[MG] Minimal start plan - inter-community network

Michael Allan mike at zelea.com
Fri May 20 19:55:59 EDT 2011

So this is my own plan, or the first part of it:


Consensus making only happens in communities of discussion.  The
success of the effort (I assume) is strongly correlated with
communicative competence.  Therefore the first successful attempt is
likely to occur in a community of exceptional competence.  But it is
difficult to create any community from scratch, never mind an
exceptionally competent one.  Therefore success is most likely to
occur in a community that is already well established.  In other
words, the success of the effort depends on the prior success of the
community.  It follows that we must develop our stuff for the express
purpose of seeding a consensus making effort in one or more successful

However, it seems unlikely that a single community could ever sustain
a discussion for long enough to demonstrate a consensus.  Discussions
tend to occur in topical bursts at unpredictable intervals.  When it
happens that the talk subsides, it will appear that the effort has
been a failure.  From this we may conclude that a successful attempt
must extend across many communities.  When the talk has died out in
one community, it will be picked up another, and only later will it
return over the same ground.  In this way the overall thread of
discussion may be kept alive, even while parts of it appear to die.
(In fact, they would merely go underground like the rhizome of a plant
spread laterally, and surfacing here and there.)  When people see
this, they will know that a consensus is still possibile.  They will
only judge the overall effort a failure if it dies out in all
communities; otherwise they will remain hopeful and renew their own

Is there a flaw in this argument?  If not, I can suggest what it might
take to get a "rhizome" growing.

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 416-699-9528

Originally posted to the mailing list of the Metagovernment Project:

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