Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blog Update

This is a blog about organizing online communities. There is a lot of material here and links to articles I'm writing. Here are some suggested readings from the best of this blog:

The Listening Experience

What is a Forum?

People Who Share a Common Time for a Purpose

Latitudes and Longitudes (The Comfort Zone)

Characteristics of Groups

Organizing According to Time

Also See: The Discussion Workshop Homepage

In The Neighborhood

I am currently chatting by appointment only. Drop me an email message to set up a 30 to 60 minute chat regarding the founding of democratically organized web community. (artistsforanarchy at

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Characteristics of Groups

I realize that there are many distinctive traits by which we can recognize the genuine article. Here I have compiled some of the characteristics that help form cohesive groups.

A group is a number of individuals communicating in temporal/ordinal form. Groups are the foundation of communities. Unlike a clique that solely utilizes conversation and grows to a limited size, a group uses form to measure and evaluate it's discussion. Groups are capable of duplicating themselves to form a larger community.

What are the characteristics of a group?

• Members engaged in frequent interaction;
• Those involved define themselves as group members;
• Others define members as belonging to a particular group;
• They share common norms and mutual interests;
• They identify with one another and share values;
• They feel a sense of collective responsibility;
• They act in a unified way towards the organisation.

Communities are comprised of small groups that not only serve as an entry point but also help maintain the continuity while accomplishing the objectives of the larger community. The individual's frequent contact with the community purpose is through the small group. Many small groups may come together for a conference occasionally.

Small groups also practice one of the three modes; expository, dramatic or narrative and are well versed in the forms that are used to establish that mode. Discussion groups are aiming to specialize in the expository mode, but there are also large numbers of users who are interested in applying the dramatic and narrative modes. Each would explore the most suitable form according to the mode they wish to deliver.

Expository groups practice temporal and ordinal form as a means of qualifying the membership. Participants who are able to maintain the order are qualified for membership.

The number of members in a small group is fairly consistent with little fluctuation, without wild fluctuations of people coming and going.

Conversation serves the group well until it grows to about five to seven members. The group may practice ordinal form in preparation for growth. By the time there are ten members, the group will have enough ordinal form to enable rational (measurable) discourse, deliberation and decision making.

The larger community is composed of separate groups who work according to the same objective while having little contact with each other. Groups are distinct from each other in identity. The larger community is not allowed to destroy that group identity. Members of a group are those who attend that group. A member of a group may attend another group within the same community as a visitor only.

Groups have an attendance. The group always knows who is in the group and who is not, who is attending meetings and discussions and who is not.



Individual-Small Group-Community

So get yer butt knotted but not butted but a buncha Butt-Knott-ed-Not-Butts

It was really interesting to be a part of our meetings in Second Life. We had 2, and one was entirely different from the other. - Leigh
Right. That's because they are two meetings of two distinct groups. If the two "meetings" were the same membership, then there would be no need for two meetings. They are two groups.

And it's very interesting that they are separated by time. That should be a very strong signal to us about how to separate groups. Anyone who was inconvenienced in getting to a meeting would not be qualified for that group because they could not maintain consistent attendance for the meetings and would threaten the continuity of the group.

(We have already seen earlier in this blog that people are separated by time as if it were a geographical limitation. I am going to expand upon this thesis further on.)

See: Notes on Meetings One and Two

Because the natural progression from individual to community is via the small group, then, if the FOC08 meetings are not groups, where are the groups?

I don't know of any other ethical approach to organizing people. Small closed groups are rational. The membership can count the whole number of individuals, they can then engage in rational discussion, deliberation and decision making processes. Because they know the exact whole number, they can then accurately measure relative quantities of equality, majority and minority.

Conversation (random) form is probably in order only for 3 to 5 members. To prepare for growth, those 3 to 5 members should train and practice temporal and ordinal forms. It is certainly necessary when the group gets into the 10 to 15 member range. 20 people need even more disciplined training. I have never seen an expository discussion of over 20 that did not frequently depart or "derail" to the dramatic mode.

Many small groups can come together periodically as one community. But there is not much need to meet with the whole world every day, is there? So how does one go about finding other people for a group? How do you limit the size and attract the best people for the purpose? What is a good purpose for a service community to the web?

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who is a Community?

Absolute and Relative Identity

For those of us wishing to protect our privacy upon the open circuits that so dominate the Internet, absolute identity is not a choice. We prefer relative identity.

The basic doctrine of relative identity states that - All I need to know about you is that you are not me! And visa versa.

Relative identity works fine for two people. But what do you do when it's time to expand? If three people are to identify themselves relatively there is an immediate problem. A and B both know that they are not the other but neither knows that C is not the other.

Absolute identity is only as credible as the other absolute identities that are associated with it. In other words, I am suppose to believe your absolute identity because it is confirmed by another supposed absolute identity. Of course, I only need to continue tracing the line back and we will find that the genealogy is not rooted in an absolute identity. It must be rooted in the first pair who recognized the relative identity of each. The one looked at the other and thought "You are not me." And that was a very correct judgement.

Relative identity allows users the freedom to be whoever they want to be, enabling them to use any mode that they want to use, including the expository, narrative and dramatic modes.

Michael Welsh video 56:00

What is a Community?
When is a Community?
Why is a Community?
Where is a Community?
How is a Community?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Join the Discussion Workshop

Register here for the Discussion Workshop Blog

This blog on Facilitating Online Discussions is an open circuit introduction to our subject matter. If you are interested in applying democratic forms to community organization, you may register for our closed circuit Discussion Workshop meetings. Expect lots of experimenting with communication and leadership techniques as we build small groups into a unified community.

What's the Discussion Workshop?

In the workshops we meet for short one hour meetings and apply ourselves to learning ordinal forms together. The Discussion Workshop is where we apply all of the ideas and principles that you have read about in the Facilitating Online Communities blog.

We engage in practical dialogue while thoroughly learning the technical and ethical aspects of a given platform.

The Workshop exhibits all of the traditional attributes of a group. Groups are associated into one community through a constitution. Meetings are organized and presented by the members.

A practical workshop

Apply for membership and acquire all of these benefits:

Access to a wide variety of training programs in practical democratic arts.

