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The Art of the Diva Quit

by Hersch

There are many reasons why a person will spend most of his or her waking hours online. For those who are drawn inexorably into the great teeming ant-farm of Web 2.0 (T–H–L), there is the prospect of gaining approval from the digital masses for one’s incomparable wit, deep insights and incisive snark, without the downside of having to make actual personal contact. In fact, for those who deeply feel that they have no life, Web 2.0 offers the additional allure of being able to create one or more personas de novo, and then bask in the admiration that they receive from their online brethren.

For the standard social networking sites such as Facebook, approval comes in the form of “likes” for posted comments and images, as well as the deeper, more meaningful process of becoming “friends.” But at Wikipedia, with its pronounced element of MMORPGism, the system is more complex. Wikipedians have no permanent “friends,” only permanent interests. Control of article content is always paramount, because he who controls article content, wins. But because article content is dictated by “consensus,” one must have allies. Allies can help the contestant to game the consensus, and may rally to his defense against all sorts of counterattacks, including being hauled before the Drama Boards, as well as the inevitable accusations of sockpuppetry.

Therefore, cultivation of one’s allies is of crucial importance. It is generally a marriage of convenience; one’s allies seldom share one’s precise bias matrix, and for favors granted in WikiWarfare, one must mind the quid pro quo. The danger always exists that one’s allies may drift away and be less than fully attentive to one’s needs; after all, they have their own POVs to push. It is important to find ways to consolidate their support so that it is

…continue reading The Art of the Diva Quit

Open Source vs. “Free Culture”: a colloquy

The following exchanges were culled from a recent, interesting series of threads at the Wikipediocracy Forum.


Peter Damian:

Sometimes the way you describe a thing can be a more powerful comment on it, than any actual comment. The tech industry talks about ‘Web 2.0’, which sounds incredible and futuristic and technologically advanced, as well as ‘cool’ and modern. But let’s call it what it really is, namely ‘The Exploitation Economy’.

Similarly, ‘user-generated culture’ should be ‘DIY culture’. And don’t talk about the tech industry, or Google or YouTube, call it ‘The Content Theft Industry’. The Berkman Centre and other academic institutions funded by the Content Theft Industry are really “The Pirate Propaganda Machine” or “Thieves posing as revolutionaries”. Blogs and other media such as Slashdot and the rest, which support thieves and their enablers, should be called “The Anti-Copyright Press” or “Digital parasites”. Their political lobbying machine is “The U.S. Pirate Party”. What should we call Wikipedia? The DIY encyclopedia posing as a Pirate Propaganda Machine? Mixed in with a bit of Exploitation Economy?

…And of course “opensource” is a software concept, whereas ‘free culture’ is about, well, culture. I can see how opensource works for software, because it’s useful to adapt someone else’s code to do stuff that the original code wouldn’t. That’s why RMS got mad when he found that the guy wouldn’t share the Xerox printer code. Or rather, he got mad because the guy had promised not to give the code away. He had ‘betrayed the whole world’.

It’s somewhat different with culture because, while certain ideas and themes are shared between writers, a writer (and probably an artist) feels that the vision of the whole work is something that they created, and should not be stolen. Art and writing is personal in a

…continue reading Open Source vs. “Free Culture”: a colloquy