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Re: Summary of issues [was: Re: [jox] Chaos or transparency?]

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my position is a little more elaborate than 'just do it',

it is to focus on content first and foremost and deal with emerging issues
as they emerge (as this conflict)

but I really think that after 18 or even more months of preparation, the
focus should be on pushing forward the production, review, and most
importantly, distribution to the outside world

such a long time may have been necessary to obtain consensus and develop the
mechanisms, but I think we should now feel an urgency regarding content,
independently of whether all formal issues are solved or not

On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 10:42 PM, Athina Karatzogianni

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Hi everyone,

From Mathieu's email it seems (correct me if I am reading this wrong) that
there are two central views here one coming from Stefan and one coming from
Mathieu. [Michel's is to just do it and I would partially agree with that
view, but we have to address rapidly concerns so they don not become
insurmountable in the main editorial team].

One view which situates the internal working in the idea that this is a
journal about peer production and envisions originality in certain areas
(Mathieu); and another view that as well as being a journal about peer
production the journal is a product produced in full p2p open collaborative
 mode (Stefan). Correct me if I am wrong in this understanding.

I am probably stating the obvious, but a common denominator here is that
both central viewpoints accept at least that a. this is a journal on
critical studies in peer production, b. it would be pioneering to have at
least a number of aspects adhering to peer production principles as well.

I would suggest to Mathieu and Stefan to suggest which of the issues and
difference of opinion they absolutely support and which they dont really
care about that much, so we can find that common denominator and continue
the project as smoothly as possible.

Pick your fights in other words.

To that effect, I propose

a) Initial stage of submission process

At this point for some reason most people are used to getting things from
the email list and not visit the site much, unless they need to look into
papers. So until they do visit the site, can we agree to disagree and for
now do the weeding out and the discussion on the list, until people get
to going more to the site.

b) posting of full submissions to site

Between the views anyone can submit and only project members can submit, we
can think of creating a depository in which anyone can submit, but the
depository is not public and only the editorial board and perhaps
members of the scientific committee can access to discuss what we do with
the submission. If we find the submission relevant, we can then put it
online and initiate peer review process. If the editor finds this ver time
consuming the whoever insists on openness and everyone submits can also do
the weeding out for us.

c) communication of reviews to authors

There has to be editors to act as mediators/buffers between authors and
reviewers for reasons that are easily discerned (often there are vitriolic
reviews and the editor has to calm things down for example and find a
way out of the political/ideological or technical problem).

Having said that perhaps changing editor every 2-3 years might also help
keep things healthy, or if not taking turns, then coupling the editor
whoever they are, with an issue editor like its been done elsewhere.

It is a painful business having to curry this whole thing forward all the
time, especially if you have to find and create consent out of thin air or
guess at what people might want ideologically or what have you if there is
delay in getting response or minimal interest at certain junctions.

IMPORTANT: I would suggest that if Mathieu was assigned this editorship
Stefan providing operational and intellectual support through the  oekonux,
lets just let him get on with it and see where he is taking this, have a
look at the first issue for instance before we continue this never ending

Lastly, the easiest thing is to find a common theme for the issue Mathieu
preparing and I think that would help to focus content ( Andreas Wittel).

BUT, our problem is not really of content here unfortunately, it is admin
and operational, a problem of process.

Therefore, I suggest lets have Mathieu have a go at organizing this issue
the way he sees fit, lets support him if we can, and then we can comment
suggest improvements and counter visions after we look at the result of the
work, give our peer feedback if you will.



On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 1:33 PM, Mathieu ONeil <mathieu.oneil

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Hi Athina, Nate, all

OK, I will have a go at mapping the main points of consensus and
@Stefan: I tried to summarise your positions, apologies if I
mischaracterised anything.
@Everyone else: comments are obviously welcome but if you have not done
this already please familiarise yourself with the existing version of the
review process.
I only mention problematic aspects below, there are parts which are left
out. thanks.


There should be more precise and timely accountability of editorial
This should appear on list as well as on a special section of the site
("Editor's log"?).


a) Initial stage of submission process

Mathieu: community vetting (via the list) of proposal summaries helps to
weed out inappropriate proposals and provide authors with key missing
potential issues: cost of subscribing to list; cost of receiving too much
email; potential misuse of ideas by outside parties before process is

Stefan: authors should post proposals (and submissions?) to restricted
of the site
potential issues: providing access to site to untrusted people (increase
monitoring costs?); no potential to weed out inappropriate submissions by
the community; loss of community feedback as not everyone will check in
regularly to see the latest submissions

possible suggestion: creation of submission-only list?
at the same time for me the list is an integral part of the whole project
and helps bring the community (for lack of a better word) together;
involved should really be interested in submissions; so not really
by that idea.

b) posting of full submissions to site

Mathieu: project members
potential issues: none?

