[FM Discuss] reflections on collaborative futures
adam at flossmanuals.net
Tue Jan 26 23:01:15 PST 2010
thanks for the support and encouragement :)
actually, i just spent yesterday looking at the book. the structural
issues are there but not too bad ...i'm guess i'm too close to it still,
my opinion will probably flip flop the next days
a webcam could be fun to do ... will see if its possible next sprint
On Tue, 2010-01-26 at 14:40 -0500, Joshua Facemyer wrote:
> Just a quick response (there's so much to respond about!!):
> I think that, no matter how "successful" the book-formation was, the
> sprint would have to be successful, being an opportunity to see how
> several different things work (both technical and collaborational).
> I think what you did is phenomenal. I wish I could have been there!
> Congrats to all who were involved!
> Maybe, in the future, you could do some sort of video stream for
> booksprints. That might really help improve real-time collaboration.
> And we can all "be there" :)
> On 01/25/2010 02:43 PM, adam hyde wrote:
> > hi,
> > so, we locked 5 people in a room with aco and i and we wrote a book in 5
> > days. it was an extremely interesting experiment. i am still recovering
> > from it and i can not yet clearly think about the book, the process etc
> > but i wanted to write a few things for the list....
> > firstly, i admit to being scared about this project. to ask 5 people (+
> > Aco) who don't know each other to come to berlin and write a book in 5
> > days when all they have is the title...thats kinda scarey. i did not
> > know if we would succeed or even what constituted success. failure to me
> > was that those involved thought it was a waste of time. i had warned all
> > involved that we might fail, including the transmediale festival that
> > was funding the sprint.
> > the thing that concerned me most was that we were embarking on an
> > entirely new type of Book Sprint. Previous sprints had been about
> > writing procedural documentation. Perhaps the only books deviating
> > slightly from this might be the GSoC Mentoring guide and possibly parts
> > of the CiviCRM manual.
> > When I look at procedural documentation of free software I see it as a
> > known - yes we can make excellent books in short time frames. when there
> > is something concrete infront of you then it is possible to describe it,
> > and it is also possible for others to describe the same thing and extend
> > the text. there is a shared understanding of what it is you are writing
> > about and we have developed a methodology to do this....however this
> > sprint was directed by nothing other than the speculative title
> > 'collaborative futures'. how do you get 5 people to share a vision about
> > something so intangible? Collaboration itself is a abstract notion with
> > very grey boundaries and a million different histories and
> > contexts...adding 'the future' to this seemed to adjectify the already
> > vague grounds into a barely visible haze
> > tricky.
> > additionally we did _no_ discussion before everyone entered the room on
> > Monday morning (day 1). nothing discussed over email, no background
> > reading. nothing. this was deliberate as i wanted to be hard about the
> > 0->book in 5 days....to add more flavour to the event we were also using
> > an alpha pre-release version of a new type of software and Aco was in
> > the room with us building the software as we used it (happy to say that
> > booki now seems pretty robust and is now starting to exceed the
> > functionality of the FM tool set)...
> > thankfully we had a good team and also a team that knew very well that
> > this process was an experiment and it might fail. Those in attendance
> > were Mushon Zer-Aviv, Michael Mandiberg, Mike Linksvayer, Marta Peirano,
> > Alan Toner, Aleksandar Erkalovic (Aco) and me (facilitator). ..for those
> > that don't know the line-up I have put their bios at the bottom of this
> > email.
> > the team was astonishing - a broad range of experiences and the feeling
> > in the team was really amazing. very warm and friendly while at the time
> > being open to challenge and straight talk.
> > During the first day we relied heavily on traditional 'unconference'
> > technologies – namely colored sticky notes. With reference to
> > Unconferences we always need to tip the hat to Allen Gunn and Aspiration
> > for their inspirational execution of this format. We took many ideas
> > from Aspiration's Unconferences during the process of this sprint and we
> > also brought much of what had been learned from previous Book Sprints to
> > the table. First, before the introductions, we each wrote as many notes
> > as we could about what we thought this book was going to be about. The
> > list consists of the following:
> > * When Collaboration Breaks.
> > * Collaboration (super) Models.
> > * Plausible near and long term development of collaboration tech,
> > methods, etc. Social impact of the same. How social impact can
> > be made positive. Dangers to look out for.
> > * Licenses cannot go two ways.
> > * Incriminating Collaborations.
> > * In the future much of what is valuable will be made by
> > communities. What type of thing will they be? What rules will
> > they have for participation? What can the social political
> > consequences be?
> > * Sharing vs Collaboration.
> > * How to deconstruct and reassemble publishing?
> > * Collaboration and its relationship to FLOSS and GIT communities.
> > * What is collaboration? How does it differ from cooperation?
> > * What is the role of ego in collaboration?
> > * Attribution can kill collaboration as attribution = ownership.
> > * Sublimation of authorship and ego.
> > * Models of collaboration. Historical framework of collaboration.
> > Influence of technology enabling collaboration.
> > * Successful free culture economic models.
