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Prokofy Neva

Hey, the mods put my blog on the list. But, that's not really how it should happen lol.

Darien Caldwell

"On blogs, of course, comments wait in a queue and may never see the light of day."

Yep, like this one, and the last 10 or so comments I've left on your blog. :)

I find it kind of funny you're complaining about people playing favorites with blogs and comments, I mean everyone does it. It's human nature to favor that which you like and those that agree with you.

But I guess your point would be they claim to be above and beyond that, when really they aren't at all. Another case of a Grand Idea watered down by Human Nature.

Darien Caldwell

Now, that's typical, the day I decide to complain about the comments, they work. :P

Steven E. Streight aka Pluperfecter


Steven E. Streight aka Pluperfecter

I once called it "clinking": clique linking. Blogrolling, quoting, commenting on only blogs run by friends or people you wanted to kiss the butts of. I also included blog networks, where all the blogs blogroll only the blogs in their network. Then Jason Calacanis had to go and make $25 to $50 million off Weblogsinc.

I'm wrong sometimes, like most everybody else.

The blogosphere works, and threatens all old fashioned hierarchical domination systems, by being self-policing.

You perform a service in goading and questioning, for there is much to be discussed iconoclastically speaking.


Prokofy Neva

Darien, as I've told you repeatedly before, I constantly find your posts in the spam and banned list, even though I never banned you. Your IP must be similar to someone else banned, but IPs change dynamically so perhaps some days you are not fitting the pattern. I simply forget to go fishing through the spam bucket and caught a few last night of yours to restore. If you aren't happy with the service at this blog, go start your own damn blog, seriously, it's retarded to keep having to tell you this over and over.

As you well know, I have very well-defined rules for banning people from this blog -- 1) you must use first and last recognizable SL, RL or blogger's name 2) you must not incite or cause me damage in SL or RL. Very, very simple. You don't get to call me up and play the Soviet national anthem over my telephone line and still post on this blog.

There's a curious notion that I ban people "just because of the groups they are in". Gosh, that's funny. I sure do. But that's because...the "groups they are in" are deliberate, conspiratorial griefing groups, in the criminal-code sense of conspiratorial. That is, they are intended with the form of harassment and stalking and committing an offense. I fail to see why groups of people with tags over their head from Woodbury University -- at this point easily hundreds of them -- who continually disrupt events, harass me and my tenants, and even crash sims -- get to keep making a claim on liberal sensibilities not to have "guilt by association" and put up an utterly fake notion of some innocent Woodbury kid who just does his homework and never griefs. They don't. It's fine to target groups when they repeatedly commit crimes.

It's rather like the high schools fighting the gangs with the help of police. I don't hear the ACLU complaining that high schools forbid the wearing of the gang colours and insignia and flashing of gang signs. Why? Because gangs are formed for the express purpose of committing mayhem and violence and there are so many crimes of this nature attached to them, and they have such a destructive affect on schools, that the school administration is well within its rights as a civic institution to demand that children not foster the spread of gangs by wearing their insignia and flashing their signs.

So you could go on some geeky literalist rant about how just because they wear clothing or flash a sign they shouldn't suffer association with drive-by killers, but guess what, no court in the city would buy that one, and no civil libertarian would pick this battle to fight. In the same way, the gang colours of Woodbury are a marker and it is absolutely legitimate to ban them. BTW, the ones attempting to post here in fact are frequent-flyer documented griefers and events-disrupters, not "good students".


fyi I found your blog through a google alert for connectivism. I don't know how google picks its 5 links from all that's being posted daily but you made the list. At the beginning of the course, I thought everyone should give the process a chance but I'm developing a certain fondness for the critics. Handling criticism constructively is an extremely useful skill and very freeing.

Prokofy Neva

I have no idea either because i haven't been in the Google thing before.


thank you ... thanks for your relentless critiques on content, context, structure & form of the course ... from the short pithy, precise detailed, free & imaginative, supportive & questioning everywhere in blogs, threads, comments & twitter ... brilliant, perceptive & challenging ... if the critique stings then as an educator i need to pause, reflect & become informed & your writing informs me ... thanks ...

