Rhizome needs to drop its membership fee and free its content

Posted by MTAA | Tue May 18th 2004 3:55 p.m.

Rhizome needs to drop its membership fee and free its content

During the debate regarding Rhizome's membership fee I was very vocal
in my support of the idea. The argument went like this: an obligatory
membership fee for Rhizome is better than no Rhizome at all. I was sure
that if the fee wasn't implemented then Rhizome as we know it would
cease to exist. There would be no more lists, no more ArtBase, and no
more web site.

But what I failed to understand is that the fee basically caused
Rhizome to cease to exist. As the founders and current directors of
Rhizome know well, to exist on the network you need to be linked. I am
hyper-referenced therefor I am. Rhizome's membership fee effectively
shuts down links to articles and artwork on Rhizome's web site.

I know, it's free on friday. But if I want to link to a Rhizome post or
artwork, am I to attach a disclaimer? "This link only functions on
Fridays."

I know, first time's free. But what if I have visitors to my site who
follow the links to Rhizome regularly? They get shut out.

Why should Rhizome care? Since I can't trust links will resolve to the
article or the artwork they point too, I simply don't link to Rhizome.
I didn't mean this to happen, it just started happening. I can't help
but think that other people must feel the same way.

These days newer on-line publishing technologies like weblogs, (RSS,
RDF, Atom) feeds, and link aggregators (like del.icio.us) are
connecting people to information in very exciting ways but I have a
feeling that Rhizome is being left out and left behind. How many blogs
link to Rhizome articles and artworks? Probably not many, blog authors
know the value of freely linking across the web; Rhizome stops them at
the door.

Being locked up behind the membership fee leads to a degradation in the
content on Rhizome. We could argue whether it's happening or not -- I'm
not sure it's happening myself -- but I'm sure it's going to happen and
I'll tell you why. Folks don't want to post to closed forums. If they
want their articles read or their artwork looked at they want to be
linked far and wide. Sure they might drop a post on Rhizome (if they're
a member) and a few other places. If the other places are free, guess
where the links will go? Not to Rhizome. So at best you'll get
duplicate content on Rhizome which is harder to find. Since not as many
people are finding Rhizome, membership might start to drop. Since
membership is dropping even fewer articles are posted; a very bad
downward cycle could start.

Rhizome needs to drop the fee, find new ways to connect with new
audiences -- an XML feed of the Rhiz list posts would be a good start
-- and then work on ways to get these new audiences to donate
voluntarily.

Perhaps it was an emergency at the time the fee curtain came down. I
hope it's over and Rhizome finds a way to free their content.

I really want to link Rhizome.

===
<twhid>http://www.mteww.com</twhid>
===
  • MTAA | Tue May 18th 2004 3:59 p.m.
    oops,

    forgot to provide a link:

    http://www.mteww.com/mtaaRR/news/twhid/free_rhiz.html

    ===
    <twhid>http://www.mteww.com</twhid>
    ===
  • Mac McKean | Tue May 18th 2004 4:23 p.m.
    I agree. Very few content sites survive for long by charging for their content and those sites are all financial sites like WSJ and TheStreet.com, not art sites. Rhizome could keep the membership fee--only members can upload artworks and view Opportunities. And it could ask for donations, via PayPal, etc.

    However, all content should be free. And linked, blogged, RSS-fed, spread far and wide. This will probably result in an increase in members, I suspect, not a decrease, as the site goes from being a club of faithful to a public resource.

    Perhaps there could be a Rhizome store if more money is needed. Sell netart trinkets, t-shirts, whatever. But the content = free...

    t.whid wrote:

    > oops,
    >
    > forgot to provide a link:
    >
    > http://www.mteww.com/mtaaRR/news/twhid/free_rhiz.html
    >
    >
    >
    > ===
    > <twhid>http://www.mteww.com</twhid>
    > ===
    >
  • Geert Dekkers | Tue May 18th 2004 4:53 p.m.
    And it is possible to maintain a front store of accessible articles,
    and have archives accessible for members only, much as news sites do.
    So that there is some incentive for non-artists to become a member.

