Week 13: n.e.w.s. paid usership

(Audio set up chatter and group chatter 0:00:00 - 0:10:10.3)

[Scott]: Hey everybody!  We've got a small but awesome crew here tonight who ventured out in the rain, the surprisingly chilly rain, just to be here.  So thanks everybody for coming.  Yeah, while we were trying to get the audio setup people were asking about what tonight's topic was and I was really trying to restrain myself from explaining (laughing).  Just because we're going to be talking with you guys.  But let me just super briefly introduce Steven Wright, who many of you have talked with during these weekly chats before and Renee Ridgway, who many of you may have talked with during these weekly chats before.  They're both here to talk about the North East West South Project Initiative called paid usership.  At least I think it's called paid usership.  And

[Steven]: It is.  And Scott, our colleague Prayas Abhinav will also be taking part and he should be online right now and he's going to be hooking up in the next few seconds.

[Scott]: Oh great!  Yeah, I was wondering if Prayas was going to be able to join, I'm glad that he can.  That is fantastic.

[Renee]: Yeah, his space heater seems to be a typical (expletive 0:11:28.6).  Hang on; I'm going to try talking again.

[Steven]: He's online Renee.  He's online.

[Renee]: I don't see him.

[Scott]: Yeah, just if you can add him to this chat?  Whenever.  To the text chat.  And we'll go ahead and add him to the conference call.

[Renee]: Okay.  Because I don't see him.

[Scott]: Yeah, me either.  He might be hiding from us.

[Male Group Member]: Or just direct him to the BaseKamp site and have him clock on the...

[Scott]: Here.  I'm going to add him to this chat even though I don't see his status as on. There he is.  Ah ha.

[Renee]: There he is.

[Scott]: Rock on.  We'll just add him to the chat now and then maybe once he gets on we can start to describe what you guys mean by paid usership and some of where this came from.

[Steven]: Prayas is actually joining us from Northeast India.  From Sam, so it's really not easy to get in touch with him as it is extremely late at night there.

[Scott]: Prayas, are you there?

[Prayas]: Yeah, hi everyone!  Yeah, I just got online.

[Scott]: Fantastic.

[Steven]: Hey Prayas.

[Renee]: Great.

[Scott]: Thanks for joining us so late and taking the time out of your night to come and talk again with us.

[Prayas]: Sure (inaudible 0:13:12.9).

[Scott]: So yeah....

[Steven]: Are we going to start Prayas?  Or should I start?

[Scott]: Yeah, let's just jump right into it.  In general I think everyone here is really curious about what this whole initiative is all about.

[Renee]: Steven, would you like to start?

[Steven]: Well, I think…  What is it all about? It's about the fact (inaudible 0:13:37.6).  A minute ago a quote from (inaudible 0:13:42.5) where he says that working together supposes that we are able to trust the sharing of what we bring into the equation.  Each person that brings some capacity of what if there's then they contribute something but they have to have the trust and how that capacity is going to be shared and used by other people.  That's kind of the basis for a society and the basis for a community.  It's the basis for doing anything collaborative.  Strangely enough, it is not the basis for how our society, generally speaking, and for how our capitalist economy functions.  When we look at what happens on the Internet it's an example of what happens in the neighborhood and it's what happens in the workplace.  People contribute something but they are not paid for what they contribute.  They are paid but not for what they contribute.  So they are contributing more than what they are getting back.  For example, today in a kind of (inaudible 0:15:02.7) configuration, if we (inaudible 0:15:03.8) idea is that knowledge and information plus value is produced through things like what we are doing right now.  Like talking, like sharing ideas not sort of like just gabbing.  Through that kind gabbing we can say " they did you read this?" (Inaudible 0:15:36.2).  It doesn't appear like much is happening and yet what is happening is a kind of networked collaborative production of information and of value.  The people who are producing that may not be getting a lot out of it because they are in a kind of exchange that what eventually happens is that there is somebody there to privatizes it and makes a whole (expletive 0:16:02.0) load of money off of it.  And so the little crumbs that are spread out to the people that had actually been involved is nothing compared to the amount of value generated overall.  And that is kind of what we called Web 2.0, not so much in the technical sense but in an economical sense of the term.  News kind of comes along at a point where Web 2.0 would be a little bit highfalutin and fancy in a popular consciousness but in a business and scientific consciousness it's already on the cusp of shifting to Web 3.0.  Web 3.0, we always say at n.e.w.s, is not a technical or it's not even a business model yet, it's a debate for...Yeah, semantic web, right.  It is sometimes called the semantic web.  Basically what it really is, it's a debate for control of public time and public space.  This is where it all comes to be linked to the notion of Plausible Artworlds.  Because, you know, the Artworld is a place like what I have just been describing and really takes place on a massive scale.  Artists who are not highly (inaudible 0:17:27.8) and reputational, who are not extremely massive and visible to the intention of the economy are actually doing as much to produce the overall value of art as the ones who get highlighted because of their single signature. And being kind of (inaudible 0:17:48.4).  We in plausible Artworlds would have to renegotiate the way value is distributed altogether.  And so we thought one thing that should be done... Is how we value actually produced in these kind of situations?  It's produced through the broad category of usership.  I mean not every user is, of course, producing the same value.  But if there were no users there would be no value.  So in that sense it is through usership and through contributing and for debating and so one that all this value takes place.  And so we felt that one way to go about it, in this way drawing on a (inaudible 0:18:41.5) made by (inaudible 0:18:42.2) back in the late 1970s - 1980s, where he said that people should actually get paid for watching television.  I mean, he said of weird things and interesting things about television as opposed to cinema.  He said that people should be paid to watch television.  In other words, not even (inaudible 0:19:02.4) there should be paid TV.


 It sounds so completely (inaudible 0:19:10.4).  But in fact, and maybe it was (inaudible 0:19:17.1) at the time.  But in fact, 30 years on, it actually seems to make sense from a purely economical logical point of view.  Because it is the people that are using, for example, the Internet.  People that are posting content, even the most trivial kind of content or event who are just engaging with content which has been posted are actually producing that value.  And that value, once again as I said, ends up being privatized and harnessed by an individual or a consortium and not collectively of redistributed among the community that produced it.  And so at n.e.w.s,  Renee is better at talking about the origins at n.e.w.s than me, right since it's very beginning n.e.w.s, although it's a precariously funded kind of operation,  it doesn't have a huge corporation or governmental or academy standing behind it.  They have maintained the principle of payment, or I would say partial payment, for the posting of content online.  So in other words, we actually pay people to use are collective blog.  And perhaps we don't pay them enough.  Or perhaps the whole notion of paying them at all is stupid.  We don't know.  But that has been our principal and it is a challenge and now it is an object of an online forum.  But for reasons that I really just try to quickly outline there, we feel that it's something that is not purely idiosyncratic and at the same time it's not something that's really possible for us to do buy any order for the content of what we are proposing to be reflected in the form of how we are doing it we have maintained this notion of reiterated usership.  Because it's the only way we feel, or I feel, that people who are contributing their competence, their skill or their capacities is for them to have trust that those things will be used in a way which is consistent with what they intended rather than simply be ripped off and used by somebody else.  We hope that this points the way forward to a new economic model for a more plausible Artworld. Renee?

