[MG] Minimal start plan - inter-community network

Michael Allan mike at zelea.com
Wed May 25 03:54:20 EDT 2011

C and Thomas,

C wrote:
>  Sounds good. In general I think we should try to hook into some
>  communities based on specific problems to try it out.  That is why
>  I have proposed climate change...

Maybe, though this is an operational question and might depend on the
design of the method.  I think we need a viable design first.

> > ---------------
> >    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).
>  +1
> >
> >       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.
>  +1
> >
> >    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
> communities 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 networks of
> activists.

None of the putative "social media" sites is oriented around
discussion and we depend absolutely on that.  Even Twitter is mostly
only for announcements.  I think the most social of the social media
are mailing lists, Web forums and face-to-face meetings (also Skype
and telephones, but only for private stuff).  Friend networks like
Facebook might give an entry to offline or private disussions (over
the backyard fence and what not) but currently we can't tool those.
We'll need to deploy on mobile devices for that.
> >    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?

I mean of any situation that threatens to wreck the effort on
requirement G. *  We may need to bring in elements of triage here,
since resources will be stretched, and so much depends on the
prospects of "healthy", self-sustained growth.  We only need to
succeed once.  It doesn't matter how many efforts fail along the way.

> >              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
> more interest than any hardcoded propagation imo, since it is
> interesting in itself, even for people not yet willing to get
> active. ...

Yes, something like that is the motivation behind requirement (I).  It
might be a good strategy for 1.  View F can show people struggling
with a problem and attempting to solve it.  The problem they are
struggling with is the overarching problem of lateral growth.  Since
it is a social problem and since it is presented in a social context,
the presentation itself invites the solution.  That invitation is the
message that must be conveyed to the viewer (albeit implicitly) within
about 2 seconds.  (Thomas, you don't like the word "theatre" in
Crossforum Theatre, but see how it fits here?)

So the purposes of views F and I tend to merge here, and the roles of
the community members and the outfit to merge with them.  This is
probably a good development because we want the facilitated growth to
dovetail neatly with the self sustained growth.  Transition points are
likely failure points.

> > If we solve these problems, then I think we'll have a complete
> > design for the method.  Or did I miss something?
> >
> > DESIGN PROBLEMS (solved)
> > ---------------
> >    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.

A map may be part of view F, but problem 4 prefigures this.  The
problem is how to make view F visibile within the discussion medium.
(This band-aid solution should do for now.)

> +1 I think there are no shortcuts. But what definetly should be
> improved (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 priority, but it is something which can be worked upon,
> without limiting further movements of the design and can be
> seperated from Crossforum development.

I have doubts that it can be improved in isolation.  Drafting serves
no purpose unless there is an actual consensus making effort, and then
its purpose depends on that context.  (Forms of new technology are
always getting stuck on these points of necessity and turned inside
out.  We should be wary of clinging to solutions, because they aren't
quite real yet.  Only the problems are real.)

Thomas wrote:
> The technical possibility of such a community-map is clear to
> me. I'm just beginning to see the use of it. What is such a
> community defined by? The discussion-medium they use, right? An
> email-list, forum, whatever ... I pictured it always of no
> importance where the discussion takes place. If I had 15 voters to
> deal with, I would go anywhere to talk to them. I wouldnt care
> where. Same with my candidate: I would just go, where he is, no
> matter where. And maybe thats how it is going to be at some point in
> the future. But I'm beginning to understand, that this is not how it
> will probably start. People will start from within their community
> and then it is a boost for them to see whats happening in other
> active communities ... As well it is a boost for members of an
> inactive community to see, that they appear to have nothing to say
> to this subject ;-)
> Am I getting the picture?

I think so, though there could be many perspectives.  The necessity of
it strikes me with a colder logic.  Consensus making can only survive
on a substrate of multiple communities.  Since it must come into
existence somehow, lateral distribution is the essence of its
creation.  Strategies for lateral distribution are:

  a) Many seeds scattered to the wind.

  b) A few seeds nutured intensly for lateral growth.

 * The argument, requirements and so forth of the proposed method
   (everything short of the method itself) are documented here:

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 416-699-9528

Originally posted to the mailing list of the Metagovernment Project:

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