Stateless Links

Links allow references outside. Outside economics or chemistry or philosophy, as outside China. The links can go to other established academic territories, as if from China to France. But also the links can go to non-established knowledges and to texts that are stateless wanderers. Links can also go into established bodies of text/knowledge and reuse them by linking some of their pieces into wandering paths that don't respect borders and walls. So links can intercept something fixed, putting it on a path that crosses borders. This gets resisted by rules of intellectual property and propriety. Quotation is forbidden; no iteration allowed.

Links can be regimented into systems, but they resist such discipline, and keep wandering off and renouncing their citizenship. They become paths for nomads without departments, in either the French or the academic sense. (But do such paths, as they are more frequently travelled, become tourist routes?)

On the Web, my intercepting your text can't be stopped because if I know the address of the item I can put on my new path. I don't need to add anything into your document in order to link to it. I don't need your permission to avoid your organization, to quote and parody and re-use.

However, the way the Web is organized, to make my path a real path that goes onward from your text to somewhere else I would need to get your permission to add a link to your page. Not likely, perhaps. So I cannot make my path appear for readers of your text; my path will be discovered only if someone starts with my documents. This means that as the rules and the software stand, my interception can not be completed. Your borders remain even though I have reused one of your passages.

The best I can do, since we don't have link servers, is to use my document as a map or center that is returned to between each item on the path, which is represented then by a list, perhaps branching, provided by me.

(There is another deficiency of the Web in regard to my suggestions about linking. There is no way to make a link to a link on the Web. It would be good to be able to explicitly designate, link to, and discuss links and their patterns as such. Also it would be good to be able to put conditions on a link, so that, for example, it might function only if you had already visited certain other sites. This can't be done because the Web is, in a technical sense, itself stateless. I discuss this in an article on scholarly hypertext.)