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> Institute Of Network Cultures, Koolaid Is The New “Kritikal”
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Moulton
post Tue 3rd August 2010, 3:46pm
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Banhammerama

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 10:52am) *
Once you open your eyes to the presence of the phenomenon, the next couple of questions are:
  • What is the belief that these wannabelievers so desperately wannabelieve?
  • And why?

My preferred hypothesis regarding the belief most in need of being questioned is the belief in a Rules and Sanctions Regime as a suitable regulatory mechanism to sustain a low-drama educational project to systematically compile the sum of all human knowledge.

As to why that is, I'd love to have Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Sabina Spielrein, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Rene Girard on hand to help us discuss that question.
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Jon Awbrey
post Tue 3rd August 2010, 4:12pm
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QUOTE(Moulton @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 11:46am) *

Banhammerama

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 10:52am) *
Once you open your eyes to the presence of the phenomenon, the next couple of questions are:
  • What is the belief that these wannabelievers so desperately wannabelieve?
  • And why?

My preferred hypothesis regarding the belief most in need of being questioned is the belief in a Rules and Sanctions Regime as a suitable regulatory mechanism to sustain a low-drama educational project to systematically compile the sum of all human knowledge.

As to why that is, I'd love to have Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Sabina Spielrein, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Rene Girard on hand to help us discuss that question.


Now, seriously, does that really sound like the sort of belief that would entrain the entrails — grab the guts — of these “I Just Wanna Be Pseudonymous Me” con-marks?

Try again …

Jon dry.gif
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Moulton
post Tue 3rd August 2010, 4:28pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 12:12pm) *
QUOTE(Moulton @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 11:46am) *
Banhammerama

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 10:52am) *
Once you open your eyes to the presence of the phenomenon, the next couple of questions are:
  • What is the belief that these wannabelievers so desperately wannabelieve?
  • And why?

My preferred hypothesis regarding the belief most in need of being questioned is the belief in a Rules and Sanctions Regime as a suitable regulatory mechanism to sustain a low-drama educational project to systematically compile the sum of all human knowledge.

As to why that is, I'd love to have Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Sabina Spielrein, Jean Piaget, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Rene Girard on hand to help us discuss that question.

Now, seriously, does that really sound like the sort of belief that would entrain the entrails — grab the guts — of these “I Just Wanna Be Pseudonymous Me” con-marks?

Yes it does, Jon. If you like, I'll take the time explain why I see it that way.

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 12:12pm) *
Try again …

Jon dry.gif

I keep getting the same answer.

By way of comparison, what answer do you get, Jon?
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Jon Awbrey
post Tue 3rd August 2010, 4:42pm
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QUOTE(Moulton @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 12:28pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 12:12pm) *

QUOTE(Moulton @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 11:46am) *

Banhammerama

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 10:52am) *

Once you open your eyes to the presence of the phenomenon, the next couple of questions are:
  • What is the belief that these wannabelievers so desperately wannabelieve?
  • And why?

My preferred hypothesis regarding the belief most in need of being questioned is the belief in a Rules and Sanctions Regime as a suitable regulatory mechanism to sustain a low-drama educational project to systematically compile the sum of all human knowledge.

As to why that is, I'd love to have Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Sabina Spielrein, Jean Piaget, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Rene Girard on hand to help us discuss that question.


Now, seriously, does that really sound like the sort of belief that would entrain the entrails — grab the guts — of these “I Just Wanna Be Pseudonymous Me” con-marks?


Yes it does, Jon. If you like, I'll take the time explain why I see it that way.

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 12:12pm) *

Try again …

Jon dry.gif


I keep getting the same answer.

By way of comparison, what answer do you get, Jon?


More fun, and more edificational, to let a few others take a shot at the Kewpie Doll.

Jon tongue.gif
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Moulton
post Tue 3rd August 2010, 4:55pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 12:42pm) *
QUOTE(Moulton @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 12:28pm) *
I keep getting the same answer.

By way of comparison, what answer do you get, Jon?

