Shelly asks the question "What part of you, the writer, is part of a community? Where, within yourself, does community leave off and you begin?" and says, "But I guess we're accountable to each other, and that's the most dangerous censorship of all -- it's the censorship of the commons." This is an interesting question that Shelley has pointed out to me and I have been thinking about. In the comments on Shelley's blog, Doc ties it to the notion of the "echo chamber," the effect where we're all just talking to each other oblivious to the outside world. Many people blame the failures of the Dean campaign to this "echo chamber" and point to this "echo chamber" as a problem that is prevalent on blogs. I do see the risks, but I don't think criticizing the existence of communities or friendships is the solution. I think that communities and friendship are the foundations of trust and love and I do not agree that an aggregate of facts and single voices are the solution to finding the "ultimate truth" in writing.

I believe that communities and the feeling of community are an essential part of the equation, but that the goal is to bridge many communities and try to expand one's notion of community the largest possible size.

For instance, I believe that you can feel your ultimate loyalty to your family, company, city, state, race, religion, nation, type of government or the world. I believe that by putting your loyalty at the highest level allows you to be a global citizen and helps you recognize the importance of whistle-blowers who are often betraying local loyalties for a higher good. I believe that the whole notion of civil rights is a struggle to elevate and increase the emotional size of the community we identify with.

One way to increase the size of the community one identifies with is to participate in multiple communities or to include members from others communities. This is an important part of the "caring problem" that Ethan and I often talk about. I often quote Jack Kemp who once said that, "it doesn't matter what you know if you don't care." One of the problems that mass media faces is that they can report on Iraq, Iran and Africa, but most people don't identify with the people there and they don't care. Salam Pax showed that a single blogger with a voice can increase the caring. Salam Pax is part of our community and we are proud of him and we care about him. Through his eyes, we see Iraq as part of our world and because of him, other Iraqi bloggers have joined our community.

I think the key is to understand that it's not just like a high school. In high school, there is group of friends and everyone spends all of their time concerned about being in that group or not in that group. My life is a jumble of relationships and memberships in a great variety of sometimes conflicting communities of all different sizes and doesn't feel like high school to me. As Ross has pointed out, these can be roughly grouped into three sizes. Big power-law shaped groupings, which are political, medium sized groupings which are social, and smaller groups which are strong-tie/family/close-friend groups. My sister used the word, "Full-Time Intimate Community".

The behavior at each of these levels is quite different and it is when we collapse the context that we get in trouble. Comments made between intimate friends are different from the comments that are suitable for a discussion at a cocktail party. Comments made at a cocktail party are often not suitable for a public speech. One of the problems we have on blogs is that all three of these contexts are often collapsed into one blog.

On the notion of "censorship of the commons," I guess I'd disagree with Shelley. I think censorship by a minority of people with influence over the majority is much more dangerous than "censorship of the commons." If the commons represents a general consensus of the views of the community you choose to participate in, they should have some influence over you. I think censorship is really bad when it is exercised from a position of authority, especially one that has the ability to assert such authority through force. I am personally pulled in many directions from all of the communities I participate in and these tensions are interesting and useful. I see them less as censorship and more as points of view that help me triangulate. My traditional Japanese community, my crypto/security community, my feminist friends, my liberal political community and my latte-drinking, orkut-loving, IRC-addicted community all have opinions about what I write. I think about what their opinions will be when I write and I find that this helps me look at any issue from a variety of perspectives. They are each echo chambers in their own way, but I try to escape this echo chamber not by denying their existence or their influence over me, but by recognizing them and using a combination of communities to help me and my readers triangulate.

