Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 1, Number 5 / September 1, 1994 / Page 2

Editor's Page

by John December, Publisher/Editor

In this Issue

Two very detailed looks at separate topics provide one focus for this month's offering. How are issues are managed in the network world? How can MUDs, once the domain of just hackers, be used in business? The other focus involves individual experience--what is the experience of communication on networks like? How does our sense of self emerge?

Chris Hand explores how MUDs can be used in his article, Meet Me in Cyberspace, which includes an interview with with Jon Callas, World Benders' Director of Technology, in MUDspace. Chris offers the interview in both MOO text and a more traditional form. Chris' graphics for the article represent the first published in this magazine, and are an excellent example of what I'd like to see in future articles--Chris's illustrative banners evoke a feeling about the interview (I've used the ALT field in the URL to provide the equivalent words in the banners for non-graphical browsers) and his illustrations from World Benders' Meeting Space add significantly to the story. I welcome contributions of expressive art that evoke computer-mediated interactions (I'd like to someday have "cover art" published with the text).

The topic of Clipper is still hot, even though the government is backing down from its original plans. Andrew P. Dinsdale explores how the Clipper debate serves as an example for examining how the Internet can be used as a tool to manage issues in his article about issue management in a networked world. In his detailed analysis, Andrew delves into the origins of cryptography, EFF's evolving policy, and the emergence of Clipper as an major issue on the Internet.

Michale Strangelove speculates on what a sense of "self" will be in a world transformed by networked communication. He describes the rise of a self, the "uncensored self" which ranges freely on the Nets, unconstrained by physical frontiers.

What does all this add up to? Man O'Sung, in his essay, "Mindless Child of Mother Net", claims that Net does not necessarily yield the the best, or even very valuable discourse. In this article, he gives his perspective on the burgeoning volume of Net communication.

In my report on new spiders that are roaming the Web, I describe how advanced tools for searching the Web are now in place and developing greatly in sophistication. While Web spiders like the World-Wide Web Worm have bravely sought out new resources for a long time (since March 1994, the Jurassic period of Web spiders), newer tools are providing increasing amounts of sophistication and flexibility.

Call for Contributions

I'd like to begin an essay series in the vein of Michael Strangelove's and Man O'Sung's in this issue. I'd like to see essays in which people relate their particular (or peculiar) (hopefully critical, insightful, or funny) experience of Net or Net/Real-World(tm) interactions. Consider writing an essay from your perspective--you can take the "soapbox" stance, or in some other way illuminate your experience or new insights in this medium.


I will be in contact with someone at the U.S. Library of Congress about the card catalog entry for Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine. In my International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) application, I tried to make clear the means of distribution for this magazine: hypertext available over the World-Wide Web. This is not equivalent to "Electronic mail on Internet" as the card catalog entry shows. I'd like to have a Uniform Resource Locator listed in the catalog (later Uniform Resource Name), and have all Web-based serials with ISSNs be available via links from the Library of Congress' Web (or directly linked from entries in a Web-based catalog).

Interest Disclosure

In authors' biographies at the end of articles, I often mention published or forthcoming works. I want to make specific disclosure that I have an interest in a work (I'm co-author of it, and I earn royalties from its sale) mentioned in this issue, the The World-Wide Web Unleashed (due out in October). My co-author is Neil Randall. Chapter contributors to the book include Andrew P. Dinsdale, whose biography in his article on issue management mentions the book.

In the October and November issues of this magazine, in agreement with the book's publisher, Sam's Publishing, I'll reprint two of my chapters (one chapter each month). As editor of this magazine, I want to avoid "pushing" any product. Publishing chapters from relevant forthcoming or published print works is a part of this magazine's editorial policy, and such excerpting is available to any potential contributor (I'd be glad to consider any forthcoming works by authors in agreement with their publishers). I feel the chapters I'll reprint will be valuable to the Net community on their own and will be offered freely to those interested, without a corresponding demand or high-profile pitch to buy the book. This is a model that much freely-available Net information with commercial connections often takes.

I wanted to make this known so that readers are aware of my interest with anything mentioned here. A policy of this magazine is that any interest an editorial staff member may have in any work, software, or other enterprise mentioned will be revealed. Another part of this is that I would not print a review of my book in this magazine (obviously, even if the review were written by someone else, it wouldn't be independent enough to be objective). I could have the experience of printing a scathing review :) of the book here, but I'm sure other publications will be up to that in due course :).

New Cues

You might notice in this issue that I'm experimenting with the cue ¤ to indicate the end of a story. The problem with this cue is that it can be represented in different ways by different browsers. In Mosaic, it looks like a tiny spider. If you have a graphic of a small spider, I'd be interested to use it instead if you'd like to contribute it. ¤

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