Guerilla Gardening Gone Off the Rails

Alex Rollin alex.rollin at
Sun Aug 15 09:10:06 EDT 2010

FYI you can join the list here if you like:

On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 3:09 PM, Alex Rollin <alex.rollin at> wrote:

> There is a place for leadership.  I just received another update to my
> recent post.
> Tough rough stuff.  Perhaps there is enough there to inform your research.
>  Any advice on how to proceed is welcome.
> Alex
> On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 2:54 PM, Anne Moreland <
> judithdaviestripp at> wrote:
>> Gated Virtual Communities and the Exercise of Coercive Power = Comply or
>> get out. Written policies need to be in place to curtail the arbitrary
>> exercise of coercive power. Almost every relationship can become a power
>> play at one point or another. The ones who have the power to impose their
>> will upon others by whatever means become instruments of oppression over
>> time.
>> I will be glad to research this topic since the problems of injustice
>> associated with binary relationships defined as subjugator and subjugated
>> are endemic.
>> j
>> On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 6:33 AM, 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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