Monday, April 24, 2006

Just talk amongst yourselves

This post is related to berkeley's comments in one of the other posts, but I've put it here on its own because it needs its own clearly distinct discussion.

On one level, I agree wholeheartedly with berkeley's comments, with the proviso that although its time to start extending I also enjoy the current free form nature of this blog, so it is the eternal political battle between the tyranny of structure and the tyranny of structurelessness.
You should also remember that this blog had only been going for a week before there were people on TAL saying the same thing berkeley is now saying (although less politely). Spiv had great fun going on about it. Things take time, and you need to have fun along the way. This won't last long if we set deadlines and turn it into work, or if we prescribe the form, it has to just evolve as we all have time to do things. I love the way gricegrocers wants to use colours, a different typeface, and poetic structure, or mayhems dyslexic stream of consciousness, and I hope they enjoy or at least tolerate my windy ruminations. The last thing I want is po faced academic rigidity, or at least I want it contained within the areas where it is valuable ie areas where we accumulate confirmed statements of fact that must be 100% accurate.

But that also raises the point that berkeley obviously has a quite clearly worked out idea of what the OSAS should be and it would be nice to hear it spelt out even further, not just in terms of how we might do it eg a wiki but exactly what might be the content of that wiki. Wikis are only useful in certain situations, ad an web2 style wiki like wikispace is as limited as this blog.

There is no doubt at all that the current basic blog structure is only of limited short-term use, but we all knew that. It was simply a case of seeing what happened for a while and then deciding where to go from there. I don't think it is all that limited, however, because we have always made it clear that anyone can post things if they contact the reader and ask to be given posting rights. Obviously there is a mild sort of control could be exercised but no one who has asked has been refused and there is hardly any reason anyone would be. And of course anyone can comment. So if you want to make more developed proposals just mail the reader and ask to be put on as a contributor.

So to sum up, I think the issue,boils down to this.... How do we create a site that allows the most free-form contributions possible with other highly structured contributions in an atmosphere of glasnost and perestroika, (so to speak, openness and transparency).

My humble suggestion is as follows

1. We set up a new site. We regard the site as a portal to a whole range of different sites and manners of contributing.
2. We create that portal using an off-the-shelf CMS like WordPress because it is very simple for non programmer users. It also has reasonable tagging capailities to help in categorising and searching material.
3. Within that we create static pages to structure the site. Static pages can be headers for interest areas that can then contain ongoing blogs on particular issues.
4. Some of these static pages would link to sub domains or completely different websites run by others people.
5. Other static pages would link to wikis on particular interest areas. Wikis are best for building accumulations of info, how tos, histories. Mediawiki (as used for Wikipedia) has great features like the ability to run discussions around each of the changes made. But it is inflexible and stodgy. Nonetheless it would be excellent for some subject areas. TikiWiki can be customised more for particular uses, it would be better for other interest areas.

Finally there have been a few emails around about all getting together in real space to bounce a few of these ideas around. I will finally have time in mid June , but I'm not sure how others work loads will be by then.

What does everyone think?


Anonymous Elvy Sukaesih's hair said...

Let's move to a more versatile set up. I'll bring the Kool-Aid.

2:07 pm  
Anonymous Berkeley said...

Open Source Art School. So far it is not open to all, but to a few people who can post. What is providing? Well, discussion, but there's no structured resource of information, feedback or ability to post outside the people who are contributing. Art School? Er - there is discussion of art and certain ideas related to it, but there is nothing really related to learning more than what you knew than when you first came in here. Discussion is fine, but there has to be a little more input/output for it to be educational or informative.

So what am I proposing? Simply this - that there be an open source venue such as a Wiki or similar that allows members to create and post pages without having to go through a single web master etc. It should also have a facility to discuss issues, ideas and tangential discussions as they arise.

What would the content be? I would like to see and would be happy to contribute information for artists - info on artist run spaces for example - as well as collating useful readings that don't exist elsewhere or could benefit from being put together on one site. You could also use a Wiki space style format for feedback on individual projects if that's what people wanted to do. There should also be a space for multimedia.

5:34 pm  
Blogger Ian Milliss said...