[Renee]: Um, yeah.  Hello.

[Scott]: Hey Renee.

[Renee]: Hi. It's hard to follow that up Steven. I think you summed it up quite well.  I guess that what I can contribute is to go back to this kind of situation in which Steven just accurately described the predicaments in which n.e.w.s at the moment exists.  I think it's time now to see whether instead of trying to run on the model that we've been running on, and I'm going to be a bit practical about it, of doing the grant applications and winning prizes that has financed n.e.w.s. over the course of 1 1/2 years.  We try to come up with something now where we not only kind of find a way to, maybe in the long term, find sustainability but in the very instance in the course of the last weeks have tried to come up with the ways in which we discuss different models.  And those models that we were looking at, I think a lot of them were awesome.  But this is something that we're trying to deal with in the sense of dealing with the online.

 What I wanted to say about the origins of n.e.w.s. was the idea was to create a niche that there were...  I mean, I'm sure there are other platforms that have some type of exchange systems for people in certain ways that are reiterated and I'd like to hear about them if anyone does know.  But the niche that we were trying to develop was that in like Anderson's book "The Long Tail".  We were trying to focus on at n.e.w.s. that we did it get some type of reiteration through actual (inaudible 0:24:19.2).  So the very first time that n.e.w.s, when we originated, everybody was paid to contribute.  We have ever since then, quite unsuccessfully I might add, not been able to pay people for contributions.  And sometimes that's kind of mapped out through the different people.  Certain people contribute more and other people contribute less.  But it's much like Steven said with a certain type of trust that the contributions will be taken up by someone else and that we fill each other on as much as possible.  That's what I wanted to say in reaction to what you just said at this moment.

 Yeah, I'm reading the questions as they are coming up.  Prayas that you want to say something?

[Prayas]: Yes, I want to (inaudible 0:25:18.3 - 0:25:47.7)

[Renee]: Sorry, I lost some of that is well.  Could you repeat that?

[Prayas]: Yeah. (Inaudible 0:25:58.9) the different kinds of users (inaudible 0:26:05.0).

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Prayas]: (inaudible 0:26:06.2 - 0:26:23.6)

[Renee]: But, yeah, I guess...

[Scott]: Were actually having a lot of trouble.  At least I am having a lot of trouble really following because of the connection.  If you got that better on your end, Renee, could you paraphrase that?

[Renee]: What Prayas basically brought up, and I will try to reiterate this, if that's in the structure of n.e.w.s.  There are people mentioned as contributors and the (inaudible 0:26:53.2) with n.e.w.s. was that contributors be paid for content.  But I think that Prayas is making the distinction  between people who are, for the sake of argument let's call them regular contributors, in comparison to those who contribute with comments.  They could be anonymous or people who just had a text in reaction to an online forum.  And at this moment there has been no negotiation with those two such things.  With that clear?

[Scott]: Yeah.

[Steven]: Not exactly.


[Scott]: It came through clearly at least.

[Steven]: Yeah, the words were clear but I didn't quite get that concept.  Can you repeat that Renee?

[Renee]: Okay.  So as far as I understood, Prayas was making the distinction between those who are…  Let's say we are all contributing to n.e.w.s.  So people who are anywhere or anyone that wants to join and can, they just have to sign.  But the original idea was that the contributors were originally started news were paid for the content of n.e.w.s. contributions.  Price was making that point, as far as I understood.  Which is not to say that that wouldn't change or would not change in a different situation.

[Steven]: Which means that, in other words, somebody who just adds a post or a response to something which has been posted does not necessarily reiterate or is not an automatic payment which is triggered by posting.

[Renee]: Exactly.  Or that when you click on an ad, like Google ad words, you somehow create a system where money then goes somewhere to different people (inaudible 0:29:08.8) no.  That does not happen.

[Steven]: One thing that would justify that is that, and this is a discussion that has taken place already on Plausible Artworlds, is that there is a difference between value and, let's say, symbolic capital.

[Scott]: What?

[Steven]: We believe that capital is a form of value, of course, but it's only one form of value and we don't wish to see value reduced to capital.  We believe that's…  Well, value is a tricky thing but capital, for example, symbolic capital, social capital, cultural capital, all these forms of capital are always produced by labor power.  And that is something which is difficult to see.  It's somehow systemically concealed.  It's hard to see an object, the value of that object, being produced by anything other than desire and by subjectivity.  It's hard to see that there is actually dead labor embedded within that object.  It's true that there is another kind of value which is gained and calculated which cannot be reduced to the general equivalent which is gained by, I don't know, going to concerts or going to debates, conferences, discussions, posting comments on web sites like n.e.w.s. or Plausible Artworlds.  And that it is another thing actually to engage in that labor which goes into producing and structuring the base which exists...  I think that in the long term this is one of the things that the form hopes to raise.  Whether people should actually, I mean, we're not actually supposing that our hypothesis is correct.  It's a hypothesis that we want to verify and confirm and contest and so on.  Whether it's actually makes any sense to pay people to use or whether…  I mean, if the 20th century model actually wrong?  And do we need to create a new one?  That's what we are wondering.  But we are wondering and not sort of (inaudible 0:31:47.4) and then asking that people agree (inaudible 0:31:51.1).

[Scott]: That doesn't make any sense.  Earlier you said that it made kind of perfect economical sense, or at least under a certain type of logic.

[Scott]: Yeah.

[Steven]: Not exactly.


[Steven]: Well, I try to make that case Scott but...

[Scott]: Yeah (laughing).

[Steven]: I can see that, because of course...

[Scott]: But by "doesn't make any sense" do you mean that you are actually a proponent of me and or is it something that's sustainable or is it something that is ethical or that it's…

[Steven]: I believe that is both ethical…  In fact I believe that it is kind of an onion layer form.  I think that it is an extremely counter intuitive proposal but I don't think that it is a revolutionary one.  I suspect that capitalism is going to accommodate itself to it.  I think that it is not so much a challenge to capital accumulation as it is an entirely new way of going about it.  I'm not saying that it is not without a certain perversity from an anti capitalist perspective because it's true.  I also believe, in my own perspective, I think that we need to oppose capitalism.  And I don't think that this, this is opposing a certain type of capital accumulation but it is not opposing capital accumulation per say.  You know?  But I want to make that distinction really clear to that I do lots of things without being paid and not even wanting to be paid.  Even though some of those things are more difficult than the stuff I actually get paid for without even having to ask for it.  You know?  Like, I teach at an art school and that doesn't take too much effort on my part and they actually pay me to do it.  That's part of the joke.


