Felix Stalder on Fri, 9 Jun 2006 14:20:04 +0200 (CEST)

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RE: <nettime> nettime as idea

Hi everyone,

sorry for my previous post, it went out without being finished. What  
I wanted to say was that many of the themes that critical net.culture 
talked about 10 years ago are now mainstream. They are now playing    
themselves out on a scale far beyond 'net.culture', indeed, they have 
become culture, without any pre-fix.                                  

If that amounts to winning or losing is besides the point. In some
ways, it reminds me a bit of the 1968 movements which also transformed
daily life (at least in the West), but as the world around them
shifted, with consequences very different from what they intended.
Again, if they lost or won, is does not really matter. The world is a
different place now.

For most of the actors of the early net.culture, this meant either
late professionalizing or early retirement. Nettime as a project did
not so much professionalize as specialize. It exchanged scope for
focus which has moved it a bit closer to academic culture, which is
also characterized by that trade-off. But anyone who really knows
academia, and the texts it produces (which I personally appreciate),
will also recognize how far nettime still is from that. Its scope
broader, its style sharper.

Caroline Nevejan <nevejan@xs4all.nl>:
> Critiqing others for having done 'stuff', aging and moving on in  
> life, I find rather uninteresting. I get interested when I hear what  
> you like to do yourself.

I agree, on many levels, nettime works quite well, so there is not an
urgent need to change something. But, this does not mean it cannot be
improved. Sure it can. But to do that, we need concrete ideas, what
would you, personally, individually, like to see in nettime, and how
do you put up the resources to do it? The easiest thing is to do it
yourself. Silvan Zurbueck did that when he wanted an rss feed for
nettime, he took the feed, pumped into a blog, and now there is an rss
feed. [1] Tobias van Veen did that when he wanted to hold a nettime
meeting in NA, and now we had it. Great. They had an idea, they
figured out a way of doing it (by doing it themselves and roping in
others to contribute). This is how things work, not by telling others
what they should or should not do. The same goes for the various
nettime lists in other languages. People came up with the idea of
doing something, and they are doing it. Most of the people on this
list are not aware of that, because these lists are in languages few
of us speak.

[1] http://nettime.freeflux.net, http://nettime-ann.freeflux.net/

Andreas Broeckmann <abroeck@transmediale.de>:
> finally, if you are unhappy with the list, be aware that 'the list',
> i.e. nettime, is what gets posted. of course, moderation plays a
> role in this. but the greater role is played by the things that get
> written and sent, or not. if certain discussions are not happening,
> it is because people are not writing their opinions.

Again, I agree. Moderation is a non-issue, a red-herring. Even if     
the technical set-up of an email list (conceived at a time when       
ICT had much less social intelligence built in that it as at times    
today) lends itself to believing the otherwise. And it's not that Ted 
and I are turning away the masses who want to do his kind of work.    
In fact, nobody ever volunteers. N0b0dy, that's with two zeros. We    
occasionally ask people who are contributing interesting material to  
the list if they want to moderate, and the answer has always been     
'Thank you for asking, but I really do not have the time.'            

There is one exception. Nettime-ann. Here, four people -- Mason       
Dixon, Tulpje Tulp, Tsila Hassine, and Hannah Davenport -- responded  
to an open call what to do with the announcements, and are now        
running this as their own project, connected to the main list by      
name and lose but friendly cooperation. They are doing a great, if    
unglamorous, job.                                                     

Over the years, we experimented with various set-ups, most importantly
dividing the list into two feeds, the standard moderated one and an
non-moderated one, called nettime-bold. The interested in the second
channel was small from the beginning, and waned entirely shortly
after. The levels of spam and self-promotion seem to be tiring for
everyone but the self-promoters. After we had to start manually
removing posts from the nettime-bold archive, because people entirely
unrelated to the list were accused -- with their names and telephone
numbers -- of being pedophiles and sent us harrowing stories how this
ruined their lives, because googling their names brought up these
posts (google loves nettime and ranks its posts often very high up) we
decided that this was not the resource we wanted to provide. When we
shut-down the list, nobody seemed to notice.

So, if anyone feels like moderating -- near daily work, over a long period
of time -- and knows how to use an email program on a unix shell
(perferably mutt), please step forward. If you like to do that kind of
work, it's actually rewarding, and, depending on your frame of reference, a
meaningful contribution to the progress of humanity.


----http://felix.openflows.org------------------------------ out now:
*|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Polity, 2006 
*|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed. Futura/Revolver, 2005 

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