Attend the weekly business meeting where your voice is heard and you have a right to vote and have your vote counted correctly in relation to a whole number which is the membership.

Serve as an elected officer.

Coordinate workshops.

Simplest way to understand is to think about how you use the telephone and google chat or yahoo or AIM chat. Does everyone talk at the same time? No. You take turns, whether it's 2 people or 20, you take turns.

"Majority rules" is not the foundation for democratic society. In fact, many routine decisions can be made by a majority of a quorum. If a quorum is 50% of the membership then 5 is a quorum of a membership of 10. 3 is a majority of the quorum. Therefore the routine decisions are made by 3 of the 10 members. While minority rules in small matters, it is desirable to have a majority or supermajority in matters of greater weight.

Our organizing principle will not be topical but temporal and ordinal. So accept that we will be topically disorganized until we establish the temporal and ordinal features of our forums. Ultimately, the membership will be responsible for topical organization.

Since I believe that the personal privacy of individual members is more important than the security of the adm or the posts, I have opted for restricting the activities of the adm. That's how I arrived at the above formula. I want to set up forums that are rooted in equality.

We are going to use a large number of forums and boards that are each set differently to achieve a certain texture or democratic principle.

Member administered programs

Discussion Workshop - Module and Project Options

Working on this post, I realize that a workshop in discussion arts can offer a wide variety of options for building groups and communities. Here are just a few ideas to begin a catalog.

Assignment One: Finding a Buddy
Two participants

Find a buddy and establish a dialogue through email and chat. Maybe a series of emails in one day that culminates in a chat. Your assignment is to elect a third person that both of you agree upon.

Assignment Two: Choosing a Platform
The objective is to choose a simple communication platform such as email, chat, blogs and commit to a dialogue.

Assignment Three: Introductions
The objective is to introduce one blogger or poster to another on the platform you have chosen.

How long should it take to complete all of the projects? I am inclined to think that the only way to know is to try it. How long does it take to find a buddy? In traditional communities we usually find a buddy within the first month or two of joining.

How should the evaluation be conducted? Since each project is a group effort, we do not focus upon individual performance as much as we do upon the performance of the group in achieving the objective. Evaluation is objective. These are ordinal projects so the focus is not upon the morality of any given individual.

Who is qualified to evaluate the outcome? Any member who is active in the whole Discussion Workshop program is qualified to evaluate the performance of the group. We take turns at evaluating.

Who is qualified to even participate in the workshop? Any person or group that wishes to empower itself by learning how to use traditional temporal and ordinal forms in an online situation.

Maybe this is a bit too ambitious? People first need to learn how to arrange appointemnts before they can even meet for a chat! Maybe project two should be Arranging Appointements?

Maybe there could be a choice of projects and a choice of modules?

Ordinal Form Module
This is a short term Discussion Workshop Module. All projects should be completed within a designated time frame.

Let's build a small group up from scratch. We start with one person - you. The next step is to find one other. You might begin searching blogs and dialoguing privately with people either through blog comments, email or a chat.

For this project we will use three common, simple platforms. Open a google account and you will have access to all three:

1) Gmail
2) Gmail groupchat
3) Google groups

We want to move from a two person dialogue to a three people chat.

Assignment One: Alternate Posting
Three participants
The objective is to establish dialogues for three parties. The form you may use is Alternate Posting ABAB ACAC BCBC and converse 20 minutes

Assignment Two: First Circle
Three participants
The objective is to establish a circle form ABC ABC.. and converse with it for 20 minutes.

In project two you established a foundation of alternate posting and are now prepared to form your first circle. The first problem you will encounter is not an issue of order but time. Doing anything in order requires that one thing happen after another. So the problem is time. Who is qualified for your circle? Those that can meet at the same time.

Assignment Three: Small Group
Three participants
The objective is to set up a google group.

You must decide together how your group will be organized. Will all three of you have administrative rights and responsibilities? Or will you elect one to administer? What will you accomplish with the time you have together? How often will you meet.

- Hmmmmm. Maybe there could be a wide variety of projects and modules that workshop participants can choose from or these could serve as models and members could design their own modules with the help of the more seasoned members?

That could be a better approach. The workshop could have a wide array of project choices organized according to levels of expertise that can be combined into different variations.

Choosing a Platform may be as simple as Arranging Appointments. Finding a Purpose and Alternate Posting may be at a slightly higher level? Small Groups and Practical Dialogue are even a bit more challenging.

So I'm thinking that we could design a whole batch of different kinds of communication and leadership projects that could be choices for self-designed modules. To be evaluated and credited for a module the member would only need to choose one project from each level.

All of these projects and modules would comprise a complete skills building program. There can be even more challenging programs in an onward and upward progression.

Practical Dialogue Module
The objective is to learn all functions of the platform together.
Choose a Platform
Design a Simple Learning Program
Learn the Platform Together

Electing a New Member The objective is to choose a third person to join you in a purpose.
Write the Opening Post
50 Post Discussion
Begin and End on Time in these exercises, there is a temporal or ordinal limit. The subject matter of the topic can be continued in another discussion using a different form.
Lead the Team Coordinate the assigned roles for the evaluation team.

Options Options Options--

--Hmmmm. The problem is that there must be an incredibly large number of options!

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Next: Learning Ordinal Forms

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

FCC Comes Down On Comcast For P2P Blocking

FCC Comes Down On Comcast For P2P Blocking
ComCast is a privately held company, yet they may not have the license to restrict activities of it's users!

"Would you be OK with the post office opening your mail, deciding they didn't want to bother delivering it, and hiding that fact by sending it back to you stamped "address unknown - return to sender,"? said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin in a statement."

So that is what our argument is with the web. IP checking and banning, editing and deleting of comments [i]openly solicited from the public[/i] is completely unethical. this goes for bloggers too, who are requesting responses from the public.

When you put up a pubic board and ask the public to come in and comment, you don't have any business "moderating" that content. Such behavior on the part of administrators is an act of Anti-Trust.

We have not even scratched the surface of the issues that need to be confronted. When members join here on this forum, we confront all of these bogus ideas that have become a false standard for community organization.