 The other stuff, which takes a whole lot more effort, I don't get paid for.  But that's okay because I feel that value is being engendered in a way and I am not being dispossessed of it.  Like when we collaborate in something.  You know how in these collaborative situations you collaborate and then the other person turns around and sells your ideas down the river.  Well, then you feel really (expletive 0:33:59.3) and you don't want to do that anymore.  But when you actually feel that you are a part of something that is very giving and taking you were kind of a part of a gift (inaudible 0:34:08.8).  Then there's value in which you were partaking of is actually equivalent or greater to what you were putting into it.  But this is not capital.  This is not symbolic capital.  It's a different kind of non quantifiable (inaudible0:34:26.1)...

[Renee]: Yeah, it's...

[Steven]: Sorry, I'm just finishing this line.  When we're talking about posting online context, which actually is (inaudible0:34:38.2) produced in value.  For example, the people who fund n.e.w.s.  If we do a really good job with what they are funding then of course they're getting their money's worth so to speak.  So then that's really not fair to the people who were helping them.  Those idiots that they don't even know and are even sure who it is getting their money's worth.  It's not fair that some of that money doesn't trickle up or down to them.

[Female group member]: But who are you talking about actually getting paid?  Because to me, the most direct route for paying someone to produce content is to pay for the content.  There are all types of... Newspapers now have to try to find new models for their subscriber base and things like paying for articles, paying for monthly subscriptions and things like that.  I mean, if you are getting grant money for people to write something that's one thing.  But to make it sustainable…  I guess how are they getting paid?  And do you see someone needing to pay for content in order to give the contributors money?

[Renee]: Should I answer that?

[Steven]: Yeah, you can or I can.  Go ahead and Renee.

[Renee]: Well I was just going to say that newspapers now are setting up models where you can only read certain things or certain pages and those are for the privileged users.  To answer your direct question about far, it has been financed by grants that not to say that everything that is at n.e.w.s. has been financed.  The other thing is that there is a prize involved, which is actually not just a prize it is a conditional prize, in which one actually has to produce something to get the second half of the money in that sense.  So right now content and news is a mix.

 I wanted to say something in response to Steven and what he is describing in his own personal mind as a (inaudible 0:37:04.0) model where certain things for which I think many of us share and do, either to teach or at our jobs or whenever we do to pay the bills so to speak, and end that is able to sustain our lives so that we can do other things in which we don't get paid for.  This is also something that has basically become kind of the status quo or acceptable and that you're expected to do a lot of things for free.  And this is actually a lot of the premise of not having any regrets and Chris Anderson's other book called "Free".  And this is a larger discussion about what is happening and Web 2.0 and what could possibly be the future.  Steven you want to add something to that?

[Steven]: Well, that's kind of what I was going to say.  I mean I've been kind of actively involved in n.e.w.s. since its beginning.  There is a whole bunch of is that were involved.  Basically n.e.w.s. is an initiative of Renee Ridgway and the deal was we would all post at least a certain amount of content and we would be paid for that initial posting with the grant money that had been already received on the condition that then we would go forward and continue.  It was a modest but a decent some.  I mean, it wasn't like a lot of money.  But it was what you would get paid to write an article in general in a current publication.  But with the understanding that we would go on and continue to discuss.  And it seemed like a pretty generous kind of an arrangement.  And then, you know, some people dropped out in some other people kind of hooked in and that's the way things are.  It has continued with that model.  What has changed along the way is the need to find the means to continue and to sustain this kind of economic model.  Because it is (inaudible 0:39:26.9) we can't simply turn to funding bodies and say that we are paying people to post content and " haven't you heard about review rated usership?" Because of course, they haven't.  Because we are the ones who were talking about it.  In order to be able to talk you can't ask people to contribute to a forum on page usership without paying them because that would really be (inaudible 0:39:50.3) your own hypothesis seriously.  So it is (inaudible 0:39:55.1) to look at various other economic mechanisms.  But what we hope to (inaudible 0:40:00.9) people will contribute to the forum will make arguments for and against and also attempt to quantify.  Not simply "yes I should be paid" or " no way should not be, this is crazy.  Let's keep money out of the Internet and let's try to make Web 3.0 a non capitalized form of value production".  That kind of argument would be very resonant with many people.  We always say we want to be paid.  Okay, how much do we want to be paid?  Of course we all want to be paid $1,000,000 but exactly how much do you think your ideas and your contributions or you're not in contributions are actually worth?  

 Prayas he was a great example in a discussion recently where he described how it was that Google calculated how much YouTube was actually worth.  The basis of the calculation, which was very complex of course, was how many people had ever used YouTube.

[Scott]: Right.  How many hours of content.

[Steven]: The overall number of users.  And the funny thing is if that ended up being a (expletive 0:41:23.9) of a lot of money.  But all those people who produced all that value, let's just hope they got some use value out of it because they shouldn't get any of the money that was distributed basically among three people.

[Scott]: Well I have a question guys about money.  The idea is to pay people but like you said, Renee, that this is an unfunded venture largely.  But what that really means, as you both said kind of tying until last week's chat, that it is funded but it's just funded out of your pockets.  You get grants as an artist or a writer or whatever and you work out a job and you pony up and some people pay more than others.  But basically in order for this model to work somebody has to pay.  So it's not just getting paid but somebody else has to pay.  And so I wonder that if you think about the sustainability of this model it sort of seems like to half the people pay and the other half get paid?  Or does everybody pay the same amount that they get?  Where does it come from?  You've been talking about where it goes.  How has that discussion played out so far?

[Renee]: (Laughing) Prayas are you awake?


[Scott]: Yeah what is it like for the morning for you?

[Prayas]: Yeah.

[Renee]: Guys do you want to…  Sorry.  Did I interrupt you Steven?

[Steven]: No, let Prayas say that.  I mean, I would have lots of things to say about that but go ahead Prayas.

[Renee]: Prayas?

[Prayas]: In keeping in tradition with the most users (inaudible 0:43:16.0 - 0:43:28.4) can contribute more and some users (inaudible 0:43:35.3 - 0:44:07.7).

[Renee]: Yeah.  Did you guys get that?

[Scott]: Mostly.

[Renee]: He just said that tangible and intangible and that some people contribute more and some contribute less...

[Scott]: And that it can never be equal. Yeah.

[Renee]: Yeah but just that it can never be equal.

[Scott]: Right.  But even know it can never be equal…

[Steven]: (inaudible 0:44:28.2) to start with.

[Renee]: Exactly.

[Steven]: You know we're not talking about…  Prayas you only just talked for about 45 seconds and I talked for 6 minutes so… (Inaudible 0:44:41.4)


 But, you know, that is a double edged sword because blabbermouths are worth more but they're worth a lot less under certain circumstances.  The important thing is that, and we're not talking about n.e.w.s. here we're talking about collaborative initiatives in general were value is being produced collectively and that's basically everything (inaudible 0:45:03.6).  Because the people don't feel they are being systematically ripped off because if they feel that…

[Scott]: Well it wouldn't work, it would collapse.

