Read Announcing THATCamp retrospective and sunsetting by Amanda French (thatcamp.org)
The first THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) was held at the Center for History and New Media (now the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media) at George Mason University in the summer of 2008 (back when Flickr was a big deal — click the above screenshot to browse THATCamp photos on Flickr). I wrote a fair amount about how THATCamp first came to be and how it was turned into a larger initiative in a 2013 talk called “On Projects, and THATCamp.” Nearly seven years later, I’m still proud of THATCamp; I think it has been a model of sustainability among grant-funded projects, and I think it did a great deal to demystify the digital humanities and digital methods more generally for a whole generation of scholars and information professionals. The number of registered THATCamps has grown from 170 when I wrote that talk in 2013 to (my goodness) over 320 events today, a phenomenon that has taken place without a single full-time THATCamp employee, with just a dedicated distributed community and the hosting support of staff members at RRCHNM and Reclaim Hosting. The WordPress Multisite instance on thatcamp.org has 11,803 users, and while it’s true that several hundred of those might be spam or inactive users, I think that’s still impressive.
Read When Community Becomes Your Competitive Advantage by Jeffrey Bussgang and Jono Bacon (Harvard Business Review)
How businesses shift from selling products to building networks.
The IndieWeb isn’t a business like many of the examples mentioned here, but it’s doing doing a lot of the things mentioned in the article and doing them well. It’s definitely one of my favorite communities of builders and collaborators.
Read We're closing Crosscut's comment section. Here's why — and what's next by Ana Sofia Knauf, Anne Christnovich, Mohammed Kloub (crosscut.com)
With the rise of social platforms and an uptick in threatening comments, the newsroom is taking reader engagement in a different direction.

We analyzed our Disqus data and we found that roughly 17,400 comments were made on our site in 2019, but 45% came from just 13 people. That data tells us that social media, email, phone calls, letters to the editor, our Crosscut events and an occasional visit to the newsroom are far better tools for us to hear about your concerns, story ideas, feedback and support.

The Disqus data statistics here are fascinating. It also roughly means that those 13 people were responsible for 600+ comments on average or roughly 2 a day every day for the year. More likely it was a just a handful responsible for the largest portion and the others tailing off.

Sadly missing are their data about social media, email, phone, and letters to the editor which would tell us more about how balanced their decision was. What were the totals for these and who were they? Were they as lopsided as the Disqus numbers?
Annotated on January 08, 2020 at 04:33PM

In the meantime, stay in touch with Crosscut by:
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It seems like they’ve chose a solution for their community that boils down to pushing the problem(s) off onto large corporations that have shown no serious efforts at moderation either?

Sweeping the problem under the rug doesn’t seem like a good long term answer. Without aggregating their community’s responses, are they really serving their readers? How is the community to know what it looks like? Where is it reflected? How can the paper better help to shape the community without it?

I wonder what a moderated IndieWeb solution for them might look like?
Annotated on January 08, 2020 at 04:42PM

It would be cool if they considered adding syndication links to their original articles so that when they crosspost them to social media, at least their readers could choose to follow those links and comment there in a relatively continuous thread. This would at least help to aggregate the conversation for them and their community while still off-loading the moderation burden from their staff, which surely is part of their calculus. It looks like their site is built on Drupal. I would suspect that–but I’m not sure if–swentel’s IndieWeb Drupal module has syndication links functionality built into it.

Rather than engaging their community, it almost feels to me like they’re giving up and are allowing a tragedy of their commons when there may be some better experimental answers that just aren’t being tried out.

The worst part of this for me though is that they’ve given up on the power of owning and controlling their own platform. In the recent history of journalism, this seems to be the quickest way of becoming irrelevant and dying out.

Read a Twitter thread by  Mx. Aria Stewart Mx. Aria Stewart (Twitter)
It just crystallized for me what I think has been mistaken about thinking of unwanted interaction on social networks as a "privacy" problem. It's not.

