Liza Sabater
Since the beginning
Works in New York, Nebraska United States of America

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DISCUSSION

Re: Blog vs Board (re: Blogging Survey)


On Sunday, Jul 4, 2004, at 22:02 America/New_York, Dyske Suematsu wrote:

> Every medium and context encourage their own unique behaviors. For
> instance, a friend of mine is a member of WeightWatchers.com, and she
> showed me what sort of discussions take place on their boards. I was
> quite surprised to see women behaving badly. On most discussion
> boards, women tend to behave more civilzed than men do. But,
> apparently, in a context where they know there are only women, they
> change their behaviors. (Or perhaps it is the topic of weight that
> encourages that sort of behavior; who knows.)

Both. I've done WW also. If you want to read occasional bawdiness, then
a homeschooling list is your place. And in terms of vicious flame wars,
there is nothing like a SAHM hooked online. Scary.

> Minor differences in user interface, system architecture, graphic
> design, theme, the personality of the organizers, etc. can influence
> the behaviors of the members significantly. I currently manage several
> discussion boards and I am always surprised by how differently people
> behave because of these subtle differences. By changing small aspects
> of them, you can encourage or discourage certain behaviors. For
> instance, making people register first before posting makes a big
> difference in terms of the quality of content; you get a lot less
> abusive posts. Being able to easily view all the posts made by a
> specific user, makes people think twice about saying anything too
> stupid. And so on...

This though comes out of years of what has been experienced on BBSs. So
you the technology comes out of experiences with users not just from
what a developer thinks might be useful.

> Blogs and discussion boards are quite different. For one, blogs, for
> the most part, are one-way communication. You have something you want
> to say, and you say it on your blog, not necessarily expecting that
> people would respond. Not all thoughts you want to write down are
> appropriate for discussion boards, even less so for discussion boards
> with specific subject matters, like Rhizome. So, I do not see blogs
> and boards as something you need to choose.

I don't necessarily agree with the one-wayness you speak about but
definitely feel the same --it is not an either/or situation. The issue
with blogs is that maybe on your site you do not have comments but that
does not mean people are not commenting about what you write. They may
not be trackbacking or linking back to your. The communication may not
be necessarily teleological but circuitous.

> As for the lack of interesting discussions on this list: There are
> things you can do to encourage interesting discussions too. I've
> always found Rhizome to be problematic when it comes to how it
> supports text. Thoughtful posts, like that of Curt you pointed out,
> get lost in a flood of other posts. It may get on the home page for a
> few weeks, but after that, it gets the same treatment as the other
> posts that contain frivolous remarks. Unless you know exactly what you
> are looking for, there is no easy way to browse though quality content
> on the site. If there were a page with a list of substantial
> contributions, many more readers would be encouraged to read them, and
> that in turn would encourage writers to submit more substantial
> contents.

This is where CMS software would remedy that with the way they set
archives, categories, metas, etc. It would definitely ease curating of
texts.

> When most people go to sites like nytimes.com, they do not exactly
> know what they want to read. They just know the quality and the
> reputation associated with New York Times. nytimes.com therefore needs
> to provide a way to let the readers easily scan through contents. If
> their home page looked like Google's home page, most people would
> simply go elsewhere. This is essentially the situation Rhizome has
> with respect to substantial contents contributed to RAW. It does not
> make sense especially because the majority of Rhizome's content is
> relatively timeless. (This particular post that I am writing now, for
> instance, should still be relevant to some readers a year from now.)
>
> So, given this design of the site, you as a writer know, consciously
> or subconsciously, that whatever you write will be for the consumption
> of the few who happen to catch it at the right time. This does not
> make you want to spend much time composing your thoughts. It makes
> more sense to use the list for something more casual (like short
> comments and remarks) or temporary (like announcements of current
> events).
>
> For these reasons, I believe that being frustrated with the way people
> are behaving or not behaving is a waste of time. Trying to discipline
> people by criticizing achieves very little. You need to provide an
> environment that makes them want to behave certain ways.

For Rhizome to work in ways like NYTimes, it would have to change not
only its technology but the way that the whole organization is managed.
A new organization charter / plan would have to be created. Has anybody
been at Kuro5hin lately? They've clamped down on the so-called
democracy on the site. In reality it seems they grew too fast with
little projection on how they were going to manage that.

> Now, as an experiement, if you have read this post this far, I would
> like you to click on the link below which will count the number of
> people who actually read this. I'm curious how many people in general
> actually read posts on Rhizome. Many people open a web page or email,
> but not many, I suspect, actually read the content.
>
> http://www.dyske.com/visit.asp?p=1

Done.

