Message 00765 [Homepage] [Navigation]
Thread: joxT00615 Message: 57/65 L17 [In date index] [In thread index]
[First in Thread] [Last in Thread] [Date Next] [Date Prev]
[Next in Thread] [Prev in Thread] [Next Thread] [Prev Thread]

Re: Ridiculous arguments (was: [jox] Journal report - 19 August 2011)

[Converted from multipart/alternative]

[1 text/plain]
I'd like to begin by echoing Athina's plea. Please stop being mean to one
another; it is clearly damaging the project. People are leaving.

@mathieu - i understand that you feel insulted and upset, but you are also
participating in the ugliness by calling Stefan and troll and a child.
 These kind of insults are not needed to make your point.

I remember when the accusations of anti-semitism happened and ox lost two
important voices (matteo and dmytri). The worst thing about that debate was
that it all revolved around a misunderstanding. On the one hand, Stefan felt
that Matteo had put forward an inaccurate view of _GNU Society_ and related
projects (and perhaps he had). On the other hand, Stefan had no prior
knowledge of the work of Michel Serres and jumped to wrong conclusions. His
book, The Parasite, is a theory of relations - a wonderful book which is
anything but anti-Semitic. But that's besides the point. Stefan didn't
hadn't that situation very well, and could have been more modest in his
response. He definitely should have thought twice about using the idea of
anti-Semitism, where attached to a person or the structure of an argument.
It's obviously deeply insulting either way.

@Stefan you obviously feel strongly about your ideas, but I do agree that
you don't express them in ways that show respect for your interlocutors.

I think that part of the issue revolves around the identity of the journal,
being not just a publishing avenue for peer-production, but also an
experiment in it. Thus, what gets talked about bears directly on what the
journal should be and how it should be organised.

Here is how I feel about what has been talked about lately:

- We should keep the journal name as it is. While _commons_ may or may not
be technically more accurate (and i'm not going either way), _peer
production_ remains the better known title (due to Benkler - and i know
commons is in their too, but peer production is the term most often used). I
also think it's not overly important because the point of a name is mostly
to signify the kind of conversation that takes place in the journal and both
names would do that fine enough. In fact, i think it's best to remain out of
the nuanced debates with regards to the name, because we want it to serve as
an umbrella, not a filter. For example, _GNU Society_ or _Oekonux Futures_
or whatever wouldn't be suitable IMO. _Peer Production_ is nice and generic!

- One thing that has been overlooked in the naming conversation is the word
_Critical_ in the title. I think this is important. It suggests that the
journal is not just about the best way to implement p2p/peer production
ideas. It is just as much a place to critically reflect on these processes,
on their strengths and weaknesses, and to weigh up different versions
against one another. This requires the recognition that different people on
the list will have different perspectives, which must be respected. We all
could learn from how Michel Bauwens manages the p2p list/foundation, who
does a wonderful balancing act with all the different positions he manages
to bring into the fold. If I'm being totally honest, I think this is
something that Stefan especially needs to work on. Figuring out how to
encourage critical perspectives without spiraling into silly attacks is
something we all need to work on.

- One possible solution is to change the format slightly. There has been a
lot of discussion on the journal list, and I personally don't think it's the
best place for it. Some discussion is ok, but the journal list should mostly
be about the journal (new issues, structure, reviews etc.). I think it also
alienates members of the committee who don't have the time to participate as
much. Some of the past discussion is the kind of stuff that could go into a
debate section and some could even be worked into full length articles. In
other words, we need to channel the energy and conversation from the list
and turn it into more publications! Using the academic format might also be
a good way for people to work out their disagreements in position without
having recourse to name-calling.

- I think the journal needs to distance itself from ox. It is not a journal
about oekonux, and it doesn't rely on oekonux for its existence or energy.
We can get another server going and move the content somewhere else. That
said, Stefan and whoever else from oekonux have obviously been super
important and done a great job in helping everything get started. Oekonux
members are very welcome, but do not hold more authority or esteem simply
because of that association. The project/journal should not feel held back
by its connection to oekonux.

- Generally i think that Mathieu has done a great job as lead editor. I am
totally happy with the judgement calls he has made and the way he has gone
about things (and all these nice words after getting a slam from him in our

- Finally, some of you know that i am not as openly supportive of p2p as
others. Indeed, my work tries to make critical interventions into the ways
that people are thinking about these developments. It is not because I am
conservative or a champion of capitalism(s), but because I worry about p2p
being put forward as an answer to all our problems, as if it won't have its
own issues, its own violences. I don't believe that so i try to point to
things that go unacknowledged or unseen in these projects. What is important
in all this, however, is an attempt to improve things. For people to get
involved in these projects, they have to be attracted to them. Maybe
debt-capitalism will explode and that will moves things along, but i'd be
very surprised if everyone just decided that p2p was the way to go in the
middle of societal breakdown! Thus, the best way to create new social
alternatives is to make them attractive, to show that there are better ways
to do things - better ways to treat one another. Otherwise, why would anyone
want to get involved? This is also true for the journal.


Nate Tkacz

ARC Research Associate
Genealogies of Digital Light
The University of Melbourne

PhD Candidate
School of Culture and Communication
The University of Melbourne


Research Page:

On Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 10:30 PM, Mathieu ONeil <mathieu.oneil>wrote:

[Converted from multipart/alternative]

[1 text/plain]
Hi Athina, all

First, welcome to the fiftieth subscriber to this list, who just signed up!

