11.0700 small is beautiful in discovery

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 11:00:40 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 700.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Hope Greenberg <hope.greenberg@uvm.edu> (34)
Subject: Re: 11.0695 small is beautiful if by self-control

[2] From: "S.A.Rae" <S.A.Rae@open.ac.uk> (12)
Subject: RE: 11.0695 small is beautiful if by self-control

Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 16:59:14 +0000
From: Hope Greenberg <hope.greenberg@uvm.edu>
Subject: Re: 11.0695 small is beautiful if by self-control

This is marvelous! I thought the original objection was to the length of
conference postings and announcements. "Three lines and a URL" thought
I. It is the rule for announcements on several of the other discussion
lists I belong to. The moderators need to remind the group of that
occasionally but for the most part it works. "Well" say some "what about
conferences that don't have a web site." "Well" say I "they should!"
(And I'll happily provide reasons why to anyone who cares to ask.)

It appears I missed part of the original disucssion.

But why marvelous? Because I see in these messages on brevity vs. length
a real playing out of the thoughts on "how is electronic writing
different from paper writing" "how does the medium alter how we design
our message" "why do people think that because some find reading long
messages on computer screens tiresome and uncomfortable, that all do, or
will forever" "does thoughtful commentary fall into ponderous
pontificating more quickly in the electronic world or does electronic
writing foster the glib, the lightweight, the shallow" and all those
delicious questions about writing and reading the electronic word.

Viewpoints abound about how long is too long and what structure works
best. Jakob Nielsen recently said in an interview:
"When you write for online, you are not really writing a story.
You are contributing to an experience, a navigation space. Rather than
writing one long article, you split it up into smaller pieces and have
them linked together in meaningful ways. Rather than having a linear
progression of arguments, you state your main points. If you want to
(supporting arguments), click here and we'll give you another page full.
Click here if you want to see the counter-arguments. If you already know
something, or you don't care, you just skip it."
(Los Angeles Times Syndicate. April 14, 1998 2:43 p.m. EDT

Where will it all go? What are we creating?

And here we are in the throes of that very creation right here, right
now on HUMANIST!

hope.greenberg@uvm.edu, U of Vermont, http://www.uvm.edu/~hag

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 09:52:09 +0100
From: "S.A.Rae" <S.A.Rae@open.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: 11.0695 small is beautiful if by self-control

I agree with the sentiments of Mary Dee and the Curmudgeonly Charles L.

As a recent CFP poster of 61 lines about a 'Classical Studies ... Int.
Conf. on Theatre: Ancient and Modern' (11.0682) that was unfortunately
buried at the end of a collection of 6 such calls totalling over 660
lines, I did wish that mine had either gone first or alone. (What IS the
collective noun for a number of CFPs? - a shout, an echo, perhaps a

My vote goes for individual messages - with a meaningful that can trigger the Delete Key response on first sighting.


* The Open University, Walton Hall, MILTON KEYNES. MK7 6AA
* OU's WWW home page - http://www.open.ac.uk/

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