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[- Communal histories - fact or friction?
By amy, Section editors' corner
Posted on Sat Oct 18th, 2003 at 05:53:38 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
Despite being one of the Discordia Developers, I have a mildy-infamous dislike of online discussion forums. Well, perhaps "despite" isn't the right word - my feelings as a type-B "pull" personality facing the type-A "push" world of contemporary list culture led me to lower-impact discussion settings like community weblogs.

But, what happens when online communities are used not for discussion, but for the writing of "history?" Can "everybody" write the history of the Apple Computer? What about the history of Internet art?


[ --------------------------------------------- ]

We know that the writing of a "history" is biased by who the writer is. And we know that online discussions are biased by who the people are who dominate the discussions - through social comfort levels, invitation/moderation/croneyism, access or other factors.
But what happens when we combine the two? When we open the writing of "history" to "everybody?" How will/do readers interpret the bias of these communal histories? (Related issues were also discussed recently in this nettime thread.)

It would also be interesting to hear if some of you decide to edit the two histories mentioned above. (For the Apple weblog you will need to make an account with them first; for the Wikipedia Internet Art page you can just edit it by clicking the "Edit this page" link at the top of that page.)

[ --------------------------------------------- ]

Communal histories - fact or friction? | 4 comments
[new] To clarify a bit... (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#1)
by amy on Sun Oct 19th, 2003 at 09:59:21 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

After reviewing the above-mentioned nettime thread this evening, I thought it might be worth clarifying my interest here: I don't mean to focus on whether people might post to open forums with inflammatory intent or delete one another's contributions. I'm more interested in considering who posts to "open" forums in the first place. I really don't think it's "everybody"... Will "dominant" net personalities ultimately write the communal online histories we see developing now? (I don't mean trolls, but rather, those folks who, for various reasons, tend to dominate online discussions.) If so, will that bias be evident to past/future readers of these histories?

I'm not suggesting that "open" histories and forums should be discarded or dismissed so that we can go back to having only closed ones. Rather, I'm suggesting that with histories that clearly have closed authorship, bias is obvious, and that with open histories clearly written in a slanted, ill-informed, or inflammatory way, bias is obvious. But how obvious are more subtle biases - for example, who feels comfortable posting, who knows about the forum, etc - in seemingly "open" histories?

# begin amy's sig
-- Discordia is nice.
# end amy's sig

  • blogging a dead horse by paullloydsargent, 11/10/2003 05:11:15 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME (2.00 / 1)
  • who... by joerabie, 10/19/2003 03:52:27 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME (none / 0)
    • who + what by amy, 10/20/2003 06:24:52 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME (2.00 / 1)
Communal histories - fact or friction? | 4 comments

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