Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Meta - ET

by In Wales Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:32:44 AM EST

Original text put below the fold. Story bumped because the discussion is still active and useful. -- Jérôme


Every so often it is good to take a breather from running around and stop to review where we are and where we are trying to get to.

So the questions to put to you all are;

How are you finding the general vibe and flow of ET at the moment?

What do you think of the balance of content on the site? What kind of diaries and stories about Europe would you like to see, and what could you contribute?

Are more meta diaries needed, more diaries on topics covering social issues, as well as economic, more debates on approaches that we can take to engaging with European politics or politics in our own countries?

original fold here

We want to ensure that ET continues to develop as a site that covers a broad range of topics, appealing to the interests of a wide audience, encouraging members to contribute through comments and diaries of their own.

The balance often feels a little heavy on the side of UK and France and discussion around the US. Whilst it is no bad thing to have that, it would be great to see more contributions covering other European countries and a wider range of topics.

So how can we enable that to happen? Some of our main contributers and the front pagers lack the time needed to pull many diaries together to keep the content flowing. With some topics there is not the critical mass of people who are interested or knowledgeable enough to get a good discussion going.

I still haven't figured out what really draws the crowds in for a good old debate, beyond economics and some meta diaries...

So, what needs doing, and what do we want more of?
Over to you.

Display:
Thanks In Wales, for putting this up. Hope many people will join in the discussion.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 05:48:27 AM EST
This is a community blog and, however much love and energy the FPs put in, the blog only works if the community works.

I suspect there's little point putting together a wish list of topics unless there are people knowledgeable and industrious enough to put such things together. After all, if it weren't for Jerome we wouldn't have half the awareness of energy issues that we have and no amount of wishing would change that.

We have our ups and downs. I've given up trying to work out when Open thread is going to take off. Sometimes it rushes off to 100 comments and 10 different topics, other times I feel like I'm the only one here.

A couple of weeks ago there were hardly any diaries, now there are so many going through I'm falling behind.

We have our bad days/weeks, I still don't know what happened at Xmas but it was obvious that there were echoes well into March. We also have people who cause bad feelings, either by design or by flaw of character and we deal with them,work around them as best we can. We aren't dKos, nor even Booman, we are what we are. Fairly small, regular commentators probably knock in around 30 or 40, occasionals not much more. And that limits the energy.

One thing I will say is that we can be intimidating. Not just because there's a cliquishness going on (which there is), nor even because in our discourse we've left certain conventional wisdoms well behind which can confuse newcomers, but there's a certain rough and tumble of brusque challenge in our conversations that can be bruising, even to regulars (or is it just me ?). I would imagine to newcomers who just want to join in a friendly conversation about politics it must feel terrifying at first. I was pretty intimidated when I joined and I think we're far worse than we were then.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 06:10:13 AM EST
As usual Helen - spot on.

The greatest weakness of ET, IMO, is an inability to maintain a balance between politics/economics/science, and the arts/humanism/infotainment interests. I call it boxers v wrestlers.

It doesn't have to be a competition. Just as I use ET to learn about the subjects in which I am ignorant, I would expect others to learn something from subjects in which they are ignorant. It's about sharing not winning.

My lack of recent diaries has been the result of exhausting work pressure, but I admit that putting up a diary is not that much work - it's the after sales service that takes so much time.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 08:14:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
The greatest weakness of ET, IMO, is an inability to maintain a balance between politics/economics/science, and the arts/humanism/infotainment interests. I call it boxers v wrestlers.

Or Classic v Romantic

Classic (which focuses on the underlying function) and Romantic (which focuses on the outer-lying form)

so that

"Although motorcycle riding is romantic," Pirsig writes, "motorcycle maintenance is purely classic."


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 08:58:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. And the romantic heretics are largely the one's who have been on the inside of a process and found it didn't work ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 09:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would anyone feel the strength to try to summarize thse for a newcomer? Would we be able to? I think this could be an interesting exercise...

Helen - given that you are one of the most active regulars but not part of the FP crew, would you be willing to give it a try?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 09:53:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll give it a go. I think perhaps that some threads should have a warning on them along the lines that our bark is worse than our bite.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:07:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my feeling is that the site has taken a more revendicative tone lately, that may not be best adapted to the purpose of convincing complete outsiders of ET views on some subjects.

I feel, as a reader mainly, that I cannot advice other people to read some diairies because I would be afraid they may just discard the text after reading a few over revendicative paragraphs.

I feel that the site may need some delicately phrased articles to sum up the work on some subject, and let it available to outsiders in a simple, comprehensive and welcoming way.

Perhaps the wiki should be started again, to become the place where keeping such welcoming texts, with a stronger anti-spam protection?

by Xavier in Paris on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 06:31:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that like retro-vindictive, vindictive like they used to be in the 80's, or 50's?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could translate by militant, activist, protesting, er, strident?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:29:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
demanding?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 07:59:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both militant and strident, she is clear.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 08:16:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bruce, there's an agriculture debate in the Debates Box. Hope it might interest you.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:50:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oups sorry, I'm afraid revendicative is just another language invention

Well, I meant protesting, in a quite strident way.

What I just wanted to underline is that, given the tone of latest contributions to the website, it is quite difficult to just tell people "go to the website, they have quite a good analysis on that subject".

Because, doing so, when the guy actually comes to ET, what he feels is finding himself (or herself) in the middle of quite radical activism, and he(she) will then discard whatever is written on the site as "politically biaised".

I usually prefer, while debating, slowly demonstrate that the usual wisdom on a subject is false, giving facts and examples when I may, because I feels the result is more efficient.

and sorry again for the vocabulary mess

by Xavier in Paris on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:44:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know whether you consider me to be one of the more strident contributors here, but I would find it helpful if you commented on and pointed out contributions which you considered to be unhelpfully strident.  It's sometimes hard to anticipate how people will react to what you write, and part of the benefit of a site like this is the feedback we receive on our writing.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 07:15:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing wrong with making up new words - perhaps we should develop a new pan-European language!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 07:34:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
please note that I don't want to keep all stringent contribution at bay. I was just wondering if some headlines articles would not benefit from a smoother writing.

As an example, I would point to some of Jérôme "anglo disease" stories where facts are mixed with opinions, making it useful when answering to biaised contradictors, but also harder to use to convince some open minded correspondent. It often happens it the comments more. I hope I'm not sounding ungrateful really, because I'm not: I really read a lot of ET stories, and I'm usually wondering how to use the material in it elsewhere.

Jérôme, don't stop writing, I love your stories

by Xavier in Paris on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 08:08:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but one I'm not too sure what to do about.

I do try to cover the basics in my stories, or at least to link to older diaries arguing more in detail a particular point, but there is also a need to cover new ground and not just repeat endlessly the same thing (as it were, I already feel I'm repeating myself too much) - and that's where the earlier references, already absorbed by§ regulars, may not be obvious to new readers.

But that's why I'd like to be able to have the thinktank, where we can produce these summary papers that take a new reader through the whole process in a step-by-step fashion, using the arguments we've honed previously. Having such papers as handy references to our assertions would be a priceless support to the site.

but we need t odraft them, circulate them, and store tham online. Which brings us back to that ET thinktank idea I wrote about elsewhere in this thread.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:26:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ET ThinkTank already exists. What we need to do is to formalize it WITHOUT destroying motivations, or by replacing with other motivations (such as, as you suggest, payment).

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its potential is clearly there, but it's not been turned into reality yet. Saying otherwise is silly.

It will exist when it's quoted in old-style media.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:48:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, your experience of thinktanks is different from mine. Being quoted in the old style media is not what I regard as Mecca. I believe that bit is relatively easy if you understand how the media works. That's what I do for a living.

But bringing about change in the audience is a whole different kettle of whatever takes your fancy.  Old style media are, unfortunately, old style. In the billions of words written every day, an LTE here or there is irrelevant. It may satisfy your own needs for communication and recognition, but that is a monologue, IMO, and the common failure of most of my clients in equating exposure with influence.

The true value of thinktanks is thinking. That is what we do and it is a reality. What is not yet a reality is how to translate this thinking into change that is perceptible to a large mass, such that it might have political impact. If we could apply more open thinking to this little conundrum, we might find more common ground. The solution is unlikely IMO to be old style media. Although, as I have written elsewhere, a literary agent could secure income for ET.

You have written elsewhere about your lack of knowledge about IT. This is a problem. The solution (though I don't know what it is, but have some ideas), lies in this very channel that we are using at this moment.

The thinktank exists as it accepts that it is primarily in new-media - not old.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:36:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You always talk about all the things you know about and all that we could do if we had your knowledge. We obviously don't, but you won't share it, and you won't do anything yourself to translate ET's potential into actual consequences, even those that you personally think are more relevant.

I thought you considered ET to be a collective entity - why do you seem to be expecting me, or any of the gnomes, to do the work? Why aren't you contacting that agent and bringing the options s/he will provide here on ET for these to be discussed? Why don't you put your ideas on the table? Why don't you make these things that you consider so valuable and important actually happen?

So forgive me if I ignore you or am skeptical - you asked for it with your inaction and/or superciliousness.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:32:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven's comments that got you so riled up are rational observations that contribute to this particular discussion. Supercilious - you should reconsider the use of that word - not to mention the spirit in which you used it.

As to ET Thinktank - you may remember that I have supported this idea for months and have stated that I will put $100 per month into the project. I used to suggest Migeru as the first employee, but, since he has a job now, I recommend Helen as an archivist/coordinator.

Concerning form - the comments, as in past discussions of this issue, are diverse but contain alternatives that could be organized for further discussion and decision by you, or the FPs, or the membership-at-large. This could be Helen's first task.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue May 13th, 2008 at 11:16:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, apart from the obvious 'people who live in glass houses' paradox of your first sentence, my main reason for not persuing direct ET benefits in my normal work is that I am reluctant to have other people speak on my behalf. That does not stop me from incorporating many of the elements of ET arguments that I believe can bring about change for the good. Yes, I steal.

I work all the time with projects that might bring about change à la ET. I spend a lot of time with your basic taxi driver, your shop assistant and your laundry lady. I lke these people. They make happiness in my life.  And I will do only those things that I believe will ultimately benefit them or their offspring.

Sounds crazy, I know - but these are the people that will call the ambulance when I have a heart attack. These are the people that assist my life, and i try to assist them.

Yes, I am for ET, but you don't really need me, yet. Like some others here, (and I am a very minor partner in their endeavours) I believe that a fairly radical stance is needed and WHEN that stance is established, it needs to be communicated - in terms that everybody can understand and why. That is probably my unique skill - if you need it.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 04:34:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for that answer. I understand your position better, and your offer is valuable - and will likely be extremely useful at some point.

As they say "watch this space"!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 08:32:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there's a certain rough and tumble of brusque challenge in our conversations that can be bruising, even to regulars (or is it just me ?)

I think that bruising rough and tumble came to a head over the Winter Solstice break and we are still reeling from it.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 09:59:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe so, but more recently 3rdColumn was left feeling that we were more dismissive than merely challenging. There have been other exchanges that I felt could have been handled in a less abrupt tone.

We do have a cw that is liberal and progresive, but whilst I'm not sure I'd agree with 3rdcolumn's point that we demand a higher degree of proof from right wingers, we do display an impatience with them that amounts to the same thing. Our attitude is certainly not conducive to a polite and reasoned exchange of views with those who question that cw.

collectively we can be impolite.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:15:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With affection and respect, Helen, I challenge that interpretation re 3rdColumn. She was not asked to provide more backing for her posts than anyone else here -- she just didn't see why she had to produce any. I'm willing to go into the detail of this. Must we do that?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:26:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you missed my point when you state, "She was not asked to provide more backing for her posts than anyone else here "

I actually wrote " I'm not sure I'd agree with 3rdcolumn's point that we demand a higher degree of proof from right wingers, we do display an impatience with them that amounts to the same thing."

My bold, you may have missed the negative. I was making a point that our impatience with right wing views makes reasoned discourse difficult as we are seen as too combative. Maybe that's splitting hairs, but ...

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My impatience -- since it's my impatience that was specifically pointed to by 3rdColumn -- arose from trying, in a reasonable way, to get her to discuss the background of her diaries, and having her shuffle it off (not always with the greatest politeness).

Though I see the point as ceebs puts it below: when we are already familiar with arguments and evidence, we may challenge them less, and this may appear to newcomers as a form of bias.

Honest question: how to avoid this?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:00:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The knowledge base (ETpedia) wiki would be a tool that would make it easy to see what has already been discussed and to what extent, even enabling a focused challenge to our conventional wisdom. As it is, it's mostly an institutional memory carried by long-time members, and it can look like enforcement of orthodoxy.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:03:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
whilst not wanting to go into it in great detail I agree with Helen, I can see that to someone who comes either from a different direction to the centre of views inside the community, it might seem to them that they are being asked for more proof than the rest of the community. either because the core membership has had the background discussions over several years and has a community memory of those discussions, or because the community has become secure in the amount of detail usually supplied by the individual poster, so are more willing to let regulars slide slightly more on providing links. This can be seen as an institutional bias by new users.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:37:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See as a regular commenter I appealed to the community to not supply links and you all allowed it. ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:59:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, it's getting to the point where asking for a source is opening oneself to accusations of bullying.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:01:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
like any online community this place will go through phases of that. personally If I'm not willing to put in the effort to track down my half remembered sources, I'll note that in the comment and note my vagueness. If anyone wants to look it up from that point I leave it as an exercise to the reader. In all other cases if I don't provide a link, I expect to be asked to back my arguments up. If people think they're being singled out, its easy enough to check back through the comments and should seem obvious that someone is being picked on.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:09:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When some claims require, vociferously, sourcing which is then casually and without explanation dismissed as not credible, while counterclaims representing the collective wisdom of many (if not most) regulars on the site are accepted, again collectively, without any equivalent source or document requirement, then yes, that can be bullying.