More fun, and more edificational, to let a few others take a shot at the Kewpie Doll.

Jon tongue.gif

Let me rephrase the question...

By way of comparison, what answer do you get, Jon?
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thekohser
post Tue 3rd August 2010, 7:48pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 10:52am) *

Once you open your eyes to the presence of the phenomenon, the next couple of questions are:
  • What is the belief that these wannabelievers so desperately wannabelieve?
  • And why?


(1) That a volunteer-generated encyclopedia will be better than all other encyclopedias, and that said encyclopedia will help and empower ordinary people in profound ways.

(2) We live in a world where a very few hold much of the wealth and power. By making a transfer of knowledge management from the restrictive wealthy/powerful minority to the impoverished/weak majority, there will be a more equitable, peaceful, productive global society that emerges.

I honestly believe these are the sorts of answers that Wikipediots would provide to you, Jon. I don't honestly believe in the rationale behind these beliefs.
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Moulton
post Tue 3rd August 2010, 7:49pm
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I still want to know what Jon thinks is the answer to his own question.
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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 4th August 2010, 1:38am
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 3:48pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd August 2010, 10:52am) *

Once you open your eyes to the presence of the phenomenon, the next couple of questions are:
  • What is the belief that these wannabelievers so desperately wannabelieve?
  • And why?
  1. That a volunteer-generated encyclopedia will be better than all other encyclopedias, and that said encyclopedia will help and empower ordinary people in profound ways.
  2. We live in a world where a very few hold much of the wealth and power. By making a transfer of knowledge management from the restrictive wealthy/powerful minority to the impoverished/weak majority, there will be a more equitable, peaceful, productive global society that emerges.
I honestly believe these are the sorts of answers that Wikipediots would provide to you, Jon. I don't honestly believe in the rationale behind these beliefs.


That sounds a bit closer to what a Wikipedim, Wikipedist, or Wikipedyterian might articulate as espoused tenets of belief, but those aren't the forces that drive souls to Wikiperdition. What we need to excavate is buried far deeper and dimmer in the psyche than the brands of fully conscious, semi-rational beliefs that a person might be capable of stating in so many words, since by those words the beliefs in question are made more available to critical reflection. (Not always, of course — with too many reps they can become mantras.)

Try starting from Alexander Bain's definition of “belief” — expressed in gender-neutral terms as “That On Which A Person Is Prepared To Act” (TOWAPIPTA) — and think about the complex of largely unexamined beliefs that would lead a person to fall for the usual run of "bank examiner", "found money", "pigeon drop", or "unclaimed inheritance" scams.

Jon Awbrey
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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 4th August 2010, 12:48pm
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Just by way of trying to figure out what happened here (cont.) …Dramatis personæ
  • AK = Athina Karatzogianni
  • JA = Jon Awbrey
  • JB = Juliana Brunello
  • MO = Mathieu ONeil
  • NT = Nathaniel Tkacz
  • SF = Seth Finkelstein
  • TK = Thomas Koenig
Another fiber of the thread raveled out as follows —
  1. Jon Awbrey
    QUOTE

    Ye Who Would Be C In Thy POV,

    Wikipedia's cabalism, cultishness, groupthinkitude, whatever you want to call it, is very real, and Vaknin's article describes it quite accurately. I frankly wish we could be discussing the future of knowledge work on the Web, relative to which Wikipedia furnishes a wealth of data about how badly a naive idea can can wrong, but other people keep bringing it up, so those who know are forced to say what they know.

    This is of course a hoary old topic at The Wikipedia Review. I once began a "meta-thread" in the Meta-Discussion Forum to collect various reflections on the subject. It appears to be something of a dead horse over there, but here it is, FWIW:

    Meta-Thread On Cult Dynamics

    I am slightly incited to resuscitate the jockey if not the horse.

  2. Juliana Brunello
    QUOTE

    I believe that the word 'cult' works more as a catchy title than a real concept. What I find important in this discussion is that it all points out to a disfunction in the WP community, and this, I believe, is worth analyzing.

