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Re: <nettime> nottime: the end of nettime
t byfield on Thu, 2 Apr 2015 18:56:26 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> nottime: the end of nettime


Felix and I didn't plan any particular follow-up to the announcement, in part because we didn't know how people would respond.

First, nettime isn't shutting down. I don't even know how we'd do that, or if Felix and I would 'have the right' to do that.

I see moderating nettime as service to -- and these days you have to pay me to use this word -- a community. Not just current subscribers but also others who might benefit from the open constellation of interests and perspectives. But 'service' and 'community' are often laden with dreadful overtones, which I don't mean at all. Moderating is snippets of time scattered across the day, there's nothing especially heroic or monumental about it. I -- it's probably safe to say *we* -- really do appreciate your thanks, but what matters is this: you're very welcome.

Over the years, one of nettime's faults has been a whiff of exclusivity. People would ask if they could post something ('may I?', not 'how can I?'), they assumed membership was 'closed' or by invite only, and so on -- and there's lots of 'lurking plus.' I think this stemmed from how the list was billed as an 'online salon' early on, and the presence of exotic names was exciting -- and also a bit intimidating. These dynamics have faded, but they contributed to a slightly narcissistic quality that's lasted. In some ways that's been good; it probably contributed to the fact that the nettime still exists. But narcissism ages poorly.

The concerns and criticisms Felix and I spoke of in the announcement are real. That's not to say they're all valid -- and several responses made short work of some of them. But the list's reliability is also the quality that would doom it to repetition and irrelevance. It shouldn't try to be on some imaginary 'cutting edge' -- if narcissism ages poorly, vanguardism is even worse. But I do think we can make some organic efforts to care for nettime by nudging in better directions.

I don't want to list off ways we could do that, like 'content' or 'voices' or 'projects' or 'platforms,' because that kind of managerial segmentation *is the problem*. The assumption that meaning -- or maybe what Rene Char called 'legitimate strangeness' -- can be extracted from actual people, like fracking and strip-mining humanity, *is the problem*. So here's a question or, really, an invitation: what can you do to bring nettime closer to people who are very important to you, or vice versa? (Yes, that includes all you ascii-art terrorists and your robo-boolean dividual descendants.)

I liked Armin's suggestion about aging together, and Keith's thoughts about it as well, and David's about doing it in the flesh. Nettime really is turning twenty, so this is a good time to think about what it wants to be when it grows up. Often, describing what we have done is a better way to start than asking what we should do.

Cheers,
T


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