Stock and Flow

Some clear, sensible, extremely practical suggestions on balancing production (via). It’s a problem — tractable in principle, but tricky, and easy to get wrong — that a lot of people are working at right now, NRx very much included. I’ve not seen it stated with such conceptual elegance before now.

… stock and flow is the master metaphor for media today. Here’s what I mean:
* Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.
* Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.
I feel like flow is ascendant these days, for obvious reasons — but we neglect stock at our own peril. I mean that both in terms of the health of an audience and, like, the health of a soul. Flow is a treadmill, and you can’t spend all of your time running on the treadmill. Well, you can. But then one day you’ll get off and look around and go: Oh man. I’ve got nothing here. […] But I’m not saying you should ignore flow …

NRx epitomizes the problem. It’s been through a phase of excited flow, but the question of stock-building is becoming unavoidable. Correct too hard, and the current dies altogether. Fail to correct at all, and nothing gets built. Every time I see someone burn out of Twitter, it looks to me as if the stock-flow balance problem has claimed another casualty. At least, that’s what I now realize I’ve been seeing.

April 23, 2015admin 29 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Practicalities


29 Responses to this entry

  • Stock and Flow | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on April 23rd, 2015 at 10:41 am Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    It’s been through a phase of excited flow, but the question of stock-building is becoming unavoidable.

    I have often over the years described this problem as “reality needs editors.”

    Any project begins with a proliferation of ideas, but these create a chaotic entropy where soon there are too many potential paths to do anything.

    You can see this in the interface of a program that has been around for a decade or more. Feature creep soon makes what once was a tool into a research project.

    Inherent lowercase-c conservatism steps in as people are unwilling to change what has worked before.

    With #NRx, which is a form of “salon” for discussing post-liberal politics, the number of voices has created cacophony because few are in harmony, mainly because the incentive to come up with something “new and exciting” for each blogger to prove himself worthy of reading.


    Kgaard Reply:

    How is that cacophony bad? The sign of a healthy movement is internal strife and argument. Those who have something interesting to say get read, those who don’t go reader-less. Seems like a great system to me …


    Izak Reply:

    I’d say the sign of an even healthier movement is total lockstep conformity.


    Rasputin Reply:

    @ Kgaard: “The essence of Right is structural & intellectual coordination. Operating a right wing movement by leftist techniques is a good way to fail.” Moldbug.


    neovictorian23 Reply:

    What Neoreaction needs now is a vicious smear piece in a major magazine, or even better, on MSNBC or PBS’s Frontlines, detailing how this horrifying conspiracy of racist/sexist/white/cismales has infiltrated Silicon Valley and may even be secretly recruiting at Princeton, Harvard and Yale. Those interviews with people in shadow are desired.

    Kind of like the Mark Shea hoax material, only slightly less plausible. Some Crowleyan sex magick wouldn’t hurt, either. This would:

    1) Draw the interest a lot of High-IQ badboys;
    2) Inflame the right people to say stupid things;
    3) Reinvigorate the Reactosphere to produce more “stock” in response.

    I’m looking up Melissa Paris-Harry’s phone number right now…


    nydwracu Reply:

    Bad boys are boring. How do we attract stock-producers?

    (With great difficulty, since we don’t have a research institution or anything. But we know it can be done, since it was done once, back before the thing got a name and disappeared up its own asshole.)


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    Start with the hardest stock – aesthetic objects.

    neovictorian23 Reply:

    Well, “bad-boys” is a rhetorical device. High-IQ good-boys at Princeton are probably already hopeless Progs. Though some few will presumably be mugged by reality when they’re fired for snickering at he wrong joke at the corporate retreat.

    Posted on April 23rd, 2015 at 12:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • Scharlach Says:

    Gives an interesting twist to Pareto distributions. 80% of anything is shit and destined to be forgotten, one-and-done, but somehow the 20% that rises to the top relies on the continual production of forgettable shit that is the long tail distribution.


    Posted on April 23rd, 2015 at 3:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dark Psy-Ops Says:

    Neoreaction has no paywall and has only a couple of short books by Anissimov and Laliberte. It’s written ‘stock’ lies largely in blogs free to access, and most times plugged straight into the ‘flow’ through the (valuable IMO) comments section. The twitter feed is all flow, but its ‘stock’ is counted in followers and reputation, it tells the history of the NOW in subscription form, numerically constrained to promote instant transfer.’NRx’ (the tag) has disappeared into the sprawling crowds of social media, and will soon infiltrate every sink, drain and tunnel of the virtual megaplex. Neoreactionaries (the group) are beginning to fear they will somehow get lost in the impending tragedy of commons, or if they already have. In my opinion a combination of personal loyalty and POI ensures social dynamics will largely remain intact. The greatest threat to neoreaction is not ‘too much’ dissipation, as we’re often told. If twitter is oppressive and demented, as I hear, an increase in lengthy posts or book-length publishing could be the answer. Either that or neoreaction could call the whole thing off, admit futility, or maybe descend into the esoteric privacy of a tribal fraternity, structured via strict assumptions of authority, and ready to throw in everyone’s towel with their own.

    Cyber-time is the mind-fuck, and the pieces linked in OP describe it well, the motivation-damper of the internet, its nightmare, ‘harder to read the internet than Ulysses’ is spot on. Except this guy says he misses the ‘sense of an ending’ whereas NRx seems to have a sense of perpetual ending, or maybe that’s the same thing.


    Posted on April 23rd, 2015 at 3:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    these questions summarised excellently here

    “We will continue to declare intellectual sovereignty, continue to take the measured and analytic approach that appeals to serious intellectuals”

    Declaring sovereignty – means war (intellectual of course) and war by Clausewitz is continuation of politics by other means. If this is correct, how NRx may be anti-political.


