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[jox] Re: Direction of the journal (was Re: Ridiculous arguments (was: [jox] Journal report - 19 August 2011))

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just want to say thanks to Nate for his very wise intervention, one I can
find myself in,

we have indeed to be examples ourselves of what we want in the world, even
if that is not easy,

and being human, we fail in varying degrees in doing this,

the journal list should indeed be to discuss the direction and content of
the journal


On Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 4:02 PM, Mathieu ONeil <mathieu.oneil>wrote:

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Hi Matt

I agree that we don't want to be restrictive, but we can also encourage
people to explore specific research paradigms. That's what I was trying to



On 09/07/11, Matthew Allen  <M.Allen> wrote:
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From my end, watching the debates...

"I could be completely wrong but most people involved in the journal
would be able to place themselves somewhere inside this quadrant."

I certainly can: Marxian approaches work for me, but not in a totalising
way (which some may disagree with); post-structuralism is useful for me
because it does imply a critique of its on terms (though sometimes we act as
if it doesn't). I am trying here not to return to certain debates in the
1990s that I lived through in Australian universities and would, therefore,
hope that we don't need 'purity' these days, just intersection.

I would be cautious however about being too narrow in the selection and
publication of articles. Journals with a very narrow focus and position
have, yes, a clear identity but they also tend to be read only by a few
people who already agree with that. A certain diversity of voices helps to
broaden appeal.

I hope that is useful


Professor Matthew Allen
Head of Department, Internet Studies
School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Curtin University of Technology, CRICOS 00301J Australia
m.allen <>  @netcrit
+61 8 92663511 (v) +61 8 9266 3166 (f)
Australian Learning and Teaching Council Fellow
Life Member, Association of Internet Researchers


From: owner-journal on behalf of Mathieu ONeil
Sent: Wed 9/7/2011 4:26 PM
To: journal
Subject: Direction of the journal (was Re: Ridiculous arguments (was:
[jox] Journal report - 19 August 2011))

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Hi Nate

Thanks for commenting. You raise a lot of good points.

Re. behaviour, unfortunately sometimes it is very hard to remain
dispassionate and reasonable. This is part of what makes us human. Sorry if
I upset others. I was indeed upset myself, emotionally and even physically
(insomnia). I feel bad that Alex Halavais left because he significantly
contributed to our discussions but I don't think the strong words had much
to do with that, could be wrong but my sense is that he just used the
opportunity of someone else leaving to announce an already-made decision.

Re. the journal I think of it like this: imagine two perpendicular axes
which intersect.
One could be called "critical outlook" - with marxism at one end and
post-structuralism (or any other non-marxist methodology) at the other
The other could be called "area of inquiry" with empirical research at
one end and philosophy/theory at the other

I could be completely wrong but most people involved in the journal would
be able to place themselves somewhere inside this quadrant.

To my mind there needs to be a balance between having space for all
positions (what you and Michel advocate) and having a clear identity and
function. This project arose because of Oekonux, and though I have argued
several times that it is not in any way identical to it, in particular in
having more diversity of POVs, in my view a core function of the journal is
to develop a critical distance from existing conditions, namely - amongst
other factors - industrial capitalism and its attendant social/ecological
order. For me other perspectives should position themselves around,
complement, criticise this core function, or at any rate try not to lose
sight of it. This is the activist/critical side. I have been meaning to
synthetise the various contributions on this we had a couple weeks ago to
see if we can outline a common position for inclusion in the next issue.

So I hear what you say about channeling list energy into publications but
not sure how the energy/conversation can be generated without the list?

Re. servers etc, there might be a need to do something like that if
problems persist in the future. So far StefanMn has been fine in terms of
helping out when needed for infrastructure issues. Though not for website
design. The situation now is one of maximum autonomy for the people making
the journal. Not sure how that would pan out elsewhere? We need to set up a
Table of contents page listing all contributions chronologically for the
next issue. I will try to do this, and see how we go.

OK, this is already longer than I intended.



On 09/07/11, nathaniel tkacz  <nathanieltkacz> wrote:
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I'd like to begin by echoing Athina's plea. Please stop being mean to
another; it is clearly damaging the project. People are leaving.

@mathieu - i understand that you feel insulted and upset, but you are
participating in the ugliness by calling Stefan and troll and a child.
 These kind of insults are not needed to make your point.

