities." The analyses and discussion include an
examination of gender differences in the newsgroups studied.

The Relcom Network: An Investigation of its Users

Alexander E. Voiskounsky, Moscow University, Russia

Relcom is the most intensively used network available in the former
Soviet Union, and its users form a sample of highly active and educated
citizens of the recently formed independent states. To describe this
sample, surveys of the users were conducted via the network. The results
include data on demographic characteristics of users, their attitudes,
motivations, and typical ways of network usage. Attitudes towards possible
social monitoring service functioning in the network are also investigated,
and the potential directions of its functioning are rated by the respondents.

Risky Business: Do People Feel Safe in Sexually Explicit Online

Diane Witmer, Purdue University, USA

This article defines and contextualizes basic types of CMC as electronic
counterparts to other forms of communication. It then discusses the ways
in which message privacy and security can be compromised in the electronic
environment and reports a survey study of individuals who engage in potentially
embarrassing forms of CMC via USENET newsgroups. The questionnaire asked
respondents how risky they perceived their communications to be and why they
felt secure enough to engage in "risky" communication. Survey results were
equivocal on the question of user perceptions of privacy, but indicated
that the perceived risk was low in this sample group. Finally, the
paper discusses implications and proposes an agenda for future research.

Virtual Rape

Richard MacKinnon, University of Texas, USA

The current social construction of rape in virtual reality is not a
worthwhile endeavor in that it forces theorists to adapt an undesirable
concept in order to import it into virtual reality. Rape exists as such
in "real life" because of the social construction of women relative to
the social construction of men. The relationship of these constructions is
not and does not have to be analogous in virtual reality because virtual
reality presents an opportunity for social reordering. Among these
opportunities is the exploration of the ramifications of bodies
presented arbitrarily. Given these opportunities, theorists seeking to
pursue positive constructionism ought to endeavor to develop
virtual-reality specific constructions which empower rather than
import real life constructions which victimize.

Networked Interactivity

Sheizaf Rafaeli, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Fay Sudweeks, University of Sydney, Australia

What makes computer-mediated groups tick and/or stick? To what degree
are computer-mediated discussants really sustained "groups"? Does the
grouping quality reflect anything beyond technical structure? Are
technical structure and grouping related? How do threads define groups,
or vice-versa? Does any of this change between academic and
commercial networks?

We propose that one useful perspective for studying group computer-mediated
communication (CMC) is interactivity. Interactivity is a theoretical construct
that grapples with the origins of captivation, fascination, and allure that
can be inherent in computer-mediated groups. In the coded data from the
sample of messages collected by ProjectH, we have a representative snapshot
of communication among the very large groups populating the networks. The
central unit of interest in studying computer mediated groups is, in this case,
the thread of messages. A message thread is a chain of interrelated messages.
Rather than individuals' self-reports, linguistic and sociolinguistic
analyses of content, or observational data of larger units, we examine
interactivity, the dependency among messages in threads.

Results indicate that the content on the net is less confrontational than
is popularly believed: conversations are more helpful and social than
competitive. Interactive messages seem to be more humorous, contain
more self-disclosure, display a higher preference for agreement and
contain many more first-person plural pronouns. This indicates that
plays a role in the social dynamics of group CMC, and sheds a light on comparing
interactive messages with conversation. The focus, we propose, should be
on the glue: that which keeps message threads and their authors
together, and what makes the groups and their interaction tick.

Clustering on the Nets: Applying an Autoassociative Neural Network to
Computer-Mediated Discussions

Michael Berthold, University of Karlsruhe, Germany
Fay Sudweeks, University of Sydney, Australia
Sid Newton, University of Western Sydney, Nepean, Australia
Richard Coyne, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

ProjectH, a research group of a hundred researchers, produced a huge
amount of data from computer-mediated discussions. The data classified
several thousand postings from over 30 newsgroups into 46 categories.
One approach to extract typical examples from this database is
presented in this paper. An autoassociative neural network is trained
on all 3000 coded messages and then used to construct typical messages
under certain specified conditions. With this method the neural
network can be used to create "typical" messages for several scenarios.
This paper illustrates the architecture of the neural network that was
used and explains the necessary modifications to the coding scheme.
In addition several "typicality sets" produced by the neural net
are shown and their generation is explained. In conclusion, the
autoassociative neural network is used to explore threads and the
types of messages that typically initiate or contribute longer
lasting threads.

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication