Sunday, June 19, 2011

About public discussions (aka comments on the internets)

I was recently writing a review about an event, and mentioned that I did not like the final ceremony. Not a big deal, just my opinion. A few days later I received an email from the events organizer, a foreigner. This person was complaining that I was complaining in public, aka on the internets. I was told that they spend a lot of efforts and worked for free. So what?

I am doing Barcamps since 4 years for free, and if you tell me the shirts were shit (what happend in Vietnam), then you are right and I appreciate your help. If you can tell me how to improve the wifi-connecton, I propably ask you to take care of it during the next event.

I think there is a divide since the internet allows everyone to publish. The old thinking, coming from the traditional media, but not limited to it, is about control. We have to control what is published, and everyone is a secret in the first place, and we have to decide what piece of our knowledge is intedend to be received by the public. Diskussion have to be internal, and later will be a statement issued.

The new modern way the internet offered us is different. We know can have a public discussion, we invite others to participate, we ask for beiing juged and critized. This discussion is part of the process, even part of the development of a product or events. Call it agile development, since there are cycles of discussion until we find a solution that works. For the barcamps, open source software, but also topics like photography it works really good. The more people are participating the more the quality can improve.

I remember the days in the Germany based Fotocommunity, when you uploaded a picture and others told you not only if they like it or not, but also how to improve. I learned a lot from that.

If you keep discussions private (in particular for events where you need any help you get), then do not wonder about the outcome. And if you can not except and respect that someone just don't like the event, then you may rethink your understanding of opinion and why control is more important than the outcome and improvement.

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