A privacy problem is things becoming known more widely than they should, subject to surveillance and contextless scrutiny. 
The onslaught of sexual harassment on platforms like early Twitter (and later twitter for people of notability), @KeybaseIO, every naive social network is an attack on the right to exist in public. It is the inverse of a privacy problem. 
But the conceiving of this as a privacy problem brings the wrong solutions. It means we are offered tools to remove ourselves from public view, to restrict our public personas, to retreat from public life. It means women are again confined to private sphere, denied civic life. 
 It's so endemic, so entrenched, and so normal that women should have to retreat to protect ourselves that we think of this as part of femininity. A strong civic life is seen as unfeminine, forward. It poisons us politically, socially, and personally. 
It is, at its core, an attack on democracy as well. 
The only way to undo this is to reconceive of this, not as a privacy problem but as an attack on public life. There will be new problems with this but at least they will be new. 
There has been work done on this, but I've never seen it connected to civic life, and this connects with my thoughts and work on community. The unit that social networks must focus on cannot be the individual. We do not exist as individuals first but as members of our communities 
When a new user joins a social network, their connection must be to their peers, their existing social relationships. A new user can only be onboarded in the context of relationships already on the network. 
Early adopters form such a community, but extrapolating from the joining of those initial members to how to scale the network misses the critical transition: from no community to the first, not from the first users to the next. 
New communities can only be onboarded by connections from individuals that span communities. New communities must be onboarded collectively, or the network falls to the army of randos. 
The irony is that surveillance capitalism has the information to do this but not the will, because as objects of marketing, we are individuals, statistics and demographics, not communities. The reality lies in plain sight. 
There have been attempts at social networks, sadly none dense enough to succeed, but that treat people as part of a web, and that their peers can shield and protect them. The idea is solid. 
The other alternative is to stop trying to give people a solitary identity, a profile and onboarding to a flat network, but instead only provide them with community connections. Dreamwidth is this to a large degree, if too sparse for most people to connect. 
Our social networks must connect us, not to our "friends" but to our communities. The ones that succeed do this by intent or by accident.

Facebook has a narrow view of community, but for those it matches, it works. With major flaws, but it does. 
Twitter, its community of early adopters, its creepy onboarding by uploading your contacts and mining data to connect you works. If I were to join and follow a few people I know, it would rapidly suggest many more people in my queer and trans community. It works. 
And this is why Ello failed. This is why Diaspora failed. This is why Mastodon succeeded, if only by scraping by the bare minimum. This is why gnu social failed. This is why a random vbulletin forum can succeed. The ones that succeed connect a dense community. 
Note that gnu social and mastodon are the same protocol! But they are different social networks. The difference in their affordances and the community structures they encourage are vastly different, despite interoperating. 
I'd say I don't know how apparent this problem is to white men — the ones largely designing these networks — but I do know. I know because of the predictable failures we see.

Part of this, I think boils down to how invisible community is when you are the default user. 
At no time am I unaware that I am trans, that I am a woman, that the people I follow and who follow me are distinct from the background. I can spot my people in a crowd on the internet with precision, just like a KNN clustering can. 
Trans culture in particular is Extremely Online. We are exceptionally easy to onboard to a new platform. But the solution can scale if we focus on solving it. And by knowing who is in the community (likely) and who is not, we can understand what is and is not harassment. 
We don't need to even know what the communities are — Twitter does not — and yet it knows how we cluster, and that suffices.

If we stop thinking of this as a privacy problem — letting us hide from the connections that are our solution — we can enlarge public life. 
That exceptional article — — about how bots sow division shows us another facet of this problem and way of thinking. Conceiving of this as a privacy problem fundamentally reacts with division when solidarity is needed. 
We can only fight this with a new, loose solidarity and an awareness of community boundaries. We can build technology that makes space for us to be safe online by being present with those that support us, and react together, rather than as individuals and separating us for safety 
This thread has meandered a bit, but I'm dancing around something important. We fundamentally need to stop organizing online activity the way we do. Follow and be followed is not where it's at.

It's join, manage attention, build connection. 
Stop sorting things topically and trying to find connections in content.