I remember when the accusations of anti-semitism happened and ox lost
important voices (matteo and dmytri). The worst thing about that debate
that it all revolved around a misunderstanding. On the one hand, Stefan
that Matteo had put forward an inaccurate view of _GNU Society_ and
projects (and perhaps he had). On the other hand, Stefan had no prior
knowledge of the work of Michel Serres and jumped to wrong conclusions.
book, The Parasite, is a theory of relations - a wonderful book which
anything but anti-Semitic. But that's besides the point. Stefan didn't
hadn't that situation very well, and could have been more modest in his
response. He definitely should have thought twice about using the idea
anti-Semitism, where attached to a person or the structure of an
It's obviously deeply insulting either way.

@Stefan you obviously feel strongly about your ideas, but I do agree
you don't express them in ways that show respect for your

I think that part of the issue revolves around the identity of the
being not just a publishing avenue for peer-production, but also an
experiment in it. Thus, what gets talked about bears directly on what
journal should be and how it should be organised.

Here is how I feel about what has been talked about lately:

- We should keep the journal name as it is. While _commons_ may or may
be technically more accurate (and i'm not going either way), _peer
production_ remains the better known title (due to Benkler - and i know
commons is in their too, but peer production is the term most often
used). I
also think it's not overly important because the point of a name is
to signify the kind of conversation that takes place in the journal and
names would do that fine enough. In fact, i think it's best to remain
out of
the nuanced debates with regards to the name, because we want it to
serve as
an umbrella, not a filter. For example, _GNU Society_ or _Oekonux
or whatever wouldn't be suitable IMO. _Peer Production_ is nice and

- One thing that has been overlooked in the naming conversation is the
_Critical_ in the title. I think this is important. It suggests that
journal is not just about the best way to implement p2p/peer production
ideas. It is just as much a place to critically reflect on these
on their strengths and weaknesses, and to weigh up different versions
against one another. This requires the recognition that different
people on
the list will have different perspectives, which must be respected. We
could learn from how Michel Bauwens manages the p2p list/foundation,
does a wonderful balancing act with all the different positions he
to bring into the fold. If I'm being totally honest, I think this is
something that Stefan especially needs to work on. Figuring out how to
encourage critical perspectives without spiraling into silly attacks is
something we all need to work on.

- One possible solution is to change the format slightly. There has
been a
lot of discussion on the journal list, and I personally don't think
it's the
best place for it. Some discussion is ok, but the journal list should
be about the journal (new issues, structure, reviews etc.). I think it
alienates members of the committee who don't have the time to
participate as
much. Some of the past discussion is the kind of stuff that could go
into a
debate section and some could even be worked into full length articles.
other words, we need to channel the energy and conversation from the
and turn it into more publications! Using the academic format might
also be
a good way for people to work out their disagreements in position
having recourse to name-calling.

- I think the journal needs to distance itself from ox. It is not a
about oekonux, and it doesn't rely on oekonux for its existence or
We can get another server going and move the content somewhere else.
said, Stefan and whoever else from oekonux have obviously been super
important and done a great job in helping everything get started.
members are very welcome, but do not hold more authority or esteem
because of that association. The project/journal should not feel held
by its connection to oekonux.

- Generally i think that Mathieu has done a great job as lead editor. I
totally happy with the judgement calls he has made and the way he has
about things (and all these nice words after getting a slam from him in

- Finally, some of you know that i am not as openly supportive of p2p
others. Indeed, my work tries to make critical interventions into the
that people are thinking about these developments. It is not because I
conservative or a champion of capitalism(s), but because I worry about
being put forward as an answer to all our problems, as if it won't have
own issues, its own violences. I don't believe that so i try to point
things that go unacknowledged or unseen in these projects. What is
in all this, however, is an attempt to improve things. For people to
involved in these projects, they have to be attracted to them. Maybe
debt-capitalism will explode and that will moves things along, but i'd
very surprised if everyone just decided that p2p was the way to go in
middle of societal breakdown! Thus, the best way to create new social
alternatives is to make them attractive, to show that there are better
to do things - better ways to treat one another. Otherwise, why would
want to get involved? This is also true for the journal.


Nate Tkacz

ARC Research Associate
Genealogies of Digital Light
The University of Melbourne

PhD Candidate
School of Culture and Communication
The University of Melbourne


Research Page: <>

On Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 10:30 PM, Mathieu ONeil <

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Hi Athina, all

First, welcome to the fiftieth subscriber to this list, who just
signed up!

