Missing Policies for the Mad Tea Party and What to Learn from The Jabberwocky

I am trying to re-gain control over the blog award nomination process, or I pretend to do so. postmoderndonkey had called it a Mad Tea Party of a nomination process – and right he was.

You may accuse me of making this blog the strange attractor of a self-referential loop of weird referrals to itself and to blogs of like-minded subversive elements – and right you are as well.

Sydney Aquarium Mad Hatters Tea Party (7238145586)

Mad Hatters Tea Party as they celebrate it in Sydney today or probably all over the world (Wikimedia). Pardon my ignorance, but I had always figured the Tea Party being related to US politics?

For the first time on this blog, or the first ever, The Subversive El(k)ment has played by the rules when accepting an award. But I am not a role model, obviously, as the report of the Global Blog Award Acceptance Policies Enforcement Task Force Initiative proves in the most shocking way.

  • There are philosophers and writers nominating each other back and forth, breaking the non-tag-back-rule and putting the causal structure spacetime at risk.
  • Some nominees start out promising, applying a paragraph numbering scheme that Wittgenstein might have loved, but they stop at item x with [x < (Items demanded as per award rules)]
  • Others simply say they will ‘add more items later’ – as if this were an option!
  • Or they post their – not even fully compliant – reply to the comments’ section of your well-craft nomination post.
  • And on an on.
  • Until some postmodern writer decides to nominate the whole galaxy and to declare the ellipsis a trophy.
    (I knew what Ellipsis is without googling!)
  • The most subversive blogger was compliant with the rules, but found a loophole in the non-tag-back directive which made this response probably the most subversive.

I do not disclose the identities of the subversive bloggers for confidentiality reasons. I am just adding some random collection of links. Google shuns spammy pages containing too many links, so chances are this post of mine will not be indexed by search engines and your online reputation is not damaged (even more).

Geeky philosopherphilosophical spam poetpoetic broom closetclose to madness or whateverwhatever postmodern meansmeaningful points of view

(If this link does not point to a specific post it might be due to a non-existent acceptance post as the reply has been posted to the nominator’s comments section.)

But all this is not your fault.

It is the lack of policies and processes as we use to say in The Corporate World. The originators of blog awards obviously have no training in quality management and writing Those Important Guidelines. You should have hired overpriced management consultants who would have written five volumes of seemingly great formal content on behalf of you, even if they just cut&pasted half of it from Wikipedia. I am speaking from experience here, but I cannot give you the details, otherwise  I would be Liable and Doomed According to This Agreement On Confidentiality.

What I would expect from a well-written Blog Award Process Specification Protocol:

  1. Define terminology: If you are nominated by somebody nominated by somebody else you have just nominated – is this tag-backing? Or should we call it tag-tag-backing? Tag-backing to the power of two? Or does the strength of the tag-back decay exponentially with the distance from the tagging person (distance as to be defined as the metric in the blogosphere hyper-dimensional vector space).
  2. Define overall goals: There will be inconsistencies in the rules created by inexperienced Junior Consultants. Stipulate that Alignment with the Prime Directive or whatever you call these goals will help to sort these out
  3. Define deadlines: There is no ‘adding items later’! You need to be assigned a task in The Corporate Resource Management Tool, report on your non-progress daily by checking red / amber / green of an iconized traffic light. The status as such does not result in any consequences, but not reporting on it does.
  4. Define responsibilities unambiguously: Even if this (1) counts a tag-backing – are you as the nominee accountable for tracing the chain of nominations back? Back over how many hops? How are you going to document this for future reference (Documentation = proof of this being Someone Else’s Fault).
  5. Define your org chart: Committees, working groups, regular meetings. You need controls! It must not happen that the award logo start mutating – as any change (“change” as to be defined in the Change Management Guidelines) needs to be approved by The Blog Award Corporate Identity Group.

You get the idea! Also the Internet would not work without proper definitions of protocols! These are protocols for machines mainly, but don’t we act like Turing machines on social networks anyway? Do you know if I am human really? (I digress.)

Internet standards are defined in the so-called Request for Comments (RFC), a set of publicly available documents compiled by The Internet Community (This is a technical term!). The RFC 2026 on the standardization process (very meta!) states:

   This memo documents the process used by the Internet community for
   the standardization of protocols and procedures.  It defines the
   stages in the standardization process, the requirements for moving a
   document between stages and the types of documents used during this
   process.  It also addresses the intellectual property rights and
   copyright issues associated with the standards process.

The blogosphere should take a closer look at these noble internet standards, designed for simplicity, clarity, but yet utmost precision and stability in communications. The overall Prime Directive had once been put forward by Jon Postel and it is called the Robustness Principle:

Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send.

The standardisation process does not need to be as tedious as it sounds. In contrast to management consultants, internet engineers are subversive. If any management consultant has ever followed this blog, he/she might unfollow now – but as a disclaimer I’d like to add: My job description was once close to ‘management consulting’, so I speak – as usual! – from experience.

And they managed to create what I call the spam poetry equivalent of standards such as the 

Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP/1.0) defined in RFC 2324:

...
   There is coffee all over the world. Increasingly, in a world in which
   computing is ubiquitous, the computists want to make coffee. Coffee
   brewing is an art, but the distributed intelligence of the web-
   connected world transcends art.  Thus, there is a strong, dark, rich
   requirement for a protocol designed espressoly for the brewing of
   coffee. 
...
   The web is world-wide.  HTCPCP is based on HTTP.
   This is because HTTP is everywhere. It could not be so pervasive
   without being good. Therefore, HTTP is good. If you want good coffee,
   HTCPCP needs to be good. To make HTCPCP good, it is good to base
   HTCPCP on HTTP.

