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Re: [ox-en] Terminology: Peer X?

Hi Stefan, hi all,

Stefan Merten wrote:
During the P2P workshop people generally used the term "peer
production" to name the production which is done "based on the
principles of the production of Free Software". The last quotes
contain the term I used so far if I wanted to be exact. As you can see
it is quite longish.

I wonder whether it makes sense to use that term "peer production" in
general. At least it is far more handy than "based on the principles
of the production of Free Software".

It makes sense -- "peer production" is certainly the most usual term to
identify the phenomenon we are talking about, and I'm not aware of a better one.

"Peer" is also useful at it may be used as an attribute - like in
"peer economy". So you can name all the phenomenons around peer
production in a similar way which makes up for a nice word family.

Using "peer" as an adjective is useful in some cases, especially when
talking about "peer X" vs. other kinds of X. In my book
<>, I talk about the "peer economy"
(as opposed to market economy, planned economy), peer producers or peer
prosumers, peer projects, peer cooperation, etc.

But I would be careful about attaching a new prefix to old terms, since the
old terms might not just give up their old meaning. There is a reason we
talk about "presidents", not about "democratic kings".

Therefore, I don't talk about "peer governance" in my book, but simply about
 "decision making and conflict resolution", since I think that these are the
two aspects of governance that remain relevant in a peer context, while
other aspects of governance-as-we-know-it-today no longer matter.

I see three problems with this. First, "peer" reminds me very much of
the peer review done in scientific publishing. That could be a bit
misleading for those used to that meaning of peer but on the other
hand there are also some similarities so it is not too far-fetched.

Yes, there are some similarities so I wouldn't see this as a problem.

Second "peer" in this context reminds probably most people of
"peer-to-peer"/P2P which in my opinion is totally misleading since
virtually all people understand P2P == file sharing == copyright
violation - which is more or less the opposite to peer production.
Because of this concern I didn't like terms like the P2P foundation

I too think that the association with "peer-to-peer" is misleading, not
because of any possible "copyright violation" association (who cares?), but
because file sharing is only about distribution, not about producing
anything new. (Of course, distribution is an essential part of production.)
But file sharing is still about sharing, and creating free software and
content is also about sharing (though probably a "nobler" sort of sharing),
so I don't think this association is too bad. We might just want to
emphasize that peer != peer-to-peer and that distribution alone is not enough.

Third "peer" seems to ring that bell of personal relationships - which
is certainly not what is the main thing in peer production. But as I'm
not a native English speaker I may be misguided here. May be a native
English speaker can help with clarifying this?

Well, there are no personal relationships in "peer review" (for example),
and definitions such as "a person who is of equal standing with another in a
group" [] (implying that in peer
production nobody can command or coerce others) are good enough for me.

Best regards

|-------- Dr. Christian Siefkes --------- christian ----------
| Homepage:     | Blog:
| Producto AG: | OpenPGP Key ID:    0x346452D8
Anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions
is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my
apartment. (I live on the twenty-first floor.)
	--  Alan D. Sokal, A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies

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