Map vs Filter, or “You’re not here to tell me about the short run Richard!”

A new interview up on this rather lovely indie/small press online book emporium 0s-01s. It provokes me into thinking about models for managing signal:noise ratios in a world of cultural abundance. And provokes me into extravagant metaphors, though that takes so little provocation. Seduces me, perhaps?


Your idea of leaving more rights on the side of the writer (or at least giving them the opportunity to reconsider) might imply a positive view of self-publishing, but I have the feeling your thoughts on the subject are more complex than that.

Yes! I’m rather hoping the term self-publishing disappears, in fact. Since the degree of internal variance in the different circumstances of different self-publishing scenarios is far greater than the variance between self-publishing and other-publishing.

That’s a great point.

Plus many indie presses began by publishing the founders’ first books. Or their friends.

Very true. Well, ignoring whether the name sticks around, what are your hopes for the concept moving forward?

I believe in more publishing, not less. The more tools for creations and dissemination, the better.

Which, in turn, puts more of a stress on curation, no?

I believe that culture is like democracy, that for all the problems of letting any old idiot vote, it’s better than not letting particular people vote because you don’t think they’re voting the right way, the best way, etc. Yeah, though the word “curation” is being asked to do way more than it can do.

How do you mean?

It’s a catch-all phrase, a sort of wand we wave over the chaos.

What’s a better phrase, or a statement for what’s needed?

I think of there being two models for organizing information (but I’m more than willing to entertain others!) One is filter. The other is map. I lean map, for the most part. Though filter can work, under the right circumstances. Map aids serendipity. Filter reduces serendipity.

Here’s the whole shebang. Make sure to browse the site after you’re done.