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Re: purpose -> process -> platform

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  • Michel Bauwens
    thank you Bas. Just a general comment. When we discussed strategy last year, we had talked about how 2007 would be a year for 1) building community 2)
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 14, 2007
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      thank you Bas.

      Just a general comment. When we discussed strategy last year, we had talked about how 2007 would be a year for 1) building community 2) physicalizing our presence.

      I had asked Sam to be our community organizer, and he started organizing a first skype conference, which took place I think.

      I think we should continue that process by organizing talks by region, and by topic.

      I have not pushed enough on the legalization issue, which has not progressed much, but James is pushing and that's good

      Finally, in term of physicalizaing, I consider my own lecture trips to be part of that. I've met people in the Netherlands and France regularly now, but of course, it would be nice for people to meet without me, at least some times during the year. In July, I will have the opportunity to meet Australian contacts.

      In terms of community organizing, I see Sam as our chief (p)leader and pusher, is that still ok Sam, again that doesn't mean doing everything, but rather to nudge us on the path regularly

      Now more specific on Bas' comments.

      I agree with bas on item 1 of course, and on item 3. Is it reasonable to ask that blog contributors pay particular attention to thinking of linking their posts to existing wiki background material?

      I don't understand your second point about tagging as p2p-wiki

      As for your point on the dutch wiki, I think that it would be best to have some weekly overview, "news at the dutch wiki", but better yet, to consider starting up a Dutch blog, as Remi has started for France. Since several of our sympathizers know the language, I think it would be realistic to have regular content on it, and I'm certainly willing to help.

      In general I agree that the blog can be used to announce changes at the wiki; and that maintainers of wiki topical areas should regularly report on what's new in their fields of inquiry. There's lot of new stuff on the wiki that remains under-used because no one knows it is there ...

      You are of course right about the low level of communication and comments on our blog. Is it because we are a fairly complex long tail blog, using specific language that is not for everyone. Right now we have a ratio just below 50%, one comment for every 2 postings, which is low.

      Positive is that we are a moderate authority blog after just nine months of operation, and that we get steadily 50 more readers every 3 months. Not that much, but the movement is steady.

      Improving participation I see as part of the project of our community organizer. My experience is that when I prompt for comments by email, I get then, but not otherwise.

      Now Sam has also taking up the business development on him, so all of that might be a bit much. Sam, should we look for a new community organizer, so that you can focus on BD, which is just as important in terms of our sustainabilty?

      Or perhaps Natalie or some of our newer members could be interested? I"m afraid that the people we attract are already naturally dynamic and busy by themselves ...

      Or Jim Puntasen?


      On 1/15/07, Bas Reus <bas.reus@...> wrote:
      I agree on the 2 points suggested by Michel. I think that we should stand behind what we are, what we're good at. We should not adjust to something we are not.

      1. The wiki is our knowledge base
      2. We should use the existing blog for the debate, and tag/categorize it as 'P2P-wiki'
      3. Maybe there should exist a rule that every blogpost should have a referenced wiki-page.

      Unfortunately, the blogposts are not frequently commented on. Maybe we should try to start the debate by the way the blogposts are formulated. That is, the blogposts should trigger a debate.

      So we should motivate this for the inquiry. But how can we ensure that people actively participate in the debate?

      This is my opinion on a general level, for this specific inquiry I think I can contribute because it is about Dutch content. In accordance with the points mentioned above, I could make an announcement for every (new) wiki entry. I am not sure on point 2 that the blog is the place to announce wiki entries, maybe there should be something else, but at least the p2p blog is a known place.

      What do you think?

      2007/1/14, George Por <George@... >:

      I tend to agree with Sam when he says, "when people rush stuff like this, it rarely turns out well, however well-intended." I got burned on so many projects when people tried to accomplish something in 2 weeks, which would have required 2 months of collaborative design. So I am a bit cautious about my participation.

      My other concern is about the focus on "debate" that is a misnomer in the digital pionners' call and guidelines. My impression is that what they really want is "Participation, multiformity and opinion forming." Putting that under the label "debate" is skewing the conversation towards opponents clashing rather than collaborators co-generating. There are many argumentation systems out there, and they are rarely core to community-building efforts, and for good reasons.

