Drawing seems to capture the feeling of the hackcenter at the Chaos Communications Congress, for better or for worse:
Audience versus participation
So, let me put this feeling down into words while it's still there. The feeling is one of apprehension at the existence as well as the presentation of follow/like information in the pump clients (pumpa and the web interface, though AFAIK every client presents those). To me it is scary how the like/follow interactions overlay (if not impose) a performer/audience relationship with others in the medium, at different levels even. First, the verbs themselves imply such a passive relationship. Second, the clients make sure you can't miss those events (though presenting them by default is problematic enough). Third, 'follow' relationships seem mandatory to interact with someone ('seem' being the operative word here; whether I could work around that is irrelevant).
Interacting by means of 'like' and actions seems to have had its own meme in the 90s:
The Jargon File (though known for some its completely unattestable words) lists AOL as meaning "me too!", from the propensity of users of the old AOL ISP to make contentless "me-too" posts. I was trying to attest this from Usenet, since I believe I have seen it before, but it's a tricky search -- Equinox (from https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Talk:AOL)
(obviously I have the same reservations about ESR (or others) having fabricated this and the celebration of elitism such a meme would imply).
Offering (encouraging) a mode of interaction where one is reduced to a member of a crowd, where only their cheers might be heard (booing being prohibited as it goes against the popularity contest message or "makes it easy to game the system", if I'm paraphrasing claims from proprietary "social networks" correctly) looks transparently manipulative in my first attempt at participation in this medium. Of course, it is quite pervasive even when one is a lurker or simply a visitor of websites offering 'like'-style links, so this will fade quickly.
Yes, people try to game this system in a number of ways. To my mind, this kind of awareness does not for a moment imply they question their acceptance of it (not saying there's any correlation or anticorrelation here; I don't believe there is).
Yes, there can be active participation in discussions with minimal use of like/follow. That argument can be used to exhonerate any medium of discussion however and, the way I have seen it being phrased, seems like naive victim blaming to boot.
I expect AI approaches will obsolete like and follow actions for measuring interest and engagement (obviously, metadata is a much more accurate indicator than people's statements). Not sure about the utility of the interface as means of infusing passivity though. Currently, I don't see any reason why it would go away.
I know I'm not breaking any new ground here. This was just setting the context to ask for the opinion of more experienced users of this kind of media that might be better informed.
If you read this and use the 'Like' button often or if you have co-developed any of the clients mentioned, please don't take it as personal criticism :) In fact, my thanks if you have done any of the latter!
 If they haven't fully done so already in the proprietary silos. My presumption is that they have.Show all 14 replies
mlinksva, putting the involuntary aspect of requiring (or defaulting to) symmetric relationships in a FDSW aside for a bit. Assuming that would skew the distribution to be less top-heavy, there's the issue of how that would affect behavior. Were it (practically, b/c of client conspiracy) compulsory to be getting (probably a sampling of) audience feedback, would that significantly change the performer/audience relationship between hub people and "followers"? No first hand experience, but I can't imagine the best case would be substantially different than stand-up comedian and live crowd. But perhaps I'm missing your point altogether.
FWIW I know of an early ISP in the US which was started by highly technical people who wrote a lot of new software to offer services, but is probably an outlier even in my non-representative anecdotal dataset. However, I think my argument for portals in the mid to late 90s applies a forteriori to ISPs. So, to the degree that it's convincing (and it probably isn't all that convincing), it should supercede any business-centric interpretations.
mlinksva, no opinion on Nonviolent Communication yet (first time I've taken notice). Largely in agreement with the other points you make.
Re: the first point, I'm curious which modes of communication/production you see as being in most need of acquiring more of a wikinature. The prime candidate that comes to mind ATM are political commentary fora. The question also forces me to think about the cultural spread and origin of this "weird combination of moral duty and appeal to authority" (very nicely put). I.e. I wonder to what degree the moral duty part spans cultures and when it originated (mostly in the context of works of opinion, if you'll excuse this kind of categorization).
Occasionally I've toyed with the idea that the "extremist" license position of "you do not have to preserve visible attribution, but you lose license if you falsely claim authorship of this work" has some merit (non-visible attribution being a practical issue serving purposes akin to the DCO). But it doesn't seem something worth investigating in the current historical context.@apry which modes most in need of wikinature? Tough question; what counts as a mode and is the need external or internal? My throwaway answer to that sort of question is film and pharma, because they are the commanding heights. Communication which is supposed to increase human knowledge, ie scientific or academic, is a more serious answer. It seems there's a need (but not internally on the micro level, researchers and many others are set in their ways) for more summary, more linking, more figuring out whether some bit is a contribution, rather than ticking off a feather in cap of particular persons and entities. This is why I tend to be enthusiastic about the currently tiny interface between scientific communication and wikis, eg 1 2.
The obvious place to look is the history of "moral rights" but I don't know if that's the best place. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights doesn't even have a history section, but it does have a hilarious "see also" note: "Vanity, the possible philosophical basis of moral rights." If the section existed it would doubtless mention romanticism and Hugo in particular.
I guess that would be kind of an No Copyfraud license, copyfraud more broadly interpreted than just removing stuff from public domain. Sort of the reverse of "Reverse Bastard Copyleft" which I recall intends to only allow distribution if licensee takes full credit.
2011-01-15T18:35:47+00:00 via web To: Publictesting