<CPOV> post-political

Joseph Reagle joseph.2008 at reagle.org
Tue Oct 19 15:23:48 CEST 2010

Nate, I recently enjoyed reading your "Wikipedia and the Politics of Mass Collaboration" and had some thoughts to share.

1. One can certainly find instances of hyperbole with respect to Web 2.0, but I think most scholars appreciate and represent these are not idyllic pastures where harmony reigns. For example, Shirky frequently talks about the merits and demerits of openness, as well as the need to balance such values to take advantage of any shifts that occur from the underlying technology. However, I do like the use of Mouffe's idea of political as those things that are irreducibly and radically different and not amendable to consensus processes. As someone that chaired working groups and taught conflict management, I would like to think there's frequently more room for give-and-take than people initially acknowledge, but some things cannot be decided by consensus even among contributors of good faith, and they must resort some other means. (Arbitration, Wales, voting, etc.).
2. I think it is interesting that you compare Wikipedia relative to Spehr's notion of free cooperation, but at the same time note that probably no working collaboration could conceivably be "free." This also reminded me of efforts to compare various forms of online organization against Habermas' normative ideals -- I don't think anyone assumes that you will ever find an "ideal speech situation" of actual substance. 
3. Finally, I appreciate your point that we shouldn't assume Wikipedia is post-political, but what next? Do we need to then examine the values that are brought to bear in discussions about and within Wikipedia?

Joseph Reagle                    http://reagle.org/joseph/
(Perhaps using speech recognition, sorry for any speakos.)

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