November 29 – Network Communication

//November 29 – Network Communication
November 29 – Network Communication 2018-01-07T15:25:11-04:00



Stuart Moulthrop. “You Say You Want a Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media” in The NewMediaReader. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, eds.. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2003. pgs. 691-704

Alexander R Galloway. “Part I – How Control Exists After Decentralization” in Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004. (NYU ebrary)

Kathleen Fitzpatrick. “Introduction,” “One: Peer Review,” “Two: Authorship” in Planned ObsolescenceNew York: MediaCommonsPress, 2011. (online)

Gephi Workshop

Download the Les Miserables Dataset

Network Examples

Gephi Resources

Other Tools


  1. Isabelle November 25, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    In the intro to Moulthrop’s “You Say You Want a Revolution?” the writer laments the (then) current lack of a revolution due to hypertext. Moulthrop also discusses the postmodern nature of the time he was writing in (early 1990s). So my question is this: Are we currently experiencing the revolution that was called for, with the rise of mistrust in large corporations and their respective news outlets? People are now starting to create their own lists of sources they believe to be valid, regardless of actual truth. People are surrounding themselves in their own truths, and finding content on the internet to support that. Is that the revolution that was inevitable at the time of this writing? And is that not an incredibly postmodern revolution?

    Following the discussion of postmodernism, Galloway rattles off a list of rules the internet is meant to follow. He talks about how every link should lead somewhere, and be factual, and pages should be rich with information, etc. He also states that a major role of the computer (and the internet) is to exist without being seen. We shouldn’t see the process or the mechanism. How does this fall within the postmodern, or even the modern, narrative? Neither modernism nor postmodernism felt the need to hide their various media. In fact, they often pulled back veils to better see the medium. Perhaps the backend of digital technology is postmodern, as the creator can see the process, manipulate it, and to them, it is a postmodern experience. But for the viewer, it’s different. And if my above question holds true, that people are creating their own truths, haven’t we only just really entered a postmodern world? Prior to this moment, people were still using the internet to uncover the absolute truth. Now it’s being used to create individual truths.

    Fitzpatrick talks about the hesitation for multiple authors, and its slow (but inevitable?) rise. Why are humanities people so against the idea of co-authorship? Science have done it for some time, as they often lean upon one another to further experiments. And I’m sure with the rise of the digital era, humanists will have to do the same (and have been doing the same for some time). But there is still a hesitation. Is writing a more personal and individual endeavor? Is there something about the act of writing that feels inherently personal and therefore difficult to co-author? And if that’s the case, does digital technology fundamentally change the way we see writing and make co-authorship easier?

  2. Zejun November 27, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    In “You Say You Want a Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media,” Moulthrop seems to regard the key of achieving an autonomy and humanist network lies in the non-hierarchical concept of hypertext,(P696) albeit the revolution has not been realized then. Since Moulthrop also points out that the human desire will engender closed elite eventually, (Deleuze and Guattari, quoted by Moulthrop, P696) can the revolution Moulthrop envisioned be achieved at all?

    In “Anonymity, One: Peer Review,” Fitzpatrick endorses the open review as a way to improve article quality. Anonymity in the process of peer review seems to be outdated (if not harmful) as it excludes author from a meaningful conversation and does not ensure reviewer’s reliability and in some cases not anonymous at all (editor can see the names of author and reviewer). I am wondering can anonymity be beneficial?

    The peer review or other feedback processes in the network, no matter has been done openly or anonymously, inevitably involves human participation via a pre-configured system. Should we still try to figure out how to eliminate those unavoidable systematic and intellectual bias? Should we discuss more about the drives and methods lead to the bias? What matters to DH scholars today?

  3. Lauren November 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    In Galloway’s book he talks about how the discourse is “the network of technologies and institutions that allow a given culture to select, store, and process relevant data.” but this seems to be missing one of the key pieces, the ability to share and interact with the data. The move seems much more connected to the new size and pieces of the data and the way it shared over the way it stored. This line of thinking got me on how “memes” are shared, the initial context for a meme was any bit of information that was passed on through a culture context when thinking about “memes” in the connection to networks, I wonder what the definition of control is?

    In “You Say You Want a Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media,” Moulthrop claims that the hypertext is essential all the interactions via the digital platform. As we look at last week’s readings, how does that play into the social media age, is it a revolution in how we collect and store the information, or is it just another round of the “all interactions are hypertext”? Who then has the control over the hypertext? Is the hypertext a product of itself or a byproduct of the material?

  4. Cristina November 28, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Distributing and Contributing

    1. In Alexander R. Galloway’s ProtocoI, the author outlines a series of 14 social practices of webmasters that, in concert with the more technical Application, Transport, Internet and Link Layers, prescribe interactions on the Internet. Though Galloway uses the analogy of the verbal cues that initiate and end telephone conversations to explain the technical protocols of TCP/IP, there is no discussion of the human-computer interactions that are at the first and final ends of these processes. What, if anything, can we infer from the physical, “natural” human movements of maneuvering a mouse, trackpad, and the essential, incessant clicking? Do these have a place in Galloway’s take on Foucalt’s biopower by favoring particular functions of the human form?

