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Re: now online discourse
Thanks Bill-- Apropos of phil's analysis I did not read far enough
down the note.
What changes in xmca culture might mitigate the obvious problems
without being likely to cause new problems. For example, I, too,
thought the issue of cultural historical analysis
important for my reasons, probably different that Phil's or Michael's,
but personally pressing, but could think of no way to overlap my
interests and other competing one's to do any follow up.
Is there any change at all that creating something like a volunteer
committee to shepard along different discussions acknoweldged as
important might work? Anyone who really cares to see a particular
thread pursued could work on that thread which might or might not
propsper, but at least would not die a sudden death for no sponsor
willing to put in, say, a week or so, seeing if it gathered attention,
and different people could
simultaneously participate and lurk as their proclivities led them to.
Having the reminder of Eva's work appear and reappear, even as we miss
her online presence, is one gift of the discourse.
On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 11:15:34 -0500, Bill Barowy <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> On Tue Nov 16 2004 Mike Cole wrote:
> >Bill-- I went to the XMCA web page and looked for the note from Phil on Nov
> >12 and could not find anything that contextualized this note for me.
> Here it is:
> On Friday 12 November 2004 9:08 am, Phil Chappell wrote:
> >I'm about to make this a major project, especially as I'm about to hit
> > Sydney for a month. I'll report back on the audio side of this issue when I
> > can. There's more to classroom discourse than IRF, and we need to work out
> > ways of getting at it.
> > Thanks again for opening up your work for this multidimensional discussion,
> > ensuing battles and all!
> Discourse in this medium is pretty slippery to catch hold of, and for one,
> subject headers offer very little by way of analysis. I think Eva Ekeblad
> showed this well with her work, especially when we were trying to understand
> this sense of how conversations appear and dissipate. What makes up a
> "conversation" on xmca -- beyond being a bounded-in-time topically-related
> set of exchanges -- is not straightforward to grasp. What Eva Ekeblad did
> persistently and painfully was to map some xmca exchanges to show their
> shared and related significations. When one does that, there is a visual
> representation with which one is able to (loosely) declare the boundaries of
> a "conversation". The links in the map between messages are the shared
> significations -- the topical relations between messages.
> XMCA has a close analogy -- the quasi-free market economy, and one of the
> things I worked on a long time ago was characterizing the bursts of XMCA
> exchanges, which follow very similar patterns to those studied in economics
> and elsewhere. It actually should not be surprising that they do. On the
> one hand a low level of regulation here allows for rapid swings away from
> topics, yet on the other, it also allows for rapid follow-up. So it's not a
> critcism of XMCA, but statement that comes from some analysis. It's a
> double-edged sword.
> We've all seen how rich conversations just seem to dissipate. Why? One thing
> i did with a complex systems analysis/simulation was make the plausible claim
> that finite and renewable resource -- time available -- was involved as a
> contributing element. A small amount of time available for XMCA
> participation is renewed repetitively -- for some daily -- contributing to
> the display of the power law behavior one sees with self-organized
> criticality in other complex systems. Self-organized criticality --
> according to Per Bak -- relies upon the "renewal" or regular influx of a
> resource such as energy. Here it is time (although when you push this
> physicist he'll argue the resource could be more fundamentally thought of as
> energy). Eva found things like Zipf law patterns (one type of power law)
> in the rank ordering of how often people post, and i found dynamic power law
> patterns in the amount of exchanges over time. These are the quantitative
> signatures of self-organized criticality. My analysis was fun to do, brought
> up some mathematics and analytical tools i had not used since doing physics,
> but it lacked connection to qualitative analysis. For one, I was counting
> messages when, in retrospect, I needed to be counting significations. Doing
> so is a huge task and that's why my study has gone belly up.
> That's where Durkheim comes in. His work on suicide was seminal in making
> connections between quantitative studies such as suicide rates and societal
> conditions. Anomie ( a - nomos, without law) here on XMCA is not the same as
> the chaos attributed in other areas of study but instead provides a
> qualitative causal relation to the sudden appearance and dissipation of
> conversations. It's another essential element and why we see swings in
> topics here, more so than on moderated lists.
> When I wrote "In this last exchange block, unable to
> adapt to the shifting field, the call for a critical cultural historical
> analysis, [Thursday 11 November 2004, 10:22 am and 11:24 am, Wolff-Michael
> Roth] the conversation just went belly up. And it could not have
> adjusted. Cultural historical analysis is a data-laden inquiry. " I was
> thinking, in part, of the time avaliable for participation on xmca. Low
> regulation here on xmca allowed the introduction of a new significations,
> e.g. cultural historical analysis and inequality. Low regulation is both a
> plus and a minus. It's why we suddenly have great spontaneous conversations
> and why also they suddenly go away.
> In this case, at the personal unit of analysis, since I am one of the
> material means through which the "cooking notes" conversation was being
> enacted, I did not have time for cultural historical analysis (which I do
> think is important, but not in the same way as Michael Roth) and i really
> wanted to focus on cooking the notes. The new significations introduced by
> Michael (e.g. cultural historical analysis and inequality) were then taken up
> and shared among other messages with other participants, however, and all i
> had time left for was reading. Back to the "conversation" unit of analysis,
> the "cooking notes" set of exchanges went belly up because it's
> significations were no longer shared -- it was x-jacked. If a link map were
> done of that period I think we would see the burst of new cluster of
> links/significations representing new conversations, only connecting to the
> "cooking notes" set of exchanges at the respective beginnings and endings.
> Link to one of Eva's paper follows:
> Gotta finish -- I'm now in time-debt.