45 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2018
  2. Oct 2016
    1. G.O.B. trick vs. illusion Lucille: "Well, it’s important to the company that I keep up the image of my lifestyle." Michael: "Illusion, Mom."


  3. Oct 2015
    1. Image Description

    2. Digital rhetoricians can and should be participating in discussions of computation, and they should do so both by bringing rhetorical theory to bear on software and by rethinking rhetorical theory in light of the unique attributes of computational media.


    3. Hospitable networks mean that hacking and exploring the possibilities of computational environments are within the scope of rhetorical action.

      Jim Brown isn't a regular sophist. He's a cool sophist.

    4. How do conversations about software happen? Who participates, and who doesn’t? How inclusive are these conversations? What power relations shape arguments about software? What commonplaces circulate? Who are the overlapping and intersecting audiences for such arguments?

      Arguments about software aren't merely discursive. They're participatory, from software, to discourse, to experience.

      I use the to/from prepositions here, but it's more complex than that. We need new prepositions for digital rhetoric work.

    5. But grounding a rhetorical ecology transforms it back into a situation, conceiving of it as something easily bounded and understood.

      Perhaps, then, we should search for patterns among rhetorical ecologies.

    6. the danger of this type of approach is that the results might not be generalizable

      Generalizing is dangerous too, though. For instance, freshman-level rhetoric and writing exists as part of a generalized compulsory curriculum at almost every US institution. In turn, we, as teachers of rhetoric, have had very little need to justify (or even disclose) our methods, let alone situate them in terms of the content of what we're (supposed to be) teaching. Put another way, if we're such great persuaders, then why is the course compulsory? Shouldn't we be able to persuade people, including our students, of the values of rhetoric?

    7. the approach enacted in this book insists on sitting with specific rhetorical ecologies and tracing their effects.

      Rhetoric is what rhetoric do. See previous chapter re: Brown's methods bolstering his argument.

    8. Ethical Programs has taken on the complexities of rhetorical ecologies by focusing on how computational artifacts help to shape and constrain rhetorical action in the network.

      Are artifacts generative in this sense BECAUSE of hospitable networks? Or have rhetorical artifacts always been generative in this sense? Perhaps a better question is: In what specific ways do hospitable networks afford agency to artifacts?

    9. If rhetorical analysis has always been machinic, then rhetoric becomes an essential tool for understanding and authoring new ethical programs in a world of hospitable databases. As we have seen with Stats Monkey, computational machines are just as motivated as humans, and any authoring effort will make ethical choices about how to sit in between the worldviews of database and narrative. The machines we author to carry out this work are the ethical programs that will help determine how we understand the shifting relationship between narratives and databases.

      Return to this chapter to unpack Brown's argument--that "rhetorical analysis has always been machinic." Use it as a jumping off point.

    10. The machines we develop to move between narrative and database need not be written in computer code. The rhetorical tradition, machinic at its core, is evidence of this. Rhetoricians have spent millennia building a vast library of machines that can help us understand the motives at work as data is used to spin narratives. These procedures have not necessarily been put forth as machines, but reframing rhetorical analysis as the process of creating reading and writing machines presents us with a particularly useful approach to our contemporary predicament.

      This right here is why I get to do the work that I do. Ethical Programs adds a significant value to the field in that fundamental pathways between digital methods and the rhetorical tradition have been forged by Brown and others from the previous "generation" of digital rhetoric scholars. In turn, future scholars can cite this and texts like it to circumvent a bunch of close reading work so that they may focus their attention on the (future?) possibilities that these ties enact for rhetoric.

    11. it is helpful to keep in mind that these two types of activities—production and interpretation—are fairly blurry when it comes to cultivating a machinic approach to database and narrative.

      Another argument for why the "digital" methods part of DH work cannot be seen as supplementary to traditional humanist methods.

    12. copia, an abundance of ideas and arguments.

      The benefit of exploiting glitch

    13. one could use similar data (temperance and self-control) to deploy different topoi.

      Does this deployment of topoi depend on a shift in what stasis means? More specifically, must we read "definition" as "data" in order for this deployment to take place?

    14. any rhetorician worth her salt rejects a purely “textbook” version of rhetoric’s algorithms.

      Rhetoric 101: Never take a rhetor at face value.

    15. Couldn’t we think of all narratives in terms of the machinic, procedural movement between narrative and database?

      Right here. Jim Brown. Nailed it.

    16. rhetorical production than with interpretation:

      Rhetorical production is what secures funding for the sciences and/or corporate marketing interests. That is, in some ways, the sciences and industry have been doing rhetoric "better" than rhetoric. This idea of rhetorical production is key to making our research replicable enough to identify the patterns Brooke advocates.

