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> Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'intrate, Tangent To The Dark Wood Of Wiki Bios
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Milton Roe
post Wed 25th June 2008, 8:44pm
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Mon 23rd June 2008, 1:58pm) *

The fault here is not wikis. It is possible to have useful, managed social structures in a wiki, just as it is possible to have a dystopic ochlocracy in a message board or in USENET. In fact, many of the technical tools needed to help combat the drift toward mob rule already exist and are even available for MediaWiki; there's a huge catalog of extensions for MediaWiki that Wikipedia does not use, many of them developed by other intentional communities to help manage their own community wikis. Wikipedia simply refuses to avail themselves of them. The big one, of course, is to heavily restrict or flatly prohibit editing by anonymous editors.

QUOTE(Moulton @ Mon 23rd June 2008, 8:33pm) *

Intentional communities are built on trust. When those in ad hoc ochlocrical power are anonymous cowards to boot, you've got something that is truly unspeakable.


All intentional communities are of course built on trust, since their goal is cooperation, and parasitism, vandalism, and various kinds of dysfunctional communications destroy that. But high levels of trust must be earned, and this takes experience and time.

Kelly makes the point, which could use further emphasis, that a real shift in type and governance of community happens at the expansion point where you're working with members you don't know personally quite well (have a long personal history with). That happens as villages grow into towns and then big cities. Indirectly, it's responsible for a lot of town and especially big city pathology. If you don't expect to see a person ever again (your place is so large that you interact mostly with strangers all the time) then a lot of normal human community-building brain activity just has no input. The result is very bad.

Historically, the rise of the modern large city goes along with the invention of writing. This may not be coincidence, since there are some data-and-record keeping functions of groups of humans larger than a small neolithic village, and with rapid turnover, that simply can't be stored without memory aid. Think Code of Hammurabi. In little villages everybody knows the rules, which may not even be written down.

As I've said before, I think the large human brain is mainly designed by evolution for one task: social information processing (Soc-IT). This includes all the substuff that has to do with reproduction, and at outside the family level, it has to do with evaluating other people's intensions, reputations, places in power structures, and how they can be possible enemies or allies. Who's the "witch" or "screwup" today? Who's more dangerous than they look? Who can stab me in the back if they like, and get away with it? The brain wasn't grown to 1350 cm^3 to solve math problems! Darwin was shocked to find communities of humans in Terra del Fuego who were nearly naked and had no writing and almost no technology. But they DID have a complicated language and culture, as do all human socities. That's a clue.

That's what the brain does. If humans don't use their huge brains to do several hours of social information processing a day, they invent artifical ways to get artificial input (soap opera, reality TV, and the like). But this, like a drug, does no actual community soc-IT work! Outside of your day-job (assuming you're not getting your Soc-IT vitamins with office politics), in a rich Western society, you probably spend many more hours doing Soc-IT processing on artificial crap (your TV, novels, other news, and net 1.0) than you do with real volunteer and social organizations, or in fulfilling civic duties like jury duty or voting or voter registration or highway trash collection, or commons cleanup or whatever. This also has become a disaster in the last 60 years, basiclly since TV began to clog our inputs and anesthetize us about loss of small village-type communities.

You can look at the loss of card-playing and bowling leages and community chests and so on, and it all begins to disappear around 1950, pretty much like our polar ice caps. It's due to SOME kind of technology. You don't like TV as cause? Okay, fine. I leave it to you to figure out.

Web 2.0 has the chance of bringing back some virtual community, so long as it unplugs the artificial one-way nature of Web 1.0 and TV. Thus, it's no use spending years earning a "rep" in some Second-Life or Wikipedia persona, if it's not a real one connected to your real identity. Most of the Soc-IT processor time you burned with other people's networked brains, is as wasted in an anonymous on-line community, as when viewers decide who to vote off American Idol. No help here!

With Web 2.0 we have some chance again to bring some of it back. But without connection to identifiable brains, it's just another MMPORPG, as has been pointed out.

Does going back to the way humans are evolved to live (i.e., you know a few hundred people reasonably well, for some years, and work with them on projects) guarantee that you'll have no social problems? NO! Even the Amish still resort to shunning occassionally, and it's very much like WP community banning. But it's rare by contrast with what happens on WP.