  3. Thomas Koenig
    QUOTE

    In my view, the two single most important problems of Wikipedia are:
    1. Path dependency and lack of diversity: Those people, who sit at the most important power positions tend to belong to a very distinct group of people, rather than a random sample of the population: people with affinities to computing technologies, men rather than women, white rather than minority, young rather than old, not the best educated, etc.: They sit there, plainly, because they came first, which ties neatly into
    2. The iron law of oligarchy: There is a inner circle of people, who holds far too much power: Rather than keeping Wikipedia as a self-regulatory system with flat hierarchies, all sorts of rank distinctions, both informal and formal have been introduced. That doesn't even work with the original (far too simplistic) ideology dreamt up by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in the big shadow of Ayn Rand, who is hardly one of the most respected philosophers of science.
    What is worse, those people most interested in climbing up the Wikipedia hierarchy are to some extent the least qualified for it: These are the people, who usually could not climb up any hierarchies other than the Wikipedia ones. Now, we may thing the educational system works poorly, but frankly, not as poorly that being a drop-out from the system necessarily means, you did a good job.

  4. Jon Awbrey
    QUOTE

    The topic of "dysfunction" is another one with a long record of discussion at The Wikipedia Review. The first thing to know about dysfunction is that it is relative to a function, that is, a goal, ideal, objective, purpose, or value.

    That brings us to the issue of "espoused values" versus "actual values", as emphasized, for instance, by systems thinkers like Argyris and Schön. One of the first questions to ask about a group project like Wikipedia is whether the values that are "actually" actualized by it are consistent with the values that group members are constantly espousing. When we see a wide divergence between the two, as most long-term observe in Wikipedia, we have the task of explaining that difference. The complex of activities associated with Wikipedia may be perfectly functional with respect to certain goals — the fact that these activities persist in spite of every attempt to modify them should give us a clue — the question is, "What are those goals?"

  5. Athina Karatzogianni
    QUOTE

    Regarding the cabal, cult etc, I have used the term cryptohierarchies (like a true Greek) to describe leadership emergence of this style, in this article with George Michaelides, “Cyberconflict at the Edge of Chaos : Cryptohierarchies and Self-Organisation in the Open-Source Movement”. It is a strange paper admittedly, but if anyone is interested I can email you an electronic copy.

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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 6th August 2010, 3:06am
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Just by way of trying to figure out what happened here (cont.) …Dramatis personæ
  • AK = Athina Karatzogianni
  • AS = Alan Shapiro
  • GK = Gregory Kohs
  • JA = Jon Awbrey
  • JB = Juliana Brunello
  • MO = Mathieu ONeil
  • NT = Nathaniel Tkacz
  • SF = Seth Finkelstein
  • TK = Thomas Koenig
The remainder of discussion in June on the topic of “The Wikipedia Cult” proceeded as follows —
  1. Gregory Kohs
    QUOTE

    I disagree with the notion that "only a very small minority of people are critical of wikipedia and most think it's great (regardless of what you or i think)" [NT].

    This video — www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaADQTeZRCY — has nearly a million views on YouTube, not to mention how many views took place on the original CollegeHumor.com website and other cross-publishing sites and blogs. If the inanity of Wikipedia is so tangible and accessible for average people that a dramatic/humor production could take the time and effort to make what is obviously a popular meme actually FUNNY, then you know that society at large may think Wikipedia "is great", but simultaneously "laughable". The phrase "Professor Wikipedia" returns over 60,000 results on Google. The phrase "Wikipedia is a joke" returns over 41,000 hits; meanwhile, "Wikipedia is reliable" garners fewer than 4,000 results. A 2-to-1 ratio favors "Wikipedia is wrong" versus "Wikipedia is right" on Google.

