Guerilla Gardening Gone Off the Rails

Alex Rollin alex.rollin at
Sun Aug 15 06:14:31 EDT 2010

Hello friends,

I've been involved in a horrific (for me) "speaking truth to
power" exercise this month.

You can see the archive in public!

The main participants in the thread are Michel Bauwens and myself, Alex

Michel is a founding member of the P2P Foundation and sits on the board.  He
has taken issue with me, and sees my wishes to engage in some sort of
official conflict resolution procedure as a power grab and a threat
(paraphrasing).  I am under threat of being banned from the community and
could lose some access to 774 pages of work I've done on the wiki.

My requests:

1.  that the board of the P2P Foundation put some policy in place that
outlines the rights of the users of the P2P Foundation website.  (Users have
no rights and can be banned/deleted ad hoc.)

2.  That one of these rights be access to a conflict resolution procedure; a
procedure which has Foundation policy as the backbone.  (Currently there is
no policy at all.)

3.  That the officials of the Foundation develop some "Pledge of Commitment"
that says, basically, that hey will use a process to handle conflict and
abstain from the exercise of official power when they are involved in the
conflict.  (Wikipedia has one like this here )

My concern:

I am concerned that users who watch the use of power exercised as a personal
warfare by board officials of the foundation, power that can ban and dismiss
ad hoc, that individual users become less and less willing to participate,
and finally become silent.  I contend that this type of behavior, of banning
people for having ideas and wishes, is deserving of some reigning in.  (Read
about the Foundation here if you like )

My request to you:

A member of the board does not see this process of "silencing" happening, as
such, and would appreciate some feedback on the subject.  He has asked me to
collect letters from people about their feelings on this dynamic of
the exercise of power, and has promised to respect whatever confidentiality
the authors request.  His names is James Burke, lifesized at .

My disclosure:

I realize that, if you look at the link above you will see an incredible
amount of information.  In fact, this is the ugliest, nastiest discussion I
have ever had the public pleasure of participating in.  I have made
mistakes, and I have done my best, and I am currently silent under the
threat of banishment.  I have participated to this extent because I have
worked on 774 pages of "work product" on one of the P2P Foundation systems,
the wiki, from which I could be banned at any moment.  Larger than that,
though, I generally agree with the mission of the foundation, and I value
the multitude of perspectives that create the wiki

I would not fault you for criticizing my behavior.  I do not think I did
"all the right things" by any means.  However, how "right" constructed,
here, and how it is enforce are the actual issues.  As you consider how you
would proceed, you are free to consider my behavior and provide feedback to
me which I would value greatly as a friend and fellow Guerilla Gardener.

As this was my largest effort at Guerilla Gardening to date, and as I have
seen horrendous failure, I see this as relevant.   I do not believe that you
are bound to support me, or that you should, really.

If you choose to participate, though, please know that I see our mutual
interest as that of Guerilla Gardeners, and that I believe that this
"silencing" dynamic, is an important feature of the space.  When
participatory democracy is online, it can be possible to simply remove
access to the systems.  This silences people.

How should folks understand this as feature/benefit of "online participatory
governance" ?

What should a group understand about these dynamics and how they might
interact with the policy requests I am making above?  What is an appropriate
board policy for engaging community stakeholders when the conversation is in
a public forum?

What should James know, on that subject, based on what you see in the

Thank you for considering my request.  I appreciate you are busy, and value
the opportunity to connect with you further on this subject.


Alex Rollin

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Votorola mailing list