The Lottbot interface This week, WRT’s Jeremy Douglass is in Copenhagen with all the kids at the international Digital Arts and Culture (DAC) 2005 conference. He will be presenting a paper on our collaborative outing which begins to layout the ideas behind Benchmark fiction (benchfic).

“Benchmark fiction” is a methodology for creating ‘benchmarks’ - sets of adaptations of the ???same??? eliterature content across different media for the purpose of comparative study.

Here is a sample benchfic. Have a chat with The Lady or the Tiger bot. (Lottbot) Lottbot is a modified ALICEbot (in progress).

Read the source text, Frank R. Stockton’s story.

Here is the Complete abstract:
Our paper asks:

How do we compare eliterature forms? What does it mean for a work to be implemented as hypertext, interactive fiction, or chatbot? “Benchmark fiction” is a methodology for creating
‘benchmarks’ - sets of adaptations of the ???same??? eliterature content across different media for the purpose of comparative study. While total equivalence between the resulting ‘benchfic’ is impossible, praxis remains important: by creating ‘equivalent’ media and then critiquing them, we revealing our own definitions of media through process. Work on the first story to be benchmarked, ???The Lady or the Tiger??? (1882) by Frank R. Stockton, inspired a framework for displaying sources through interchangeable display modules. The project is considered in terms of historical precedents (Lorem Ipsum, Hello World, Cloak of Darkness, Gabriella Infinita), contemporarytheories (adaptation, remediation, media-specific analysis, transmedial and cross-media storytelling), and current experiments (chatbots, wikis, search art, cellular automata), with some discussion of design and pedagogy.

More DAC resources:
DAC 2005 Web site
The DAC wiki

11 Responses to “Benchmark Fiction at DAC 2005”

  1. 1 ChrisJohnson

    Quite interesting, as I, author of < CodeBase /> (more…), have been working on a bot of my own. I’ve been experimenting with several different implimentations and have debated long hours over structural issues and parsing techniques and think I have come to a point where I may in fact be ready to begin coding and most likely inviting others to help with this new implimentation based initially on AliceBot AIML code, Program E and a few other snippets I’ve gathered together over at least the past year or so…

    Anyone interested in joining this project should send inquiries to my gmail account,


  2. 2 Mark Marino


    Can you tell us more about the project here?

  3. 3 Jeremy Douglass

    Glad to hear it, Chris. Is the purpose of your planend bot to convey a specific story, or personality, or…?

  4. 4 Christy Dena

    Mark and Jeremy, I think you’ve forgotten that we’ve brought up Chris’ book here already. ;)

  5. 5 Jeremy Douglass

    Unless I’m misunderstanding, Christy, I think Chris is talking about implementing a bot as part of some separate (unnamed) project, not as an extension of CodeBase - although you are right, we should have mentioned the continuity.

  6. 6 Christy Dena

    No, I misunderstood. Whoops. Too quick a read. I, because I do this, assumed that the bot would be part of the book, an extension of it. So Chris, please do tell us about your project…

  7. 7 ChrisJohnson

    Sorry to take so long getting back to this. Very long story… ;)

    Um, I will relate more about this project as it develops. I’ve created a widget which I’ve released to’s Widget Gallery, found via

    The chat bot widget I’ve released for use with the Yahoo Widget Engine 3.0 is designed to respond with text as well as speaking the response. The widget works well, save for the inability to parse HTML and I’d assume Javascript elements as well. Other than that, the AIML code seriously needs to be tweaked so as to give it a more unique and less Alicebot-like personality.

    Fear not though, I will release additional details about the project mentioned in my comment above, as soon as I can.


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