    17. Brooke updates this canon by suggesting that a rhetoric of new media moves this canon from arrangement to “patterning.”

      Patterning demands replication--at both the theoretical and practical levels.

    18. Humans, like Narrative Science’s computational machines, organize data into groupings and categories and then apply processes to that data in order to interpret it. Those efforts are motivated.

      Scholars have been "tagging" narratives with "metadata" for centuries. The metadata of individual narrative interpretations is precisely what enables humanities scholars to "do research." In fact, this type of "metadata" is likely responsible (at least in part) for institutionalized disciplinary identities.

    19. We might take this opportunity to acknowledge that “the database” in this case is distributed across multiple sites and entities. Even a seemingly finite dataset such as a baseball box score ends up leaking out into other databases, and this is one more reminder of networked hospitality.

      To me, this seems to foreground the rhetorical canon of invention in that with networked hospitality, arrangement, delivery, style, and memory are all kind of interchangeable and flow into one another in that they are all effects of the rhetor's invention.

    20. However, this line of questioning, like the battle between scouts and statistics, offers a false choice.

      This line of thinking also underpins arguments for why the "digital" part of DH work is (or should be) merely supplementary to traditional humanist methods. If Brown is saying that we need to toggle, then the "digital" part of DH work cannot and should not be considered to be merely supplementary to humanist methods.

    21. The interpretation of data will always require narratives.

      Close reading doesn't go away under Brown's idea of ethical programs.

    22. most useful ethical program is not one that chooses narrative or database but rather one that is agile enough to move between these worldviews, understanding how humans and computers translate data into narrative and vice versa.



    23. The hospitable database welcomes more data and more statistics, more information and more procedures for generating narratives.

      Hospitable databases may, in fact, precondition narratives. Pretend with me for a moment. When we think about narratives, there is no single narrative that exists as "empirical" proof of the existence of God. However, when we think about database, the sheer number of "God" narratives that exist are a type of empirical "proof" of God's existence.

    24. Instead, ethos and credentials become one more citation among all the citations that drive this rhetorical situation.

      According to Derrida, presence, truth, and meaning are EFFECTS of writing, not the other way around (SEC). They are fictional operations (by structure); they are not found in nature. Thus, Brown addresses something that may be an effect of language more generally. Is hospitality space likewise an effect of language?

    25. Essjay’s decision to cite his own credentials is treated as one data point in this debate, one bit of information archived by MediaWiki. It is not ignored, but it is also not treated as an unquestionable claim.

      We might also call this an ethics of effects. If I claim to be a brain surgeon and proceed to dig into someone's skull, my persuasive effects would manifest much differently than Essjay's did in the context of MediaWiki.

    26. ethos is a bit more malleable on the web

      Or it's at least constituted differently.

    27. That is, in many situations, digital rhetors invent their situated ethos, and Essjay is a perfect example of this.

      I'm not even sure we need to specify "digital" rhetors here. It seems like inventing ethos has always been one task of rhetoric. Still, the point stands in terms of Brown's example in this chapter.

    28. a kind of permanence

      How is this permanence different from the (perceived) permanence of print? Anonymity? Dispersed agency?

    29. MediaWiki’s database structure is not flat—there are important hierarchies built into the database structure. And in certain ways articles and users are treated differently.

      This multidimensionality distinguishes Brown's argument from the OOO camp. It is important to note, however, that the hierarchies Brown mentions here are carefully bound by a very specific context (MediaWiki) and are neither generalizable nor universal.

    30. accuracy, depth, and tone

      These tags are necessarily limiting to the "possibility" Brown mentions in the previous chapter. That is, a focus on "accuracy," for instance, precludes entries that exemplify "inaccuracy." Inaccuracy might also teach us something (or produce knowledge) at the computational procedure level.

    31. In fact, such ideologies end up coded into the very computational infrastructures that shape knowledge work.

      For example, Google Scholar aggregates researchers' search terms/citation practices, and orders search results based on the number of times a work has been cited. Thus, ideologically, the algorithm of Google Scholar is coded such that the most frequently cited resources "snowball," gaining more citations than a network with a free(er) scale.

    32. Cynthia Haynes reminds us that “there is a thin line between exploit and exploitation.”

      Though I might favor the preservation of this distinction in terms of maintaining the term "exploit" (a transitive verb) as one that references a finished act (like a "case study" or a "version history"), which differs slightly from the term "exploitation" (n.) which connotes ongoing activity.