    Geert
    http://nznl.com

    On May 19, 2004, at 12:23 AM, Mac McKean wrote:

    > I agree. Very few content sites survive for long by charging for
    > their content and those sites are all financial sites like WSJ and
    > TheStreet.com, not art sites. Rhizome could keep the membership
    > fee--only members can upload artworks and view Opportunities. And it
    > could ask for donations, via PayPal, etc.
    >
    > However, all content should be free. And linked, blogged, RSS-fed,
    > spread far and wide. This will probably result in an increase in
    > members, I suspect, not a decrease, as the site goes from being a club
    > of faithful to a public resource.
    >
    > Perhaps there could be a Rhizome store if more money is needed. Sell
    > netart trinkets, t-shirts, whatever. But the content = free...
    >
    >
    >
    > t.whid wrote:
    >
    >> oops,
    >>
    >> forgot to provide a link:
    >>
    >> http://www.mteww.com/mtaaRR/news/twhid/free_rhiz.html
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> ===
    >> <twhid>http://www.mteww.com</twhid>
    >> ===
    >>
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • ryan griffis | Tue May 18th 2004 5:11 p.m.
    i have to say that i'm on the same page as t.whid here. while i
    understand the need to raise funds for programming, charging for web
    access doesn't make the most sense to me. as t.whid suggests, we risk
    becoming the porn site that charges while everyone's looking for
    abundantly free nudes. i don't have any firm suggestions really, and
    have to say that i've been paid to write some of Rhizome's content (a
    negligible amount by most standards, some of which goes back to RZ, but
    paid nonetheless) that i might not have done otherwise. My experience
    with non-profit art institutions isn't utopian by any means, and the
    inherent precariousness is understood, but one would hope that the
    membership program would continue voluntarily at the same level, as RZ
    is not so much of a service provider as a set of activities that
    members support out of a need to create an arena for certain forms of
    art and dialogue that is missing from somewhere else.
    and as Mac wrote, expansion of content by opening up distribution would
    probably result in more members. The control of access to certain
    content (opportunities, voting on things like commissions) is a good
    suggestion for member incentives. even posting could be for members
    only - at least that wouldn't limit reader/viewership, but would
    encourage those who want to reach RZ's audience to join. i've seen net
    art news linked to quite a bit, probably because it can be syndicated.
    hopefully more people will weigh in...
    ryan
  • Marisa Olson | Tue May 18th 2004 5:55 p.m.
    here here. let's find a way. working for a small nonprofit, i
    certainly know about budgetary limitations. has moving in with the NM
    changed anything? free on fridays does not mean much to the scholars
    and artists relying on rhizome's archives... except that it turns
    them away....

    it's also slightly unrhizomatic.......
  • Lee Wells | Tue May 18th 2004 6:40 p.m.
    !!!! FREE RHIZOME NOW !!!!

    On 5/18/04 7:54 PM, "Marisa S. Olson" <marisa@sfcamerawork.org> wrote:

    > here here. let's find a way. working for a small nonprofit, i
    > certainly know about budgetary limitations. has moving in with the NM
    > changed anything? free on fridays does not mean much to the scholars
    > and artists relying on rhizome's archives... except that it turns
    > them away....
    >
    > it's also slightly unrhizomatic.......
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • joy garnett | Tue May 18th 2004 9:07 p.m.
    > i've seen net art news linked to quite a bit,
    > probably because it can be syndicated.

    I have to agree with you and twhid -- this really does seem the case. viva
    la RSS, etc. so what are the obstacles and how can they be circumvented?
    (ok: does th revenue generated by membership fees make it all worth it ?
    something tells me not. but I am just making an assumption.)

    jg
  • Rob Myers | Tue May 18th 2004 11:18 p.m.
    On 19 May 2004, at 01:40, Lee Wells wrote:

    > !!!! FREE RHIZOME NOW !!!!

    Paid membership has two advantages:

    1. It keeps trolls and spammers at bay.
    2. It provides a revenue stream. Servers don't pay for themselves.

    How is it proposed that a costless Rhizome would keep or replace these
    advantages?

    - Rob.

    --
    "Smash global capitalism! Spend less money!
  • Christina McPhee | Wed May 19th 2004 12:35 a.m.
    Content should be free, yes. And also, perhaps not to have utopian
    expectations of Rhizome...it does quite well what it does do..keeping up to
    date on announcements mainly, and engaging interesting, live topics as they
    emerge, like the "molotov cocktail" theme that came out of Joy Garnett's
    confrontation with the copyright mavens.

    A both/and situation: surely Rhizome has to function somehow within a
    country that has virtually zero arts funding.

    I like mac's thoughts about a modulated solution...members exclusives blah
    blah.

    Rachel et al at Rhizome, what are the advantages of the new museum
    affiliation in your view(s)?

