House of Cards  19.3.11

I couldn’t possibly comment:

We’re delighted to tell you that in late 2012 Netflix will be bringing to our members in the U.S. and Canada exclusively “House of Cards,” the much-anticipated television series and political thriller from Executive Producer David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. We’ve committed to at least 26 episodes of the serialized drama, which is based on a BBC mini-series from the 1990s that’s been a favorite of Netflix members. (Netflix)

Or, maybe: If you’ve ever wanted the essence of politics, the schemes, the manipulation, the games, the viciousness, condensed into a timeless, enthralling play, enjoy Ian Richardson performance as Francis Urquhart, a modern mix of the Shakespearean figures of Richard III. and Macbeth, who succeeded Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minster. (IMDB)
Some of the political wisdoms the series conveys:

  • Power and its volatileness: “fear that this might be the day we wake to find the magic gone” (youtube)
  • Political loyalty: “a helping hand in these rather trying days” (youtube)
  • Leaking: “beware of an old man in a hurry” (youtube)
  • Social responsibility: “let’s give our young people a chance to learn self discipline, again” (youtube)
  • Power, terrorism and leadership: “Deeper than honour, deeper than pride, deeper than lust, deeper than love is the getting of if all. The seizing and the holding on.Tthe jaw is locked, biting into power and hanging on. Biting and hanging on.” (youtube)
  • Trust and power: ” But they all, all of them, betray us eventually. They love us, but not quite enough. They trust us, but not quite enough. And we trust them to be entirely human, meaning less than trustworthy. Which means we cannot entirely sleep. As the cat’s eyelids flicker, some part of us must stay awake, always, ready, as the coiled spring is ready.” (no link here, alas)
  • Role of a parliamentary majority leader: putting a bit of stick about

“adhocracy” – yet another governance-kid on the block  25.10.10

Piotr Konieczny proposes in the recent issue of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics that Wikipedia is an “adhocracy”. Adhocracies, as suggested by Mintzberg and McHugh in the mid-eighties, have the following five features:

1. They operate in a complex and dynamic environment and are highly innovative. 2. Innovations require highly trained and motivated experts. 3. The experts may be formally allocated to different divisions but usually work in informal, multidisciplinary teams. 4. Coordination and communication rely on semiformal structures, while more formalized structures and managerial practices are rare. 5. Parts of the organization are highly decentralized.

Konieczny sees “fundamental similarities” between “adhocracy” to the “open-source development models”. He uses Bauwens’ concept of commons-based peer production as an example of those “open-source development models”. All the characteristics of Bauwens’ cbpp would also define to “adhocracy”. All, but one: “financial gain as a motivator”.

The problem here is that Bauwens uses a normatively stricter, more egalitarian, less capitalistic version of Benkler’s commons-based peer production. Benkler uses Wikipedia as an example for commons-based peer production, Konieczny for adhocracy. I don’t quite get it. A rather mediocre article, even more so as the review of the Wikipedia research literature appears to be incomplete.

Konieczny, Piotr (2010) ‘Adhocratic Governance in the Internet Age: A Case of Wikipedia’, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 7: 4, 263 — 283 (DOI: 10.1080/19331681.2010.489408)

Wikipedia fosters “a new form of gatekeeping” and is an “adhocracy”  25.10.10

No surprise here, nevertheless it’s worth reading:

This article introduces criticism elimination, a type of information removal leading to a framing effect that impairs Wikipedia’s delivery of a neutral point of view (NPOV) and ultimately facilitates a new form of gatekeeping with political science and information technology implications. This article demonstrates a systematic use of criticism elimination and categorizes the editors respon- sible into four types. We show that some types use criticism elimination to dominate and manipulate articles to advocate political and ideological agendas.…

The examination of 627 edits spread over 16 Wikipedia articles demonstrates systematic removal of criticism published by reliable sources, despite policy. This leads to framing that runs counter to the NPOV policy…

We have shown that criticism elimination can have a gatekeeping effect that allows parts of Wikipedia to be dominated by those with an agenda. …

For now, criticism elimination means at least some parts of Wikipedia are susceptible to unexpected, systematic framing, and gate- keepers do indeed exist.

Oboler, Andre, Steinberg, Gerald and Stern, Rephael(2010) ‘The Framing of Political NGOs in Wikipedia through Criticism Elimination’, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 7: 4, 284 — 299 (DOI: 10.1080/19331680903577822)