> > Then each presented who they were and their ideas and projects as they
> > are related to free culture, free software, and collaboration. The
> > process was open to discussion and everyone was encouraged to write as
> > many points, questions, statements, on sticky notes and put them on the
> > wall. During this first day we wrote about 100 sticky notes with short
> > statements like:
> > * "Art vs Collaboration"
> > * "Free Culture does not require maintenance"
> > * "Transparent premises"
> > * "Autonomy: better term than free/open?"
> > * "Centralised silos vs community"
> > * "Free Culture posturing"
> > ...and other cryptic references to the thoughts of the day. We stuck
> > these notes on a wall and after all of the presentations (and dinner) we
> > grouped them under titles that seemed to act as appropriate meta tags.
> > We then drew from these groups the 6 major themes. We finished at
> > midnight. i was not sure if we had made enough ground.
> > Day two – 10.00 kick off. I woke at 5am wondering how the hell we were
> > going to make this work. I woke up Aco in the next room and ranted a bit
> > about what we could try. We had breakfast, went to the venue and the
> > strategy was that we simply each choose a sticky note from one of the
> > major themes and started writing. It was important for us to just 'get
> > in the flow' and hence we wrote for the rest of the day until dinner.
> > Then we went to the Turkish markets for burek, coffee and fresh
> > Pomegranates.
> > The rest of the evening we re-aligned the index, smoothed it out, and
> > identified a more linear structure. We finished up at about 23.00
> > Day three – At 10.00 we started with a brief recap of the new index
> > structure and then we also welcomed two new collaborators in the
> > realspace – Mirko Lindner and Michelle Thorne. Later in the day, when
> > Booki had been debugged a lot by Aco, we welcomed our first remote
> > collaborator – Sophie Kampfrath. Then we wrote... at the end of the day
> > we restructured the first two sections, did a word count (17,000 words)
> > and made sushi.
> > After sushi we argued about attribution and almost finished the first
> > two sections. Closing time around midnight.
> > Day four – A late start (11.00) and we are also joined by Ela Kagel, one
> > of the curators from transmediale. Ela presented about herself and
> > transmediale and then we discussed possible ways Ela could contribute
> > and we also discussed the larger structure of the book. Later Sophie
> > joined us in real space to help edit and also Jon Cohrs came at dinner
> > time to see how he could contribute. Word count at sleep time (22.00):
> > 27,000.
> > Day five – The last day. We arrived at 10.00 and discussed the
> > structure. Andrea Goetzke and Jon Cohrs joined us. We identified areas
> > to be addressed, slightly altered the order of chapters, addressed the
> > (now non-existent) processes section, and forged ahead. We finished 2200
> > on the button. Objavi, the publishing engine for Booki, generated a
> > book-formatted PDF in 2 minutes. Done. Word count ~33,000
> > As I understand it transmediale will print between 200-500 copies of the
> > book.
> > so...what are my thoughts on the book? I find it very hard to reflect on
> > its success 'as a book'. I see the experiment a success. i find the
> > content and process has changed how i think about collaboration and
> > provoked some questions about collaboration that i dont know how to
> > answer. As for the book as a book - I think it has some major structural
> > issues and i think its scope goes too far. However i think it still
> > works. in all likelihood it will be used as a teaching resource in NYU,
> > parsons, and Staten Island University since thats where 2 of the
> > participants teach...so that is in itself a success. However I think we
> > can do better. I remember the first procedural documentation book sprint
> > (Inkscape) and I remember the weeks after that event thinking how we
> > could have easily improved the process. We did improve it and I think
> > our sprints have become better and better. I can already see that in
> > sprints like this with a more speculative narrative we need to focus
> > much more on structure and 'writing in support of a conclusion'....the
> > methodologies still need to be worked out but i feel very positive about
> > the future of this kind of sprint...also, I think if this book wasn't
> > sooo extremely speculative much of these concerns would have been
> > addressed...
> > anyways...it was a fantastic experiment. i enjoyed it very much and i
> > would be very interested in your thoughts on what i have written and the
> > content of the book (http://www.booki.cc/collaborativefutures)
> > ...until then, heres the bios of those involved:
> > The starting 7 included:
> > Mushon Zer-Aviv is a designer, an educator and a media activist from
> > Tel-Aviv, based in NY. His work explores media in public space and the
> > public space in media. In his creative research he focuses on the
> > perception of territory and borders and the way they are shaped through
> > politics, culture, networks and the World Wide Web. He is the co-founder
> > of Shual.com – a foxy design studio; ShiftSpace.org – an open source
> > layer above any website; YouAreNotHere.org – a dislocative tourism
> > agency; Kriegspiel – a computer game based on Guy Debord’s Game of War;
> > and the Tel Aviv node of the Upgrade international network. Mushon is an
> > honorary resident at Eyebeam – an art and technology center in New York.
> > He teaches new media research at NYU and open source design at Parsons
> > the New School of Design.