      I also agree with Sam on: "The tools are going to be secondary to the process." And the process needs to be secondary to the perceived need in the community (other than fundraising), which the project is aimed at addressing. Once we have a shared clarity about purpose of the project, process and enabling technologies will be easier to define. Maybe you guys have already figured that out but I'm new to this conversation, so in that case, please forgive my ignorance and just let me know about the status of that conversation.

      > If George has a forum-system, it could work great. I'd love to see it.

      Actually, it's more than forums. It's Drupal (open spource) that also includes blogs, wikis, taxonomy-building module, and many other goodies. You can take a look at it here: http://www.evolutionarynexus.org/ .

      > We could use Caucus software, which Howard Rheingold has used for years with great success in the brainstorms community, and which is multi-media capable and open source.

      I've been a member of the MetaNetwork that run Caucus, since the mid-80's, and a friend of Howard since the foundation of the WELL. I haven't seen Caucus lately but Drupal probably has a lalrger developer base so it would probably be easier to find programming talent for the necessary customization to the needs of the p2p foundation.

      A final question: Who will be the incorporated entity that would submit the proposal?



      In our proposition we both stress how we are 1) already part of a debate; 2) but need to go much further and deeper and how DP can help us in achieving that,

      Please keep your remarks handy for inclusion in our proposal,


      On 1/13/07, Samuel Rose < samuel.rose@... <mailto:samuel.rose@...> > wrote:
      Hi all,

      I think they are looking for something really revolutionary in debate. Something that will be successful, and that can be reproduced

      I think there are quite a few different open source software platforms that we can set up pretty quickly. If George has a forum-system, it could work great. I'd love to see it. The tools are going to be secondary to the process. We could use blogs instead of a forum, for instance. We could use WikiHive "bliki", all inter-linked. We could create another group-blog with WordPress, using scripts like those that are used by OpenBusiness. We could use Caucus software, which Howard Rheingold has used for years with great success in the brainstorms community, and which is multi-media capable and open source.

      But, what we really, really need first is to dig into our knowledge base and create a real-world workable process for debate online that is sustainable

      Here's an idea:

      Regardless of what medium/software tool we use, the first step is for the community of people involved in the debate to create a system of self government, a Constitution for their debate community. The Constitution can be based upon a template that we create, but can be modified as it is tested in real world conditions.

      The Constitution basically says:

      • How people can become part of the debate community.
      • How people will or will not be discriminated against based upon their beliefs, points of view, etc

      • What the rules of debate are
      • How the rules will be enforced
      • How disputes will  be resolved
      The system can operate on a system of SoftSecurity, and default to the hard security constitution when the SoftSecurity measures fail. So, the community is moderating itself. If actual full time moderators are desired, they should be elected by the community. This is the focus we should think about as the P2P foundation, how we can apply our knowledge to solving to solving the problems of debate.

      We can have text-debate, voice VoIP-debate, and Video Debate (perhaps via YouTube and then embedding the video). So, our software platform should allow for text discussion, uploading mp3's (or links to them stored elsewhere) and embedding video. Caucus software can do all of these things right now, and can be set up fairly quickly. http://caucuscare.com/down_caucus5.shtml

      We can also look at enabling Visual language, like diagramming arguments in a point/counter-point overview. And, we can then create a scatter plot, or tension map view based on letting people vote on arguments, and showing the average of where the community stands on an issue.

      So those are my ideas.

      But, I have to say that, in my experience, when people rush stuff like this, it rarely turns out well, however well-intended. That being said, I really do not want to put my name on a rushed project that we don't have reasonable time to design and test. I have been part of making this type of mistake too many times in the past, and each time that I do it, it further ruins my professional reputation among yet another new group of people. I am now to the point where I pretty much won't take part in a rush job any more, unless I am extremely confident that it can be accomplished with quality, integrity,usability,  and workability. I understand the need to raise funds, but I still have the real impression that we do not have enough time to put anything workable together for this in roughly 2 weeks.  

      So, feel free to use my ideas, to ask me to help and consult, and even to ask me set up software and environments. But, I won't ask for any of the funding if it is won, and won't take the lead of this project. Someone else will have to lead this effort.


      On 1/13/07, Michel Bauwens < michelsub2004@... <mailto:michelsub2004@...> > wrote:
      ok, fine, means you are local as well (uoa)

      On 1/13/07, George Por < George@...  <mailto:George@...> > wrote:

      > I would then add, "we are preparing an initiative with George Por, foremost expert in collective intelligence etc...

