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Inclusion Platform Project

Since the last EVOKE transparency issues occured, I'm seriously thinking that the only way to create real worldchanging projects consists of finding new ways to include and deal with dissent.

My assertion comes from these considerations:
* in order to produce big changes, many people and innovative ideas are needed
* while people can be gathered with well known strategies, good ideas are triggered through processes which are much less predictable and governable
* both for time saving and results' effectiveness, teamwork is generally a plus
* though not following any proportional law, diversity is a fundamental factor to increase ideas' novelty and usefulness
* the higher is the diversity rate, the more often conflicts will take place

According to what's reported above, I'm persuaded that the most desirable strategies for producing breakthrough ideas to change the world, come from the ability of managing dissent without reducing diversity.
By that, I mean that the governance of a majority is not enough to produce the most innovative, effective, extensively working ideas. The richest emergence comes out of the most complex system, and a system isn't that complex when the long tail is just cut out.

I thought about how a new platform could be implemented, to discuss and produce ideas in such a new way; but before talking about that, I would know your opinion about the theoretical implications of my assumptions.

Also, I think a useful theorical reference for what is intended to be discussed here, can be found on Ternura's discussion about DEMOCRACY

Edited Sun, Apr 11, 2010 9:34 AM

Replies to this Topic

Fully in agreement, as anyone who has seen my posts knows.

I would add that there is a natural division between natural and manufactured dissent.  In the former, it arises generally due to a difference in communication modalities, values, etc.  In the latter, it arises from the intention of one group or person to halt or hinder the communication process.  Obviously the former is something that needs to be worked with and learned from, while the latter needs to be recognized and not engaged.  To engage with the latter form is to fulfill its purpose, by pulling energy away from vital systems in order to manage the dissent.

I would be interested to hear from others as to how they differentiate between the two. 

Here's some of what I've learned.  Those who manufacture dissent will usually do anything to avoid clarification of terms on the semantic level.  Much of their strategy involves flexible manipulation of language, and having to definitively agree on the structure and meaning of words compromises their effectiveness.

Those who manufacture dissent are most prone to use of devious fallacies, such as red herring, straw man, etc.  Their purpose is to distract and confuse attempts at communication as long as possible without people realizing what they are doing.  As such, usually one who is skilled at identifying willfully and deceptively structured arguments can point these people out.  It is good to have people in the community who are trusted for that purpose.

Anyone else have experience with these...trolls.

wow Stefano and Michael - you both truly have a gift for pinpointing exactly what needs to be addressed prior to any elaboration of this platform. .let me ponder upon this longer but for the meantime this is my quick contribution:

an ounce of prevention is surely a pound of cure; but when it comes to "managing" dissent. . .you would almost have to have a double dosage of prevention with pre-requisites such as a "thank you for your perspective 101" video, blog, or lesson in which members would be required to understand prior to full engagement of this platform. .a lesson of diplomacy. .an understanding no hate know love with "Evoke Forever" ideas and its members. .reminder of the common link between all dissent that we are here to innovate and possibly collaborate on "saving the world" and also a invocation of respecting others' perspective. .

of course there will be times in acute situations where both "natural and manufactured dissent" will need a mediator to help move the situation back on course but who will be this non-bias mediator? will they be elected? will they volunteer? will they rotate? can this person be trusted as michael points out?

im def in favor of laying solid foundation down before E4E gets huge!

I think this are very important topics to address before moving forward. We now know the limitations of EVOKE project, however the task to design something more perfect is still hard.

I agree with your thesis when diversity rate is high, there is also a higher possibility of conflicts. However I'm not sure that having no dissent is good for evolution of projects. I personally believe that some conflicts can be also positive in a way, that progress thinking. However when thinking about constructive conflicts I mean "professional conflicts", not personal ones.

I don't have experience with managing dissent in the communities, so I came across an article / roundtable "The state of open source", where 11 leaders of  open source and vendor communities also discussed competition and dissent in their open source communities.
The whole article is available here, but here I just copy some thoughts on this subject.

Raymond: "Communities full of passionate people are disputatious. But these things beat hell out of their only alternatives. I wouldn't say I actually want more "lack of agreement," but I accept it as a consequence of dealing with human beings."

