RE: [-empyre-] lists and gender roles

Hi Jim


Yes, at trAce we have tried out a lot of community software, which reminds me of this old article from 1999 where I wrote about the history of our quest for the perfect software  Ironically when I wrote this we were trying out CommunityWare, which began by looking fantastic and ended as a total disaster. They were in constant rebuild mode while we were inhabiting it and we had to give it up after less than a year. 

trAce has always catered for beginners and so it's important that our community software is easy to learn and manage. We loved O'Reilly Webboard for its many features but in the end we had to give it up because (a) it got too crowded and chaotic and (b) as other more sophisticated looking interfaces came along we felt under pressure to improve the look and feel. Now we use FuseTalk, which runs on Cold Fusion  It's kind of Ok - there are specific issues with it that we'd like to improve, but in general it works well. 

As to how software affects interaction - I have more to say on this but have run out of time. I'll give it some thought while I'm away.

I would say though that in our experience, the 'form of human association' has changed over the years. I think people have a different relationship with online communities now than 5 years ago. Am still trying to work out the detail of that.

How do you think webartery was influenced by being a yahoogroup, if at all?



-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Andrews []
Sent: 07 August 2004 22:25
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: RE: [-empyre-] lists and gender roles

hi sue,

my feeling is that discussion of list and other such software is not
irrelevant to the political, social, and personal dimensions of managing
lists. was that implied in your post? the political, social, and personal
problems that arise on lists are often related to the way the software
configures the 'space' and the possible forms of relations between people,
groups, and subgroups. lists propose one single 'room', one folder. and they
are usually plain text-oriented, because of security problems with allowing
html email and attachments, so they are not so good for other types of
writing, polyartistic approaches.

which reminds me of something mcluhan said:

"The electric light is pure information. It is a medium without a message,
as it were, unless it is used to spell out some verbal ad or name....
Whether the light is being used for brain surgery or night baseball is a
matter of indifference. It could be argued that these activities are in some
way the "content" of the electric light, since they could not exist without
the electric light. This fact merely underlines the point that "the medium
is the message" because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale
and form of human association and action. The content or uses of such media
are as diverse as they are ineffectual in shaping the form of human
association." from Understanding Media

this will not come as news to you, though, i imagine. your trAce project ( ) has experimented with a number of fairly high-level
"social softwares" from Webboard to the current software you're using which
i can't remember the name of. you may have found that different "social
software" alters the "form of human association"?


empyre forum

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