By Mathieu O'Neil

People are inventing new methods of operating jointly on the web. Decentralised creation flourishes on weblogs, wikis and unfastened software program tasks. In Cyberchiefs, Mathieu O’Neil makes a speciality of the laws of those operating relationships. He examines the transformation of management and services in on-line networks, and the emergence of cutting edge types of participatory politics.

What are the prices and merits of possible choices to hierarchical company? utilizing case reports of on-line tasks or ‘tribes’ akin to the novel Primitivism archive, the day-by-day Kos political web publication, the Debian unfastened software program venture, and Wikipedia, O’Neil indicates that leaders needs to help greatest autonomy for contributors, and he analyses the tensions generated by way of this distribution of authority.

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Extra info for Cyberchiefs: Autonomy and Authority in Online Tribes

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Successful individuals are always busy, always active, drawing no difference between work and play. 58 The work practices embraced by hackers, such as high productivity, endurance, idiosyncratic reconfigurations of workspaces and unconventional time patterns, are those idealised by the new spirit of capitalism. Similarly, communication and production on the Internet epitomise the informational work ethic: successful bloggers ‘post’ non-stop – they are always active, always on. And creating a personal profile on social networking sites such as Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, Spoke or Facebook allows people to demonstrate the extent to which they are popular.

It is more useful to think of charisma as part of a continuum of authority procedures. 39 Secularised, mediated or institutionalised forms of charisma exist in the modern world, representing the injection of religious or extraordinary qualities into the everyday. Online charismatic energy is based on extraordinary attributes. 40 This coincided with the deployment of ‘pseudo-charisma’ in the mass media. 41 As the 2008 US presidential election cycle amply demonstrated, this analysis has lost none of its relevance: the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, drew large and enthusiastic crowds to carefully staged events.

If autonomy is the source of legitimacy, it follows that online authority must take pains to undermine itself, to avoid appearing heavy-handed and authoritarian. This effect is achieved by the use of auto-ironic or self-deprecating strategies. The best-known examples of anti-authority in the UNIX-inspired free-software tribe take the form of the reinterpretation of a charismatic archetype, that of the messianic guru. Richard Stallman often appears at conferences as ‘Saint IGNUcius of the Church of Emacs’, wearing a toga and holding a large computer disk platter in the guise of a halo over his head.

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Cyberchiefs: Autonomy and Authority in Online Tribes by Mathieu O'Neil


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