[MG] Minimal start plan - inter-community network

conseo 4consensus at web.de
Tue May 24 05:56:54 EDT 2011

 On Tue, 24 May 2011 02:44:00 -0400, Michael Allan wrote:

> Thomas wrote:
>> So I do agree with Alexander on this.  But nevertheless I also agree
>> with Mike and Conseo, that it would give a boost to the whole thing,
>> if several communities were involved in a consensus-finding-effort
>> and if they would know of each other. I mean, the whole
>> crossforum-design was inspired by this idea, wasnt it?
> Yes and no.  It was inspired by crossforum ranging, which needed tool
> supports: http://u.zelea.com/w/User:Mike-ZeleaCom/Crossforum_ranging
> But I don't suggest we go with crossforum ranging.  It's too 
> contrived
> and fails to address what's needed for sustained growth.  Sustained
> growth appears to depend on network effects.
> Network effects figure in that essay you sent by Wiersma.  I disagree
> with some of what he writes.  His focus on "critical mass" is
> misleading.

 Hey, this is what I'd liked to say about it as well (if I had the time) 

> I think the *quality* of interactions matters more than
> the quantity or density.  On the other hand, I agree that 
> expectations
> of growth are crucial and I think he also mentions this.  Overall he
> seems to be in the right ballpark with network effects, and it's
> surprising we missed it. *
>> I didnt picture a seperate community-space map, just a headline over
>> each speech-bubble from which forum/community it comes. But I admit
>> a seperate map for that sounds compelling.

 Why? If it is in the feed then it is accessible in any map. (Maybe this
 is your problem(?))

> Yes.  The problem space is an inter-community space and that's what 
> we
> need to show in view F.  So we can't use the votespace map: **
> http://zelea.com/project/votorola/a/crossforum/vote/_/3.xht
> Our first-time viewer will be brought to view F because of her
> membership in an active community, i.e. one that is using the
> consensus making tools.  The problem for growth and maintenance is 
> the
> failure of that activity to extend to other communities.  This 
> failure
> cannot be seen or addressed from votespace.
> For example: We know our viewer is a member of an active community
> (a).  Suppose she is not herself active.  Further, suppose she is a
> member of a second community (b) that is not active at all.  She 
> looks
> into community space and sees (a) active, (e) active and (b) not
> active.  The idea occurs to her, "I could extend activity to (b)."
>     *(a)*  (b)   (c)
>                         network extent: 40%
>         (d)  *(e)*
> Something like that might be sufficient to catalyze a "low mass" but
> nevertheless "critical" reaction.  The minimal "critical mass" in 
> this
> case would consist of four active participants split between (a) and
> (e), or even less if we allow for the interventions of the outfit 
> (H).

 Sounds good. In general I think we should try to hook into some 
 based on specific problems to try it out. That is why I have proposed
 climate change, since it is a) (in contrary to abortion) a globally 
 issue and b) the reasoning behind networking is higher imo as it is 
 more emancipatory than abortion discussions (which are basically pushed 
 religious fundamentalist at most and they are not so much interested in
 consensus with infidels) and c) a very rich topic, where single issues
 need to be extended to other activists. We also have some people from
 "Code of the Willing" * already here on the list I think (Hello Michael
 Miranda and friends :-)) and some are on our IRC channel on freenode

 They are also trying to catalyze the network effect with a "dating 
 They are trying to raise $10.000 for this and lack the code/platform 
 yet. Maybe
 they are willing to cooperate to create a general infrastructure and 
 with us.

>> > H. The seeding of the inter-community network is coordinated by an
>> > outfit that is dedicated to that purpose. They are the ones who
>> > ensure, for example, that requirement G is met.
>> I feel that Metagov would be the natural home of this outfit.
> If others agree, then why not?

 +1 It would be awesome if Metagov could become the home for this.

> Ed wrote:
>> Would it be conceivable for the communities to be focused on the 
>> same
>> topic but fervently opposed to each other?
>> For example, on the topic of abortion (which is extremely
>> controversial at least here in the United States), there are several
>> vibrant communities on each side of the issue, plus numerous other
>> communities which have sub-groups discussing one side or the other, 
>> or
>> sometimes both.
>> I have always felt that most of this "debate" is spurred by 
>> political
>> parties, and that a real synthesis-driven effort could bring about
>> some important consensuses in this realm.
> That makes sense.  Some of the irrational antics (even violence) of
> that "debate" may stem from frustration at being unable to express
> solutions in a legitimate form.  So framing it as piece of
> participative legislation (for example) might draw off much of that
> poison.