31 Comments

Look around you. War, famine, hate. Is this the creation of a loving God? You can come up with all kinds of theories about God testing your faith. Oh sure! Your wife is raped, your children horribly mutilated, but at least you still believe in the Good Lord. Nonsense.
The universe and us humans were created by God's 2 youngest sons, Aman and Zalamit as pawns in a game, a chess game. When they were young, they created the planets to play with. Later they created Earth and life. First primitive, but as they grew older, more and more complicated. At this moment their most complicated toys are us, humans. Unlike other life on our planet they gave us a bit of themselves. They gave us selfawareness.
Why did they give us selfawareness? To make their game more interesting.
What is the purpose of the game? For them? They're just enjoying themselves and try to see who beats who. For us it has existentialist consequences.
What purpose have our lives? None. We were created to play with. To them, we don't exist. We are Mickey Mouse or any other cartoon character. We exist, but not for real. So there is no LOVING God caring about us.
How does their chessgame work? When time's up, when the sun explodes and destroys Earth, they measure Good versus Evil.
They created humans with an equal amount of goodness and evil. The love of a mother tips the scale to good for every new born. Later the scale can go up and down. The more sadness evil people cause to other people, the more points Zalamit gets. The more happiness good people cause to other people, the more points Aman gets. If you help one of them and they win the game you go to heaven. If you lose, you'll disappear into oblivion. Just like all the people who didn't play along with the game.

You've misinterpreted what I was saying Joi.

Ricky, are you participating in this conversation or are you spam?

Shelley, I don't know how to respond to that last comment except to say that I didn't do it intentionally.

I'm not sure how to write this anymore. I can't seem to make my point. I'm not sure if its because my writing is failing, or what I'm saying is so outside of people's interests.

The key paragraph in my post began with the following:

"Do you write to be part of a community? Or do you write to write, and the community part either happens, or doesn't? Depending on where you're at within this space can influence your writing. If community causes you to alter your writing--not to say something you think should be said, or to write a certain way to get attention--then you are betraying yourself as a writer."

This has nothing to do with the so-called echo effect. This has nothing to do with community and triangulation, or writing based on something said in community.

But you and I are coming from such different places in this discussion. I'm not sure we can work past that. I think all we're doing is frustrating each other.

"If community causes you to alter your writing--not to say something you think should be said" - I have discussed a similar but different question which is whether the increase in readers on my blog has affected the way and the content of what I write. Different dynamic, but an issue none the less. I am personally less stifled by my community than by the fear that out of context, my comments will be misinterpreted. I see more benefit than liability in the feedback I get from my community.

"or to write a certain way to get attention" - Yes. I can say that I do this, but I don't agree that this is, "betraying yourself as a writer." I try to write in a way that resonates with people in order for my words to have impact. This is similar to writing for attention. Not everyone writes for impact. I guess it depends on the purpose of your writing. I have a bunch of agendas and want to change the world in many ways. Attention to my writing is one way to achieve this. Maybe the question, and my answer, are too broad and I am missing your point again.

Your "friends" are an angry controlling abusive mob. This thread started with an incredible demo of that. Some people are in and others aren't. The really creative people are always out. You kill them. And you just got told no, enough is enough. If friendship is just that, people being friendly and supportive, great. But if it's really defining who it's okay to attack, then it's not friendship.

Oh, lord. I give up.

With all due respect to you Ito-san (and that respect is considerable), at what point did your IRC community become simply a chance for some gifted programmers to win your ear?

I've idled for sometime, and what I see is a pecking order. There are those who attended Etech with you. There are those who clamored to attend with you. There are those who must surely be your friends and those who wish that were so for reasons of their own.

At some point, #joiito became an echo chamber where subtle begging for LinkedIn and Orkut invitations still goes on.

What appears to have occured is the replication of an insular community replicated under different URLs typed into a handful of the same old address bars. I have little doubt that your true friendships continue to be solidified in this manner, at least those of the online variety, but what of the alleged emergent democracies in these online strongholds?

In #joiito, no matter what your wishes are, you are a godhead. People, under various nicks, jockey for your favor and the favor of those perceived to be in your court.

I've been on IRC since the late 80s, frequenting and leaving various channels. This is a common outcome, though IRC on whole stays wild and wooly. #joiito is somehow ordered by a loose oligarchy where contrary opinions tend to go ignored so that the status quo stays in light.

This happens, largely, though the encouragement of the court. I've never seen you enforce such an order.

So how does it happen?

It is subtle, as I said. This court that formed under you is very talented at what they do, yet seems somehow disenfranchised. Rather than moving towards the obvious risks of democracy, folks have done what they have done for hundreds of years: they strugle to bask in the rays of a sun king.