    I think most people have a viewpoint on Scientology that it is a rather laughable institution and/or belief system. However, they gladly support (with money!) and "think great" the movies and musical output of famous Scientologists (John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Rob Thomas, Beck, etc.). I think Wikipedia is viewed in a similar light — it's the butt of jokes, but if you set aside that you're not going to go to Wikipedia for final guidance on heart surgery or for instructions on how to build a house, it can be an amusing and engaging source of free information that (you know in your heart) probably has a 5% chance at any given moment of being quite wrong.

    As for it being a "cult"? Maybe so, maybe not … depending on your terms, and whether you're talking about the user, the author, the governing board, or the True Believers. Is this person a cultist or a humorist:

    www.flickr.com/photos/nojhan/1453862379/

    Who knows?

  2. Alan Shapiro
    QUOTE

    I think that it's sad that so much of this discussion seems to come down to a binary opposition of either one is critical of Wikipedia or one thinks that it's great. Why is it so difficult to have a balanced view? My view is both critical and enthusiastic. There's a lot to criticize and also a lot of valuable work that has been done there. I know some very intelligent people who are contributing to Wikipedia articles.

  3. Jon Awbrey
    QUOTE

    What binary opposition?

    I know some very intelligent people who contributed excellent content to Wikipedia articles, and some of them are still trying to do so, and yet they are many of the strongest critics of Wikipedian practices.

    I think the purpose of criticism is a bit more nuanced than that, and it has more to do with the system of practices that is being inculcated in impressionable minds than the mere content of pages.

  4. Alan Shapiro
    QUOTE

    Well, that's a very intelligent and balanced statement (except for the first three words, which are themselves a binary opposition, you're taking the position that there is absolutely no truth in what I am saying?). I applaud this statement. It is much more reasonable than most of the assertions in the recent avalanche of declarations coming on this listserv.

    My statement was not directly at you personally.

  5. Jon Awbrey
    QUOTE

    The Wikipedia Cult / Focal Problem / Banning

    QUOTE(Alan Shapiro @ 03 Jun 2010 CEST 19:50)

    Well, that's a very intelligent and balanced statement (except for the first three words, which are themselves a binary opposition, you're taking the position that there is absolutely no truth in what I am saying?). I applaud this statement. It is much more reasonable than most of the assertions in the recent avalanche of declarations coming on this listserv. My statement was not directly at you personally.


    Being a Peircean pragmatic thinker, by virtue or maybe by dint of long-continuing auto-inculcation, I can't help coloring outside the lines of dyadic thinking for very long, so let me let that business pass.

    One of the lessons that my teachers pounded into my head over many long years of alio-inculcation was that education and inquiry have as much to do with process as product, as much to do with conduct as content.

    Wikipedia, just to take up the current example, begins to look like a very different proposition when we start to examine the reality of practice that prevails in its orbit.

    Maybe it would help to focus, one by one, on particular practices that distinguish Wikipedia Culture from other systems that we know?

    One practice that is very symptomatic of cults, dogmatic organizations, faith-oriented groups, religions, sects, whatever you want to call them, is the practice of banning, shunning, or excommunicating onetime members of the group, members who were once considered “good faith” participants.

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Jon Awbrey
post Sat 7th August 2010, 3:58pm
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Just by way of trying to figure out what happened here (cont.) …July was a month that found me on the road and in the air more often than e-scounced in my e.z.chair@home, but I did make an effort to continue my examination of distinctive practices that Wikipedologists, willy-nilly, share with notable cults of history.
  • Jon Awbrey
    QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ 18 Jul 2010 CEST 17:25)

    The Wikipedia Cult / Focal Problem / Banning

    CPOViewers,

    I've been meaning to get back to this exploration of focal problems in Wikipediatrics, but a couple of ongoing family crises have been keeping my wits scattered all over the map …

    The perception that Wikipedism is far more cult-like in its basic character than anything advertised as a knowledge-oriented enterprise ought to be has of course arisen on many occasions, but here is a reminder of the occasion that we came in with this time around:

    QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ 03 Jun 2010 CEST 19:38)

    I know some very intelligent people who contributed excellent content to Wikipedia articles, and some of them are still trying to do so, and yet they are many of the strongest critics of Wikipedian practices.

