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Re: [jox] Problems in CSPP

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Hi Stefan, Athina, Alessandro

@All: OK, seems I underestimated the fact that some people are not so interested in all the debates - so if there is to be a heavy and light list why not, though I'm not clear about the division suggested by Athina as no-one really uses this list for announcements about conferences etc,
Maybe there can be jox-official for info on releases and asking for wider input and jox-debate for content and process discussions? Or something.

@Stefan: thanks for re-engaging positively. I will briefly address your remarks.
-secrecy. it is necessary for peer reviewing. some authors have subscribed to this list or could read the archives. some reviewers may wish to remain anonymous. if you make everything transparent you are denying them this fundamental right. I could think of other reasons but thats a pretty big one.
we are a thousand times more open in terms of direction, decisions 99% of journals out there. We have had this exact debate before.

Right now we have a distributed system where teams of editors operate as funnels. I trust Johan and Alessandro and Maurizio to do the right thing for their special issues/projects. If you dont trust me (and Mayo when we do our special issue on class) I cant help it.

-"alienated interests". we wanted to put a journal out. i tried to encourage people on the list to submit something original (not something five years old already posted on the net like some of george d's suggestions). I saw a young swedish guy had finished his thesis on piracy etc so I approached him. he agreed to do a paper. we still needed another so i did one. you are 100% wrong if you think this advanced my interests: it would have been much better in terms of profile for me to publish in an established journal. I hardly ever publish research papers, they take _a lot_ of time. cspp does not count for anything in the academic economy. plus as I mentioned once before the fact that i am the editor leads some people to think that there was something suspect about the peer review process, that it was not done properly,  even thought it was done fairly, with Athina acting as editor. it is therefore extraordinarily ironic that you believe i somehow did myself a big favor by publishing a research paper here.

-changing the purpose of cspp. This has not changed. do a journal you would like to read. extend understanding and reach of peer production. sometimes i wish it were more activist but that would imply agreement on a common platform and we are a long way off - may not be possible. if there is discussion about evolution why not.

-blurring content direction. as you say yourself this only makes sense if there is a predefined idea of what content is acceptable.

Hope this helps,


On 09/07/11, Athina Karatzogianni  <athina.k> wrote:
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Hi Stefan, thanks for that
and all

I think we have pratical problems which have become ideological for no
reason at all.

My thoughts, I am wondering, since there are now two lists for the  journal
the journal mailing list and the tech list, can we split the journal mailing
list into two: One that is the people involved with the routine everyday
business of the journal (editors and co-editors, whoever else must and wants
to be involved and desires update on the process and task related debates)
and another list for the scientific committee (SC) and whoever else opts out
from the daily run and debates of the journal. I think if we go with this
idea, lets us do so immediately.

The SC list then can have updates every so often once a month and be used so
people can disseminate info on their  conferences, projects and ideas which
are more of a more general nature. It could be used in a minimal way to
publicize the issues to the SC and invite ideas for future issues. Then the
everyday business of the journal list with the editors co-editors, original
team whatever can kill herself out in whatever number of emails they want to
exchange etc.

I propose this because that way the people who do not wish to know all the
details of everything can me left alone and called upon when necessary and
this way all other business can be discussed thoroughly without worry about
the publicness of it and the dozens of emails annoying everybody.

People can opt in and out and choose *how transparent this wants to be for
them,* *very* get on the eidtorial list, *not as much* get on the SC list.



On Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 6:54 PM, Stefan Merten <smerten> wrote:

Hi all!

Well, I think I should do this immediately. I thought about the
problems I see in CSPP and I think I were able to structure them. I
hope this will be perceived as a constructive attempt to improve the

Secrecy vs. openness

As Mathieu guessed this is an important point for me. One of the
characteristics of peer production is complete openness regarding the
work process. If this project wants to further peer production then it
should honor the principles of peer production by employing its work
style. Otherwise this project implicitly says that peer production is
pointless - at least for a scientific journal.

