C&W2010 and the new CCCOnline (I always miss the “interesting” sessions)

Generally, I attend my department’s once a month or so faculty meetings, and generally speaking, they are kind of boring.  But when I miss a meeting, something inevitably contentious and/or otherwise interesting happens.  So it was at this year’s Computers and Writing Conference, or so it would appear.

Since I presented twice and back-to-back on Saturday afternoon (and I’ll have more about that and the rest of the C&W experience later), I decided to have a little “quiet time” before the “hog roast,” which was good but not really involving a “hog” on a spit as I was expecting. But I digress. Anyway, while I was hanging around my room and lazily looking through the twitter feed that was going on during the “featured deliverator” sessions, I noticed that things were heating up in the feed during Bump Halbritter’s “Exploring the Constellations of the New CCC Online.” Here are some of the tweets that peaked my interest (which I found via the “Twapper Keeper” for the conference):

@mday666 I’m excited, but wonder how it will be different from previous efforts at NCTE, and current journals like Kairos & C+C Online.

@rrodrigo @mday666 I’m thinking that’s one of the major ones, please prove me wrong!

@preterite disagree somewhat with Bump’s contention that CCCO 1.0 was just archiving: C. & D.’s indexing functions did much, much more.

@trauman @rrodrigo Not sure the comparison’s necessary. I’m just thinking context and a capacious history.

@mday666 @rrodrigo I’m not disagreeing; just want to see it to believe it. It would be great!

@kristinarola man, there’s a backstory here i do not know clearly…. watching 1/2 the people get it, and 1/2 the people not.

@selfe3 #cw2010 Bump’s Talk: ball, concerns about animosity between CCCC and C&W. How to bridge that? How to understand this will be sustainable.

@mday666 Cheryl asks how we can erase some of the issues we’ve had in the past, with mistrust between NCTE/CCCC and the C & W community.

@dcfitzg Some intense emotions swirling around ccc online intro and cfp

@thatcarlygirl @varhodes @kristinarola Not getting it either… But boy the mood sure shifted in here! Must hear backstory.

@warnick Maybe we can invite Dr. Phil to next year’s conference. He might be able to help us hug it out.

@preterite yet again, Derek asks the right question

@kristinarola this conversation would be way more interesting if i knew what was going on. veiled conversations by those in power. la lala. la.la.

@CNBlank As a newbie to the party, I’m not sure what to make of all of this. Civil but tense seems to be the mood.

If you’re not getting it from the Twitter feed, there was basically a very “frank” conversation about this new version of CCCOnline, especially given the ways in which this project has been less than successful in the past. As I understand it, my experience with the CCCs Online and being “disappeared” was invoked in the discussion,too. Go figure. In any event, for those who are curious and who are interested in at least a (small) part of the back story from my point of view:

Of course, there is a rich irony in the revised and re-published version of this article: it came about in part because version 1.0 of “Where Do I List This on My CV?” disappeared from College Composition and Communication Online, sometime in 2004 or 2005. This disappearance was something that I discovered (I believe as the result of an email inquiry from an interested reader); I was not informed about it by CCC or NCTE. The link for my article was http://www.ncte.org/ccc/www/2/54.1/krause.html. Essentially, one day the article was available at the site (and here, I’ve linked to the web archive version of the article), and then one day it was not.

I later learned that my article and presumably others that were published in this short-lived version of CCC Online fell through the cracks as the result of a change in editors and direction of the online version of CCC. I’m pleased to report that version 1.0 of the article is once again available via CCC Online at http://inventio.us/ccc/digital/krause/index.html. (actually, that link doesn’t work either)  Still, a Google search for the article is likely to turn up the old NCTE link or my own self-published version. This strikes me as problematic; after all, this was an article that was discussed online and has been cited in others’ scholarship. This was something I did indeed list on my CV; fortunately, I did not have to explain the absence of this article to my department’s tenure and promotion committee.