[Steven]: Well that kind of value production will cease to function.  Quite simply.

[Scott]: Right.  You are not saying that the people are not systematically ripped off, just that they don't feel that way.  Or we don't feel that way.

[Steven]: Well, I think when you were talking…  That's a good question Scott.  When you were talking about capital then you can quantify and objectionally describe where value is being produced and it doesn't matter what people subjectively feel.  But in another way, of course, one being subjected as it's hard to tell people that what they desire is not worth anything.  And what they are getting out of something is less than what they are putting in.  And that's the kind of thing that n.e.w.s. is...  To be more specific about the question that was raised, you know initially n.e.w.s. was funded and continues to be funded through a Dutch foundation.  To be honest, what partially led to this forum was the fact that n.e.w.s. is writing a book because we joined an essay writing competition which had a significant prize, cash prize, attached to it.  That cash prize allowed us to sustain ourselves and had a certain capital injection into the project.

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Steven]: In fact, that essay writing prize itself is not just kind of a straight flat out thing.  Someone raised the question "is this an economic or an artistic project?" Well, essay writing competition was also both.  It was initiated by us, by someone who feels that essay writing is a form of artistic production and it is more interesting than object production and so on.  I mean, we are not alone in all of this.  There is kind of recognition that wealth can be redistributed for different types of value production.  We are at the self reflective end of the production chain.  So it is an artistic and an economic project but at the same time it is (inaudible 0:47:41.3) which is attempting to self reflexively look at what this is all about.

[Renee]: I wanted to say that's...

[Scott]: There are a few questions by the way. Oh, I'm sorry.  Go ahead Renee.

[Renee]: No, go ahead.  I just wanted to say that the funding agency that used to fund us does not fund is any more.


(Scott]: That is a shame.

[Renee]: Hence the paid usership forum as a desperate plea for other opinions on how to setup models and to test out models and to think through this together.

[Scott]: Yeah.  There were a few questions on the text chat.  People here might have some too.

[Scott]: Where do we start?

[Steven]: Here's a good question.  Is it utopian to pay for user made content?  I mean, you can pay a photograph or a text or whatever which is kind of normal for us (inaudible 0:48:50.8) when you get to the scale of the Internet it's very difficult to say who produced what.

[Scott]: And there's a kind of (inaudible 0:49:01.1) process, there's an editorial process and um…

[Steven]: Yeah

[Scott]: Different from something like YouTube for example.

(Inaudible chatter)

[Renee]: What is the question?

[Scott]: We will repeat it again.

[Steven]: What I would say is a whole (expletive 0:49:28.9) of a lot more value is being produced on the Internet because there's a whole (expletive 0:49:33.8) more people that are involved in it.  Which means that there is a whole (expletive0:49:37.1) of a lot more for me to figure out how to redistribute that wealth because otherwise what happens is that it is privatized and that community produced value ends up in the hands of very few who didn't produce it at all.

[Renee]: Yeah.  Maybe it is just to say that there is no (inaudible 0:50:00.0) going on (inaudible 0:50:01.8).  No, the only thing I edit out is spam.

[Scott]: So anybody here can post anything they want and you guys get paid?

[Renee]: HA!

[Scott]: Oh!


[Steven]: No.  That's what Prayas is saying.  To get paid you have to be a user rather than just a contributor.  To say just a contributor is to, of course, reveal something of a paradox of a contradiction in about how we approach this.  But that's what I was saying earlier.  Maybe every time you add a word that should trigger a payment to your account.  We don't have a mechanism for that.  But that is an argument that could be made.  But as it stands now is it that only beyond a certain degree of participation and contribution like we'll say "hey that person has really made a vague effort".  We would say easily if someone was really involved in a discussion.  It's not like we're still overrun with people adding content so we can be really selective about all this.  But yeah, of course, anybody who was participating actively like Prayas or Renee or me would be certainly paid.  Is that right Renee?

[Renee]: Yeah.  Well right now there's nobody to pay anymore.

[Steven]: (Laughing) yeah.  What they're worth any ways.


[Renee]: The thing about it actually is that someone who would probably contribute to the forum and was gonna talk about different types of (inaudible0:51:59.8) labor, so to speak.  Labor in society and just focusing on, let's say, domestic house work primarily done by women of the last centuries and raising children and such.  So I said to her" well if you contribute this text then next time I'm in London I will come and clean your house...

(Laughter) an exchange".  Because these are the types of things that are also starting to happen and I realize how much we can also ask of each other between ourselves but also when people want to contribute and not necessarily those they are making demands.   But this is the kind of thing we're interested in and also what type of negotiations (inaudible 0:52:45.9).  And how does that manifest itself either offline or online, so to speak?

[Scott]: Do you have a question?

[Female group member]: I guess I just sort of feel like it's not about, I'm sorry if I'm not very articulate right now.  It's not about giving people money, it's about changing people's minds about what they want to pay for.  So like if people value this content they should pay for it if they are able.  And if that happened...  It's the whole type of thing about contributing to organizations that give relief, the word is escaping me.  It's more about changing the way people spend money than it is about saying what it is they should spend money on.  If people paid money for what they value then everything would be different.  I don't know.  That's what this makes me think of.

[Steven]: Well, we are not so much talking about people paying money for what they value as being paid for what produces value.

[Scott]: Well but you guys are people too.  You guys are paying money for what you value.  It's not like, that's what I was asking you earlier.  It's not like this is…  It's a conceptual project but it's not as if it is coming out of thin air.  You know, there are people being paid and there are also people paying so that has to factor in there somewhere.  You're not asking people to pay that is part of the model.  It's just not one that you are foregrounding.

[Renee]: And not paying would be with time primarily.

[Scott]: Well, if people are getting paid money than it has to come from somewhere.  I mean, I'm not trying to harp on the money thing I'm just saying that, you know.


 This little equation, I'm missing a little piece of it somewhere and it's where the money is coming from.  I mean, you have mentioned it but it doesn't seem to factor into the conceptualization of this so much.  (Laughing) blood money.


[Renee]: Well yeah, it's like saying basically the way I gamble, you know?  It's like the investments that I make or the project proposals that I write and I fortunately have other kind of income that is created by another profession that enables me to do n.e.w.s.  So I run off a (inaudible 0:55:39.5) economy in another (inaudible 0:55:42.5) which then because it is an (inaudible 0:55:45.5) take away from my time that I would actually be able to put into n.e.w.s.  Is that what you were kind of asking?

[Scott]: Um, yeah.  Well, sort of.  Yes? Yeah, I guess I was being a little bit more… Yeah, definitely.  Some money is coming from project grants, some money is coming from, you know, like...