Comcast has been under attack in the last year for reportedly jamming traffic of its high-speed Internet subscribers who share files online, specifically involving peer-to-peer provider BitTorrent. "Comcast has an anticompetitive motive to interfere with customers' use of peer-to-peer applications," said the FCC in a statement. "Such applications, including those relying on BitTorrent, provide Internet users with the opportunity to view high-quality video that they might otherwise watch (and pay for) on cable television. Such video distribution poses a potential competitive threat to Comcast's video-on-demand ("VOD") service. Indeed, Comcast may have interfered with up to three-quarters of all peer-to-peer connections in certain communities."

The FCC did not impose fines against Comcast but said the company needs to come up with a compliance plan describing how it intends to stop "these discriminatory management practices by the end of the year."

Did I see the word "compliance" in that paragraph? Right. The administrators of communities must comply. Not only on this issue but on a multitude of other issues involving manipulation of data that they openly solicited from the public in good faith. The users supply that data and therefore the adms. must comply with the decisions of the users.

Register here for the Discussion Workshop Blog

Writing the Rules

Rules restricting the powers of administrators and moderators help foster an atmosphere of equality. The personal privacy of individual members is more important than the security of the administration or of the forum content. I have opted for restricting the activities of the administrators. That's how I arrived at this basic formula:

No rules for the public

Few rules for members

More rules for moderators

The Most rules for administrators

With this formula we may achieve balance between the powerless and the powerful. Since we are going to curb the powers of the administrators in order to produce Equality, we will need to begin by making our first rules for them. We have turned the formula for rule making upsidedown.

Let's build some practical and accessible models that any web community member can use for experimenting with and learning all of these principles. Our task will be to balance and preserve the basic principles outlined in the previous sections to achieve unity of purpose, equality and freedom of expression. The heart of our community will be The Discussion Workshop Modules, a progressive skills building program that treats the discussion as an art and a process.

We will usethese free boards this reduces risk tranfer the adm over to elected official

Apply to phpBB2 phpBB3

Since the admministrator needs the most rules we will focus upon that first. Our second priority will be the rules for moderators. Our third priority will be rules appropriate for the general membership. Rules for the public are of zero priority because the purpose of open circuits is to make contact with the public. We will not moderate the public in any way but simply allow the public to qualify themselves for membership. The membership will select prospective new members from the public.

The first restriction is that the administrative account must only be used for an administrative action. The Administrator account is a tool and is not to be used for posting in discussions. It is reserved for member approved administrative actions only.

We will use the circuitry to include posters as they establish themselves into the membership. Open circuits and closed circuits allow us to regulate access. Rather than invite the whole world in and then take a negative approach of excluding people either by arbitrary administrative action or the so-called "democratic" method of voting posters out, we will use an inclusive approach.
Let's set up the first forum Open Circuit Guest Forum

An open circuit phpbb2 forum

This setting allows the public to moderate. Anyone can delete or edit a post. Members, mods and adms are not able to delete or edit while logged in. They must log out and perform an edit or delete as any other guests.

Furthermore, we have added these rules and permission settings that apply to adms, mods and members but have no affect upon the public.

1) Members, moderators and administrators may not post, reply, edit, delete, sticky, announce, poll or vote in the Open Circuit with logged in accounts, are limited to the permission settings of the Open Circuit forum and may post, delete, sticky, announce, poll or vote in this forum only as Guests.

2) Moderators and administrators may move, split, lock and delete threads in the Open Circuit only with the approval of the membership.

Note that these rules are very brief and they apply to behavior of the fewest, since they apply to the fewest, they are most easily implemented. They are also very objective and do not in any way deal with the "morality" of a poster. Discipline is administered first, to adms; second, to mods; and lastly to the membership. At no time are we concerned with the behavior of the public on this circuit. The purpose of an open circuit is to allow the public an entry point for the public to interact with the community.

Open circuit phpbb3 forum. The setting here allows only the public to view the forum. When a member, mod or adm logs in, the forum disappears from their view. This makes it impossible for an adm or mod to check any IP numbers assuring maximum privacy. No one but guests can post a new topic or reply.

In each of these two examples, we have realized the basic democratic principle of Equality.

Guests, Members, Moderators and adms must meet on equal footing. No one is armed against another. No one is capable of infringing upon the privacy of another. No one has any greater right or responsibility than another.

Next, we must qualify the membership. We qualify them by giving them rights and responsibilities. They maintain their rights by fulfilling minimal responsiblities. these are the rights and responsibilies of a discussion participant. The Discussion Workshop gives the community experience with posting in form as an organized group rather than a collection of individuals. The Workshop modules are presented as a series of projects by and for the members themselves. The projects are designed around self-moderating democratic principles or discussion forms. Each participant gains valuable experience and exercise with basic rights and responsibilities.

Right to speak

Right to hear and be heard

Responsibility to respond

Responsibility to listen

The Discussion Workshop consists of a series of modules. Each module consists of a set of 3-5 projects that have specified objectives and an assigned Evaluator.

It would be good if each project (including evaluation) could be completed in a two hour session.

Basic Posting Workshop Objectives

    *To bring together the collective knowledge of all participants concerning basic posting skills and thereby increase the knowledge of each individual.

    *To verify that the membership has achieved an increased understanding of the basic posting skills.

    *To qualify the prospective member for DUN membership and participation in the Discussion Workshop Series.

Now that we have a membership, let's set up our next forum. This one will admit posting for Guest and Members together.

And these are the rules and permission settings:

1) Moderators and administrators may not post, reply, edit, delete, sticky, announce, poll or vote in the Guest/Member forum with moderator or administrator accounts, are limited to the permission settings of the Guest/Member forum and may post, reply, edit, delete, sticky, announce, poll or vote in the Guest/Member forum only as Guests or with logged in Member accounts.

2) Moderators and administrators may move, split, lock and delete threads in
the Guest/Member forum only with the approval of the membership.

Again, note that we have made no rules for the public. The best thing about these rules is that new people don't need to know anything. The rules don't apply to them.

The members have the ability to delete when logged out yet they gain immunity for their own logged in posts. Guests can bridge the inequality gap here by becoming elected members. This is the most practical way to govern a community. We want to achieve a state of equality between all members.