As I mentioned, I wasn’t at this CCConline session; that said, I think that there’s a lot of reasons why there was a “noticeable tension” in the room among folks who share my reservations about the ways that the NCTE and the CCCCs have mishandled this in the past.

But I want to be clear here:  I know this is not Bump’s fault, and we shouldn’t blame him. I know Bump is a good guy who will give this new version of the CCC Online his very best effort.  I talked with him quite a bit about this stuff Friday night, and I know that he is both personally and professionally invested in the success of this new venture.  I for one welcome as many different venues for publishing work viable to the computers and writing community as possible, and I think I’ve got a pretty good idea for a proposal to send to Bump yet this summer.

However, Bump has a tough job in front of him, both with “the community” and with NCTE.  I don’t envy his job, that is for sure.

Oh, and PS:  one of the things that came up via the Twitter feed was the “value” of a journal like Kairos in terms of tenure and promotion:  that is, is it “worth it” to publish in Kairos, or would it be more “worth it” to publish in something like an NCTE sanctioned CCCOnline?  I think all questions about tenure and promotion are local.  However, my experience with Kairos has been quite positive.  My most cited article was published in Kairos, “When Blogging Goes Bad.” It even ended up being included in T.R. Johnson’s anthology Teaching Composition:  Background Readings, which I think probably would count as “real scholarship” in just about any tenure and promotion case.

On the other hand, the one article I had published by the (arguably) more prestigious CCCOnline disappeared.

12 thoughts on “C&W2010 and the new CCCOnline (I always miss the “interesting” sessions)”

  1. yes, the mood in that auditorium was a little tense and bitter. but it was also hopeful and inspired. coming away, i felt the c&w community had a duty 1) to not forget/dismiss the past but also 2) to create a new culture out of the old (that honors the work we do and the ways we work). if not us, who?

  2. Fascinating. I always wondered what happened back then.

    Since I wasn’t at C’s and was only tracking tweets sporadically, I missed this whole deal. Yesterday, I finally started reading the Feb print CCC and thought, “Hesse was right in his Chair address when he said, ‘We’ve got Yancey.'” And then got to the changes in CCConline and thought, “We need Paul Harvey to tell us The Rest of The Story.”

  3. I just posted about this in a far more elliptic fashion, so I appreciate your providing some context for those posing questions in the twitter stream.

    It’s interesting how concerns of durability and findability seem to be at odds with one another. That is, web articles are far easier to access and read than anything in print, but we are always a little worried about stuff disappearing as happened with your article.

    In part, it’s a matter of how one views NCTE/CCCC. Does one want to see computers and writing drawn well into the fold of this entity?

  4. I have been of two minds about the C&W conference/community being drawn into NCTE/CCCC for quite a while. On the one hand, I think being more systematically connected to a larger organization like the NCTE would lend some stability and long-term-ness to the organization that has at times been lacking. In a lot of ways, C&W is a “you’ve got a barn, I’ve got some paint, let’s put on a show” sort of operation: that is, there’s not really an organizing entity there and every version of the conference is sort of “made up” as something slightly new.

    On the other hand, C&W’s more spontaneous, organic character is part of its charm. It makes the conference a lot more nimble than the CCCCs. If a particular host/organizer wanted to build in some unconference-like sessions or poster sessions or “deliverator” sessions or whatever into the program, it’s as easy as just doing it. At the CCCCs? Jeez, they can’t even agree to allow for poster sessions– imagine some of these other alternative ideas.

    And I guess that’s one of the things I’d worry about if I was Bump, quite frankly. NCTE strikes me as a lot of good and bad things, but “quick to change” is not one of them, and they don’t have a record of having an understanding of how the internets work. So again, I wish CCCOnline and Bump a lot of luck. But for the time-being, I hope C&W stays “unaffiliated.”