Start looking for clusters of relationships between people.

The question should not be "what is this about?" but "who is this for?"
Some interesting ideas on social hiding in here.

👓 The Crumbling of the OpenEd Coalition | e-Literate | Michael Feldstein

Read The Crumbling of the OpenEd Coalition by Michael FeldsteinMichael Feldstein (e-Literate)
At the OpenEd conference this week, David Wiley made an announcement that was more significant than it may have sounded.
An interesting case study about a community and some decisions it will have to make going forward.

👓 “Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about” | Paul Jacobson

Read “Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about” by Paul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
I’ve had an idea in my task list for a week or so now, and I just haven’t made the time to write about it, at least not as I originally intended when I read the post that inspired it. J…
Some ideas worth chewing on here. Paul almost uses the phrase “thought spaces” here and though he doesn’t, he’s certainly dancing around it.

📖 Read Chapter 1: A Networked Public pages 3-27 of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

📖 Read Chapter 1: A Networked Public pages 3-27 of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Book cover of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

Chapter 1 was pretty solid. This almost seems to me like it would make a good book for an IndieWeb book club.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

A national public sphere with a uniform national language did not exist in Turkey at the time. Without mass media and a strong national education system, languages exist as dialects that differ in pronunciation, vocabulary, and even grammar, sometimes from town to town.  

What I’m understanding about the text is that it was hard for Turkish to interact with one another since there was no official language and how these girls for enforced to master this one language.—beatrizrocio

I suspect that it wasn’t the case that they had trouble communicating via speech, but that the formal language was more difficult for them. Typically most languages have a “high” (proper) form and a “low” (colloquial) form. Think of it more like the King’s Standard English versus the speech of an illiterate inner-city youth. They can both understand each other, but one could read and understand the New York Times, but the other would have significant trouble.

December 26, 2018 at 12:33PM

Political scientist Benedict Anderson called this phenomenon of unification “imagined communities.”  

December 26, 2018 at 12:35PM

Technologies alter our ability to preserve and circulate ideas and stories, the ways in which we connect and converse, the people with whom we can interact, the things that we can see, and the structures of power that oversee the means of contact.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:37PM

As technologies change, and as they alter the societal architectures of visi-bility, access, and community, they also affect the contours of the public sphere, which in turn affects social norms and political structures.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:40PM

For example, in a society that is solely oral or not very literate, older people (who have more knowledge since knowledge is acquired over time and is kept in one’s mind) have more power relative to young people who cannot simply acquire new learning by reading.  

To a large extent, this is also part of the reason we respect our elders so much today, although this is starting to weaken as older people are increasingly seen as “behind the times” or don’t understand new technologies…

December 26, 2018 at 12:45PM

In her lifetime, my grandmother journeyed from a world confined to her immediate physical community to one where she now carries out video conversations over the internet with her grandchildren on the other side of the world, cheaply enough that we do not think about their cost at all. She found her first train trip to Istanbul as a teenager—something her peers would have done rarely—to be a bewildering experience, but in her later years she flew around the world. Both the public sphere and our imagined communities operate differently now than they did even a few decades ago, let alone a century.  

It’s nice to consider the impact of the technologies around us and this paragraph does a solid job of showing just that in the span of a single generation’s lifetime.

December 26, 2018 at 12:47PM

movements, among other things, are attempts to intervene in the public sphere through collective, coordinated action. A social movement is both a type of (counter)public itself and a claim made to a public that a wrong should be righted or a change should be made.13 Regardless of whether movements are attempt-ing to change people’s minds, a set of policies, or even a government, they strive to reach and intervene in public life, which is centered on the public sphere of their time.  

a solid definition of what a movement is

December 26, 2018 at 12:49PM

Governments and powerful people also expend great efforts to control the public sphere in their own favor because doing so is a key method through which they rule and exercise power.  

December 26, 2018 at 12:49PM

homophily  

December 26, 2018 at 12:57PM

If you cannot find people, you cannot form a community with them  

December 26, 2018 at 01:05PM

The residents’ lack of success in drawing attention and widespread support to their struggle is a scenario that has been repeated the world over for decades in coun-tries led by dictators: rebellions are drowned out through silencing and censorship.  

