[Imc-uk-process] Re: The state of the Hiding policy in IMC-UK
maqui at syndicate.org.uk
Sat Feb 11 12:28:06 PST 2006
I think zcat's email below raises very interesting pints, whilst, at
the same time it offers a clear insight into what indymedia is for him.
It will probably help people understand his positions in relation to
the wire and its maintenance.
So cheers zcat. I personally agree with a few of the points he raises
here, others I am not too sure about. Also, I have to admit that for
quite a while I am guilty of not offering much help with the wire
cleaning, even though I try to follow what's going on in that front
through the list. In any case, I would also like to shout a big up to
those that have been putting so much time an effort into keeping it
clean and relevant.
Yes, sure, I have sometimes disagreed with some of the hiding. Others
I've been surprised about people questioning hiddens when they were a
clear cut 'must hid' to me. But because I was not offering real help in
doing the day to day job of monitoring the wire, I found it a bit rich
of myself to make too much noise in both directions. I've always
thought that if someone is offering his or her own time, effort and
knowledge into doing something, and I don't have the time or
willingness to participate, then I shouldn't have much to say about it,
unless I either get involved myself, or something very extreme happens
that I disagree with.
For me, to complain and then not participate it is not on. That's why I
tend to ignore complaints or accusations from people that I don't
really see doing anything useful. Please don't get me wrong, I am not
implying that anyone involved in this 'hiding' debate falls into that
category! .. rather the contrary, what I am trying to do is to explain
why I have not said much about all this lately, even though I have my
Anyway, I am ranting too much already. Just a few comments:
On Monday, February 6, 2006, at 01:06 pm, zcat at ametrika.com wrote:
> But I feel that the current policy goes against the whole basis and
> principles that the Indymedia network was founded on. I see it as The
> spirit of Indymedia.
I may be missing something here, but I see this as a bit of an
exaggeration. You may disagree with quite a bit of what has been going
on in the wire lately, but to say that what people have been doing with
it goes against the principles of indy, I think it is a bit too much.
I actually see the wire as being something much closer to zcat's view
of it than maybe that of ftp, shiar or phunkee for example, in terms of
what constitutes 'news' and what shape or form a 'piece of news' can
take. I say maybe because I've never spoken to them about this, so I
may be wrong, but I base this judgement on what I've been reading in
But even though, from what I understand, what they have been doing with
the wire is basically to implement the existing editorial guidelines.
Maybe in a way that it is too strict for people like zcat, ionnek or
myself (for example) True, but no one can accuse anyone of arbitrarily
hiding things according his or her own views only. The Guidelines are
there, not as rules (I agree with zcat 100% here) but because the very
fact that they are only guidelines, they are prone to be interpreted
quite subjectively, which in this case is the same as too say more or
In any case, I still prefer to have a 'too strictly monitored' wire
than a loose one where crap stays there because no one can be arsed to
remove it. I think an IMC can only be relevant if the standards of the
wire are as high as possible. This is why I am so happy with the
introduction of the Promoted wire!.
One only has to take a look to the usual state London-IMC wire to see a
picture of what I am talking about (although occasionally people puts a
bit of work into it). That's why I am so grateful to people that takes
the responsibility of doing the job. I've been there myself,
maintaining pages basically on my own in the past, and I know what it
is like to then have people shouting at you because you should or
shouldn't have done this or that.
> Indymedia is all about fighting back against the system of capitalism
> and the society that dominates all our lives and the way Indymedia
> collectives do it is by providing an alternative media output with an
> anti-capitalist stance. Hacking the system thats what counts - and 'by
> any means necessary' (BAMN)
I agree quite a bit with this view. Not only hacking the system BAMN,
but maybe more importantly, building up structures and processes that
are real and work right here and right now, and that they are in
direct opposition to the way capitalism functions and the power
structures it creates. This is what makes indy interesting to me,
because even with its failures, I think that overall it still does
> Also if you gotta use some of the enemy's methods to reach your goals
> then so be it, using their tools and subverting those against them is
> OK its another form of hacking. BAMN
Not too sure what you mean here. Are you somehow referring to the issue
of incorporating corporate reposts to the wire?
If so, I think this is a double edged knife if you see what I mean.