> > Mike Linksvayer is Vice President at Creative Commons, where he started
> > as CTO in 2003. Previously he co-founded Bitzi, an early open data/open
> > content/mass collaboration service, and worked as a web developer and
> > software engineer. In 1993 he published one of the first interviews with
> > Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux. He is a co-founder and currently
> > active in Autonomo.us, which investigates and works to further the role
> > of free software, culture, and data in an era of software-as-a-service
> > and cloud computing. His chapter on "Free Culture in Relation to
> > Software Freedom" was published in FREE BEER, a book written by speakers
> > at FSCONS 2008. Linksvayer holds a degree from the University of
> > Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in economics, a field which continues to
> > strongly inform his approach. He lives in Oakland, California.
> > Michael Mandiberg is known for selling all of his possessions online on
> > Shop Mandiberg, making perfect copies of copies on
> > AfterSherrieLevine.com, and creating Firefox plugins that highlight the
> > real environmental costs of a global economy on TheRealCosts.com. His
> > current projects include the co-authored groundbreaking Creative Commons
> > licensed textbook "Digital Foundations: an Intro to Media Design" that
> > teaches Bauhaus visual principles through design software;
> > HowMuchItCosts.us, a car direction site that incorporates the financial
> > and carbon cost of driving; and Bright Bike, a retro-reflective bicycle
> > praised by treehugger.com as “obnoxiously bright.” He is a Senior Fellow
> > at Eyebeam, and an Assistant Professor at the College of Staten
> > Island/CUNY. He lives in, and rides his bicycle around, Brooklyn. His
> > work lives at Mandiberg.com.
> > Marta Peirano writes about culture, science and technology for the
> > Spanish media, encompassing newspapers, online journals and printed
> > magazines. She is a long term contributor and founder of the online
> > media arts journal Elástico and is the author of "La Petite Claudine", a
> > widely read blog in the Spanish language about art, literature, free
> > culture, pornography (and everything in between). In 2003 and 2004 she
> > directed the Copyfight Festivals in Spain (CCCB, Santa Mónica) with her
> > collective Elástico, a symposium and exhibition that investigated
> > alternative models of intellectual property. Marta has given numerous
> > lectures and workshops on free culture, digital publishing tools and
> > journalism at festivals and universities. She recently published "El
> > Rival de Prometeo", a book about Automatas and the engineering of the
> > Enlightenment. She currently lives in Berlin and is working on a second
> > book.
> > Alan Toner was born in Dublin and studied law in Trinity College Dublin
> > and NYU Law School, where he was later a fellow in the Information Law
> > Institute and the Engelberg Center on Law and Innovation. His research
> > is focused on the countervailing impact of peer processes and
> > information enclosure on cultural production and social life. In 2003 he
> > worked on the grassroots campaign 'We Seize!' challenging the UN World
> > Summit on the Information Society; he has participated extensively in
> > grassroots media and information freedom movements. Since 2006 he has
> > also worked in documentary film, including co-writing and co-producing
> > "Steal This Film 2" (2007). In 2008 he co-created the archival site
> > http://footage.stealthisfilm.com/. Currently he's writing a book on the
> > history of economic and technological control in the film industry.
> > Sometimes he can be found near Alexanderplatz, and at
> > http://knowfuture.wordpress.com/.
> > Aleksandar Erkalovic is reknowned internationally in the new media arts
> > and activist circles for the software he has developed. He used to work
> > in Multimedia institute in Croatia, where he was the lead developer of a
> > popular NGO web publishing system (TamTam). Aleksander has a broad
> > spectrum of programming experience having worked on many projects from
> > multiplayer games, library software, financial applications, artistic
> > projects, and web site analysis applications, to building systems for
> > managing domain registration. Aleksander was for a long time the sole
> > programmer for FLOSS Manuals and is now leading the development
> > (together with Adam Hyde and Douglas Bagnall) of a new GPL-licensed type
> > of collaborative authoring and publishing platform called 'Booki'.
> > Aleksander's new media artistic collaborations have won many awards, as
> > well as being extensively exhibited internationally. Aleksander also
> > organises creative and educative workshops directed to young people,
> > experts, and amateurs that are interested in the software he has
> > developed and free software in general. He is currently also employed by
> > Informix in Zagreb, Croatia.
> > Adam Hyde was for many years a digital artist primarily exploring
> > digital-analog hybrid broadcast systems. These projects included The
> > Frequency Clock, Polar Radio, Radio-Astronomy, net.congestion, re:mote,
> > Free Radio Linux, Wifio, Paper Cup Telephone Network, Mobicasting,
> > Silent TV and others. Many of these projects have won awards and have
> > been widely exhibited internationally. Since returning from a residency
> > in Antartica in 2007 Adam founded FLOSS Manuals and has been focused on
> > increasing the quantity and quality of free documentation about free
> > software through FLOSS Manuals, exploring emerging methodologies for
> > collaborative book production (Book Sprints), and developing Booki with
> > Aleksander and Douglas. Adam has facilitated over 16 Book Sprints, is
> > also the co-founder (with Eric Kluitenberg) of the forthcoming
> > Electrosmog Festival for Sustainable Immobility and facilitator of the
> > forthcoming Arctic Perspectives technology cahier.
> > adam
Founder FLOSS Manuals
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Email : adam at flossmanuals.net
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