Blog Post

Learning to Love the Questions: A Description of The Rules/The Questions

For the final wrap-up session of the HASTAC Conference, "The Interface of Everything," I created a game called: "Learning to Love the Questions."

For those of you who know me personally, you know that I'm an avid game player and puzzler. I grew up in a game playing family; in fact, my uncle owns a (board) game company (TDC Games). I use game structures in my classes to stimulate new forms of sociality: to encourage quiet students to speak out, and verbose students to listen more. Although this is the first time I've dared to introduce a game in a professional conference setting, I was thrilled that the panel participants (all 10 of them) were "game" enough to go along with the last-minute change of plans as to how the panel would be structured and moderated. Several people in the audience asked if I would post the instructions for the game. These are listed below.

What I hope might also be of interest is the list of questions that I generated as the stock of questions that the panel participants had to choose from. Remember the panelists couldn't see the questions in they were really submitting themselves to the fascinating process of "thinking in the moment." I applaud the panelists for their creativity and thoughtfulness in engaging the questions that did come up. I think any of the questions listed below would have made for an interesting panel "discussion." Have fun!


Learning to Love the Questions


4 Game Facilitators: Question Maker, Mindmapper, TimeKeeper, Audience Advocate

Two Teams: Even number of players on each side

The teams are assigned roles; they switch roles after 3 rounds.

Team 1: Question Responders

Team 2: Answer Enhancers

Definition of a Round:

A member of Team 1 (Question Responders) picks a question from the question stack. The questions are randomly organized; the team does not see the questions beforehand.

The members of Team 1 (Question Responders) have 5 minutes to deliberate about their responses to the question. They can choose to either 1) select one person to respond for the team, or 2) respond individually to the question. This latter option is a good choice if there are disagreements or differences of opinion among team members. The team then has 5 minutes to respond to the question.

Team 2: Answer Enhancers listen to the responses from team 1 and then respond to ENHANCE the ANSWER in one of three ways: 1) IDENTIFY and AMPLYIFY a GOOD IDEA, 2) IDENTIFY the RESOURCES needed to make the IDEA happen, or 3) SPECIFY the NEXT STEPS in making the idea a reality.


While the teams are responding and enhancing, the game Mindmapper creates a map of the responses and enhanced answers.

Duration of Play

Team 1 gets to be the Question Responders for 3 rounds. After the first 3 rounds, Team 2 becomes the Question Responders, and Team 1 becomes the Answer Enhancers.

Variations on Play

Questions from the audience could be submitted throughout game play.

A panel of audience members could "judge" the responses/answers to evaluate the quality of the good ideas. (This would the game play a bit competitive...where teams are vying to impress the audience panel of judges.)

Several people suggested that the deliberations among team members, especially when they are Question Responders, be amplified so that the audience could also hear the process-based thinking going on among members.

The Questions used for the HASTAC panel (in no particular order):

How might artists lead the way?

How are you contributing to the paradigm shift?

Give the technologists a piece of advice.

How can we learn to see more complexly?

What is the status of deception in the digital realm?

What are our remembering practices now?

How do we define "a better job?"

What are HASTAC's grand challenges?

How is the mode of critique (common to the humanities and art fields) useful in collaboration with technologists and scientists? How does it hinder collaborations?

Do we share a common discourse?

Why should the public value the humanities now?

What role do objects play in our scholarly work?

Should we pay attention to the aesthetics of our scholarly performances?

Waht are the subfields of the digital humanities?

How can we institutionalize an economy of integrity?

What happens after the criticism?

What is the role of disciplines in a post-disciplinary era?

What are the blindspots of the digital humanities?

Give an example where the "best" becomes the enemy of the "good"?

What are we still worrying about authority?

Are the digital humanities a field, or a fascination?

What defines rigour in the digital humanities?

What is your most provocative theory-object?

Ask someone on the panel a question that intriques you.

What do civil rights mean in digital worlds?

What is the cultural work of "born digital" scholarship?

What is the most provocative idea you've heard in the last two days?

How are you an access node?

What does technological literacy mean to you?

Give a piece of advice to the funders.

Tell us about your project.

How do you learn best?

What is the role of text in a digital age?

What worries you locally, institutionally, professionally?

Give the humanists a piece of advice.

How can we stop reifying the distinction between humanities and technology; or between humanitists and technologists?











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