Policing or Liberation ?

Miles employs the usual anti-system rhetoric when he charges that the efforts an author puts into making a large argumentative hypertext navigable and clear will tend to "domesticate the link" (Miles 2001, 61). They will keep the text a "domesticated and quiet machine" that "misunderstand[s] links as merely aids on the way to clarity" and performs a "retrospective erasure of this excess in teleological determination that is the site of hypertext" (Miles 2001, 67).

But the situation is more complex than such rhetoric suggests.

In the kind of argumentative hypertext discussed in this essay, policing the excess lurking in the link gap serves a liberating purpose: It stops reading a large hypertext from becoming a random walk. Ideally, the mix of general structure and local tangles with cross links lets the various regions of the text collide in ways that will be very undomesticated, but these need a level of policing in order to happen at all. The hope is to open up the reader to possibilities undreamt of in the author's philosophy.

This goal has proved difficult to achieve, and becomes harder when there is pressure from a book version of the argument.