[Renee]: (inaudible 0:56:12.2)

[Scott]: Yeah, but you are proposing a more…  You guys are proposing a reproducible model.  You're not just saying "hey are we awesome because we got this project and were distributing the money" you are saying " they wouldn't it be cool if." And so in the "if equation" that doesn't really factor in the fact that you guys got the grant.  I mean, it could.  That could be one way of doing it.  You know, artists spend a certain amount of time.  Or anybody that could be argued as grant worthy spends a certain amount of time pooling some of their writing times and writing grants and spending a certain amount of that on other people who may be are less conceptually part of the project but they feel should be paid.  You know...

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Scott]: And so it's like "hmmm."

[Renee]: All I wanted to say is that maybe the term that I'm trying to articulate here in a way that I am just not going to, in a complicated way but just keep it simple.  Like this network surplus value aspect to the collective of how we all pull together and redistribute the wealth, except that there really isn't any wealth, in a sense that the money that we got for the prize we were able to then conduct our own kind of open call which then was able to allocate a prize.  So the money was then taken up in distributed elsewhere.  These types of things are what we're trying to kind of experiment with n.e.w.s. and to further the thinking.  To further the discourse.  I'm not sure that it's working but...

[Scott]: I hope the publication gets written, you know?  Because otherwise you have to pay back the money right?

[Renee]: Sorry?

[Scott]: I said I hope the publication gets written because otherwise you have to give the money back right?

[Renee]: Oh thanks Scott.


[Scott]: You have to shake everybody down that you gave money to.  Say "hey remember when we gave you a check?"

[Renee]: What?

[Scott]: You'll have to shake everyone down that you were given money to and be like "um."


[Renee]: Now I'm not going to sleep tonight.


[Scott]: No, it will all work out.

[Renee]: Prayas are you there?

[Scott]: Are you hearing this Prayas?

[Renee]: Prayas?

[Scott]: Write your section!  No, I'm just kidding.

[Prayas]: Yeah...

[Renee]: Prayas do want to comment on that?

[Prayas]: Um, no.  I think you have (inaudible 0:58:41.7).

[Renee]: Okay.

[Steven]: I wanted to answer Megan's question.  You asked whether we can say what is the wealth that we think might be distributable and in what way.  Of course we have been talking largely about how we try to redistribute the wealth on our own small scale at n.e.w.s.  But in fact, this is much more than about n.e.w.s.  We only do it that way at news because it would be inconsistent with our own principles not to do it that way.  But what we really think is that there is a whole [expletive 0:59:21.8) of a lot of value that is being produced in places other than n.e.w.s.  We don't think we are producing about much value.  We really just think that we're having a discussion about producing value and we hope to do it in a way that is consistent with what we are for proposing.  We really think that in most every place there are people contributing for whatever reason and these kind of debates, in chats, in (inaudible 0:59:53.7) and just sort of gabs.  Value was actually almost inadvertently and undenounced to the participants or the shareholders being produced.  We think that really that doesn't make any sense that those people are not somehow being reiterated because actually wage labor disappears from our society.  You know, time needs freed up for this value.  It's being produced so why are the producers not being paid?  It doesn't make sense.

[Renee]: Can I just interject one thing?  I mean, this goes back to the book that we're writing.  It's really what is expected of one, and I'm speaking from just my personal experience.  You don't have to be paid you are instead getting attention.  And attention be that visibility be that you continue a career etc. etc.  This is what it basically is the tradeoff and most people think that this is also the way it should be and it is assumed that having your name highlighted on the door that is the way you are able to give something back.  I think that what we are working on now, and simplified terms, is trying to question this all type of assumption.

[Steven]: Yet basically…

[Scott]: Hey Steven?  Would you mind if someone asked a question here?  I'm sorry.  I was just trying to queue it up but missed my chance.  Would that be okay?  Can you hold on to that thought for just a second? Okay, okay.

[Chris]: Yeah but, being paid and getting attention is better.  It's like people have got to realize that a lot of things that they do have value and that's one of the things that I was thinking.

[Steven]: Well, what Renee was just saying now is that what we have observed if that a lot of people are not interested in attention.  In fact, attention economics is the dominant model in our society and certainly within our artists' society, but it is not the only model.  There are also what we call shadow practices.  And I think among those shadow practices there are practices that don't seek to be as high ranking as possible.  The attention economy.   I mean what we are doing right now, for example, is an instance of that.  That actually we must feel it's otherwise we wouldn't have all joined together and really odd hours of different times around the world to engage in this conversation that we didn't think was even some sort of collective value being produced together.  We're not trying to get as many people on here as possible.  I mean everyone is welcome to join but the object is really more to have a discussion consistent with the notion that defines this series of conversations and not to make sure we can fast track our way into some high end exhibition space that allows us to capitalize on these ideas.  That really is not the objective.  So attention is not the only thing.  I would say that once again (inaudible 1:03:35.1) of course is tapping into the idea (inaudible1:03:39.3) philosophy that attention getting and attention paying is all uniform of recognition.  But it's kind of a perverted capitalized form of recognition.  Of course recognition and the need for love is a very important thing.  It's an essential part of feeling human but it has come perverted into an attention economics which has become the dominant form of cutting edge capital accumulation today.  And so making money and getting attention are not the objects for a lot of people.  That's my personal opinion that it is not a worthy objective of human existence.  But that doesn't mean that people don't need to be acknowledged and reiterated at some point for their production of value.  And it certainly doesn't mean that other people should be paid for the value that they're producing.

[Scott]: To point out Aaron's question, just to clarify; we have been talking about money a lot just because that is sort the key thing that you have been focusing on.  But also you have been focusing on other things.  Renee talked about exchange and other things and we've also been talking a lot about…  Well, we've been playing with words a lot.  For instance, paying attention is part of how people are remunerated.  There is an investment, you are spending time, you are paying attention and there are a lot of things that are exchanged and given that are not capital or at least not capital money, right?  I mean, that's a big part of what has been coming out of these talks.  Am I right about that?  I guess I'm not asking a universal question.  Hasn't this been coming out of these talks and isn't that a part of where you guys are coming from or are you really just saying that you think it's important to just focus on money as much as possible?

[Steven]: As much what?

[Scott]: I guess what I ate…  I could have probably said it in 10 words.  Buy paying, you do mean other things besides cash.  Cold hard cash, right?  I am just clarifying back.

[Renee]: Yes.

[Scott]: Okay.

[Steven]: Yes we do, Scott.  But to be clear, we also pay cold hard cash.

[Scott]: Right.

[Steven]: That's true.  I was just going to respond to Aaron by saying that yes collective value is not reducible to monetary capital.  It is not just about dollars and cents but it is also about dollars and cents.  And when we talk about paid usership we are talking about handing over cash.  But we're not only talking about that.  But I think that if you refuse to talk about that then that is a very interesting position.  It is a radical take on the whole remunerating usership position but it is not the one that n.e.w.s. has collectively put forward.  I am certainly hoping that somebody is going to take it up (inaudible 1:07:17.6).  Do you see what I mean?

