Wishlist Response

Voice Card  -  Volume 2  -  John Card Number 12  -  Fri, Nov 18, 1988 1:01 AM

This is a response to volume 2, Paul Card Number 4 ("Pelago 2.0 wishlist")...


Thanks for your excellent observations. I was able to grant some (but not all) of your wishes:

- WISH 1: cataloging newly minted voice cards. I hope that my new more open approach to the transit stack will make the process of creating new voice cards less mysterious. An explanatory message now appears when the card is created and the transit stack is more open to inspection. Also, temporary response icons now appear in source cards whenever a response is made; this will make it easier to keep track of which cards have been responded to. I'm not sure what else I can do under the present arrangement but I am open to suggestions.

- WISH 2: Delete buttons. I agree that members should be required to know as little as possible about HyperCard to use Archipelago. The delete function is essentially the only exception to that rule and it was done deliberately. I am uneasy about members deleting possibly valuable information and so I have made it SLIGHTLY more difficult to do. There are several cases in which deleting cards from the transit stack can produce minor but unpleasant side effects (see John Card 15) and there is also the problem in some cards of finding room for the buttons. Frankly, I'd rather members just typed "Please delete this card." In any case, the current arrangement makes it virtually impossible to delete a valuable card accidentally.

- WISH 3: Automatically delete multiple copies of member card updates. Wish granted.

- WISH 4: Voice card left and right arrow buttons should not zip out of transit stack. Wish granted. I should explain that the reason for this unruly button behavior was that I wanted to make it fast and easy to make one response after another and because I thought members might be confused if they found themselves wandering through the transit stack by accident. I tried to make the transit stack transparent to the user but, as you pointed out, this was a mistake. I underestimated everyone's curiosity and I didn't realize how foreign the arrow KEYS are to some users. So now the transit stack is wide open and members are encouraged to check it out whenever they want and without ever having to touch the keyboard.

- WISH 5: Entering voice cards between sessions. This is a great idea but it's rather hard to pull off. Unlike book reviews or island quiz answers, voice cards are very time sensitive; if you forget to contribute a book review created between sessions you can always contribute it the next time around but this is not always the case with voice cards. It is important to guarantee that voice cards are always transmitted in time to keep up with the ever-changing conversation - this is why they are automatically created INSIDE the transit stack. Also, whenever possible, voice cards should be linked to earlier cards; creating cards between sessions discourages RESPONSES because you can't respond to a card you haven't seen yet. I have found that some card topics are rendered obsolete in light of newly arrived comments from other members. Finally, integrating inter-session voice cards into the unfolding chain of voice volumes is somewhat difficult and would, I fear, greatly increase the overall complexity of the voice card process both from my point of view and from the member's point of view as well.

Even so, I think it's a good idea and I'd like to come up with some kind of solution. I find myself jotting down a few card ideas on a yellow pad I keep near the computer, clearly something HyperCard could facilitate. Perhaps instead of trying to generate fullblown interlinked and numbered voice cards between sessions, we could develop some kind of yellow pad stack that could automatically dump selected bits of text into newly forming voice cards after a session begins. Maybe the HyperEssay Construction Kit could become involved in this process. Ideas, anyone?