 Possible, but I fear that this is a rather superficial topic. Yet it is
 a good one to test how well the tools scale in a very adverse 
 But we might fail here, while elsewhere we might have succeeded...

> All yesterday I was going around in circles looking for a way to get
> started on something like this.  Eventually I ended up with a list of
> design problems.  These are both technical and organizational, and 
> the
> two are intertwined: **
> ---------------
>    1. What view can meet the requirements of F, plus the following
>       additional requirement?
>          iv. Support self-seeding of the inter-community network by
>              the ad-hoc efforts of its members, rather than by the
>              organized interventions of the outfit (H).
>       The network must grow independently at some point, and that
>       point must be reached before the resources of the outfit are
>       over extended or otherwise exhausted.  So it makes sense to
>       identify the mechanisms of internal growth and tap into them as
>       early as possible.
>    2. What forms of intervention are likely to be required by the
>       outfit (H) depite the self-seeding mechanisms of 1?
>       Until we know the expected functions of the outfit, we cannot
>       design its structure.

 Thinking about it quickly, it is supposed to give each user a view of
 potentially interesting communities for extended activism. So it needs
 to create a representative (social) network of the different 
 and the position of the viewer in it. I am most interested in a) local
 groups potentially interested in the issue, b) global groups which have
 a close target interest to mine, etc. Maybe we need to hook into social
 networks and other web services for this to be most effective. Not only
 Facebook comes to mind, but basically any service around specific 
 of activists.

>    3. How augment the view to meet the requirements of I, plus the
>       following additional requirement?
>          iv. Support for the interventions of 2, including:
>              a) Warning system to show where and when intervention is
>                 needed.

 You mean detection of starving or locked consensus building efforts?

>              b) Tracking system to show interventions that are in
>                 progress.

 This is very important to get people interested and accelerate the
 "network effect" imo.

>              c) Audit system to show location and intensity of past
>                 interventions.  Together with F.iii, this should
>                 provide a measure of efficacy,

 In general I have thought during the last days that especially the
 history of the consensus building is very interesting and will draw 
 interest than any hardcoded propagation imo, since it is interesting in
 itself, even for people not yet willing to get active. Studying history
 is very often the way to become politically or socially engaged.

> If we solve these problems, then I think we'll have a complete
> design for the method.  Or did I miss something?
> ---------------
>    4. How are the community members to be exposed to view F?
>       This is a difficult problem.  The current practice of 
> discussion
>       refit exposes the members to the difference bridge alone.
>       Here's a band-aid solution:
>           i. Embed a link at the top of each discussion thread
>              pointing to view F.

 Ok, so I guess the feed won't do it as a central point alone, but a
 mapper is truely needed if it is the most propagated peace.

>          ii. Give F a distinctive icon that is prominently displayed
>              in the view itself.
>         iii. Link from the difference bridge to view F, using the
>              distinctive icon.
> Thomas von der Elbe wrote:
>> On Sun, 22 May 2011 10:17, Michael Allan wrote:
>> > Would these requirements be sufficient?  If so, we could start 
>> filling
>> > in some details of the method.
>> Some details:
>> - the switch between the maps (btw maybe something for Azhar?) is a
>> tricky thing for me to imagine. How will it behave if I zoom into
>> Germany with geo-map, then switch to the community-map, zoom into
>> one community and then switch to the social map and zoom into one
>> branch ...  Should they all be interconnected so that they remember
>> the previous zoom or not?
>> - adding the voting feature to the social map is essential imo.
> For me, I can't clearly see what to code unless I'm using the tools 
> in
> a realistic context.  Then I need to let the problems surface and get
> a feel for them.  Context also helps because sometimes it contains
> elements of the solution that just aren't obvious until they're in
> front of my nose.

 +1 I think there are no shortcuts. But what definetly should be 
 (imo), is the drafting process. It is crucial, no matter what we do in
 the future, and we need to make that easier imo. It is not top 
 but it is something which can be worked upon, without limiting further
 movements of the design and can be seperated from Crossforum 

 * http://www.coalitionblog.org/ I have also CC'ed CotW's Tim Rayner.


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