    I think the purpose of criticism is a bit more nuanced than that, and it has more to do with the system of practices that is being inculcated in impressionable minds than the mere content of pages.


    AS = Alan Shapiro
    JA = Jon Awbrey

    AS: Well, that's a very intelligent and balanced statement (except for the first three words, which are themselves a binary opposition, you're taking the position that there is absolutely no truth in what I am saying?). I applaud this statement. It is much more reasonable than most of the assertions in the recent avalanche of declarations coming on this listserv. …

    JA: Being a Peircean pragmatic thinker, by virtue or maybe by dint of long-continuing auto-inculcation, I can't help coloring outside the lines of dyadic thinking for very long, so let me let that business pass.

    JA: One of the lessons that my teachers pounded into my head over many long years of alio-inculcation was that education and inquiry have as much to do with process as product, as much to do with conduct as content.

    JA: Wikipedia, just to take up the current example, begins to look like a very different proposition when we start to examine the reality of practice that prevails in its orbit.

    JA: Maybe it would help to focus, one by one, on particular practices that distinguish Wikipedia Culture from other systems that we know?

    JA: One practice that is very symptomatic of cults, dogmatic organizations, faith-oriented groups, religions, sects, whatever you want to call them, is the practice of banning, shunning, or excommunicating onetime members of the group, members who were once considered "good faith" participants.

    That brings us to the focal problem of Banning, Shunning, Excommunicating …

    If you look at the amount of time that Wikipedists devote to filtering out inputs from "taboo" or "unclean" sources, you can't help but admit that the practices of banning, blocking, censoring, excommunicating, shunning, and generally plugging their fingers in their ears is one of the most significant features, or bugs, of Wikipedism as a social system.

    The question is — What's that all about?

The rest is hystery, as you know. Critical examination of Wikipedian Culture's cultoid character has become yet another one of those Undiscussables anywhere within the Farce Field of Wikimpedance, and that now includes the CPOV List.

Jon Awbrey
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Jon Awbrey
post Thu 7th October 2010, 4:52pm
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The CultPOV List has been pretty dead ever since Geert Lovink booted Greg Kohs, Seth Finkelstein, and Yours Truly off it last July — for a while there it was largely just a spam magnet for Spanish spam — but there's some pretty funny stuff on it this week:Jon tongue.gif
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thekohser
post Thu 7th October 2010, 8:46pm
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I have to say, that is pretty funny, Jon. That they think it's "pretty good, overall" that "about half" of new media enthusiasts have substantial trouble with Wikipedia... is quite rich.
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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 8th October 2010, 2:50am
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Thu 7th October 2010, 4:46pm) *

I have to say, that is pretty funny, Jon. That they think it's "pretty good, overall" that "about half" of new media enthusiasts have substantial trouble with Wikipedia … is quite rich.


My favorite —

QUOTE(Geert Lovink @ 06 Oct 2010 CEST 16:43)

Out of the 55 or so students only 2 or 3 had ever edited a Wikipedia page. Mind you, these are new media students … they do not have technical issues. After a training session it was relatively easy for them to figure out how to create a new entry, the formatting etc. Despite some frustrating experiences the overall response was positive.

I am always surprised how few young people contribute to Wikipedia. They all use it, but it doesn't cross their mind to change or add something. Why is that? Same with most academics. They complain a lot about Wikipedia but we never take up the initiave [sic] to make that small step to edit an entry. I would say, this is due to culture. I believe that changing (and creating) Wikipedia entries should be part of every school cirriculum [sic]. Not all these changes will remain. But that's not the point.

The actual percentage of students that will continue to add to Wikipedia will be quite low. Maybe 10%?

The Ortega curve, if I may call it like that, should be of great concern for us all. The initial response of the Wikimedia Foundation and some individual Wikipedians to the stagnation of editor numbers etc. was one of initial denial. Maybe understandable but not very clever on the long run. The inclusion of Wikipedia in courses like these is one of possibly many ways to break out of the current threat of social closure.