    Posted on April 23rd, 2015 at 3:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dark Psy-Ops Says:

    Neoreaction markets reality, and is thus banned from mainstream publishing, which deals in the obstruction of non-fiction and its transmission into palatable fiction for the public. White lies for the whites, to keep their long declining hearts free of worry. This may be an overly bleak analysis but it is hardly without accuracy. The cathedral is based entirely on the rejection of a certain identity, basically ‘dead’ European men, and most often living ones too. Negative solidarity through intersectionalism, finding a compliant slave-base in the European race and religion. The question is not whether the Cathedral is ‘good or bad’, the question is whether you can live with it, and the answer is NO, you are precisely the thing it is designed to exclude, it’s not even up to you. Most people can tolerate formal thought-control, censorship, institutional and mandatory lying, and be perfectly content. They think they’ve finally discovered the Nothing.


    Mechanomica Reply:

    Your diagnosis of the problem here is spot on (both comments), although I do hope you’re not too serious about the “throw in the towel” bit. Retreat into esoteric fraternities and private lists/forums may be an appropriate strategy at this point for some people around here, but I think the continuance of publicly accessible work is crucial. Those who don’t absolutely *need* to go calcinate in private at this point should stick around.

    There’s a lot that can be done to work with what we’ve got—even to twist some of the disadvantages around to our advantage. The suggestions you made above are solid. We need a return of higher quality, less-clickbaity work. Trawling around the internet (and IRL, too) for buzz about NRx, what I’m hearing from fence-sitters is a hunger for material of undeniable competence and clarity (and less material that reeks of personal insecurity and lazily paved-over emotional problems). They’re essentially saying to us: “Ok, if you’re so darkly enlightened, why don’t you *show* me?”

    Indeed, why not? Certainly there’s the aptitude around here to do so, especially lurking in the corners. Bring it forth. Conditions are excellent right now. Outside criticism of this type should be interpreted as an expression of interest and a challenge to be accepted.


    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    Ok, so maybe I was too harsh on the esoteric communities thing, and I don’t have a properly theoretical opposition to them, except simple skepticism of their relevance (at this stage). I’m with you in thinking the written work is most essential, and has only just begun.


    Posted on April 23rd, 2015 at 4:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • sobl Says:

    Very surprised that with all the talk of filters, that the Twitter ragequits are viewed as a filter of sorts


    Posted on April 23rd, 2015 at 11:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • Zimriel Says:

    Is it crass to mention here that NRx *does* have stock? I am not talking (only) about Moldbug’s and Radish’s body of work; most of what they did was to link to past work anyway.

    Dante’s “De Monarchia”. Podyedonotseff’s “Reflections of a Russian Statesman”. Henry Maine. Thomas Carlyle. The Dunning School. Aesop; Polybius; Tacitus. There is our stock.


    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    I thought Burnham was quite clear on being against ‘De Monarchia’


    Chris B Reply:

    Very, he uses the whole thing (his book) as a contrast against Machiavelli’s work. He analyses ‘De Monarchia’ and deems the formal message as being ridiculous nonsense about some utopia, with with the informal meaning being a pro-holy roman empire/ anti-florence piece.


    Zimriel Reply:

    I (now) think that Burnham missed Dante’s point. (So did I when I first read Burnham. My comments in that Moldbug thread were ignorant, and to be ignored.) As a result it is difficult to accept Burnham’s critique.

    When Dante speaks about God in his “formal” message, he is speaking about what should be taken as axiomatic. In a democracy we take majority-rule as axiomatic. If we make axiomatic, instead, the sovereign’s right under the TianMing: many blessings flow from that. Or, so Dante argues.

    Dante did dress it up in mediaeval Catholic humbug, but he had to.

    Chris B Reply:

    I’m not sure I agree with you, but I will need to think on it some more. In the meantime you encouraged me to go back through the archives for this –

    Reading the comment section is depressing. We live in an intellectual desert peopled with ignorant savages compared to that. Also, for anyone curious, I think you may be able to get a copy of The Machiavellis via libgen.

    Richard Brookes Reply:

    Blogs are not usually stock—they assume the context of a conversation and lose coherence as that context passes. If some posts in a blog are exceptions (as is frequently the case), they nevertheless become lost among the ephemera.

    I have attempted to turn blog content into stock, in this process. I would call the technique unproven, though.


    Posted on April 24th, 2015 at 3:14 am Reply | Quote
  • nydwracu Says:

    Problem: flow -> instant feedback / incentivization, whereas stock -> a lot of nothing until you’re finished. How can this be solved? Is there a way to break up stock-building into chunks of flow, without hurting the quality of the end product? / to harness flow-incentivizers (Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) and use them to work toward building stock?


    zaogao Reply:

    Serials. This is also what Moldbug did.


    pseudo-chrysostom Reply:

    >How can this be solved?

    having something to do outside of browsing nrx blogs.


    Posted on April 24th, 2015 at 7:20 am Reply | Quote
  • ce Says:

    @E. Antony Gray (@RiverC)

    Start with the hardest stock – aesthetic objects.

    Notice how Moldbug and Roissy both had their origins in the group blog 2Blowhards, which was heavily based around aesthetic criticism.


    Posted on April 25th, 2015 at 4:18 am Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2015/04/29 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] NRx’s stock/flow problem. […]

    Posted on April 29th, 2015 at 5:01 am Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    Neoreaction has a back door at daily caller. It’s time for some of our best writers to get over there and start plugging topical nrx ideas in non-inflammatory ways to the wider right.


    Chris B Reply:

    @ “NRx ideas” – not sure I have a idea what they are now + “non-inflammatory ways” – So you are advocating bending to Cathedral media frames? Nrx has fallen low….


    Posted on April 29th, 2015 at 2:23 pm Reply | Quote

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