nettime mod squad on Fri, 7 Jun 2019 16:45:27 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Nettime is in bad shape. Let's see if we can change it.

Nettime is in bad shape, don't you think?

It has still a lot of goodwill, and more generally there's renewed
interest in formats of exchange and collective thinking that
aren't defined by the logic of social media. But the dynamics that
social media companies exploit are hardly limited to a handful of
platforms. For example, nettime has its own 'influencers' -- a 1%,
so to speak -- who generate the vast majority of list traffic.
That's been true for years. The discussions they sustain may
variously seem interesting or annoying, but either way they've
become somewhat formulaic. An attentive reader knows more or less
what to expect based solely the subject and the sender; and even
meta-discussions about whether the list is dominated or by this or
that tendency are largely dominated by the same few people.

Some might argue the debates that have animated nettime over the
last year -- the trajectories of postwar society, neoliberalism,
the 'digital,' complexity, surveillance and big tech, Brexit,
media and elections, Assange, even the Anthropocene in all its
terrifying inclusiveness -- are the defining issues of the day.
Maybe so. But if the nettime project had settled for a consensus
model of the defining issues of the mid-'90s, it would never have
gotten off the ground, and it certainly wouldn't exist almost 25
years later. The challenge, we think, is to maintain a space that
attracts ill-defined ideas and uncertain issues -- things and
not-things that don't quite exist yet and yet haven't been buried
under torrents of authority and theory.

So, what can we do?

In the past, we've asked people to think about outreach -- say,
inviting new people from new contexts. It seems like that's had
limited success; but at a time when nettime has been limping
along, it's hard to get excited about inviting people to join an
environment so heavily defined by habit. We've also joked that
shutting it down before it fades into complete senescence might be
best. But that joke wasn't really funny, in part because it wasn't
meant to be: it was a way of expressing serious concerns about the
list's increasingly parochial status.

Now, we have a simple proposal: let's switch roles.

It goes like this:

If you've posted more than others to the list in the last 60 or 90
or 120 or 180 days -- the math matters less than the spirit -- take
a break. Let others define nettime, a space made up of nearly 5000

If you haven't posted to the list -- say, because it seemed like
your ideas, concerns, or whatever you want to share wouldn't fit
with nettime's habits -- maybe that will change.

Think of it as an un-grand experiment: a way to see what else
might happen, who else might speak, what less familiar ideas,
perspectives, or styles might spring up. Maybe the list will fade
into silence, and we'll be left with a paradoxical object, a list
composed *entirely* of lurkers -- not such a bad non-end for
nettime. Or maybe not. There might be many ways to find out. For
now, rather than the 1% debating how narrowly to define good
manners, let's see if a different 'we' can change things.

-- the mod squad (Ted and Felix)

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