v-2 Organisation : Adam Greenfield 4th October 2006
Given how very much this community has given to me, though, I feel like I owe folks an explanation for my increasing alienation...even if nobody's asked for one. If I'm able to express myself correctly, it should shed some light on why I have been so reluctant to endorse, let alone embrace, the various events and causes to which more a few of you have invited me to lend support over the last few years.
Please bear in mind, as you read the following, that in this case all the usual disclaimers are utterly sincere. I really do respect the hell out of the parties involved, and equally, I mean this criticism - however blunt - to be both constructive and useful.
A lot of this distance is a healthy, and probably inevitable, structural consequence of the field's reaching maturity. The stirring challenges of those first couple of years are now largely resolved, and to the extent that those challenges were constructed as dialectics, most of them broke against the "big IA" viewpoint I was personally most invested in. Practitioners in the field, by and large, now spend their time and energy not in abstract definitional debates but in the nitty-gritty, day-to-day details of managing information flow in the large-scale enterprise. Given that this was never anything I found particularly captivating, it's understandable why I'd look elsewhere for inspiration.
Bloug : Lou Rosenfeld - 31 Oct 2006
I admire Adam, not only for his broad and obvious intellect, but for the almost tender sincerity he displays while admonishing the field of IA for its lack of intellectual curiosity. Many of his criticisms are spot on. He notes that we've collectively constructed "an environment in which pointed criticism is rarely heard or countenanced". We definitely can be too nice, although let's face it: we're typically not the kind of people who like to make a fuss. And in his understandable impatience, Adam is right to urge us to go further in how we define our problem space, pushing beyond the obvious challenges of intranets, enterprise settings, and so on.
Really, as I read his posting, I find it hard to disagree with much of what Adam has to offer. But when I think about how new fields naturally evolve, much of his thesis falls apart. He's making a common mistake, really: he's forgetting history and his role in it.