*X-posted from my blog on http://GlobalSenseMaking.net*Micah Sifry quoted this in his post about the IntenseDebate deployment on Change.Gov:
"I just wanted to say thank you for giving us a place to make our thoughts and comment heard. It's about time the government provide a centralized place for citizens to express their opinions where they feel they will be heard." [Emphasis added by him there.]
My response to him on Twitter was this:
"With 3.7K / 53 pages of comments (and the thread closed), you say ID on Change.Gov is a place people can go to be heard?! #koolaid"
In effect, this says that standing in a crowd with 3,699 other people and holding up a placard is a brave step forward for engaged democracy.
That's non-sense ... and worse: it leads to complacent self-delusion, entirely antithetical to the drive for innovation.
Sidebar: I noticed that Sifry has blocked me on Twitter ...
... to that, I tweeted this: " Well, after years of cold-shoulder I finally got a reaction: blocked by none other than @Mlsif, the high-priest of democracy. #borg #matrix "
The ironies are ripe ... and entirely keeping with what might seem a cynical appraisal on my part: those who are charged with the responsibility of applauding the Emperor's new clothes are doing just that.
Such behavior has consequences.
Most immediately ... well, most immediately is that folk like Micah Sifry are not charged to new levels of aggression rather than deniable disdain and silent contempt. (I notice my login failed at http://www.techpresident.com ... that's Sifry's bully pulpit. He wouldn't do that, would he? That would be positively Soviet.)
Almost as immediately: folk are lulled (or cowed) into mute appreciation. Unless they join the cheering.
Here's what I added to a discussion about ID on Change.Gov:
I like the IntenseDebate crew and project ... but the system is basically a Web2.0 version of 1997 functionality for threading comments. (HyperNews comes to mind ... Daniel LaLiberte's project)
Folk who don't think we need better don't realize the real challenge civil society is facing.
I think we need more ... and I think the Transition Team and the Obama Administration deserve better. We all do.
Adding a few lines on what becomes page 27 of 53 isn't "participatory deliberation" ... it isn't anywhere close to "Democracy 2.0".
It took me 28 years to derive a design ... Jurgen Habermas' "discourse ethics" combined with John Willinsky's "OpenAccess" ... but I can't get a hearing.
Until and unless we recognize the problems there will be no substantive change ... Spin2.0 is still just spin.
And nobody wants to settle for that.
p.s. a note on communications (I was SigInt BTW):
I've sent Feedback a number of notes saying that the footer here breaks in FireFox.
Each time I did, my note was blocked because the form doesn't accept the postal code we use in Canada. The form says it does, but it doesn't. It only works with US ZIP. I use the one for the WhiteHouse (and make a point of saying so).
The footer here still breaks in FireFox ...
... and the form still doesn't accept Canadian Postal Code.
God's in the details, ehh whot?"
I'm sure that such thinking will mark me as an enemy to those who flock to High Priests such as Micah Sifry.
Which goes to show how techne is controlled by social dynamics. Lawrence Lessig was right: moneyed opinions are privileged in decision making, and that needs to be changed. But I say again: that's only part of the picture.
When the oligarchs' partiality is exercised through gross wealth it can be seen and tracked, if not always easily.
When the oligarchs' partiality is manifest through the activity of middle-men, in effect a fifth column, then the common understanding is degraded and the dominant paradigm wins by default. (Read: opportunistic careerists will rationalize the most abominable outrages.)
Unlike the flat/linear format of ID which swamps the vast majority of voices (deniably, which makes the effect only more dangerous for being insidious) what's needed is a method that promotes no individual utterance ... one that proceeds by quality of its content ... one that manifests something of Hesse's glasperlenspiel.
That, IMNSHO, is the need.
But where's the market pull?
Flash ... buzz ... fun ... appearance.
Have some koolaid ... I'm sure Sifry's got a pitcher full of it on his office desk.
p.s. about an hour ago I had an honest.to.god Eureka moment ... that makes ?what? maybe 3 in 54 years. I was yet again going over my theory concerning taxonomy / ontology, tags and categories, topics and subjects, and on and on ... going back over what I've implemented, all the way back to '75 and the resources library database (cards with holes punched along their edges, to be sorted with knitting needles. I adore that!) ... and for no real good reason OLAP came to mind ... OLAP cube ... maybe I visualized a Rubik's cube, I'm not sure ... but it fell into place. IssuePress.com has legs!
With the fixation on success as means to an end I have to wonder, why have studied Phillipe of Macedon, the greatest of great orators? (Want proof of rhetoric? Study his son. *beat* Oh, sorry, I forgot you were ill-lit-rut: Alexander. Yaa, that Alexander. The power of his father's principled nature drove him mad. *shrug* Bummer ... I cudda advised him. You think you're benighted? How'bout that hero?!)
So it comes to this: nice folk like Brett, safely ensconced within the domain of tech docs, to ponder communications. That they are at one remove from the cutting edge of those moral ambiguities is their fate; they are in a self-validating realm. I don't envy them.
Given that rhetoric is morally ambiguous, what would those nice / successful people have to say about sophistry?
To the point: why have I once again posted here. So many posts ... so many hours ... so many days, weeks, months, years ... what brings me here again?
Perhaps it's that butter wouldn't melt in Brett's mouth.
Works for me.