Josephine Bosma on Fri, 9 Oct 1998 15:46:09 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> gated communities

This mail is a protest against the removal of antiorp from the three
mailinglists this mail is going to. At the same time it is a contemplation
of what these lists mean to me and maybe to others. What is it, that
people get so uptight over having to delete mails. I am sure they delete
most of the other postings too without ever reading them. Do we have the
lists we have like we have 'the right newspaper' or magazine? Just to give
ourselves the idea we are on the right track, because at least we know the
headers of the latest thread that was produced by some people that know
what is best for us?

The problem is complex because it has been lying around for too long. The
problem is that we never really talk about the tool and manner we chose to
communicate with. Nettime listowners once said: it is not useful to
discuss the list on the list. Why is it not useful? Is it useful to let a
list bleed to death, miss loads of chances to enhance a discussion and
miss chances to understand better what we are doing?

The three lists are very different, but all seem to have the pretention to
be some sort of community that is heading for the best there is to offer
in the particular subject it is dedicated to. The lists are supposed to be
critical and in search of new paths that fit with the medium it is
situated in. I think throwing someone like antiorp off is not going to
help with this. I was in favor of throwing people off in the past, for
different reasons, but I think now this is wrong. It narrows the scope of
the list in an unexceptable way.

Take for example the reason why nettime moderation started: the namespace
debate became so faul that people told others to "go in the corner and
piss on themselves". Was the person who wrote this removed? No. He is a
friend who just lost control for a moment. Another example: on xchange a
guy hangs out who has been seriously harrassing me in real life, and who
has been making problems in Linz for someone else, a real life sucker. Is
he removed? No. He is a friend who lost control for some moments. All
fine. But to remove a dilletant, one of the few, if not the only,
listpunks, because of a different way of communicating sucks. Especially
as this person obviously is very young, and on top of that, knows the
medium very well. From corresponding with it I know it certainly has more
layers then simply cursing and insulting. I will include a mail from
another list about this, which I liked a lot, and which has respect for

What can you see reading some of the discussions that happened on other
lists where antiorp got into trouble? First of all, there are many
dicussions about the yes or no of throwing someone off. This is the first
thing that bothers me: it never happened on either nettime, xchange or
rhizome. I would not be surprised if people did not even know it was going
on. Moderators on all three lists seem to work from the rumor that "this
person has been causing problems everywhere, so let's throw him off
immediately". Then on the other lists people acknowledge antiorps
'occasional' intelligent and mindstirring comments, and most of all its
excellent code writing, especially with soundsoftware. But the most
important thing one notices is the extremely bourgois posts of people who
even admit never to post, but who now -have- to say how relieved they are
antiorp is gone. I do not want to be part of this attitude, of this
narrowminded, clean designer office crowd. (no offence meant to openminded
people in clean designer offices).

I have been very displeased when the moderation button went on on nettime.
As I have written allready, I want an open list. It is ridiculous that
after a year (!) of moderation now the listowners have still not been able
to find a solution for this problem. There have been several discussions,
both in email and 'real life', in which the listowners themselves proposed
experiments with an open list and a digest, maybe even a usenet group. The
fact that the majority of listmembers are lurkers who prefer their dinner
chewed, does not mean that the magazine/editor format is the most suitable
for what we want. But then of course: what do we want? I wonder about that
a lot lately. Net.criticism, mediatheory, cyberfeminism, in
what way is the discussion around these topics dominated by people in
powerful positions outside the net, who have built their careers on new
media research? Why not let more radical, new blood in?

I admit: there is probably no medium that has offered more to its
'audience' to participate then the net and its mailinglists. I seriously
doubt the way they are developing now though. Spin offs of nettime like
xchange and rhizome (yes) are gradually copying the way nettime is
developing. I was very surprised to hear about Rhizome throwing of
antiorp, as I know Rachel Green is in for experiments and letting the list
develop in its way. She likes the noise on R-raw, and has even in the past
made me like it too. With xchange, the youngest, it seems even more sad:
there are rarely more posts there then announcements of web.casts, and
when xchange was invited for Ars Electronica the preparation for this went
off list completely, in the hands of a few. This far even nettime never
went. xchange owners are a bit too gentle in some ways and very hard in
others. Lack of experience? Too busy? While I think antiorp fits best
there! I am not saying all the people behind this are fascists (antiorp
would say that for sure), it seems more like a lack of good discussion and
openness. This lack came to be because of the incredible speed careers
have been taking off in the fields of mediatheory, art on the net and There seems to be some kind of panic reaction coming from it,
the fear to loose control. This seems the main reason why people react so
fast and hard to antiorp. It is a human reaction, and "humansukz". I like
antiorp. I feel like that too often.

It might be good for both us and antiorp to live in peace. Why throw away
such a talent and keep so much overestimated academic bullshit? (no
offence meant to all relevant academic texts)



--from MAX Digest

Date:    Wed, 7 Oct 1998 18:23:29 +0000
From:    Carlton Joseph Wilkinson
Subject: Antiorp, since you brought it up

It's your list, friend, you do whatever you want with it, but I for one
find your actions a helluva lot more offensive than his. I would have
spoken up sooner, but I had no idea this was even under debate. 

I'll give you and the members of the list four points to consider, ranked
as to how important I think they are. Having done this, I will drop the
subject, at least for now. 

1. He has earned my respect and continues to earn my respect by not caving
into shallow, routine standards like those you are trying to apply here
and by continuing to be exactly who is. If he had said, or if he ever
says, "I'm sorry, I'll try to keep my posts on the subject from now on" --
my respect for him would vanish. Worse, with that one cave-in he'ld have
shown us that the antiorp we all knew up to then had all been nothing but
a disposible shtick. My sense is it isn't a shtick. It is a deliberate
choice to live a worthwhile life based on firm principles. It's a culture
of choice, like a religion, that he can't back away from without losing
himself. In that choice, he risks ( and knows it) the rejection that you
just handed him. 

2. Antiorp's ideas are only ideas, they're not bombs, they're not
furniture he's asking you to store. They're ideas that you can ignore if
you want or ponder if you want or argue with or about if you want. They
are ideas that stem directly from the conversations on this list and
therefore are relevant to this list. 

3. You imply that you've given him every opportunity to participate. But
you haven't. You've given him every opportunity to conform--which on
principle he can't do. His participation requires his voice, and his
thorny, difficult speech and confrontational, sometimes derisive style. 

4. It seems right, what you've done, but it's not right. The illusion of
rightness is you hiding behind a common, thoughtless acceptance of
standards of how a community should operate in its own best interests. But
I tell you, order is not always in a community's best interests. Let's say
that again: Order is not always in a community's best interests. The
discourse needs to be preserved--we need to be challenged on our basic
assumptions, not in some "appropriate," rarified philosophical forum, but
where and as differences occur. 

--Carlton Joseph Wilkinson

"If this is the case, and you cannot respect the majority of people's
wishes, I shall have to ask you to leave." --Christopher Murtagh

"reszpekt = bas!s ov ras!zm. fasc!zm. kap!tal!zm"--=cw4t7abs

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