Rosenberg: "One of the interesting psychological aspects of open source is the fact that it brings together very smart, very interested people. In a sense, open source has created a new development civilization that comes with inherent conflict to develop a greater good."

Soltero: "Lack of agreement within an specific community is part of the process of arriving at a better result. However, the way disagreement is handled can suck a ton of energy from a project and create situations where things just don't get done."

Astor: "Conflict is always tough on communities, but it also always drives better results in the long run. Most of the competition and dissent within open source communities happens around questions of what to build and how to build it, both of which are essential to spurring innovation."

Sutor: "Open source people just get to air their "dirty laundry" in public. I don't necessarily expect more of this, but I think that the value of transparency in knowing how decisions are made and who influences them outweighs any attempt to curtail public and noisy discussion. I don't think it damages the long-term goals of open source, but how people behave in such discussions goes a long way to establishing their reputations, which may affect their personal long-term goals."

Ramji: "Dissent coupled with rational discourse leads us to new ideas and solutions. Choice and independent thinking are hallmarks of the most successful open source projects, and I can’t see how you would remove this characteristic and still see the communities grow and evolve."

Perns: "Competition, argument, and dissent are how we arrive at the optimal way to do things. If you want a trendy term, consider it a sort of prediction market."


One thing I learned about managing a dissent from EVOKE experience is that you need to be transparent when you try to handle it. I believe that this is the key.

I also really like your insight "The richest emergence comes out of the most complex system, and a system isn't that complex when the long tail is just cut out." It really makes sense and the big picture.

Edited Mon, Apr 12, 2010 10:35 AM

I fully agree. At the moment though I am not quite sure how to implement that on this platform, though I have created this for the people, by the people in mind with the whole idea based on community, accepting all from all diversities all backgrounds, with all ideas, not as a hierarchial structure in mind.

It is true it gets very hard however to say who is 'right' I believe very much there are many roads to the best result, even the best result is arguable on opinion. I wrote the code of conduct in a way to highlight constructive criticism. The key I believe in a community like this which will get us furthest is being able to 'agree to disagree' and remain objective. I will say again though that code of conduct as I said on release I would very much like the whole community to come back on so it can be entirely written as will satisfy us all. As it stands it is not too detailed on content, because I believe content is open. However for any organisation to work, no matter how open we are we must serve at least one common goal/objective...in our case I would think that is to make this world essentially a better place, make more aware of truths of this world (all areas), make oppurtunities for development and as voluntary people working for the people make active changes one day, recognised as a community respecting and essentially including all worldwide.

In regards to monitorisation, this is why I suggested a number of managers be appointed, not to give us power over the rest, but if from a number of backgrounds, best helped to represent all members of the community then when it comes to questions of members upholding the code of conduct, etc, it will be discussed under a umbrella full of all representatives. All these would need to be highly objective, with the most maturity needed understanding all, putting personal aside and the community first. I understand that involves a lot of trust and one reason I don't like it myself as this is how we build politics and how many of us can say we trust our politicians? Understanding Stefano your vision, however unsure of its working practise, but as you know can't wait to see the model. I hope till then the above would work better with our 'society' lets put it this way being built from scratch, I'd hope as voluntary as well, people wouldn't take roles for sake of it. We can right a code of conduct not restricting content, only some 'politeness/morals/professionalism' what you may want to call it; Michelle's: No Hate know Love'. Constructive criticism, respect and 'agree to disagree' staying objective. Making sense? Sorry not to well so don't know missed out words and written 100% correctly from brain to paper.

"We can right a code of conduct not restricting content, only some 'politeness/morals/professionalism' what you may want to call it; Michelle's: No Hate know Love'. Constructive criticism, respect and 'agree to disagree' staying objective"

I love what you have to say, but this compelled me to answer back.  The only thing about politeness/morals/professionalism, is that is a assumes a shared grounding in these perspectives.  It might be that a lot of people who have a lot to bring to the table might not be able to work within that framework.  There are people who are so passionate that politeness does not cross their minds, or who are so impetuous that it only crosses their minds too late. 

