February 4, 2008

EP Meta: Chapter Two

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 6:19 am

Last week the sections of Expressive Processing‘s second chapter — “The Eliza Effect” — were posted. This week will see all the sections of chapter three: “Computer Game Fictions.”

So far I’m quite happy with the feedback I’m getting. As discussed in my previous “meta” post, as well as in some of the comments, I’m pleased to be hearing everything from reflections on the wider field movements in which Expressive Processing participates to very detailed comments about word choices (and, in one case, an ungrammatical sentence). It’s all going to help me make the book better, and some comments will certainly influence my work beyond this book.

Meanwhile, it’s good to see the discussion of the first chapter (especially in my ongoing exchange with Bryan Behrenshausen) continuing even as further material appears. I’m glad that integrating the Expressive Processing review into the flow of Grand Text Auto has created the “sense of being part of a reading community” that Nick described — but I’m also interested in comments on all posted sections of the manuscript during the entire course of the project (not just the most recent ones) and happy that the blog format hasn’t deterred this.

That said, in addition to discussion of the discussion, this meta post can also serve as a place for thoughts on the overall argument of the second chapter. Is my revision of the Eliza effect — to include not just the initial illusion, but also the authorial choice that follows — a convincing one? Or is it a bit early to say, and perhaps better addressed after my revised concept has operated in the background of the next chapter or two? All wider-scope thoughts are welcome.

Update: See also Ben Vershbow’s post on if:book that begins with Don Waters from the Mellon Foundation asking if this kind of project doesn’t just create more work for everyone. Bob Stein passed the question on to Ben, Doug Sery (at MIT Press), and yours truly. It’s interesting to see the different ways we all view the project — and the conclusion Waters offers about the relationship between the accept/reject and “developmental editing” functions of peer review seems like a good next step for the conversation.