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. m(-_-)m usman (* thingful is one of the consortium partners, so my involvement is in working with my team)
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