21
Feb
09

My Thoughts on RW and Participant Culture

The Swedish Pirate Party talks at length about Participant Culture. The concept is the same as Lawrence Lessig’s R/W Culture.

Even more Lessig here.

Now, I doubt anyone would mind using Lessig’s term in Swedish, but a literal translation of RW Culture sounds pretty much as literacy culture in Swedish. And that’s completely incomprehensible. But Lessig describes it mostly as it pertains to cultural expressions.

To me Participant Culture refers not only to the act of remixing, where you build upon, and evolve work done by someone else in strict cultural expressions such as writing, sound or images. It also describes a way of life enjoyed by many netizens. Your friends and the people you know are your swarm, and their swarms connects to your swarm in ways you don’t know about, can’t see and can’t predict. All swarms are ever active, and since they are defined as a network of connections via any and all channels available today, they transcend borders, and physical location.A completely globalized state of being, if you will. The Piracy Bureau member Marcin de Kaminski calls this Cluster Organizational Dynamics(sv).

In these swarms specific individuals form stronger connections with individuals they like. Just like ordinary friends. You chat, share stories about your social life and hang out, at the keyboard or away from the keyboard. To us it’s all real life. Whether you can reach out and physically touch someone isn’t really important.

Now Participant Culture strengthens other connections as well. Most interestingly is connections based on interest and skills. When a swarm such as that evolves to a certain stage it gains a composite conscienceness. A will and direction derived from the similar interests, and a capability based on the collective skill set. This swarm can act as an individual of sorts and perform demanding and complex actions.

The Swedish Pirate Party is organized like this. And in my opinion as is The Pirate Bay and the Bureau of Piracy as well. If one of us desires a task to be completed that that particular individual isn’t capable of, all they have to do is communicate their desire to the swarm and chances are great it will find its way to an individual or group of individuals that have both the interest and skills required.

The older someone is, the less likely they are to intuitively understand this. Their world is defined by the one in charge. If they need something done, they try to think to most likely candidate to help them and then they contact that specific person. I that doesn’t pan out the move to no. 2 on their list.

The people of that world were the ones that refused to believe Linux could be made. A complete OS was so complex that it REQUIRED the control to be placed in the hands of a capable leader. By now we’ve have seen that this is not true, but the knowledge and understanding is far from common place.

And this creates culture clashes, where people belonging to either group are incapable of understanding the motivation of someone from the opposite group. I wouldn’t call that sad, but it sure does make you go wtf at times…

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3 Responses to “My Thoughts on RW and Participant Culture”


  1. 2009-02-21 at 06:25

    EXCELLENT! I was thinking about this earlier in the week. TPB is a group of people, no actual leader, just a group of people with skills and the same goal. It’s completely acceptable and with the correct mass work enormously well.

    I think you will find many clubs and groups migrating to this style of structure, because it is more convenient, more feedback and input on role and function. The issue is the individuals have to enjoy one another, large groups may have difficulty in this. Overall if broken into subsets and other goals, one can float between roles and sections bases on their friends involvement.

    Completely acceptable.

  2. 2013-05-07 at 03:53

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell
    to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and
    it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!


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