    Christina

    On 5/18/04 3:23 PM, "Mac McKean" <mac@heaventree.com> wrote:

    > I agree. Very few content sites survive for long by charging for their
    > content and those sites are all financial sites like WSJ and TheStreet.com,
    > not art sites. Rhizome could keep the membership fee--only members can upload
    > artworks and view Opportunities. And it could ask for donations, via PayPal,
    > etc.
    >
    > However, all content should be free. And linked, blogged, RSS-fed, spread far
    > and wide. This will probably result in an increase in members, I suspect, not
    > a decrease, as the site goes from being a club of faithful to a public
    > resource.
    >
    > Perhaps there could be a Rhizome store if more money is needed. Sell netart
    > trinkets, t-shirts, whatever. But the content = free...
    >
    >
    >
    > t.whid wrote:
    >
    >> oops,
    >>
    >> forgot to provide a link:
    >>
    >> http://www.mteww.com/mtaaRR/news/twhid/free_rhiz.html
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> ===
    >> <twhid>http://www.mteww.com</twhid>
    >> ===
    >>
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php

    --
    <www.naxsmash.net>
    <www.christinamcphee.net>
    <www.inscapes.com>
  • rtf | Wed May 19th 2004 1:38 a.m.
    Rob Myers <robmyers@mac.com> wrote:

    > Paid membership has two advantages:
    >
    > 1. It keeps trolls and spammers at bay.
    > 2. It provides a revenue stream. Servers don't pay for themselves.
    >
    > How is it proposed that a costless Rhizome would keep or replace these
    > advantages?
    >
    > - Rob.

    yep, that's the first reply to this thread i've read that makes any sense. and
    the shortest too [i think].

    y'all could have earned $5 each in the time you've taken to bandy this ball
    back and forth. more probably.

    can we get back to the net.art now people?

    r.
  • marc garrett | Wed May 19th 2004 2:39 a.m.
    Hi Richard,

    With respect - the comments before actually were about net art, about
    part of its potential 'existing' future - how it will be seen by other
    people other than Rhizome's current members, and contributors. It is a
    very important issue for many net artists around the world - and yes, it
    does get tedious...but not because the all the 'many' people who are
    trying to be heard keep discussing it, but because nothing is ever done
    about it...by those who can do something about it.

    T.Whid is right in bringing it up - he's not being a whinger. In fact,
    he's definately one of the most dedicated Rhizome users here - so let
    his voice and other voices be heard, it's important.

    marc

    >Rob Myers <robmyers@mac.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >>Paid membership has two advantages:
    >>
    >>1. It keeps trolls and spammers at bay.
    >>2. It provides a revenue stream. Servers don't pay for themselves.
    >>
    >>How is it proposed that a costless Rhizome would keep or replace these
    >>advantages?
    >>
    >>- Rob.
    >>
    >>
    >
    >yep, that's the first reply to this thread i've read that makes any sense. and
    >the shortest too [i think].
    >
    >y'all could have earned $5 each in the time you've taken to bandy this ball
    >back and forth. more probably.
    >
    >can we get back to the net.art now people?
    >
    >r.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >+
    >-> post: list@rhizome.org
    >-> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >-> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >-> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >-> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    >+
    >Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
    >
    >
    >
  • rtf | Wed May 19th 2004 3:40 a.m.
    hey m.

    well, only indirectly m.

    to maintain equilibrium, servers are supported by the served. thus has it
    been, in one form or another, since ancient times.

    you'll pay a few quid to visit the cinema or a gallery. why should this be any
    different?

    r.

    marc <marc.garrett@furtherfield.org> wrote:

    > Hi Richard,
    >
    > With respect - the comments before actually were about net art, about
    > part of its potential 'existing' future - how it will be seen by other
    > people other than Rhizome's current members, and contributors. It is a
    > very important issue for many net artists around the world - and yes, it
    > does get tedious...but not because the all the 'many' people who are
    > trying to be heard keep discussing it, but because nothing is ever done
    > about it...by those who can do something about it.
    >
    > T.Whid is right in bringing it up - he's not being a whinger. In fact,
    > he's definately one of the most dedicated Rhizome users here - so let
    > his voice and other voices be heard, it's important.
    >
    > marc
    >
    >
    >
    > >Rob Myers <robmyers@mac.com> wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >>Paid membership has two advantages:
    > >>
    > >>1. It keeps trolls and spammers at bay.
    > >>2. It provides a revenue stream. Servers don't pay for themselves.
    > >>
    > >>How is it proposed that a costless Rhizome would keep or replace these
    > >>advantages?
    > >>
    > >>- Rob.
    > >>
    > >>
    > >
    > >yep, that's the first reply to this thread i've read that makes any sense.
    > and
    > >the shortest too [i think].
    > >
    > >y'all could have earned $5 each in the time you've taken to bandy this ball
    > >back and forth. more probably.
    > >
    > >can we get back to the net.art now people?
    > >
    > >r.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >+
    > >-> post: list@rhizome.org
    > >-> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > >-> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > >-> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > >-> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > >+
    > >Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > >Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    >
    >
  • MTAA | Wed May 19th 2004 6:14 a.m.
    On May 19, 2004, at 5:40 AM, richard willis wrote:

