Welcome to… “Lazy Consensus.”
Could anything sound less like “How impatient people can change the world?” This is a phrase that rings of nothing more than lying in a hammock, singing kumbaya. But my goal will be to introduce lazy consensus as a tactical approach for moving committees and organizations and institutions (and, hey, maybe even nation-states!) despite themselves. And I have another message today. “Lazy consensus: you oughta wield it — because it’s already being wielded against you.”
If yes is your lazy-consensus default and the clock runs out with no major objections to the original proposal being voiced, the group moves forward with it. If you have to go back to the drawing board because people do object, you go – but the comforting thing about this tactic is that at least you didn’t stay there, at the starting line, forever and ever amen. You’re always moving quickly to concrete, generally reasonably-implementable proposals that (in most cases, in my experience) only need some iteration and adjustment before they’re good to go. And the beautiful thing for large, slow-moving, and bureaucratic organizations (like libraries) is that, to stop you from rolling forward, somebody had to be paying enough attention to notice, and then had to care enough to craft and voice an opinion behind which others might see a plausible rationale. This lies in contrast to the situation in far too many organizations and groups, where, oftentimes, an untoward amount of institutional inertia or even disengagement must be overcome before anybody feels licensed to move.
You might be tempted to sum all this up as “Fortes fortuna adiuvat.” But the basic idea behind lazy consensus is a little less Gladiator and a little more Downton Abbey. It’s a social contract, which works like this. If we operate in by lazy consensus, we already agree on one thing: if you can’t be bothered to say yes or no to my proposal in a timely fashion, you probably don’t fundamentally care about what happens on this occasion – so we’re not waiting on you, and will assume (no harm, no foul!) that you are getting yourself out of the way while those of us who do care carry on.
The Unix environment offers librarians and archivists high-quality tools for quickly transforming born-digital and digitized assets, such as resizing videos, creating access copies of digitized photos, and making fair-use reproductions of audio recordings. These tools, such as ffmpeg, lame, sox, and ImageMagick, can apply one or more manipulations to digital assets without the need to manually process individual items, which can be error prone, time consuming, and tedious. This article will provide information on getting started in using the Unix environment to take advantage of these tools for batch processing.
Then I realized I could connect the complaint with the scores of “intellectual elite” (as my manager described them) in UNIX shops. The common thread was wordsmithing; a suspiciously high proportion of my UNIX colleagues had already developed, in some prior career, a comfort and fluency with text and printed words. They were adept readers and writers, and UNIX played handily to those strengths. UNIX was, in some sense, literature to them. Suddenly the overrepresentation of polyglots, liberal-arts types, and voracious readers in the UNIX community didn't seem so mysterious, and pointed the way to a deeper issue: in a world increasingly dominated by image culture (TV, movies, .jpg files), UNIX remains rooted in the culture of the word.
"The SharedCanvas data model enables the construction of views by distributed collaborators, by annotating a shared "Canvas" resource which is then rendered using a presentation system. This allows any sort of resource to be included from different servers or repositories, for further annotations such as commentary to be added using the same underlying technologies, and to promote further additions by third parties.
The initial use case for SharedCanvas comes from the medieval manuscript domain, where the view is of a single page constructed potentially from several images from different libraries or museums, as manuscripts are tragically often cut up and physically separated. Many different images of a page may exist, along with a transcriptions, editions and translations of the text. In other cases, the text may be well known but no images are available because the original page has been lost."
- Live in the Valley. If you don’t, move. The pioneers who are connecting the global human family and removing barriers of time and space won’t take you seriously unless you brunch at the same restaurants they do. Ideally you should live in “The City,” which is on a peninsula, and not on “The Peninsula,” which is in a valley.
- We expect you to click with us “organically,” which means on our schedule. Be flexible with your time. It’s best to behave as though you have nothing better to do all day but wait for us to call you in for coffee or some skateboarding.
- Don’t overdress, but don’t underdress. You should mirror as precisely as possible our socioeconomic level, social cues, and idiom. Remember unlucky Mr. Hoops. But no pressure, you know? Laidback.
- To distinguish yourself from the throngs, find a way to surprise us that has nothing to do with your ability to perform your job. Maybe you could bring some appropriately quirky luxury foods as tribute.
- You are expected to read everything we blog about and work it into the conversation. This shows commitment.
- We don’t actually want to talk to you. You need to locate someone else in our social circle and convince them to send us a “warm intro.” This is a wonderfully recursive time-waster, as those people will want a warm intro from someone they know before talking to you, and so on.
- We’re objective meritocratic folks and will violently reject any suggestion that we are not. We totally won’t “ding” you for not doing steps 1-6, we swear. But they help. Totally.
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