      If it helps, you can also refer to me as:

      PrimaVera Research Fellow in
      Collective Intelligence at Universiteit van Amsterdam
      http://primavera.feb.uva.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20  <http://primavera.feb.uva.nl/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=20>

      The P2P Foundation researches, documents and promotes peer to peer alternatives.

      Wiki and Encyclopedia, at http://p2pfoundation.net ; Blog, at http://blog.p2pfoundation.net; Newsletter, at http://integralvisioning.org/index.php?topic=p2p

      Basic essay at http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=499; interview at http://poynder.blogspot.com/2006/09/p2p-very-core-of-world-to-come.html ; video interview, at http://www.masternewmedia.org/news/2006/09/29/network_collaboration_peer_to_peer.htm

      The work of the P2P Foundation is supported by http://www.ws-network.com/04_team.htm
    • Michel Bauwens
      ... Sam, that is probably true. And I face regularly the same thing. We are advancing, but there are tons of things that I d like to see happen and which
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 15, 2007
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        On 1/16/07, Samuel Rose <samuel.rose@...> wrote:
        See responses below:

        In terms of community organizing, I see Sam as our chief (p)leader and pusher, is that still ok Sam, again that doesn't mean doing everything, but rather to nudge us on the path regularly

        This is ok. The problem is that I often don't know exactly what the path is. And, I feel that only a few people respond or are interested in active participation.

        Sam, that is probably  true. And I face regularly the same thing. We are advancing, but there are tons of things that I'd like to see  happen and which don't happen (for example, work on the wiki is not being done by too many people, I still do 85% fo the workload); so, I think you  should be a gentle nudger, as I'm trying to be, pushing us along to the path of community building, finding out what gets more response and what less. The only requirement is that: it does move forward, even if inch by inch, and, someone, i.e. you, keeps track of it and keeps it in his heart. So that at the end of the year you/we have a sense of achievement, however small.

        Another problem for me is the way that we carry out a lot of our organizing, consensus-making, etc through email. I find that I cannot keep an easy track of things through email. I frequently end up missing key details, and things that people have communicated. I deal with a huge amount of email. That might seem like whigning, but it's my reality.

        The thing is, that I realize that changing formats to wiki, or some other tool won't change things for our communications/participation

        I'm agnostic on mgt. tools, but find email convenient for me, whatever we use, the effort and  learning treshold must be low. I would suggest that if you want another method, we could start experimenting to do so under a project that you  are leading; that way, we would learn, and eventually then expand this method to other projects.

        I think that helping people understand how and where they can help will, though. For really busy people, I've found that conference calls work really well, and help avoid miles of email conversation. I've also used this tool to help coordinate the date and time for these conference calls, and it works great:


        No problem with that, I'm ready to follow any leads on this.

        I'd like to suggest a process where we email people to invite them into unstructured brainstorming voice conferences. In the voice conference, we discuss potential projects, brainstorm, etc. One person is designated in the brainstorming voice conference to summarize the conference to the wiki that James created for us to use, by listening to a recording afterwards. This summary is posted to a wiki, and people can revise it, or add to it for a period of time. People can also rework the summary into different proposals for projects.

        Let's experiment with one project concretely, then eventually expand

        Also, Michel, I like that you are starting to use mailing lists for P2P foundation communications. Perhaps we can ultimately select one permanent mailing list location, and try to keep most email communications on-list. This would help tremendously, IMO, for having one place that everyone can go to, to look back across archives, etc.

        The problem with email is that it potentially excludes people, creating in-groups, so the use of mailing lists would be better.

        So again, I'm proposing that practical matters be discussed on the p2pf list, and strategic discusions on strategic. BUT, is  everyone on them. I think  everybody should join, so we can work  more  inclusively.

        I also still think it is a good idea for us to have at least a couple more group-wide voice conferences, just so that we can get to know each other better, and to give Michel a chance to address everyone with his long term visions for the P2P foundation.

        I think the need for others to know each other is more pressing that another chance for me to talk about the vision, because I think most of you already know, but of course, if it is requested, I'll be happy to do the latter. But the purpose of community building is precisely, in my mind, to create cross-links that do not pass through me.

        As soon as I am feeling better, I'll set this up, and email a link to the doodle tool, that will allow people to synchonize their schedules.

        Great Sam, I really appreciate your input and efforts in all of this.

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