About the Archive

Recomposition was active from August 2010 until March 2017. In February 2012 Recomposition moved from wordpress.com to a self-hosted WordPress installation. The site remained available until May 2019 when the installation stopped working and the entire site was eventually suspended by the service provider.

This site is an archival version of recomposition.info created from content downloaded in 2019. Work on this version continued on and off until the first public release in January 2022. It is no longer using WordPress so there are no more comments or other dynamic features, but it does preserve the articles in a more complete form than an Internet Archive snapshot.

Why An Archive?

Recomposition is part of a long tradition of workers' inquiry and that continues today, for example in Organizing Work. However, it experienced technical problems that likely culminating in a hack that brought the entire site down.

The biggest problem is that old WordPress versions are easy to hack, and the Recomposition installation was not kept up to date. This was aggravated by the fact that there was no process for creating, storing, and restoring backups.

Ultimately these issues stemmed from the decision to self-host WordPress for Recomposition. When Recomposition outgrew its free WordPress account a Fellow Worker suggested self-hosting on a cheap service provider. At the time this was cheaper than using WordPress.com and gave editors more control over the entire site. Not accounted for was the helpful automation around maintenance tasks (such as upgrading the installation).

Recomposition became inactive as members of the editorial board became unavailable, however the site should have been able to continue despite this. These technical problems caused the extensive efforts of IWW members to be temporarily lost.

Building For The Future

I have encountered Fellow Workers with significant IT skills (formal or self-taught) who sometimes chafe at hesitancy or lack of interest in moving various things in the union onto the internet. Recomposition is in some ways an exemplar for what the rest of the union is concerned about: a fire-and-forget contribution, where they will be left to maintain it, until it inevitably breaks beyond their already limited ability to fix things.

Working on projects for the IWW is not like your personal projects or something commercial. Remember the classic Rusty's Rules advice: "Run every meeting as if there were a hundred people, because someday there might be." This applies to IT work that is done for the union. Run every IT project as if you will be unavailable, because someday you will be. The most important feature is that the work be durable or we do a disservice to future generations of Wobblies.

To this end the archival version of Recomposition is just simple HTML, no dynamic components whatsoever and is therefore unhackable nor does it require any software updates. The HTML is generated when needed from Markdown files using Zola. As long as you have these files, you can generate the website so this also represents the backup. Zola itself is a single executable available for Windows and therefore it should be simple for any Fellow Worker to generate a new site with the original files.