  5. Well, the subset of JHU that I work in is — no surprise to it or anyone else — a hive of control freaks. I suspect NCTE is no different. And, I suspect that the “disappearing” act violated everyone’s sense of control at NCTE. AND, I suspect that every subsequent maneuver, even as harmless and well-intentioned as Bump’s, freaques out every control freaque.

    BTW & totally off subject, I totally crave Bump’s name.

    I once proposed to my children & wife that I needed a single-syllable nickname like (people who live near us) Irv, Skip, Jeep, Humpy (you see the single-syllable proposition falling apart), and so forth.

    My #2 son responded: “Big Fat Bob.”

    None of his words describes me. I’m “South Beach Reduced Weight Ben.”

  6. As one of the C&W’ers who was Tweet-following and clueless about the back story, thanks for this blog post.

    And ditto on Bump’s name. He won the Cool Academic Name lottery.

  7. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for posting this. The backstory gets more hairy once you get into the details, and that may be why Aimee noted the “bitter” tone in the room. (That word makes me sad. I had hoped that “those in power” as Kristin called those responding, myself included I suppose, had behaved in a moderate way.) We didn’t want to bring up sore spots in front of such a friendly crowd, including the 1/2 the crowd that didn’t know what the hell we were so upset about.

    But, yes, as you point out, we’re not mad at Bump. He and I talked for a long time after the Deliverator as well, and our strategy is to figure out how he (with our support) can approach NCTE with some questions about when/where. (In response to questions such as those Dickie posed, re the technological sustainability to the new journal.) We do hope he succeeds. We certainly want the journal to succeed. We need more venues. As you said, “I wish CCCOnline and Bump a lot of luck.” I totally agree. But my question also extends to how the typical CCCC audience will be pulled into authoring. That is, I’m still not sure who the audience for CCCOnline will be. That’s something I hope to discuss with Bump more in the coming weeks. Because if I know, I can help by promoting the journal to Kairos’ authors.

    Finally, just wanted to remind your readers about C&W’s affiliations. Although you said, “But for the time-being, I hope C&W stays “unaffiliated.””, the conference is affiliated. Its site is chosen by the 7Cs committee, which is part of the CCCC committee structure. Although each site can run it on its own, there is an affiliation there. We are a part of CCCC, whether we nec want to be or not. And because I’m running late to a meeting, I can’t elaborate anymore right now (nor is there any need to, I think), but I can talk about affiliations in relation to Kairos (and why the previous editors, very early on, chose to NOT be affiliated with NCTE. Just saying. I wasn’t on staff then, so others may know the details better than me).


  8. My own sense from the twitter stream and being outside the door when the session got out was that, and this is as someone who would have definitely been in the “What is going on?” camp, that what happened had to happen because folks’ histories had not been resolved or even, perhaps, usefully discussed. If it seemed “uncomfortable” in there, I think that might be just as much a product of the warm, friendly, and intellectually curious tone that C&W fosters through its design and organization rather than anything going on i.e. somehow taking off band-aids hurt more if you are happily reading late at night than when you are in the bathroom and you know you have to take it off so the skin can heal.

    Still, a band-aid isn’t heart surgery.

    As for affiliation, I think what drives that concern are the issues of flexibility and autonomy. Karios and C&W are very important inventional spaces for me. I read and attend these spaces and come up with ideas from other people. Are they the only ones? Of course not. Could I use more spaces like that? Absolutely, but I would be disappointed if something were to change and those intellectually and creatively curious spaces changed and stopped pushing me forward in ways I don’t always anticipate or plan.

    On another level, this is how all infrastructure becomes relevant at a given moments of “when” on a number of levels (Twitter, Old Cs online, New Cs Online, NCTE, etc.) that are deeply tied to offline personal and professional relationships and their histories with each other i.e. distributed. One can be a part of those histories and infrastructures even when we don’t know them i.e. “Not getting it either” until we become associated with them. I really think Steve is dead on with “I think all questions about tenure and promotion are local” because of that idea on that level. A question of what is “worth it” only becomes relevant when, well, it has to exist in an economy of worth. Of course, a lot of stuff looks like that to me these days . . .