Best,
l i z a

DISCUSSION

Re: Blog vs Board (re: Blogging Survey)


On Sunday, Jul 4, 2004, at 11:30 America/New_York, Lee Wells wrote:

> Survey Says, "EGO. was the number one reason for self-aggrandized
> blogging."

As if making art is not about that? HA!

DISCUSSION

Re: Blog vs Board (re: Blogging Survey)


Hi Jason,

I've followed with interest this thread and was going to post a
meta-response but there's too much for that.

On Sunday, Jul 4, 2004, at 10:31 America/New_York, Jason Van Anden
wrote:
> I am a fairly new member to the Rhizome community. When I first
> discovered Rhizome, I was excited to find a forum of artists with
> common interests and concerns, and looked forward to the discussions
> that would take place, and that I could take place in. Since I joined
> a few months ago, there have only been a few sustained threads, while
> the archives are filled with lively and fascinating discussion. What
> happened?

Fatigue. Other interests. Growth.

> The recent survey requesting community interest in a blog service via
> Rhizome has caused me to wonder if this is because of some trend;
> moving away from boards, and towards blogs.

A little more than a year ago I started talking to people here in NYC
about blogs; about how I would love to see art sites with XML feeds and
such because, well, I'm lazy and hate browsers. Not that I am asking
people to give up use of the browser but to look at the technology of
blogs as the real way to build a rhizome (not this art site but the
concept as per Deleuze and Guattari). But mainly, it's because I'm
lazy, I want to metaweb art sites and hate bookmarks. TWhid was part of
that round of conversations. Alex, Francis and others.

Also, technologically speaking, there is an enthusiasm and energy
around blogs very much like the one that brought the net art scene back
in 1996. Explorations on the possibilities of the semantic web are
pushing the envelope on technologies such as XML, Atom, trackbacks,
CSS, PhP. And the new hot thing is anything social or like they say at
Corante, YASNS (yet another social networking software). Orkut or
Friendster anyone?

> If so, I wonder what the ramifications of this may be. In some ways,
> blogs and boards are the similar, they both enable ongoing, two way
> communication. The clear difference is that a blog is run by it's
> moderator, which changes the dynamic, a lot.

Blogs have no more of a moderator than an email list. You are comparing
apples with oranges. Blogs can be scaled vertically via RSS whereas
there is no way of doing that with an elist unless you RSSscrap it or
hack a feed (which someone did so a while back for Rhizome). Still,
hacked feeds like that are not malleable.

> If everyone runs their own blog, everyone is a moderator, and system
> becomes decentralized. This requires more effort by the blog owner and
> his/her audience. The person running the blog needs to keep things
> interesting enough to keep people visiting, the audience needs to keep
> track of many blogs instead of one.

That's what a rhizome is supposed to be :
http://rhizome.org/info/index.php

> "To these centered systems [arborescent structures], the authors
> contrast acentered systems, finite networks of automata in which
> communication runs from any neighbor to another, the stems or channels
> do not preexist, and all individuals are interchangeable, defined only
> by their state at a given moment--such that the local operations are
> coordinated and the final, global result synchronized without a
> central agency."

What I want to bring into light is your comment about effort. Blogs are
not things. They are technologies. Software that is meant to manage a
site by separating the structure (HTML/PHP), from the design (CSS) and
the content (TXT). So if you are used to creating sites with
Dreamweaver, yeah, the thought is daunting. But as someone who is not a
software developer, I have to say that there is nothing better for
easily managing a site than a CMS. Now, does that mean that you should
give up on artsy-fartsy sites? No. What it means is that artists need
to think strategically about their sites. That the art stay separate
from the actual management of the site. To use the CMS as a way of
archiving and curating your site.

Tina LaPorta the other said to me "As net artists, we've lost out way".
It came out of a conversation that net art was supposed to be about
decentralization, the rhizome, nomadism and as it is it's become
institutionalized. So in effect, the first wave of net artists
basically emulated online the very systems they sought to by-pass
offline in order to show/disseminate their art. Is this bad? I don't
think so because, really, social networking software like wikis and
blogs, for example, have exploded in the last 2 years. Rhizome and the
first wave of net artists has been around since 1996. Their old farts
in web / technology years if you think about it.