Stefan: anyone who wants to?
potential issues: who decides?; providing access to site to untrusted
people (increase in monitoring costs?)

c) communication of reviews to authors

Mathieu: editor acts as buffer to anonymise reviewers at this stage in
interests of maximum frankness unperturbed by hurting personal feelings
potential issues: lack of transparency; overwhelming nature of job?

Stefan: reviewers post their review directly to restricted part site
potential issues: inhibition of frank assessment for fear of offending

=> I think this is a core issue.

=> for authors
the advantage of our system is that we are happy to publish a not-great
article as long as it is rated or signaled as such. authors may choose
to publish if they don't like their ratings. if all the review process is
open from the start this key right for authors is removed.

=> role of the editor
if we want to maximise reviewer honesty there needs to be a buffer
reviewer and author IMO: if reviewers and authors are agreeable reviews
be published after, anon. or not. As I wrote on the tech list this is
about trust...
If there is too much work with submissions (three so far, including one
me - so not exactly a flood) then other people can come in to act as
co-editors (already happening as Athina is editing my paper)

=> in conclusion
I guess what all this boils down to is : is this project (1) a journal
about peer production which attempts to use peer production and openness
much as possible or (2) a completely peer production and open project
happens to be a journal?

The discussions we had a year ago led me to believe it was (1). I think a
complete application of transparency in reviewing would be harmful to
quality and remove key author rights.
OTOH, once again, I agree there needs to better accountability and

Hope this helps to move things along constructively.


----- Original Message -----
From: Athina Karatzogianni <athina.k>
Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 2:05 am
Subject: Re: [jox] Chaos or transparency?
To: journal

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Hi Mathieu, Stefan and everyone

Reading this exchange I am wondering whether we can have a new
beginninghere, a sort of blank sheet and restart by taking on
board only what has
been achieved so far, without any other useless baggage.

A review process has been more or less sketched out, and it is
clear and
feasible at this point what this is, it has been debated for
over 30
emails. We have reviewed some papers and have sent some papers
for review so
this is ongoing and soon we can have an inaugural issue
perhaps.We have an
editorial board, a scientific committee and a functioning site
we can use to
point people to what the journal is about and discover more
things to
utilise the site for; perhaps Stefan can oblige us by
introducing us to what
they are, so we can all use them.

For an effort which started back in March in Hull and is mostly
done through
email, with a lot of transparent dialogue in a very public way,
I d say
these are considerable accomplishments.

I would also like to say that we have all contributed a tiny bit
to this
effort, and Stefan and Mathieu most of all, and thank you loads
for that. It
would now be a shame to start throwing the toys out of the pram
because we
are getting tired of the seemingly long and tiresome admin
usually involved
in this type of projects.

I think it is about offering a new platform, a collaborative
project we can
all build together, so it is not about who is chaotic and who is
trasparent,or who is to blame for this and that, this is not a
capitalist bureaucracy
and no one should be worried about getting it wrong really, as
no one is
getting fired. Lets try and get along and see how we can make
this work as
well as possible, given that it is our own time we are spending doing
something we like.

Lastly, perhaps it would help if we can get on some kind of
videoconferencelike skype, "rebond" and rekindle our vision on
what this journal could and
should be about for everyone involved.

It's 1 am here so excuse the sentimentality.....



On Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 11:04 PM, Mathieu ONeil
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Hi Stefan

I think some of this is attributable to our very different
personalities> and styles - you are very thorough and I am very
impatient - and
consequently to how we approach projects: you probably think
everything> should be documented in great detail, I am happy
with what works and
certainly don't have the same experience than you with
software projects;
when you do a magazine or journal (I've done several) you
don't need to
document everything in great detail; you just want to publish
interesting> articles.

So upon reflection I agree that solely relying on the list to
document our
process is not optimal. I will try to use the site more.
Though to be
honest, I sometimes find it hard to navigate. What may seem
perfectly> obvious and easy for you is not perceived in the same
way by everyone.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stefan Merten <smerten>
Date: Monday, January 24, 2011 6:59 pm
Subject: [jox] Chaos or transparency?
To: journal

Hi project!