A very recent example of what IMO goes wrong was the "Plumbing" mail
by Mathieu:

Aaargh I did it again - sorry all.

On 09/06/11, Mathieu ONeil  <mathieu.oneil> wrote:
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Hi Nate

First I wondered what Mathieu is sorry for. Then I understood that his
original mail was meant as a private mail.

Why? That is certainly part of the work process. I don't see why it
needs to be kept private.

Or another example: I remember vaguely that Mathieu said that there
are already 20 submissions for one of the topics. Why isn't this
transparent? Why not share a success like this here? Step by step?

Well, you may take the following as a personal note, but I think this
is a more general topic. If things are kept secret like this then it
is very easy to suspect a hidden agenda. Why risk that?

Or to use wisdom from the ancient regime in spe: Transparency is a
pre-condition for participation. If you hide things from people who
*want* to be involved then you are basically telling them that there
involvement is not needed.

Another thing is that this style gives me the impression of an
authoritative style: Mathieu chooses who to contact and who to share
information with. That doesn't foster participation either.

In a nutshell: I think the work process of the journal should be as
open as possible. If there are necessities to hide things from the
general public this needs to be cared for of course but internally
things need to be transparent.

(Not) fighting alienated interests

In the very beginning we discussed that scientists have an interest in
being published because that promotes their scientific carreer. For a
peer production project interests like this are lethal. One of the
characteristics of peer production is that it creates use value - not
exchange value or other alienated stuff.

In this regard I think it's a bad idea that the editor himself places
one of his own articles in the first issue. I even wonder whether this
is common in academics.

IMHO one of the tasks of the project is to constantly fight these
alienated interests. Most of the contributors being scientists
themselves this may be hard - still I think it's a necessity not only
because of peer production but simply to create something good and
worthwhile. At the very least: I'm not in the science business and
thus I have no such interests. Why should I help others with their
career then when I can't receive anything in exchange [2]_?

.. [2] If you now feel this sounds like alienated logic then you are
       perfectly right.

An extreme solution would be to forbid articles from the project
participants. A less extreme solution would be to forbid articles from
those who are responsible for a certain issue.

Blurring project purpose

That aspect was already the topic of some of my recent remarks in the
"On-topic and off-topic" thread. I think a peer production project
*lives* from the goal it follows. To follow this goal is the purpose
of the project and this is why people are there and contribute to it
without any alienated reward.

Blurring this purpose or changing it is dangerous - to say the least.
Sometimes this is the reason for a fork but more often this is the
reason for people just leaving.

IMHO Mathieu is not clear enough about the purpose of the project
[1]_. For instance when he suggests that (activist) discussion should
take place here.

.. [1] I thought about others but since from others there is so little
       input I think it's ok to attribute this to Mathieu.

I agree that the purpose of a project may change over time or become
clearer. But then this needs to be a conscious process during which
everyone may decide whether s/he wanted the new or the original
purpose - and leave or fork in the latter case.

This said my understanding of the project is that we are here to
create a peer produced scientific journal about peer production. I.e.:
This is a work project. This is very different from a discussion
project and it is also different from building up a community *as

Fortunately we are in the Internet and one of the good things in the
Internet is that setting up new facilities is usually cheap. So *if*
the need for discussing content arises then it should definitely be
channelled to an own space. I.e.: Create an own mailing list for

Of course this does not apply to discussion which is part of the work
process. Of course it's necessary to discuss submissions with the goal
to improve them. Unfortunately this doesn't happen here :-( .

Blurring content direction

The last aspect are my concerns of blurring the direction of the
project. I discussed this aspect in the "Special issue on FLOSS"
thread and the threads leading up to this.

Well, this is probably the weakest of my points because I agree that
it is the purpose of a scientific journal to present and compare
different approaches. Still: Since peer production really is a new
phenomenon it's far too easy to step into old traps.

I'm perfectly happy if there is a consciousness for this problem. If,
however, such a consciousness is regarded as personal whims then the
interesting part of this project is at stake.



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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