    > hey m.
    >
    > well, only indirectly m.
    >
    > to maintain equilibrium, servers are supported by the served. thus has
    > it
    > been, in one form or another, since ancient times.
    >
    > you'll pay a few quid to visit the cinema or a gallery. why should
    > this be any
    > different?

    I outlined pretty clearly (IMHO) why it's different. Rhizome will rot
    behind this fee if it continues to stand. I want Rhizome to flourish.

    The content needs to be free for it to be an equal node on the web,
    otherwise, it will start to be ignored. I'm afraid it's happening
    already. Being a RSS/blog addict, the only presence I see Rhizome
    having in that area is net art news. People don't link to Rhizome
    articles because they can't. This can't be helpful to Rhizome.

    I think the increased audience which would come with opening it up may
    be able to cover the obligatory memberships with donations. Maybe there
    are 'premium' features for folks who donate (you can post to the list
    and events). I'm not unsympathetic to the funding question, but keeping
    the content behind this fee needs to stop. Other ways to fund Rhiz need
    to be identified.

    >
    > r.
    >
    >
    >
    > marc <marc.garrett@furtherfield.org> wrote:
    >
    >> Hi Richard,
    >>
    >> With respect - the comments before actually were about net art, about
    >> part of its potential 'existing' future - how it will be seen by other
    >> people other than Rhizome's current members, and contributors. It is a
    >> very important issue for many net artists around the world - and yes,
    >> it
    >> does get tedious...but not because the all the 'many' people who are
    >> trying to be heard keep discussing it, but because nothing is ever
    >> done
    >> about it...by those who can do something about it.
    >>
    >> T.Whid is right in bringing it up - he's not being a whinger. In fact,
    >> he's definately one of the most dedicated Rhizome users here - so let
    >> his voice and other voices be heard, it's important.
    >>
    >> marc
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>> Rob Myers <robmyers@mac.com> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>> Paid membership has two advantages:
    >>>>
    >>>> 1. It keeps trolls and spammers at bay.
    >>>> 2. It provides a revenue stream. Servers don't pay for themselves.
    >>>>
    >>>> How is it proposed that a costless Rhizome would keep or replace
    >>>> these
    >>>> advantages?
    >>>>
    >>>> - Rob.
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>> yep, that's the first reply to this thread i've read that makes any
    >>> sense.
    >> and
    >>> the shortest too [i think].
    >>>
    >>> y'all could have earned $5 each in the time you've taken to bandy
    >>> this ball
    >>> back and forth. more probably.
    >>>
    >>> can we get back to the net.art now people?
    >>>
    >>> r.
    --
    <t.whid>
    www.mteww.com
    </t.whid>
  • joy garnett | Wed May 19th 2004 7:46 a.m.
    This is surely the case. For the record: the interesting discussion
    threads on RAW were not what exploded the distorted molotov sit-in; it was
    the effect of RSS. Net.art News and Liza's culturekitchen for a start,
    both of which linked to Michael's call for solidarity page. Then etoy,
    neural, reblog, Modern Art Notes, boingboing, Stay Free! and greg.org all
    picked it up. In effect, there were several blog 'nodes' or loci from
    which the news spread or radiated among different communities. All of this
    resulted from the usual RSS/XML/aggregator functions, which spread the
    info much faster and more widely than any subscriber-based discussion
    could. Which makes me think that perhaps Raw or Rare should be syndicated
    -- didn't that possibiltiy come up way back when fees were being
    discussed? It's an idea...