Are there consequences to not allowing humans to form communities of the type we've evolved with? Yes, dire ones! sad.gif Look at big city pathology. And look at the number of people whose only community is at their place-of-work. What happens when they retire? Do you know, for example, how many retired cops "eat their pistols"? Enough that every group of cops knows exactly what syndrome you're talking about in this matter, and has a name for it. People just aren't meant to take this level of dislocation and thive, or even survive.

M.

This post has been edited by Milton Roe: Wed 25th June 2008, 8:55pm
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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 25th June 2008, 8:56pm
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The mystique of relying on a priori biological analogies and half-baked political metaphors for what should be a publishing enterprise is the lion's share of what got the Sanger-Wales models of encyclopedias into the sewer they inhabit today.

I think it is well past time that we drop the Social Darwinism and Cultural Larmarkianism and start thinking about some hypotheses that might actually explain the phenomena that are staring us in the face.

Jon cool.gif

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GlassBeadGame
post Wed 25th June 2008, 9:02pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Wed 25th June 2008, 2:16pm) *


Let's say you publish an article in a scholarly journal and some other scholar disagrees with your conclusions. What does he do? He writes another article criticizing your arguments and methods and so on and tries to argue for his own point of view.

That is the normal way of doing things. It's incremental and monotone — at least, so far as the historical record goes.

Wikis are very different from that. The present state of the Virtual Record is evanescent to the max. In the wiki paradigm as initially conceived the indelible recording of every edit was intended to compensate for that transience of the Evanescent Present, but Wikipedia's increasing use of history-erasing and history-rewriting has removed even that littlest bit of a safety net.

Employed by a pre-existing community that observes a pre-existing discipline, the delibility of the current draft on the magic slate can be a useful feature. But delibility of the historical record is a debilitating bug no matter how carefully one tries to control it.



Best post of the year so far.
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Milton Roe
post Wed 25th June 2008, 9:13pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Wed 25th June 2008, 8:56pm) *

The use of a priori biological analogies and half-baked political metaphors for what should be a publishing enterprise is the lion's share of what got the Sanger-Wales models of encyclopedias into the sewer they inhabit today.

I think it is well past time that we drop the Social Darwinism and Cultural Larmarkianism and start thinking about some hypotheses that might actually explain the phenomena that are staring us in the face.

Jon cool.gif

Any "publishing enterprise" (like any large enterprise to do ANYTHING) will have a community of people, and that community will have a culture which is in part DEFINED by the task they're trying to do. I don't care if the community mission is to land on the moon, develop an atom bomb, or fly missions off an aircraft carrier into Iraq. Or write a Great Encyclopedia of 10 million pages. For an encylopedia, the culture may be at a publishing house or university or both. Or be extended as much as you like. It will have a dynamic. And if it has existed for long, it will have plenty of people who don't talk to each other, and its own cultural dynamic which an outsider will be able to immediately read. Because it's not immediately transparent, does not mean it doesn't exist.

Good luck trying to do any social anthropology without a working hypothesis (and method of generation of same) of cultural institutions and how they arise and mature. I personally happen to like Social Darwinism and Cultural Larmarkianism as you call them (evolutionary psychology is the modern name), and think they are neatly explanatory of all kinds of things. And predictive, too. You don't. Okay, so what?

What do you suggest instead, as a starting point? Dialectical materialism and class struggle? Freudian psychoanalysis? Levi-Strauss structuralism? Jungian or somebody else's archetype analysis? What?

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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 25th June 2008, 9:18pm
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QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Wed 25th June 2008, 5:13pm) *

Any "publishing enterprise" (like any large enterprise to do ANYTHING) will have a community of people, and that community will have a culture which is in part DEFINED by the task they're trying to do. I don't care if it's go to the moon, develop at atom bomb, or fly missions off an aircraft carrier into Iraq. For an encylopedia, the culture may be at a publishing house or university or both. It will have a dynamic. And if it has existed for long, it will have plenty of people who don't talk to each other, and its own cultural dynamic which an outsider will be able to immediately read. Because it's not immediately transparent, does not mean it doesn't exist.

Good luck trying to do any social anthropology without a working hypothesis (and method of generation of same) of cultural institutions and how they arise and mature. I personally happen to like Social Darwinism and Cultural Larmarkianism as you call them (evolutionary psychology is the modern name), and think they are neatly explanatory of all kinds of things. And predictive, too. You don't. Okay, so what?

