i've been a nettime lurker for a couple of decades, and it's decode that
finally brings me to the table... i am somewhat involved in the project (*)
and i feel the need to defend the idea that you *can* do something without
waiting till you're able to change the *entire* world. decode has dozens,
hundreds, thousands of issues that each of us, the contributors, could use
to critique it and tear it down – believe me, we have considered many of
the things already brought up on the list. we each have our ideological
differences. but the one thing that unites everyone who is part of decode
is that we just do not believe the status quo (re. data, technology,
governance, etc. etc. etc.) is acceptable. it's this belief that brought us
all together. i don't think any of us believe that a technological hotfix
is all that's needed to upend the status quo, so having some impact at the
city level was crucial.

it seems to me, if you want to move the needle at all, if you want to try
to affect some change at all to the trajectory we're on, if you want to be
able to point at something and say we can conceive of a different future,
we can build a different future, and here are some of the fragments that
might go towards bringing that future about, then you learn to collaborate
without full consensus, and you learn to just get on and build the damn
thing and work it out despite all your differences – this is essential,
because any real world system has to accommodate, and be generated through,
differences of ideological stance. (matthew fuller and i wrote something
about this in urban versioning system several years ago). i know that every
single thing i've ever put into this world has massive socio-political, and
inconsistent, holes in it; when i look closely, so does everything i find
joy in in this world.

the debate about whether you work from without (with immaculate ideological
foundations) or from within (with the messy reality of everyday life) is
not very interesting – if you care just choose one and get on with it. with
decode, we opted for the latter, it's as simple as that. and i'm pretty
happy with where we've got to.

i would reaffirm what jaromil said: if you want to provide a deeper
critique, please have a look at the actual decode documentation, rather
than francesca's guardian article -- it's not a question of techno elitism,
i'm pretty happy with how she wrote about decode, it is the simple reality
that when you publish something in mass-media you necessarily make short
cuts, strip away context, phrase things differently, etc. etc. etc. we
would all appreciate informed critique even more if you have suggestions
for what to do next.



(* thingful is one of the consortium partners, so my involvement is in
working with my team)
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