    Joy

    twhid wrote:

    > The content needs to be free for it to be an equal node on the web,
    > otherwise, it will start to be ignored. I'm afraid it's happening
    > already. Being a RSS/blog addict, the only presence I see Rhizome having
    > in that area is net art news. People don't link to Rhizome articles
    > because they can't. This can't be helpful to Rhizome.
  • joy garnett | Wed May 19th 2004 8:05 a.m.
    speaking of XML... rather than scrap newsgrist I'm gradually shifting it
    to blogdom:

    http://newsgrist.typepad.com/

    - jg
  • patrick lichty | Wed May 19th 2004 8:19 a.m.
    This is a really interesting subject.
    It's a tough proposition; Rhizome wants to stay alive (financially), but
    to restrict information contradicts the very concept that it was named
    for, and also the original nature of the community.

    I realize that $5 is miniscule, but something has had a significant
    impact on the community.

    However, in this light, several other communities have come to fill the
    void.

    Therefore, I offer some ideas:
    Maybe Rhizome's function has changed, and should not consider itself as
    'grass-roots' any longer (i.e. more institutional), if even up a notch.
    IF it dies, then this could be portrayed more clearly to the community.

    If funding is a problem, perhaps Rhizome could relocate to a country
    where funding is more prevalent (Australia, the Netherlands).

    Perhaps Rhizome could have a 'tiered' access plan, where a significant
    portion of the content is open, but contacts, opportunities, and other
    parts could be pay to play.

    Patrick Lichty
    Editor-In-Chief
    Intelligent Agent Magazine
    http://www.intelligentagent.com
    355 Seyburn Dr.
    Baton Rouge, LA 70808

    "It is better to die on your feet
    than to live on your knees.
  • Edward Tang | Wed May 19th 2004 10:14 a.m.
    Patrick lichty wrote:

    > Perhaps Rhizome could have a 'tiered' access plan, where a
    > significant portion of the content is open, but contacts,
    > opportunities, and other parts could be pay to play.

    Does rhizome.org get considerably more traffic on Fridays?

    Reading this thread earlier today I was wondering why this sort of idea hadn't been mentioned or implemented - although I'm sure this isn't the first time this discussion has occured. Perhaps an approach when recent portions of the content (the net art news, artbase, calendar, etc.) are open to the public but to access the site fully and to contribute and participate the fee can be instituted? I don't see how spammers/hucksters would ruin the signal/noise ratio in that case.

    I echo the initial poster's frustations about not being able to link to rhizome pages to the outside world - rhizome feels strangely walled off.

    - Ed
  • Christina McPhee | Wed May 19th 2004 10:50 a.m.
    Patrick, right on.
    > I realize that $5 is miniscule, but something has had a significant
    > impact on the community.
    >

    > However, in this light, several other communities have come to fill the
    > void.
    >
    > Therefore, I offer some ideas:
    > Maybe Rhizome's function has changed, and should not consider itself as
    > 'grass-roots' any longer (i.e. more institutional), if even up a notch.

    Yes, this is a de facto situation. Its affiliation with the museum makes it
    institutional---how could it be grass roots??

    Rhizome leadership might decide that it is a necessity to sustain the
    institution of "Rhizome" as a "grass roots" brand name media services non
    profit company. Stay solvent through a multivalent funding strategy
    including memberships, volunteer work, private, corporate and grant
    donations. Rhizome recognizes itself as "Rhizome
  • Lee Wells | Wed May 19th 2004 10:58 a.m.
    Personally I think the info should be free. Go to Google and type any one of
    our names in and some sort of Rhizome link will come up. Click the link and
    you cannot get to it. Sometimes I cant because I don
  • Lee Wells | Wed May 19th 2004 11:11 a.m.
    Since Rhizome is no longer "Grass-roots" maybe its time for the New Museum
    to start handing over some more space and MONEY.

    At least in the store.
    Push the artwork coming out of Rhizome. The DVDs - cds - video art - tshirts
    - stickers - hats - rhizome homeies - anything. Look at the crap that sells
    to the average tourist in SoHo. Its all about cool t-shirts and hats on
    Broadway. Totally cheap and easy to produce.

    A Tiered system could also work as well.
    The more money you put in the more perks you get.
    $1000 gets you dinner with Mark and Rachel.

