ElectroSmog SkillShare: Tools and Models for Online Collaboration


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Eyebeam participated in ElectroSmog, a new festival that revolves around the concept of Sustainable Immobility. The festival, which takes place simultaneously at many locations around the world, introduces and explores the concept of sustainable immobility in both theory and practice, with discussions, workshops, and performances taking place at each of the festival partners' home bases.

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ElectroSmog SkillShare: Tools and Models for Online Collaboration

  1. 1. ElectroSmog International Festival March 4, 2010 Collaborative Future Book Launch & Skillshare Eyebeam senior fellow Michael Mandiberg and Eyebeam honorary resident Mushon Zer-Aviv discuss the process of writing Collaborative Futures, a book for the Transmediale Festival 2010: Futurity Now, and some of their discoveries throughout the collaborative process. Authors of Collaborative Futures: Adam Hyde - FLOSS Manuals, artist Mike Linksvayer - VP Creative Commons Marta Peirano - Copyfight, journalist Alan Toner - Steal This Film, researcher Michael Mandiberg - Eyebeam Senior Fellow, artist Mushon Zer-Aviv - Eyebeam Honorary Resident, designer Aleksander Erkalovic (programmer) - FLOSS Manuals Read the book online: http://en.flossmanuals.net/CollaborativeFutures/ Print it yourself (POD - Print On Demand) Fix the typos: http://booki.cc/collaborativefutures/edit/ Michael – The general idea of FLOSS Manuals is Free Software = Free Manuals. The platform on which the book was written is “Booki”. [http://booki.cc] The entirely of the book is online and available for editing. This software is similar to PiratePad [http://piratepad.net/]; it allows for easy collaborative text-editing. Whatʼs a book sprint? [http://en.flossmanuals.net/booksprints] To carry out collaborative authoring in a short time with the express goal of having a publishable book at the end. The Book Sprint concept was devised by Tomas Krag. Tomas conceived of book production as a collaborative activity involving substantial donations of volunteer time. Tomas pioneered the development of the Book Sprint as a 3-4 month production cycle, while Adam Hyde, founder of FLOSS Manuals, was keen to continue with the idea of an "extreme book sprint," which compressed the authoring and production of a print-ready book into a week-long process. Book sprints have generally taken place in areas of computer technology, where documentation has traditionally been tarred as the most irksome and unpleasant of tasks. Book sprints prove that nothing could be farther from the truth. They make writing fun by:
  2. 2. ElectroSmog International Festival March 4, 2010 • Identifying key areas where people need more information, and thus providing an impetus to do something valuable for the community. • Elevating the writing process from an isolated to a group activity, making it a fulfilling personal experience and offering immediate feedback as a reward for one's effort. • Giving participants a chance to focus intensely on the problem and process of producing helpful information, which allows them to appreciate the pleasures of the task and the subtleties of the accomplishment. The result of the sprint is a book meeting the specifications of the community that began the project--in other words, it meets known needs. Because book sprints involve open contributions (people can contribute remotely through a wiki as well as by joining the sprint physically) the process is probably most suited to books offered free online. Indeed, the goal of FLOSS Manuals embodies this freedom in a two-fold manner: it makes the resulting books free online, and focuses its efforts on free software. There has been 20-30 books over the last few years, including documentation for the One Laptop Per Child Project. [http://laptop.org] A big component of the project is translation. Digital Foundations [http://wiki.digital-foundations.net/index.php?title=Main_Page] – the first CC license on a design book. Participantsʼ skills was highly varied; all input was valuable. Collaborative Futures: Background Concepts: How do rules function in a collaborative relationship? The idea of an “open relationship”: - Like romantic relationships, open collaborations are based on mutual trust. - In an open relationship, a different social pact governs the relationship. - Coordination, transparency, attribution, autonomy, generosity, respect and freedom of movement. Licenses/Anonymity/Attribution: how to give attribution? Mushon – Sharing is the first step in a collaborative process. Identity + social objects = direct attribution, one-many (ie Twitter) Social objects + identities = indirect attribution, many – many (ie flickr) Wikipedia and open source projects: every social object is meaningless outside of the collaborative social object context. Every edit does not hold without the authority of the article as a whole. Coordination mechanism create context (ie: “#” hash tags on Twitter). These mechanisms are both technical and social.
  3. 3. ElectroSmog International Festival March 4, 2010 Thereʼs a connection between the contribution of the user, the user, and time of the edit. We can compare differences using the time stamps. Ideology/social contract: linking all Wiki articles to make articles more accurate and factual. The idea of “wikiality”. [http://wikiality.wikia.com/Wikiality] Models of collaboration: Wikipedia, and open source development, are built on a centralized collaboration model. Version control; Vandalized code can always be undo-ed. There is only one project. Alternative model: what can come out of disagreement? A system with more distributed control. The project lives at multiple servers and can be maintained by multiple users. Distributed version control. “work with code with more people, not to start a social movement”. [http://github.com] Apply the differentiation of centralized vs distributed version controls to more fields – i.e. conflict resolution. Have people collaborate on visions of a peaceful future, instead of waiting for centralized decisions made by political leaders. Question from an audience member: How does collaboration work or fail based on what the mission of the project is? Wikipedia vs Linux Mushon: Wikipedia; the most centralized collaborative project. Even though everything is under CC license; wikipedia.org is the control mechanism. If you want to change/challenge the rules of engagement, you have to work through the bureaucracy of wikipedia. Linux works concepts of distribution, for all kinds of devices. Shared goals also need to serve personal goals. Defining the success of a project is also defining the aggregation of success of personal goals. How do we define the social object? I.e. lolcat. The social object has embedded in it potential for contribution and collaboration. Levels of participation: sharing, discussion, collaboration (division of labor), collective action (formation of group identity online and beyond online place).