I only followed this only very tangentially, but from what I can gather, I think Geert is right. In many ways, this is old news. It's a classic case of a community where all members used to have all the rules internalized, i.e. they were 'voluntarily' adhering to them, thus there was no need to enforce them. As the community grows, people join who do not repress in the same way their ideosynractic urges. Now, the community comes under stress how to deal with them. The illusion of voluntary consensus has been shattered. They have to find a way how to transform their "undifferentiated openness" into something structured without killing off the community dynamics. One might call this "sustainable openness". We've seen that with usenet, email lists, online forums, and now blogging. Pretty similar issues, including misogyny.
However, it's not a simple re-run in all respects. There's also something that is definitely different from the earlier cases. Blogging has become so big that it's not only attracting destructive energies but it begins to matter in a main-stream way (usenet, email lists, online forums never did). At least in the hypersensitive US political scene, "a-list" bloggers wield considerable influence (or at least, political operatives believe this). As a consequence, these bloggers have to decide how to deal with their growing power and the politics than come with it. In other words, they are slowly being transformed from observers into actors, from being independent, honest commentators to becoming part of the inner circle. Almost all candidates in the US presidential race are trying to enlist bloggers in their campaigns, as paid staff members. Even those bloggers who remain nominally independent suddenly have their postings examined under strategic considerations, ie. readers and other bloggers are beginning to wonder if there are hidden preferences and secret deals. And even these bloggers who remain truly independent have to watch out what they say, otherwise some "provocative" posting will come back to haunt them should they decide to become full-time political consultants at a later point. This just happened to two bloggers who had to resign from the Edwards campaign. This, actually, strikes me as much more critical than some people spewing hate in easy-to-control comment sections. Monitoring comments is a task that can be accomplished easily and cheaply. Slashdot has done that years ago. The real issue with respect to political blogging is this: how to exert real mainstream influence without becoming subsumed under the existing logic of power? Quite difficult to pull off. My hunch is that political bloggers will turn into affiliated advocates more or less aligning with the current power (and counter-power) structures. Running a successfull blog is the ticket to enter the establishment (be it the political or media one, if one cares to differentiate between them). Felix --- http://felix.openflows.com ----------------------------- out now: *|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Polity, 2006 *|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed. Futura/Revolver, 2005 # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: [EMAIL PROTECTED] and "info nettime-l" in the msg body # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: firstname.lastname@example.org