Wed 23 Mar 2016 2:50PM

Using P2P Social Media to Promote Libre Commons Projects

DS Danyl Strype Public Seen by 156

Just wondering if CommonsTransition and the P2P Foundation, as well as members of this group, are active on GNU Social, Diaspora, and of the other newish decentralized social media networks? A lot of people interested in the ideas these projects promote are active on these federated networks now. GNU Social is particularly useful because as with it's forerunner StatusNet (run by Identi.ca which now uses Pump.io), a GNU Social account can be linked to a Twitter account, allowing users who follow you on Twitter to receive the messages you post on your GNU Social server.

The network effect ("viral marketing") is an important concept to grasp in understanding how social technology emerges and declines. Check out the CCC talk on this by Katharina Nocun.


Danyl Strype Wed 23 Mar 2016 2:53PM

So far, my federated social network accounts are:
* GNU Social: strypey [at] quitter.se
* Diaspora: strypey [at ]joindiaspora.com
* Pump.io: https://identi.ca/strypey (haven't used this much since they switched to Pump)
* Tent: strypey.tent.is (still not idea how to use Tent yet though)


Jake Hansen Wed 23 Mar 2016 3:51PM

Good one. My attempts:
- GNU Social, Identica and I believe a few comparable federated microblogging networks: I have attempted to get this working several times in the past, failed and gave up. Except once I succeeded in getting an account on GNU Social I think, failed to get it connected to Twitter, found a desert there, left it at that with the thought "In the future when I have more time, I will do this right" (haha)
- Diaspora: I was very interested in this when I first heard about it, when I found out the sysadmin can read all content and nothing is encrypted on the server, I lost interest

I do not know Tent. I have (had?) high hopes for ind.ie.


Stacco Troncoso Thu 24 Mar 2016 12:47PM

Yeah, I've got profiles on Minds, Diaspora and GNUSocial/La Matriz (search for Stacco). I'd love to have something similar for the P2PF/Commons Transition but most of our Social Media content is automated, we simply don't have enough people-hours to have someone posting. If there's a solution for P2P-SM (IFTT or something) that'd be great.


Michel Bauwens Fri 25 Mar 2016 12:24AM

personally, I am not .. .I have tried at various times before and each time there was no one there ... I am using the mainstream networks to reach a wider audience and am not very interested to use the new networks in that context ..

self-organizing would be another matter, but we have Loomio for that,

However, I would strongly encourage other members of CT and P2P-F to do that, and to join for example GNU Social as we should not all be on the same networks ..

Perhaps we need someone who can coordinate such a social media strategy,



Danyl Strype Mon 28 Mar 2016 3:50AM

My past experiences have been similar... tumbleweeds. However, this appears to be changing, for a number of reasons that I won't go into here (I'm preparing a blog post on Disintermedia where I can go into them in detail). The point I want to make is that as this progress accelerates, it's going to become less work to use them, not more, and more rewarding to do so. Take GNU Social. As I said, a Social account can be set up to automatically repost on a Twitter account, thus addressing both the audience on the Social network and the (currently) larger audience on Twitter in one sweep. There is already a WordPress plugin that automatically sends a Social post for every blog post, and adds any replies sent via Social as comments on the blog, and I'm sure similar plug-ins are in the works (if not already available) for other free code blog engines (not sure what software the P2P and CT blogs use).

Perhaps we need someone who can coordinate such a social media strategy

I think every group of people who want to influence popular opinion needs at least one of these, but I think they need to be political strategists who understand the "Organic Internet" concept of the net as a social movement, not just a set of pipes ("the medium is the message"), and interact in ways that help that movement become more progressive (for lack of a better word). Many organisations have social media specialists, but too often they are political marketers chasing maximum eyeballs with clickbait and trying to reshape the organisation's discourse to meet the perceived demands of the audience (group narcissism as a communications strategy). No offence intended to present company :)


ann marie Mon 28 Mar 2016 12:43PM

Well said, @strypey re: political strategists vs. marketers. Very much something for us to keep our sights set on.