Geert Lovink, CPOV List, 06 Oct 2010


“The inclusion of Wikipedia in courses like these is one of possibly many ways to break out of the current threat of social closure.”

That is what passes for Kritik Der Reinen Stierscheiße on the Euro Scene — How to get more of the Widdle Baby Bees to imbibe more Koolaid Nectar.

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thekohser
post Fri 8th October 2010, 3:53am
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By the way, most of these kids are making their new articles on the Dutch Wikipedia, which we know doesn't really count.

One kid who has published a near-non-notable article in the English Wikipedia seems to have caught on:

QUOTE
One of the reasons I can think of is that this niche entry has little interested readers. Not a lot of people know about this term so revisions should be quite rare. I did put a reference to post-demographics in the first paragraph of the much busier demographics-entry, because it, well, belongs there and also hopefully to give my entry some more readers. It states in the demographics-entry:

“Another form of demographics is post-demographics, originally a way to study the data retrieved from social networking sites, but also very applicable to integrate with marketing theories.”

The last part of that sentence, that it is very applicable with marketing theories is my own opinion. Yes, my opinion on Wikipedia. Still there.


He posted his original research smack in the middle of the lede paragraph of a big article that gets over 4,000 page views per day. I might need to hire this guy for some paid editing work.

This post has been edited by thekohser: Fri 8th October 2010, 4:02am
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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 1st December 2010, 5:26am
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Okay, that cuts it …

There's some stuff I was keeping quiet about,
and it's too late to haul it out tonight,
but come the morn —

CPOVLEAKS …

Jon angry.gif
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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 1st December 2010, 5:48am
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QUOTE(Nate Tkacz @ 17 Oct 2010)

Subj: cpov reader
From: nathaniel tkacz <tkaczn@...>
To: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@...>
Date: 10/17/2010 9:29 PM

Hello Jon,

As you may know, we are currently working on a CPOV book, based on the three events we have held and on discussions from the list. As a "controversial" figure in relation to Wikipedia and to a lesser extent CPOV itself, we would like to ask you to contribute to the reader. It is obvious that you have a range of critical material about Wikipedia already and you could simply compile and edit the best of these into one piece. Alternatively, or in addition, you could map out the various online spaces for critical commentary about Wikipedia, such as the Wikipedia Review, and perhaps why and how they came about. If you are interested I will send you more details.

Best

Nate Tkacz

School of Culture and Communication
University of Melbourne

Twitter: http://twitter.com/__nate__
Homepage: www.nathanieltkacz.net
Current project: http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/cpov/about-2/

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Jon Awbrey
post Wed 1st December 2010, 6:04am
Post #78


τὰ δέ μοι παθήματα μαθήματα γέγονε
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ 19 Oct 2010)

Subj: cpov reader
From: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@...>
To: nathaniel tkacz <tkaczn@...>
Cc: Gregory Kohs, Seth Finkelstein
Date: 10/19/2010 10:02 AM

Hi Nate,

As you may or may not know, Geert, et al. summarily banned Greg Kohs, Seth Finkelstein, and myself from the so-called "Critical" POV List, so I can hardly be expected to take their pretensions seriously any longer. I had been cautiously optimistic up to that point and had even devoted a thread on The Wikipedia Review to covering the Institute and the List -- naturally the character of our critique was affected by that highly non-open action:

wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=28881&view=findpost&p=244574

If you wish to discuss the situation further, I would invite you to participate there.

Sincerely yours,

Jon Awbrey

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thekohser
post Wed 1st December 2010, 3:09pm
Post #79


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So, we're good enough to provide free content for their book-for-sale, but not good enough to generate life and vitality on their mailing list.

I think I see a pattern here.
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thekohser
post Wed 1st December 2010, 5:58pm
Post #80


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I wonder... is three posts per month a "healthy" level of activity on a mailing list?
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