> At the time that I discovered Rhizome, I also discovered a lot of
> other on-line resources influenced by it. After doing an unscientific
> cost/benefits analysis, I decided that the service that Rhizome
> provides as a centralized and democratic community was the best one,
> and decided to become a member.

Rhizome is centralized but is not a democratic community. It was never
set up to work like that. Rhizome comes out of a salon / atelier /
studio / gallery / museum tradition. It's about centralizing art. So
that's where the technology for the site went. It's not a good or bad
thing, BTW. The rhizome at Rhizome is a metaphor but not an actual
realization of the blueprints given out by D&G*. That has happened with
CMS.

The technologies developed for blogging come from two traditions :
Online link logging and self publishing. So the onus of disseminating a
site is taken on by the blogger because, if they don't do it nobody
will. And the links have become a way of not just acknowledging
influences of showing love to other bloggers but of creating prestige
ranking: of not only showing your influences but assessing your
influence on others.

> Personally, this meant that I devote some of my time (and ego) for the
> greater good of the group, by posting my opinions and reactions to
> topics of interest, in one place.

With blogs, that new place is the feed reader.

To read about feeds go to : http://news.yahoo.com/rss
For what feed readers do, check out NetNewsWire at
http://www.ranchero.com

> I believe that a socialist-democracy (the ideal of Rhizome) is a much
> better way for this community to thrive than anarchy (fractured,
> poorly maintained blogs).

Sorry but your analogy is hollow. Educate yourself a bit more about how
the technologies work and then come back to that. I still have not read
Alex Galloway's Protocol but I have on my site an essay he wrote with
Eugene Thacker called the Limits of Networking. It's brilliant. Check
it out at http://www.culturekitchen.com/archives/000574.html

> In order for this to happen, I think that members need to deliberately
> devote their resources to the good of the board than their own blogs.

I will be publishing this weekend a long post on metablogging the net
art world. Hopefully it will be informative enough about the importance
and utility of CMS technology for net artists.

> Given that we all have a finite amount of time to devote to our art,
> our day-jobs, and so on, I am interested in why members feel it is
> better to blog than to participate in a board.

Quick thoughts : Vertical scaling (metaweb), categories, archives,
networking, diffusion, dissemination, the rhizome. More to come.

best,
l i za

DISCUSSION

About those trucks with uranium


http://discuss.agonist.org/yabbse/
index.php?board=1;action=display;threadid 175

DISCUSSION

Fwd: [thingist] Kuwait Intercepts US Trucks w/Radioactive Cargo Headed for Iraq


Here's the correct link :
http://www.tehrantimes.com/archives/Description.asp?Da=6/15/
2004&Cat=4&Num

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Ricardo Dominguez <rdom@thing.net>
> Date: Sat Jun 26, 2004 09:41:11 America/New_York
> To: thingist <thingist@bbs.thing.net>
> Subject: [thingist] Kuwait Intercepts US Trucks w/Radioactive Cargo
> Headed for Iraq
> Reply-To: thingist@bbs.thing.net
>
> Tehran Times
> June 15, 2004
>
> http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=6/15/2004&Cat=4&Num
>
>
> Kuwait Intercepts US Trucks w/Radioactive Cargo Headed for Iraq
>
>
> TEHRAN (MNA) - The UAE-based daily Al-Khaleej
> reported on Monday that Kuwaiti tariff officials have
> intercepted a truck loaded with radioactive materials
> in the Iraq-Kuwait border.
>
> The daily quoted informed sources as saying that the
> radioactive control team from Kuwaits Health Ministry
> discovered that one of the trucks belonging to the
> U.S.-led coalition forces was carrying heavy cargo of
> radioactive materials. The trucks were headed for Iraq.
>
> The daily said that such materials could only enter a
> country when there is permission from related bodies
> while the materials were secretly being carried to Iraq.
>
> Security forces stressed that no contamination had
> been caused by the material.
>
> The MNA reported for the first time the coalition
> forces suspicious transfer of WMD parts from
> Kuwait to Southern Iraq by trucks.
>
> The possible presence of WMD in Iraq and its likely
> nuclear programs were the main U.S. pretext for
> attacking the country.
>
> However, their failure to find weapons of mass
> destruction in the country and the continuing
> turmoil in Iraq questioned the legitimacy of the
> U.S. war against Iraq and their presence in the
> country.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> t h i n g i s t
> message by Ricardo Dominguez <rdom@thing.net>
> archive at http://bbs.thing.net
> info: send email to majordomo@bbs.thing.net
> and write "info thingist" in the message body
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