Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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Random notes from Xcom 2002

Today (well yesterday, now) was NTK's Festival of Inappropriate Technology, I took along a laptop and took some notes at a couple of the panels. I'll post more tomorrow, along with an EtherPEG or two of the event.

Discussion of Online Communities

Mailing lists, online applications, blogging: tools mentioned – Beta, Smartgroups.

Online communities are an ongoing conversation - people can drop in and out as they want.

Moderators need to be trustworthy. Need to be trusted by the people on the site. Part of the growth of the community is the development of new moderators

Politics is implicit in the software - e.g metafilter - communities

UBB - appoint moderators and administrators - hierarchical. Develop new software with distributed moderation model, so software recapitulates the way the board operates - distributed anarchy.

Suggestion based approach. Removes the position of power. Or at least this is the intention...

Commercial versus "organically" created communities

"Where do people go if they can't find an online community for them?" "They go to Usenet"

"The best communities are run as benevolent dictatorships"

"There has to be a broad spectrum of views - but where do you deal with the interesting fringe content?" "Moderators need to hear the tuts and murmurs"

"There is a big difference between online communities and the real world - they are not based on physical locations"

"Online you don't necessarily happen to know who someone is."

"The conversation is being broadcast"

“20 groups for sharing recipes created in 3 to 5 days”

Dealing with trolls

“You can self-moderate via killfiles”

One option is timed “ignores” – so “ignore for a week” rather than disappearing someone for ever.

Smartgroups – different source of community – sponsored by Freeserve - Additional features – votes, photos – no filtering in the application – all user-driven

Some people can be obsessed with the destruction of an online community – emotional involvement in destructive activity – can make people rethink application design, community rules.

“I bought a book on getting classrooms to behave.”

“Online communities as mutual support groups for paranoids”

Allow communities to define how people become members – e.g. vote over time. Reputations as a means of showing how involved people are… However, this could be seen as “exclusion of lurkers”.

“Long running conversations”

International communities could have 24-hour moderatorial coverage.

“We need a measurable means of defining authenticity of the poster – like the reverse citation methodology used by Google”

Pat Cadigan, Tom Standage, George & Freeman Dyson

A wonderful reminiscence of Project Orion, a 1950s dream of an atomic bomb powered spacecraft, with the intention of going to Jupiter and Saturn.

Mixed with the Chess Playing Chess automaton… A clockwork trick – got people thinking about whether machines could think – the archaeology of a story, leading to the development of computation.

Social impacts… starting off with toys – technology moving from entertainment to pervasive… Spectrum to PC to Internet – into industry – same true of clockwork leading to the industrial revolution…

Link between AI and Orion – early draft of 2001 included the idea that the Discovery would be an Orion ship…

Mindless autonoma – the different definitions of intelligence over time – change with technological advantages… Babbage definition avoided “mindless” behaviour. Chess as a proxy for intelligence

Complexity – increases unreliability – so the argument of increased processing power = intelligence is flawed

“Spurious numerical arguments”

The one question Pat Cadigan wanted to ask Freeman Dyson: “What are you thinking about?”: Freeman Dyson is thinking about bio-technology – biological adaptation rather than terraforming…

Beyond engineering “gardening” – for complex organically grown systems like the Internet.
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