John Ingleby Mon 28 Mar 2016 1:05PM

Strypey, are you familiar with the work of Dave Winer? He's a "hacker" (in the true sense of "hacking" code, not "cracking" cybersecurity) who's committed to the open internet. So far as I can figure out Dave has built mechanisms of the kind you're describing, like a river of news (RIP Google Reader) and a blogging system that automatically feeds links to Twitter and Facebook.


Michel Bauwens Mon 28 Mar 2016 3:22PM


is there anyone in the p2p-f who could give some time to devising a media diffusion strategy that would hit the more 'technologically correct' alternatives .. and is there anyone who could keep an eye out for the comments etc.. that such a automated feed (as suggested by Stripey) would generate ?



Danyl Strype Mon 4 Jul 2016 6:38AM

"is there anyone in the p2p-f who could give some time to devising a media diffusion strategy that would hit the more 'technologically correct' alternatives"

Having a communications person who is fluent in free (as in freedom) and federated social networks would be a great asset for the P2PF. But to experiment with free and federated groupware tools,what's really needed is a group of people. Such a group can try out different tools together, give feedback to developers, and publish periodic ratings to guide potential adopters (eg "experimental", "ready for individual use", "ready for use by small/ medium/ large organsations"). This would include testing text-based social media, but also live chat tools, group platforms like Loomio etc.

The reason for this is the catch-22 situation we've been in because of network effect. There's low motivation for developers to work on alternatives that have very little uptake compared to their proprietary counterparts, and low motivation for users to adopt alternatives that are not technologically mature and widely used. If we want a free and federated internet, instead of an "open web" dominated by proprietary social media platforms owned by corporations, we need to think strategically, and actively organise to bring that free and federated future into being.

My plan at present is to move much of my blogging/ wiki activity into the P2PF and CT platforms, and move Disintermedia towards being such a beta testing group, both trialling platforms hosted by others and experimenting with setting up our own nodes in federated networks, and sharing the results. If anyone here would like to take part, please feel free to set up an account on CoActive.org, and join the Disintermedia project.


ann marie Mon 28 Mar 2016 3:37PM

Of course it's a great idea, and once we have the funds to bring a community manager on board who has facility with both the "popular but not ideal" and the "technologically correct and more progressive" alternatives, this will be a large part of their position. As it stands (as you know) we are too few and too overloaded to commit to a new avenue of exploration without the time or human resources. That said, it's a big necessity, so we're going to export some of this thread to the job description in the wiki, for our future team member.


Michel Bauwens Mon 28 Mar 2016 3:43PM

ok, great!


Danyl Strype Fri 8 Apr 2016 6:44AM

Manuel of Las Indias said in a GNU Social "quip":

we created [the WordPress plugin for GNU Social integration] and have been using it for more than one year already, we are extremely happy :) Any tip? start using it ;) Do you have any doubt, question?


Bob Haugen Fri 8 Apr 2016 11:21AM

I am personally experimenting with patchwork which was started by people from Enspiral, including at least one of the developers of Loomio. It's pretty raw, but I think has a lot of promise. I don't think the promise will be fulfilled by the current implementation of patchwork, but by work that spins off from that experiment. These docs might give you some idea about why I am experimenting with it.

I did try Diaspora once upon a time but it went nowhere for me.


Guy James Sun 17 Apr 2016 3:52PM

I agree with @bobhaugen about Patchwork, looks a very interesting app, however it is an app and has to be installed - so far it's lacking easy installers for OSX and Windows afaik. So that's more one for the future I'd say. It does solve a lot of problems of the current social networks though, as in being distributed/serverless and encrypted when needed, and public when that is appropriate.

I am on Diaspora* (GuyJames@joindiaspora.com) and GNU Social (guyjames@quitter.se); of the two the latter is definitely the better and I have connected it to my Twitter account (@guyjames23). Both suffer from lack of network uptake though, although if a project like FairCoop with quite a lot of users adopted GNU Social then it wouldn't really matter about the lack of interest in the wider world (Las Indias of course use it in this way). FairCoop is more on Telegram at the moment and although that is not really a 'proper' open source project (although the code is on Github I believe) it does work really well and is super-easy to use.