Guests can have posts and threads qualified for saving. Guests can establish "Relative Identity"

member selection election is responsibility and right of the membership adm not allowed to interfere in process
adm has one member account for voting and posting equal to any other member
as community grows we will apply greater restrictions upon adm
restricted times means not lollygagging at IP checker
must prepare adm actions in advance and schedule
disciplined discussion

Unity of the Whole
Rights & Responsibilities
Freedom of Speech
Roles - Taking Turns
Objective Evaluation

deletes bans reduce credibility

adm as trustee never posts but is keeper of the keys

rational discussion is in form

open circuits random posting in unlimited numbers is good for chat

closed circuits with limited numbers using ordinal and temporal form for rational discussion measured discourse.

We are going to use a large number of forums and boards that are each set differently to achieve a certain texture or democratic principle. It is possible with our system that someone could "sneak" another account into the forums. But to do so they would have to "purchase" the account by assuming the basic responsibilities. Also with our system, they must advance and assume more responsibility for each account or the account will become inactive.

Rocky Forum Picture Show

Imagine that you have been invited to join a discussion group or community. The community has no designated time to meet. People come and go whenever. Sometimes there are a few together at the same time but everyone talks at the same time. No one gives any indication of listening.

Language is an issue. English is not neutral and puts non English speakers at a disadvantage. Participants should be multilingual at least bilingual.

Inequality does not exist among race, gender or sexual orientation because of anonymity. However, there has been created a new inequality between those that have power and don't have power - the moderators and the trolls. The trolls are supposed to be disrespected.

Does not mean that taking from those who have earned and giving to those who have not earned. Everyone may not finish the race at the same time because some may run faster than others. There is a principle of liberty. You are responsible for yourself and the outcomes that you mean to attain. You deserve to have what you have earned. You don't deserve a voice just for showing up but for producing equal benefits for the community along with your fellows.

The gap between administrators and members is too wide. We can probably agree that administrators have ALL of the power and members have NONE. The following is a compendious list of everything an administrator can do and everything the member cannot do. Make any and all rules Edit without leaving a stamp.

Edit their grammatical, rhetorical and logical presentations after the fact, leaving the impression of clean, fluent, sophisticated and intelligent posting. The regular poster leaves evidence of editing on the post. Either everyone should be able to make clean edits or everyone should leave a chunky edit stamp with an edited post.

Delete a post (their own or others, fabricating an intelligent presentation of their own selves)

Delete a thread Lock a thread (if people are overly interested in it)

Assign modships (to many anonymous persons who then have unequal status and powers)

Delete an account

One look at the administration panel of any message board and you'll be convinced that a huge inequality exists. When a member edits a post they leave behind a big chunky edit thingy like so: Last edited by Chooseboogers on Tue Sep 11 2007 939; edited 1 time in total In contrast, the administrator can edit and leave a clean post. They can also edit any post on the board. A member cannot. An administrator can delete anything but a member can't.

The cards are all stacked in favor of the administrator.

An adm can check your IP and invade your privacy while protecting their own. Read an IP number Look up an IP number Block an IP number Contact you personally (if they find you to be troublesome)

Gather personal information on you Now think about it. Why would I want to converse with anyone under those conditions? Why would I speak with a person who could shut my mouth while I have no power to do the same to that person? I reject the proposition outright. No wonder there is so little genuine communication in these "communities"! It's like sitting at a round table discussion in handcuffs while your mates are armed with ballbats just in case you should "act up"! There can be no real community where there is no equality and since the nature of the forum set up is so unequal...

...what's the solution? You can either expand the powers of the members or restrict the power of the administrators. Restricting and disciplining the administrator is the better option. The best option may be a balance of both. We want to achieve a state of equality between all members. The administrator can be restricted to posting only with a regular member account. Further restrictions can limit the times and frequency that the administrative account can be logged in , and for what purposes. A schedule may allow the administrator to log in once a week or once a month for a limited time, for the purpose of completing any tasks that the membership has assigned.

This protects the privacy of all members since the membership no longer stands transparent before the administrator.

IP checks And there is a "moderator". The moderator has the power to shut your mouth, change your words, change their own words without any trace of having done so. You are given documents to read while the moderator reads over your shoulder. The moderator also has access to personal information about you. They can learn what town or region you live in without asking. You cannot withhold this information. They can trace your number and contact your employer or family. You have no privacy. You must relinquish all rights and give these rights to the moderator in order to qualify for participation. You do not have any right to know the same things about the moderator that they know about you.

Only need to know that the other person is not yourself. Beyond that is invasion.

The members are equal to the purpose by way of the programs that enable them to achieve the community objectives.

Why do people visit forums? To interact. Not to read or to write. We want to select those poster who are qualified for discussion.

The members are here because of the community. They did not gather here to meet the administrator. An individual is not to be treated simply as an instrument to promote someone else's purposes,??? whether that purpose is to sell or promote the purpose of one individual.

Therefore, it has a natural tendency toward the dramatic mode and the dramatic mode depends greatly upon the development of conflict.

link to samples

model forums guest posting php2 who gets disciplined for posting in guest forum? members mods and adms not public
php3 adm and logged in members can't even view the forum impossible to IP check
consistency of language use of words like member guest forum discussion democracy
finally a positive approach to web community discussion
delete and ban reduces credibility

I was not given any responsibility to qualify me for a discussion. Not any responsibility that could be objectively evaluated.
"Be nice" is not a behavior that can be objectively evaluated.

There are no spies and no spying
The public rules on open circuits and members have right to closed circuits only

took the "standard" and turned it upsidedown and insideout
eCommunity consists of anonymous parties eFriends who never meet because it is impractical
ideal eCommunity of 10 would be one from each of five continents and 5 from several planets.
This is the eCommunity,the eDemocracy that we are planning. It's purpose is NOT a regional gathering.

other set ups phpbb3 with member registration use "Non- voting Guest" rank for 1 post Elected members automatically get Non-IP-checking Mod staus for purpose of moving and deleting give maximum control to membership

Begin with a suitable platform
gmail chat
gmail group chat

The group chat feature lets you chat with many friends at once. There's no limit to the number of people you can chat with, and any participant can invite others to join. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Start a chat with a single person in your Contacts list.
  2. Once you've started the chat, click Options at the bottom left of your chat window and select Group Chat.
  3. In the field labeled 'Add a person to this chat,' enter the name of the contact(s) you want to add to your group chat.