[Greg]: I will speak for Scott and say yes.

[Steven]: (inaudible 1:07:30.2) but for sure, when we talk about it we are actually…  I think that every case…  Let me say it this way.  Every case where somebody is making money from collectively produced value then we should be talking about equating value of money to redistribute it.  Do you see what I mean?  In those cases, of course, with a value in question and the knowledge in question is not monitarized that it is not necessarily talked about as value.  In fact, it's probably much more interesting to talk about either symbolic forms of payment to be arranged.

[Greg]: Steven, this is Greg.  Or Renee, or Prayas.  Any of you.  I was wondering if there is any other examples that are out there that you could point to that you think work in a similar model?  I said more generally a kind of reminded me of a more shareware model.  But I'm curious if there are any other models that you could point to that function in a similar way as n.e.w.s.  Or are you the only game in town?


[Renee]: I would not say that.  No, um...  Well let's put it this way.  What comes to mind just off the top of my head is that I know of other sites that are institutions that have a structural subsidy so to speak.  Whether that the governmental or private.  And that they then hire people to blog and there are a lot of them.  So this is something that happens if we just set a limit to not newspapers but as a cultural section of the world in the larger sense of the word, there are many types of these sites.  There are many sites to operate this way.  They have an institutions with a large operating budget and they invite people to blog whether that be about whenever subjects they decide or what topic they want to do.  It's usually a top down structure which means that the agenda is put forth from " this is what we want you to write about" and " could you please do this" and " this is how much you will get paid".  And I'm not even sure if it's always per word or what kind of renumeratation, because I'm not part of that, but there are many sites out there that do that.

[Greg]: But that's not what you're doing is it?

[Steven]: No.

[Renee]: Well, no. no.

[Greg]: So you are the only...

[Renee]: I think that the...Sorry?

[Greg]: (Laughing) no, go ahead.

[Renee]: No, I just wanted to say that that is not what we are doing.  I think that's that is something that we are actually addressing and this way of trying to...  No, we don't really have this kind of agenda other than our own kind of research of what we are working on at the moment which is what we have been trying to share with you of why we're instigating this discussion at n.e.w.s.  Steven, do you want to add to that?

[Steven]: Um, sorry.  I was just reading the questions.

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Scott]: We've got parallel conversations going on in text and in audio.  It always happens that we can try to feed them into one another.

[Greg]: I don't need a closed answer.  I mean, I don't need a perfect summarization of or answer to my question.  I'm just posing that really just as a talking point.  If Aaron wants to chime in with his questions than I am more than happy to hear about them to.

[Renee]: Um, Prayas are you there?

[Prayas]: Yes I am still here.


[Scott]: Very in synched response.


[Renee]: Prayas do you know of other sites that, Greg's question, that operate in these ways?

[Prayas]: Um, on other sites like (inaudible1:12:18.0 - 1:13:39.0)

[Steven]: I think that n.e.w.s. is, I think, unique and actually explicitly organizing a discussion about paid usership.  In fact I think the term doesn't really exist.  If you would do a Google search on paid usership I don't know what you would find.  I mean, we never really tried doing that so we just sort of figured out it was something we wanted to talk about.  But I think that in every gift economy there is a sense of paid usership.  Of course when you give something it is well known that you were also getting something.  And by engaging in a gift economy you actually are engaging in a certain kind of, I mean the, whole (inaudible1:14:34.2) principle is based on that.  And we hope to actually draw and command on the really fascinating stuff written about this really fascinating part of human exchange.  That we want to draw on as a resource and I and deliberately using terms that are related to battle paragon, to kind of make our case.  Or at least have a case argued in a public debate.

[Renee]: Yeah.  As much as that can be public that people would actually know what n.e.w.s. is doing, I would not say that we have large readership.

[Scott]: So how do you think n.e.w.s's proposal works with other, well actually what may reverse that?  How do you think other mostly artists initiatited micro granting systems fit in with what n.e.w.s. is proposing with this initiative?  You know, people who from one way or another pool resources either from grants or getting it from somewhere else or from work or in some cases asking a number of people to donate an incredibly small amount and then pooling and giving it to someone or some group of people who they feel deserve it.  How do you feel that those kinds of initiatives meet up to this proposal?  I mean I can think of a lot of examples.  I'm sure you can think of a few.

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Steven]: Give us an example.

[Scott]: Some of the other people that we were talking to in this series like the Incubate Sunday Soup Project.  Theresa, who is here, as was talking about FEAST, which is the Brooklyn based almost the same model but blown up on a scale that only a city like New York can sustain.  We're like 500 people will get together and pay just a few dollars for something that is way more valuable.  Like a meal that would cost a lot more than it actually costs a lot less because you make in bulk and they use the money to fund.  Everybody gets to vote on the artist projects that are proposed.  So everyone that comes can propose a project and everyone votes and the money goes to fund some project because they think that this is a worthwhile contribution to society.  Or they're like it or whatever.  Those are just a couple of examples.  You know, we're looking at (inaudible 1:17:47.8) initiated project The Fundred Dollar Bill Project.  Obviously this isn't coming directly from artists.  Although I think that artists and another culture produces spearheaded this kind of research.  But it has played itself out in all sorts of…  The Obama campaign for example.

[Steven]: That's what I was thinking Scott.

[Scott]: Yeah.

[Renee]: Yeah.  Well we are definitely not that organized.

[Scott]: Yeah.  I'm not actually comparing but you guys or the project is putting forth a proposal and the proposal I hope it doesn't assume that they can never be met or that nothing can ever stand up to it.  I was just curious how these other things stand up to the criteria that are being formed.  This discussion that is being held was motivated by certain desires.  Are those desires being met at all?  Do you know to mean?

[Renee]: Yeah.  The one differentiation that I think that we're trying to start out with or make is that this is about and comparison to offline.  This an online attempt to put it (inaudible 1:19:00.5).  Of course, there are other places where I'm not sure if things are voted on and that money is distributed back to the other within the entire community online as a remunerated, that it's remunerated.  But the examples that you give, do they also have enough offline/online life?  Where the one thinks sustain them and then something else?  Or is it really in the context of being offline?  Because the examples that I think of like Joshua Green's project and Steve Lambert has also given away money in Washington Square Park for the complex festival and people would decide on which projects would be funded and they would gather money.  But maybe I think Aaron is also suggesting (inaudible 1:20:08.7).  Is that true?  I can’t click on all the links at the same time.  I’m sorry.

[Scott]: Me either.  I’m freezing.

[Aaron]: Yeah, I was just thinking of (1:20:23.0) the money that she puts around in a gifty kind of way.

[Renee]: So Randolph is also a contributor to you.

[Greg]: Yep, yep.  Oh, that's where she gets all the stacks of money.


[Renee]: No, no! It's not true (inaudible 1:20:40.6)

[Greg]: That's like a little insider process.  The money just keeps giving away, and you give her some.  I see how this works.  It's incestuous.

