The future of the book, reading, publishing and organisations

Being a man of my word when it suits me I have started a new forum based on our conversations at The Penn Club and afterwards. It is here. You have arrived. To make a start, I've uploaded my notes with the links working (I've also added a few notes about other ideas/books we discussed that day).

You can also read the notes at scribd.com where they look very lovely.

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Andrew

For me, so many hares were set up running in this session that I hardly know where to start. However, one particular hare that's currently exercising me (for fairly obvious reasons!) is that of editing in the context of the freedom and control of writing on the Internet.

This was highlighted by an article about editing Wikipedia in this week’s Guardian Weekly (21.8.09, pages 32-3: ‘Wikipedia approaches its limits’, by Bobbie Johnson. The content of Wikipedia, launched by Jimmy Wales in January 2001, is now approaching 3 million articles. However, the rate of new articles and edits now appears to be slowing down significantly. Johnson reports that, according to Ed H Chi of the Palo Alto Research Center, “Wikipedia – often touted as the bastion of open knowledge online – has become, in Chi’s words, ‘a more exclusive place.’ “ This is because there’s an editorial struggle going on between two competing factions of Wikipedia editors. One faction consists of ‘elite editors’ – an inner elite who seek to control quality tightly. These are ‘deletionists’, who maintain that “Wikipedia is not a junkyard”. The other faction are ‘inclusionists’ – who believe that the more articles, the better. After all, if they’re poorly referenced or badly written, they can be improved. “Any article is better than nothing”.

Chi believes that the elitists appear to be winning. Mirroring the process of population growth, when resources become scarcer, ‘the stronger, more well-adapted part of the population starts to have more power.’

Is this a Darwinian view of Web 2.0? Or will Webs 3.0 and 4.0 enable a more democratic and collaborative form of writing? Watch this (web) space.
Andrew and Bob

I'd like to respond to your very thoughtproviking ideas about the future (or lack of) publishing and web information (specifically WIKIPEDIA) from the angle of the Consumer of the Information.

Although I cannot articulate this most of the time, what i most wish to find is KNOWLEDGE,as distinct from INFORMATION, and I suspect this would be so for many 'Information Consumers. I am not a philosopher but I feel feel more comfy if what is presented to me as Knowledge is based on more rather than less empirical research data ; public scutiny by a community of scholars who are truly independent of government and business funding; and which is cognisant of its author's, bias or values.

Wikipedia content can be both Information ( 'provisional knowledge', as yet untested, unscrutinised) or Knowledge ( accepted as authoritative following rigorous scrutiny). This situation enables both the 'deletionists' and the 'inclusionists' needs to be met providing only that stuff is labelled appropriately.
( I have come across many Wikipedia sites which have a 'Public health warning' at the beginning.)

This both/and approach provides a continuing role for 'KNOWLEDGE GUARDIANS' (eg. Wiki-editors) within cyberspace when it comes to providing a labelling service which will save me the trouble of personally evaluating the quality of Information . As a practical business person , i reckon i would be prepared to pay such knowledge guardians to differentiate Knowledge (most likely to enable me to better understand my own practical situation) from Information (not yet scrutinised, untrustworthy but possibly new and interesting).I'd be paying the KGs to do some of my critical thinking for me and my business, the same reason I used to subscribe to O & P, Harvard Business Review and Gower's newsletters (because I thought being published by these sources required an author's work to have emerged intact following intense editorial/academic scrutiny)

The key attribute for a KG/editor is to exude authority in relation to their ability to be trusted to do my critical thinking for me . In the domain of Business/organisation research/theory there may be a scarcity of reputable candidates who have a rigorous enough approach to the issue of differentiating value-neutral empirically-based scientific theories from assertions of cause and effect relationships based on a priori assumptions which are potentially commercially lucrative. Actually it's not possible to do values-neutral research on organisations. We should be looking for Interpretative Understanding type theories - more History than Science, but this wouldn't sell so well to managers looking for a quick fix/apparently easy leverage (eg someone's power law which promises spontaneous self-organisation/'emergence' for disproportionately little input). We should find KGs who can evaluate such Interpretative Knowledge (especially by scrutinising the quality of its empirical and ideological roots) from History or Social Anthropology publishers/faculties, perhaps?

Looking forward to others thoughts about the issues you have raised, Deb.


Bob MacKenzie said:
Andrew
For me, so many hares were set up running in this session that I hardly know where to start. However, one particular hare that's currently exercising me (for fairly obvious reasons!) is that of editing in the context of the freedom and control of writing on the Internet.
This was highlighted by an article about editing Wikipedia in this week’s Guardian Weekly (21.8.09, pages 32-3: ‘Wikipedia approaches its limits’, by Bobbie Johnson. The content of Wikipedia, launched by Jimmy Wales in January 2001, is now approaching 3 million articles. However, the rate of new articles and edits now appears to be slowing down significantly. Johnson reports that, according to Ed H Chi of the Palo Alto Research Center, “Wikipedia – often touted as the bastion of open knowledge online – has become, in Chi’s words, ‘a more exclusive place.’ “ This is because there’s an editorial struggle going on between two competing factions of Wikipedia editors. One faction consists of ‘elite editors’ – an inner elite who seek to control quality tightly. These are ‘deletionists’, who maintain that “Wikipedia is not a junkyard”. The other faction are ‘inclusionists’ – who believe that the more articles, the better. After all, if they’re poorly referenced or badly written, they can be improved. “Any article is better than nothing”.

