One of the exciting features of the Ashkenaz festival was "Virtual Ashkenaz," a set of discussion forums that began even before we all gathered for our week-long celebration of Yiddish culture in Toronto this past summer. What this means is that the Ashkenaz Festival online can continue so long as there are people online to discuss New Yiddish Culture. (Those of you not online will have to wait until 1999, when the next edition of the non-virtual festival will take place.) "Virtual Ashkenaz" is currently hosted on donated server space, using the "Motet" conferencing software. We thank the Motet folks profusely for both use of the software and the server space.
Confused about what a "virtual festival is? Read on. Otherwise, log in to "Virtual Ashkenaz" right after this paragraph.
by Brian Zisk
Online conferencing not only allows people to exchange information, but it also automatically builds an up-to-the-minute text-based knowledge base for future visitors to consult. Because the information doesn't fade away as users come and go, structure and flow within the conferencing system become very important.
One of the strengths of Motet is that it provides both a comforting, logical structure as well as convenient shortcuts around that structure. The hierarchy of conversation spaces makes it easy for visitors to navigate efficiently to and through interesting areas, while nonlinear trapdoors make it easier to jump around within the structure.
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