They associate divine right with a person who may not want it.

I don't allow commentary on my site. It makes it impossible for me to write. I know who my friends are because I have held them close in real life. Online, when I had comments enabled, things became muddled for me.

Certainly, you are different. Yet still you must wonder, online, who your friends are. When #joiito goes dark, as all IRC channels one day must, who will be near? Who will fade away?

I'd lay odds that you will be surprised by the forming of each camp.

What is now called social software is no more than a BBS with greater bandwidth and accessablity. It is just as cliquish for the simple fact that humans are herd animals, frightened by the stirrings on their periphery.

Which brings me to this "echo chamber". If you are on the A-list, you cannot know what is on the periphery. I make my living out there. You and the court of #joiito are missing some great things.

Social software is simply socialite software. Digital debutantes and self-congratulatory TCP handshakes.

With the walls that have been created, many packets are dropped. In the drive to be included, you have, by definition excluded countless thousands.

New developments, truly bleeding edge thinking, isn't done at orkut or linkedin. It is done, alone and in the dark by the anonymous, the driven.

I hope you don't take this as personal criticism. I'm just trying to squeeze questions from between the lines. You may not have chosen to lead, but you are a leader by default.

Where I you, I'd seek the maverick. She holds the keys to dreams your court will never have. This is what you need to do, you and folks like Mr. Kawsaki at garage.com. This social software is merely a mutant strain of alienation making garbage.

Democracies are not invitation only.

Did you know that the Walled City Gibson describe has been built? You should. You have an account there.

But where is the democracy? Where is the encouragement to think?

I don't know either, Joi.

The fundamentally flawed assumption by the whining comments in this thread, is the assumption that hierarchies and clusters are necessarily controlled or organized.

Chaos theory, free market theory, evolution etc. all demostrate that order, hierarchy, clustering can all occur naturally, as emergent phenomena, without a central planner.

Everyone is free to not be bitter, to not be paranoid, to ignore nonsensical insults.

Anyone can post a comment to Joi's blog. Anyone can join #joiito and speak their opinion. The walls you see and feel are in your own head.

If there is Orkut invitation begging and Joi worshipping going on in #joiito I certainly haven't seen much of it. Joi is treated like any of the well-known regulars there. And there are more conversations about people's new babies than about popular webloggers. Or maybe that's the same thing.

V,

I think del.icio.us has been an very interesting entity that came out of (some perhaps) chance meetings on the channel. XOXO as well.

IMHO - IRC is a 3rd space. A place you can go, like a bar to vent and hang with friends and acquaintances, no more, no less.

Joi, I just want to say thanks. As a coder I do hang out in your Irc and find out about cool new technologies and have fun with them. I don't really consider myself a blogger and even think I have a fear of writing. However I like to take the technologies of those that hang out in itoirc and try to integrate them. Not sure if that is selfish or not. Anyway thanks for providing a place of knowledge with the a sidedisk of limericks

"Do you write to be part of a community? Or do you write to write, and the community part either happens, or doesn't? Depending on where you're at within this space can influence your writing. If community causes you to alter your writing -- not to say something you think should be said, or to write a certain way to get attention -- then you are betraying yourself as a writer."


You know, I've been a professional writer for a very long time. But I enter communities as me, not as Writer. And what applies in all communities are basic social skills, which is what I've seen absent from pretty much all these discussions. (Not to mention the stark absence of any sense of humour, which leads me to wonder if the whole enterprise isn't doomed.)

In an online community, all we're doing is transcribing unvoiced speech. Using the word "writer" is probably confusing the issue. (If only just for me.)

(As an aside: "writing to get attention" is entirely valid, and I wonder how something shady can be imputed to that.)

If the person(s) we're addressing is sitting across from us in a bar, we don't necessarily immediately shut up. What we do is moderate our tone. Or possibly not, if we're trying to get through to someone. (Look at Dave Winer -- though, frankly, in most pubs he would've caught a punch in the face before now.) It doesn't stop you saying what you want to say. It just necessitates you put it in human terms.