Not to mention bad-faithed.  

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:25:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anybody can ask for sources, even the minority.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:06:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, of course.

But then, when some sources are accepted uncritically while others are peremptorily challenged without justification, this is where the bullying comes in.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:30:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you can always be the one to ask for sources on things that you think the rest are accepting uncritically.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:40:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And also, you can distinguish between members and between rows over different specific issues. The source you brought up that was instantly attacked was attacked by two or three users, none of them even top commenter regulars (not to mention FPs), hardly an example of ET groupthink.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:47:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Moreover, one will only be inclined to ask for sources on claims that in some way contradict one's expectations. I freely admit my ignorance of China is encyclopedic and so in many cases I won't have a reason to ask for a statement to be substantiated further if it seems internally consistent.

Interestingly, for instance Colman asked Svetozar for references on "same sex unions" in Yugoslavia here, still didn't get any other than the diarist's own appeals to his own experience but that wasn't challenged further.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:05:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the source I bring up here, not to belabor the point, was dismissed as hackish and obviously biased even though the source was a well respected and published, by reputable publishing houses (to the point of being commonly taught from by political science departments), while the counterpoint source, referenced gushingly by the diarist, was accepted uncritically pretty much by all.

And I bring this up not to rehash the argument, but to respend to the point made whereby it is intimated that this sort of thing doesn't happen here. I would simply say that it does.

We all have tendancies to this, I'm not saying it's unnatural.

Just not what I would think a somewhat iconoclastic journal should be doing, that's all.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We all have dismissed well respected and published sources as hackish and obviously biased on ET, albeit not without argument. As I remember your case, your detractors had arguments, albeit rather lacking in specifics, after you called them out on their initial knee-jerk reactions.

Myself not knowing your source (nor the 'opposed' source offered up by the member you originally confronted), I sat in the audience and was curious what the two sides will bring up, something which I guess describes the situation of the majority reading that subthread. But not much came of it beyond hurts - and a debate over several other issues with several other members, in which you apparently saw all your detractors as one single group with homogenous opposing opinion. Even above, you don't talk about "some members", but use passive grammatics in a discussion about ET as a collective.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 11:13:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
was Swedish Kind of Death's.

And if by argument, you mean being called a blatant liar, a hardcore ideologue, a cheap polemicist, a lazy, pompous, self-indulgent bottom feeder and an ideological wanker and a hack, I guess then yes, there was an argument made, though in my book, ad hominem is not a legitimate argument. Though I do note, again, that you were right in there recommending some of the above "arguments".

Again, the exercise here is not to rehash that exercise in what I still think was some pretty serious bad faith in reaction to one of faresterner's meltdowns, which I myself received the brunt of one one occasion.

The exercise is to point out the sometimes not very even-handed treatment of certain iconoclastic though just as certainly progressive, socialist, or left, views on this site, even when those views are supported by scholarship (and yes, Parenti, the guy being attacked by francois and faresterner, while other posters' arguments and persons, myself including, were alloted the same treatment directly) above, is a scholar, one whose texts my own father taught from, as I learned in a later conversation offline).

And, on a site that bills itself at least to some extent as itelf somewhat iconoclastic, I would argue that it behooves us to be much more careful in treating such subjects as some of us are.

I also note that the defensiveness around this subject by some is highly instructive, and further note that I personally am still not fully comfortable posting anything substantive on the subject referenced above or any related subject because of the treatment I felt I received.

You can do with that as you like, but my read on what was being done by this diary was to put some of this laundry out there, though I would also understand why you would perhaps prefer it not be aired.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 11:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to be exact (thanks for the link!) the quote is:

He's a cheap polemicist, a lazy, pompous, self-indulgent bottom feeder and an ideological wanker of the first order.

...where he refers to Parenti, not you--that is not ad hominem--except to Parenti.

The development of the argument at that point could, therefore (if Parenti isn't here to defend himself) be to  post an example of Parenti's words and demonstrate--I mean, saying Parenti is a world-recognised figure doesn't do it for me; so is Jesus and so is the Dalai Lama--so get some of Parenti's words, maybe look at the key issues--see if Parenti is on the ball by analysing what he says--not by claiming that he is worth reading.  He may well be, another person says not--it gets angry, okay--but --

at the end of that comment you link to, Francois wrote:

Contrast with people like Altmeyer.

Your reply at the time picked up that Francois was angry about Parenti, and from your tone you were asking Francois why he felt that way.  Francois writes:

He's highly praised in some academic circles but he's still a vacuous hack.

Those lovely ad hominems!  But launched at Parenti, not you.

And then Francois writes:

Francois in Paris:

It's not even that I necessarily disagree with some of the positions he embraces. It's more that I find him utterly banal when he's correct and completely loopy and discredited otherwise. Racism in the US is a decoy issue to control the white lower class? Well, yeah, duh. Rich people like power and use it to consolidate their positions at the expense of everybody else? Wow, now that's a profound truth that needed to revealed for all to know! Thanks you, Michael! How courageous! And for the rest, barf: barely disguised apologetics of communist totalitarians, open support for conspiracy cranks, knee-jerk victim-sucking for any "struggle" out there, etc.

The last I paid attention to that idiot was "Against Empire". I found that book atrocious. He manages to be at the same time hectoring and whiny, zero useful information and an inordinate amount of BS and highly selective fact dropping. All in one Noam Chomsky without the brains and Ann Coulter without the legs.

Now, I'm lost.  I never read the guy!  Maybe Francois is smearing Parenti--so let's have at it!  What did Parenti write--let's get the original texts to the fore!

And he wrote some more, everyone can click on the link.  That was not an ad hominem aimed at you, it was a virulent critique of Parenti a la Hunter S Thompson--"He's a vicious hack and should be dragged naked down Main Street by wolverines--!"

Thing is, you need balance, perspective, and all the other no-nos of the ignorant right, left, and all directions north and south--they don't do such things--and that is why their lives are always full of such frustrations!  Just do the right thing!  And what is the right thing?  Hmmmm.....let us discuss that, using the texts of interesting writers if they have written something interesting on the subject--and let's get heated and throw around some words, yeah!  And then it's all getting heated--

but ad hominem--okay, lana once slagged off Robert Anton Wilson, one of the writer's I've very much enjoyed reading.  Ooooookay.  End of that conversation.

But she slagged of RAW, not me.  She did that elsewhere, I'm sure, but her ad hominem was against RAW, and I can take that as I like--for me, it meant she just liked jabbing things with pins--what's that?  Jab jab.  So....not my idea of fun.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 07:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, those ad homs that francois and fareasterner were slinging (fareasterner calling him a liar) were in fact not pointed at me.

But that's not my point. Check the top of my contribution to the thread. My point is one about sources, more specifically challenging people by demanding unimpeachable, "scientifically verifiable" sources, and then casually dismissing those sources once produced, and how this is in fact a form of bullying, not to mention arbitrary.

With the larger point that permitting such things on more than one occasion to happen is not productive for a site which bills itself as iconoclastic and without idees recues. In my formal opinion on the subject being discussed in the thread to which I linked, specifically Beijing, I suspect a bit of groupthink here.

Beyond all that, while the examples I link to here did not engage in ad hom towards me, if you read the whole thread, you will find that I too am called a liar and, when I request a retraction or an apology, this request is treated about as casually as Parenti's citation.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 08:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My honest reading of the thread was that you questioned Far Easterner's approach, or something about the Free Tibet movement, maybe acerbically (a la HST and Francois' styles), and for Far Easterner that was...basically it.  I would suggest (from my very limited knowledge of him) that he was most offended that something very close to him was being casually (for him) slandered.  So he left and that's that.

For me, the cultural issue is how to deal with situations where there is an issue of things being close to a person vs. things being correct--and also, I think there is the issue of things being close to a person vs. another person being scathing about those things.

The first is unequivocal--jut because it's close to your heart, doesn't make it correct--facts to the fore, primary sources etc.  I don't think that was Far Easterner's issue, but I can't read his mind so that's just what I think.  He had, in my experience, always been open to questions and counter-examples.

For the second--being scathing about things another person holds close, there is the "you must be thick skinned aspect"--and, yeah, the ad hominem is against "the thing" not the poster; so it's how closely a person associates with the object of loathing--surely Dick Cheney's boyfriend might find some of what we write about Cheney un-appealing--or maybe not.  I think it was this second element that caused Far Easterner's self-removal from ET.  He also asked to have his account deleted and all his diaries and comments.

The response of the FPers was to be upset about reason two, but for reasons of historical record (Migeru is, and I concur, strong on the historical record--no re-writing or air-brushing or deleting ET history please!)

(Though I think I should have the right to delete my own diary content as I wish--heh!)

Anyways, personally I liked Far Easterner as far as I knew him across ET; he had a specific focus and tone.  Fair enough if you don't like the tone, prefer something scathing, and there's nothing stopping a person ad hominem-ing any public figures including the Dalai Lama.

I truly don't see the conspiracy you do--who had even thought much about the issue at ET before it came up there?  Jerome had no position.  Other FPers confirmed that, no, you are not allowed to stop people commenting on your sources--though you can ask them to be more polite and direct ad-hominems to other users no no no...

So okay--it happened, Far Easterner is gone and that's that, time to move on, but I don't get that you were personally targeted in any way, except (this is my very humble opinion) in that your tone put at variance with Far Easterner's had--for those few posts--an effect where Far Easterner was given the "you're the friendly guy" tag--but, ach, I don't want to read it all again--there's no conspiracy I don't think, that's all--

--

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue May 13th, 2008 at 08:17:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
one of the cardinal rules - what is understood by a communication is not what the communicator thinks he or she meant. It is what is understood by the person who is being communicated to.

Now, in this case, I felt I was being called a liar. And, giving the benefit of the doubt to the person so calling me, I asked him (politely, not ascerbically) to correct that. And in this case, the person not only refused, but continued on in the same vein. So, in this case, it is quite clear to me what happened.

The rest of the bullying came in subsequent threads, one in another fareasterner thread where he melted down against yet another poster here, and again, that some of you don't think there is bullying and are quite defensive about it is pretty telling to me, and in fact this sort of treatment of arguments does not really lend itself to the advertised goal of the site which I see all over this thread.

I would further note that I never used the word conspiracy, nor do I think my read on what happened is unreasonable or part of some persecution complex Actually, I question why you would employ that line of reasoning, which commonly is used to discredit the other as simply some unreasonable crank. I also note that others have complained on this thread about the same sort of treatment I am complaining about, so it's not like this is some crazy ravings of someone who got pissed off and still is pissed off.

I for one have greatly decreased my participation here because of all of that, and quite frankly, question a lot more the good faith of more than one regular here because of it.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue May 13th, 2008 at 10:25:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with cyberspace is that we have none of the communication, mediation and reconciliation tools that we can have in the real world during and following an argument - the friendly look, the handshake, the smile, the warning look, the - I'm in no mood to piss about look - etc. and which people use, often unconsciously, to modulate their responses.

There is also the car driver effect - people who are mild and diffident in ordinary interaction become kamikazes at the wheel when their car gives them some degree of anonymity and they feel they can let their frustrations out.

Thus when things get personal on-line my instinctive response is to withdraw -you can't win when feelings are hurt online - not in a way where everyone feels their honour is preserved - it is so much more difficult to create a win-win rather than a win-lose scenario.  Everything you say starts to be misconstrued in ways you can't control.

Much as I would prefer it to be otherwise - it's best not to let things get too personal - for one thing - the world could be watching, and there is no way a face saving compromise can be engineered as in real world interaction.  The trick is not to have too high hopes of what can be achieved on line in the first place.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 13th, 2008 at 12:00:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you're right, it can be bullying,  but it can also be done because people at least believe you and want to take your argument outside the community, and want to be able to back that argument up when they are in other places. If i'm dismissive i'm far less likely to ask for your sources on most days.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:15:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is definitely dismissal and bullying on ET, I have lived it and not reacted well to it.  If ET can acknowledge no fault, intellectual rigidity will set in.  The regulars' opinion tends to carry more weight than it is expressed and if they deny it repeatedly, it affects participation.  

Daring a challenge, knowing that certain people will back you up online, contributes to hurt feelings, not to being right.

Second, demanding sources constantly is overrated, IMO, because it devalues our own thoughts, opinions and what develops from them. There are always sources for oppossing views and they are considered 'serious' regardless, so it becomes a battle of who can find more, or who gives up sooner.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 09:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our own thoughts are not substitutes for facts, and facts must be verifiable.

It's not about being right, it's about not accepting "because I say so" as an argument.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 10:16:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But Migeru, what ET produces is not hard science, but developed thought, through study, analysis, comparison, contrast, compilation.... ET is not a scientific lab and I think the difference is mostly field semantics that should be combined into a common direction.

I take the anglo disease, or that bubblespan knew the disaster he was causing, as a 'fact' and it can hardly be put into a formula.  We also know that the ´hard fact´ numbers like GDP, employment, etc. are pretty much some government's formula-of-the-month and we take them apart into effects-on-people.

It takes all fields and I don't disregard science, yet science is not all there is and, while our thoughts and opinions may be faulty, we have ET as the backdrop to adjust, adapt and improve them, not to find what brain chemical got us on the correct path.  

Now, if you ask me about the 3 B´s, et al, I´ll tell you they should be under the microscope, in a lab to find the ´evil gene´ and destroy it.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 11:04:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but the problem happens when people start talking about France's or Europe's "obvious economic underperformance" or America's "brilliant" economy, or France's massive unemployment, etc...

These are "facts" part of the prevailing narrative, and the kind that we have deconstructed and (i) ask others to justify when they brign them up and (ii) tend to dismiss when brought up by others because we've deconstructed them many times here and do not care to do it yet again.

Thus my hope to have access to a better library of links to our arguments, that could be brought up each time these issues pop up.

It is a problem, because the number of issues on which the conventional wisdom is deeply flawed is huge.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 11:10:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.  Unfortunately, the opposite side also uses that language to dare and divide, so we cannot let terminology, field, or format divide us.  

We know we cannot swallow the press as fact and we try to find the reality and spread it, summarized and humanized, to reach more people.  The in-house source to link to is great to shorten answers because it does feel eternal, out here.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 12:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I take the anglo disease, or that bubblespan knew the disaster he was causing, as a 'fact' and it can hardly be put into a formula.

To ask you what evidence you have of that "fact" is not asking you for a "formula".


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 12:45:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can see that to someone who comes either from a different direction to the centre of views inside the community, it might seem to them that they are being asked for more proof than the rest of the community. either because the core membership has had the background discussions over several years and has a community memory of those discussions, or because the community has become secure in the amount of detail usually supplied by the individual poster, so are more willing to let regulars slide slightly more on providing links. This can be seen as an institutional bias by new users.

it's a tricky issue, ceebs.

i think part of it is cause by the fact that the opinions shared by the majority of ET'ers are painfully under-represented in the tradmed, and we come here already galled by this.

so when someone new doesn't immediately signal comity, indeed appears to be equivocal, ambiguous or even hostile to the values we seem to agree on mostly here, then there's a reaction of....shit, we come here to get away from all this crap, here it is right in our own cyber-front room, aaaargh...

having said that, there have been some more um, traditional thinkers, like winstonchurchill, fr'instance, who brought a serious and thought-through set of opinions to the table and was treated very well, i thought.

obviously humouring someone who 'thinks different' than most of us, just to keep them around so we have a more 'balanced' blog would be absurd, but there is a tiny bit of how shall i say....'we're a little club who've earned the right to our in-jokes, and you get to wait and work (link) hard like good little newbies, flow with us and you can fold into the group too'. i can't point to any comments in particular, but there was a slightly self-satisfied vibe sometimes, i feel.

could be completely out to lunch on this, i dunno, if it's there it's tiny and barely worth worrying about.

nothing that weird, considering the daily insanity we're daily exposed to in that 'other' world, you know, the one when one isn't refreshing recent comments like the mouse had a mind of its own.

here we pore over politics and parse the straight press, but we're always going to be a microcosm of that other world, we're umbilically connected to it, so we'll get all the seven deadlies and more dropping in.

 ET has changed, become a little less personal and yet has more intelligent voices than before, making it more universal, a Good Thing, i reckon, worth the loss of the cozier feeling when there were fewer of us.

there are scads of great lefty blogs, we all 'formally occurred' here and chose to make it home(page), all for different, but probably similar reasons, a jam of spontaneous expression, that blends seriousness with hilarity in unexpected ways.

like a big soup we all throw ingredients into, and then chow down happily.

oy! who are you? what's that you just tossed in our bowl? lol

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 03:29:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
obviously humouring someone who 'thinks different' than most of us, just to keep them around so we have a more 'balanced' blog would be absurd,

depends what you mean by humouring them. If they're prepared to keep coming back and put up with our biases, I think it can actually only be good for us. Arguing against the tradmed is much like beating your head against a brick wall, we're just going to end up outraged that its still there tomorrow. if its absurd that we'd be more balanced,  fair enough, do we all want it to be that much more balanced?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:20:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by humouring them, i meant cutting them extra slack just because they have a different worldview.

as for your comment about a balanced blog, i agree. we don't want to just preach to the choir.

or preach at all, lol.

balance is so relative, perhaps the banter and light-heartedness that balances out the wonk factor for the likes o' me, could contribute to the problem of 'bottling' essence de ET for 'serious' players. (like the ones xavier alludes to).

i don't buy in (!) to a conflict between boxers and wrestlers here, i experience it more as sweet'n'sour, soft + hard, yin/yang...

a balsamic vinegar of blogs!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 11:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since you bring it up, and in case others don't know what that was about, here is The3rdColumn's exit (the top of a subthread containing 45 comments where, incidentally, Sven's "boxing and wrestling" concept elsewhere in this discussion seems to have originated).

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:26:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a post as official ET Librarian? you always seem to know where everything is.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just good with Google, and even with the site search facilities. And I have a good memory.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:05:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Third Column never did come back or reply to our entreaties to reconsider.  Does anyone know her ultimate reason for leaving other than a sense that her contributions weren't appreciated here?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:30:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i always go bonkers around the winter solstice, (the rest of the year i'm merely insane...)

the big difference from other winter solstices, and this last one, is i went bonkers online...

so my belated apologies to those whom i may have thoughtlessly (or thoughtfully) offended.

you're a great bunch for putting up with me at all, and i thankyou, especially mig, who does so much to keep this blog the honey-filled mind-hive it is.

far from 'scrambling lieutenants' mired in 'groupthink', you all are an amazing set of individuals, whose whole is much more even than the sum of its parts.

i iearned my lesson, i think, time will tell. i certainly feel a lot more thick-skinned than then. and a lot less prickly...

i think back to how out of it i was, and it's mystifying and mortifying...what an asshole...

ET is fine as it is, a welcome port in this concatenation of global storms we are facing.

simply the funniest and most concerned blog i've found on the toobs.

long may she run...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo-dyman: my belated apologies too for my excessive remarks to you. I was offended, I felt those of us who are not believers in a spiritual plane were getting a bum rap in your own comments, and in fact I felt personally hurt by your reference to your father's death because it reminded me of my own father's death. I should have tried to talk about that, but an Internet forum during a big battle is not an ideal setting for complex personal feelings. Perhaps I should just have shut up.

Just to say that my remarks were personal, from one member to another, not "editorial", and there was no notion even at the back of my mind of wanting to push you out of ET. Long may you post here, melo.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
group hug?

i couldn't agree more about the internet being an inappropriate medium for 'elaborating' (in the italian sense) some of life's trickier conundrums....

shutting up is the finest of remedies!

so is letting a provocative poke-y comment drop into nothingness, rather than taking the bait and washing out one's own personal neurosis in public.

boundaries are important, even in cyberspace.

i think i have a better measure of detachment these days...so do others here...it's much nicer to come here without conflict, there's too damn much of that in the world already.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 03:40:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry we pushed each other's buttons the way we did.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:48:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, me too.

aqua passata

all the best

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 03:41:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The internet  is always a place where things like that happen. you have to remember that you lose the majority of communication cues in typed messages, it's easy to perceive emotional content in another persons posts that doesn't  exist and react to the tone of voice or facial expression you imagine the poster to have rather than the actual content of their words. if you're ever reading a posting and its winding you up, reread it with a broad grin and see its content change.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:25:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think part of that has to do with the constant conversations leading to some convergence in ETers' views, which is natural.  Because we're all talking to each other every day, we don't have that separation necessary to sustain big political fights.  Points are conceded here and there once in a while, grey areas are recognized, etc.

So given that, and the fact that ET tends to be a place of very unconventional wisdom, it's not terribly surprising that the place could feel a bit intimidating to newcomers.  It's not that I don't think we're a welcoming group.  It's that with a lot of very conventional, nearly set-in-stone thinking -- "How can they not believe (x)?!" -- not being at all the consensus, I suspect some simply don't know how to engage.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:08:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't been around too much since the American Super-Tuesday. I've been totally immersed in the contest between Obama and Clinton (who more and more reminds me of the Black Knight.)Link

Well it's normal. All of my income comes from the U.S.and Bush's policies halve practically cut my income in half; and that's not even considering that his policies have put the world on a war footing that could destroy us all- far more important than my income.

So, I hope to soon spend more time here as before. I don't think Obama-McCain will be that riveting.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 06:34:38 AM EST
I, too, have been putting more attention on the U.S. politics lately. But I do read ET a lot, and comment occasionally, and learn often.

Many times, I will start reading something, having no idea of the issue under discussion--mostly because it has gotten zero coverage on this side--and so I learn a great deal about Europe and European issues from the various writers. I don't read deeply or even regularly enough to know all the ins and outs, and whatever happened around the Winter Solstice--I missed it entirely.

But I am grateful to all of you for your efforts toward intelligent and civil discourse, and a bit of educating those of us whose media leaves us less well informed of the world. Rest assured that while I may not know all I should about Europe, I sure as shootin' can find you lots of stories about Brittney.  

by Mnemosyne on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 08:30:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will go first along the lines of Helen... we are a small community and we have left so much convetional wisdom that it could be weird and intimidating for the newcomer. I only hope that we would ahve a "bob" around here being the official welcoming party.

Then, there is the issue about information and comment flow adn itnerrelations... maybe I am naive but I think we are doing pretty well compared with other sites. I hope we stay that way if we push forward with more members.

And finally regardign the wishes for the site. I feel the only thing that the masters can do is put tools at our disposal, nothing more.. the rest frankly depends on us and our available time. The problem is, it could hurt the FP and people in charge if they do changes and then we do not use them or disregard them. So, my hope is that what I would like to have new here (not really different,but new) is similar to what the owner and technics want... but if not I am jsut as happy as ever.

Now I will try to make a sumamry about wat I have been readign regarding the future of ET as nicely as I can (I am trying to speak for other peopl here, so I could be phrasing the things in an incorrect way).

Some people wishes cahnges in the front-page.. just for the sake of change in the looks or with soem specific goal in mind regarding new people.. I only hope that some of the proposals people made here are considered and maybe taken into account or not with th bests possible judgement.

And regardng the tools, I recall the two ideas popping out more in many diaries :

First idea is to make a brother site where we can have soemthing simialr to position papers where our discussions are summarized (and in some cases some agreement regardign the aswer to certain european/world problems is reached and a formal "solution paper" is posted). the same site could be the repostory of economic adn energy naratives we are willing to push.  

The second idea going around quite often is to make a repositroy of media contacts,and media outreach where we could fill the e-maials, adrresses adn phones of european media so that we can reach them for letters to the editors, full opinion articles, press releases at short notice.

I hope I have summed up nicely what I have been people saying here: My opinion about them is really not important now. Nevertheless althoug everybody knows I heart mroe the second one, I think it al depends on members time.. so everything is fine with me...)

But I repeat.. FP and Co. would have to do it just because they fell like doing it.. and this is a lot to ask from themn. So my absolute support to anything you decide...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 08:12:55 AM EST
A structure that would give us the ability to further our reach has been in the cards for a while, with the twin goal you identify:

  • have a dedicated site with "finished" articles and comprehensive reports on the topics we discuss;
  • have a way to send regular press releases or notes to a large spectrum of mass media and research players.

This requires (i) people to draft the  formal papers (ii) people to build up the media database and do the followup with them on anything sent out (iii) some IT competences to run things and (iv) money to cover it.

We cannot expect people (because it's not fair and because it's not practically feasible if people need to earn a living) to do this on a volunteer basis.

Thus we need to raise money, and have enough to have, at least, the equivalent of 2 people employed fulltime to do this. (I see a part time IT job, a bigger part time media job, and lots of smaller contracts for individual papers or data collection on any chosen topic).

I'd be willing to provide seed money to get this started, but cannot afford to do this over the long term on my own. Thus we need people familiar with fund raising (and with ET) to come in the picture.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 09:37:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Shouldn't be too difficult...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 09:55:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
all we need is a hair cut!!!!!

jerome.. you first.. :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:21:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"A Wonderful Tribute to the Human Spirit"

Completely OT, but follows from your earlier video.

Stephen Fry's words on what it means to be human..

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/q715ty5hLt4&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/q715ty5hLt4&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

If the above html doesn't work, try this -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q715ty5hLt4&eurl=http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/5/7/105424/64 20

by Bruce F (greenroofgrowers [at] gmail [dot] com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:39:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

Would you mind reposting that comment following the video-embedding instructions in the new user guide?

Please post it as a reply to the comment you were originally replying to so this one can be hidden or deleted.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:42:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent - a very optimistic speech. Thanks.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:57:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm quite an outsider to ET, I confess, but perhaps the external view is useful for you...

On fundraising issues: If you really start to think seriuosly on fundraising ET should become an non/profit organization of some kind, based on some EU member country. That would be the only way of taking real advantage of local, national and European opportunities. Creating that organization is a prerequisite to any strategy.

In any case, don't forget that the whole project is in any case based on voluntary work, as the idea is to give notoriety to the people who is contributing ET. Those two people would be a supporting structure, but the core would be voluntary any how... That may be the streghnth of the project, if you think on the ideals behind it, but also a potential organizational weakness that have to be dealt with. You talk about finished articles, but a continiuous creatiomn of articles must be assured in some way. The question is: would ET atract so much voluntary involvement in long-term basis as human rights organizations, environmental organizations or other king of NGOs based on voluntary work? A think tank, in its traditional definition, wouldn't. Of course, we could call some NGOs (Amnesty, Green Peace, Save the Children) think tanks too, in some way.

That leads me on the "mission" and "vision" of ET.  From the little I know on ET, perhaps what makes a difference from ET to other think tanks would be the "citizenship" approach: being a tool to express for the people who is not usually IN the European debate, or at least not in a conscious way, deciding somewhat freely themes, interests... It's in some way the beauty of chaos what gives ET its swing. In order to be visible, it's true, organization is needed... But don't be deluded: organizing texts, selecting, correcting... That puts an imprint on the original source. It's the same as History, that doesn't exist: how the facts are told to future generations, that makes textbook History. So ET Think Tank will change ET, and I doubt that this would please all its members... be careful when organizing it, because if it becomes the projects of a few ET-persons, it looses the chaos richness.

Is there a common vision to all ET members? I don't know really, but maybe the common vision is not related to the content of what it is said, but on the way it works: as a tool to express own views, but also as a collaborative tool to build common views... So it's very good to try to give visibility of what has already been drafted, writen... But I think it could be even more important to give visibility to the site itself, enhance it, do it more accessible (I get lost everytime)... There's a lot of social networks (Facebook, etc.), Photo-sharing ones (Flickrt, Picasa), business networks (linkedin), e-learning ones... Is there any "thinking network" on the web? ET could be one... So I would suggest an organized ET to focus not only in the content, but on the creation process of the content, because that's what, I think, could give you all a window of opportunity, as it's the special feature of ET.

"If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none." (Fahrenheit 451)

by pereulok on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A very lucid commentary.
by PerCLupi on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 06:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
excellent

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:32:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's in some way the beauty of chaos what gives ET its swing.

the best sentence i've read here, period.

its wing too.

very nice, lurk no more!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 12:02:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
pereulok:
Is there any "thinking network" on the web? ET could be one... So I would suggest an organized ET to focus not only in the content, but on the creation process of the content, because that's what, I think, could give you all a window of opportunity, as it's the special feature of ET.

I think this is a very important point - we're not simply trying to influence old media, or become a pressure group, or traditional think tank.  We are trying to do a new thing in a new way - part of building a new civil society, part of building a new communications medium, a new learning environment, and a new process for documenting outcomes.  Hold that thought...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 03:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
kcurie:
we are a small community and we have left so much convetional wisdom that it could be weird and intimidating for the newcomer. I only hope that we would ahve a "bob" around here being the official welcoming party.

When I first came here the discussion did appear a bit more intense than on a lot of other political sites I'd visited. A couple of users who seemed to pop up and give my comments 4's did a lot to convince me that it was worth staying long enough to read enough to think I could contribute.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:44:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still recall whataboutbob being the wellcoming party.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:46:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Metavision for me

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:48:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentally, kcurie, could we convince you to write the next episode of the Europe.Is.Doomed. series? (See here.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 05:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will be short.. but it will be juicy..

I will do it

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 07:04:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I've been around less lately, often disappearing for whole days, and posting fewer long researched posts. This is likely to continue as work continues to be intense for me in the foreseeable future.

I'm not sure this had any impact on the site itself, but it has certainly contributed on my side to a feeling of burnout and of being unable to participate fully to discussion.

As others are no doubt in the same situation, especially amongst frontpagers, our small size means that we end up in a danger zone where we suddenly no longer have a critical mass of comments and activity shrivels beyond what makes the site sustainable.

All I can do is to call all regulars, and all others who enjoy the site but are less visible, to comment more and write more diaries!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 09:41:42 AM EST
I would like to bring up another aspect and state here that this is my opinion as a member of ET and not as an FP.  Also as a continental European who has not English as mother tongue, nor lives in an English speaking country. One thing that attracted me to ET from the beginning was the EUROPEAN in Tribune. My feeling is that the European is turning more and more into Anglo. Now, please this are my feelings or intuitive perception, not backed by any research. I feel the site gets more and more dominated by US topics, especially the elections. Followed by the UK, some about Russia and France and a little about Italy. Considering that Europe has, according to wiki, 49 countries, this is in my opinion very one-sided. I feel I learn more on ET about Chicago, Atlanta, or DC, than for example about Oslo, Vilna, or Prague. This one-sidedness includes for me politics, music, art, literature. I would love to see more about continental Europe on ET. However, I also have the impression that the continental Europeans seem to move on, or show up more rarely. So, this seems to be sort of an circulus vitiosus - because we do not have many CE, we do not have many CE topics, but because we do not have many CE topics we do not get more CE members.

Another thing I used to enjoy and which I miss is the Open Threads we used to have. It was the place for socializing and fun, for getting to know each other. The OT didn't mean only Open Thread but also Other Topics. Lately I feel the OT has become an extension to the Salon, the place for political discussions, which again in my opinion, mostly turn around the US. I tried to inspire other topics with European Items which were mostly ignored, but not only mine but also from other members. I loved the Pancake fights, and other `silly' topics. It seemed to easy undercurrents and helped for people to get to know each other better.

Please, don't misunderstand me, I am interested in the US elections and other US topics, but as it is difficult to avoid them in the internet, it would be nice to have a refuge. Could we make the OT into that kind of place again? I mean the election discussion could continue in the Salon, there is a lot of space there.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:21:07 AM EST
because we do not have many CE, we do not have many CE topics, but because we do not have many CE topics we do not get more CE members
Maybe having a meetup would help...
I miss is the Open Threads we used to have. It was the place for socializing and fun, for getting to know each other. ... I loved the Pancake fights, and other `silly' topics. It seemed to easy undercurrents and helped for people to get to know each other better.
Maybe that's too rosy a view. One of the features of open threads is that, because the discussion was personal, people were more likely to take things personally and some of the biggest pie fights we've had have originated in open threads. I have to confess I've been avoiding "personal" threads for a while (consciously since Xmas, while before I might have read them without participating now I don't even read them).
Please, don't misunderstand me, I am interested in the US elections and other US topics, but as it is difficult to avoid them in the internet, it would be nice to have a refuge. Could we make the OT into that kind of place again? I mean the election discussion could continue in the Salon, there is a lot of space there.
People interested in discussing the US elections have ceased to post diaries on them because some people (including some Americans) got downright rude about the diaries even being there (prompting some of us to point out that "if you don't like it, don't read/recommend/comment it" is the site's approach to that). Hence, people have sought refuge in the Open Thread which is a "safe area" to discuss "whatever you feel like".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:35:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd agree, I too would like to see more on europe, but each individual can only write about those subjects we know of.

Generally countries get more focus when something happens there and somebody is able to comment. So when the german elections were happening we discussed that. Similarly with Spain, France and Italy. The UK has just had an election that ripped apart the Prime Minister's image, the US has been engaged in an interminable primary election, both of which have drawn attention.

but the primary is over and nothing of substance will happen in the UK, so maybe we'll find more focus for silly stuff now.

Or maybe not. I detect a suggestion that the FPs are tired from carrying the site for so long. Maybe ET is life expiring. I hope not cos I really like this place but nothing last forever.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I detect a suggestion that the FPs are tired from carrying the site for so long.

Do you remember the "scrambling lieutenant" incident?

We have had to come up with the frontpager duties and with the [ET Moderation Technology™] tag so that people will separate our editorial duties from our engagement as regular members, but it still hasn't worked.

At least that's what I'm tired from.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:50:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can only second this.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:20:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a long post ready to contribute, in which I touched this subject, although hesitantly, but the whole thing was eaten by a power surge. I hope it tasted good.

Having witnessed this pattern for too often the past year, I'd honestly say it's an endemic feature of ET's growth strategy - it comes with the logical choice to select the most active participants for gnome positions. The Mod Tech tag is useful to indicate changing hats, but it may not give succour when a debate between a participant and off-duty gnome(s) turns heated or downright nasty. Further, the perception of scrambling lieutenants may well be connected what Helen's above comment encapsulated so well - group dismissal by core users, as they've already travelled those curves of debates and insights.

Even while one may tire of this from happening, I think there's little one can do to prevent it from happening again in the future - aside from heightened awareness of risks that come with the current working model.

by Nomad on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 07:23:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Having witnessed this pattern for too often the past year, I'd honestly say it's an endemic feature of ET's growth strategy - it comes with the logical choice to select the most active participants for gnome positions.

Another problem is the lack of separation between technical (SCOOP tweaking), editorial (FP content) and moderation tasks. FPers have blanket "superuser" powers but we have different skills and interests and end up not using all the powers or performing all the functions.

Jerome, for instance, adopts almost exclusively an editorial role, his moderation is style is hands-off, and his technical ability is close to nonexistent.

Colman, DoDo and afew take all three roles actively. I think it's fair to say InWales, Izzy, Fran and the stormy present do more editorial work than anything else, with tsp getting more involved in moderation.

My main contribution to the editorial function is diary rescues and promotions as I write less than other FPers but comment more than most users. I also have a hands-off moderation style.

Bob is "on leave" but used to do "friendly moderation" and editorial work, but no technical.

The thing is, really the point of SCOOP is that moderation is supposed to take place on a "community policing" model, but as you point out if you promote the most prolific commenters to FP status who else is left to do the "community moderation"? Especially since everyone wants to be as "inclusive" as possible.

The other problem is that as a FP team we don't have a well-defined editorial line (though Jerome has, on one occasion, objected to one of my diary rescues). So the front page is rather haphazard. The real meat of the site is in the diaries and it would be really good if we could upgrade to a software with a nice "tag cloud". to allow people to browse diaries by topic.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 07:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I largely stayed out of the big bust up threads and as such don't feel personally wounded by any of that, although it contributed to a really negative atmosphere and a lot of undue pressure on the FP team.

My tiredness really is from being too busy with work and more recently my PhD and campaigning.  Also I'd love to be able to have one good idea of a decent FP story each day but sometimes nothing inspires me at all.  I don't have enough time to trawl around and then write something if I don't happen to come across anything in the course of my work or through press bulletins I get.

It is also disheartening to spend time putting a diary together that barely scrapes 12 comments over the course of a week (I know I am not alone in that!)  I'm fairly thick skinned on that - enough to know that lack of comments is due to me writing about stuff that others may not have much expertise on or do not feel they are able to make any useful contribution to but still... I'd like to be able to make my diaries and FP stories as accessible as possible and to draw lessons out that can be compared across Europe, even if my diary has been written from a UK perspective. I guess I wish I had the time to develop the thinking within my diaries further, but I don't.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:07:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Wales:
 Also I'd love to be able to have one good idea of a decent FP story each day but sometimes nothing inspires me at all.

theres lots of us feel guilty after that comment

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it would be a shame to feel the space has to be filled. I realise it's supposed to be an FP duty, but I'd rather diaries which are written because someone is passionate about making a point, not so much because there's pressure to fill the space.

I don't mind the quieter times - especially at weekends - and I don't mind the ebb and flow. I don't start to worry if an open thread only gets a handful of comments, because in a day or two another one won't, and that's not a problem.

I also don't think you can please all of the people all of the time, and if someone with a fundamentally different point of view leaves in a huff because they made some unsupported assertions and got called on it, I wouldn't see that as a problem either.

I'm generally more averse to meta diaries, because I think we can end up talking about specific incidents rather than strategy, and it can easily turn into one of those talks you have in a relationship where someone says 'Yes, but ten years ago you said...' - and it's often not helpful.

So I think if we're going to do meta we should maybe distinguish between 'What should ET do next' and 'How can we be friendlier.'

I think kcurie covered what we should do next. We've talked about, we have to do it.

As for being friendlier - WhatAboutBob was always an excellent balance to the more intense discussions, and it might be useful to have a frontpager who's  not one of the policy kids.

I think Bob had a rare talent for setting a civil tone, and I think if we could find someone with a similar vibe it could help balance some of the intensity.

This isn't a criticism of any of the frontpagers in any way - just a suggestion that there may be a gap there, and filling it could help smooth out some of the sharp edges.

Other than that, my main beef with ET at the moment is that I have too many diary ideas and too little time to write them. But I'm not going to blame the FPers for that. (At least - not yet. :) )

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:37:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
 But I'm not going to blame the FPers for that. (At least - not yet. :) )

If only you could work out how, I bet there's a diary in it. ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 12:02:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely agree, Fran. We need to be more European. Of course Europe is in a wider context that also needs to be referred to, but in many ways we know less about each other than, say, Americans from different US states know about each other.

The reason for this is language - whether in books, movies, TV or newspapers. It is hard to share culture without a common language - even if you would dearly love to!

Thus ET has a very important symbolic role to play in allowing these cultural exchanges. And if it grew, it would be more than symbolic.

I have tried to bring in bits from Finland in comments, and very occasionally in diaries. It would be good though, to have a country by country review in individual diaries that would be a series for future reference. I'm thinking of DoDo's excellent series on the Hungarian Revolution as the type of diaries that are not the complete CIA review of a country, yet nevertheless express somnething essential about the culture.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once the US snaps out of election fever I think we'll be spending less time on the US.

But the elections are interesting not just because it's the US, but because they're a good way to understand how power is structured and implemented, and what voters do and don't respond to.

The fact that Bush, Sarkozy, and Berlusconi have all been voted in by people who's interests they're dedicated to abusing isn't something that can be ignored. If Obama can change that - even a little - it's worth looking at what he's doing to voters that makes him appear different.

Also, the inevitable language issue - being an English language blog, we'll be concentrating on English language issues. We've talked about non-English spin-offs, but that idea stalled when Scoop turned out to be impossible to localise easily.

There could be some mileage in moving to a different platform to make that easier, but it's not a small change and would take some serious organising.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:42:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha, you believe that? In February 2009 the mid-term elections will start. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:48:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was hoping that if we ignore them they might go away.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 12:15:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the end of summer.

Starting them in February 2009 would interfere with the start of the 2012 Presidential election campaign, and we couldn't allow that.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thus ET has a very important symbolic role to play in allowing these cultural exchanges. And if it grew, it would be more than symbolic.

ding ding ding!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 03:50:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. The open thread goes up before lunch time in the US, and often it's the Americans like myself, poemless, Drew, and ATinNM doing most of the talking, along with Helen who is very interested in American politics. Europeans need to bring up more European items!

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or maybe we could swap the timing of the Open Thread and the News Thread?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:50:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe start the open threat at noon CET? I don't know. Again it's ultimately about who is participating.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:17:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So we're just coming straight out and admitting to it now?  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:19:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
admitting what?

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:40:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<psst> typo (thread/threat)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:54:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol

Fear the American English speakers.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 03:01:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to oscillate between admiration and frustration.  On the one hand, I think what ET achieves is really amazing given how small the truly active community, and how voluntary the effort.  There are lots of things it does really well - photo blogging, train spotting, music, energy, banking, economics, politics, environment and increasingly food.  I also like the range of topics/views - unlike many other sites which seem to be consumed by Obama/Clinton or a very specific specialism/orientation.  When I publish on other sites I often get a more positive response, but the discussion is rarely as good.  

On the other hand this smallness also makes it relatively ineffective in terms of influencing public discourse and achieving real change in the world, and I yearn for a wider outreach.  I don't know what needs to be done to help ET achieve greater critical mass but discussions on improving the presentation,  user friendliness, functionality, political effectiveness, media profile, and direct readership/involvement of the site often seem to run into the sand.

Possibly this is because nothing happens unless a very small inner circle decide that it will, and they simply don't have the time/energy to do very much.  Maybe the time has come for them to let ET go a little - let it develop in ways they might not always agree with, but which allows a greater diversity of people to get involved and feel a part ownership.  Sometimes the very "tight-knit" nature of the community constrains who can get involved and how much energy/input they are allowed to contribute.  ET needs to decide whether it is a personal project for the few who largely control what goes on, or a forum/infrastructure for the many where content and forms of engagement may be much more diverse; whether it is a more popular or a more specialist site.

But I wouldn't want the above to be read as a personal criticism.  People are free to come and go as they please and no site can meet everyones needs/preferences.  There is nothing wrong with being a relatively small community sharing thoughts on diverse topics and giving everyone an opportunity to engage as they wish - even if that means we have little collectively impact on mainstream discourse.  I suspect most of us have other fish to fry in any case.

So my congratulations to you, to Jerome and the other FPs for what has been achieved to date, and good luck with whatever initiatives you undertake in the future.  Only you can decide what direction you want ET to move in, and my thanks for the fun I have had whilst I've been here.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:46:40 AM EST
ET needs to decide whether it is a personal project for the few who largely control what goes on, or a forum/infrastructure for the many where content and forms of engagement may be much more diverse; whether it is a more popular or a more specialist site.

What goes on is largely diaries and comments and nobody controls that.

Unless you're talking about the contents of the front page.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:53:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
Possibly this is because nothing happens unless a very small inner circle decide that it will, and they simply don't have the time/energy to do very much.

---

Sometimes the very "tight-knit" nature of the community constrains who can get involved and how much energy/input they are allowed to contribute.  ET needs to decide whether it is a personal project for the few who largely control what goes on,

I don't understand what you mean with these statements.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:53:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nice comment, frank. you have enriched this blog no end...imo

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many thanks, Melo.  You always seem to be around to recommend something I wrote when no one else will!  Thanks for the encouragement.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 03:47:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are a must-read for me too. Not because I always agree, but because you lay out an argument that is always accessible.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:10:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Sven. I find your range of interests and expertise quite fascinating - although I'm not sure I have a complete picture of where you are coming from yet.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:17:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither do I!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:33:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like a lot of what you say, but just two points:

the few who largely control what goes on

This may be the impression one gets. But what if there was not in fact that much control of what goes on?

The second point concerns ET as a broader influence: you seem to assume that this necessarily means a discussion site open to many and opposing opinions. How, in your view, will that help to disseminate what is currently a minority standpoint?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:19:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Possibly this is because nothing happens unless a very small inner circle decide that it will, and they simply don't have the time/energy to do very much.  Maybe the time has come for them to let ET go a little - let it develop in ways they might not always agree with, but which allows a greater diversity of people to get involved and feel a part ownership.  Sometimes the very "tight-knit" nature of the community constrains who can get involved and how much energy/input they are allowed to contribute.  ET needs to decide whether it is a personal project for the few who largely control what goes on, or a forum/infrastructure for the many where content and forms of engagement may be much more diverse; whether it is a more popular or a more specialist site.

We don't control because we decide on what§ happens, or block initiatives, we control things because we are those that invest the most time on the site, and de fact odraive what happens on it.

But nothing prevents you from taking initiatives using the ET platform. In fact, if you look at the Stop Blair campaign, it was started by non-frontpagers and a huge chunk of the work was done by non-frontpagers.

If you want other things to happen; just do it.


Only you can decide what direction you want ET to move in, and my thanks for the fun I have had whilst I've been here.

Does that mean you're leaving? That would be a pity.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:36:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 We control the front-page, which most of the regulars seem not to use, we do some pretty policing on the comment threads and we delete spam. We don't delete diaries unless they're spam, illegal or grossly offensive. We've banned two people in three years and a bit.

How much control do you think we have?

Oh, Jérôme grumbles when certain topics come up, but what are you gonna do?

Sure, we control the infrastructure, but that runs mostly on inertia. Unfortunately it's more or less necessary to have it controlled by a small group in the end of the day, though I have plans which would reduce the need for control if I can ever find the space and energy to implement them.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:39:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"pretty light policing"
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:40:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking "pretty policing"? Wud?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:42:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was petty policing - all very Rorschach, I suppose

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 12:51:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was scrambling lieutenants in tutus.

Rorschach or something more serious, Doc?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A severe attack of Desmonditis by the sound of it. Or then there's a lot of windblown durum mould about in your region ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:41:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cogito ergot sum.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brilliant ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:51:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
some days the dyslexia really delays my getting the joke.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:53:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rorschach (comics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wearing the inkblot-like mask he considers his true face, Rorschach has continued his one-man battle against crime long after superheroes became both detested and illegal. Rorschach's actions and journal writings display a belief in moral absolutism and objectivism, where good and evil are clearly defined and evil must be violently punished. He has alienated himself from the rest of society to achieve these aims.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:57:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I feel a novella coming on....

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 03:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the responses from various people - to which I will try to respond en block.  Firstly, as I said, I have decidedly mixed feelings about this, and so it is difficult for me to articulate a clear line.

I suppose I see the FP role as more of a leadership role - even though it often devolves down to a lot of time consuming admin tasks.  Perhaps there simply aren't enough FP's to do the job - manage the site, write diaries, lead opinion, set the tone, provide editorial direction, encourage newcomers, massage hurt feelings,  e-market the site, run campaigns, represent Eurotrib in the real world in various countries and on a wide range of topics.  I think it may be a case of two few people trying to do too much and there being insufficient differentiation/specialisation and delegation of tasks to enable anything to be done in a very sustained way without burn-out for the few.

Much of my interest in this derives from the problems faced by small organisations when they grow bigger and when the founders can no longer take on all the prime responsibilities themselves.  Also I am more used to operating in a business environment with a very defined structure for getting things done.  We are very good at the brainstorming/discussion/ideas stage of projects but we don't seems to have processes in place which can refine these to a few actionable and prioritised decisions and implementation plans once those decisions have been taken.

I know Jerome feels the answer to this is to have some paid staff, but I'm not at all sure about this.  Firstly having some paid staff would alter the dynamics of a community site profoundly - "why is he paid to do some bits when I do loads without pay etc...."  Secondly, I don't see the contradiction between voluntarism and organisation which many here seem to feel exists.  I prefer to work in an environment where I have few very clear and limited responsibilities rather than many vague and diverse ones.  So what's wrong with having one FPer dedicated to design changes, another dedicated to just coding, a third defining editorial policy/writing position papers on energy, a fourth as Finland editor, a fifth responsible for e-marketing the site, a sixth responsible for welcoming/supporting/encouraging new members etc.

Obviously having such a structure doesn't prevent others writing on e.g. energy, welcoming newcomers or running a campaign on a topic dear to their heart.   Sometimes there may be no volunteer to do a particular necessary piece of work - e.g coding or server admin - in which case there may be no option but to pay someone - but let cross that bridge if we come up against that problem.   Provided the task is well defined/limited in scope I rarely have a problem finding a volunteer in the real world.  But what is lacking for me is enough overall coordination to make such differentiation/specialisation possible - and without that I doubt ET can ever become much more than a relatively small, fun, but essentially anarchistic community which has some spasmodic successes but also a lot of confusion and wasted energy.

And this is partly why I constantly seem to be asking myself - what am I doing here? - because I can never seem to see this leading anywhere in terms political effectiveness or "mass movement" impact on public discourse in a consistent way.

Getting bigger unfortunately also means greater complexity/need for structure and coordination - where purely anarchistic (and I mean that in a positive sense) and spontaneous organisational forms work less well.  People feel burn-out if they have to great a range of responsibilities to attend to, but that also means they have to learn to let go and let some other people take responsibility for some things - and perhaps do them in a different way to how you would have done them had it been your responsibility.

afew:

The second point concerns ET as a broader influence: you seem to assume that this necessarily means a discussion site open to many and opposing opinions. How, in your view, will that help to disseminate what is currently a minority standpoint?

I suppose I don't see ET as having any one very fixed and defined minority standpoint, merely an evolving consensus which changes in dialogue with opposing views - so it isn't a propaganda site, or a political party's site with defined policies - but rather a much more loosely defined site where a range of view are constantly in dialogue.  It is the quality of this dialogue which, to my mind, is a measure of ET's value, not its "correctness" on a range of pre-defined policy positions.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And this is partly why I constantly seem to be asking myself - what am I doing here? - because I can never seem to see this leading anywhere in terms political effectiveness or "mass movement" impact on public discourse in a consistent way.
You want a mass movement impact? Out target is an "European Public Sphere" that doesn't yet exist because it is still fragmented along linguistic and national lines. Also, I guess we have in a deliberate but unstated way decided to not tie ourselves to any one political party, which diminishes our political effectiveness in order to protect a presumed intellectual honesty. Some of us belong to political parties but, while not hiding it, we don't wear it on our sleeve. At the end, you nail it:
I suppose I don't see ET as having any one very fixed and defined minority standpoint, merely an evolving consensus which changes in dialogue with opposing views - so it isn't a propaganda site, or a political party's site with defined policies - but rather a much more loosely defined site where a range of view are constantly in dialogue.  It is the quality of this dialogue which, to my mind, is a measure of ET's value, not its "correctness" on a range of pre-defined policy positions.
Also, techno put it very well in his diary on Creating the new "conventional wisdom"
The other day, I wrote a comment on the subject of public protests and other vehicles for social change that was, to put it mildly, warmly received. I suggested that Eurotrib filled an important function because it existed to challenge the convention "wisdom" on an important intellectual level and cited Jerome's crusade to call Neoliberalism by it's more accurate name--Anglo Disease.  I suggested that if we had 20 ideas just as good, we would change the world.
which elaborates on this comment:
Now there is NOTHING wrong with street action.  I don't even believe it saps energy.  If that is what you think your calling to be, make puppets and march in the streets with my blessing.

However, I don't think street action is what the folks who come to Eurotribune should be doing.  Let me explain.

...

See, that is OUR job.  Not to fill our leaders heads with more bullshit, but giving them good, sound, ideas that allow them to at least ask meaningful questions.  It is why I think our Jerome is bucking for sainthood with his crusade to relabel neoliberalism as "Anglo Disease."

Let others march in the streets and organize "grassroots" campaigns.  We have other fish to fry.  If we could come up with 20 ideas as effective as "Anglo Disease" we WILL change the world.  Ideas ARE important and the time has come to ridicule the right-wing crazies out of the debate.  There is NO way to meaningfully address the big problems like peak oil and climate change without changing the operating economic assumptions.  

This is OUR battle and Eurotrib is a damn good place to figure out how to fight it.  We MUST create the new "conventional wisdom."  It is a HUGE problem but there are some seriously smart people who come here.

Do we have to be at the centre of a "mass movement" in order to do our part? Maybe not.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Do we have to be at the centre of a "mass movement" in order to do our part? Maybe not.

No we don't, but if we don't engage with a bigger readership our impact cannot be but marginal - unless you have a very elitist approach to political change or believe in the power of prayer....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:11:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We just have to infect the minds of those that write for wider audiences...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thant's OK, but why not develop the ET brand, cut out the middlemen, and write directly for a wider audience?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:14:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a first-rate comment, Frank.  I can only say that this:

Perhaps there simply aren't enough FP's to do the job - manage the site, write diaries, lead opinion, set the tone, provide editorial direction, encourage newcomers, massage hurt feelings,  e-market the site, run campaigns, represent Eurotrib in the real world in various countries and on a wide range of topics.  I think it may be a case of two few people trying to do too much and there being insufficient differentiation/specialisation and delegation of tasks to enable anything to be done in a very sustained way without burn-out for the few.

says in a nutshell exactly what I think. (With no pun on "the few").

However, you may have misunderstood my question about the wide-ranging discussion site. I'm not defending a "propaganda" vision (though Ford knows we are inundated by propaganda and have a right to reply in kind), but asking you how you see the function and influence of the kind of site you envisage.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 02:48:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
but asking you how you see the function and influence of the kind of site you envisage.

I would like to see ET getting to the stage where, like DKos, Huffington post and a number of other US sites, it is widely known and read, and a standard reference point for anyone (including, but not exclusively journalists, parliamentarians and policymakers) writing about a topic or wishing to be informed about it - with particular reference to EU and supranational issues - a sort of mini emergent Demos for a polity which lacks a direct popular base (other than an election every 4 years).

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 03:06:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's an appropriate goal, I think.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Perhaps there simply aren't enough FP's to do the job - manage the site, write diaries, lead opinion, set the tone, provide editorial direction, encourage newcomers, massage hurt feelings,  e-market the site, run campaigns, represent Eurotrib in the real world in various countries and on a wide range of topics.  

That's a pretty gooddescription of all the task we try to do, and you're right that we're not enough for the job. some of these can be (and are) done by other community members, but they bump against the same limitations.


I know Jerome feels the answer to this is to have some paid staff, but I'm not at all sure about this.  Firstly having some paid staff would alter the dynamics of a community site profoundly - "why is he paid to do some bits when I do loads without pay etc...."  Secondly, I don't see the contradiction between voluntarism and organisation which many here seem to feel exists.

The reason why I'm pushing for some tasks to be paid for is that they require so much time and focus from people that they are, in effect, not compatible with any other work. So, unless you are alreadyon a pension, or lucky to live off a trust fund or equivalent, people would have to give up their income to do these tasks properly. Thus the suggestion that those that would do this be given an income to live on. I'd hardly think that it would be luxurious, and big enough to be seen as unfair if it provided a service to other site members.

As I said, some of the tasks could be remunerated on an ad hoc basis - preparing a summary of discussions on a topic like food or the anglo disease would be a full time job for an a academic and it deservedly should be paid the same kind of money (say, 1,000-2,000 euros per summary paper).


I prefer to work in an environment where I have few very clear and limited responsibilities rather than many vague and diverse ones.  So what's wrong with having one FPer dedicated to design changes, another dedicated to just coding, a third defining editorial policy/writing position papers on energy, a fourth as Finland editor, a fifth responsible for e-marketing the site, a sixth responsible for welcoming/supporting/encouraging new members etc.

The flip side of having volunteers is that they may be tireless, but when they can't be around, there's suddenly none anymore. If we want to have a thinktank like presence, we'll need a consistent capacity to reply and do the various tasks expected of such a body. Such presence and consistency is also what would be purchased - and again that's fair.

The other issue with volunteers is that they brign the competencies they have, not those you need. Sometimes, it's good enough, but sometimes it isn't. Again, if we want serious visibility, we'll need to see what we need to do, and set about doing it on a consistent basis.

More generally, I think that people deserve to be remunerated for all the time and effort that they put on the site or its ofshoots; the goal would certainly not be to reward some and let the others continue for free, but find a way that all talent be harnessed and brought forward.

But we bump again agaisnt the limitations of avaialble money.


It is the quality of this dialogue which, to my mind, is a measure of ET's value, not its "correctness" on a range of pre-defined policy positions.

Yes - and I see our overall intellectual honesty as what we would sell, and it is also why I'd want to hire talent mostly from the community, becuase they know our values, how we function, and how we work, and would be in the best position to reflect thatto the outside.

:: ::

All your points are well made and raise legitimate issues. I do think we have answers, and that we can have answers - I agree that the diffciculty is to turn the potential into a reality, and these discussions will help in finding the way to do it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:02:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
The reason why I'm pushing for some tasks to be paid for is that they require so much time and focus from people that they are, in effect, not compatible with any other work.

That's ok provided we are talking about ring-fenced financing for particular projects - the sort of work we could apply for funding from the EU or other public sources.  Otherwise I don't know where we would get the money to pay €1000 per position paper  etc..

It has to be part of the EU PR agenda to promote informed debate on key EU policies/concerns - so why not apply for a grant to research - e.g. reducing the EU food/energy footprint in global markets - or some much more specific topics which require elucidation - e.g. Options and role models for defining the role of the new EU President of the Council...

If we get funding for specific projects, no one will have a problem with people being paid to do the work.  Otherwise you will run into the problems faced by all amateur sporting bodies, where some players/officials get paid to do their work whereas the organisation basically depends on voluntary effort to survive.  What happens, after a while, is that the people doing all the voluntary work get pissed off after a while and the organisation shrivels.

ET is almost uniquely placed to apply for such funding, because of our pan European, and indeed global membership, and because we are disseminating and informing debate as well as doing some research.  PR agencies get big contracts for doing much less.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:47:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
....

Man. You should outsource that. My monthly stipend is less than what's in that bracket.

I'd like to apply when I'm done with the PhD, sick and tired of geology and want to stick around in Africa some more. :)

For what's it worth, I'm behind the strategy you propose 100%. As community, the thinktank scheme has been hashed out over the years. The core members can almost dream it - it needs to be tested.

A reason why I've begun feeling money has to come in at some point is that the tasks required to get the basic structures off the ground are simply not interesting enough to do in spare time based solely on volunteer capacity. In my spare time, I'd want to read, discover and write when online - not continue what I'm doing for 8-10 hours a day already.

A thinktank needs to have a certain "baseload", coupled with some nice surges, which can be volunteer based.

by Nomad on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 07:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another issue is the question, if personal or not academically well researched stuff still would be welcomed on ET, if this is a 'think tank'.
Wouldn't 'uninformed amateur' diaries then 'reduce the productivity' of the 'think tank'?


Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 08:08:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that is what the distinction between the front page and dairy sections should be about.  The Diary section is for everyone to publish their thoughts - amateur or otherwise.  The front page should be for the more seriously researched and perhaps peer reviewed papers that are our platform for greater influence in the outside world.  That would also mean we need a separate page for the "social and personal" open threads and salons etc.  However the key thing about ET 2.0 should be that we must try to maintain the informal community look and feel open to active participation by all - whilst at the same time developing a more substantial presence to influence popular discourse.


"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 07:25:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not too keen to change ET as it is, even the frontpage. What Id like is to have an associated site which includes only the "finished" products - position papers, letters to editors, articles, etc...

I'd even be keen to keep that site separate from the ETwiki, which would the store of our "collective wisdom", ie a easy reference to our earlier discussions, ie a way to go through all our "unfinished" discussions.

I don't wnat to change the site so much as build on what exists, and put it in a form which is more accessible/palatable/understandable/interesting to outsiders who don't have the benefit of spending day in and day out over here.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:31:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you change the site you may break it.

Maybe it needs to be a separate project seeded with ETers, but not under the same "brand".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 03:03:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
I think that is what the distinction between the front page and dairy sections should be about.  The Diary section is for everyone to publish their thoughts - amateur or otherwise.  The front page should be for the more seriously researched and perhaps peer reviewed papers that are our platform for greater influence in the outside world.

So following that, much of Einstein's major work wouldn't have been worthy of the front page. but his later, less important work would ave?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:58:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The front page should be for the more seriously researched and perhaps peer reviewed papers that are our platform for greater influence in the outside world

Then to the outside world we wouldn't look like a community blog at all any longer.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:17:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and that would put off new members leading to a gradual decline in numbers and eventual collapse.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:29:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which probably means that spinoffs are a better way to "grow" or "develop".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:14:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many diaries end up on the front page once they have been "peer reviewed"

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 03:24:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The organizational part is very good, but at the middle it veers off into a two class community, which would take away all the 'social and personal' value of any research.  Any intellectual effort that doesn't take the human side into account could hurt us all.

I'm afraid it would only create detached policy that would be more of the same. At least to me, the personal is political and viceversa, because it is intertwined.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:41:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There appears to be broad agreement that the frontpagers are overworked, underappreciated and that their small number leaves them and ET open to accusations of cliqueishness and institutional bias.

Any philosophical or technical reason why the number couldn't be...say...doubled?

by Sassafras on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 12:21:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who do you nominate to be added to the FP team?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 12:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Put me on the spot, why don't you?  :)

Well, with apologies to the many able people who don't immediately spring to mind, I've always supposed it was limited numbers that meant DoDo wasn't an FP.  And TBG's contributions are of a consistently high standard, though, in the interests of transparency and clique-avoidance, I need to say that I've known him for some time through another site.

Anyone else any nominations?

by Sassafras on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 04:22:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am an FP :-) See frontpage, left column, bottom box. Only I don't post much, and if yes usually as diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 04:50:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops.  I looked for a list-and I still can't see it (!)
by Sassafras on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:02:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, my left/right dyslexia again. Frontpage, right column, bottom box (titled Blogroll), third group of links from top titled THE FRONT PAGERS. Once but no more frontpagers are mentioned, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:25:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I dare look, in case TBG is on there as well  :)
by Sassafras on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, he ain't - yet :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:30:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One nomination, then. :)

As I was saying before I messed up-any more?

by Sassafras on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:37:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and without that I doubt ET can ever become much more than a relatively small, fun, but essentially anarchistic community which has some spasmodic successes but also a lot of confusion and wasted energy.

And this is partly why I constantly seem to be asking myself - what am I doing here? - because I can never seem to see this leading anywhere in terms political effectiveness or "mass movement" impact on public discourse in a consistent way.

maybe the problem is we're not being patient enough. i don't think ET has to grow, for example, as much as most here seems to want, or even to have an effect on policy. it's fun to think about, but i believe, were it ever to happen, it would be serendipitous as much as structured, and would happen when the 'masses' are ready, not just when a bunch of us thought we were.

what this place works well for is to inform, educate and prepare us for change, and a more active thinking role than we are accustomed to, perhaps, a higher intellectual standard to aspire to.

as a world of ideas, the blogosphere rules, when it comes to rubber meeting the road, it's barely beginning. i enjoy seeing people here wanting to propagate better thinking to more people, especially bigger wheels, but ithink we just need to keep on keeping on, getting sharper and wiser from just showing up here. the very challenging issue of blogging with all the different nationalities represented here is being navigated effortlessly, without special planning.

we are at a natural disadvantage compared with the usa, if what we are after is growth, because of the sheer numbers on the same linguistic page. the quality of english here would be high even if all were native english speakers, for example, and yet it's anything but that way...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:07:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Confusion, duplication and wasted energy are often found in a.... mind ;-)

It's the way self-organizing stuff works.

One suggestion I have though, is, let's get ourselves an agent. Media Planet for instance.

Or maybe not. Media Planet has a business model that uses a lot of good freelancers to create editorial content as a context for related targeted advertising. Now this sounds like an immediate switch off. But it doesn't seem to work quite as one would imagine. Their range of subjects is broad, and includes some of the issues we talk about here. I know people writing for them on business issues, and their view is that alternative views are fine - the point is to make the editorial content interesting.

What an agent does is to use their connections to the media to place stories.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
maybe the problem is we're not being patient enough. i don't think ET has to grow, for example, as much as most here seems to want, or even to have an effect on policy. it's fun to think about, but i believe, were it ever to happen, it would be serendipitous as much as structured, and would happen when the 'masses' are ready, not just when a bunch of us thought we were.

As you say, there is no reason why ET has to grow, and many might well prefer it as it is.  Most diaries quickly get lost in the Maelstrom that is a bigger site like DKos.

However if we DO want to become a bigger and more influential site, that won't simply happen -it will require a lot of focussed effort to make it happen.  And it won't necessarily happen to us - but perhaps to one of many other sites out there, or one driven by a much more business like model.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However if we DO want to become a bigger and more influential site, that won't simply happen

sez you!

i would have put the word IF in caps.

no-one here would mind if ET grew to be the FT of the new millennium, probably, but i wonder if polled, whether size matters that much to ET'ers.

i don't think its the size of the stone david threw, as much as the accuracy...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"i don't think its the size of the stone david threw, as much as the accuracy..."

I agree that the accuracy was vital, however the stone did kill Goliath and i doubt that many stones much smaller than, say, 2cm would have accomplished the task. ET may have the requisite size but lack the visibility. Or it may require both more size and visibility. I don't know.

In any case, melo, I enjoy your posts.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks ARG.

i don't worry about ET growing, hasn't it grown well so far?

i'm concerned about over-reach, if anything, not because we wouldnìt do some good, but because it would be depressing if it didn't.

wu-wei..letting it be what it without reshaping it seems the wisest course to me. of course if people feel differently, that makes it more, not less interesting.

there's a lot of smarts here, and the agenda seems right on track for a better world. whether the world id listening deoendes more on where peoples' heads are at, rather than how persuasive we can make our model, image, whatever.

i guess i believe more in pull than push, i dunno.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yikes, 4 typos in one comment, that's what i get for teasing kc about spellcheck, lol

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
which is that a lot of our own "wisdom" comes from thrashing pout the same topics repeatedly, and finding new insights once in a while.

Wisdom does build up over time, it cannot happen in one discussion.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 05:04:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
exactly...i never went to law school, (tho' interestingly that's what the vocational guidance counsellor thought i should do when i was 14, lol), but i see this forum as a sparring school, here's where you learn what tricks are used to keep the present unjust systems barrelling along destroying lives and livelihoods, habitat etc.

this place is one long refined counter-argument to the CW that liberals are fuzzy thinking, disorganised, utopian bla bla.

we tear into each others' weak arguments and stop each other falling into traps of illogic, this works to keep the intellect freer from denial and cog-diss.

then we take that out into the world, info ready at our mental fingertips, toughened up by endless shoe-blogs, we can take down goliath....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:07:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New macro! ((*policing)) without the asterisk.

Maybe people will react better to [ET Pretty Policing™ Technology] than they do to [ET Moderation Technology™] .

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 06:45:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a pretty police uniform to go with the technology?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 07:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Moderating, smoothing, comforting, balancing..., but not 'policing', please, not on ET.    That term feels like nails on chalkboard and brings back neocon memories to me.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 12:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meta: blech.

This site is what you make of it.  If you want to see more of something, post more of it.  I came here wanting to see more about Russia and when no one stepped up to the plate, I went somewhere else to find things out, and came back here and posted about it.  

I agree with those who say they'd like it to be more Euro-centric.  So let's recommend diaries that are that, even if they suck, as an attempt to encourage people.  Also, cross-post stuff on other more Europe oriented sites.  Membership isn't some magical phenomenon.  I, like a lot of people, followed J here from DKos...  I found out of about ET while I was at a different site.  

And I'm not happy that people like FarEasterner or 3rdColumn have left.  I understand it was their decision to do so, but I don't get the "if you don't like it here, leave" attitude of a very small minority here.  The vibe here has certainly changed.

I think it's great of you to ask, but the FPers know where most of us stand on things.  Suggestions have been made.  Offers have been made.  Help has been offered.  If the FPers feel something needs to change... well, they've had opportunities to do something about it...  The ball is in their court, since, er, the rest of us can only post diaries and comment.    

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:18:47 AM EST
And I'm not happy that people like FarEasterner or 3rdColumn have left.  I understand it was their decision to do so, but I don't get the "if you don't like it here, leave" attitude of a very small minority here
Well, what are we to do? Ban people being unpleasant about religious-secular leaders? Should the Pope be above criticism because it might offend some people? Ban criticism of Bush because it upsets others?

There's a point where you can't accommodate people any further without doing more harm than good.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:23:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't get the "if you don't like it here, leave" attitude of a very small minority here

Can you point to a single instance of that wrt to the users you mention?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there might have been a bit of it with FE, but in a "we're very sorry you feel like that but we're not banning people and deleting comments because they're nasty about the Dalai Lama" sort of way.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, he was already asking for his diaries and stuff to  be deleted.

And there was none of it at all with The3rdColumn.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:55:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was at least one member who went beyond that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 05:47:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This site is what you make of it.

But

er, the rest of us can only post diaries and comment.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:07:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I'm not happy that people like FarEasterner or 3rdColumn have left.  I understand it was their decision to do so, but I don't get the "if you don't like it here, leave" attitude of a very small minority here.  The vibe here has certainly changed.

I was disappointed in FarEasterner - loved what he wrote, and from a point of view I rarely get, but he ultimately left because the moderators would not suppress someone's viewpoint that he didn't like. Completely ridiculous and immature.

The lack of debate here has little to do with the site. It's the modern idea that our views are special and deserve respect. Add a touch of self-importance and most people consider a challenge to their views as akin to physical assault.

I remember Jerome brought someone in to write on a topic - might have been energy related , I can't remember. His views were MSMish. Everyone here tore into him, but used numbers to do it - it wasn't the usual emotional invective that passes for argument elsewhere. Overwhelmed, I suppose, he said "none of you take this topic seriously, so I'm leaving." He had no interest in debate.

I have a fairly thick skin - our Russia argument (or whatever it was) yesterday bothered me, but after twenty minutes here at my desk working on schematics any irritation was gone. I also get far more positive feedback from my posts that are critical of the US vs. those that are favorable to the US. Again, at the end of the day, it doesn't bother me. I'll be here as long as I detect at least a faint level of respect for myself (not my ideas, those pass or fail on their own merits) and enjoy what others are writing.

Most communication serves the purpose of reinforcing bonds between members of a tribe. Even on this site, ostensibly here to discuss politics and policy, we have naturally formed a social group, and communicate with the same dynamic. I think anyone who spends time writing and reading comments here will want that investment to pay off [these financial metaphors bother me ever since deAnander brought them up] with that reassuring social feedback. When it doesn't come, people leave to go find it elsewhere. If my political views leaned further to the right I doubt I'd stick around.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:47:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"If my political views leaned further to the right I doubt I'd stick around."

Certainly there is always some social group building. And yes, sometimes it is hard to have discussions with people who propose things I really hate and may even consider extreme measures to defend against such actions, if they would be implemented as policy.
But in the end one can't have both things, perfect harmony and increase of knowledge. One has to hear what arguments those who disagree with one have on their side.

After all I can understand that newcomers are a bit scared, when someone is insulting their beliefs/nation/political convictions..., but for an internet community ET is very tolerant to other views, and people are really attacking mostly single positions and not persons, so that after a hot debate, there can be harmony on another topic. It simply takes some time to see that, so maybe there really has to be very special care for new people or some more warning in the users guide that discussions can be hotheaded...
However, tolerance even in the face of very fundamental differences is unfortunately a very European value, so I'm not too surprised that FarEasterner left.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 08:30:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
excellent comment millman, and great sig, btw, i never told you, especially relevant for this thread...

these financial metaphors bother me ever since deAnander brought them up]

lol, yes that was heavy for me too, i found myself self-editing for a while in my day to day conversations.

i swung back tho', as i think money is a metaphor, and the fact remains that even if money were never invented, we'd still be all about investment and return, dividends and disappointments, but using another medium.

at the end of the day, it's all about energy, money's nothing but a symbol. what energy do you want in your life, how much are you willing to dedicate, risk, and yes...invest in your relationships? with your lifework, your marriage, parenting, issues that don't go away whether you're rich or poor or in between?

money's become a short cut so used that few remember the old ways that came before, and i'm tempted to say, will come again.

so the tail's wug the dog, a respectable analogy has been perverted by common unwisdom, de anander made us look at it head on.

i would imagine the word 'invest' came along before money, but i wouldn't wager my shirt on it!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 09:33:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I readily admit to often being intimidated by how much some people seem to know on their topics, when in comparison I'm just pulling stuff out of my arse. It is good in the sense that I have a lot of respect for some diarists and commenters, and have already learnt a great deal just reading what they have to say (plus it is the kind of stuff you might not often hear about elsewhere). Though it can be bad in the sense that I read a lot of the diaries but don't comment because I have nothing worthwhile to contribute, though the subject does interest me. The Open Thread is best because I know there is no threshold for competence...

Things I would like to see are diaries about social/cultural/political trends that are occuring not just in one country, but across Europe. Diaries about the emerging 'European space', as it were, above the national, but below the global.

Member of the Anti-Fabulousness League since 1987.

by Ephemera on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:24:48 AM EST
Look, my speciality is asking dumb questions on the basis that I'm reasonably smart in my own way and if I don't know the answer it probably means a good number of other people don't either.

There's probably a space for question diaries: ask a question in enough detail and with enough hooks for the experts to get a grip on it or for the generalists to do a decent Google search.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:30:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words: a Socratic style.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice to see peace breaking out - the exchange between melo and afew fair brought a lump to my throat...

Pity to see Frank apparently putting his bread and cheese in his spotted handkerchief and about to resume his search for the blogging Holy Grail.

Me? I found my blogging Holy Grail when I happened upon good old ET a couple of years ago - as I recall as a result of Jerome monstering the now mythical "Iran Oil Bourse".

ET is the original on-line Groucho Club. And I'm proud to say therefore that I'm not a member (or maybe am an UnMember ? Please tellme, rg ), but come here anyway.

I just enjoy putting up my stuff to be shot at. Apologies to those of you bored to death with it, but I reckon I've managed to refine my thinking enormously in a way that would have been impossible any other way.

Big thanks to Jerome in particular, and above all to Migeru and the other front pagers.

I can't think of any changes I would like to see - but I'm sure I'll have an opinion on changes people actually do put forward....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 12:21:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ChrisCook:
Pity to see Frank apparently putting his bread and cheese in his spotted handkerchief and about to resume his search for the blogging Holy Grail.

LOL.  The story of my life, I'm afraid.  Change is the only constant (Heraclitus).  I once dreamt of Heraclitus before I was even conscious of knowing his name.  Who knows what tomorrow brings, let's hope it is both a discovery and a surprise.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:59:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
surely  you should follow his "You cannot step into the same river twice" so whenever you come back it will be to a different ET

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:08:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And a different Frank, too. I am reminded of this bit by Feynman:
Perhaps one of the reasons for this silence is that you have to know how to read the music.  For instance, the scientific article may say, "The radioactive phosphorus content of the cerebrum of the rat decreases to one-half in a period of two weeks."  Now what does that mean?

It means that phosphorous that is in the brain of a rat - and also in mine, and yours - is not the same phosphorus as it was two weeks ago.  It means the atoms that are in the brain are being replaced: the ones that were there before have gone away.

So what is this mind of ours: what are these atoms with consciousness?  Last week's potatoes!  They now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago - a mind which has long ago been replaced.

To note that the thing I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance, that is what it means when one discovers how long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms.  The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, and then go out - there are always new atoms, but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:16:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you remind me of philosophical discussions on sleep, and how do you know that you are the same person as you were yesterday after the gap in conciousness and the morning reboot.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:24:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You still have the same memories, right?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:36:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well that's one of the questions, with the gap in conciousness through sleep how can you be sure that that is actually the case.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:43:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that bordering on solipsism?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 01:35:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
probably closer to the psychiatric version than the philosophical of solipsism

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 03:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
And a different Frank, too.

Any requests/recommendations for change on a postcard please.....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 03:35:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Things I would like to see are diaries about social/cultural/political trends that are occuring "

Yeah that's what I want to see more of too.  If I had the time I'd produce more of it, but really don't underestimate the contributions you make here, you make some very informed and well articulated comments. You've been an extremely welcome newcomer from my point of view!  

I initially felt the same about drowning in all this incredible knowledge and expertise that other people have and not feeling that I had anything good enough to say, but write about the things that interest you and it will develop. I'd like to see more diaries from you.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 12:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there knowledge about EU-wide trends in sociology/culture ? I read a bit of sociology, but pretty much all of it is France-centered. There are EU-wide stats, but stats don't make political and social analysis all by themselves.

The advantage of ET is that each could bring knowledge about his own country ; and that sometimes happen in some diaries. But is that enough to identify EU-wide trends ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:35:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there isn't enough to identify trends on that scale.  I'm also well aware that apart from some level 1 undergrad social policy I have little theoretical knowledge of sociology/social policy etc.  My expertise has developed through personal experience, the work I do and reading around as much as I can when new research and policy papers come out.  But sometimes lacking the knowledge of how lines of thought have developed, hinders my full understanding on some issues.

But then again, it also provides me with a perspective that isn't narrowed by conventional lines of wisdom.  There are pan European reports and stats on a number of websites and for me it could be a case of trawling through these, picking a topic, presenting what I can find on that and seeing what experiences are on the ground elsewhere.

My interest in asking members - how do you view this issue, what's happening in your country - comes from the fact that I know there are significant enough culture differences that a UK policy that works here would fall totally flat elsewhere in Europe (the diary I did on flexicurity brought that up). If we hope to seek ways of influencing at a European level we need to have some understanding of the impact and barriers that our policy direction could have on individual countries.  

So people may not have stats to bring to me but they can give an insight into how that topic is dealt with. Our discussion around ethnicity and the difference in France and the UK on approach was hugely insightful for me.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:23:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i think you're outstanding, fwiw.

please diary and comment more...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:20:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET is an excellent site, I enjoy reading the diaries written from a European point of view, as opposed to those from DKos, whom of late, tend to degenerate into pie fights ad nauseum. I like the size of this blog, the diaries have a chance to breathe and the comments are intelligent and well thought out. I only wish I could interact a little bit more than I do here, but I lead a fairly complicated life, and time, unfortunately, is not on my side.
by Asinus Asinum Fricat (patric.juillet@gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 08:04:05 PM EST
In terms of productivity, you do more than a lot of us.  Good to have you here.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:12:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Further to my suggestion that ET needs an agent  to get our various 'messages' out into the media - here is one known for signing up bloggers: Patrick Walsh.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:20:33 AM EST
That's a clear and efficient site.

From the submissions page:

Non-fiction material
Non-fiction submissions should include a ten-to-twenty-page narrative tale explaining:

What the book is about and why what you have to say is important, original or controversial.

Why you decided to write the book and what's special about you as the author.

Why the book needs to be written and published now.

Who your core audience is and why your book will stand out once published - that is, why people will want to buy, read and talk about it.

A ten to twenty page narrative on a book called The Anglo Disease sounds good.  It's an original ET idea--in fact, it's an original Jerome a Paris idea.  The body of the book could be a historical narrative, tracing the rise through time--that might be new information, but after that would come major sections where the key information is already there in the form of Jerome's (and AN Other's) diaries and any relevant subsequent comments.

But the writing of the book would come after the writing of a ten-to-twenty page proposal.

I couldnae write it or even compile it, it's not in any way my subject area, but: what I was thinking (Jerome) is that it shouldn't take too long to write a ten-to-twenty pager--the ideas are already there, the structure is there, even the last chapters, bringing us to the present, questioning what's going to happen, make predictions and suggestions...

....and if it takes off in any way, profits can become seed money for future ET projects.  Or profits can go to Jerome!


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 07:47:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We had an "Anglo Disease summary" diary, and I'm told there is an "Op ed" version of it. I forget what the next step was...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 08:01:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, the plan was then to expand that Op-Ed into a chapter of the book on "France is not in Decline and the last thing it needs is Neoliberal Reform" that Jerome is supposed to be writing with afew, and then that chapter would provide an outline of the Anglo Disease book in which bits and pieces of research and writing could be outsourced.

diary - op-ed - chapter - outline is a nice sequence of incresing goals and it works towards two separate book projects, an op-ed, and focusing the people's energies.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 08:06:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The advantage of having a literary agent, whether for articles, books and so forth is that the agent knows the market - needs, prices, delivery demands etc. An agent comes ready networked.

They take a percentage, of course.

Patrick Walsh appears to be in tune with the blogging world - he signed blogger Belle de Jour. She happens to be a former call girl - but Walsh's interests (as claimed on the site) are very wide.

As in the movie business, it is hard to get into print media without an agent. There is a ravenous demand for print content - outside newspapers. We have to start somewhere, and I think the agent route is worthy of consideration.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 08:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or why not propose the Anglo Disease book as a collaborative research project to be grant aided by the EU to elucidate the policy choices open to EU decision makers?

This could include elements of original research, public consultation, trans EU collaboration, public engagement in policy debate, together with a set of document outcomes and cost/benefit analysed policy options - all central to the EU project.

If the EU want "balance" they can always commission one of innumerable free market think tanks to consider market based solutions....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 09:06:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am forever in amazement at the largesse available from the EU. But what I discovered is that you need to couch your application in very special language that uses specific keywords linked to the particular initiatives. Without these you get nothing.

Discovering what these magic open sesame commands are, is not easy. Now, Frank, you sound like the sort of chap, with your talk of 'document outcomes', who speaks the lingo. ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:15:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW Getting EU funding does not necessariy preclude commercial publishing.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:16:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know there is a specific language you have to use - to tie in with specific policies, initiatives and budget headings, but I do not know the language.  We could do with some help from an EU insider - just on the jargon aspects.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 02:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I am used to design and draft European projects, to find the right budget lines (if they exist) and to obtain EU financing... Also I know a few people in the European institutions. So, if I can help, just let me know.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 03:54:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As usual on ET, it is unclear who is running with this issue, but of the FP's Migeru was going to check with his sister re: funding opportunities.  Basically we need someone with authority to speak on behalf of ET to speak to someone with knowledge of the labyrinthine ways of EU funding - to see if a viable funding application can be put together - possibly for some specific ET projects rather than ET itself.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 04:10:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said, I know quite well how to do that (I mentioned it in a previous meta diary), but:
  • first, you have to have a clearly identified project with a well-stated purpose, objectives, content and method.
  • it must fit in the existing policy pramework. Given the wide range of policies, this is not hard, but you have to word it properly.
  • for many budget lines, it is required to have partners from several European countries involved in the project in order to be eligible.
  • only a non-profit or public organisation is eligible to benefit from EU subsidies. Otherwise, you have to go through a public tender. That means ET would have to create a non-profit organisation or to find a friendly one willing to be the leader on a project.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 04:53:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition: I know personnaly several European Commission directors and head of units in charge of structural funds (ESF, ERDF, EGF...) and I am regularly in contact with them, so it would be easy to find the right budget headers once we have defined a project.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 04:59:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paradoxically I don't see the availability of funds as the problem.  However trying to get "ET" to actually formulate a proposal on the lines you state necessary is a bit like trying to herd cats - and wild ones at that.  We are very, very good at the brainstorming/ideas generation - and almost useless at the disciplines required to turn these into actionable, manageable, and viable projects from a funding perspective.  I suggest Jerome appoint an FP with specific responsibility for creating and pursuing funding applications.  Would you be prepared to take that on?  I would be happy to help, but have no EU specific expertise or experience.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see ET as a whole working on a project but, as for the petition, it could be discussed first on ET, then designed by a small group of people really committed. Once the first draft of the project is completed, this "task force" would present the project on ET and discuss it with the other ET users. In parallel, we could start looking for funding opportunities and partners.

As you will see in my third comment above, I agree with you: I don't see tha availability of funds as a problem.

I suggest Jerome appoint an FP with specific responsibility for creating and pursuing funding applications.  Would you be prepared to take that on?

It's the other way around: once there is an idea for a project, I would be happy to help those willing to work on it to:
  • structure it and draft it in a presentable way
  • find the relevant funding opportunities and evaluate the odds to obtain subsidies
  • help to find partners in Europe
  • draft the project's budget (it must very detailed and follow the EC presentaion rules) and the final submission documents...
But that's a lot of work, so it must be done only if a team is really committed to the project.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:20:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about writing a diary documenting the project formulation/funding application process - together with suitable links to EU guidelines for applications, possibly appropriate budget heatings etc. and then invite ET members to submit ideas for projects - and take them thru the process - provided sufficient people with appropriate expertise indicate a willingness to work on it?

Some top of the head ideas for projects include:

  1. The Anglo-Disease - alternative models for socio-economic development
  2. Media representations of market failure - the credit crisis
  3. Role models for the new President of the EU Council
  4.  The negotiating process at EU  Council level
  5. The role of Blogging/networking sites in developing a new EU civil society....

etc.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:36:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about writing a diary documenting the project formulation/funding application process... and then invite ET members to submit ideas for projects..?

I agree to do it, but I have not enough time at the moment.

About the ideas you listed, we must be aware that any request for subsidies must go through a process called an "open call for proposals", where the submitted project is assessed by a committee which takes into account the credibility and reliability of the project leader and partners. The problem is: even if Et creates a non-profit organisation, this organisation will not have any background (former studies, projects or publications), nor project management experience and no financial reliability.

The only domain in which we could claim some knowledge and experience is n°5: "The role of Blogging/networking sites in developing a new EU civil society", which could be a good way to start. For other themes, we would have to find credible partners (it is not impossible).


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 06:59:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alternatively, someone could look at the open tenders, post them in a diary and ask for interest in taking on one of them. I did something similar with the EU Commission's Consultations page nearly two years ago.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 07:07:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We must not mix "open calls for tender", like this one and "open calls for proposals", like this one

Open calls for tender are very well defined with detailed specifications and tight rules and criteria. They open to everybody, including for-profit organisation, so ET would be in competition with established think-tanks, universities and consultants with a robust background in the field.

"open calls for proposals" are, well, open, which means they don't have detailed specifications. However, they must fit in the policy framework and still follow the same tight rules. They are only open to public organisations, universities and non-profit organisations.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, so "open calls for proposals", then.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Jerome has the authority and he can talk both to melanchthon and to my sister, so there you have it.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 06:57:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok - so we can all blame Jerome if nothing happens on the funding front?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:10:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am forever in amazement at the largesse available from the EU. But what I discovered is that you need to couch your application in very special language that uses specific keywords linked to the particular initiatives. Without these you get nothing.

You're right. See my comments below.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:48:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remain convinced that we CAN write by committee. Writing is often (mostly) about research, assembling outline arguments, fact checking, and anecdotal illustration. All these are activities which are normal for ET.

Stylistic consistency is a slightly different problem. This is much more difficult to attain as a group. We'd probably need just one or two writers to produce the finished piece - unless the project was presented as an edited 'collection' of pieces.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 08:42:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I'd like to see more of is mostly stuff I could provide myself, if I'd put in some more time and get over my diary-writing block. I would like to see more national and local coverage. I don't mind learning about Chicago politics. On the contrary. I would also like to read about local politics in, say, Lyon or Manchester.

As for the vibe, it's also an expression of a degree of tightness in the community, to put a positive spin on it, that things can be taken so personally. Otherwise I don't know how to get a more positive vibe, other than being a bit less of a smartass myself.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:05:36 AM EST
Personally, I like ET just the way it is. I'd label myself a "satisfied customer" if you were selling a product.

I don't post as much as I used to because my workload has increased somewhat. I also remained more focused on US issues and if I feel like writing a diary, I'm more likely to post it on DKos.

But that doesn't mean that I don't read ET with equal interest. Jerome's diary on Europe.Is.Doomed, the Anglo Diseases, etc. have been nothing short of brilliant.

by Lupin on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 12:21:16 PM EST
We want to ensure that ET continues to develop as a site that covers a broad range of topics, appealing to the interests of a wide audience, encouraging members to contribute through comments and diaries of their own.

I think that this is a great site because it is open to a more heterogeneous mix of ideas and thought.  The strength of this mix is vertical and horizontal.  That is, it a mix of topics with mix of depth.  Let me qualify that: frivolous subjects are avoided it seems by self editing of the diarists.  

How do you attract more participation?  How the hell do I know?  In the site(s) that I run that is where I have been least successful.  But I can build viewership like a house afire.  So I have concentrated on writing my own editorial material and building the page view count.  In the endgame it is all about page views anyway is my opinion.  If you have enough page views you can get guys like Keith Olberman to write for free because it has a vested interest for their endeavors.  Viewers and participators it appears are different creatures.

In the end I have come to dimly understatnd that the key to understanding the "community participation" issues have to do with "branding" and "editorial focus."

This is all an new place.  Cyberspace.  We are really making up the rules as we proceed.

alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:44:36 PM EST
This is key. 'Conventional' wisdom no longer applies. But there are some basics that will never change: the most important is that people want to have the context of their lives explained in a way that might make them happier, in the sense that their lives have more meaning.

ET is simply a potential new delivery system for such explanations. As a medium, cyberspace, the noosphere, collective consciousness or networked empowerment or whatever you wish to call it, is largely still confined by the rules of the old media - in the same way that WWI was tragically fought according to the old rules.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but then again, some days it gives me jokes that noone else can see so on a positive note it all evens out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:58:39 PM EST
Besides all the good ideas and suggestions, sub-meta, I´m reading

  1.  The FPs are overloaded, tired and somewhat overwhelmed by the responsibility, but they accept it.  They can correct my terms if they like, but they ain´t happy:  ´If mamma ain´t happy, ain´t nobody gonna be happy´.  /:  So what can we do about that?  How do we give FPs some TLC?

  2.  The FP responsabilities, taken literally, are a full time job and that´s unreasonable.  Fran´s Salon, by itself, would freak me out.  Are all of them necessary at the same time?  Must they be strictly performed?  Can they be shared, divided, or are more FPs necessary?

I really don´t mind if there are no new diaries on the front page some days, because just keeping up could be a full time job.  I´d vote quality over quantity.  

Moderating is done by everyone, some better than others, as people feel responsible, but FPs cannot improve the outcome because they will always miss some and it would take a professional mediator, so going easy might help.  

Posting, teching, I don´t know, but if the FPs are not comfortable, that´s job number one, or ET will start seeing more dissention, especially through these growth spurts.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:05:00 PM EST
Sorry for my English. I hope to be able to explain what I think without giving rise to confusion.

I have been hesitating whether or not to intervene in the discussion of Meta ET. I am a very recent user and I have not contributed anything so far, and I do not have ability to contribute hardly anything in the future, but I am a helpful reader user. In addition, my English is bad.

Finally, I thought that I must state my opinion:

a) ET has a level much higher than most equivalent sites, in relation to content, the level of argument, and the general tone and style. There are blogs and sites that are full of inconveniences and very inappropriate attitudes, which does not happen in ET.

b) In my opinion, ET allowed to raise all issues with a wide range: on aspects that are processed, and on space that are the subjects: Europe and the World. And an open thread for more personal exchanges.

c) I think that ET should not be a site of finishes themes, systematically treated. If you accumulate points that can be considered as "ET knowledge", they must be the result of normal development of the site itself.

d) If anyone wants to see here some issues not raised initially, everyone can introduce them as commentary or as a diary, without being prevented anyone to do so.

e) I think that we should not pretend a balance between the "technical, scientific ..." and "the cultural, humanistic ..." topics. ET is not a self-sufficient encyclopedia. Those who miss certain aspects, which included him and try.

f) To me, voluntary participation, "gratis et amore", in the realization of ET is a value, not an inconvenience. In fact, I consider that a "professionalization" is negative. That would not be ET, but "something else", I think. Do we want "personalities" write articles and editorials on specialized topics? And then the other of us say "amen"? That would be -as we say in Spain- almost "Jesuitical". To find out the views of "personalities and authorities" I am going to their sources. That is not what I'm looking for when I enter in ET.

g) Search for "agents" who "promote" our site as a saleable product strikes me as strangely inappropriate for our site. To do that is to think that ET is something else other than what it is. Do we think that we need to take more useful promotional presence in the world? As a lobby? As a think-tank from which we can take advantage? What for?
Those are legitimate things, but I think that anyone wishing that he should not convert ET merely a way to do that.

h) The importance of the elections in the U.S. for the world explains that ET has an extensive treatment of the topic. All the media talk about the primary daily. Nevertheless, ET continues to treat many other points.

i) The mutual and comprehensive understanding of our respective countries can be subject to occasional diaries. But I think it should be treated in ET points that we do not find in comprehensive and specialized existing sources. The contribution that each can do on their own country is on those special and curious  points which do not easily find in these specialized sources.

j) We could develop -but with help for those who are pulling ahead ET, devoting much of his time to it!- an index of treaty issues, so that new users know easily what already was treated. Anyway, see diaries lets us know this aspect. If we think there is any reason to come back to something from another perspective or that have arisen reason to revive a treaty matter, we can first floor for consideration by users.

Finally, I like ET as it is -without discarding the possibility of improving it, but without distorting it- and I thank all those who every day make possible its continuation.

Sorry, if I have exceeded or if I have not been able to make me understand.

by PerCLupi on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:43:05 AM EST
Interesting comment

PerCLupi:

Sorry for my English. I hope to be able to explain what I think without giving rise to confusion.

My first language is English and I worry about that just as much. I do find your comments interesting, thoughtful and informative whenever I read them in diaries.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, Ceebs. Your comment has avoided that I have to go to my psychologist to cure my complex.
by PerCLupi on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 09:42:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we just all have to get our simple cured maybe instead. ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 10:08:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for taking the time to comment, it is interesting to read your perspective - and it makes sense!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 10:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for your work. Perhaps this is the only thing I can give: my opinion. If it makes sense, I am very happy to do so. We are a community.

(I do not know how to put emoticons)

by PerCLupi on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 11:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for your effort. It is the comments that put the meat on the bones. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 12:21:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
:-)
by PerCLupi on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 12:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
very good comment indeed.

 i agree with you about professionalisation and distortion.

there must be a middle way...

the collective writing and editing of LTE's has been a good thing to see, if we want more outreach this seems like a good way to go, though i can understand people wanting the firepower here harnessed to something a little more pervasive or significant, or enduring.

plus, the fact of us sneering at them for being clueless, or worse disingenuous, doesn't mean we shouldn't want to change that by becoming the change we want to see, or as mig reminds us 'we are the ones we've been waiting for'.

growth on the internet is exponential, and quality should be more important than effect. the former is at least somewhat under our control.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 11:20:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. It is clear that more things can be made. We agree.

Higher up, Pereulok said something interesting, among other things: Is there any "thinking network" on the web? ET could be one ... So I would suggest an organized ET to focus not only in the content, but on the creation process of the content, because that's what, I think, could give you all a window of opportunity, as it's the special feature of ET.

by PerCLupi on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 11:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While reading the comments about ET regular insider knowledge which newbies are unfamiliar with, I got a crazy idea.

What about writing a Short History of The ET Community, summing up past big debates and conflicts?

If you think that makes some sense, I'd imagine it as a collective effort; me starting a diary, and you bring up what's worth to mention.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:29:28 PM EST
Sorry if this has been mentioned before, but it would be much easier to get diaries online if we could write them online, save them, and then publish when they were finished.

Having to write a diary in Word (in case it gets lost) and then faff around with reformatting it is a pain...

by Sassafras on Thu Jun 5th, 2008 at 04:47:26 PM EST
Never had a problem with this: i just write in Word or Pages, put in all the htmls etc, grab the whole thing and paste in the bottom panel, cut and paste the title, cut and paste the ingress. Preview and then post.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 5th, 2008 at 04:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why are you reformatting it? Why not write in HTML on the onset? Also, I write my drafts in Notepad, no need to open the clumsy Word when I don't need Rich Text.

As for saving drafts, I agree it would be a good thing for everyone. I may look if SCOOP allows changing settings in this. For now, only us frontpagers can save edit versions, and that only for no-auto-format FP stories.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 6th, 2008 at 03:52:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not doable in current version without substantial retailoring, as far as I know.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 6th, 2008 at 03:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After looking at it, I'm afraid the answer is no. SCOOP is hard-coded in a way that enabling normal users to set diaries in editing mode also enables them to post on the frontpage...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 6th, 2008 at 01:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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