I feel like much of this work needs to be personal.  For me, it means not taking other people too seriously.  Rather, not getting offended unless it is clear to me that the person was trying to offend me, and then, choosing more often than not to not be offended.  How a person affects us is somewhat within our choice.  There are habitual thought patterns which, if held, can make someone not liking your football team the perfect staging ground for a bloodbath.  There exists equally habitual thought patterns which, if held, can make of a murder the perfect staging ground for an outpouring of compassion.

I want to emphasize that creating controls has been tried and has failed.  It is naturally regressive.  Because control does not really exist, as that becomes apparent through the eventual failure of the control mechanisms, increasingly more elaborate controls come on line to re-establish the "harmony".  This cycle continues unceasingly.  So, externally applied controls do not work.

Let us look to nature.  Nature does not force or control.  Nature simply provides consequences along the lines of action.  What I envision is a space where, if someone on a forum is insulting, then you can choose to stop engaging with them.  If they insult enough people, they find themselves without people to engage with and they leave.  In this system, it is not the controlling actions of external agencies which produces harmony, but simply the freedom to be self-willed in an open system.  You can post what you like.  If you post nothing but uselessness, soon you will find that no one is reading or paying you any attention.

On Facebook, you can ignore applications, block people, etc.  That would be lovely.  If Soandso comes on and only spams porn links...well, let them do it.  Who cares.  If everyone can block them, then soon, no one is seeing it at all.  Rather than putting the impetus on some moderator or controlling agency to keep the forum clean, we instead give the power to the individual to control what they access and how they access it.  That way, we are not creating hierarchical judgments about what is worthy, valuable, clean, etc. 

This reduces the need for representation.  This is democracy.  Let each person determine their own method and purpose for interaction with the platform, and soon the platform becomes more than what anyone has dreamed of it becoming.  We reduce the role of the manager, and we manage our own interactions with content.  We do not coddle or protect.  We inform and empower.

Peace.

This is awesome! I couldn't expect a richer response than this.

Generally, as I could expect, you all got my point. But I must say that I share some of yours more than others. Let me briefly answer you, one by one.


@Michael:

yep, I could expect your agreement :)
Still I'm happy you chose to write your thoughts, explicitly. I think both the form of dissent you talked about might be of some use:
* the natural one, beyond being "solvable", is often a precious clue to understand diversity and (if you're wise enough to recognize it as legitimate and deal with it) it is the primary way to understand what's at the origin of a conflict, and which are the possible solutions.
* the manufactured one, though unsolvable, has its own reasons. It is highly improbable (though possible) for it to be just gratuitous. Being able to recognize the reasons behind such form of dissent is worthing to get a clearer, more systemic, comprehension of reality. And that gives a further clue on how to deal with problematic social relationships.

In addition, I would say that nobody can ever be sure to be 100% right, and any form of dissent, natural or manufactured, is also there to remind us that, to show us our limits, to let us doubt and make us ask ourselves if we're really sure of our reasons. Dissent makes us think on what we take for granted.

Regarding your second reply, I was very glad to read those thoughts, because I share exactly the same point of view: assuming that politeness, moral, professionalism are "objective" qualities with an "absoulte" value (as for the objectivity itself) is IMHO a someway limited way to look at the whole thing (Radz, this is not a criticism to you; it is just an attempt to offer a wider perspective).
I'm not a philosopher and I do not master English language enough to go too deep into this concept, but I would just say that nothing can actually be objectified without a subject doing that. So what we generally consider objective, is only an idea shared by a community (never the totality) of people. And that doesn't solve dissent. It actually denies it, even embittering it.

I often use to think, like you, about nature and how it works, while considering human issues. I loved your sentence "Nature simply provides consequences along the lines of action" and I fully agree with that. I'd add that nature doesn't know ideas such as "right" or "wrong" or "good" or "evil" or "love" or "hate". In nature there are just processes working (in the sense that they last in time) or not. And even that concept of "working" is not absolute; instead, it is highly contextual and circumstantial.

For what concerns your conclusions about the ways a platform should work to manage such dissent, I'll stand by some more time, as I have a quite more organic idea and I really can't say it all in this reply :)


@Michelle:

I partially answered to your reply in the lines above. I just would add something about your "no hate know love" philosophy: when I say that nature doesn't know love or hate, I don't want to mean that your point of view is wrong.
Instead I would just say that humans are, first of all, natural beings (let's just say animals) and, even if reason and conscious emotions are peculiar to our species, those are not the only aspects we can focus on.