Reapropiating 'their tools' for 'our own gains', that's kool by me and
I have no problem with it whatsoever. But what you call 'subverting
those against them' is a bit more tricky. You may think that by doing
xyz you are actually subverting, but in fact the real result may be
that it ends up helping to uphold their values.
So, for example, for me, to leave up in the wire a straight repost from
xyz paper just because it is from, lets say, Pilger, Shaby or Fisk, it
is not 'subverting their tools' at all, quite the contrary. It is
legitimating their 'worth' by pointing to them (put it quite crudely).
It's a bit like saying 'look aren't the Guardian or the Independent so
cool, they regularly publish Fisk or talk about climate change for
Well, I believe that if they do so, it is because it suits their
(capitalist) interests. Because, at the same time, they'll say that the
black bloc is a danger that is destroying what they call the
'antiglobalist movement' (Gary Young or Mombiot often claim this in the
pages of the Guardian for example), and they'll link comrades to this
notion of the 'black bloc' when it suits them or the state tells them
to do so. Or that, for example, they'll publish that since Mayday 2000
there have been riots in central London. Remember, the Guardian
specially has been running this line every year since Mayday 2000. The
Wombles can testify this!.
But going back to that double edged knife, to me, to include links in a
middle column feature to a Pilger, Shaby, or Fisk article that appears
in a mainstream paper, or to have an 'other press' section in which we
include the dissenting voices from the mainstream is ok. This is like
saying 'look it is not only us in the fringes that think that this or
that is wrong, but these 'big fish' think the same too'. To have all
the mainstream's dissenting voices in one section within indymedia,
created in our way and to our purposes, is subverting their tools to
me. In a way is like throwing their shit back to their faces, when it
suits us best if you see what i mean. BAMN.
Dunno, maybe it is just a very personal way of seeing this, and maybe
it doesn't make much sense to anyone else. Or maybe that double edged
knife is too abstract, and I don't really know how to explain what I
mean, I don't know. Or even maybe zcat was not referring to this issue
at all and I just banged it in! :-)
> To take the guidelines too literally is like chopping of our nose's
> to spite our face's eg its counterproductive.
> To say that the editorial guidlines are rules and must be stuck to no
> matter what, to me that is falling into the capitalist box, its taking
> their model for society and living by it, taking their rules and
> living by them.
Quite agree too.
> Articles in the newswire are all very different and each one has its
> own merits and to hide somthing only because of the perceived law of
> the guidlines is very wrong. Ariticles in the newswire should be
> hidden because they do not merit staying there, not automaticly
> because they breach a guidline.
I think I see what you mean, although this will depend very much on the
merits of each case, and in which way an article breaches the
guidelines. Not only this, but more importantly, it will ultimately
depend on the subjectivity of whoever is doing the cleaning. And this
is fair enough I think.
The only practical way to have a wire that embodies everyone's view of
what it should be, is by having everyone participating in its
maintenance all the time. Otherwise, the flavor of it will depend on
who is doing the job. I think that this is quite inevitable, and as
long as those doing it do it openly and transparently (as I believe it
is the case right now) then my general take on it (unless the shit hits
the fan) is to act up or shut up .. (ehem ... not that I am not talking
right now :-)
> It is not really the hiding that concerns me it is but a symptom of an
> illness, it is the way in which the guidlines are perceived and that
> is what I think is a threat to the Spirit of Indymedia.
Ok, I see your point, and fair enough for you to bring it up.
> These are the symptoms I speak of -
> Art Humour and Culture.
> There have been instances of art, music, humour and cultural things
> being hidden and I think this is wrong, much of this material is
> outside of the mainstream, outside of the fine art industry, the music
> industry or the big entertainments industry or is on the fringes of it
> and is quite subversive in its way and is encouraging people to look
> outside of the mainstream.
I agree with this 100%. Subversive attitudes can take many shapes and
forms. I remember a posting that got hidden, and that pissed me off a
while ago. Somebody posted free downloads offering a series of
anti-war/anti-bush set of electro-quite-dubby-hip-hop tunes. I actually
downloaded them before it got hidden :-) And I don't only think that
the tunes are great, but I think that the fact that they had been
produced in an independent DIY manner, and then offered for free for
everyone to download (and on top they had a political message) it is as
'revolutionary' or 'activisty' as, for example, opening and maintaining
a social centre, blokading the G8, or volunteering in imc.