To end your chat, click the X at the corner of the chat window. Others in the group chat will get a message saying that you've left the conversation. If you want to rejoin, you'll need to be invited back by a contact who's still in the group chat. The group chat will continue until all participants have left.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

October evaluation notes

Seemed to be educators who are looking for online credentials by taking these courses. Yet they don't deserve the credential for this "course" because they didn't do the work for it and the "course" itself is not up to standards. The course must have credibility first.

These seem to be the type that are looking to promote themselves into a better job or career. They buy and promote books like "How to Organize without Organization" because they want to get connected and break into the market with their own theory.

Leigh stated at the start of this "course" that the platform is not what makes the community.
I agree. I think that Leigh should have met with the FOC08 people rather than admit whoever showed up on a given platform to be called "FOC members".

A course is a small group that meets continuously through a complete term. Leigh had only five hours a week for this course. That is hardly enough time for a very small group of seven to ten members.

Facilitating Online Communities is a set of human problems and solutions. Since platforms are not the community, I think that the course outline should not have included exploration of all of these platforms. Rather we should have taken one or two very common platforms and explored the ethical uses of them.

In a course, the participants are responsible to respond. I would expect higher standards for replying to the blogging. Sustained dialogue should have been a requirement. When I take a university level course or workshop, there is a very high degree of exchange. I didn't get that here, either on my own blog or on the blogs of the other participants. The blogging assignment should have included that each reply some number of times on each blog assignment. Maybe ten replies for each blog. That would not have been much to do for a group two or three people.

Leigh, I really think that you need to learn to organize two or three people in one of these courses. Organize them as a group and deliver this like a course. With such a small group, you could even do the assignments too. I think the fact that Leigh was not doing the assignments was what led him off track. In a teaching role, I would not expect the leader of the group to do the assignments but perhaps as a facilitator you should have? Doing the assignments would have kept you in touch. You somehow got out of touch with those who are blogging on the topic of Faciliatating Online Communities. Instead you got all touchy feely with whoever met on whatever platform of the week you had scheduled.

Platforms have little to do with the arts of facilitating groups.

I wonder if politics is not involved somehow? Leigh was running for an elected office at the same time as this course. I wonder if the course was not just a way of promoting the Leigh's name during the election? I wonder if Leigh allowed the course to be overrun by th WE community because they were the voters in the WE election? This led him to refusing to identify who was a member of the group and focus the five hours per week on those few.

Anyway, I'm a dissatisfied customer and think that this "course" degrades the reputation of the "university" that sponsored it.

steered discussion away fron ethical to technical
immature approach to human problems
problems created by technology
stoopid to expect technology to solve these problems

if you want "out-of-the-box" experience go trolling

need to demonstrate ethical democratic forms so people can learn them
urgent when country is going socialist and politicians are moving to suspend form

other important uses:
who makes rules for Internet?
Missouri state legislature?
City Council of Santa Barbara?
or the users themselves?

individuals have abdicated decision making to administrators because groups lack organized temporal and ordinal forms
great benefit in restoring form is that people can build their communities up through their own decision making efforts
rational discussion deliberation and decision making cannot be made with irrational forms or outside of rational form

open community closed groups

need open circuit for promotion, to let people know you exist, advertising
closed circuits should be used in organizing small groups, there is no reason to broadcast the proceedings of a small group, Rotary International does not need to know all of the goings on of every local club in the world.

disservice to expect people to be able to wade through mountains voluminous of info to find their way
how can someone know what to ask for?
how can they know that they don't know something unless someone shows them that the thing exists?
small group can verify what people know and don't know, this disclosing of blind spots is important for every member.
a practical dialogue gathers all the knowledge and increases the knowledge of each because it illuminates the blind areas the places where we don't even know that we don't know.

I expected that we would have as much exchange as a course with 10 or 15 people meeting once or twice a week should have.
Fewer people would have been easier to schedule more often
response ratio is affected by random multimemberships
people are not there to respond because they are too busy with their multi-"memberships", they go multi-membershipping because they do not recieve enough response in the "communities"
what seems to be lacking is the small cohesive group
ordinal form requires that each respond

blogging experience
first step in building groups is to find qualified individuals
dialogue can serve well and blogs are a good place to dialogue
still I find little interest in dialogue on many blogs
my role seems to be just to let people know that they exsist
finding people using blog search is easier also better faster way to connect less static

leigh said was not community
but treated it as if it were
my guess is that he is a part of a community
and they were automatically qualified to participate
but it degraded the integrity of the course to act so
influenced by election?

gender politics maybe best to give gender neutral usernames?

relation of group to community

community is comprised of small individual groups
individual enters community through frequect contact with the small group
NOT through frequent contact with the whole community
the whole numvber of a group should be small enough so that the average member can lead it
Supreme Court is good example.
9 members
any one of them could lead it
community should not threaten the functioning of the group
but support it
groups should have seperate identities within the community

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Friday, October 17, 2008

¿Cuál es un Foro?

Utilizo la palabra “foro” en un sentido clásico. Pienso que una discusión es como una organización, no sólo del temo sino de la gente ellos misma. Donde están situados en la discusión puede influenciar grandemente la cantidad o el tipo de energía que poseen. Un foro es el proceso del tema a través de varias formas de la discusión. La variación de la forma da una gama más amplia de expresión a los hablantes y una mejor experiencia de escuchar para la audiencia.

Yo uso la palabra "foro" en un sentido clásico. Creo que de un debate como una organización no sólo del tema sino de los propios pueblos. Cuando se coloca en el debate puede influir considerablemente en la cantidad o el tipo de poder que poseen. Un foro es el tratamiento del tema de discusión a través de diversas formas. La variación de la forma da a la vez una gama más amplia de expresión a los oradores y una mejor experiencia para escuchar la audiencia.

Utilizo la palabra “foro” en un sentido clásico. Pienso que un discusión es como una organización, no sólo del tema sino de la gente misma. Donde están situados en el discusión puede influenciar grandemente la cantidad o el tipo de energía que poseen. Un foro es el proceso del tema a través de varias formas de discusión. La variación de la forma proporciona doblemente una mayor gama de expresión a los hablantes y una mejor experiencia de escuchar para la audiencia.