[Renee]: I actually gave the money that she gave out back to her. Um, am I supposed to go through these links at the same time?

[Scott]: Why don't you do it one at a time?

[Renee]: I can barely handle the overload.

[Scott]: I know. It's been crazy.

[Steven]: Well, what I'm noticing with the links just off the top of my head is that what we're talking about is paid usership.  It's not paid participation.  It isn't like the participants decide how (inaudible 1:21:37.2) should be allocated.  It's really like isolated individuals, isolated in every respect should simply be paid because (inaudible 1:21:50.1).  It has to be a hard hit rather than a touchy feely love and peace kind of collectivity, like let's do things together against this nasty cold republic of strategic nationality.  No.  I'm not against that.  What we're talking about is something much (inaudible 1:22:22.1).  Just pay the (expletive 1:22:29.3) workers that are doing the work!

[Scott]: You're not actually suggesting that companies do this specifically right?  You're saying that...

[Steven]: Well, I think companies... Actually, I am Scott.

[Scott]: Okay.  Well that s the first time it's come up in this conversation, I've been asking.

[Steven]: For me it was clear.  For now it's an experiment, obviously.  And that what I was trying to say in an answer that I had typed to Greg awhile back.  It's a gesture, it's an experimental gesture.  But like every experimental gesture, it also (inaudible 1:23:10.8) in its life to have a kind of contagious effect on the real.  Yes I believe that companies are ripping off.  Once again, it's like we talked about last week, the surplus value of the people who are producing the values.  I think they should redistribute that value to those who produced it.  And so I think that it's particularly evident on the internet and I think that we are limiting our scope back (inaudible 1:23:46.4).  Basically I think that every capitalist enterprise, every company, every business should (inaudible 1:24:01.7) paid or at least partially paid (inaudible 1:24:08.1).  That's kind of what we're saying what the value is producing. (Inaudible 1:24:20.3).

[Renee]: Yeah, to go back to what you said earlier Scott.  I don't think that we are in any way, shape or form capable of, right now at this moment, to organize to where we are pulling a large group and large amounts and then actively decide how to redistribute that.  The only example (inaudible 1:24:50.4) is that we set up an (inaudible 1:24:56.6) to seek answers to our own questions...


And then we did the payments or the prize money to (inaudible 1:25:07.1)

[Scott]: Yeah.  That laughter wasn't actually based on what you were saying.  We're not teasing you or anything. Sorry Renee, it was this link that Aaron sent.  I wasn't expecting this kind of...fantastic.  Pretty sweet.

[Greg]: Although, you know what's fascinating about this is like how much different it is going to a large university where you take a class with 250 other students where your papers are graded by your peers, essentially TAs.  I mean really, how different is it?  Aside from the fact that there's perhaps in the scenario in the website, a very explicive exchange of capital whereas it's more subtle when you're going to school for free and you're expected to have some sort of TA-ship that is work, as Steven might say, a wage slave.  Reading hundreds of undergraduate papers if you will.  I don't know

[Scott]: And they're doing a really good job like fighting against universal health care.

[Greg]: Steven got cut off.

[Scott]: Oh he did?

[Greg]: I'm glad he didn't hear me say that then.


[Renee]:  I guess there is also the question... I'm trying to multitask here and I'm not a very good multi-tasker and its 1:45am.  The thing that is brought up here is also what's going on online with the (inaudible 1:26:58.4).  People are getting paid to do all different types of tasks that maybe instead of a (inaudible 1:27:07.5) or a grant that they're being paid to do these things.  And some of those things are, to the extent, even writing recommendations for books that they haven't read for example.  This whole controversy of to which degree that this is basically acceptable and especially that (inaudible 1:27:31.2) can be used in a non ethical ways and how people think about there's all different types of ways to make money on the internet.  I mean, this is a very broad large topic that I'm only really starting to gather enough about and I think there are more people out there who know more about this than I do.  But, this is something that comes into play as well.

[Scott]: It'd be awesome if we could get paid to read n.e.w.s. You know?  To browse your sight.


[Steven]: (Inaudible 1:28:15.7) there is a serious argument for that because it's not just a joke.   It's true that by reading n.e.w.s. in some way if there is any value posted on n.e.w.s. then by reading it then somehow you're I involved either in the production or the (inaudible 1:28:33.6) of that value.

[Scott]: I was wondering if you were going to argue that sort of the authorship of the reader is valuable.

[Steven]: (inaudible 1:28:47.8)

[Renee]: Yeah the author.  The author or the reader.

[Steven]: Prayas is best to deal with that.   Prayas organized a forum on the productive value of working on the internet.

[Renee]: Prayas, are you still awake?

[Scott]: He's sawing logs.


[Prayas]: Yeah.

[Renee]: He's there!

[Scott]: Yay.

[Renee]: Talk about your broken webs.

[Prayas]: Broken webs (inaudible 1:29:27.2 - 1:30:05.5)

[Renee]: So introverts in a sense to fill the definition of (inaudible 1:30:09.3).  That people are passively participating so to speak, but not being passive.  That the action of lurking is an action, it's active.

[Scott]: That relates to the ongoing discussion of slackerdom too right?

[Steven]: Absoulutely.  As teachers we tend to say that lurkers are parasites or poachers or something.  But yeah, we have to think that in (inaudible 1:30:47.8) slacking are also forms of the greater community (inaudible 1:30:54.9) action.

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Greg]: I have to teach a freshman seminar and part is a 40% participation grade and some of my brightest students don't say a single word the entire semester and I think there is something to be said about somebody who just listens.  It doesn't make for a very interesting class but not all classes are that interesting anyway. I don't know.  It's interesting.  I love that idea of lurking in real space and time.

[Renee]: So we should all get paid for reading and for listening.

[Greg]: Yep.  Yeah, absolutely.

[Steven]: And for lurking.


[Steven]: That seems like insane doesn't it?  What if we created a forum called Paid Lurkership?  Then I would be suggesting that we should be paid for lurking, you know?

[Renee]: Yeah, yeah.

[Scott]: That's great!

[Greg]: But then again, it does assume that there is something to lurk.  It comes back to that question that something is there to be seen or heard or maybe not.   Maybe it's that awkward silence were you sit in a room and all lurking together.  I don't know.  That sounds like borderline meditation.  No offense to anyone who meditates.

[Scott]: Yeah.  Lurking seems so active.  Lurking is such an active term. I wonder if it's even a good one.  I like loitering because, you know, you're definitely not supposed to be there and you're specifically (expletive 1:32:40.4) off whereas lurking actually requires some work to hide.  Do you think we should get paid to loiter too or do you think that it should be for people who are only paying attention?  What about the people who aren't paying attention?


