The Ideal Text
Because of the nature of hypertext, I would like to redefine text to be the network of information available to the reader, much as Barthes conceived the ideal text.In this ideal text the networks are many and interact, without any one of them being able to surpass the rest; this text is a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared the main one; the codes it mobilizes extend as far as the eye can reach, they are indeterminable. (S/Z 5-6)
The World Wide Web fits well with this definition of ideal text. Therefore, when we consider arguing on the Web, we should view the entirety of the Web as the text, the entity in which the argument takes place. Even the terminology used in describing Web documents indicates that each document is only part of a larger text: individual documents are referred to as "pages." No matter who produced the text, individual, business, or government, the document is called a page.
Redefine Text? Temporary Text
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