Actually, to deal with complex systems, collective intelligence, and emerging phenomena, we should (or just could) step back for a while and consider the potential of spontaneous organization, before getting into moral rules and instead of considering mediating agents.
If you have a look at the patterns behind social networking and internet masses' behaviour, you might find a lot of smartness there, and very few ethics. I think there's much to learn from it.

But, just to state it once for all, I'm not saying here we should ignore ethics. Of course not. I'm just saying that maybe that shouldn't be the founding basis of the platform working system; it might be, instead, part of the emotional and cognitive superstructure which is represented by each of the participant as individuals. We could assume that superstructure as being on a higher, less functional level; and, yet, we could consider it as something which is not needed to be absolutely shared, absolutely and "objectively" valid (I hope I didn't say an heresy).
That is, to me, the only way we can think to anybody's beliefs without implicitly considering ours superior. That is, in a way, the only possible interpretation I can imagine for "no hate know love" (and "no love know hate").


@Eva:

I agree with you, when you say "conflicts can be also positive". I never meant to say the opposite; but I guess you now see that, from my reply to Michael. Also, I wasn't only talking about "professional conflicts". I included in my thoughts the personal ones, as well.
Of course, these are the most critical ones: they can hurt, they can profoundly offend people and their beliefs. But that's part of the NOTAGAME (sorry for stealing that from EVOKE, I'm actually using it to take the distance from its JUSTAGAME nature).
We need conflict tout cour, if we really want to build a new, conscious consent from and around it.

Thank you so much for the link and quotations. I found them very inspiring, and the article was immediately delicioused :)
(oh, if anybody's interested, I'm "mapofemergence" on delicious, and many other social networks, Facebook excluded)
Generally speaking, I loved to see the idea of conflict associated to opensource, as I'm really into both those themes.
I'll probably use opensource as an explicit reference for further discussions on this thread.

Finally, I agree with you that transparency is to be granted all time. But I have the feeling that, though being a key element, it is not enough. Smarter forseeing strategies are to be conceived. But I'm confident we'll be able to put them into action.


@Radhika:

I guess I answered to much of what you said in the lines above. Just a few words more and I'll let you go free :)

I know that it's quite hard to implement such a complex, organic idea into a pre-existing, non-hackable platform. That's why I'm still thinking of something which, in a mid or long term, will be pretty different from this groupsite, or a ning network, or any other prefabricated solution.
I'm saying this serenely, as we had the opportunity to speak about this in chat, and I guess you now see I'm not thinking of something to compete with E4E.

I can perfectly understand you are unsure about my idea; I'm pretty unsure as well. But I do think that we need something more than "just" our good will and purposes to make a real breakthrough. I believe that Social Innovation asks for... well... innovation; though not doubting of all your (our) good intentions, I don't think we can't call them innovation, yet.

Anyway, I'm really glad you can't wait to see the model, really. And I need to thank you for taking the first step, creating all this, and letting us gather around it.


Take care, everybody ;)

Edited Mon, Apr 12, 2010 9:01 PM

i apologize if i digress but i would like to share some art with y'all during a free write i attended that i think may be pertinent? lol . .i hope y'all enjoy :)

speak.weak.off the beat
provoked choked
can no longer speak
feel weak
off the drum beat
discord allure
flirt with reality
tweaked bleak
weak
i must speak
no defeat
my feet seeds streets free
seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all
the less of needs
to keep weak
speak.spoke.said.
nonetheless
discord allure
speak off beat
no p.c.
welcome. believe
in the same needs:
love.love.love.love.
and love.
so lovie
speak.meet.greet.
seek and speak
peace
'elle

@elle: love the poem :)

@stefano: Yes, transparency is mandatory, but beside that we definitely need additional strategies ... as you would say, I'm still mumbling what these are :)

Profile Image for Pan A. Pan
  • Thu, May 13, 2010 4:55 PM

This is a wonderful thread! What a great group of minds!

As for my opinion, I will byte my tongue just for a little more,

but initially I can say that I agree with Texeira and Stefano.

 

Profile Image for Pan A. Pan
  • Thu, May 13, 2010 5:20 PM

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