Strict Standards: Non-static method installk2::installer() should not be called statically in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-content/themes/3k2w-b2r344/functions.php on line 23
SubEthaEdit-orializing at WRT: Writer Response Theory



SubEthaEdit-orializing


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-includes/functions-formatting.php on line 76

Millenium on SubEthaEdit

In the Summer issue of Bunk Magazine, the unknown writing collective named Millenium has been monkeying around with SubEthaEdit, a collaborative text editor, to produce Haberdashery. Since Millenium is all about bringing nations back together, they present their work in English and in French. (WARNING, this work does contain some adult content and can have even more sexual innuendo if explicated by your high school English teacher.)

While the mostly-free SubEdthaEdit has many strengths as a text editor, what interests me most today is its ability to allow real-time collaboration, a perilous writing experiment. (Writer’s responde thus: other examples of interesting real-time collaborative fiction?)

Although many talk about the collaborative nature of networked writing, few try to engage in the hazards of real-time collaborative work with programs such as this one by the Coding Monkeys. (For another example of the program in opertation, see these notes.) When I mentioned this application to several suits (consultants) the other day, they replied, “I don’t want someone getting their grubby hands on my notes.” Needless to say, collaboration is a challenge and real-time collaboration on documents, doubly so.

The program draws its name from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a tale whose recent IF skin competition added another collaborative moment. The Code Monkey’s cite Douglas Adams as the inspiration for the project as well as the name:

In his books he envisioned a travel guide for aliens, which was updated by multiple editors collaborating over the “SubEthaNet”.

In HHGTG I don’t remember writer’s having editorial access to each other’s entries, and to me this is the major challenge to social software, finding the like minded individuals with possibly an useful editorial mechanism of some sort, be it /.-style or otherwise. Nonetheless, Adams was apparently interested in such collaborative possibilities, according to this NNDB entry:

Notably in 1999 Adams initiated the H2G2 collaborative writing project, an online collaborative encyclopedia that was a forerunner of Wikipedia.

Unlike SubEthaEdit and other collaborative projects, the “intelligence aggregator,” the Notable Names Database (”Tracking the Entire World”) seems to put its emphasis on tracing connections rather than affording them (although I haven’t seen where this connection-making is demonstrated on their beta site yet). Where’s the wiki-thusiasm? The rhetoric of mapping social networks (surveillance) here supersedes the rhetoric of collective intelligence.

In any case, SubEthaEdit itself seems to offer an alternate aesthetic to versioning. Everyone has the document in their hands simultaneously. What would be interesting would be to see a recording of the process of composition. Not only would that prove to be colorful, since each writer’s text is highlighted on a signature color, it would also present the collaboratively composed text in all of its fluidity and emergence. Readers could take screen shots at various moments to produce particular versions.

For now, these collaborations will be left to Mac users, as SubEthaEdit is only iAvailable for Apples.



7 Responses to “SubEthaEdit-orializing”

  1. 1 Jeremy Douglass

    Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-includes/functions-formatting.php on line 76

    In any case, SubEthaEdit itself seems to offer an alternate aesthetic to versioning. Everyone has the document in their hands simultaneously. What would be interesting would be to see a recording of the process of composition. Not only would that prove to be colorful, since each writer???s text is highlighted on a signature color, it would also present the collaboratively composed text in all of its fluidity and emergence.

    It seems to me that the alternate aesthetic to versioning is a kind of micro-versioning - a time-stream which logs a sequence of intervention / locations. SubEthaEdit is unusual in allowing each intervention to have a separate author, but this kind of representation of a document is quite normal internal to a program - it is called the “Undo History” or “History,” and it is present in everything from simple text editors to large multimedia applications like Dreamweaver or Photoshop. Very few programs save their undo histories in the file format, however - they only keep them in memory during a single editing session.

    The trick to a micro-versioning text file format would be to save the entire change history as the file itself in the format:

    time:location:change:author
    time:location:change:author

    then it could be played back in any variety of ways by different players. Or does something like this already exist?

    Of course, the poor-man’s way of doing this is a screencapture movie, or Fash. In this vein, I enjoyed the novelty of the rollover animations for the title and end note to Haberdashery. Were those created by the SubEthaEditing Team, or by bunkmag’s crack publication monkeys?

  2. 2 Jeremy Douglass

    Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-includes/functions-formatting.php on line 76

    I just noticed the link to the French “Original Text” of Haberdashery.

