Babel Bob Speaks

Dear writers of @Babel,

The second iteration started last Monday. I hope that you feel rested and excited about continuing on the collaboration of Babel Between Us.

Before you dive into it, there are some things I want to go through with you. There are a suite of new tools and possibilities available to you. You’ve asked for ways to read the text more like a book, way to be able to choose who to collaborate with, and a better way to spin off stories that you think have taken a dull turn. Well, you’ve got it now.

Ethnography

The first point relates to the work of the ethnographers, that I hinted upon in our last encounter. The ethnography team will present their findings to you in a separate post, a link can be found in the description of this video. In short, the ethnographers are here to assist you in navigating the increasingly complicated world you are creating. I highly recommend that you watch their video, and read their writeup.

Babel Reader

The hosts have told me that some of you found it hard to read texts on the forum. To address this I decided to construct a custom reader, called the Babel-reader, which brings the experience closer to that of a printed book, albeit not the same. It is easy to use and hopefully it will increase your reading experience considerably. Explore the graphs and the codebook.

How to use the babel-reader

  • You access the reader by pressing the link [Read on Babel-reader] that appears at the top of each post, just under the title.
  • The reader displays a thread as one continuous text and does not by default display the names of each author. To see the author of a post, click the post, and the author’s name will appear at the top.
  • If you find the side too bright you can turn on dark mode in the top left corner.
  • This tool is brand new custom Babel technology, and there are still bugs appearing. If you find one, please let us know.

ATTN: No Images, videos or other media

  • Because the reader is still in its infancy, it cannot yet handle images being used in the threads. Instead we have decided for us to not use images for now, all previous threads with images will hence unfortunately be inaccessible by the reader.
  • We hope to resolve this in the future.

Locking Threads: Choose your collaborators

In this iteration, you have the option to lock a thread to a selected group of participants. This means that you have the option to dedicate a collaboration with one or more other writers of your choosing. Let’s say, for example, that you wish to explore collaboration further with Writer2 and Writer3, but you also make sure that it’s only the three of you in the collaboration, the you can lock the thread to the three of you.

How to lock a thread to a selected group of participants

  • Simply tag the names of the participants you wish to collaborate with at the bottom of the post. You tag a participant by writing @ and then their username, e.g. @babelbob.
  • The thread will still be visible to all other writers, and they can also quote, or fork, from this thread.
  • Any writer that has created or been invited to a topic are then free to invite other writers to the same topic when they wish to do so. This is done in the same way.
  • Other writers can technically still reply to the thread, but we kindly ask you to respect the social convention that the thread have been locked.

Forking threads

In this iteration you can create proper forking. Forking means that you create a fork of a thread that is regarded as an alternative continuation of that thread. It is, in a way, similar to quoting, but in the reader it will show up as a continuation of the thread it is a fork of. A thread can be forked at any point. This means that it is possible to explore a different or a parallel continuation of a narrative, regardless of what has already been written. If you don’t like the direction a thread is taking, you can make a fork to take it in your own desired connection. You can also use this function to continue a story from a locked thread which you have not been invited to.

How to create a fork of a thread

  • Go to the post you wish to create a fork from in a thread, and copy the link to that post. This will be the last post before your fork begins. For example, if “Thread A” has 13 posts, but you don’t like the direction it took from post 6 and onwards, then go to post 5 and copy the link to that post.

  • You copy a link to a post by pressing the little chain icon at the bottom of it.

  • Create a new thread that starts with the text: !FORK, then add a hyperlink to the post to that text. For example: !FORK

  • You add a link by selecting the text you wish to make into a hyperlink, and then pressing the little chain icon, or cmd+k for mac or ctrl+k for pc. You can also type it, then it should look like this:

    [!FORK](https://bbu.world/t/epidemic/891/10)

  • Then write your continuation of the story. You can see an example here.

  • When you come to a fork in the Babel Reader, it is displayed as a small fork symbol. Press this to see what forks are available. See an example here.

Graphs

As you already have seen, in this iteration you have access to the graph representation of the corpus through the graph. In the open forum there are detailed instructions on how to use this tool.

Final words

If you have any questions about any of these new tools and functionalities, contact your host, or write in the new general Babel forum.

I know that you are already aware of the possibility to contact other writers via private messaging. We encourage you to use this as a way of planning threads and ideas. If you do not wish to engage with a writer that has messaged you, just don’t reply. If something inappropriate occurs, please contact your host.

Once again, welcome back, and I wish you a most rewarding second iteration of Babel Between us. Expect more videos from me in a not too distant future!