Catching up on quick thoughts #el30

Last week Stephen held an open hangout for his class #el30 and I had very much hoped to join. In my work (teaching) life this week was the week of exams, presentations, and submissions for the semester’s work, and so when students asked for help I did my best to make time. Some of that time ended up being during the hangout, and so I missed it.

I did catch up and as is my practice I jotted down some thoughts. They have been sitting on a page, not quite becoming a post, but as this week is about experience I thought I’d share. The first thing I wrote down was Roland’s question:

Is a reader of a book part of the community even if they never write anything about the book?

Experience. Due to the asynchronicity of my engagement – I was in effect a lurker, although not lurking by choice, but re-watching meant not actively participating. I still experience it and without writing about it I wouldn’t have that thread that connects me to what could/can/might be/is a sort of community. I consent. (does that give part consensus?) In an online, distance community there is something to be said for reaching out, even as a pen pal would have in days past, but the community happens when there is outreach and something is received. That’s why reflection and feedback are so important. It really is a loop – learning. Even on the simplest level of conceptual processes, we interact with our environment; we must eat and breathe. It is all about taking in and giving out, and we cannot exist with only one. I wonder if that analogy can extend to learning? I’m sure there are solitary minds, but we may never know about them.

Back to my short notes:

At one point, with a bout of realism, Stephen said that we will never have empathy. Will we really never have empathy? I disagree. I have to hope and believe. The butterfly effect is real and Rosa Parks was one girl and I am one girl and you are one person too.

It is true that there is no ‘all or nothing’, and consensus in those (or any) terms, inheriting archaic definitions, will not be found. However… Is there passive consensus? Yes. If you ask people if they agree they will deny it, but through actions, use, non-action there is a passive consensus. (an easy practical example is currency. Most people (again, no all or nothing) use money. Those who use ‘pay cards’ – credit/debit cards – enter into another level of consensus in the systems, the security, the process. Voicing considered opinions is one thing; demonstrating through practical action is another. It’s something to consider.

(Stephen how did you go from WW2 to blockchain?) <— just a random thought as the conversation on the hangout progressed.

At one point Stephen asked ‘How badly do we want encryption – do we want it to be unbreakable by the authorities?’

–I don’t think it is not about that, but instead about trust, integrity, confidentiality, and non-repudiation, as opposed to subverting a system.

Here’s an example where encryption is used and has nothing to do with anything but integrity. Imagine I have a static website with public information on it. Why would I need https to encrypt my page? The point of the encryption is not to keep something secret, but to maintain the integrity of the site. As site-holder I would not want a third party to inject their adds into my content.

Here too, there are no absolutes – these big terms are context specific.

Toward the end of the hangout, Stephen said one of those golden, unplanned things:

This isn’t a course, it’s a massive social event. 

(I am totally going to start all my classes like this 🙂 )

He went on to say that ‘openness is important’. –yes.

and ‘the distributed web doesn’t make it easier’. –Indeed.

Reach out, reach back; experience.


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