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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
It's Time for Another Meta-Discussion
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0024  Thursday, 6 January 2005

From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Thursday, January 06, 2005
Subject:        It's Time for Another Meta-Discussion

Dear SHAKSPEReans:

During this relatively low list-traffic period, I thought that it might
be appropriate to initiate a meta-discussion about how SHAKSPER operates.

Eric Luhrs, SHAKSPER webmaster, technical advisor, and member of the
Advisory Board, has just completed his Master's degree in library
science. This, along with his MA from the Shakespeare Institute and his
expertise in both Shakespeare and technology, make him a formidable
candidate for any academic library or electronic text project. I wish
him the best as he looks for a new position in which he can exercise all
of his considerable skills.

With this degree behind him, Eric is now turning to making some
improvements in SHAKSPER by switching the SHAKSPER server from a SUN
UNIX environment to a PC Linux one and by redesigning the SHAKSPER web
site, which he launched in March 2001.

Since we are committed to changing the server and website, Eric thinks
we should also take this opportunity to consider some new technologies
that may improve SHAKSPER.  A few possibilities include changing from
LISTSERV, for which I pay $600 per year, to majordomo (a free mailing
list program), or perhaps switching to a "blog format" all together.
The big benefit of blogs is that they allow users to view content from a
browser rather than from a mail client, thus avoiding all potential
problems with spamming, spoofing, and phishing.  However, the SHAKSPER
site has had the same feature since day one with the "current postings"
page, and I successfully screen out spamming and phishing attempts and
only one or two spoofs have ever gotten through to the server.

I have never blogged and currently am not particularly interested in
blogging, but Eric's message was the third in a few weeks that I
received about the use of blogs for academic discussion, and it got me
thinking about the possibility of making changes in how SHAKSPER operates.

Preparing SHAKSPER digests has been a ritualistic part of my life for
more than a dozen years, and I am very reluctant to change. In fact
(aside from our periodic forays into incivility), I am quite satisfied
with the current arrangement. I still feel there is value to the "look
and feel" of SHAKSPER digests, which I believe lends a scholarly
appearance to our discourse -- the medium is the message. Also, I am, at
the present, committed to retaining SHAKSPER's lightly edited and
moderated format with all of the advantages I outlined in my post of
December 27: http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2004/2151.html However, I
would be foolish if I did not consider changes that might improve the
conference.

So I ask the members of SHAKSPER: Is there anything you would like to
see changed in the near future in the operation of the list?

Hardy M. Cook
Owner/Editor/Moderator of SHAKSPER

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