I am also interested in the IndieWeb developments and something like https://brid.gy looks like it'd be worth a go. The idea is really going back to the early days of the internet and using the inherent social networking capabilities of the internet protocols themselves. I believe Tim Berners-Lee is working on a similar project too.

For me the day when we can leave the 'netarchical' platforms cannot come too soon. I don't really understand why people are putting up with being data-mined and surveilled to death when there are working P2P alternatives.


Bob Haugen Sun 17 Apr 2016 4:23PM

We like Telegram. I agree that Patchwork is a signpost of the future.

Tim BL is working on Solid which is one of my personal alternatives for building something new on (along with Patchwork). But I don't think either of those directions are ready for large-group adoption yet.


Michel Bauwens Mon 4 Jul 2016 5:59PM

thanks Guy,

dear Stacco,

does it make any sense to port our twitter streams to quitter . .I can't maintain two microblogging platforms but if there could be a mirror and I would bet on twitter the comments from quitter, that could be useful ..



Michel Bauwens Mon 4 Jul 2016 6:00PM

I just asked stacco if we could not mirror our activities on free platforms, what do you think of that option ?


Guy James Mon 4 Jul 2016 7:52PM

You can definitely use quitter.se and turn on the 'twitter
bridge' and this mirrors everything over to twitter, easy to do. I
notice that Cory Doctorow does it the other way round, that
everything he posts on twitter goes to quitter as well but he is
not active other than that on the quitter network and I don't know
how he's doing that.

I think it would definitely be good for the P2PF to be on GNU
Social, it seems to be reaching the sort of critical mass of
people where it is actually fun to use now rather than a 'virtual
ghost town'. If people realise that, then it could get a further
network effect and become really popular. It's no more difficult
to use than twitter, although it might take non-techy people a
couple of minutes to understand how the different federated
networks work (as in you can follow someone on a different


kooshikoo Tue 16 May 2017 7:23PM

You can use ifttt(if this then that), it's a software tool that automates posting on multiple platforms, including RSS feeds.


Michel Bauwens Mon 4 Jul 2016 7:59PM

thanks Guy,

I am definitely thinking more in the doctorow sense for me,

with 20,000 impressions per day just on my account, and similar on the official p2p-f account, reaching a potential of 7m people according to a calculation 2 years ago, I can't take on another network,

but I hope someone within our network would take it on themselves, and to consider it more as a dialogue within activist communities, while Twitter reaches a broader public,



Bob Haugen Tue 5 Jul 2016 2:56PM

a dialogue within activist communities, while Twitter reaches a broader public,

I think both are necessary. The real work will happen in the activist communities, but those are often self-isolated and do not collaborate with each other, so they only find each other through the broader public media. And the broader public finds activist communities to join there, too.

The activist communities will collaborate better over time or they will die and new ones will take over. That's also my complaint with the proliferation of isolated open source tools that do not interoperate. They are great if they are your hobby, but I ain't got much time for hobbies.


Guy James Tue 5 Jul 2016 7:43PM

No problem Michel. It can be done using www.twitrss.me and a program
called gnusrss: https://daemons.cf/cgit/gnusrss/about/#orgheadline8 but
would need server access, maybe Javier can set it up for you.


Michel Bauwens Thu 7 Jul 2016 12:17AM

Dear Guy,

I will discuss with stacco if this makes sense and then ask Javier for assistance if needed, thanks a lot!



Danyl Strype Wed 20 Jul 2016 5:13AM

Just been rereading some of the earlier comments in this thread, particularly the mention of Patchwork. I think the UNIX philsophy of 'one tool doing one job really well' is relevant here. One tool for private communication. One tool for public broadcasting. Obviously content can be exported between them (text can be cut'n'pasted for a start), but this should always be a conscious decision by a human user, especially when it comes to exporting from the comms tool to the broadcasting tool (eg posting a private email as a Diaspora or FaceBook status message should be impossible to do accidentally).

It seems to me a poor design decision to combine both social network (one-to-one or group communication with specific people) and social media (broadcasting to a self-selected audience of "followers" as well as the public web) in one interface. Some might say this has worked for FB, but it has actually created many of the privacy/ censorship/ abuse criticisms of their platform. This seems a poor example to emulate.

