Imposing Hierarchy and Deletion

by Tina Quach for CMS.609 Word Made Digital

"PowerPoint comes with its own set of biases [...] The way that PowerPoint is structured and the various options provided have not only been limited (this can actually be a good thing) but they have been designed assuming, a priori, a specific world view. The software, by making certain directions and actions easier and more convenient than others, tells you how to think as you accomplish your task." - David Byrne, creator of "Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information", which uses PowerPoint as an artistic medium.

PowerPoint's default use of bullet points (rather than mind maps or flow charts or graphs) imposes a hierarchy on the content that is conveyed through the medium of a PowerPoint presentation. While bullet points can be useful for distilling and conveying exemplification, hierarchy, and sequence, bullet points fail to provide context for points and draw explicit connections between various points.

I've written a python program for textual transformation (, which aims to explore the ways in which bullet point-ing content affects user understanding and textual meaning.

Python Script:
Sample Text: mit_news.txt pulled from MIT News's "Cutting Down the Clutter in Online Conversations"

1. Open up the sample text on the left side of the screen.
2. In your command line, run the python script on the file.
python3 [path_to_file]
3. Place the output on the right side of the screen.

For more see Tina's Word Made Digital portfolio