Choice vs. Interaction The Case of   William Cole Hypertext 2001 8/16/01
Online Caroline <ul><li>Launched April 2000 by XPT, Ltd. and Freeserve (UK). </li></ul><ul><li>Web- and email-based  episo...
Choices,  choices…
Interaction? <ul><li>I used to think that all relationships worked out that way. One strong person, one weakling.  Is that...
Different words, same story <ul><li>Go to Paris with Simon </li></ul><ul><li>Sleep with Simon </li></ul><ul><li>Shoot Simo...
Channelled Reading “ Online Caroline is a very carefully written story, and the users' path through it is channelled so th...
Conclusions <ul><li>Choice is not the same as meaningful interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>Readers will create the illusion o...
Information <ul><li>William Cole </li></ul><ul><li>The Ohio State University </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] Online Caro...
Interaction? (1) <ul><li>It's not true, is it? You do care about this. If David tries to shut us down, you'll fight him, w...
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Choice vs. Interaction: The Case of Online Caroline

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Presentation delivered at Hypertext 01: Twelfth ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia, University of Aarhus, Århus,, Denmark, August 2001.

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  • (1) INTRO: This talk got its start at the last HT conference, when I heard people talking enthusiastically about a new website called Online Caroline. Some months later I finally checked out the site, and, to tell the truth my initial reaction was disappointment. OC was not what I had initially expected it to be. But as I continued to work my way through the narrative, I became intrigued by the site in different ways. It offers some important insights into the twin issues of choice and interaction in hypertext and suggests that we may need to revise our assumptions about so-called interective fiction.
  • Choice vs. Interaction: The Case of Online Caroline

    1. 1. Choice vs. Interaction The Case of William Cole Hypertext 2001 8/16/01
    2. 2. Online Caroline <ul><li>Launched April 2000 by XPT, Ltd. and Freeserve (UK). </li></ul><ul><li>Web- and email-based episodic narrative, unfolding over three weeks. </li></ul><ul><li>Highly popular and engaging: calls to cell phone and police. </li></ul><ul><li>Won British Academy of Film and Television Award for online drama. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Choices, choices…
    4. 4. Interaction? <ul><li>I used to think that all relationships worked out that way. One strong person, one weakling. Is that how it's been with you? Is that why your single now? Was that why you wanted to escape online, like me? Break the cycle. I'm right, aren't I? You like being a spectator. Let other people act while you watch, go with the flow. Why else would you have agreed to be my friend? </li></ul><ul><li>I used to think that all relationships worked out that way. One strong person, one weakling. Is that how it is in your marriage? Was that why you wanted to escape online, like me? Break the cycle. I'm right, aren't I? You like being a spectator. Let other people act while you watch, go with the flow. Why else would you have agreed to be my friend? </li></ul>
    5. 5. Different words, same story <ul><li>Go to Paris with Simon </li></ul><ul><li>Sleep with Simon </li></ul><ul><li>Shoot Simon </li></ul>So I did what you asked, Cait. Paris is fantastic. Simon is less so. But I'm trying to keep the arrangement as professional as possible. We dine at the best restaurants, saunter earnestly around the galleries... Oh alright. I'm NOT in Paris. Still stuck in the flat trying to decide what to do. I gave Simon a good thwacking with the pepperpot and sent him on his way. He deserved it. But it puts the Paris 'job' in jeopardy, obviously. So I did what you asked, William. He wasn't the best lay I've ever had. But perhaps it'll secure me a bit more work. And, hell, it's something to do while David's away. And something for you to watch... OK - I'm kidding. Nothing happened. I just gave Simon a good thwacking with the pepperpot and sent him on his way. I do *like* Simon. But not in that way. Believe me. So I did what you asked, Bake. One to the balls and one to the brain. It made a hell of a mess. I've tried to clear up as much as I could. But you'll have to forgive the bloodstains next time you come by. OK ˆ so I'm kidding. I didn't shoot Simon. Like I keep a loaded gun in the house. What kind of girl do you think I am? I did give him a good thwacking with that pepper pot, though. He deserved it.
    6. 6. Channelled Reading “ Online Caroline is a very carefully written story, and the users' path through it is channelled so that, to an extent, we are dictating how they experience the story. There are no closed interactive moments where the user decides on one narrative route or another. ” -- Tom Harvey, XPT, Ltd.
    7. 7. Conclusions <ul><li>Choice is not the same as meaningful interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>Readers will create the illusion of interactivity with minimal cues. </li></ul><ul><li>We must be careful in making claims about the “empowering” nature of hypertext structures. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Information <ul><li>William Cole </li></ul><ul><li>The Ohio State University </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] Online Caroline: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.onlinecaroline.com </li></ul>
    9. 9. Interaction? (1) <ul><li>It's not true, is it? You do care about this. If David tries to shut us down, you'll fight him, won't you? I told you before I'm no good in a punch-up. I'm glad you didn't respond to the hammer business in IT3C. Things aren't that bad. </li></ul><ul><li>It's not true, is it? You do care about this. If David tries to shut us down, you'll fight him, won't you? I told you before I'm no good in a punch-up. I'm kind of glad you sent me the hammer. Not that it'll get to that. </li></ul>

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