Protocol Histories

I had a subtle realization while researching Standards Make the World: protocols rarely make the history books. In the moment of creation, folks recognize and appreciate their role, but the stories lose fidelity over time.

I wrote up a companion essay to SMTW called Protocol Histories, using the CubeSat as a prime and current example.

I’m not sure why it happens, although I have a few theories. But my research also gave me some ideas about how to fix the problem by creating narrative oral histories.

If nothing else, the essay prompted one commenter to point out this excellent IBM commercial, an alternate universe where standards and protocol entrepreneurs are properly celebrated.

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Heh, you’re writing a book despite yourself :smiley:

Maybe you should just continue this newsletter essay approach and when you get to a dozen essays, compile them into a book

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Before reading your essay, here’s a suggestion:

Histories are story-based. Both stories and protocols are cohesion technologies favouring sequences. But while stories use surprise, protocols try to avoid surprise.
(at a lower scale, this is not quite the case since protocols are often about communication where information in Shannonian terms is the amount of surprise in a message).

I’ve been doing a lot of work on the reverse (Historical Protocols or Narrative Protocols). Think you’re asking a similar question: how should we narrate events as they unfold over time? Will share my own writing on the topic, once it’s published, if it helps.

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Please do share. I’m interested to see what you’re learning.

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