    2. In chapter 3 of Protocol, when the author is categorizing Marx’s recurring vitalistic themes, why does Galloway chose to deal with Marx’s use of “organic” and “metabolic” separately from the rest? Would these not fit into his third category of “natural processes” neatly?

    3. Underlying the assigned readings by Moulthrop and Fitzpatrick is a changing paradigm of publishing as a social activity and authoritative construct. Fitzpatrick, particularly, defines a new relationship between literacy and publishing. I found, however, that even if the format of publication of “Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology and the Future of the Academy” on Media Commons Press reflects this paradigm shift and offers a proof of concept, the reading experience was unpleasant and disjointed. Did anyone else feel this way? Is this simply a design issue, revealing that the author makes her argument within her publishing interface?

  5. Leslie November 29, 2016 at 10:18 am

    The first note on of “You Say You Want a Revolution” by Moulthrop talks about his hypertext fictions and Borges’s “Garden of the Forking Paths” (691). Despite reading a quick explanation in The New Media Reader associated with hyperlink texts for my Writing Fiction in the Digital Age class along with “Garden of the Forking Paths”, I’m still confused about what they are. Further, “Moulthrop pointed out, for instance, that hypertext does not replace the book—it’s more likely a replacement for TV,” and Moulthrop himself says, “When this essay first appeared, all of two years ago, very few people outside the information sciences had heard of hypertext, a technology for creating electronic documents in which the user’s access to information is not constrained, as in books, by linear or hierarchical arrangements of discourse” (691/692). Are hypertexts stories written expressly for the digital medium? Or maybe they simply have the potential to be remediated in an interesting way, as is the case with “Garden of the Forking Paths”? Or maybe they just have to do with non-linearity (in that case, could Pulp Fiction be a hypertext?)? What do they look like/do you have an example of a hypertext to show us?

    In the introduction, it says, “Although individuals are free to scribble in publicly-posted Web diaries and the like, the populace (elite or not) accesses the Web and reads information almost entirely via large, corporate Web sites such as Yahoo!,, and MSNBC… Is it too late to make a real revolutionary effort, or do we simply listen to a word from our sponsor and accept this return to our usual programming?” (691). I think this is important considering our discussion (or my questions) from last week. Considering the piece was written in 2003, Democracy Now!, Citizen Radio, and other listener/reader-funded sources didn’t exist by then. There is a revolution in news, but the question is, how large is it? Will it prevail? Now that the narrative is largely on fake news and President-elect Trump’s attacks on any journalistic (individual or institutional) critic, what does this mean for corporate news and independent sources alike? A shadow of doubt is cast on everything.

    Moulthrop writes, “Instead, the most commercially ambitious application of HyperCard in electronic publishing has been the Voyager Company’s line of “Expanded Books,” based exclusively on print titles and carefully designed to duplicate the look and function of traditional books” (693). He goes on to say that people are coming around to the idea (specifically academics). I can see this in my Writing Fiction in the Digital Age Class and even a little at work. I think we’re currently on an “advanced e-book” (I think that’s what it’s called) of A Wrinkle in Time to coincide with the movie (I may be totally dreaming with this one). However, there is nothing else on the table in terms of interactive, digitally based narratives, especially new ones written specifically for the medium. Do you know of any other projects in the works? Is this the future of publishing and should houses lean in to it?

  6. Anna November 29, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    In You say you want a revolution?
    I agree when the author offers Hypermedia as opposed to hypertext as I fell people rely less and less on text exclusively. Also if the future means « going back », going back even before print existed definitely implies the use of image. In terms of literacy though, I wonder if the use of different media, the inclusion of video/audio/ images has an impact on literacy. Are we more literate if we use different media to support our knowledge or do we have the same knowledge experienced in different ways. For example / if I read and hear the same news, does it mean I know more about or I just experience it in different ways.

    In Planned Obsolescence
    On p7 (undead) I don’t understand why Matt Kirschenbaum would state that he know why he completely understand why publishing the book online wouldn’t be realistic? Isn’t it what happens with Fitzpatrick does with Planned Obsolescence? I am also not sure of the interest of publishing planned Obsolescence both in print and on media and I’m curious to know which version had the most success whether it was print or online.

    P9 When the author talks about the role of scholars becoming closer to « bringing together and highlighting and remixing significant ideas in existing texts rather than remaining solely focused on the production of more ostensibly original text “ I wonder if, in general, there can be an infinity of new essential ideas and concepts? I feel that philosophers or scholars have always built their work out of something pre-existing and that if they didn’t do so their work would meet less approval or recognition. I wonder what it could even happen to build a theory out of scratch without referring even unconsciously to what has been done before. That also build on Newton’s quotation If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants

    How about the obsolescence of the online version of “Planned Obsolescence”? I haven’t gone through all the pages but it seems that the latest comments were made a few years ago.