Tomemos cualquier tema y tratémoslo a través de un proceso completo.

Comencemos el proceso con un tipo de forma democrática que sea al azar, en circuito abierto, con números ilimitados de hablantes. Todos hemos visto este tipo de discusión en foros en línea. Generalmente, la única división de la discusión sería estrictamente dentro se los temas, simplemente dividiendo el asunto según sus componentes componentes, llegando a ser cada división entonces su propio tema. La discusión podía ser dividida en los
subforums separados.

Tomemos cualquier tema y tratémoslo a través de un proceso completo. Comencemos el proceso con un tipo de forma democrática que sea al azar, en circuito abierto, con números ilimitados de hablantesTodos hemos visto este tipo de discusión en foros en línea. Generalmente, la única división de la discusión sería [color="red"]estrictamente dentro de los temas, simplemente dividiendo el asunto según sus componentes, llegando a ser cada división entonces su propio tema. La discusión podía ser dividida en lineas o subforums separados.

Ahora en la forma al azar los carteles pueden sostener el modo expositivo apenas contorneando y componiendo sus postes del individuo. Entonces acumulamos una colección de postes expositivos. La ventaja de este estilo es que cada voz puede hablar tan a menudo y tanto como quieren. El problema es que es muy duro seguir la discusión, especialmente cuando divergen las opiniones.

¿Cuál es el paso lógico siguiente en curso de foro clásico? Algo que más lejos la división del asunto, la extensión de una discusión expositiva pedida sería el ordenar de los carteles ellos mismos. Puede ser que comencemos la discusión de nuevo con una limitación - que cada uno de ellos no se prohibe a un y solamente un poste. O cualquier número limitado. O puede ser que los pidamos para hacer un poste y para seguir siendo silenciosos hasta que uno redondo de la fijación se termine. Entonces los carteles pueden reasumir otra vez cada uno que no se prohibe uno y solamente un poste. Esta forma ayuda a mantener el principio de igual dice o iguala tiempo. También comprueba el dramático puesto que se improvisa el modo dramático y prospera en forma al azar. Exige que cada uno hable una vez y escuche nueve veces (en un grupo de diez). Introduce la forma racional, no prohibiendo a los miembros control sobre el modo de discusión, y es un objetivo mensurable.

Tan ahora hemos movido el asunto con un proceso a partir de una forma a otra. Y el propósito de esto es que los carteles pueden refinar sus presentaciones originales que eran al azar y difíciles leer y condensar o resumir sus exposiciones. Esto no nos prohibe una mejor experiencia que escucha porque una forma tan expositiva sería condensador de ajuste, más fácil seguir y fácil referirse referente quién piensa lo que, puesto que todos los postes son resumidos por cada cartel.

Digamos que emergen las opiniones múltiples y sus son racimos de opiniones, por ejemplo, tres puntos de vista distintos que cada cartel podría colocarse con respectivamente.

El paso siguiente en el proceso sería designar o elegir a tres representantes de esas opiniones y utilizar la forma del círculo otra vez para desmenuzarla hacia fuera usando una forma terminante del círculo (ABC del ABC…). Uno o más la opinión puede emerger como más fuertes que el otros. Uno se puede sacudir para ensamblar otro o se puede partir en dos facciones debido a él es poseer debilidades inherentes y ensamblar a los otros dos. Podemos entonces medir esto en términos de cantidades relativas en un sistema cerrado usando números enteros y fracciones. Podemos determinar cuantitativo el resultado del discusión. Donde se convierten dos opiniones de oposición nos aclaró pueden entonces moverse encendido en el proceso a un discusión evaluado bilateral usando el siguiente forman (AB AB AB C)

A Pro
B Con
A Refutación
B Refutación
A Cierre
B Cierre
C Evaluación

La evaluación sí mismo se puede conducir por un equipo de observadores que critique la gramática, el retórico y la lógica.

Usando este proceso, la discusión se mueve desde un irracional a la forma racional que se puede contar por un número entero. Las cantidades relativas de igualdad, de mayoría y de minoría se pueden deducir de este número entero.

La ventaja es que la comunidad recibe un completo oyendo hablar del asunto. No permiten la mayoría al outvoice la minoría porque para el final del proceso la comunidad ha ajustado abajo del número de voces a dos voces iguales con el fin de determinar la lógica de cada discusión. La mayoría puede todavía votar a favor de ella es asunto pero como el proceso continúa la voz de la minoría continúa siendo oída.

Mantenemos tan otro tipo de igualdad. Si nueve personas creen que una cosa y una persona cree a otra, no permitimos nueve voces a una. Queremos oír toda la lógica de un lado comparado a toda la lógica del otro. Una lógica puede compensar otra. Permitir que los nueve dominen nos da discusiones redundantes y un ahogamiento de la voz de la minoría. ¡El valor en este proceso miente en el hecho de que la mayor parte de la gente es a menudo incorrecta! Sabemos históricamente que las mejores ideas vienen de números muy pequeños. Las comunidades científicas y literarias abarcan un pequeño porcentaje de la comunidad entera. Los científicos tienen gusto de Galileo y Darwin y los escritores como Frederick Douglas, Allen Ginsberg y Mark Twain podrían ser censurados o sus ideas podrían ser perseguidas.

Un ejemplo histórico sería la aparición de la teoría de la evolución en moneda pública. En el ensayo de los alcances de 1925, el Evolutionists perdió la caja al Creationists pero ganó la tierra inmensa en traer la atención de la existencia de las teorías de Darwin al público en general. 83 años más adelante y él está difícilmente incluso encontrar un Creationist que por lo menos no acepte la microevolución como hecho.

Este proceso es tan progresivo.

Pero estoy hablando en el contexto de las comunidades en línea de Faciliating. Creo que las formas democráticas tradicionales realizan el mejor faciliation. Éste es foro uno mismo-moderado, absolutamente distinto apenas de una organización tópica de hilos de rosca o de subforums. Y el es lo que significo por la palabra “foro”, una forma que permita que la comunidad discuta, delibere y decida con una acción en línea.

