<CPOV> [Fwd: Re: Community run or royal decree?]

Jon Awbrey jawbrey at att.net
Fri May 7 14:12:53 CEST 2010

Juliana, Thomas, & All --

I have found that the term "Digital Maoism" is somewhat lost on contemporary audiences,
but whether neglect of history, a lack of World-Hysterical-Consciousness, or a wincing
resistance on account of the fact that "the truth hurts", I'm not sure why.

When it comes to the issue of central committees vs. local autonomy, I think that
a comment I made in ''The Guardian'' way last year is ever more telling and true:

| Wikipedia has shown us that a mass medium can be rendered so plastic and so well-leveraged
| that any part of it can be manipulated by a relatively small number of people, in ways that
| defy a free society's usual means to guard against it, so long as the special interests in
| question have a moderate amount of resources and the will to do so.  If there are portions
| of the content that remain untouched, it is for two reasons only: (1) no one has conceived
| a stake in them yet, (2) virgin forest makes for good cover.
| If you're thinking that Wikipedia is the Latest Thing in Blows Against The Empire,
| then you have a DoubleThink coming.  (JA, Comment in ''The Guardian'', 30 Jan 2009).

Excepted here: http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=16823

Original here:


Jon Awbrey


I gather that the following message was forwarded
by Juliana Brunello (JB) from Thomas Koenig (TK).
Please let me know if I got the attribution tags

Juliana Brunello wrote:
> ---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
> Subject: RE: <CPOV> Community run or royal decree?
> From:    T.Koenig at surrey.ac.uk
> Date:    Tue, May 4, 2010 6:11 pm
> To:      cpov-bounces at listcultures.org
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> JB: An interview with only 11 "chosen" individuals can barely testify to
>>     the fact that WP is more and more decentralized.  Maybe this research
>>     should contain also interviews with individuals like Mr. Kohs in order
>>     to analyze both sides.
TK: I don't think the fact that there were only 11 interviews (from the table
>   in the document, it's not clear, if there were not additional interviews),
>   is the most problematic point. Instead, the fact that almost all interviewees
>   came from the very people, who are firmly rooted in the formal power structure,
>   makes this a problematic study.
>   The studies sets out by claiming:
>   "In order to understand what regulates behavior in Wikipedia, we
>   interviewed individuals who had experienced those regulating influences
>   first hand."
>   But in fact they interviewed those people, who had exercised, not
>   experienced "regulating influences". It's like, as if you would have
>   interviewed in 1960 people from the Soviet nomenclatura, and then
>   concluded that a "decentralization" process is taking place. It's as banal
>   as it is obvious that with the growing complexity of Wikipedia, there is
>   some "decentralization" in the sense that there is differentiation of the
>   social system, but at the same time, hierarchies have become extremely
>   rigid, which is bad, if you follow either Luhmann, or Habermas, or even
>   Popper for that matter. /Digital Maoism/ is becomes more and more an
>   appropriate metaphor for the Wikipedia system, I think.
>   It's also curious, how uncritically the authors adopt Wikipedia lingo,
>   they speak of "consensus", when in fact they are dealing with hegemony in
>   sociological terms.
>   Thomas


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