  9. Thanks for the post, Steve, and to others for following up. I, too, was in the room, and I, too, was fairly clueless as to what was going on. This background helps.

    I agree that Bump isn’t to blame for the sins of NCTE or the previous editorship or whatever. However, I did kind of think it was odd that Bump seemed fairly uninterested or unprepared to address concerns about sustainability. Dickie Selfe tweeted this during the session: “#cw2010 Bump’s Talk: They won’t release descriptions of how they are building or what they are building as infrastructure.” Perhaps things will turn out fine (and I hope they do), but it strikes me as a bit troubling that the new editor of an online journal doesn’t seem to really know much about its infrastructure.

  10. Just to build a little on what Cheryl, Doug, Kory, and others have said here:

    * I know my own back-story quite well, though not the complete back-story Cheryl mentions. I can take a pretty educated guess though, and it more or less comes down to the easily observed phenomenon that in the past, the NCTE/CCCC has not been particularly savvy in its use of technology as part of its organizational structure. I have put it less charitably too, but I’ll leave that for now. As I mention in my earlier critique of the NCTE/CCCC call for web editor positions (this is linked above), I think the powers that be at NCTE/CCCC would benefit from reading some of the articles on new media/web 2.0 that they have published. Yancey’s “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key” immediately comes to mind– and this, btw, gives me some hope since Kathy is editing the CCCs and I know that Malea Powell is also on this page.

    * I take your point about the connection between C&W and the 7Cs. But I guess what I mean by “unaffiliated” is that it seems to me like C&W is a lot less organized/institutionalized and more free to kind of “make stuff up as they go along” in a way that seems pretty much impossible at the CCCCs. That might just be my somewhat outsider impression since I haven’t personally gotten involved with various committees and governance of either group. And it is also a function of the sheer size of both NCTE and the CCCCs, not to mention the NCTE/CCCC’s publications, organizational structure, etc., etc. We have journals associated with C&W the conference of course (and now another, in theory), but not like the CCCs is with its conference. And we don’t really have an elected chair, president, etc., etc. If that makes sense. And there seems to me to be advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement, but that’s perhaps another discussion.

    * I wish Bump the best– I really do– and I think I might even have something that fits into this performance CFP that he and Jenn Fishman might be interested in. But I worry. Like Kory and Dickie and others, I’m worried about the infrastructure issues that NCTE seem to be wrestling with, especially since I know from first hand experience that a lot of these “issues” shouldn’t be issues. I think Bump et al are in a bit of a catch 22 position because while they want to let the submissions dictate the form of the publication, it’s kind of hard to submit something before you know what the form of publication is going to be.

    And I agree with Cheryl and also worry about the audience for this. Besides the repetition and such, I’m worried about what is likely to happen in the not so distant future. This may or may not be Bump’s problem, but I don’t think it is a “way out there” prediction to suggest that soon (5 years? 10?), all academic journals, including all of those published by NCTE, will only be available electronically. I’m not suggesting this means they’ll all be “hypertextual,” but as it is, the only reason why I read the CCCC in paper journal format now is because it comes to my door as a member of NCTE/CCCCs. The PDFs available via my library and other resources are a heck of a lot more useful.

    So, assuming this happens, that one day NCTE ceases printing entirely or limits its printing only for archival purposes (so years and years from now, after the collapse of civilization and the end of technologies like electricity, after we revert/devolve into a hunter/gather/”Mad Max-like” society we at least have the chance to read about what people used to think about writing pedagogy;-) ), what then will be the difference between the formally paper and electrified College Composition and Communication and the independent CCCOnline? I don’t know….

  11. Hmm. Two years later, on the announcement of the appearance of CCC Online 2.0, the issues of sustainability and infrastructure haven’t been resolved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.