Basic social skill tests go like this: your friendly acquaintance Fred Z has for some reason shown you a photo of a crack whore being anally raped with a corncob. Do you a) privately tell him he's a weird little bastard and you'd rather he didn't get within a meter of you again or, b) put the picture in the window and stand next to it pointing at it and saying "this really is appalling!"

You can substitute b) with "Blog it", obviously.

(I'm seriously thinking about advancing Basic Pub Etiquette as an online community standard. In Basic Pub Etiquette, we just pat poor old heavily-medicated V. up there on the back and say, "that's nice, son.")

Now, writing to *create* a community is something different. Is a blogger who leaves her commenting system on deliberately trying to create a community around themselves by the act of writing? That's interesting, and has many answers. And if that was what you were asking, you can stand to sharpen the initial questions a bit.

I just woke up, so this, too, may well be a little fuzzy around the edges. I'm off to find a Red Bull.

-- W

Warren, you talk about social skills, and then proceed to deride the skills of those who comment on this thread, as well as question the sense of humor of same. Your aside about V, whose comment wasn't impolite, though it may not be popular, was not necessarily the best method of selling yourself as authority on applying social skills within a communication thread.

As for blog etiquette: as what? Something enforced by those here who make comments like 'whining' and 'absent social skills'? You're right, that does demonstrate a sense of humor on your part. Or at least, it made me laugh.

You seem to be making an assumption that weblogging is a community activity, or that comments are a community activity. I'm saying that a person chooses how they participate within weblogging. They can become a community member, but with it comes adherance to 'basic social skills' you discuss, and this can and will impact on the honesty of their writing.

As for having comments, this is no different than people being able to review a book or article unless the author alters the honesty of their writing based on what's said.

As for writing for attention, no this is something I don't admire in a writer. There is a difference between hoping to achieve an audience and perfecting your craft to do so, and writing whatever garners the most attention. The former is Edward R. Murrow; the latter is Ann Coulter.

Oh, by the way, I'm also a professional writer ( not that it makes any difference at all to the discussion under way).

You may write for a living, but anyone who spends as much time as you do engaged in petty, self-serving snipe attacks on her peers is hardly a "professional."

"Warren, you talk about social skills, and then proceed to deride the skills of those who comment on this thread, as well as question the sense of humor of same."

Well, that's because it's funny. Plus, I'm a horrible human being. And, honestly, if you're not going to pause long enough to parse hyperbole signifiers, it would seem to me to be useful to relax a bit before trying to drive a discussion like this.


"You seem to be making an assumption that weblogging is a community activity, or that comments are a community activity. I'm saying that a person chooses how they participate within weblogging."

Now, see, this is the specific focus that was missing from your "key paragraph" and other posts.

Blogging can certainly be a community activity. Open comments invite a certain level of participation. Of course people self-select their level of participation. That's pretty obvious. In fact, it's so blatantly obvious that this may be where your point, whatever that is, is getting confused by other people.

"They can become a community member, but with it comes adherance to 'basic social skills' you discuss, and this can and will impact on the honesty of their writing."

We're all subject to basic social skills. This is why we try very hard not to urinate on the person sitting opposite us.

It occurs to me -- and I could be wrong -- that the specific phrase you've been looking for is "peer group pressure." What you're talking about is the death of individual honesty in the face of a possible dogpile of community residents because your speech is unpopular.

Yes? No? Help me out here.

"As for having comments, this is no different than people being able to review a book or article unless the author alters the honesty of their writing based on what's said."

That's an interesting thought. In the broadest context, all art (in which some may include journalism) could be considered to be about opening a conversation. It presents a perceived aspect of the world for our consideration. Certainly diary blogging, such as is performed here, would seem to fall well within that definition. And opening a conversation carries the suggestion that conversation is invited.

And that's the difference between reviewing and blog commentary -- the implicit assumption that the blog author is intended to read the commentary. I don't read reviews. Very few of my peers do, except in unusual circumstances. The reviewer, in any case, is rarely talking to us. The reviewer is talking to the shared mass audience. It's a collection of thoughts from a different standpoint, rather than from within the work itself.

The actual analogy to blogging would be if reviews and letters of comment were published within the book itself.