Para recapitular, utilizamos un proceso trifásico de las diversas formas de la discusión u organizaciones de gente y de discurso con el fin de alcanzar de una mejor experiencia que escuchaba.

1) Forma al azar, donde cada uno fue permitido hablar tan a menudo y tanto como desearon.

2) Circunde la forma, donde los hablamos fueron asignados para hablar en un lugar dado. Pueden tener la derecha y la responsabilidad de hablar. En esta forma del círculo, cada uno debe escuchar el otros antes de que puedan hablar otra vez.

3) Discuta la forma, de que la lógica de dos o tres ideas de oposición deben conseguir una audiencia igual sin importar el número de partidarios para cada idea. En esta forma una mayor demanda se hace sobre los hablamos para ejercitar sus responsabilidades de hablar.

Usted puede ver los diversos efectos que cada forma alcanza. En el primer, un grupo de oposición puede despedir las discusiones de otras y no hacer caso simplemente de ellos pero como la discusión toma la forma, la mayor responsabilidad está sobre los hablamos.

Éste era solamente un proceso descrito. Hay otras formas de la discusión y por lo tanto muchas variaciones de los foros que pueden ser organizados.

I use the word "forum" in a classic sense. I think of a discussion as an organization not only of the topic but of the people themselves. Where they are positioned in the discussion may greatly influence the amount or type of power that they possess. A forum is the processing of the topic through various discussion forms. The variation of form gives both a greater range of expression to the speakers and a better listening experience for the audience.

Let us take any topic and put it through a complete process. Let's begin the process with a type of democratic form that is random, open circuit, with unlimited numbers of speakers. We have all seen this type of discussion in online forums. Usually, the only division of the discussion would be strictly topical, simply dividing the topic down to it's constituent parts, each division then becoming it's own topic. The discussion could be divided into separate threads or separate subforums.

Now in the random form the posters may sustain the expository mode just by outlining and composing their individual posts. We then accumulate a collection of expository posts. The benefit of this style is that every voice can speak as often and as much as they want. The problem is that it is very hard to follow the discussion, especially when opinions diverge.

What's the next logical step in the process of a classic forum? Rather than further division of the topic, the extension of an ordered expository discussion would be the ordering of the posters themselves. We might begin the discussion anew with one limitation - that each of them are allowed one and only one post. Or whatever limited number. Or we might ask them to make one post and remain silent until one round of posting is completed. Then the posters may resume again each allowing themselves one and only one post. This form helps to maintain the principle of equal say or equal time. It also checks the dramatic since the dramatic mode is improvised and thrives on random form. It demands that each speak once and listen nine times (in a group of ten). It introduces rational form, allowing the members control over the mode of discussion, and it is a measurable objective.

So now we have moved the topic through a process from one form to another. And the purpose of this is that the posters may refine their original presentations that were random and difficult to read and condense or summarise their expositions. This allows us a better listening experience because such an expository form would be trimmer, easier to follow and easy to reference concerning who thinks what, since all posts are summarised by each poster.

Let's say that multiple opinions emerge and their are clusters of opinions, say, three distinct viewpoints that each poster could position themselves with respectively.

The next step in the process would be to appoint or elect three representatives of those opinions and use the circle form again to hash it out using a strict circle form (ABC ABC...). One or more opinion may emerge as stronger than the others. One may be swayed to join another or may split into two factions due to it's own inherent weaknesses and be joined to the other two. We can then measure this in terms of relative quantities in a closed system using whole numbers and fractions. We can quantitatively assess the outcome of the debate. Where two opposing opinions become clarified we may then move on in the process to a two sided evaluated debate using the following form (AB AB AB C)

A Pro
B Con
A rebuttal
B rebuttal
A closing
B closing
C Evaluation

The evaluation itself may be conducted by a team of observers who critique the grammar, rhetoric and logic.

Using this process, the discussion is moved from an irrational to rational form that can be counted by a whole number. The relative quantities of equality, majority and minority can be deduced from this whole number.

The benefit is that the community receives a complete hearing of the topic. The majority is not allowed to outvoice the minority because by the end of the process the community has trimmed down the number of voices to two equal voices for the purpose of assessing the logic of each argument. The majority may still vote in favor of it's proposition but as the process continues the minority voice continues to be heard.

So we maintain another type of equality. If nine people believe one thing and one person believes another, we do not allow nine voices to one. We want to hear all of the logic of one side compared to all of the logic of the other. One logic may outweigh another. Allowing the nine to dominate gives us repetitious arguments and a drowning of the minority voice. The value in this process lies in the fact that most of the people are often wrong! We know historically that the best ideas come from very small numbers. The scientific and literary communities comprise a small percentage of the whole community. Scientists like Galileo and Darwin and writers like Frederick Douglas, Allen Ginsberg and Mark Twain could be censored or their ideas could be persecuted.

An historical example would be the emergence of the theory of evolution into public currency. In the Scopes Trial of 1925, the Evolutionists lost the case to the Creationists but gained immense ground in bringing attention of the existence of Darwin's theories to the general public. 83 years later and it is hard even to find a Creationist who won't at least accept microevolution as a fact.

So this process is progressive.

But I am speaking in the context of Faciliating Online Communities. I believe that traditional democratic forms perform the best faciliation. This is self-moderated forum, quite distinct from just a topical organization of threads or subforums. And this is what I mean by the word "forum", a form that allows the community to discuss, deliberate and decide through an online action.

To recap, we used a three phase process of different discussion forms or organizations of people and speech for the purpose of achieving a better listening experience.

1) Random form, where everyone was allowed to speak as often and as much as they desired.

2) Circle form, where speakers were assigned to speak in a given place. They may have both the right and the responsibility to speak. In this circle form, each must listen to the others before they may speak again.

3) Debate form, that the logic of two or three opposing ideas must get an equal hearing regardless of the the number of supporters for each idea. In this form a greater demand is made upon the speakers to exercise their responsibilities to speak.

You can see the different effects that each form achieves. In the first, an opposing group may dismiss the arguments of others and simply ignore them but as the discussion takes form, greater responsibility is upon the speakers.

This was only one process described. There are other discussion forms and therefore many variations of forums that can be organized.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Multimembership (the bane of web community)

It was the strategy of the technocrat to defeat traditional ordinal form so as to establish a new order with themselves at the top of the food chain.