  7. Ariel November 29, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    In Moulthrop’s article, he notes, “Here the voice of the skeptic must be heard: a revival of literacy? –read my lips: not in a million years. Even the most devoted champion of print is likely to resist the notion of a Gutenberg renaissance. In the West, genuine literacy—cultural, multicultural, or simply functional—can be found only among a well-defined managerial and professional class” (698). What would a “Gutenberg renaissance” even look like? It is hard to imagine with the technology available today that there would be a huge shift back to the printed word.

    In Planned Obsolescence, she addresses the decline in universities purchasing texts. Given that this article was written in 2011, and the presence of laptops, and especially tablets, has only grown, what is the rate of purchase by universities now? Are digital access copies considered in that statistic or only printed materials?

    Expanding on the thought above, how does that influence the works that are being published? Are they only the top quality, or does the marketability play a larger factor in who gets selected for print? With the ability for people to self publish both in print and online, those who are determined to put their work out there can, but what does that say about the value?

  8. Shoshanah November 29, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    In ‘You SayYou Want a Revolution’ Moulthrop cites Michael Heimpoints, “‘[i]n magnetic code there are no originals’ (162). Electronic information may be rapidly duplicated, transmitted, and assembles into new knowledge structures.” What are the consequences of this ease of duplication in regards to intellectual property? How does this lack of an original inform our understanding of, what Walter Benjamin called, ‘presence’?

    I really liked the four questions posed by McLuhan to analyze new digital technologies:
    1. What does it enhance or intensify?
    2. What does it render obsolete or displace?
    3. What does it retrieve that was previously obsolete?
    4. What does it produce or become when taken to its limit?
    I think it could be incredibly valuable to try and answer these questions in relation to our final project proposals. It’s an assessment, in part, of the consequences of new media, and of digitization in general. Answering these four questions will help to avoid the ‘Jurassic Park’ phenomenon that we discussed in our first class… Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

    Citing Deleuze and Guattari, Galloway states “the rhizome is antigeneology. It is short-term memory, or antimemory.” How does this factor into preservation using digital technologies which are part of the web’s rhyzome? How can something be both short-term memory and preserved for the long-term?

    In ‘Publishing, Technology and the Future of the Academy,’ there is a call to “reform peer review for the digital age” by conducting it in the open. Isn’t that how yelp reviews of establishments or Amazon reviews of products function?

  9. Whitney November 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    1.) Both Moulthrop and Galloway’s writings touch on the contrast between the lost sense that we might expect to feel as digital users, phenomenologically, and the relative comfort that we find ourselves in despite such theories. What do you all make of the idea that users seem not to find ourselves lost in ‘”the technico-luminous cinematic space of total spatio-dynamic theatre”‘ as Baudrillard thought we ought to?

    2.) A quote from the Mouthrop article by Heim that I find worth discussing relates to the influence of technology on users – that our “psychic life will be redefined” because of our Internet usage. Could such a psychic redefinition possibly be the cause of society’s movement toward the subordination of facts to emotion?

    3.) Based on Gallway’s description, the second nature of an object “refers to the way in which material objects in the modern era have a tendency to become aesthetic objects and also autonomous. Other than the protocols that allow for the actual functioning on the Internet, are there any other obvious examples that this is true for?

  10. kcauley November 29, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    My understanding of hypertext is synonymous to linked data. Are these two terms the same? Is there a distinction that I’m missing? Furthermore (once these terms have been clearly defined), is hypertext truly a passing fad, as questioned in “You Say You Want a Revolution,” or a proven way of information access technique?

    I really enjoyed Moulthrop’s Neuromancer analogy. Do you think that global information commerce could lead to a more corroborative and peaceful world between nations? Or as suggested by the William Gibson novel, will the world remain ‘intensely competitive and hierarchical’ (701)? How does this fit into the discussion of regulation and protocol in Galloway’s book?

    I was unfamiliar with Philica until reading Fitzpatrick’s piece. I’m curious about why only 185 entries were posted between 2006-2010, so I checked out the site and it does seem rather user-unfriendly. Why hasn’t anyone solved this problem? I would think the hyperlinks and better subject search options would be an easy enough solution, would it not?

  11. lbowen December 10, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I’m intrigued by the concept of “secondary” literacy described in Moulthrop’s article, although I’m not entirely sure that I fully grasp its relationship to hypertexts. It seems that the term is referring to knowledge gained by utilizing the backend of hypertext documents which rely upon a microprocessor of sorts to “turn linear, monologic typography recursively back upon itself” (700). Moulthrop goes on to describe this secondary literacy as the product of a “self-consciousness about the technological mediation of those acts, a sensitivity to the way texts-below-the-text constitute another order behind the visible” (700). Is Moulthrop claiming that the development of secondary literacy is unique to users of hypertext? How does this secondary literacy differ from other forms of digital literacy (literacies?) obtained when using other sorts of digital tools?

Leave A Comment