    Cheers,
    :Lee

    On 5/19/04 12:50 PM, "Christina McPhee" <christina112@earthlink.net> wrote:

    >
    > Patrick, right on.
    >> I realize that $5 is miniscule, but something has had a significant
    >> impact on the community.
    >>
    >
    >
    >> However, in this light, several other communities have come to fill the
    >> void.
    >>
    >> Therefore, I offer some ideas:
    >> Maybe Rhizome's function has changed, and should not consider itself as
    >> 'grass-roots' any longer (i.e. more institutional), if even up a notch.
    >
    > Yes, this is a de facto situation. Its affiliation with the museum makes it
    > institutional---how could it be grass roots??
    >
    > Rhizome leadership might decide that it is a necessity to sustain the
    > institution of "Rhizome" as a "grass roots" brand name media services non
    > profit company. Stay solvent through a multivalent funding strategy
    > including memberships, volunteer work, private, corporate and grant
    > donations. Rhizome recognizes itself as "Rhizome
  • Dyske Suematsu | Wed May 19th 2004 11:14 a.m.
    The difficulty of this issue, especially for Rachel, is that many long-time
    members feel they own shares of the organization. To some degree, this is
    rightfully so, because they have contributed to what makes Rhizome valuable.
    However, you do not see this kind of passionate opinions about how to run
    particular organizations when speaking of institutions like Whitney, DIA, or
    Guggenheim. To some degree, they could easily tell you, "How we run our
    organization is none of your business!"

    Now, this gets further complicated when you pay member subscriptions,
    because all members then become sponsors. Sponsors are legitimate share
    owners, and they are entitled to their opinions, and the directors of the
    organization cannot simply ignore them.

    The difficulty of running any organization is that you need a good balance
    between democracy and leadership. If you listen too much to what everyone
    says, everything gets diluted and nothing gets done. If you lead too
    dogmatically, like Bush does, you could cause a lot of trouble. Either way,
    it is not good for the organization.

    In the end, it all comes down to how Rachel wants to run it. We cannot
    formulate a constructive criticism if we do not have the whole picture. For
    instance, from outside, I feel that free membership would be more beneficial
    than their ability to give out commissions, but I do not have all the
    information necessary to determine if this is truly the case. Given the
    fixed amount of resources, how it should be allocated is a call that we
    cannot make intelligently unless we know the whole picture.

    My bottom line is that we could only make suggestions, not tell them what
    they should do. I think there is a certain danger in feeling like we all own
    Rhizome. A large organization without a strong leadership could quickly fall
    apart. And we don't want that to happen either.

    Dyske
  • joy garnett | Wed May 19th 2004 11:26 a.m.
    I'm not even a computer artist I am just a painter."

    wha-ho? Lee, you mean: dumb as a painter? hmm, but then again:
    http://www.wired.com/news/infostructure/0,1377,63506,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

    (review of 'Hackers + Painters')

    -jg

    On Wed, 19 May 2004, Lee Wells wrote:

    > Personally I think the info should be free. Go to Google and type any one=
    of
    > our names in and some sort of Rhizome link will come up. Click the link a=
    nd
    > you cannot get to it. Sometimes I cant because I don
  • Lee Wells | Wed May 19th 2004 11:41 a.m.
    I will never admit that I am a hacker.
    But I will pick up the book.

    On 5/19/04 1:26 PM, "Joy Garnett" <joyeria@walrus.com> wrote:

    > "I'm not even a computer artist I am just a painter."
    >
    > wha-ho? Lee, you mean: dumb as a painter? hmm, but then again:
    > http://www.wired.com/news/infostructure/0,1377,63506,00.html?tw=rss.TOP
    >
    > (review of 'Hackers + Painters')
    >
    > -jg
    >
    >
    >
    > On Wed, 19 May 2004, Lee Wells wrote:
    >
    >> Personally I think the info should be free. Go to Google and type any one of
    >> our names in and some sort of Rhizome link will come up. Click the link and
    >> you cannot get to it. Sometimes I cant because I don
  • Rachel Greene | Wed May 19th 2004 12:04 p.m.
    Hi all:

    I have read every post in this thread and will continue to do so. Thank
    you Tim for initiating this discussion and for your constructive
    critcism. I really appreciate all of the contributions (even the Free
    Rhizome ones) and think many of the suggestions are good and
    potentially viable.

    I stand behind our foray into membership, but want to reassure everyone
    that we are 1. Aware of the impact of Google, RSS and Blogs on how
    people search, read, and interact online (and consequently, the
    perception of Rhizome), and 2. We are working on projects that will
    relieve the burden on individuals and make our content more accessible.
    For example, through the Organizational Subscriptions program (
    http://rhizome.org/info/org.php ) this year we will give away scores
    and scores of Rhizome memberships to people who come to us via centers
    or schools in poor and excluded communities (such as in Sub-Saharan
    Africa and South Asia). I am developing more public programs that will
    bring ArtBase works and Rhizome more generally into art spaces (not
    just online).