Multi-membershipping effectively prevents the membership from counting itself as a whole number and thus producing a rational form. Because there are so few stable small groups online, people go "multi-membershipping" in search of any kind of response! Multi-membershipping destroys group identity further. This syndrome is waht I call Anti-Community. Group continuity is lost in a descending spiral.

If there was anything that annoyed me more in the FOC08 course it was the idea that people could come and go whenever they wanted and do the course "at their own pace". That "own pace" got stretched a lot until people were not even doing the course work. Yet these very people were the first to sign up for facilitating. I guess they fancy themselves to be leaders of the rest of us who did the work - myself and Joy.

Multimembershipping is a nifty little device invented by the technocrat in order to control large areas of the web. It prevents people from really organizing and it just ruined the FOC08 course for me. It allows people to be uncommitted yet to have as much say as a person who is committed.

People need to learn to organize small groups of three people using traditional ordinal form before they go about designing "courses" and "conferences". I would have been happy as a lark with just three or four committed people. Even if they disagreed with me. At least we could have had a reasonable listening experience.

Absorbsion rate? Small group of 10-15 people is listenable.
each can listen to the others and be heard by the others.

Multimembershipping is mob rule. How do I m,anage multimembership? I don't multimembership unless it is to troll a forum. People who advocate multimembershipping are trolls. So what's wrong with a multimemebrship of 500 gag accounts on one forum? If the shoe fits, wear it.

Protest Against People Overload!

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Changing Blogs

I am starting a new blog which will be more freestyle, engaging in a potpourri of whatever interest me personally. You can find me now at Artie's World.

I am done blogging for this "course" and am beginning a new blog. I may or may not do a thorough evaluation of everything I experienced. I think I got what I wanted out of it. I had begun work on a new website and possible forum dedicated to promoting traditional temporal and ordinal democratic organizing procedures. I needed some stimulation to get the next few pages. So personally, this "course" did this for me.

I am already getting some thoughts for evaluating the "course". First, I stumbled upon it while tagging a few writings of mine at delicious and swicki with the tag "online facilitation" or some such. I was not looking for a course but I came upon the FOC08 promotion on the day it was opening and decided that I was too late to join. But the course outline was somewhat similar to the outline I have for my website, so I set up a blog to blog along with everyone silently without being an official participant. Then when the blogging was so pitifully weak (in light of there being 113 "members"), I thought I would surface and put something on the table.

With an organized outline and along with the word "course" and "university", I imagined that there would be some temporal and ordinal form. The temporal was very much present in that the outline was dated with rough deadlines for completing the work. I am very disappointed that ordinal form was not respected during the course.

The course also got me into blogging, which is a new avenue for me. But it's not what I was looking for. I was not looking for a bunch of new platforms but better ways to communicate with people. That is what I wrote about in this blog.

I ended my work in this "course" with a boycott of the conference because people who had not done the coursework came crawling onto the open stage where they could facilitate before a television audience. As far as I count, only Joy and myself completed the coursework and should have been scheduled to facilitate an event. Daryl did the blogging but did not fulfill the requirement of commenting on the blogs. We were responsible to fulfill that task.

I think that the comment assignment should have been more specific like, every blogger must make 10 comments on each blog or even on each blog assignment.

I also think that the course would have a much greater impact if the membership were closed to a very few who qualified themselves for the coursework. Daryl could easily have qualified.

The only assignments that I did not complete were either for ethical reasons or because I was insufficiently informed about how to perform a task.

I have a ton of notes in backlog and may bring those together for a final assessment.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What is NOT a community?

Anti Community

"Survivor" ends by faciliating the destruction of community only one left standing no growth approach

not a community when 90% of the "members" are a fringe element without responsibilities

Small group have been replaced with chats. "Community" invades and destroys small group identity through a technique known as "multi-membershipping"

When the community has 90% real members who are active and dependable to respond and
discussion is organized and leads to deliberate action through a community effort

in context of an online community a large percentage of discussion leads to an online action
anti-community lacks attributes of traditional community collections of individuals


Individual-Small Group-Community

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Rights and Responsibilities in Groups

Right to speak

Right to hear and be heard

Responsibility to respond

Responsibility to listen

Right to Privacy do not need to reveal one iota of personal info on an open circuit. The right to privacy includes the right to anonymity. The practice of banning users is unethical because it utilizes IP checking. New users are having their privacy invaded. IP checking is a threat to the security and privacy of the individual members.

Right to Equality begins with being able to count the membership as a whole number allowing relative quanities like equality, majority and minority to be accurately measured. The right to equality includes the right to discuss, deliberate and decide using traditional rational forms.

Freedom of Speech includes the right to communicate using all modes; expository, narrative and dramatic.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Measured Discourse

Everything in this blog could be summed up in two words - measured discourse. I say that rational discussion is measurable.

Unlike "moderation", the purpose of evaluation is not to oversee individuals but to elevate the whole community as each member serves in the role of evaluator. If I am assigned to evaluate the grammar of a discussion, I monitor all of the grammar and report at the end of the discussion.

The first benefit of this service is to myself, the evaluator. The objective is not to improve the grammar of the discussion participants, but the discussion is only an object upon which I exercise and develop my listening skills in the area of grammar.

The second benefit is to the whole group in that it affects my grammar in all subsequent discussions. So the community has improved the grammar of one member, myself. Each member has the opportunity to evaluate discussions and this role of evaluator qualifies each member (in this case - myself) to participate as a contributor to further discussions.

Through the evaluation process the group ensures that the rights and responsibilities of every member are secured.

Right to speak

Right to hear others speak

Responsibility to reply

Responsibility to listen

There are no dangling conversations, no "community" that destroys group identity, few unmeasured arguments and few irrational group responses. There are few rules that can only be measured subjectively, the focus remains upon the objectives of the discussion project. When the discussion project is finished and has been evaluated, the topic itself can be continued in yet another measured form. The subject matters can be progressively developed, so instead of rehashing the same old same old in the same old same old random form, we revisit the topic in a new form, thereby gaining a fresh perspective.

See: The Listening Experience
Learning Ordinal Forms

The ordinal discussion arts lead us into coherent group building and groups become the building blocks of communities.

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