¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 However, what shouldn’t be overlooked in any evaluation of a new publishing form such as CommentPress is the quantity of labor that it requires, not just in the development, installation, and implementation of the templates themselves, or in the design and release of texts through them, but in the maintenance of the texts post-publication, and in the active participation that discussion requires of the texts’ authors. Comments and trackbacks are, at least at present, relatively insecure technologies that demand a certain degree of moderation in order to ensure spam prevention; such technologies of interaction, moreover, function best when the author desires that interaction. Publishing systems like CommentPress thus won’t relieve institutions of the infrastructural demands posed by current, analog press and library systems. They’ll also create more work for authors, who won’t be quite so able to walk away from a text in manuscript form and leave its publication to the labor of others.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 2 That said, CommentPress demonstrates the fruitfulness of reimagining the technologies of electronic publishing in service to the social interconnections of authors and readers. The success of the electronic publishing ventures of the future will likely hinge on the liveliness of the conversations and interactions that they can produce, and the further new writing that those interactions can inspire. CommentPress grows out of an understanding that the chief problem involved in creating the future of the book is not simply placing the words on the screen, but structuring their delivery in an engaging manner; the issue of engagement, moreover, is not simply about locating the text within the technological network, but also, and primarily, about locating it within the social network. These are the problems that developers must focus on in seeking the electronic form that can not just rival but outdo the codex, as a form that invites the reader in, that acknowledges that the reader wants to respond, and that understands all publication as part of an ongoing series of public conversations, conducted in multiple time registers, across multiple texts. Making those conversations as accessible and inviting as possible should be the goal in imagining the textual communications circuit of the future.