Archipelago 2.0

Voice Card  -  Volume 9  -  John Card Number 3  -  Tue, Aug 29, 1989 8:18 PM

Now that we've reached our one year anniversary, I think it may be time to start thinking about a revamped version of Archipelago.

When I first created Archipelago, I wanted lots of pretty pictures and lots of buttons to push. But after a year's experience in the real world, I think we could all benefit from a more simplified, streamlined approach. The complexity of the current setup creates extra burdens for me at harvesting time and if other Archipelago groups ever start up, I'd have to write an Editor's Operation Guide several times the size of current Help stack.

Also, in getting Suzanne on board, it became ever more clear that Archipelago is more complicated than it really needs to be. So what can we do to make it simpler?

My basic idea is to center everything around the voice cards. As it turns out, the voice card is just about the only part of Archipelago that ever gets used. Book reviews are so rare as to be a special event and most of you never bother to fill out intro cards for your contributions. I think I've received one request card (and that was probably an accident). I won't even mention HPL Cards or the all but defunct Desert Island Quiz. And when was the last time anyone used the Automatic Survey Kit?

But business is booming in the voice card department. And much of what is done by these other cards could be done just as easily by voice card. For example, book reviews could appear as voice cards. Perhaps we could push a special button to automatically add the text of the review to a traditional card in the Book Reviews archive stack. We could also introduce contributions by voice card and administer surveys. Paul's quotations and Stuart's HyperPoetry could appear as voice cards as well.

In fact we could probably do away with the monopoly board Archipelgo stack altogether (although personally I'd kind of miss it). If nothing else, the current method of updating book reviews, etc. should be improved. As it stands now it is all too easy to miss a new book review.

Suzanne, I wonder if you could say a few words about what it was like encountering Archipelago for the first time. What parts did you gloss over and what parts did you find confusing?

And what do the rest of you think about this? What new features should be added or subtracted in Archipelago version 2.0?