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Welcome to the Atelier!
Situated on the second floor of Crater Labs, Inc., the Atelier is not just an exhibition space but also a popular salon where friends and patrons can gather for conversation and substantive discussion. Over time the atelier has grown even as our landlords have extended their own space, and now we have not just a salon and gallery but all manner of side rooms and workshops that reflect the varied tastes of the salonistas. The salon is central to all this however, with the gallery accessible straight through.
If you've never been to the atelier before, start here.
Not Just a Chat Thread
When you first come up the stairs and walk into the salon, you might be overwhelmed to hear at least fifteen or twenty researchers talking about several things at once. Don't be put off because there seem to be a lot of old friends exchanging comments on issues you haven't encountered or using words you don't understand. You'll soon get familiar with the issues, and anybody will be more than happy to explain the jargon.
There is a certain amount of role playing here, for a number of reasons. First of all, intelligent people like to play. Secondly, it is relaxing to slip off the constraints of one's daily identity and slip on a bit more height, a pair of antennae, elvish wings or a few extra academic degrees. Thirdly, it answers a human need to express social conviviality by breaking bread together -- or pizza or cheesecake. And so we have bots we can summon, and riches of furnishings and education we can call upon, to make the Atelier our haven.
Although my tastes govern the look of the salon, which runs to Art Nouveau, the kitchen and workshops are modern. The central area is anchored by a large hearth in the corner. Irving Washington donated some special firewood from the Magic Forest; quite simply, it never burns down, thus sparing us the need to burn more trees, or clean out the ashpit for that matter. Occasionally we throw coated pine cones on the fire to watch the colours. Comfortable furniture fills the room, together with throw pillows and low tables with interesting bibelots, and the general design lends itself both to small conversational groups and general discussions.
We have bots. Chief among these are
Matina, who runs the kitchen;
Chloe, the maidbot-of-all-work, who looks after the guest rooms, and who paints watercolors;
Eleven, an interior decorator bot;
Ampton, chief factotum at CLI;
Chesworth, head of security at CLI,
and numerous workbots who can be borrowed from downstairs whenever there is heavy lifting to be done.
Needless to say, we owe a lot to CLI's technology for the ease and comfort of our virtual lives.
We have pets. The population of cats changes, but constant throughout have been
Zeppo, a yellow labrador who shares real and virtual life with d'Elaphant;
Mindspring, an unau (two-toed sloth) belonging to Lil;
Ripley, a younger unau who belongs to Titania.
Styx the Rat should be mentioned, since he began life as a pet, but became an independent creation several years ago. Styx is about two feet tall at the shoulder, quite rangy, and has glowing red eyes.
I generally like an ordered and quiet life surrounded by friends, but with a landlord like CLI things can be very unpredictable. Afgncaap5 and Garius Lupus (as well as Ampton) often become involved in some very bleeding edge alternative technologies in their quest for knowledge and profit, and occasionally the consequences have been known to pour up the stairs and into our unsuspecting laps.
Leave Calling Cards
We try to live by the tenets of netiquette at our salon. If you are making a morning call to pay your respects but don't have time to dwell, please do not bookmark us: rather, leave a calling card in the ongoing conversation. A few polite words make such a difference!
We have a zero tolerance attitude to trolling.
Thou Shalt Not Commit Spam
Those of you with things to sell or events and clubs to advertise -- please don't. It's one thing for you to join us in discussion, and for you to tell us about your projects and events in the course of the conversation. It is quite another thing for a total stranger to interrupt the discourse by making an announcement or just trying to be enigmatic for the alleged joy of it, then leave without a word of acknowledgement or any curiosity as to who we are. We will either shun you or make spiteful remarks about you in public places.
We are aware that there are researchers whose internet interface equipment is more difficult to use than the keyboards enjoyed by the greater majority. These equipment-challenged users are in the habit of using a greatly dehydrated form of communication called txt spk. While we regret the inconvenience to that sub-group of researchers, there is a standard of English that is adhered to at the atelier. This is because we don't just greet each other and make appointments to meet elsewhere; we carry on discussions, we describe our days and, overall, we bask in the infinite subtleties of English used well.
The atelier is a balancing act: any number of virtual identities talking to each other in the same space will not survive long as a community unless they observe mutual respect, intelligibility, and a desire for consensus. This can only be achieved with well-formed English. Before the BBC operated this website, H2G2 had a number of different subcommunities speaking different languages, German and Swedish among them. With the advent of moderation, however, it became impossible to use anything other than English. The least we can all do is make sure it is good English.
A salonista is simply a regular visitor at the atelier. There are a number of us and we have lots of discussions as well as keeping each other up-to-date with news of our lives. This leads to a rather large backlog and fast-moving threads. In spite of that, the salonistas stick with their colleagues and friends, and more join us all the time. You're welcome to join too!
APPENDIX: About The Laws of Continuity
There is a set of guidelines we follow in the course of our role-playing, in the Atelier and on related adventures. These principles have been refined over the years and have been found to promote harmony and stimulate creativity. Here they are: