See also ContentOverCommunity.
Quoting with permission, March 20, 2004:
<Sunir> He saw Meatball as document-centric, and I see it as community-centric. <Sunir> But I'm apparently post-modern and therefore unintelligible. <awwaiid> are those really opposing views? <Sunir> no <Sunir> A community-centric viewpoint covers a document-centric one <awwaiid> a community made up of documents <Sunir> But you have to really understand what it means for things to be socially constructed to know why this theory is more powerful and more applicable. <Sunir> no, the community *writes* the documents <awwaiid> I understand social construction <Sunir> The documents don't just appear. <Sunir> So who ultimately is reading and writing the documents? the community. Therefore, the community is more important than their output. <Sunir> At least to the survival of both the community and the corpus of the documents. <awwaiid> but can the community be identified without the side-effect of the documents? <Sunir> The documents don't grow by themselves, in other words, so they cannot be given priority to the community who maintains, upgrades, protects, defends, organizes, and otherwises *does* stuff to the documents <Sunir> that's the interesting thing about community online <Sunir> everything goes through text. <awwaiid> ya <Sunir> I call it "LifeInText" <Sunir> and that gives the community online properties missing in normal community <awwaiid> and takes some away, I'd say <Sunir> LifeInText is the same collapse as software (machine and data) <Sunir> yes <Sunir> and software is less than machine and material; shucker and conr. <Sunir> corn <Sunir> in some ways, i mean <awwaiid> shucker and corn? <Sunir> just a type of machine <awwaiid> oh. I know what you mean now. <Sunir> but post-modernism also includes modernism <Sunir> so my community-centric view will also include a document-centric view <awwaiid> (though i might say software is more than machine + data) <Sunir> and also a style-centric <Sunir> chat-centric <awwaiid> ya <Sunir> software is interesting in that while all information is both bits + encoding, software makes the encoding also bits <awwaiid> though your analogy seems to be becomming inappropriate when comparing post-modern=community, modern=document-centric, etc <Sunir> software then incorporates time <Sunir> post-modernism is highly community-oriented. <awwaiid> certainly I see that <Sunir> that's because it prioritizes social forces rather than external objective realities. <awwaiid> I'm just saying the analogy seems a bit fishy, and not necessary for your viewpoint <awwaiid> yes, I see what you are getting at <Sunir> well, the document-centric viewpoint presupposes a Truth, or at least a measure of truth. <awwaiid> how so? <Sunir> Well, it figures what is written down is fact; or valuable as a truth <awwaiid> I don't see why a document-centric view couldnt' itself be twisted into a postmodern stance <awwaiid> but in a wiki things change <Sunir> whereas I would claim that nothing on the wiki is intelligible without the community to decode it. <Sunir> which is another reason why copylefting a living wiki is dumb; no one else can read it. <awwaiid> okay <Sunir> also, modernism looks as the people as a group of individuals. <awwaiid> what restriction that copylefting imposes would stop others from reading it? <Sunir> so the individuals come to the wiki to read the documents to learn something, and then they go away (think "software manual"). <Sunir> individuals also come and may add things to the wiki because all individuals will be motivated to do so (i have no idea why people think this) * Sunir will get to your question in a sec <awwaiid> k <Sunir> but a community-centric viewpoint sees the corpus as primarily a conversation and dialectic between people who care about one another with a common sense of identity; a MeatBall:CommonContext and a MeatBall:SuperordinateGoal <wiki> -> http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?SuperordinateGoal <Sunir> MeatBall:CommonContext <wiki> -> http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?CommonContext <Sunir> Which is why we have the MeatBall:BarnRaising motto <wiki> -> http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?BarnRaising <Sunir> the text on the wiki is primarily useful for aiding discussion within the community <Sunir> it's a vocabulary for them <Sunir> and since a wiki is so perfect for this (page names are concepts), it works out well for us <awwaiid> ya <Sunir> social construction of meaning <Sunir> which is why you need the community to decode the text; it's not very clear to outside observers. <Sunir> trust me, most pepole don't understand what we write <Sunir> ok, onto your question <Sunir> Coyplefting doesn't stop people from accessing the text. <awwaiid> I see. So by the time they understand the wiki they are basically part of the community, sharing the common language <Sunir> it's just that they can't understand what we write without the MeatBall:CommunityLore that helps decode what we're talking about <wiki> -> http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?CommunityLore <Sunir> right, except by reading a copy, they lose the ability to communicate with the community. <Sunir> the text and the community are one <Sunir> LifeInText <Sunir> so, this is all disturbingly post-modern, I guess. it just makes sense to me as the plum obvious truth of it all. <Sunir> but i'm secretly modernist. ;) <awwaiid> ha <Sunir> "plum obvious truth" <awwaiid> *chuckle* <awwaiid> Well I appreciate you sharing your perspective with me. <Sunir> i hope it was enlightening