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Re:[ox-en] A name for a peer-production-based society?

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Hi Mathieu, Stefan Mn,
Robin, Nathan and all

on 15sep09, Mathieu wrote:
"The problem for
me is simple: if one were to say that a name / slogan is necessary,
the name has to sound good. I'm sorry, but I cant find an aesthetic /
communicational pleasure / punch in the term "gratisist" -
to me it just does not sound right. Commonist may be wrong
substantially but it has a better ring in my view. " 

I don't think that the
"sound" of the word is such an important question. Of
course within some limits: a word impossible or too difficult to
pronounce, for example, would be a hindrance. But the sound of a term
is greatly induced by its content, its meaning and its use.

It remembers me the story
of that very young writer who wanted to find a beautiful pseudonym to
sign his writings, a pseudonym which "sounds great". But he
had the feeling that all the best ones had already been taken:
Shakespeare, Goethe, Dante... Shakespeare sounds great not because of
the musical composition of its syllables but because Shakespeare
wrote great things.

I think that if the
meaning of a word is really necessary and useful, its "sound"
will improve as it used by more and more people. 

Mathieu doesn't give a
precise opinion about the NEED of a name for a peer-production-based
society. Stefan Merten does: "I agree that it would be very
useful to find a name for such a society" (6oct09) Robin
Upton is also very clear: "It is worth spending time to think
of suitable names, since this decides how people categorise stuff,
and therefore which frames they apply to it." (7oct09)

Stefan proposes some
conditions for such a word:

"We can at least
try [to find a word] and
may be we can reach some sort of agreement. I think the goal would be
to find a term

1. which sounds well

2. is not too wrong /

3. is not burdened with
historical meaning."


I agree with these
conditions, relativising the first one as I already did. I would add
a 4th one: the capacity to be translated easily in other

Dealing with the second
condition ('is not too wrong') Stefan makes a criticism to the
term "gratisism": "However, another important
characteristic - production based on Selbstentfaltung - is not caught
by gratisism."


It is true that the
precise concept of Selbsentaltung is not caught by gratisism. But it
may be not so far. Gratisism means that you get products for free,
but it also means that you produce for free. Producing for free can
be the case for a forced-labor camp, which is here obviously out of
scope. Here it means producing "for the pleasure". Pleasure
is part of the concept of Selbsentfaltung.

Stefan Mn:

"Not too long ago
in Oekonux we agreed on using the term "peer production" as
describing the more general phenomenon we are witnessing. "


Peer production is a nice
term and we were right to adopt it. However I think it has two small

- the meaning of the term
is hardly understandable for people not used to the reality of "peer"
relations and the term "production" doesn't say much by
itself; fortunately the understanding of "peer" will
inevitably develop as the "peer" practices expand.

- it is not always easy to
translate. For example, in the French Wikipedia it is translated by
"travail collaboratif", that is "collaborative work".
Collaborative is really vague and work is wrong since producing for
pleasure is not work. When I write in French I
prefer to use the English term itself.

Stefan Mn:

« Contrary to
"gratisism" the term "peer production" focuses
very much on the production aspect. In a way these both terms
complement each other nicely. A combination of both would thus
probably not be too wrong (2.) and not burdened with meaning (3.).
But I can't think of a term which sounds well (1.): "peergratisism"?
"gratispeerism"? "peeratism"? Well, the last one
sounds sexy ;-)."


Well, as I already said, I
am not convinced that the question of sound is so important. But I
find interesting the term "peer-gratisism", because it
allows to specify that we are not dealing with gratisism based on
financing by advertising, nor by taxes, As Robin puts it: "Familiar
words make it easier for people to understand (or to think they
understand, which may not be good)."
Gratisism is not a familiar word, but "gratis" is. And,
familiarly, many gratis products are financed by advertising or
taxes. Adding peer to gratisism may help to prevent a misleading



"I use 'altruism'
to describe my work, since this word still has many positive
connotations and a suitable etymology."

RV: Altruism
is indeed opposite to business, to the capitalist logic and more
generally to the commercial practices, since it means giving without
waiting for a reward. But as such it tends to be associated to the
religious vision of "sacrifice". The idea of giving,
producing for pleasure, which is a crucial aspect of peer production,
is, or may be absent. 

(English) says:

"Altruism is
selfless concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional
virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious
traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism,
Buddhism, Confucianism, Sikhism, and many others." 

to Stefan's conditions, I would say that “altruism” is weak for
the second (is not too wrong / misunderstandable) and the
third ( is not burdened with historical meaning).


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