As zacat says, this way of producing and distributing cultural
artefacts is directly opposed to the way the entertainment and cultural
industries work within capitalism, and thus it is an anticapilalist
To me these sort of posts must have a space in indymedia-uk. Let's open
up doors and build bridges with people doing other stuff, and not close
ourselves to a stricter idea of what is 'political'. I bet that whoever
published those downloads, are now not very willing to publish again in
The same goes for art, literature, film, performance and whatever other
> for instance Houston Indymedia say in their mission statement "We will
> strive to develop the arts, culture, entertainment, education, forums
> and conferences." IMO somthing along these lines should be added to
> the Mission Statement if not that actual wording.
I wouldn't mind that actually.
> Mainstream reposts
> 4 points about this one on articles that are directly relevent to our
> objectives like the recent post 'Capitalism or a Habitable Planet'
> (332855) but thats just one example.
Dunno about this one, and I reserve my right to be lazy to check it up
right now :-)
> 1. If its been on indy its already violated the copyright law even if
> its been hidden so there is little we can do.
Apparently this is true.
> 2. Reposting IS a political statement against copyright which in my
> view is a very important thing. BAMN
As I said, I don't think this is so clear cut. It can be seen like this
sometimes, but in others, it can just legitimate 'them'. It all depends
on the context and on the way it is done imo.
> 3. Using previously published articles is in its way subversion its
> taking them from the capitalist mainstream and using them for our own
> means. BAMN
Well, see above.
> 4. Another argument that is relevant, I see IMC as a sort of archive
> of the movements and if a piece is here it is archived for a very long
> time (I'd like to say forever but..) when a piece is in a newspapers
> archive it is only accessible for a limited period then it disappears
> into the bowels of that site and only accessible if you pay for entry.
True, and thus I think it would be worth to have a dedicated 'Other
Press' section for this, with a publish form that only allows to link
to a good article published in the mainstream, preventing straight c&p
jobs. A publish form that has got an 'abstract' box where the publisher
can explain why he or she thinks it is relevant and worth a read. This
is what I mean by "the context and the way it is done".
> (This may not be relevent as a proposal was made 1 year ago, 6 months
> ago and somtime inbetween to create an 'other press' section but it
> hasnt happened yet and so that is why its still on my agenda)
I see, but then if the 'Other Press' section is created, my view is
that these sort of articles should then not appear in the main
newswires. They should be placed in that dedicated section only. A
section that we create in our own terms and for our own reasons. I
think I argued this on an email a few months back, but I am again too
lazy to search for it .. this mail is taking enough of my time already
> Academic texts.
> Academic texts get hidden as non-news which I think is wrong as well.
> Many will be background or history and info somehow related to our
True, and they can be inspiring and offer good food for thought, which
is always good if one has the time to dive into long theoretical texts.
> People are hiding things because they are non-news, there is plenty of
> stuff that is non-news that is still relevent to the issues that we
> say we give a platform to.
Yeah the non-news guideline is a tricky one. How do we actually define
what constitutes new or not. It is again a quite subjective matter,
that no guidelines can resolve. For example I've just finished a book
about internal borders in Israel. Borders based on race, class and
cultural background (whether one may be an european Jew, or and arab
Jew for example). It is quite theoretical in the sense that parts of
the book are quite conceptual. But on the other hand it has examples of
events, situations, and struggles that have been going on in there.
Because I didn't know much about this issue, and because I am quite new
to it, I found these examples as 'pieces of news' to me. They didn't
only tell me that x day, y happened in a z place, but they also helped
me to understand better the issue, whilst informed me about specific
struggles of people against Zionism in Israel. That's has to be 'news',
What I mean is that book wasn't a report, or an account of events. But
rather a text which contained analysis, personal views, historical
facts and specific examples. All together conformed a thorough and very
informative piece of news.
> Indymedia is like life there are no hard and fast rules,
True, but maybe we should think of a rule preventing people making such
outrageously long mails as this one of mine! :-)
Anyhow, cheers if you've make it that far.
More information about the Imc-uk-process