HAllo Roger... I had started another response, and maybe post later
today, but a quick response:
>A metric is a way to assess impact, and the impact needs
>to be relative to a particular community of practice.
>One of the advantage of developing new metrics is that it levels the playing
A metric is a standard, and a standard is the fundamental
building-block of a (our) techno-social system. We cannot have a
techno-social system without standards, so the question becomes how
many, how expansive, and how standard? Whenever standards are
applied to a system, the system decreases in degrees of freedom,
complexity, and controllability for the duration of the time that the
system has those standards applied (which is for how long that system
has the excess energy to maintain the order that is required to apply
If we seek for a 'global' standard when we have only, say, a national
standard, our system will be poorer in its potential for creative
innovation, period. As standards are applied on larger and larger
systems (thinking of the development of global standards (for
example, telephone plugs)) idiosyncracy decreases and the
opportunities within which we encounter the un-expected decreases
(oh, as techno-road-warrior I can plug my modem in where-ever I
travel, that's cool -- to maintain my position in the techno-social
system I need this ability!). When (fewer) standards are applied in
a more local sense, there are more opportunities for interstitial
(TAZ's) to arise simply because there are more interstitial gaps
between standardized systems.
I vote for less standards, more idiosyncracy.
Even if it means I am completely excluded from a standardized system
of educational production, thank you... I will somewhat happily
forgo the rewards that go along with standardization to maintain an
autonomous situation for myself (and the students I encounter).
Standards are about conformity, social harmony, control, power, and
ultimately about stasis and death. A system with a too-high degree
of standardization cannot innovate or deal with change. And, if all
is change, well, that is something to deal with. (for example, the
long-term effect of the Bologna Accord will be wider-scale
reification of the educational system in Europe, no doubt!)
Now I realize the discussion here is proceeding based on the idea
that we face a previously reified and unresponsive system of
standards imposed by a techno-social system that was responding to
other degrees of uncertainty that it felt were unbearable (to social
stability). But I think it is problematic to think that another set
of standards will function any differently. Truly open systems
suggest a lack of standards which then stimulates the direct
negotiation and exchange process at the granular human level -- this
process of exchange arises from difference itself.
PS -- I have some immersive background with this question -- my
father worked as an OR/systems analyst for part of his gov't career
at the NBS (Nat'l Bureau of Standards) which is now known as NIST
(National Institute of Standards and Technology), uff, what a job...