I mention all this because I want to distinguish between organising tools (social network tools like email and Loomio) and broadcasting tools (social media tools like Twitter and GNU Social). My original point was that the GNU Social fediverse (for example) may have less users than Twitter (for now), but a much larger proportion of them are likely to be open to P2P/ CT ideas. Also, if forward-looking organisation like the P2P Foundation are using the best-of-breed free code social media tools, even just as a broadcast medium for the same messages sent into the walled gardens (FB, Twitter), and linking to these streams on their homepages, this contributes to the network effect needed to get a critical mass of users onto the free code alternatives and make them useful.


Bob Haugen Wed 20 Jul 2016 12:25PM

organising tools (social network tools like email and Loomio) and broadcasting tools (social media tools like Twitter and GNU Social).

Seems like a useful breakdown. I'd add economic networking tools to that mix, although they are immature at best.


Greg Cassel Wed 20 Jul 2016 6:58PM

[ed. note: my comp double-posted this, so I deleted one of them]

I'm not inclined to create or support a deep technical distinction between private messaging and broadcasting. To me, a message is simply a message: an encoded signal which travels from one place (or device) to another. If a message is broadcast, it simply means that it's available (live and/or archived) via one or more specific communications channels. Such channels may or may not be intentionally restricted to specific people or groups.

Certainly, we all need tools and techniques which enable us to privately and securely transmit messages to specific recipients. We also need (much, much better) tools to organize our collaborative activities and informational resources. However, I believe that fundamentally sound P2P media networking tools and techniques can be developed which will simultaneously support all types of messaging, organizing, planning and accounting which can be described/ encoded in words and/or numbers.

That may sound obscure, naive and/or overly ambitious to many or most readers, but that's the heart of my current work. Unfortunately it's not sufficiently stabilized yet in its terminology to concisely explain to anyone. So for now, I hope I can get by with this bit of dissent to the differentiation of private messaging and public broadcasting. I don't expect anyone to particularly agree with me. :)


Danyl Strype Thu 21 Jul 2016 9:09AM

Thanks Greg for offering a dissenting view :) Keen to hear more views on this, especially from those who disagree with both of us, and can offer entirely different ways of approaching this question of the structure of media, and notions of 'public' and 'private'.


Stacco Troncoso Thu 21 Jul 2016 10:26AM

All this talk about broadcast reminded me of this, which is really worth reading: SECESSION FROM THE BROADCAST


Danyl Strype Fri 22 Jul 2016 6:52AM

One of the reasons I think private comms and public broadcast need to be different tools is illustrated by Twitter being forced to hand over all data relating to some Occupy activists. If Twitter was broadcast only, this wouldn't matter, because they could only give the authorities data that was already public.

True, if Twitter managed private messaging by forwarding the message to the recipient user's email address, immediately deleting the message, it wouldn't matter as much. But even this metadata could be subpoenaed, and what data corporation do you know of who can be relied on to delete any data supplied to them, ever? If you're going to email each other, why does Twitter need to be involved? Why not just keep these functions totally separate? The most powerful argument for this, as I mentioned above, is that there's no way to accidentally make something public that's intended to be private, because you're using different tools for each.

EDIT: "The Broadcast" and "audience-nation" as used by Gene Youngblood in that wonderful piece @stacco shared is another set of terms for discussing what the situationists called "The Society of the Spectacle" (for example, see the book of the same name by the late Guy Debord). When I say "public broadcast", I simply mean that any media published on the internet is available to more people than have ever had simultaneous access to a television or radio broadcast. Of course with so much media available, there's no guarantee any given broadcast will be received at all, let alone by many people. This is why "social media" built on "social network" technology has mostly eclipsed blogging, because it create the sense that there's someone out there to receive the broadcast.


Greg Cassel Sat 23 Jul 2016 2:35PM

We don't need anything remotely like Twitter in the future. We just happen to have centralized, data-gathering corporate platforms like Twitter because of the way that our economy and culture have developed.

