15.175 Salon des Refuses

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Tue Aug 14 2001 - 03:15:19 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 175.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 08:02:59 +0100
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Salon des Refuses


    Your little foray into annotation software got me to thinking about
    secretariat software. The tools already exist. I'm surprised they are not
    used more. They can humanize collegial interactions.

    More and more venues, events and publications are requesting electronic
    submission and using Web-based forms and Java applets to do the trick.
    There is no technological impediment to seeing responses to calls for
    papers automatically tailored. It is often the mark of a well-organized
    team if the letter of rejection address the receipient by name and even
    indicates the title of the proposal and the date it was received. Common
    bureaucratic procedure. Mail merge. A personalized form letter does much
    to temper the empty rhetoric of "we received more than X number of
    submissions". More than is also always less than. It invites invidious
    comparaison with people with less resources able to deal with higher
    volumes. Better to simply state non selection. Let the jury be a black

    But secretariat software can enable organizers to post for a meaningful
    period of time (with the permission of the submitters) a list of contact
    names, summaries and links to papers or proposals that were not included
    in the finals. This is especially nice when submissions must take the form
    of final versions.

    I'm not suggesting that this mode of information sharing apply to "peer
    review" journals. I am suggesting that in many venues, events, broadcasts
    and publication projects of the academic world the inputs may be as
    interesting as the outputs.

    Do any of the subscribers to Humanist know if such a practice has ever
    been implemented even experimentally in the past? Of course, one can
    imagine invitations to those turned down by a given conference appearing
    on discussion lists (at the pleasure of moderators) ... and the problem of
    autheticating the truly refused from the faux wanting to capture a bit of
    the allure of the club. A whole new genre!

    All kidding aside, care in communication is vital for any program or
    institution. Practice makes careful and caring communication easy. No
    amount of secretariat software will help unless it has one of those
    annoying agents to suggest rephrasing.

    Thank you for your indulgence.

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality

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