"As for writing for attention, no this is something I don't admire in a writer."

Different strokes. But that takes a lot of good and useful writers (as opposed to Coulters) off your bookshelf.

Warren, I have to disagree with you when you say, "Now, see, this is the specific focus that was missing from your "key paragraph" and other posts."

I think the point has always been there, but depending on your introduction to this discussion, your viewpoint about it may have been skewed.

And I don't necessarily agree with your reduction of what I'm saying to 'peer group pressure'. Communities aren't always made up of peers. I think that in the weblogging communities, there is equality, which implies 'peers' -- but to use that old chestnut, some are more equal than others.

But yes, I do believe that people who participate as a community member do alter what they say so as not to disappoint others whose opinions matter; or to deliberately attract others whose opinions they respect (or who have 'whuffie', per Cory's term).

I do agree with your sentence, "What you're talking about is the death of individual honesty in the face of a possible dogpile of community residents because your speech is unpopular." But extend it to include the death of individual honesty because you want to be heard, unpopular or not.

You see art as an introduction to conversation. Maybe (though I'm not sure all artists would agree, even in the broadest sense). But hoping to generate conversation, or thinking, is not the same as altering what you say specifically to make it more palatable to a community you belong to, or to attract members of a community to which you want to belong.

Can you not see the difference?

As for writers who write purely to generate attention for themselves -- no, I am not missing them from my bookshelf. But perhaps you mean writers who draw attention to something outside themselves, such as a cause or event, a person or a thing. In this case, yes I do agree that there are good writers in this regard and appreciate the chance to clarify my previous statement.

Thank you for giving me a chance to indulge in some more sniping at peers. It really is one of my more favorite activities.

Just a small comment: "full-time intimate community" is my colleague Misa Matsuda's term, not mine.

Re; basking in Sun King Joi Ito’s rays.

Not everyone who comes to read Joi Ito and comment on what they read here is doing so to win favour, attention, or celebrity. Some of us are actually here because we’re interested in having an intelligent dialogue about ideas. And that’s a rare opportunity.

There’s no question that some express themselves in ways we may not approve – that’s what happens when you don’t have an editor. This isn’t a book, it’s participatory media.

Inevitably we come across things we don’t agree with, don’t like, etc. It pisses some people off more than others. In fact, some people really get off on seeing others silenced. Suggesting that Joi’s audience is here solely to win favour and attention is the classic argument of those who wish to silence through coercion.

I offer the following from Christopher Hitchens on the silencing of opinion:

One the one hand there is the pressure from one’s “own” side …

“The pressure to keep silent and be a “team player” is reinforceable by the accusations of cowardice or treachery that will swiftly be made against dissenters. Sinister phrases of coercion, such as “stabbing in the back” or “giving ammunition to the enemy” have their origin in this dilemma and are always available to help compel unanimity.”

On the other hand there are those who ally themselves with power (as one or two have done here). Their goal is to silence by way of “qualification”. And so we are told that our speaking here, unless we are in the same power plain as Joi, is to win Joi’s favour. An admonition that is as arrogant as it is insulting. But beneath the contempt for hoi poloi is the desire to silence.

Quo Warranto - “by what right” is a classic question levelled at those who voice opinions. “The right and warrant of an individual critic does not need to be demonstrated in the same way as that of a holder of power. It is in most ways its own justification. That is why so many irritating dissidents have been described by their enemies as “self-appointed”. (Once again, you see the surreptitious suggestion of elitism and arrogance.) “Self-appointed” suits me fine. Nobody asked me to do this and it would not be the same thing if they has asked me. I can’t be fired any more than I can be promoted. I am happy in the ranks of the self-employed. If I am stupid or on poor form, nobody suffers but me. To the question, Who do you think you are? I can return the calm response: Who wants to know?”

In regard to the "censorship of the commons," I do think that people who have influence, or who are perceived to have influence (and it's not easy to distinguish between the two online) do need to take care about using their influence to censure others -- especially outliers who have wild ideas, or who simply disagree with the norm.