Jenny Mackness

Just out of interest - if you had free reign to change this course, what would you do? What would it have to be like for you to be happy with it?

Prokofy Neva

I don't believe in this doctrine, so I wouldn't teach a course in it. And let me turn this around, since you don't seem to value criticism or dissent. Why do you imagine that the goal of all thought and inquiry and questioning has to be harmony? Why should "happiness" be the outcome of scholarship? Why does someone have to be challenged with "doing it yourself" and be forced to come up with "their own solution" to participate in debate? Why would someone have to be required to "design their own course" to take part in some "knowledge expedition" like this?

Jenny Mackness

OK - maybe I've misunderstood you. I'll try again.

Is it just the content that you object to, because it seemed to me, perhaps erroneously, that it was also the way in which the course was being conducted. My question was related to the latter (I should of course have made this clear -so mea culpa there!).

So if you were running your own course, around a subject of your choice, would you run it differently? Is there anything in this pedagogy that you can go along with? Because it seems to me that this course is as much about what education of the future will look like as about the nature of knowledge and what is connectivism. It's how it will affect the way in which we teach and learn which interests me.

Now to your comment:

And let me turn this around, since you don't seem to value criticism or dissent.

Wherever do you get this from? I wouldn't be following your blog if I didn't favour criticism or dissent.

and Why do you imagine that the goal of all thought and inquiry and questioning has to be harmony? Why should "happiness" be the outcome of scholarship?

Not sure where you got that from either. Have you ever felt 'happy' with a course you've been on or has this never been your experience? Does 'being happy with a course' equate with 'happiness being the outcome of scholarship?' I don't think so, but again perhaps I have misunderstood you.

I'm also not sure that I've understood your last two questions. Do you think that if you really don't like something, then you also know what you really do like in relation to the same topic? This was at the heart of my original question. I was genuinely interested to know what you would prefer for a course like this (leaving aside the content, if that's possible).

But perhaps it is only the content you object to, and you are really revelling in all the rest?

Prokofy Neva

Jenny, in a Connectivist course like this, the method and the content are one -- that's part of the reason why it's silly. "The medium is the message" and all that. It's not just the content; Connectivism isn't terribly big on content anyway; they are all about connections and the structure of deconstruction, if you will, and that's why it's silly.

The manner in which they conduct the course in part manifests their goofy ideas, but in part they unconsciously manifest the "vestiges" of the "old regime" they're trying to overthrow, and that makes it funny, as well as silly.

Well, I'm glad you value dissent and indicate that by following my blog, but you can't resist grooming, can you? You don't think people get to "just complain". Oh, these intellectuals talking in the cafes in the capital. Why don't we send them to the countryside to bring in the harvest! Let them do some work!

The goal of education and learning isn't "happiness" understood in the common modern sense as "feel good" or even in some sense of "harmony". The goal is knowledge, learning to think, and thinking. That isn't happiness; in fact, it might bring unhappiness as one thinks more about the human condition and the facts on the ground on the planet.

I don't think that expressing dislike and criticism of a topic mandates an automatic balancing of the scales to produce something you *do* like. I think that's just so much rhetorical doublespeak and conformism. What does it matter what I "like"? I'm not teaching a course; I'm taking a course. My likes or dislikes, contrary to all the PLE goofiness, aren't relevant, really. I simply don't accept it as a valid condition that before I can criticize in the cafes, I have to "do some work in the fields and bring in the harvest". One of the girls that is banging on me in the Skeptic thread on the Moodle at Connectivism is throwing quotes by various famous people that boil down to this: critics talk, silent people quietly get things done. Well, sure, that's why Comrade Stalin was secretary of the Communist Party, but even Lenin said "he is coarse."

I don't really "revel" in that course at all. I view it as a kind of civic duty. I'm appalled that these memes would be spewed over 2,000 people at once in a mass indoctrination ceremony like a Moonie wedding, and I think somebody should show up and fight. Let history judge.

