[iDC] recursive publics and forking

nathaniel tkacz nathanieltkacz at gmail.com
Sun Jul 12 10:07:56 UTC 2009

Hi Sam

> I have to say that I don't think forking is always based on
> oppositional detachment.

Of course not. There is obviously a whole spectrum of reasons for forking,
but in this discussion we were focusing specifically on those oppositional

> Why would a wiki community want to encourage forking? And, doesn't
> this damage the original wiki community? The fact is that communities
> change over time, and encouraging fractility and "friendly" or
> amicable "forking" creates space for natural adaptation, growth, and
> innovation. Once the software creates a set of standards for
> interoperability between forks, then it really does not matter how
> many forks exist, nor how granular breakdowns become, since it is also
> possible to keep the repositories of data connected in ways that are
> meaningful and useful to the forked communities (combined recent
> changes, "near linking" of wiki words, "interwiki links" etc)
> This actually resonates with Nate's point above. When the cost for
> leaving is similar and bearable, as it is in the examples in wiki
> communities above, when friendly forking and systemic amicable
> fractility are encouraged and built into the software mediums, you see
> the emergence of more rapid innovation that is *still* usable by the
> majority of the community.

Ok, I don't disagree with any of this. Although I think we need to be
careful not let the language of web 2.0 - natural adaptation, innovation,
community and so on - blind us to the genuine antagonistic, political
moments in so-called open and collaborative projects. There are important
parallels here, I think, with what Jodi Dean writes about democracy in the
journal Parallax, as well as Chantal Mouffe's earlier work on the
post-political drive of neo-liberalism.

Chris: the question of infrastructure is vital in all this and points to the
material constraints of any so-called immaterial project. In short, scale
and energy. I agree completely.

> Best


Nate Tkacz

PhD Candidate
School of Culture and Communication
University of Melbourne

mail: tkaczn at unimelb.edu.au
twitter: http://twitter.com/__nate__
new blog: http://thesimplearrow.wordpress.com/
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