Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Sun, 08 Feb 2004
Mac Tips and Tricks updated
I've updated my list of Macintosh Tips and Tricks to include some new software packages and a section on tips. Leave a comment and let me know if you are finding this useful.
[23:19] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 6 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fervor isn't votes
[I started this a few days ago, and am just now finishing it -- a benefit of Ecto]

In his "post-mortem" of the Dean campaign, Clay Shirky writes:

Fervor Isn’t Votes

Margaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Generations of zealots have tacked these words up on various walls, never noticing that the two systems that run the modern world – markets and democracies — are working right precisely when they defeat these attempted hijackings by small groups.

Voting in particular is designed as a repudiation of Mead’s notion. In the line at the polling booth, the guy with the non-ironic trucker hat and nothing other than instinct for who he trusts cancels the vote of the politics junkie who can tell you the name of Joe Lieberman’s Delaware field manager

A number of things stood out to me. First of all, the voting system is designed to ensure equality. I usually think of this as "everyone gets a vote". But another key point is that all votes are equivalent. Some votes are not more important than other votes. A vote is a vote is a vote. I knew this, but sometimes things just leap up off the page at you. This was one of those times.

At the same time, I'm not sure I agree with his characterization of markets and democracies existing to defeat hijackings by small groups, although they do. In an ideal democracy, a small group can change the whole system, but in order to do it they have to do it indirectly:

You can ring doorbells and carry signs and donate and stay up til 4 in the morning talking with fellow believers about the sorry state of politics today, and you still only get one vote. If you want more votes than that, you have to do the hardest, most humbling thing in the world. You have to change someone else’s mind.
You can do it -- if you can change someone's mind. But (ideally) you can't force them to change their mind, you actually have to persuade them. Persuasion is tough. There are different components to persuasion. There's the idea you are trying to push. That better look good in the other person's mind. Then there's the persuader. You can have a good idea, but if people don't trust you, you may not be able to persuade them. There's also relevance. You may have a perfectly good idea, and be trustworthy, but your idea may be irrelevant to the hearer. They just won't care. Many people believe that they know how to persuade, when in reality they onlyl know how to give orders.
Internet culture is talking culture, so we’re not used to this. In our current conversational spaces, whether mailing lists or bulletin boards or weblogs, the people who speak the loudest and the most frequently dominate the discussion.

Imagine if a mailing list had to issue a formal opinion on the issues discussed, and lurkers got a vote. The high-flow posters would complain that the lurkers votes would not reflect the actual discussion that took place, merely the aggregate opinions of the group, and yet that is how the primaries work. Talking loudest or most or even best means nothing

Conversations that aren't aimed at making decisions lead to endless pontificating and bellyaching, regardless of the medium. But conversations that will result in people being persuaded to actually do something can be different. In order for people to act, they need to be persuaded. Open source projects that vote can be a good example of this. People need to be persuaded to make changes, to accept a design, or to fix bugs. There are no traditional levers of firing or withholding salary or other usual disincentives or their corresponding positive incentives. You have to persuade someone, pure and simple. So if you want to talk, go ahead and fill up mailing lists, newsgroups, web forums, and blogs. But if you want work to get done, learn to persuade. Take a good look at whether or not you have a good, relevant idea, and then take another look and see whether you, the messenger, have earned the trust of those you are trying to persuade.
[22:59] | [culture] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

twl JPG


Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Now available!
Professional XML Development with Apache Tools : Xerces, Xalan, FOP, Cocoon, Axis, Xindice
Technorati Profile
PGP Key Fingerprint
My del.icio.us Bookmarks
My Flickr Photos

RSS 2.0 xml GIF
Comments (RSS 2.0) xml GIF
Atom 0.3 feed
Feedburner'ed RSS feed

< February 2004 >
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 91011121314


Macintosh Tips and Tricks

Blogs nearby
geourl PNG

/ (1567)
  books/ (33)
  computers/ (62)
    hardware/ (15)
    internet/ (58)
      mail/ (11)
      microcontent/ (58)
      weblogs/ (174)
        pyblosxom/ (36)
      www/ (25)
    open_source/ (145)
      asf/ (53)
      osaf/ (32)
        chandler/ (35)
        cosmo/ (1)
    operating_systems/ (16)
      linux/ (9)
        debian/ (15)
        ubuntu/ (2)
      macosx/ (101)
        tips/ (25)
      windows_xp/ (4)
    programming/ (156)
      clr/ (1)
      dotnet/ (13)
      java/ (71)
        eclipse/ (22)
      lisp/ (34)
      python/ (86)
      smalltalk/ (4)
      xml/ (18)
    research/ (1)
    security/ (4)
    wireless/ (1)
  culture/ (10)
    film/ (8)
    music/ (6)
  education/ (13)
  family/ (17)
  gadgets/ (24)
  misc/ (47)
  people/ (18)
  photography/ (25)
    pictures/ (12)
  places/ (3)
    us/ (0)
      wa/ (2)
        bainbridge_island/ (17)
        seattle/ (13)
  skating/ (6)
  society/ (20)

[Valid RSS]

del.icio.us linkblog



Listed on BlogShares

Locations of visitors to this page
Where are visitors to this page?

pyblosxom GIF