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August 05, 2006



The price of participating in Civil Society is the requirement to do in openly and in your own name. This is in fact related to our critique of "private action in the public sphere"; the players need to show themselves and make public moves in the public sphere. If we ask this of donors, we need to be reciprically open.

The Dumpster is a different place with different rules of engagement.



This is a tough call for me, as you can imagine. I am very sensitive to the many good - indeed overwhelming - reasons that some highly ethical people choose to keep their identities private. My own struggles with "real identity" versus mask go deep. I do not believe that I speak more truly in propria persona. Far from it. I just watch my back better. The personas we create and negotiate in real life are pious frauds, as much as not. A well-maintained "pseud," attached via the owner of the site to a real email address works fine for me personally. But for those who are new to the net, and who come from public life, it can be disconcerting to move in a conversational space with masked figures, some of whom are violently irreverent, and who can "hit and run," with no real social cost. The end result is that the denigators of giving, the cynics, end up homesteading the space and the real givers, or the public figures, move on. Nothing changes. The opportunity is missed.

The idea of two allied spaces, one in propria persona, the other a harlequinade or masquerade ball, appeals strongly to me, if only because it allows for some truly interesting effects. "The Sincere Man" on site A, sends himself up on Site B. We need this kind of tunneling into and under the fictions we call "real." But to attract established Players to our stage at all, we need to offer them a safe space, or the illusion of one.

Two conversations, running roughly parallel, one commenting on the other, the second oblivious to the first - now does that not have fine possibilities? In the Dumpster the masked revellers are invisible, non-persons - just like in real life. They are uninvinted, disinvited, just like in real life. Yet, they can be cited, can't they? Posts here can cite posts in the Dumpster and the comments as well.

This is the best I have been able to figure out. The conventions dramatize a pre-existing reality, and both undergird and undermine it, if you read this site and the Dumpster site together.

JJ commoner

I think these are good first steps at bringing a standardized "change management" process to the practice of philanthropy. Long may it run.

Plus ca change, etc.

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