OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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by Stephen Downes
Jan 19, 2016

Platform Cooperativism: Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy
Trebor Scholz, Rosa Luxemberg Siftung, 2016/01/19


"Despite all the scrumptious, home-cooked convenience of the 'sharing economy,'" writes Trebor Scholz, "we may end up sharing the scraps, not the economy." It's time for an alternative, he writes, and this alternative is the platform cooperative - a mechanism that employs the efficiencies of the internet for the benefit of the people doing the work, not some third party who simply owns a platform. "Silicon Valley loves a good disruption, so let’s give them one." Good overview with descriptions of mechanisms and underlying principles. 32 page PDF. See also the Platform Cooperativism website.

I've run my own experiments in platform cooperativism with the foundation of the Moncton Free Press. It hasn't gone as well as I would have liked, though I think it's performing a valuable service for the community. It needs more care and attention than I've been able to give it. And it needs, most of all, a revenue stream and a way of paying contributors and staff. But I think it's there, and if the NRC gig doesn't work out, I always have this to fall back on. Platform cooperativism is also a model for learning technology that does more than exploit students and authors for private sector gain.

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The truth about “1 Like = 1 Prayer” posts on Facebook
Craig Charles, Techexplained, 2016/01/19


A question I've received a lot recently revolves around why I want a distributed network rather than a centralized system like Facebook or Twitter. To me, the answer is very clear: systems that depend on mass, like Facebook (or Twitter, or Google search, or presidential elections) are systems where group affinity is manipulated for private wealth and gain. A classic example of this is the prototypical Facebook 'like and share' campaign. The people who distribute these care nothing about whether you want to save the whales, campaign against corruption, or promote gun rights. What they care about is accumulating a huge number of ;likes and shares' around a page, which they can then monetize. The next time you click 'like' on a Facebook meme, think about that.

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Why People Get More Stupid in a Crowd
Michael Bond, BBC | Future, 2016/01/19


Close to ten years ago I was in the middle of clarifying my thinking on what I called at the time 'groups and networks' in papers like That Group Feeling and talks like Groups vs Networks: the Class Struggle Continues. The post looks at a study examining part of my message in those talks: "Group conformity stands in marked contrast to the 'wisdom of crowds effect, whereby aggregating the opinions of large numbers of people gives answers or predictions more accurate than those of any individual. This happens only when members of a crowd make their judgements independently of each other, and it is most effective when a crowd is diverse" (of course it's not just my message; a lot of people think this). So, interesting. More about Daniel Richardson’s research.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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