    33. largely defined by

      Yet, on another level, these spaces operate autonomously, seemingly independent from their programs.

    34. Thus, Aristotle finds a safe and stable home for rhetoric in contingency and probability, one that can be systematically theorized.

      Perhaps, then, just as the activity of glitch exploitation conditions what is possible in networked spaces, the activity of systematic theorization similarly conditions what is possible for rhetoric.

    35. This move toward code and away from discourse doesn’t mean that we are completely given over to rigid, unforgiving machines.

      This is a key point that deserves attention, since many researchers in the humanities cite this very fear. On the one hand, Brown skillfully offers a rebuttal for a (rather common) disciplinary trepidation; on the other hand, however, he takes great care to preserve (or at least not undermine) the ethical concerns of "traditional" humanities education and research. In other words, Brown adopts a sort of "access without ownership" approach to these sites of possibility. That is, users don't necessarily need to view the activity of glitch exploitation as an activity that is bound by ethics because, while it is arguable that users SHOULDN'T exploit glitches, what is not arguable is that users CAN exploit glitches. Thus, Brown's terms shift the focus from a probability (what is likely to happen?) to a possibility (what might happen if we follow this trail?). As such, much like Netflix allows users to have access to the entire series of 30 Rock without ever owning the series of 30 Rock per se, Brown theorizes that glitch allows users access to sites of possibility without encumbering users with ownership of the "weaker" argument (or code) that constitutes the glitch. Thus, Brown's own rhetorical methods (delivery?) are reflexive and work to bolster his claim.

    36. My argument is that rhetorical theory has a role to play in the worlds of both “hack” and “yack” (to use a set of terms popular in digital humanities circles) because it can be productively applied beyond the space of probability and into the space of possibility.

      This argument reminds me of the early sophists, like Protagoras, who understood--and perhaps exploited--the "weaker argument" in order to make a the "stronger" one. Here, the activity of exploiting a glitch serves as an activity of potential--the potential to transform bits of "weak" code into sites of invention and genesis.

    37. The exploit triggers conversation and has the potential to open up a space for discussions about code and software, but this is only one way of understanding the rhetoric of the exploit.

      Street Fighter is a video game that is known specifically for its glitches. For regular players of the game, glitch is normalized as a regular part of play. For example, the Street Fighter wiki returns 30 results for the search term "glitch." The difference, however, is introduced through ways in which individuals discuss the activity of exploiting such glitches. This Street Fighter discussion thread reveals some contention among users as to whether or not exploiting glitches in the game constitutes "cheating." Significantly, in this paragraph, Brown models a method for talking about glitch in a way that diffuses assumptions of dishonesty. See Boyle "Glitch"

    38. While such ethical programs could lead to manipulation, they also leave political campaigns open to a morphing message as audiences interact with (and, in some cases, author) procedures.

      This may be due, in part, to the flexibility of these digital programs. In other words, just as Netflix algorithms get really good at providing recommendations over time, political campaigns might also reap the benefits of this customizability.

    39. it does allow for rhetorical action in networks of control.

      Perhaps this is similar to the ways in which trolling allows for rhetorical action on social media.

    40. But this code is fictional in a number of ways. For one, it’s not operational. There are some statements missing, and we would need to create some additional files in order to make it run. Further, the phone-banking script (the procedure) authored by the Obama campaign is sometimes more involved than this short piece of code.

      We might say, then, that despite the fact that they are authored similarly (to prompt rhetorical effects), procedural rhetoric differs from a rhetorical artifact in that procedural rhetoric allows for the dynamism of a multiplicity of interactors to become part of the text's rhetoric. That is, with procedural rhetoric, the reader co-authors the function of the text.

    41. While digital rhetoricians have often attended to visual rhetorics and to the genres emerging in online spaces, procedural rhetoric offers a way to deepen this work by thinking about the authorship of procedures that generate image and text and that invite or discourage interaction.

      Thinking about "the procedures that invite or discourage interaction" seems to be the goal of rhetoric, historically. Classical rhetors like Plato, Isocrates, and Quintilian were concerned with these procedures, too. Perhaps, then, digital rhetoric, which I take to be inclusive of procedural rhetoric, has to do as much with rhetorical methods as it does with technology.

    42. In this discussion of what Ian Bogost calls procedural rhetoric


      Bogost argues that videogames, thanks to their basic representational mode of procedurality (rule-based representations and interactions), open a new domain for persuasion; they realize a new form of rhetoric. Bogost calls this new form "procedural rhetoric," a type of rhetoric tied to the core affordances of computers: running processes and executing rule-based symbolic manipulation.