    To answer people who inquired about Free Fridays and all that... I
    don't have Friday statistics available (and Francis is out of town),
    but we are finding that membership and web traffic are on the increase
    while subscriptions to email lists (except for the free, highly
    editorial list Net Art News which has an explosive growth rate) grow
    much more slowly. This suggests to me that more and more people are
    using our web site and (obviously) signing up for membership. It may be
    that the Raw, Rare, and Digest lists feel closed and small, but that in
    fact people are reading Rhizome content a lot via the web site instead
    of interacting over email. We found some general statistics that across
    the Internet, email lists are withering because of spam and the
    popularity of blogs. So one could argue that our spam-proof,
    members-only lists are reasonable for our times.

    I also wanted to mention that we do not receive any financial support
    from the New Museum, though they do give us office space. Rhizome
    raises its own monies, as always. It also seems relevant to note that
    we received twice as much money this year from our dear Rhizome members
    than from American Government Agencies. But back to the New Museum --
    we do receive other kinds of important support from them -- they
    believe in Rhizome's mission and staff. Their entire staff is really
    supportive and interested in Rhizome, and we will be collaborating in
    the future.

    I hope this can be an ongoing conversation. I am in the difficult
    position of representing an institution so I can't always move that
    quickly, but I know more than anyone that the voices on RAW are
    important and crucial to what I do and what Rhizome is.

    Thanks, Rachel

    p.s. I will be following this thread closely, but I wanted to add that
    if anyone wants to chat in real time, on Thursday afternoons EST,
    Rhizome staff is going to hold informal office hours on AIM or ICHAT.
    Feel free to ping me at RachelFayeGreene or Francis at francisrhizome.
  • Rob Myers | Wed May 19th 2004 12:05 p.m.
    On 19 May 2004, at 18:41, Lee Wells wrote:

    > I will never admit that I am a hacker.
    > But I will pick up the book.

    Looks well worth it. Waiting for Amazon.uk to get my copy past the
    tachyon projectors.

    Sample chapter, "hackers and painters":
    http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/hackpaint/chapter/ch02.pdf

    Book site: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/hackpaint/index.html

    More old essays on his site at http://www.paulgraham.com/

    Now if he can just get on with Arc...

    - Rob, nothing to do with PG or ORA..
  • Christina McPhee | Wed May 19th 2004 12:39 p.m.
    Rachel,
    Thanks for the very informative and exciting response. Could you put this
    up on rare and digest too? It would be great if you and Francis could take
    time to post often regarding goals and strategies like the ones you describe
    here, like giving away memberships , and public programs for artbase...etc.
    Maybe a once a month post on the state of rhizome?

    christina
    On 5/19/04 11:04 AM, "Rachel Greene" <rachel@rhizome.org> wrote:

    > Hi all:
    >
    >
    > I have read every post in this thread and will continue to do so. Thank
    > you Tim for initiating this discussion and for your constructive
    > critcism. I really appreciate all of the contributions (even the Free
    > Rhizome ones) and think many of the suggestions are good and
    > potentially viable.
    >
    > I stand behind our foray into membership, but want to reassure everyone
    > that we are 1. Aware of the impact of Google, RSS and Blogs on how
    > people search, read, and interact online (and consequently, the
    > perception of Rhizome), and 2. We are working on projects that will
    > relieve the burden on individuals and make our content more accessible.
    > For example, through the Organizational Subscriptions program (
    > http://rhizome.org/info/org.php ) this year we will give away scores
    > and scores of Rhizome memberships to people who come to us via centers
    > or schools in poor and excluded communities (such as in Sub-Saharan
    > Africa and South Asia). I am developing more public programs that will
    > bring ArtBase works and Rhizome more generally into art spaces (not
    > just online).
    >
    > To answer people who inquired about Free Fridays and all that... I
    > don't have Friday statistics available (and Francis is out of town),
    > but we are finding that membership and web traffic are on the increase
    > while subscriptions to email lists (except for the free, highly
    > editorial list Net Art News which has an explosive growth rate) grow
    > much more slowly. This suggests to me that more and more people are
    > using our web site and (obviously) signing up for membership. It may be
    > that the Raw, Rare, and Digest lists feel closed and small, but that in
    > fact people are reading Rhizome content a lot via the web site instead
    > of interacting over email. We found some general statistics that across
    > the Internet, email lists are withering because of spam and the
    > popularity of blogs. So one could argue that our spam-proof,
    > members-only lists are reasonable for our times.
    >
    > I also wanted to mention that we do not receive any financial support
    > from the New Museum, though they do give us office space. Rhizome
    > raises its own monies, as always. It also seems relevant to note that
    > we received twice as much money this year from our dear Rhizome members
    > than from American Government Agencies. But back to the New Museum --
    > we do receive other kinds of important support from them -- they
    > believe in Rhizome's mission and staff. Their entire staff is really
    > supportive and interested in Rhizome, and we will be collaborating in
    > the future.
    >
    > I hope this can be an ongoing conversation. I am in the difficult
    > position of representing an institution so I can't always move that
    > quickly, but I know more than anyone that the voices on RAW are
    > important and crucial to what I do and what Rhizome is.
    >
    >
    > Thanks, Rachel
    >
    > p.s. I will be following this thread closely, but I wanted to add that
    > if anyone wants to chat in real time, on Thursday afternoons EST,
    > Rhizome staff is going to hold informal office hours on AIM or ICHAT.
    > Feel free to ping me at RachelFayeGreene or Francis at francisrhizome.
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php

