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Re: [jox] Chaos or transparency?

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Hi Stefan

I will keep this short. I have found these exchanges draining and like most other commenters I want to focus on working on papers in the limited time I have.

Sadly, it now feels to me as if the slightest issue will be used to attack - I "abused my authority" by submitting a paper with the wrong referencing system (footnotes instead of Harvard)? And used humor to convey this eminently fixable breach of referencing protocol? That's it? That's all?

Btw, these exchanges may also be turning some people off the project as folks who were volunteering to review papers last week are now not responding to my requests.. Frankly, I can't blame them.

I invested time in the look because the journal and oekonux are not the same thing and the visual identity helps to convey that information.

From what appears below it seems like you want me to say what I need. I already indicated this: a way to materialise the rating system.

If you have solutions about better ways to represent the Editor Log I made a few days ago, please feel free to do it.

I will have more specific questions about editing text and articles but will save them for the tech list.

It also appears as if you want to play a greater role in the editing process. Not quite clear how though. Maybe we could all discuss author's responses to papers once reviewer reports are in? So far we have one set of reviews in: for your paper with Stefan Meretz. Would you like me to post them to the site so we can discuss them with the community? Btw, can we expect a rewrite or a response to these reviewers?



----- Original Message -----
From: Stefan Merten <smerten>
Date: Thursday, January 27, 2011 9:35 pm
Subject: Re: [jox] Chaos or transparency?
To: journal

Hi Mathieu!

I appreciate that we have an open exchange here. I think it 
helps to
understand what moves us - which in turn may help to work together
more constructively again.

2 days ago Mathieu ONeil wrote:
I think some of this is attributable to our very different
personalities and styles - you are very thorough and I am very
impatient -

Though there is some truth to it I think it doesn't help to see this
as attributes of persons.

For instance take the layout topic. For *me* it would have totally
sufficed to install a theme different from the - still 
unofficial -
Oekonux sites. However, it took us months to have all *your* layout
wishes implemented. That is what I understand by thorough - in this
case in an area where for *me* it just doesn't make sense but given
the energy you put in it seems to be of utmost importance.

Seeing it that way it seems to me that we have different topics 
we are
thorough about - or impatient. This can be a problem if we fight each
other on it but also can result in a super team if we are able to
complement each other.

Of course I'd prefer the complementing option :-) . One approach to
that could be to have clear "territories" which are taboo to the

and consequently to how we approach projects: you
probably think everything should be documented in great detail,

No. But it can help to make things clear.

I am
happy with what works

"What works" needs a definition of what is correct and that it
actually is operable...

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. 

Sure. But you still need the technical basis for this - right? 
And for
a printed journal you are not really interested in how the printing
press works but you just say what you need.

Why needs this to be different in an online journal? Why are you
presenting solutions all the time instead of what you need? In a
printed journal would you check the ink in the printing press?

So upon reflection I agree that solely relying on the list to
document our process is not optimal.

Hooray :-) !

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.

Sure. But unless you say what you *want* nobody can give you that.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stefan Merten <smerten>
Date: Monday, January 24, 2011 6:59 pm

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? 

Iwrote that it *feels* to me - may be I should have emphasized this
From the start.

So far I'm not controlling you, so no, there is no real evidence 
besides the points you mention yourself. However, such a feeling kills
trust. And while I'm frank: abusing your power for your ends as you
did with the "magic maintainer dust" or how you called it for 
your own
article kills more trust.

I tried to built the web site so it allows for maximum 
transparency on
the one hand and fine-grained management of publicity of 
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.

So why don't you just tell what you want? That is: Not propose a
solution like you do all the time but simply tell what you want. Or
otherwise I gladly will hand you over the hat of the solution expert
and you are free to do anything you like.

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.

If you want a Wiki it's a finger snip to do it - with or without
Plone. If that is what you *want* just say so. But please make sure
that it fits what the project *needs*.

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.

This says someone who doesn't respond to direct questions *at 
all*. To
be honest but this is really outrageous!

Everyone has their own rhythm and all, but this is the first time
I've had that experience.

I consider it to be your duty as a maintainer to change this if you
consider it a problem.

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?

What about "slow"?

But to be honest: This endevaor goes on for more than a year 
now. If
you would liked to have it faster I'd expected you to be more active
yourself. If there are months during which I don't hear from you that
doesn't give me the impression I need to be any faster...

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

OK, I'm all for transparency as well,

Good to learn :-) .

though I can't help noticing
that you want submissions to be non-transparent.

If I talk about transparency in this thread I mean transparency 
to the
scientific committee. May be of another internal group - I'm still
struggling with the roles and their meaning.

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.

If you see it this way, ok with me, but since I feel some
responsibility for this project I'd at least like to know whether
there *are* some reviewers for a paper meanwhile. If not that 
could be
a reason to take action so the process moves on. That is something
transparency is needed for, however.

Howver, if you want me and others to not care about such details
that's again ok with me. But frankly I wonder why I'm here then. After
all I'm not here for acting as a fig leaf for a community where in
reality everything is run by the editor.

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.

Transparency is a manifold thing. It helps to control power but it
also empowers others to act for the good of the project.

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".

As I said yesterday: If I don't reply soon that is the message this
non-reply sends. But I'll try to comply to your standards.

If I also may have a wish: If you decided to not answer a question
please say so. It's cumbersome to track such instances myself 
and for
this project I once decided to not do it at all - because I'm lucky
enough to not be the maintainer. But not getting replies at all also
creates frustration...



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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