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[liberationtech] Self-determined publics
sbenthall at gmail.com
Mon Jul 29 22:47:37 PDT 2013
I really like the way you frame this. Please do share anything you find on
You might find interesting (if you haven't seen it already) Chris Kelty's
term *recursive public*, which he uses to describe geekdom (with an
emphasis on open source software communities) as a whole.
"A recursive public is a public that is vitally concerned with the material
and practical maintenance and modification of the technical, legal,
practical, and conceptual means of its own existence as a public; it is a
collective independent of other forms of constituted power and is capable
of speaking to existing forms of power through the production of actually
If you'll forgive the self-promotion, you might find this work on Weird
Twitter (an on-line community not unlike what you describe) and symbolic
bounded network communities of interest.
On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 9:45 PM, Michael Allan <mike at zelea.com> wrote:
> Below I define what I call "self-determined publics". Has anything
> similar been attempted before?
> A self-determined public is an open, topical community that
> proclaims the definitive bounds of its own communications. The
> proclamation takes the form of a timely sequence of references
> (e.g. web links) each pointing to a communication of the public,
> such that all references together define the total of that public's
> communications in time and space. For example:
> Ago Place Title (click to visit thread)
> ------- --------- ------------------------------------------
> 17 min r/Foo How do we attach the doohickey?
> 5 hr Foo-L The problem with so and so's proposal.
> 1 day FuBarz Who are these Foos, anyway?
> 1 day r/Foo This, that, and the next thing.
> 2 days FooStack What's the best thingamy for such and such?
> . . . and so on
> The boundary proclamation is similar in form to a conventional news
> feed. It concerns a specific topic or category. Differences are
> in a) the exclusion of mass communications, b) the claim to
> totality, and c) the self-determination that redeems that claim.
> (a) A principle criterion for inclusion is that one may immediately
> join any of the referenced communications as a peer. One-way, mass
> communications are excluded.
> (b) The boundary proclamation claims to cover the entire public
> discussion of the topic across all communication media and sites.
> It claims to be the most complete, accurate and timely overview of
> the extended discussion that is available anywhere.
> (c) This claim is redeemed by the public members themselves who
> submit the references, self-organize the necessary labour, and
> self-constitute the necessary government. No aspect of this
> redeeming self-determination is controlled by an external
> I'm looking for brief pointers, please. I don't know of any actual
> implementations of this, or projects that are working on it. I'll
> share what's found.
> Michael Allan
> Toronto, +1 416-699-9528
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