While Gamer Theory’s complex metaphors fascinated and confounded me, many of its other peculiarities made me think, too. One particularly confused me: its grammatical imperfection. How isn’t it flawless by now? This is version 2.0! Shouldn’t Wark have worked out the kinks? Not only did Wark have professional editors’ aid (assuming Harvard Press required that a proofreader double-check everything before the book was published in the physical), but that of numerous commenters. Yet, still, he hasn’t replaced the word ‘loose’ with ‘lose’ on card 212, and I noted at least three instances where he’s withheld the apostrophe in between ‘it’ and ‘s’ that’s needed when ‘it’ and ‘is’ are combined. It’s plain to see these imperfections in the comment section beside each card—why does he ignore them?
One potential reason Wark doesn’t simply make these changes and take these comments down: he’s keeping count. He wants as many comments as possible. Sure, when someone points out a mistake, Wark’s being corrected—in a few instances, it seems his commenters are even chastising him—but he’s also getting feedback. Feedback conveys interest. If people weren’t interested, that would be an embarrassment. Wark and the Institute for the Future of the Book hyped Gamer Theory as being a revolutionary literary work, a networked book that takes advantage of new media technologies allowing readers to interact with it. Could readers’ lack of interest lead to less funding for such projects in the future? As I don’t have access to the Institute’s financial information, I can’t say for sure.
Given, it’s true that many authors have to learn to deal with the fact that few people read their books. But printed books don’t bear marks of their unpopularity within their pages. With its paucity of commentary, Gamer Theory does.
That Wark allows for criticisms on content to remain attached to his project doesn’t surprise me much. As we’ve addressed in class, bloggers who directly and publicly address their readers’ concerns are more trusted than those who ignore (or worse, delete) them. In almost every instance, Wark comments back, defending his work and the decisions he made in its creation. Impressive.