What do you suggest instead, as a starting point? Dialectical materialism and class struggle? Freudian psychoanalysis? Levi-Strauss structuralism? Jungian or somebody else's archetype analysis? What?


You are making the category error of confusing a statistical population with a state-istical community.

So watch out for that …

Jon cool.gif
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Milton Roe
post Wed 25th June 2008, 9:29pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Wed 25th June 2008, 9:02pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Wed 25th June 2008, 2:16pm) *


Let's say you publish an article in a scholarly journal and some other scholar disagrees with your conclusions. What does he do? He writes another article criticizing your arguments and methods and so on and tries to argue for his own point of view.

That is the normal way of doing things. It's incremental and monotone — at least, so far as the historical record goes.

Wikis are very different from that. The present state of the Virtual Record is evanescent to the max. In the wiki paradigm as initially conceived the indelible recording of every edit was intended to compensate for that transience of the Evanescent Present, but Wikipedia's increasing use of history-erasing and history-rewriting has removed even that littlest bit of a safety net.

Employed by a pre-existing community that observes a pre-existing discipline, the delibility of the current draft on the magic slate can be a useful feature. But delibility of the historical record is a debilitating bug no matter how carefully one tries to control it.



Best post of the year so far.



He has a point, but evanescense is completely subjective if copies are made of everything, and trusted. The "indelible history of changes" part really is a sine qua non of a Wiki-network, as originally defined by Cunningham the inventor, or indeed any database, since the word "data" hardly implies, or can be used as a name for, a tissue of lies (or Russia's famous "unstable history.")

IOW, what John Awbrey's complaining about is special to WP, and (so far as I can tell) probably qualifies them to be called something else OTHER than a Wiki-database, if they carry it very far. No identifiable data, no database.

Thus if they oversight their history to any extent which isn't necesary for privacy, they won't be a Wiki database. And we are free to rename them to Shitipedia or anything we like that doesn't contain the word "wiki."

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Wed 25th June 2008, 9:18pm) *

You are making the category error of confusing a statistical population with a state-istical community.

So watch out for that …

Jon cool.gif

Define your terms. You think WP is more like a "state"? You think some sort of political analysis is more appropriate?

I personally think Wikipedia is more like Beirut of 1985. You can talk about its politics, but not in terms of functional modern states.

This post has been edited by Milton Roe: Wed 25th June 2008, 9:25pm
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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 25th June 2008, 9:36pm
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Milton has just recited the sort of recitation that I was constantly fond of reciting a couple of years ago by way explaining how Wikipedia was not generic among wiki species but a degenerate perversion of the type.

So let us stipulate to that.

Being so much smarted and consequently so much smarter than I was a couple of years ago, I now have to insist that the cloven hoof was always present in the wiki paradigm itself, and that it was only the very special care and feeding of special interest groups that prevented it from becoming viral from the start.

But now it has …

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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 25th June 2008, 10:08pm
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QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Wed 25th June 2008, 5:29pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Wed 25th June 2008, 9:18pm) *

You are making the category error of confusing a statistical population with a state-istical community.

So watch out for that …

Jon cool.gif


Define your terms. You think WP is more like a "state"? You think some sort of political analysis is more appropriate?

I personally think Wikipedia is more like Beirut of 1985. You can talk about its politics, but not in terms of functional modern states.


No, the opposite.

The most that I can say with any degree of confidence about Wikipedia is that there is a Population of people who are interacting with each other to some degree by way of some technical device.

If you want to go beyond the maximally weak hypothesis of a Population and invoke a word with the ostensibly stronger but vaguely stronger connotations of a Community, then you have to define your term.

So far you have only hinted at your meaning by way of analogy to a rather large variety of models, none of which, on closer examination, actually fit Wikipedia very well.

Jon cool.gif

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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 27th June 2008, 3:45am
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QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Mon 23rd June 2008, 1:08pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Mon 23rd June 2008, 5:00pm) *

The Intrinsic Features that permit the abuses in question are integral to the wiki paradigm — it is only that well-disciplined communities of interest seldom abuse the powers afforded by these features.