    --
    Slipstream transmedias : soundart performance cinema installation
    architectures network theory

    <www.christinamcphee.net>
    <www.naxsmash.net>
    <www.naxsmash.net/inscapes>

    Lecturer, Department of Architecture, c/o Hargrave Studio, California
    Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California
  • Rachel Greene | Wed May 19th 2004 1:48 p.m.
    Sure. And just remind me if you don't hear from me... Thanks, Rachel

    On May 19, 2004, at 2:40 PM, Christina McPhee wrote:

    > Rachel,
    > Thanks for the very informative and exciting response. Could you put
    > this
    > up on rare and digest too? It would be great if you and Francis could
    > take
    > time to post often regarding goals and strategies like the ones you
    > describe
    > here, like giving away memberships , and public programs for
    > artbase...etc.
    > Maybe a once a month post on the state of rhizome?
    >
    >
    > christina
    > On 5/19/04 11:04 AM, "Rachel Greene" <rachel@rhizome.org> wrote:
    >
  • curt cloninger | Thu May 20th 2004 10:41 a.m.
    t.whid wrote:

    > I know, it's free on friday. But if I want to link to a Rhizome post
    > or
    > artwork, am I to attach a disclaimer? "This link only functions on
    > Fridays."
    >
    > I know, first time's free. But what if I have visitors to my site who
    > follow the links to Rhizome regularly? They get shut out.

    <snip>

    >How many
    > blogs
    > link to Rhizome articles and artworks? Probably not many, blog
    > authors
    > know the value of freely linking across the web; Rhizome stops them
    > at
    > the door.

    Hi Tim,

    I just read the thread or I would have chimed in about this sooner. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can link straight to any single article at rhizome and surfers can access the article you linked any day of the week without having to be rhizome members. Before Mark left, I talked to him and francis about this, because it was a concern of mine.

    From my site, I link to several articles I wrote at rhizome (they're really just long posts I made to raw). It seemed ridiculous that once rhizome started charging for membership I would no longer be able to link my own articles. I would have stopped contributing to rhizome long ago had this been the case. Mark agreed that it was not right. So they set up the protocol to work this way --

    If I'm writing a friend, and I include the URL to a rhizome post in the email, unless my friend is a member, they can't view the post simply by clicking on the link in their email client. Furthermore, yhey can't manually type in the URL and get it either. (both situations are regrettable, but a necessary evil to the membership model). BUT if I link a rhizome URL (artbase piece, post at raw, whatever) from an online web page, non-rhizome members can still access the rhizome URL I linked. In this respect, rhizome is unlike the New York Times and most other password-protected content sites. Once the non-rhizome-member visits the rhizome URL I linked, she still can't wander around the rest of rhizome for free from there, but she can at least read the single post to which I linked. I assume this is true for a dynamically-generated link from a google search-results page as well.

    That's how critics of rhizome's $5 policy have been able to make "mirrors" of the entire rhizome artbase. They simply link directly to each piece of content in the artbase, and the way rhizome has set up their protocol, since the call is coming from another online web page, Francis allows the content to pass through, even if the visitor doesn't have the rhizome login cookie.

    Francis would know more about the technical details.

    I'm not sure how the above "backdoor" protocol works with RSS feeds and content aggregators.

    I'm not disagreeing with your suggestion to drop the membership fee. But the argument that one can't link non-members directly to specific rhizome content except on Fridays is not valid. One can (unless I'm missing something).
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