However, I am reminded of a situation that most people have encountered in face to face situations, a kind of "silence of the commons" problem. Somebody makes a racist or otherwise bigoted remark, and then nobody takes the offender to task for it. That doesn't make it more difficult to make those remarks in the future -- it makes it easier. And those who are silent at the moment often regret that silence later.

So yeah, Marc has contributed a lot, and is generally a genial guy -- but this is not about Marc's outspoken opinions about standards or other substantial issues. It's not really about Marc. It's about seeing something that is offensive because it degrades a human being, and not being silent.

I would not want to see Marc pilloried for going over the line, but neither is it improper for people who are perceived to be influential to note that they are offended.

If the goal is to avoid insularity (i.e., the "echo chamber"), then disagreement ought to be encouraged. And we all should take care to frame our disagreements in a civil manner, or the tone of the comments will deflect attention from the substance of the discussion.

Just reading the comments again and stepping back from the "heat of the moment", I do think that an analysis or thought about how and if we can amplify the edges that V talks about is an important point and the notion of emergent democracy vs emergent hierarchy is an interesting one. I DO think that our community is somewhat unique in that it is quite anti-authoritarian. Personally, it feels more like a heckling peanut gallery than an oligarchy. On the other hand, I do see some of the elements that V talks about and I think the core members of the community have all in their own way tried to come up with ways to try to dampen the negative effects rather than amplify them. The most brutal attacks that I have seen on #joiito are against people who are fawning or obviously trying to gain favor, not against people who are "edgy". Having said that, a more explicit discussion might be interesting since there are many layers and nuances in the way a community organizes and includes/excludes.

Anti-authoritarian norms are necessary but probably not sufficient to prevent an online hangout with a strong central personality from sinking into groupthink.

I think that a norm of welcoming newcomers is also necessary. Newcomers IRL and online tend to project solidarity onto a group that is engaged in conversation when the newcomer arrives: you assume that everyone who is bantering when you enter the space knows everyone else.

I bet many others who are reading this have seen that happen: a group of people who were strangers comes together online, relationships grow out of that, and then a new entrant into the conversation, or someone observing it from afar, accuses it of insularity. The "echo chamber" meme is a good one, not because it defines or limits the insights or influence of online conversations, but because it's a good warning of a known pitfall.

Talking about insularity all the time is a rathole. I think it's healthy for any persistent online group to revisit the q once in a while, though.

There's a distinction between groupthink -- when someone silences an unpopular opinion in the face of social norms -- and politeness.

When you're critizing someone's idea, with that person and others in the room, it is common etiquette to be honest but polite. (Assuming the idea you're critizicing is within the realm of civilized discourse).

Nothing useful is gained by hurting the person's feelings, or embarrassing them in public.

I hear Shelley talking from the perspective of a scientist or programmer. An idea is either true or untrue.

In social life, there's a range of ways to say true things, depending on social context. Except at the outer reaches of diplomatic obfuscation, politeness isn't the same as lying or censorship.

Also, the tone on #joiito is usually pretty blunt, in my experience. I don't see where the allegation of groupthink is coming from.

Examples, please.

The allegations of groupthink are coming from the insides of people's heads, the same places that they are building the walls they complain about being stuck behind.

When you look for conspiracies, you find them everywhere. When you're paranoid, of course everyone will seem like they are out to get you. When you're bitter, of course it will seem like everyone is being unpleasant.

When I said above:

"Everyone is free to not be bitter, to not be paranoid, to ignore nonsensical insults."

I forgot to add: "Everyone is free to not be angry, to not fly off the handle."

As evidenced by this post that fully quoted my previous comment:

http://www.errant.org/lago/archives/001033.html

The relevant excerpt:

"This makes me very, very angry..."

which I could not help but immediately associate with a particular vocalization:

http://www.gargaro.com/MaRvInWaVs/angry.wav

Just an attempt to inject a little light-heartedness into a thread where folks seem to be far too eager to clench.

"(I'm seriously thinking about advancing Basic Pub Etiquette as an online community standard. In Basic Pub Etiquette, we just pat poor old heavily-medicated V. up there on the back and say, 'that's nice, son.')"

