swoa in Constant 2018

with observatory ambitions
(SWOA)]{.method .descriptor} [WARNING: this method may make more sense
if you first take a look at the [Something in the Middle Maybe
(SitMM)](http://pad.constantvzw.org/p/observatory.guide.sitmm) which is
an instance of a SWOA]{.warning .descriptor} [How: The interwebs hosts
many projects that aim to produce software for observing software, (from
now on Software With Observatory Ambitions (SWOA)). A comparative
methodology can be produced by testing different SWOA to observe
software of interest. Example: use different sniffing software to
observe wireless networks, e.g., wireshark vs tcpdump vs SitMM.
Comparing SWOA reveals what is seen as worthy of observation (e.g., what
protocols, what space, which devices), the granularity of the
observation (e.g., how is the observation captured, in what detail), the
logo and conceptual framework of choice etc. This type of observation
may be turned into a service (See also: Something in the Middle Maybe
(SitMM)).]{.how .descriptor} [When: Ideally, SWOA can be used everywhere
and in every situation. In reality, institutions, laws and
administrators like to limit the use of SWOA on infrastructures to
people who are also administering these networks. Hence, we are
presented with the situation that the use of SWOA is condoned when it is
down by researchers and pen testers (e.g., they were hired) and shunned
when done by others (often subject to name calling as hackers or
attackers).]{.when .descriptor} [What: Deep philosophical moment: most
software has a recu

gs, dashboards are all
instances of software with observatory ambitions and can not be
separated from software itself. Continuous integration is the act of
folding the whole software development process into one big feedback
loop. So, what separates SWOA from software itself? Is it the intention
of observing software with a critical, agonistic or adversarial
perspective vs one focused on productivity and efficiency that
distinguishes SWOA from software? What makes SWOA a critical practice
over other forms of sotware observation. If our methodology is testing
SWOA, then is it a meta critique of critique?]{.what .descriptor} [Who:
If you can run multiple SWOAs, you can do it. The question is: will
people like it if you turn your gaze on their SWOA based methods of
observation? Once again we find that observation can surface power
asymmetries and lead to defensiveness or desires to escape the
observation in the case of the observed, and a instinct to try to
conceal that observation is taking place.]{.who .descriptor} [Urgency:
If observation is a form of critical engagement in that it surfaces the
workings of software that are invisible to many, it follows that people
would develop software to observe (SWOAs). Testing SWOAs puts this form
of critical observation to test with the desire to understand how what
is made transparent through each SWOA also makes things invisible and
reconfigures power.]{.urgency .descriptor} [Note: Good SWOA software
usually uses an animal as a logo.:D]{.note .descriptor} [WARNING: Many
of the SWOA projects we looked at are promises more than running
software/available code. Much of it is likely to turn into obsolete
gradware, making testing difficult.]{.warning .descriptor} [TODO:


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