And so finally and automagically, we are back to the Mad Tea Party and Lewis Carroll’s creatures:

The ARPAWocky was featured in RFC 527:

                    Twas brillig, and the Protocols
                         Did USER-SERVER in the wabe.
                    All mimsey was the FTP,
                         And the RJE outgrabe,
...

Reviewing the history of the original Jabberwocky poem in Wikipedia again I believe Lewis Carroll would have been a subversive spam poet today:
According to Chesterton and Green and others, the original purpose of “Jabberwocky” was to satirize both pretentious verse and ignorant literary critics. It was designed as verse showing how not to write verse, but eventually became the subject of pedestrian translation or explanation and incorporated into classroom learning.

TheJabberwocky

There is no conclusion! Feel free to start reading at the top again – the structure of this post is an isomorphism to the endless tag-backing loops closing on itself.

But I think it is obvious that I am pondering about founding a new blog award myself, isn’t it?

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14 thoughts on “Missing Policies for the Mad Tea Party and What to Learn from The Jabberwocky

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  3. Elke, one of the reasons I like blogging is that it provides me a ‘no holds barred’ release from my job. As I work at a Department of Education, as you might expect I have to spend my work time being very mindful of a complex set of rules and protocols.
    Blogging, on the other hand…ahhhhh such a nice release. So: no standards/rules/protocols for me :>)
    Other than respect and manners, of course :>)
    Oh, and I have added “Elkement” to both the browser’s and the word-processor’s local dictionary.

    • Thanks, Maurice for adding “Elkement”. Probably it would help if you also googled it 100s of times a day so Google would learn that I exist and am sought after 😉
      I can relate so much to what you say about your relationship with rules and protocols. They have been haunting ever since: corporate policies, IT security standards and now finally standards for the power grid, heat pumps etc.
      Initially, this should be a blog on science and more serious stuff, but the Subversive Element finally got the better of me – I need a break from rules, too! 🙂

  4. Hey Elke … entertaining for sure … crazy good stuff. I think that full comprehension, on my part, will only be achieved after rereading. Do you know of the Vulcan Mind Meld? If so, I wonder whether one may be achieved over the internet. Let’s try … one … two … three … gggrrrrrr. Nope … good try though. I’ll try rereading …. D

    • Thanks, Dave! Yes… I know… probably it helps if I say that I wanted to make it even weirder and longer? This is already the normal-blogger-ready version 🙂
      Of course I know the Vulcan Mind Meld 😀 😀 WordPress should really provide proper software interfaces here – allowinging to attach some electrodes to your temples and connect them via USB or a yet to be invented cycer-something-mind-connector interface to your PC and to the whole blogosphere. But chances are high this would ne misused by Borg-like species, in particular in The Corporate World.
      And I really, really wanted to write something more serious this time – about professional networking platforms and profiles, as I promised some posts ago… I need to think about it – probably all my wisdom about the corporate world and networking is contained in this post nonetheless?!

  5. I’m rather sure you are not “just” sophisticated AI, though you might have taken it as a compliment had I said so 😉 anyway, go ahead, create a new award. I would suggest part of the awarding process is that a nomination is not equal to being awarded; if you are nominated, in order to get the award, you must follow the rules of the award, and only a person who has the award can grant a nominee the award at their own discretion after all other conditions of the award are being met, thus creating a group that is interested in keeping standards for the award high

      • I like your suggestion of the nomination not yet being equal to being awarded – it reminds me of the three-way-handshake in TCP/IP: SYN – SYN/ACK – ACK. (OK, sort of – but I need to stick with my internet standards analogies to prove they are useful :-)) Thus in order to finish the set of steps correctly the nominee who has finally really been granted the award has to say the pass phrase in order to acknowledge receipt (publish and sign with a digital signature, I would invent digital blood for that matter).
        To tell you a secret – actually I wanted to make this post the “seeding post” initially, but then I decided these would be too much narrative levels, even for my most loyal followers. And I haven’t hired my consultants yet.
        I wanted to call it the Subversive Blogger award, but Michelle has informed me (in the comments of her subversive post on the award) that there is already another subversive award, but mostly awarded to blogs on religion. But probably it is more fun to make the name more obscure – so that one day I will be given this award by a blogger who does not know that I am the originator.

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  7. I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. 🙂 🙂 🙂 and 🙂 definitely 4 out of 4 grinning faces. I am going to link back into this post from this sentence: “Every once in a while this space [my blog] succumbs to the questionable intentions of a semi-subversive group of maverick blogging geeks.” Which refers to the rest of you, Liebsters, Elke included, intended with the greatest respect and warmth.

    • Thanks, Michelle! I was not sure if this post was probably too much 😉 .. but there cannot be enough subversion in this (business) world!
      You – and also Dan – help me a lot in getting closer to my ultimate goal with addressing me so often using the official elemental title: Make “The Subversive Element” or “Elkement” a brand (as the self-help consulting gurus / motivational speakers tells us): Someday, Google will not ask me “Did you mean element?” when I search for “elkement” – but it will be just the other way round! 🙂

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