Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflection - Canonical Text Wiki Page Peer Review

I reviewed the following two Canonical Text Wiki Pages:
Medium is the Massage +
Simulacra & Simulation & The Illusion of the End

The main thing I learned from reading and replying to my classmates' drafts was that the format, structure, and visual design elements of a wiki page are essential when there is a massive amount of complex information that must be presented in a clear and logical way. If used correctly, design elements (following CRAP principles) and engaging format options (embedded objects, links, polls) are more than just aesthetically pleasing, but they actually help the reader move through and digest large amounts of content. 

I was excited to see how others were able to connect their texts to the 12 key concepts, because this is one of the main things I have left to do on my own draft.  I was especially impressed by the graphic representation developed by the group who read the McLuhan text.  I would like to do something similar for how concepts from the first, second, and third waves of cybernetics connect to the 12 key concepts.

I really liked the idea of having a hypertext table of contents to link to different sections of the wiki page.  I also liked the idea of having subpages - I'll ask Cheri what she thinks about having subpages for the three waves of cybernetics.  If we do that, we can keep the general format of our wiki, but maybe we could add a sidebar for the table of contents.  Also, this would mitigate the issue of the columns being different lengths.

Jennifer was the first to comment on our draft.  She mentioned that we need to include the information about "how [it's] used/useful to the production process," which we plan to have ready for the final draft.  I agree with her critique that we need to fix alignment of subheadings.

Eric had some great comments as well.  I liked his suggestion to incorporate the key concepts by showing how the concepts "change humans into post-humans."  For example, "how does the PC interface shape cognition, archiving, pattern-recognizing and -creating, perspective, etc." I thought this was a great suggestion. He also said the text was a bit too detailed, and he pointed out the summary sections.  Maybe on the main page we could have the brief summary and then link to a sub page for the more in-depth summary by using a "Read more..." type of hyperlink. I also really appreciated his edits! I would like to italicize all quotes as he suggested - I had done that in my sections from the beginning so maybe we can carry that through to the section Cheri prepared as well.  Also, he pointed out how we could provide some additional definitions, explain the Macy Conferences, and add some alt-text on graphics. His comments were so helpful.  I hope to incorporate some if not all into the final draft.

Amanda made the suggestion to explain the drawings - I'm assuming she meant Hayley's Map of Cybernetics and the graphic in the section called "Mapping the Framework of the Posthuman." I agree that some prose to accompany those images would be helpful. 

Diane left a comment as well, and also mentioned some additional terms we could define, and she thought we could mention information about some of what I might call existential questions related to posthumanism.

This exercise was extremely beneficial - it was great to see the work of others, and also to have multiple sets of eyes provide constructive criticism on our work as well.  I look forward to cleaning up our final draft and presenting on Monday!  Can't wait to hear the other presentations as well...

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