Doing the work
Matt Kirschenbaum, in the course of arguing that the methods of textual studies are important to electronic literary theory, observes that the link structure of afternoon changed significantly between the first (samizdat) version in 1987 and the published edition of 1992. (Wierdly, EBR or Krischenbaum forgot to footnote either edition)
The best argument for the value of these methods might be to employ them. Kirschenbaum makes much of the changes in the hypertext's icon over time, but I wonder whether this means much to anyone. A better case (and important contribution) could easily be made by taking a close look at the 97 links that Joyce added when preparing afternoon for publication. What did he do? Why? How would you describe the changes succinctly? What effect, exactly, do the additional links exert?
These are clearly questions that we would like to answer, both about afternoon and, indeed, about any fine hypertext. Why not give it a shot?
When I was 20, I used to hunt for weeks in search of ideas that might yield publishable research. Nowadays, it seems that publishable ideas are low-hanging fruit. I can't come close to picking the fruit fast enough. Picking fruit isn't even my job anymore. It's very frustrating.