Blah. Only as you can say the same about all writing, personal publishing, and use of computers in general. There's nothing special about Wikis. They're just multi-user message boards and collaborative writing work records, with better record keeping about what is done to them and when. And who does it, if you choose to set them up that way. WP doesn't, but that's not the fault of the mechanism itself. In theory we could (for example) completely cease to pay attention to driver licenses and ID for drivers, and have automobiles with interchangable or missing license plates. The result would be chaos, but not the fault of the automobile itself, as transportation invention, per se. Don't blame Wikis.


Now where have I heard this argument before?

Oh, yeah, I read it on a bumper sticker —

QUOTE

• • • Guns Don't Kill People • • •
Only Bat-Shit Insane Supreme Court Justices
Make It As Easy As They Possibly Can For
People To Keep On Killing People


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Milton Roe
post Fri 27th June 2008, 8:00am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Fri 27th June 2008, 3:45am) *

QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Mon 23rd June 2008, 1:08pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Mon 23rd June 2008, 5:00pm) *

The Intrinsic Features that permit the abuses in question are integral to the wiki paradigm — it is only that well-disciplined communities of interest seldom abuse the powers afforded by these features.


Blah. Only as you can say the same about all writing, personal publishing, and use of computers in general. There's nothing special about Wikis. They're just multi-user message boards and collaborative writing work records, with better record keeping about what is done to them and when. And who does it, if you choose to set them up that way. WP doesn't, but that's not the fault of the mechanism itself. In theory we could (for example) completely cease to pay attention to driver licenses and ID for drivers, and have automobiles with interchangable or missing license plates. The result would be chaos, but not the fault of the automobile itself, as transportation invention, per se. Don't blame Wikis.


Now where have I heard this argument before?

Oh, yeah, I read it on a bumper sticker —

QUOTE

• • • Guns Don't Kill People • • •
Only Bat-Shit Insane Supreme Court Justices
Make It As Easy As They Possibly Can For
People To Keep On Killing People


Jon cool.gif

I think that bumper sticker is batshit insane. I grew up in one of those sleepy states that start with a vowel, which "bicoastal" people fly over and try not to think about, on their way to their homes in their gated communities, wherefrom they lobby the world with their liberal wisdom.

I grew up with guns. I have an arsenal of them, and so did my father before me and his before him. And so did all my friends. We shot them for fun, we hunted with them (something I've actually long since found un-fun, I think after learning to apprecitate life), we used them for target practice (still fun-- but now at a range). Nobody ever pointed them an anybody else, even in play, because we'd had the shit trained out of us on gun safety, and even pointing an empty one at somebody felt about as unnaturally horrid as French-kissing granny with her teeth out. Consequently I never heard of anybody ever getting shot for any reason in my town or school or even my whole state. It may have happened once, but I must have missed it. Nobody I ever saw took their weapons to school, even though all of us owned at least one. It never even occurred to us.

Do people kill people? You bet. We didn't.

Does my state have more violence now? Not enough to keep us from nearly universal concealed carry of pistols for those with no criminal records. Is there gun violence in my state? Yes, but the people who carry them legally don't do it. Nor do people born there do it. A lot of people from L.A. have since moved into my old home state. Instead of getting away from their old problems, they brought them with them. But their problems weren't weapons, it was what was in their minds. That, we cannot outlaw.

M. (From a rural past, and screw you if you think ill of it).

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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 27th June 2008, 12:00pm
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The Barbecue Has Been Cancelled —

Too Many Joints In The Inferno Already —

But The Durova Brag Contest Is Still On —

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Jon Awbrey
post Sat 27th November 2010, 5:28am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Sun 22nd June 2008, 3:03pm) *

QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Sun 22nd June 2008, 3:42pm) *

QUOTE(BobbyBombastic @ Sun 22nd June 2008, 6:22am) *

I think that in a few years we'll be the nerds on the internet telling people how wikis used to be, while the majority of internet users are off doing some different type of internet hijinks, paying little attention to us because wikis have become irrelevant. At least that is what I hope. smile.gif


You can abandon THAT hope.


Now where have I heard that before ???

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It looks like the old Flash Inferno is gone, but this may be a current version of it —

Dante's Inferno : A Virtual Tour Of Hell

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Jon Awbrey
post Sat 27th November 2010, 5:52am
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I tracked down the credit for that Animated Inferno —

Todd King, Eastern Kentucky University

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