[ox-en] Openness, exclusion of persons, OHA (was: the GPL society, theory or practice?)
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 22:00:23 +0100
Hi John and list!
This whole process we experienced during the last few weeks IMHO is
very much an OHA question. (OHA is an abbreviation I coined some time
ago standing for Organisation/Organization, Herrschaft/Domination?,
Anarchismus/Anarchism. I used this because what I mean is really best
described by all of these seemingly contradictory terms.) However, I'd
say it is a demonstration of a failed OHA process. If the OHA process
would have worked no exceptional measures would have been necessary at
6 days ago John Bywater wrote:
Reasoning about concepts for a brief moment, I'm not sure if openness is
a very good concept, because it can only be meaningful in opposition to
closedness, which it must exclude. But by excluding closedness, openness
falls into an irreducible crisis.
Actually I'm wondering about what openness may mean on a practical
basis. As I said it does not mean anything goes - which seems to be
hard to distinguish for a lot of people. So it includes limits to (at
least) exactly this: anything goes. I mean it makes no sense to call
this project closed because there is a spam filter installed - which
simply keeps the mailing list useable.
A few exceptional exclusions in a general associated flux of openness
could be the exceptions that forge the rule??
In general I'd agree. However, there are many people feeling
responsible for the project who think exclusion of persons is a taboo.
I'd like to share some thoughts on this "We must not exclude someone"
phenomenon a lot of open projects struggle with. Mostly in the German
list we had a looooong discussion about OHA. One of the points made
there was a point as far as I understood has been made in "Empire":
Transcendent reasons vs. immanent reasons. Well, I don't like
transcendency as a concept. I think alienation is a more useful
concept here - and one which raises less confusion.
When I remember this debate I start to wonder whether this "We must
not exclude" attitudes isn't really based on some trancendend /
alienated reasoning. It feels to me that this "We must not exclude
someone" is some divine law - a taboo - which simply *must* be
followed. Without asking for reasons immanent to the group.
I didn't discuss this yet but I think it's an interesting point. In
the mail you replied to I think for the first time I gave reasons why
I find openness *useful* - which indeed to some degree means "We must
not exclude someone"; but only to some degree. As spam shows on a
daily basis there is a big range of things which are not useful for
the purpose of this project and this is of course true for any
project. There are examples in Free Software projects also. The
difficult thing is to decide where the limit is...
Hmm... there is more to think about here. For instance in the German
discussion I'd now expect people to say that a concept like "the
purpose of a project" is pure transcendency. I don't think so. I think
a purpose is a tool which may help to structure your activity. Of
course a tool should not control the person using it - that would be
alienation from the person. But I don't think that a tool necessarily
controls its user.
Ok, enough for today. I'll check whether I have something intelligent
to reply to the remainder of your mail.
Mit Freien Grüßen
Organization: projekt oekonux.de