Re: discussions...

Richard Povall (
Tue, 08 Apr 1997 07:49:11 -0500

>Now I am not sure that I have really addressed the issues Johannes is
>talking about, or if I have taken into consideration Richard's comments --
>or Mark's or Amanda's. This is the drawback of being in an asynchronous
>discussion mode. There is no one to stop me and ask me to clarify or to
>point out where I'm diverging from the main point. This is the disadvantage
>and in part the ineffectiveness, in my opinion, of discussion lists... and
>is why I think I have seen several potentially interesting ones come and
>go... and I would like to see this one stay alive. How do we keep it alive?

I think Scott's right about asynchronous discussions, but I'm not sure it's
so much a problem as an inevitable outcome of the medium. I still find
these rather rambling discussions useful - even if I admit that I don't
always have time to read them (and respond to them) as thoroughly as I
would like. The fact that the responses tend to be off the cuff and
"immediate" does at least add some spontaneity to the threads, even if
they're not always coherent.

I just had the experience of taking part in a live link up between two
conferences - one in the UK and one in Western Australia. The convenor had
arranged for three speakers at the Oz end and two at the UK end - but there
had been no overt planning of themes or content. The result was an
exceptionally disjointed collection of rather unrelated papers - some
formal and some informal, in which the audience was bombarded to by far too
many ideas in a very short space of time. Net result was the audience was
entirely alienated and little useful discussion ensued. One of the papers
was so densely academic as to be entirely pointless (imho). An
extraodrinary disappointement all round, I thought, and entirely


R i c h a r d P o v a l l
Assoc. Prof of Computer Music and New Media
MPO Box 0332 TIMARA/Studio 5
Oberlin, OH 44074-0332 USA Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Voice: +1.216.775.1016 Oberlin College
Fax: +1.216.775.8942 Oberlin, OH 44074 USA
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