Chi believes that the elitists appear to be winning. Mirroring the process of population growth, when resources become scarcer, ‘the stronger, more well-adapted part of the population starts to have more power.’

Is this a Darwinian view of Web 2.0? Or will Webs 3.0 and 4.0 enable a more democratic and collaborative form of writing? Watch this (web) space.
Great stuff Andrew, thank you for the stimulants on Friday.
Love that pic - like you're directing a contemplative prequel to a mess of Wallender, Marx, eco-systems in paradise (or Parkhead), cleavage, pastry, underwater publishing and Mack the Knife (who chaired the event).
I'll post some thoughts on your outline (and Bob and Deborah's) over next few days around I think, purpose, markets, value and consumption. (reckon I could have twittered all that if I deleted the spaces)
In meantime I'll try to find Bob's proposal forum for Nov issue.
Slan for now Donal C
Reading all this about knowledge and how much more we can accumulate on and from the net I was remindered of the following quote from Tao Te Ching:

‘Along the way to knowledge,
Many things are accumulated.
Along the way to wisdom,
Many things are discarded.
Less and less effort is used,
Until things arrange themselves.
Harmonious action maintains control:
Exertion upsets the balance.’

Thank you again Andrew for a very thought provoking afternoon.

Melanie
Reading the notes made me dizzy and I didn't follow many of the links. I wish I'd been there. Melanie's comment gives me some encouragement although I'm still unsure about how to deal with my feelings of overwhelm. I am comforted also by the ideas associated with the edge of chaos and will order a copy of Lesley Kuhn's book. Is there a discount for AMED members or just the launch offer price?

David
Hi,

A little late replying and I did say I would! A very thought provoking session!

My first experience of this group so thoughtful on this as well as the subject! Planning my quieter side again!

I have been watching and investigating the different links and watching how my students post on the forums.

The role of the Editor still seems necessary to me if something is to be "crafted" or is this a "Luddite" term!
Who else is going to coach and bring out the nuances and flavour of the piece and challenge the writer to higher spheres?

Just my intial thoughts. Still working on the Dawinian idea and my cynical view on fragmented organisations.

Thank you for the session.

Sheila
David:

Thanks for your message. I'll sort out an AMED discount tomorrow (Wednesday) and let you (all) know what it is and how to order.

Andrew

David McAra said:
Reading the notes made me dizzy and I didn't follow many of the links. I wish I'd been there. Melanie's comment gives me some encouragement although I'm still unsure about how to deal with my feelings of overwhelm. I am comforted also by the ideas associated with the edge of chaos and will order a copy of Lesley Kuhn's book. Is there a discount for AMED members or just the launch offer price?

David
Bob,

Yes, that's very interesting about Wikipedia. My hunch would be that, as with tides, liberalism, skirts, etc. there will be a constant ebb/flow, to/fro, up/down between the forces of inclusionism and deletionism.

Bob MacKenzie said:
Andrew

For me, so many hares were set up running in this session that I hardly know where to start. However, one particular hare that's currently exercising me (for fairly obvious reasons!) is that of editing in the context of the freedom and control of writing on the Internet.

This was highlighted by an article about editing Wikipedia in this week’s Guardian Weekly (21.8.09, pages 32-3: ‘Wikipedia approaches its limits’, by Bobbie Johnson. The content of Wikipedia, launched by Jimmy Wales in January 2001, is now approaching 3 million articles. However, the rate of new articles and edits now appears to be slowing down significantly. Johnson reports that, according to Ed H Chi of the Palo Alto Research Center, “Wikipedia – often touted as the bastion of open knowledge online – has become, in Chi’s words, ‘a more exclusive place.’ “ This is because there’s an editorial struggle going on between two competing factions of Wikipedia editors. One faction consists of ‘elite editors’ – an inner elite who seek to control quality tightly. These are ‘deletionists’, who maintain that “Wikipedia is not a junkyard”. The other faction are ‘inclusionists’ – who believe that the more articles, the better. After all, if they’re poorly referenced or badly written, they can be improved. “Any article is better than nothing”.

Chi believes that the elitists appear to be winning. Mirroring the process of population growth, when resources become scarcer, ‘the stronger, more well-adapted part of the population starts to have more power.’

Is this a Darwinian view of Web 2.0? Or will Webs 3.0 and 4.0 enable a more democratic and collaborative form of writing? Watch this (web) space.
So, Andrew

A lutta continua ...

Best wishes. Bob
Andrew has been kind enough to offer a 20% discount on all Triaarchy books to Full AMED Members.

Andrew Carey said:
David:

Thanks for your message. I'll sort out an AMED discount tomorrow (Wednesday) and let you (all) know what it is and how to order.

Andrew

David McAra said:
Reading the notes made me dizzy and I didn't follow many of the links. I wish I'd been there. Melanie's comment gives me some encouragement although I'm still unsure about how to deal with my feelings of overwhelm. I am comforted also by the ideas associated with the edge of chaos and will order a copy of Lesley Kuhn's book. Is there a discount for AMED members or just the launch offer price?

David

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