Guerilla Gardening Gone Off the Rails

Alex Rollin alex.rollin at
Sun Aug 15 08:19:48 EDT 2010

Thomas just helped me do a little rewrite.


Michel, the energy behind your threat is associated with my stated
intentions to expel you from the board.  I said in private that I want to
vote you off the board.  I don't see a problem with this intention.  This is
how democracy works.

To me, this is about democracy, and this is good.  Voting for and against a
position or for a representative is a good thing.

Maybe this is the subject we should talk about?

If this was a democracy I would vote you off.

I say I have a right to critique your use of authority and the decisions you

I want users to have rights.  I want users to be represented on the board.

I see democracy as an important part of a community.

I have a right to contact others. I have a right to learn from their
concerns and to share information with them.

Each individual has the right to ignore me.



On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 1:33 PM, Alex Rollin <alex.rollin at> wrote:

> I appreciate your interest in getting involved.  I also see the inequality
> as part of the problem.
> Please feel free to let me know how I can be of assistance in your
> contemplation of this situation within which I find myself.
> Perhaps you are aware of research on the subject.
> A
> On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 1:24 PM, Anne Moreland <
> judithdaviestripp at> wrote:
>> Alex,
>> Inequalities in power distribution usually results in the nemesis of
>> democratic oganization. I would like to be of assistance. I think what you
>> are wantring to address is crucial.
>> j
>> On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 5:14 AM, Alex Rollin <alex.rollin at>wrote:
>>> 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
>>> Rollin.
>>> 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
>>> archive?
>>> Thank you for considering my request.  I appreciate you are busy, and
>>> value the opportunity to connect with you further on this subject.
>>> Sincerely,
>>> Alex Rollin

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