Second, sorry about the heat but IMHO this has now gone beyond a private

Obviously Stefan Merten has contributed enormously to the project - by
organising the Oekonux conference at which some of us met, which led to my
putting my hand up as editor of this journal; and by setting up the website.
But since March(?) of this year he decided to step back because of
disagreement over the publication process. It now appears he is
disillusioned with the journal (a "dead horse" in his own words) yet insists
on enforcing rigid definitions of appropriate content. In addition he has
engaged in the following:

-inflammatory language (see previous messages to Michel or me)
-unfounded accusations (I am apparently engaging in backdoor machinations
to "fight the spirit of Oekonux" - whatever that is)
-blatant lying (cf. "I never attacked anyone for being an antisemite" - oh
yeah, whats this?)
-insistence on process issues (should the journal list be used for this or
that? my view is, the people on the list can use the list however they see
fit without referring to some "charter")
-so it all ends being about him - his views, his difficult behaviour - will
he answer message x, y, z, and when? -, how we should deal with the fact he
doesn't seem to _get it_
when several people (me, Christian, Michel) try to explain that there is
 not one orthodoxy here, that multiple POVs are allowed. Someone who wanted
to engage in amateur psychology might say he appears to be - subconsciously?
- "trolling" the
project he helped create, like a child who can't get his chosen toy and
decides to
spoil the party.

The question is, should we continue to put up with this? Only Michel and I
have stood up to the bullying. Should others say what they think? The sad
thing is, Stefan has a uniquely central role to play in this project because
of his knowledge about peer production and his technical skills - there are
lots of things that need to be done to the website for example - but his
insistence on one orthodoxy and his abrasive behaviour make it very hard to
work with him...



On 09/06/11, Athina Karatzogianni  <athina.k> wrote:
[Converted from multipart/alternative]

[1 text/plain]
Dear Mathieu, Stefan, and I ll include here Michel as well because of the
other discussion currently unfolding.

May I suggest that the interpersonal issues that you may have are
in private and not on the list in such a public way, which really is not
appropriate. As an outsider I can tell you that it just makes a bizarre
and we could all do without the accelerated affect usually accompanying
emails of this nature, and get on with the projects at hand. Whatever
you may have between you it is really not of interest here and they do
diminish the contributions you have made in your respective projects. I
think lets see more of that and less of this.

I hope my intervention is taken as intended.

Lets get over all this, we all have more things in common than not.


On Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 6:28 AM, Mathieu ONeil <mathieu.oneil

[Converted from multipart/alternative]

[1 text/plain]
Hi Stefan

I understand you are probably still upset that the publication / peer
process is not  more distributed or transparent. If there is a way for
people to post for examples reviews and remain 100% anonymous, fine. If
want to experiment with ways to do that that do not affect the
work, fine.


I have consistently tried to offer you a platform to _say what you
I fail to see how this is "building strawmen".
I have consistently tried to achieve consensus from the community.
I have consistently encouraged all to express themselves freely.
I have consistently tried to be as fair and open as possible, both on

I dare you to bring up any issue that contradicts this.

If there is anything _real_ or _concrete_ that you want to raise, go
ahead. But if all you want to do is vent your spleen at things not
exactly how you want, then I would request that you maintain these
where they belong, in your mind, and not on this list, as they are _not
helping_. This is causing me stress and anxiety and I am tired of it.

Some of the statements below are bordering on the pathological. What
have I
done "behind the scenes"? I merely pointed out that only StefanMz had
supported your position - that is the _reality_ of what happened. How
this "setting up parties"? What "other stuff" do you mean? This is
name-calling and bullying.


Thanks for the offer but after building up strawmen and front lines
above this sounds somewhat strange...

Mathieu, this project started after the fourth Oekonux Conference and
I understood that it's goal is to keep this spirit. My impression is
that you are fighting this spirit behind the scenes - like with
setting up parties and using ridiculous arguments like above but also
with other stuff.

Mathieu, if you want to make CSPP (or how you are going to call it
tomorrow) something which contradicts Oekonux then this is your
decision I have to respect. From a few seasoned leftists during all
these years I heard things like "Oekonux is something which restores
hope - *although* it is not the same old stuff!". In fact this is why
I like Oekonux and it's spirit. If you want to move this project to
the same old, same old then you should make this clear ASAP. Then
everyone here can make a decision on how to proceed. BTW: A mixture
same old and new open-mindedness seems stupid to me because it
serve anybody really.



Dr Mathieu O'Neil
Adjunct Research Fellow
Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute
College of Arts and Social Science
The Australian National University
email: mathieu.oneil[at]

[2 text/html]

Dr Athina Karatzogianni<,_culture_and_society/staff/karatzogianni,_dr_athina.aspx

Lecturer in Media, Culture and Society
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The University of Hull
United Kingdom
T: ++44 (0) 1482 46 5790
F: ++44 (0) 1482 466107
E: a.karatzogianni

Download my work for free here:

[2 text/html]

Dr Mathieu O'Neil
Adjunct Research Fellow
Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute
College of Arts and Social Science
The Australian National University
email: mathieu.oneil[at]

[2 text/html]

[2 text/html]

Thread: joxT00615 Message: 57/65 L17 [In date index] [In thread index]
Message 00765 [Homepage] [Navigation]