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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  May 2008

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING May 2008

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Subject:

Re: metrics

From:

John Hopkins <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

John Hopkins <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 15 May 2008 09:20:10 +0200

Content-Type:

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text/plain (64 lines)

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
>field compared

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 
standards).

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.

cheers,
JOhn

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...

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