Pit Schultz on Mon, 23 Jun 1997 18:49:47 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> moratorium

[we wrote this textes a couple of days ago, ironically it got
automatically bounced by the robo-filter of the majordomo 
listserv software .pit]

>From pit@contrib.de and geert@xs4all.nl
Subject: after ljubljana

dear nettimers,

here are two letters from me and pit (see below).

Lately it has just been too busy on the nettime channel.
People get into a panic, start unsubscribing, delete material
that they would really like to read (in principle), and generally
feel bad about the whole situation.

A lot has happened recently: first we discussed various topics
like the digital economy, net.art, push media etc. and then all
this came together in the 'content potlatch' for the printed zkp4
newspaper. Then we had our meeting in Ljubljana, which has not
yet been digested properly on the list. Here, in Amsterdam, we
just went through the state of emergency because of the euro
summit (see the reports). Not to forget the piran manifesto and the
following (zero) work discussion. Simultaneously, nettime got engaged
in its first discussion on cyberfeminism, which is causing a
lot of traffic. The Workspace at documenta opened its
doors -- a project that might easily overflow nettime. This should
not happen, of course.

Also, recently many new participants have entered the list.
Some of these people  behave like real newbies, and the rules of the
list have had to be explained many times over. This is completely
normal, but in a situation of heavy traffic, the growing ammount of
mistakes by newcomers has reached the limits of acceptance.

nettime is a content project, a pre-publishing list that is
focussing on 'collaborative text filtering'. Discussion is
a part of this process. This is how nettime has created the so-called
'threads'. But nettime is not a newsgroup where we are all
posting our small and transient opinions. So, we are now working on
solutions for this (see pit's text below).

Pit and I could NOW switch on the moderation mode. That's
the easy and radical solution.

However, I would propose to have a small moratorium -- only five
postings a day. If the traffic is still too much, we
will have to re-think it. Five substantial postings a day is the average
number people most likely find acceptable. If nettime goes over this
amount of postings, PLEASE do not send anymore material. Let's keep
nettime open! Think twice!



dear nettimers,

in Ljubljana we already talked about the questions of change,
growth, institutionalisation and the art of dis-investment on
or of this mailinglist. there were also the calm critique of
the authority of the moderators and their secret techniques of
policing and control and that's exactly what i try to do now.

i think it's all about trust. we do not invest into money but
into a network of relationships which build up a web of
contexts for generating 'content', satisfaction, desire for
more. it is about attention, which you better not abuse
because the next time people won't listen anymore. everyone
who invests into such an 'economy' has to know why. at this
moment it seems that some do not know any more.

instead, it is so simple, that every newsreader software has
an inbuild function for it, a reminder. it normally says:

      before you post to the public: think again.

we exceeded now the 500 members but this is no cause for
a big HURRAAH! instead i have to play the nasty pool manager:

"bad children, bad, don't jump on other people's heads and don't
piss into the water." or, to use another metaphor, if you drink
to much and begin to vomit onto the floor, you better don't do
it in this pub. if you begin to harass other guests you will
get helped to go and not come again. this is bad news for all
of you who just love to talk to 500 people with a hit of a button.

*nettime is not a dialogue list* it would not work as a dialogue
list. it is no side canyon of the Grand Conversation. it has even
not much intimacy any more which is a big pity. if old members cannot
teach the new ones, mails like this one seem to
get unavoidable. on this list you need some sensitivity for
multiple contexts and some time and will to invest into its
gift economy. if you don't care about it you better go.

for dialogue, chat, talk and intimacy we have a diversity of
different tools on the net. nettime has even its own newsgroup:

news://news.thing.at/alt.nettime  or
http://www.dejanews.com  and search for alt.nettime

it seems that we have to face a bottleneck of social bandwidth,
a desperate desire for more attention and a loss of sensitivity
for who's behind all these electronic adresses.

i still do hesitate to switch over to moderate mode even if this
tendency is not changing. one 'bad' message denotates and
devalues all others around. but who decides what's bad. luckily
we had not the selfreferential textual masturbation orgies
for which other groups are so well known. but we can debate
about a categorian imperative, about emergent stupidity, about
father complex and god complex, about radical democracy or the
ethics of email. finally nettime will be not the place to 'chat'
about such topics. you can start another list. instead longer
texts or at least texts which show a certain intensity of thought
are what brought the list to where it is. instead of policing you
in an oldfashioned way or play the anti-authoritarian teacher who
feels so guilty to punish his pupils, i believe for the future in
'tools not rules'.

soon we will have 12 different newsgroups under 12 different issues
moderated by 12 different groups on the workspace server. it is still
in an experimental phase but it will give you the needed space for
spontanous, quick hit and run dialogue, a different style of
discourse in a higher diversity of channels. the forced unification
of modes of expression which you have in nettime is maybe not the
only possible solution.

over the next 100 days we will also refine and update the
software behind the online part of hybrid workspace. there
will also be a 'free groupware' meeting at Hacking In Progress.
Mieg who did the nettime archive at http://www.factory.org/nettime
thinks about adding an IRC option to have a chat while you are
fishing for documents. We invite you to take part in the
cc:-conversation about the technical future of nettime if you
believe you have to add something to it.

this is also an answer to Heath Buntings subjective and precise
interview, we have to face that we are not the little family
any more,there is more anonymity, less social context, and more
insensitivity as a direct result of social scale. we have to
develope the question of scale and the architecture of our
own small media.

think about it before you post your next message...

have a nice day


ps. ok, some nono-rules of thumb: no private dialogue, no chain
letters, no commercial advertisment, no atachements, no
announcents of small local events, no flame wars, no racism,
sexism, fascism.

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