Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 2, Number 2 / February 1, 1995 / Page 2

Editor's Page

by John December (, Publisher/Editor

Thanks for this issue

Thanks to the CMC Magazine staff in Troy: Mick Doherty for managing the process of bringing this magazine through editing and production, Chris Lapham and Kevin Hunt for their advice and wisdom, Lee Honeycutt for his brilliant production work, Amelia DeLoach for coordinating style issues as well as editing, and to Lynne Cooke, Kirsten Cooke, Wendy Pepping, Lisa Schmeiser, Camille Shandor, Jason Teague, and Nick Weaver for their production work, editing, and contributions.

Thanks to Barbara Bernstein at Hampton Press for permission to reprint the introductory chapter from the first volume of an important series of books, Computer-Mediated Communication and the Online Classroom. In the coming months, we'll reprint the first chapters from each of the next two volumes in this series.

Thanks to SunSITE

You'll notice that CMC Magazine has a new home for back issues and articles on Sunsite. My personal account on RPI's server was getting full (and the server strained ;)), so our roomier quarters on Sunsite should give us continued room to grow and a "permanent" place to archive articles. Past issues from my account on will remain available for a period of time, but if you've linked directly to any of them, you can link to their corresponding place on Sunsite (1994 or 1995 articles), as the Sunsite links for the back issues should remain stable. Our new email address will also allow a more permanent email "identity" for the magazine, and we include a Contact Us link in the footer of every page to encourage more contact with readers.

Our thanks and gratitude go to Sunsite for providing this space for our magazine.

Thanks for the last issue

I was very pleased at the work Mick Doherty and Kevin Hunt did in putting together a great January special issue. If you haven't had a chance to look over this issue, I'd encourage you to take a look. I thank the many writers who took the time to contribute to our ongoing goal to discover what we can know about Computer-Mediated Communication. I hope that we've provided a forum to raise some questions and identify new issues important to the field of CMC.

Matters of style

The great team of people working on this magazine have begun to explore and pick apart its essentials. Our goal is to produce an excellent magazine that fills a need for more informal publication for people interest in CMC studies.

One issue that faces us is style. We need to develop a style guide so that writers and editors have some guidance for language usage, citation, and format. Amelia DeLoach ( is coordinating this effort, so please pass any comments or questions about style you have, or might have had, while reading CMC Magazine.

In developing this style guide, our goal is to draw from established style guides that can be modified for our needs (to adapt existing guides in order not to "reinvent the wheel") while at the same time identifying unique needs of a Web-based publication. The other unique challenge of this work is to negotiate a style appropriate to the identity of CMC Magazine for its audience in academia, industry, and the general public.

The style guide will contain:

  1. Citation style - APA American Psychological Association (APA) Style Guide as a basis
  2. Language usage - Associated Press (AP) Style Guide as a basis
  3. Modifications of the above as necessary; for example, modifications of APA's citation style for online publications; and an extension of this specification for hypermedia links
  4. Vocabulary - a glossary of language and cultural references considered part of audience knowledge (impossible to fully enumerate this, but we'll attempt a characterization)
  5. Format - specification of the hypertext layout and format for articles as well as specialized articles (book reviews, etc).
  6. Writing style guidance; We encourage writers to
    1. Use active voice whenever possible.
    2. Introduce subject matter within the context of those interested in CMC, using terms and cultural references that either are in the glossary (with hyperlinks to more online information) or explicated in the article itself.
    3. Present material recognizing the diverse interests and backgrounds of the readership.
Eventually, we'll get more of this style and other policy issues online. We're still growing up as a magazine.

Bob in this issue?

No, Bob (Microsoft's "social" interface to a computer) is not here. But John Horberg provides an introductory glimpse of "intelligent agent" technology, focusing on connections to fiction and some of the preliminary notions of agent technologies. Laura Gurak critiques Bob and the recently announced Thomas system from the viewpoint of what these names symbolize for women. In my editorial, I question the wisdom of creating a "social" interface to computers as well as the technical ability of an "intelligent agent" to make sense of today's Net.

In our CMC News this month, we examine the progress of the US telecommunications policy, particularly the rift between the Clinton Administration and the Republicans: both seem to embrace the goal of communication on networks as a national goal, but disagree on the best way to accomplish this.

Chris Hand and Mark Skipper report on a interactive real-time trade exhibition. This exhibition demonstrates how today's Web/Net technologies can be used to patch together real-time interaction.

Rounding out the issues are reviews: Mick Doherty looks at a new book on Marshall McLuahn, and Amelia DeLoach reviews an introductory Internet book by Alfred Glossbrenner. And Lisa Schmeiser continues her Web surfing, finding popular culture sites on the Web.

Enjoy the issue!

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