From all I saw so far from Mathieu he really prefers chaos. Or
do you
have an up-to-date overview over all the submissions and
their state?

Yes, that would be my last two emails on the topic...

What we actually have is a mail by Mathieu once in a while
where he
says what he currently thinks the state of things is. And it
feels to
me that he changes his mind every week.

This is interesting to say the least. Is there any evidence to
back it up?

Well, I learned that transparency is not only necessary for
democracy> > but even more so for peer production projects (like
I thought
this one
should be an instance of). Therefore at least to me it is
absolutely> > crucial to change the situation.

I tried to built the web site so it allows for maximum
transparency on
the one hand and fine-grained management of publicity of texts
on the
other hand. It is designed to have a comprehensible structure
and to
be easy to maintain - if you want it. From a technical point
of view
it is easy to have all this - if you want it.

Sure. Like I said above, it may seem really easy to you, but
to me some
aspects are quite obscure. Frankly I find it quite clunky
compared to other
website software I have worked with such as wikis (Wikipedia, P2P
Foundation) or blogs (Wordpress); though it may offer site
management> functionalities that these others don't.

Well, things reached a point where I need to make a personal
decision.> > If the rest of the project agrees with this rule of
chaos then
it is
fine with me. However, I'll stop putting energy in this project.

Guess what, I've wondered the very same thing over the last
few months: can
I keep working with someone whose reply to a direct question
in an email I
sent may come in a week, or a month, or more. Everyone has
their own rhythm
and all, but this is the first time I've had that experience.
To be honest,
I have found this incredibly frustrating at times but have
always bit my
tongue (until now) for the good of the project. I would never
presume to
call this method of working "chaotic", maybe you can come up
with something?

If you would prefer transparency, however, I'll try to
continue to
persuade Mathieu of solutions which build transparency as easy
as a
finger snip.

OK, I'm all for transparency as well, though I can't help
noticing that you
want submissions to be non-transparent. At the same time, I'm
the editor of
the journal, so I get to select some reviewers and to tell
people what I
think about their papers. This seems to me pretty normal.
I will obviously also be put in a position where some people
contact me
directly and I may acquire more information than everyone else
over specific
issues. Then again I have always reported on everything that
was going on.
If you look around the Internet at webzines, online
newspapers, academic
magazines, I'd be interested for you to point me to an example
of a
similarly open approach to editing a journal? I'm not saying
there aren't
any, I'm just saying I really don't think I'm being that secretive.

One thing I did wrong (and I'm not saying that was my only
mistake) was in
relation to George Dafermos' early suggestions for the review
process: I
agree that I should have stated more clearly why I thought
they were not so
appropriate (old, some already published elsewhere). These
were originally
meant to test the peer review process: but since then we found
original> stuff to work with which we can actually publish. If
George or anyone else
has original material which they want to submit please do so.
@ George (if you are reading): sorry for not dealing with this more

So to sum up I agree to try to use the site more. For my part,
I would
appreciate a little gesture once in a while along the lines of
"really busy
right now, will respond to this email later".



Comments are wholeheartedly appreciated.



Dr Mathieu O'Neil
Adjunct Research Fellow
Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute
College of Arts and Social Science
The Australian National University
email: mathieu.oneil[at]

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Dr Athina Karatzogianni
Lecturer in Media, Culture and Society
The Dean's Representative (Chinese Partnerships)
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The University of Hull
United Kingdom
T: ++44 (0) 1482 46 5790
F: ++44 (0) 1482 466107,_culture_and_society/staff/karatzogianni,_dr_athina.aspx

Check out Athina's work

Russian hackers

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Dr Mathieu O'Neil
Adjunct Research Fellow
Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute
College of Arts and Social Science
The Australian National University
email: mathieu.oneil[at]

[2 text/html]

Dr Athina Karatzogianni
Lecturer in Media, Culture and Society
The Dean's Representative (Chinese Partnerships)
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The University of Hull
United Kingdom
T: ++44 (0) 1482 46 5790
F: ++44 (0) 1482 466107,_culture_and_society/staff/karatzogianni,_dr_athina.aspx

Check out Athina's work

Russian hackers

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P2P Foundation:  -

Connect:; Discuss:


Think tank:

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