December 26, 2018 at 04:47PM

In his influential book The Net Delusion and in earlier essays, Morozov argued that “slacktivism” was distracting people from productive activism, and that people who were clicking on political topics online were turning away from other forms of activism for the same cause.  

December 26, 2018 at 04:58PM

Another line of reasoning has been that internet is a minority of the pop-ulation. This is true; even as late as 2009, the internet was limited to a small minority of households in the Middle East.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:05PM

Only a segment of the population needs to be connected digitally to affect the entire environment. In Egypt in 2011, only 25 percent of the population of the country was on-line, with a smaller portion of those on Facebook, but these people still managed to change the wholesale public discussion, including conversa-tions among people who had never been on the site.  

There’s some definite connection to this to network theory of those like Stuart Kaufmann. You don’t need every node to be directly connected to create a robust network, particularly when there are other layers–here interpersonal connections, cellular, etc.

December 26, 2018 at 05:07PM

Two key constituencies for social movements are also early adopters: activists and journalists  

December 26, 2018 at 05:08PM

Ethan Zuckerman calls this the “cute cat theory” of activism and the public sphere. Platforms that have nonpolitical functions can become more politically powerful because it is harder to censor their large num-bers of users who are eager to connect with one another or to share their latest “cute cat” pictures.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:13PM

Social scientists call the person connecting these two otherwise separate clusters a “bridge tie.” Research shows that weak ties are more likely to be bridges between disparate groups.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:18PM

As Ali explained it to me, for him, January 25, 2011, was in many ways an ordinary January 25—officially a “police celebration day,” but traditionally a day of protest. Although he was young, he was a veteran activist. He and a small group of fellow activists gathered each year in Tahrir on January 25 to protest police brutality. January 25, 2011, was not their first January 25 pro-test, and many of them expected something of a repeat of their earlier protests—perhaps a bit larger this year.  

This mirrors the story of the rape that preceded the Rosa Parks protests in Alabama several years prior and helped set the stage for that being successful.
It’s often frequent that bigger protests are staged to take place on dates/times that have historical meaning.

December 26, 2018 at 05:31PM

His weak-tie networks had been politically activated  

This makes me wonder if she’s cited Mark Granovetter or any of similar sociologists yet?
Apparently she did in footnote 32 in chapter 1. Ha!

December 26, 2018 at 05:37PM

or example, it has been repeatedly found that in most emergencies, disasters, and protests, ordinary people are often helpful and altruistic.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:53PM

However, that desire to belong, reflecting what a person perceives to be the views of the majority, is also used by those in power to control large numbers of people, especially if it is paired with heavy punishments for the visible troublemakers who might set a diff erent example to follow. In fact, for many repressive governments, fostering a sense of loneliness among dissidents while making an example of them to scare off everyone else has long been a trusted method of ruling.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:56PM

Social scientists refer to the feeling of imagining oneself to be a lonely minority when in fact there are many people who agree with you, maybe even a majority, as “pluralistic ignorance.”39 Pluralistic ignorance is thinking that one is the only person bored at a class lecture and not knowing that the sentiment is shared, or that dissent and discontent are rare feelings in a country when in fact they are common but remain unspoken.  

December 26, 2018 at 05:57PM

Thanks to a Facebook page, perhaps for the first time in history, an in-ternet user could click yes on an electronic invitation to a revolution.  

December 26, 2018 at 06:00PM

Only a segment of the population needs to be connected digitally  

Don’t forget the power of the “sneakernet”!

December 26, 2018 at 06:59PM

👓 Notes on Imagined Communities and the Open Web | Open Parenthesis

Read Notes on Imagined Communities and the Open Web (Open Parenthesis)
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak at WordCamp for Publishers in Chicago. I tried to link together Benedict Anderson's take on nationalism from Imagined Communities to a number of concepts about what might make an "Open Web."