Mebbe you should practice up on that Basic Pub Etiquette a bit, son, before you suggest it to others. Saw your retard/retort about Dave Winer in the same vein. Or mebbe the bars I've frequented are not as fucked up as the bars you frequent...!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, have I committed a social gaffe?? Or is it semi-humorous?? Do I make a (perhaps subtle, to some) point. Depends on if you've already gotten the point: people tend towards hypocracy.. duh...;-D


Depends if you agree with what I just wrote, or not, more than anything else. Whether you agree with me on this, or not, DEPENDS (unfortunately) almost ENTIRELY on what you (perceive you) know of me. Ie, the context the reader supplies.

In writing, the reader supplies the voice that goes along with the words, thus there are advantages and disadvantes to the written word.

I should have read on, and noticed Shel made the same point I just did.

But then, maybe that point needed emphasized??

"The allegations of groupthink are coming from the insides of people's heads, the same places that they are building the walls they complain about being stuck behind."

This comment would be in direct opposition to, for want of a better word, reality.

If actual fact, this comment is fuctarded (or, if you prefer, incorrect...;-).

Remember that thar Dean "dot-com miracle"...?!? Some people wonder what the hail happened?!?! Some others wonder, but don't really wanna know the answer.

Do you?

It's basically as Dave Winer said. So, in addressing these people, I will intentional come across as confrontational for (at least) two or three reasons: 1) Hard-ta get above the mind-clatter 2) It takes a level of energy (for me) to go to the effort of compressing multiple versions of reality down to a series of sentences that are at least somewhat non-incoherent (see my first writings I ever did anywhere, about 2.5 to 3.5 years ago) 3) I do not WANT my views to be accepted on face value

My understanding is that #3 is rather rare, in the blog/journal/journalism/writing "biz".

I was, and remain, surprised that nobody ever asked WHY I said that danah boyd was a "whuffie-seeking child". This seems to have caused a lot more ill-will than I intended, which was none. (Yeah, I know, but hindsight...;-)

Btw, something I learned and still believe: If I can hurt you with my words, that is a failure on both of our parts because "I'm rubber, you're on the gluetrain... What you say bounces off me and sticks to you"...;-D

my head now hurts ....however all kinds of good points and creativity .... keep it coming in the most positive ways! We all need to grow and learn :-)

Hi Joi, this is my first comment at this site, but I have seen references to some of your writing around blogville.

Reading all the way through this long list of comments reminds me why I don't spend much time at more popular sites, because often the comment threads grow way too long to follow.

In spite of all the accusations of elitism and favoritism and whatever, some very good points did get made along the way. Certainly the idea that one can or would self-censor is abhorant, but I see no evidence that Joi would attempt to censor anyone. I only see a welcoming host who is responsive both to regulars and newcomers.

Anyone who has been around for a while, since before there was an Internet, much less the web and blogging knows that there has always been a lot of destructive behavior in uncontrolled public forums. There are times and places where speaking your mind is destructive and self-aggrandizing, or even sinks to the level of spam.

Norms are never absolute, but you have to know the rules before you break them. Many times this rule breaking is abusive to others in the group and can cause important voices to leave. Often these are exactly the voices you need for the community to be more inclusive and less elitist.

Frankly, Shelley is a fine one to talk about any of this as whenever I have encountered her in the blog world or commented on her site, what I have gotten is the silent treatment. If that was not your intent, Shelley, then I apologize, but this is not the first time I have seen you acuse people who have been nothing but welcoming to me of being exclusive.

V. hit the nail on the head, as Gerry illustrates well.

Problem with having power, from observation rather than experience, is that people will want to tell you mostly what they think you want to hear. All within a given range of expression, which is limited by them wanting to graft off your power, or wanting to learn how you got it.

(Students generally don't want to challenge their teachers all THAT much. Or maybe that's how it USED-ta be.)

So, they'll confront minor issues, in a roundabout way, but won't go near deeper issues. And they will change their mind and agree with you all too readily (and if you ARE wrong, you get things like "dot-com miracles"...;-).

Look at me, I'm dancin'!

*dances*

Do you like my dancing? It's for you. I'm dancing for you!

*dances*

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Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Communities and echo chambers.

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