(Inaudible background comment)

[Steven]: That question really, I think, highlights the distinction between value per say and capital per say, as a form of value.  If you wanted to define lurking as somebody who is not paying attention that would be producing value on top of the type of value that was already existent there but wasn't spinning back into the equation.  It was going into a different type of economy.  (Inaudible 1:33:44.0) economies like touching but one wouldn't be feeding into the other.  Do you see what I mean?  It's like somebody who's working on a website won't be gaining something from that but would be feeding back into that value in a different place. So there you would have to calculate it in a different way.

[Scott]: What if I was really not paying attention and doing something entirely different.  Like working a side job?  Or like something while you guys were talking?  Wouldn't you feel hurt?

[Steven]: Scott, we know you.

[Renee]: We have to say goodbye to Prayas, he's checking out.  He's tired.  It's 5:30am.

(Multiple goodbyes from group)

[Female group member]: Um, it seems like there might be three different types of usership or contributorship.  One would be lurking.  Either like just visiting by counting clicks or if you could measure how a long person is staying to see if they're an engaged lurker.  And the other two would be someone who contributes and someone who inspires other discourse.  And it seems like maybe a way of evaluating and finding a (inaudible 1:35:22.9) way to redistribute the wealth is generated by internet browsing would be to look at all three of those ways.  Like, and I'm saying to maybe even discard the click through lurkers.  You know what I mean? It's like channel surfing.

[Renee]: Yes, we need to find a way to set up where at least if you clicked on one of our banner ads so to speak, this was something that Prayas was getting at, you would actually be able to redistribute funds somehow for example.

[Female group member]: Right.  Like if you took any single model like counting clicks and passive lurkers aren't helping advance the content and contributing members could just be blabbermouths and then people would be trying to make money by just saying the most rather than saying the least.  To compensate people for inspiring other discourse would just kind of harbor a bunch of sensationalism, which is basically the problem with the rest of the media that people do for money now.

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Scott]: Getting paid per comment on your post or whatever.

[Female group member]: Right.  Per comment or like per related article that comes thereafter.  Or per like people who want to advertise on your story or your contributions.

[Scott]: It should be an algorithm where you deduct value if businesses want to advertise on your blog.

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Scott]: I can't believe that everyone (expletive 1:37:12.3) agreed with that one (laughing).


(Inaudible comment from background)

[Scott]: Actually, I have it all worked out.

[Renee]: What's going on?


[Scott]: You were just nodding.  You were doing something else, Renee.  I see where this is going.

[Renee]: Yeah, like I'm going to bed soon.

[Scott]: Well hey, its 7:53.  Yeah, exactly.  So what about your dreams and stuff?  Can you get paid for dreaming about n.e.w.s.?


[Greg]: Renee's bed is like "why is she lurking? Why isn't she engaging with me?"


[Renee]: At least I get to do chat in my pajamas.

[Scott]: Yeah.  We can do that too.  Pajama party.

[Renee]: To go back to the forum, basically, we've not yet had a response other than the people who say that they're going to participate and have some kind of text lingering in the background.  We haven't had, this is in a way, a kick start for the forum. And I was wondering what would be needed, after an hour or two hours of chat, what would be the next step?  Is it really about setting up a business model like the one I had said where I was going to clean someone's house that I'm personally doing?  Or is it something that can be, without saying that there is a pot of cash so to speak to be distributed, then what is the next step?  Does anybody have any thoughts?

[Steven]: Renee, just one word of cautiousness.  I were forums usually don't take off the minute following their launch.  They had our rhythm that is all of their own.  Probably because they are very poorly paid.  I don't know.  I wanted to come back to something (inaudible1:40:02.0) that isn't my question but why we (inaudible 1:40:05.6) and I will just say one thing.  This whole idea, n.e.w.s. is not really a plausible Artworld in itself but I think that it could pose as something which could be a key component of a plausible Artworld.  In Artworlds, or let's just say a world, is not something that is just based on the few people who succeed in it.  It is based on all of the people who took part in it.  And without any one of those contributors, without any one of those users what it is would not be what it is.  The overall value, I mean maybe you could say that some people produce more value than others.  But collectively they produce the value that is produced.

[Scott]: Well, don't you pay people more than others?  Some people more than others?  Remunerate I mean.

[Steven]: Mostly our point.  I think our point is that yes we do definitely pay some more than others.  Dramatically more than others.  If you look at how wealth is distributed on our planet you really see that the top 3% of people get about 90% of the wealth.  So yes, we certainly do.  We handsomely rewarded those who we think are producing all of the value.  But I think that there is a good case to be made that the other 90% are doing more than producing that 3% of the value.  I mean I think that's (inaudible 1:41:49.0)...

[Renee]: (inaudible 1:41:49.1)

[Steven]: (inaudible 1:41:53.0) the point of an Artworlds.  But there's a reputation of a company and the world is a thing that is produced by an entire aggregate of the people that vested interest in it.  That's something in which informs this idea that people should be paid.  On one hand, it's the idea of a living wage and that people should be paid for being citizens.  But more specifically they are paid for participating as citizens.  And we call that usership.

[Renee]: And also I think what you were getting at is inclusive also of let's say "Dark Matter" by Greg Shallot.  This text would also include the people who are reading n.e.w.s. in your collectivity, correct?  Steven?

[Steven]: Yeah, yeah.

[Renee]: That surrounding of critical mass, so to speak, of all the people who are participating.  And not just those who are contributing content through words or images.

[Steven]: Yes, right.  Exactly.  They're producing calculable amounts.

[Renee]: Yeah.

[Scott]: Will guys, thank you so much for coming.  This was totally awesome.  It is 7:58 PM.

[Renee]: I can go to bed now?

[Scott]: Yeah, you can participate in bed.

[Greg]: Rest assured the check is in the mail.


[Renee]: Rest assured. Is that a pun Greg? Rest assured?

[Greg]: Yes of course!

[Scott]: And everybody that is supposed to contribute to this book totally will.  Don't worry Renee.


[Renee]: Do you mean we're not going to have to pay back the rest of the money?

[Scott]: Yeah, right.  You were not going to have to take on a couple of extra jobs and write a new grant just to pay back the old one.


[Scott]: Although, that's not a bad idea.

[Renee]: Just tell them it's a business model.


[Scott]: Yeah, I hope not.

[Renee]: Thank you, all of you, for your feedback and I have to say that as a participant once again in a BaseKamp plausible Artworld I cannot keep up with reading text and everything that is going on.  I just can't do it.

[Scott]: You did a fantastic job Renee.

[Renee]: Thanks but I wanted to say that I want to take the time to peruse all of the links and thank you everyone for contributing.  It has really, really been very fruitful and I am sorry that it is so late and were out of time.  I enjoyed it, thank you.

[Scott]: Yep, that's awesome.  I think you should start waking up around noon so that you can make these Tuesday night chats.

[Renee]: Then Scott, you can take over my morning job while I sleep.

[Scott]: OK, maybe we will pass that around.

(Group goodbyes and chatter)


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