Jenny Mackness

Hi Catherine - A thought occurred to me that you might be a George and Stephen 'plant' for the purpose of 'stirring the pot'. Is this a possibility? Have I found you out?

We're obviously on the course for very different reasons. I have already been mulling over (for at least a couple of years) how in education we are going to cope with information overload, what the learning benefits of being able to organise learning in international groups might be, how we can exploit what technology can now offer, whether with this information overload we will need a different type of curriculum, how we can allow students more control over their learning, what the implications for assessment are and so on. So I am looking at the what is connectivism and what is knowledge type of content questions separately from how is this course working, does it work, is it an effective learning experience etc.

I don't think I said that the goal of education is happiness. In fact I have often discussed with my students why we seem to have an expectation that this will be the case, when in fact learning is often a painful experience and the outcome is not always successful. I agree that ....'The goal is knowledge, learning to think, and thinking.'

You have written: 'I don't think that expressing dislike and criticism of a topic mandates an automatic balancing of the scales to produce something you *do* like.' Is this a way of avoiding my original question which was about what kind of course you would prefer?

And this sentence really made me sit up - '...but you can't resist grooming, can you? You don't think people get to "just complain".' I'm at a loss about the grooming and have even gone to Google to check out the meaning. As far as I'm concerned, Catherine, you and anyone else can complain as much as you like - I'm just interested to know more about 'why' because my line of work is in designing courses and working with learners online. I'm particularly interested in why students won't challenge each other online (face-to-face as well) and what I can do to help overcome this so that they engage more with critical thinking and just plain thinking. So you think I'm grooming, but I'm just hoping for a dialogue about things that matter to me. If they don't matter to you then that's fine, but if you remember, you made the initial contact with me by posting on my blog.

Almost done - but here's another sentence that I find interesting:
'I don't really "revel" in that course at all. I view it as a kind of civic duty.' This is a very personal viewpoint, but I think 'duty' and 'guilt' are two words that should be erased from our language. They have caused so many problems.

Finally, Catherine, would you agree that its easier to make erroneous assumptions in online conversations than face-to-face? This is also something that I discuss with my students. We talk about how a possible good starting point is always to believe in the good faith of the person who authored the post you are reading, until you have real evidence that their post was malicious, which it very rarely is intended to be.

To unsubscribe to my comments - it's better not to reply ;-) but I would miss the dialogue!


Several years ago I wasted a couple weeks arguing with Stephen Downes about the fundamental flaws in his understanding of the math of networks until I realized he was a kook & not susceptible to reason. I'm glad somebody has the patience & strength of mind to try reaching his students. Keep up the good fight.

Prokofy Neva

Hi, I have a rule here that you have to use a first and second SL or RL name or blogger's name to post.

I have no idea about the math of networks and would hardly be able to argue anything related to that. I'm not sure Stephen Downes "isn't susceptible to reason," but he is a geeky eccentric of the type that increasingly reigns supreme in technological, business, and educational settings without any challenge -- and that's troublesome.

They are able to appear as "bleeding edge" and "progressive" even with profoundly conservative methods and manners -- i.e. resisting all dissent, denying logic, etc. like a modern Lysenkoism. Stephen had simply nothing to say after dogging me for being a "troll" and being "guilty of ad hominem" attacks blah blah when I pointed out that in his own blog, his calling a newscaster "biased" and calling McCain "lunatic" were just the very sort of thing he was condemning. I'm used to such double standards from cranky leftoid geeks of a certain age and type and culture. He's exactly like Dave Winer or Steve Gillmor; perhaps they all dropped acid at Grateful Dead concerts in the 1960s lol.

It's common for people from the 1960s to think, because they were once dissenters in their day, that anyone opposing them now is a conservative and a reactionary, when in fact they could just be manifesting common sense.

I think it's important to keep standing up to this sort of thing because they do infect the tools with these ideologies and there's no need for that.

Prokofy Neva

Actually, he's a bit young for the Grateful Dead and the summer of love, but it dies hard : )



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