Being able to post really isn't a big drama. The current problematic set up isn't something we did to control it, its just a limitation of freebie blogs like this. We aren't some little club of friends, we are just the first people to be prepared to make the effort. Click on the readers profile and you will see his email address, send him an email and he'll send you an invite and the link to join you up. It's very simple.

Meanwhile, as I said, the wiki set up is on the agenda as part of a bigger site but it just has to wait for a month or so. Using wikispace would work as a short term solution but why not wait for a better one that would allow much more growth.

In the mean time, some of the things you are talking about can be started here and now and then modified and transferred once some wikis are set up. The reading list is definitely one that can be done. Do it as a series of posts, perhaps split up to cover different areas.

The ARIs are probably better done on a wiki where you could set up one thread for each ARI. There has been talk about doing that for aret schools as well. But meanwhile couldn't you do a few general posts about ARIs.

6:04 pm  
Blogger mayhem said...


I'm cool wht wikis

there should be funding left in an account - run by mgf & some firstdrafters - which was raised by a bunch of ARI's in Artport four years ago. Ruark Lewis and myself maybe the only people in sydney who remember this - but we HAVEN't FORGOTTEN!

8:23 pm  
Blogger Ian Milliss said...

It's all free. Or at least not more than about $100 a year.

9:03 pm  
Blogger Ian Milliss said...

You've got to remember wikis are not the solution to everything. In the DIKW hierarchy ( wikis work best at the data-information level. It is very difficult to write a collaborative document on the knowledge-wisdom level because that's the level where humans tend to disagree. Especially artists.

One of the reasons Wikipedia works is because they strongly discourage POV (Point Of View) writing as they call it. But any knowledge or wisdom in the art world will very much be POV.

Just stick to the facts, ma'am.

10:24 pm  
Anonymous David Haines said...

Well it looks like its time to get moving with this thing...Berkeley I am not ticking you off but it does say
"a blog dedicated to the discussion and development of an open source art school" its not the actual thing
your ideas are good though - I dont think any one wants to be gatekeepers.

Ians Humble suggestions in his latest post are great - lets use that as a model

June, seems good to me for a flesh meeting.

8:05 am  
Anonymous Elvy Sukaesih's hair said...

I get easily distracted in face to face meetings.

4:23 pm  
Anonymous Berkeley said...

Why would the doucments in the wiki have tobe collaborative? Couldn't you have multiple documents on the same subject written from differing points of view if people felt strongly enought to disagree?

7:51 pm  
Blogger Ian Milliss said...

Collaboration is why wiki software was invented. Of course you can have lots of documents with differing viewpoints, but you must remember that someone who does strongly disagree can come in and change your document to reflect their viewpoint. All you can do is change it back. That's one of the reasons I say wikis are not the solution to everything, just a part solution.

But notwithstanding that issue, the whole idea is to get as many different viewpoints out there as possible, so I think we should design the site to work in as many different ways as possible, excluding nothing.

10:29 am  
Anonymous Gricegrocers said...

Hey Mayhem, have you read the Sublime-tion blog lately. Is Sublime-ation. Is good.

12:14 pm  
Anonymous Berkeley said...

Yeah sure, Wikis aren't the answer to everything and I accept that proposing one as a model is going to come with a certain set of preconceptions. I have already outlined my reasons for proposing a Wiki so I won't go back into that again but let me just ask you Ian, if you're not going to use a Wiki or some other free online CMS, then how do you get around role of editor that someone will inevitably have to play?

5:50 pm  
Blogger Ian Milliss said...

Maybe I'm not expressing myself very clearly. I agree with you that we use wikis for part of the site - there are some things that wikis do very well. But you can set up a site that uses both wikis and blogs. and also links to other independent sites.

7:29 pm  
Anonymous Gricegrocers said...

Sounds good let's do that. Someone please just do it.

12:21 am  
Blogger mayhem said...

Hey Grice & others

I can't get a URL for submlimation, sublime-tion or anything else.......

wot to do? sounds like something I should be reading!

I'm a bit snowed under to get started on a wiki - but I'll post some talk fest details up (in the interests of open sourcing) shot me if you hate it.


5:55 pm  
Anonymous Gricegrocers said...

Cut and paste:

6:33 pm  

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