Second, sorry about the heat but IMHO this has now gone beyond a

Obviously Stefan Merten has contributed enormously to the project -
organising the Oekonux conference at which some of us met, which led
to my
putting my hand up as editor of this journal; and by setting up the
But since March(?) of this year he decided to step back because of
disagreement over the publication process. It now appears he is
disillusioned with the journal (a "dead horse" in his own words) yet
on enforcing rigid definitions of appropriate content. In addition he
engaged in the following:

-inflammatory language (see previous messages to Michel or me)
-unfounded accusations (I am apparently engaging in backdoor
to "fight the spirit of Oekonux" - whatever that is)
-blatant lying (cf. "I never attacked anyone for being an antisemite"
- oh
yeah, whats this?)
-insistence on process issues (should the journal list be used for
this or
that? my view is, the people on the list can use the list however
they see
fit without referring to some "charter")
-so it all ends being about him - his views, his difficult behaviour
- will
he answer message x, y, z, and when? -, how we should deal with the
fact he
doesn't seem to _get it_
when several people (me, Christian, Michel) try to explain that there
 not one orthodoxy here, that multiple POVs are allowed. Someone who
to engage in amateur psychology might say he appears to be -
- "trolling" the
project he helped create, like a child who can't get his chosen toy
decides to
spoil the party.

The question is, should we continue to put up with this? Only Michel
and I
have stood up to the bullying. Should others say what they think? The
thing is, Stefan has a uniquely central role to play in this project
of his knowledge about peer production and his technical skills -
there are
lots of things that need to be done to the website for example - but
insistence on one orthodoxy and his abrasive behaviour make it very
hard to
work with him...



On 09/06/11, Athina Karatzogianni  <athina.k> wrote:
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Dear Mathieu, Stefan, and I ll include here Michel as well because
of the
other discussion currently unfolding.

May I suggest that the interpersonal issues that you may have are
in private and not on the list in such a public way, which really
is not
appropriate. As an outsider I can tell you that it just makes a
and we could all do without the accelerated affect usually
emails of this nature, and get on with the projects at hand.
you may have between you it is really not of interest here and they
diminish the contributions you have made in your respective
projects. I
think lets see more of that and less of this.

I hope my intervention is taken as intended.

Lets get over all this, we all have more things in common than not.


On Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 6:28 AM, Mathieu ONeil <

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Hi Stefan

I understand you are probably still upset that the publication /
process is not  more distributed or transparent. If there is a
way for
people to post for examples reviews and remain 100% anonymous,
fine. If
want to experiment with ways to do that that do not affect the
work, fine.


I have consistently tried to offer you a platform to _say what
I fail to see how this is "building strawmen".
I have consistently tried to achieve consensus from the
I have consistently encouraged all to express themselves freely.
I have consistently tried to be as fair and open as possible,
both on

I dare you to bring up any issue that contradicts this.

If there is anything _real_ or _concrete_ that you want to raise,
ahead. But if all you want to do is vent your spleen at things
exactly how you want, then I would request that you maintain
where they belong, in your mind, and not on this list, as they
are _not
helping_. This is causing me stress and anxiety and I am tired of

Some of the statements below are bordering on the pathological.
have I
done "behind the scenes"? I merely pointed out that only StefanMz
supported your position - that is the _reality_ of what happened.
this "setting up parties"? What "other stuff" do you mean? This
name-calling and bullying.


Thanks for the offer but after building up strawmen and front
above this sounds somewhat strange...

Mathieu, this project started after the fourth Oekonux
Conference and
I understood that it's goal is to keep this spirit. My
impression is
that you are fighting this spirit behind the scenes - like with
setting up parties and using ridiculous arguments like above
but also
with other stuff.

Mathieu, if you want to make CSPP (or how you are going to call
tomorrow) something which contradicts Oekonux then this is your
decision I have to respect. From a few seasoned leftists during
these years I heard things like "Oekonux is something which
hope - *although* it is not the same old stuff!". In fact this
is why
I like Oekonux and it's spirit. If you want to move this
project to
the same old, same old then you should make this clear ASAP.
everyone here can make a decision on how to proceed. BTW: A
same old and new open-mindedness seems stupid to me because it
serve anybody really.



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<,_culture_and_society/staff/karatzogianni,_dr_athina.aspx

Lecturer in Media, Culture and Society
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The University of Hull
United Kingdom
T: ++44 (0) 1482 46 5790
F: ++44 (0) 1482 466107
E: a.karatzogianni

Download my work for free here:

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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]

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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]

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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]

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P2P Foundation:  -

Connect:; Discuss:


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