    “That’s odd,” I thought to myself. “A story reminiscing about Drew during the Gerald Ford era, originally written in French.”

    Then I clicked through. The title was still in English, and the link back was to “Texte original anglais.”

    “That’s odd,” I thought to myself. “A story originally written in French. Which was originally written in English.”

    Not being fluent in French, it is hard for me to tell if the French page is a fake produced by machine translation (probably not?), if one of the links to the ‘original’ is a typo and one (probably the English) was simply written first, or if the document was collaboratively written in a mix of French and English, then cross-translated out into two documents (intriguing and possible with SubEthaEdit, but why not comment on that process?).

  3. 3 Mark Marino

    Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-includes/functions-formatting.php on line 76

    The mysteries seem to multiply With Regard To this piece, such as, what’s going on with the monkey mask? Who wears the sunglasses? And why is there not a writer blue?

    Millenium seems cagey, Nicholas or John, you pick.

    re: versioning. That’s a good point about histories. I was thinking that if “versioning” is to keep track of the changes made to the document by various people and to preserve “drafts” or a “master copy,” then having everyone make changes simultaneously (even if color-coded) seems to be antithetical to the process.

    Re: the animations, they are uncredited. But I must say, that your idea of a recording of the process is excellent and is possible with certain software. Are there cheaper solutions?

  4. 4 Jeremy Douglass

    Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-includes/functions-formatting.php on line 76

    re: versioning:

    I suppose keystrokes are being typed on various computers in one order - they are being sent over the internet in second order - and they arrive at the computer hosting the document in a third order. These three orders are in general the same, but network latency might change them. You are right - this is complex simultaneity.

    On the other hand, internal to SubEthaEdit’s software process on the hosting computer, there aren’t really ’simultaneous’ changes - just individual single letter or single word changes which arrive in some order, and are committed against the document in the order they arrive. When we slow the writing process down (inverse Stanley Fish) we can see the micro-versions tick by.

    However ‘micro-version’ might be a perverse description - a one-letter change is enough of a difference in degree from a ‘version’ that it might be a difference in kind.

  5. 5 Jeremy Douglass

    Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-includes/functions-formatting.php on line 76

    re: recording animations: There are more expensive solutions, certainly - Macromedia Breeze is the one I’d love to get my hands on, not just for screencapturing but for recording GUI elements into interactive Flash. I’m not sure if any artist has experimented with Breeze yet, but the possibilities seem endless - the more so given that it was designed for corporate training and product tutorials. David Byrne’s PowerPoint art, anyone?

  6. 6 Freccia

    Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-includes/functions-formatting.php on line 76

    SubEthaEdit is a very interesting, and radical, approach to collaborative writing. It is interesting that you mention versioning as well; modern software that assists in versioning of text files hosted on the Internet, provide another platform for somewhat similar behavior (collaborative writing), to some extent recent versioning systems such as subversion even support collaborating on the same document at the same time (although you won’t get instantaneous updates on your screen!)

    I am eager to see if we can adapt to the possibilities that these new technologies offer, or if people won’t be able to let others get “their grubby hands” on their notes.

  1. 1 iBunk takes on iWorld at WRT: Writer Response Theory

Leave a Reply



Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class sk2_plugin in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/SK2/sk2_plugin_class.php on line 45

Strict Standards: Declaration of sk2_captcha_plugin::output_plugin_UI() should be compatible with sk2_plugin::output_plugin_UI($output_dls = true) in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/SK2/sk2_plugins/sk2_captcha_plugin.php on line 70

Strict Standards: Declaration of sk2_pjw_simpledigest::output_plugin_UI() should be compatible with sk2_plugin::output_plugin_UI($output_dls = true) in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/SK2/sk2_plugins/sk2_pjw_daily_digest_plugin.php on line 277

Strict Standards: Declaration of sk2_rbl_plugin::treat_this() should be compatible with sk2_plugin::treat_this(&$cmt_object) in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/SK2/sk2_plugins/sk2_rbl_plugin.php on line 342

Strict Standards: Declaration of sk2_referrer_check_plugin::output_plugin_UI() should be compatible with sk2_plugin::output_plugin_UI($output_dls = true) in /home/writerresponse/writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/SK2/sk2_plugins/sk2_referrer_check_plugin.php on line 78





thesis writing service