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[ba-ohs-talk] OHS and the futureof journalism (was "Bootstrap and Licensing")

Mike.    (01)

First, please, take a deep breath. This is long.    (02)

You wrote, "As I might have said before, I am interesting in creating
some form of repository of program code, but converted into a OHS type
system," etc.    (03)

I understand, and here I just jump into an ongoing debate with an
altogether different kind of repository. Ofv on a tangent. Not too well
behaved. But you were gracious enough not to ignore what I wrote.    (04)

You asked if I could provide some links to my statement that "for an OHS
to operate on, Fleabyte is being developed to become a _dynamic_
knowledge repository to be worked on (i.e. substance brought closer to
the frontiers) by means of an OHS."    (05)

I am not sure how to ansewer this satisfactorily. The genesis of my
remark lies in my attending the Unrev-II Colloquium over the Internet.
In that respect. perhaps the closest link I can give is to Session 2 of
that 10-week series:
http://www.bootstrap.org/colloquium/session_02/session_02-.html . But it
may not be satisfactory. So, I'll try to explain what has been going
through my mind and hope it will be sufficiently interesting.    (06)

But before I do that let me quickly react to your comment re freenet,
"pages not used just die off. The data is replicated across a P2P net as
needed. Everyone contributes bandwith as they see fit."    (07)

Many feel that all information should be retained; others may see that
as a useless burden. Kind of compares to a habit many of us have, giving
away books or other things and later finding out that, geez, wish I had
kept that! Frequency of current use is a poor arbiter of future needs.
Of course, there is stuff that has become so "obviously" redundant, one
may well cull it out. Fleabyte played with a sort of informational
netherworld referred to as dandruff (the "scurf of the scalp") to be
kept for a year before brushing it away. But a better solution may be
found in improving our way of journaling information. I.o.w., keep all
the files (somewhere), but design a mode of finding most efficiently
what is mostoften needed.    (08)

Now back to "the frontiers." And here you probably are not getting the
kind of response you may be expecting. Not even in the ballpark. The
crux here is: we need to recognize different kinds of frontiers.    (09)

One kind of frontier that between all human knowledge and what lies
beyond. The other is between what a developing individual knows and what
lies beyond. Still another - vary vague - is between what ordinary,
"informed" citizens know and what lies beyond. And, of course, there is
the kind of frontier that companies and other organizations perceive in
their planning, which is the kind of frontier Doug Engelbart has been
mostly talking about during the Unrev-II Colloquium.    (010)

And as far as everyday society goes, it looks like the third kind is of
paramount importance. It is from how ordinary folk and their accepted
leaders perceive things that action flows such as enabling schools to
speed kids to their frontiers and enabling academics to push outward the
frontiers of overall human knowledge. It is what the "informed" citizen
knows that is an important determinant.    (011)

Another important determinant is what companies know. Here, those in the
know may be fewer in number, but they are capital-driven entrepeneurs
and have a great deal of influence in academe (even in schools for
kids!).    (012)

I don't want to belabor the struggles ensuing from what citizens know
(or simply feel) and what "vested interests" know. Insofar the dirty
linen is washed in public, the media are full of that. And a look at the
oped pages of our newspapers shows that the media are especially
knowledgeable about politics - psychology in action. As for the rest,
the media are a mixture of insight and ignorance. How often have I not
heard academics berating  journalists about their incompetence.    (013)

An especially bad aspect of media, which is rapidly getting worse!, is
that they need advertising income in order to provide their _very
important_ service. And to get that income they need to create and keep
a readership. The stream of vital information entering broad society is
increasingly diluted by garbage whereas the flux of events on this
planet call for increasingly detailed understanding on the part of
citizenries around the world. We need to move out "ordinary" citizens'
frontiers of knowledge. Or should I say "judgment"?    (014)

Judgment derives from knowledge gathered in the course of our lives. We
may not have acute knowledge of details, but we still judge. We may have
false perceptions, but we still judge.  Which applies to the man in the
street, to the corporate executive and the politician, and to scientists
fully in touch with the academic community. What is happening today is
not only that good information gets corrupted with garbage, but that
hard data accepted as correct are  increasingly overwhelmed by newer
findings. A scientific paper loses value faster than a new car once it
is driven of the dealer's lot. Clearly, we must improve on the human
state of awareness of what is going on in this world. We need media that
thrive to be accurate and eschew nonsense, and do so at a rate of
informational flow and at a level that can be generally understood.
Those media must be trustworthy; they cannot be suspected of being
influenced by the advertising dollar, or any other vested interest.    (015)

Let's be particular for a moment. In recent years there has been some
litigation about so-called deep links. Linking directly to an item
within a publisher's web site is resisted when it bypasses advertising.
The publisher feels that he provides a service to reader and those he
pay the piper by mixing ads with other content. Just imagine for a
moment a professor interrupting his lecture for a word from the sponsor!
Well, that would be the same  obstacle to reaching a frontier as the
media provide in their role as public educators. And imagine further
that the professor mixes for entertainment purposes nonsensical or
irrelevant stories with facts, just assuming that his students know the
difference. That would be unheard of. Yet, that is the way the public is
dealt with by the media. And, as I already implied, the frontiers of
public understanding are more important than the frontiers of what
academics understand because it is from public understanding that
academe exists.    (016)

I don't want to sound megalomaniacal (I am painfully aware of many of my
limitations), but Fleabyte is an attempt at upgrading media; just a
first stab, mind you. And as I am playing with it I become aware of
difficulties, of contradictions, of things that need to be resolved, all
this while not having answers at the ready. One thing it obviously needs
is input by people well-placed to provide that and with the judgment to
provide that in an appropriate measure. These are the kind of people we
need to staff the frontiers of "common understanding" on which our
actions as voters are based.    (017)

We also need a mechanism by which these people can contribute and by
which they can be held accountable for their contributions (as in
debate). A mechanism on the public forum. It is that kind of mechanism I
am looking for in an open hyperdocument system.    (018)

I have been longwinded (and, yet, not detailed enough), but this is what
I am talking about when in one sentence mentioning frontier outposts and
OHS.    (019)

In conclusion, please remember: pushing the frontiers of knowledge as we
ordinarily understand it (mostly by researchers) is very important, but
pushing the frontiers of public understanding is vital! This is where, I
perceive, educational journalism must assert its responsibility.    (020)

Henry    (021)