If we did technically need a separate tool for broadcasting publicly, we could develop an open source, equitably-managed P2P alternative to Twitter and fb, etcetera. However, I believe it's entirely possible to enable public broadcasting with the same tools we use for private person-to-person(s) messaging, by creating group agents which will post 'publicly' (to any and all defined channels, potentially including Twitter) whenever individuals post to them.

If we develop proper P2P networking tools and techniques, which send all of our digital signals (live and asynchronous) 'directly'--i.e. as directly as possible, and not through any specific servers-- to the intended recipients, we can avoid the risks specifically associated with sending our 'private' messages through a corporation like Twitter. However, I don't mean to imply that we'd subsequently face no legal risks in messaging specific people or specific groups of people. Gene Youngblood (who's brilliant) is at least partially right that the economic elite will fight against P2P global re-organization, using a wide variety of tactics-- probably including clever new laws. Properly distributed networking of information and actions is our best and perhaps only defense against such cleverness. We can extend such networking practices to our methods for public broadcasting.

As for the risk of accidentally posting a private message publicly when you're using the same tools for each: that can't be eliminated, but it can be easily reduced-- to any IMO reasonably prudent level-- by enabling appropriate user options in any group agent which posts publicly.


Danyl Strype Wed 10 Aug 2016 4:17AM

"If we did technically need a separate tool for broadcasting publicly, we could develop an open source, equitably-managed P2P alternative to Twitter and fb, etcetera."

It exists. It's called GNU Social. It can re-broadcast to Twitter. But as I said, just being able to broadcast is no guarantee anyone will receive. In a many-to-many medium, whether centralized and proprietary (Twitter) or federated and libre (GNU Social), the only people who might "follow" you and receive your broadcasts are people who already have a reason to be interested in them. So I don't buy the argument that Twitter has greater reach, just because it has more total users. Twitter is not public television (one-to-many, less noise to compete with for attention), and even with television, people still need a reason to switch on when your program is being broadcast.

FB alternatives also exist (Diaspora etc), but to me this is an entirely different use case. The function of FB (for most people I know) is social networking ie keeping in regular contact with people one already knows (or at least the simulation of it). Diaspora grasps this, and is set up by default to be private (to the point of making it hard to use). Particular items can be made public on a case-by-case basis, but I think it would be better if they couldn't, and people had to cut'n'paste into GNU Social or another broadcasting tool to make things public.

People attempt to use FB for political advocacy and community organising because of the network effect, the perception that "that's where people are", despite the fact that this is a different use case again, and one that FB is a terrible application for. There are better web-based broadcast tools, and there are many free code groupware tools that are already much better for organising purposes (eg Loomio), although what's lacking in both cases is what makes FB so tempting; an integrated UI that combines a number of functions behind one set of login credentials, with free hosting provided.

EDIT: added link to the Fediverse of GNU Social nodes, and edited for sense


Greg Cassel Thu 11 Aug 2016 2:10AM

I appreciate your socially and economically wise dialogue, but I continue to respectfully disagree with the deliberate separation of applications you've been advocating. I think that artificial limitations of tech capabilities are ultimately unsustainable. Powerfully flexible, integrated tools could be developed at any time-- and if they're not made for the commons, they could be commercially exploited.

You have fine points regarding the misleading qualities of the outreach available through fb and twitter etcetera. Many messages deserve highly selective/targeted audiences. I think it should be made as easy as possible to share versions of those messages for broader outreach.

what's lacking in both cases is what makes FB so tempting; an integrated UI that combines a number of functions behind one set of login credentials, with free hosting provided.

You certainly have a great point here about the temptation of FB. Surely we agree that there's no compelling reason that fb 'must' hold a monopoly on such integrated functionality.

We can integrate a heck of a lot more functionality than fb does with open source telecomms protocols, APIs, and one or more [end-user media sharing applications].


Danyl Strype Tue 16 Aug 2016 12:41AM

"We can integrate a heck of a lot more functionality than fb does with open source telecomms protocols, APIs, and one or more [end-user media sharing applications]."

Sure, but at the risk of labouring the point, I don't think the best way to do this is cloning FB, ie one open app that tries to be all things to all people, and serves most use cases very badly. This only works for FB (for now) because of the network effect, which you can't clone along with the set of functions. What's needed is a set of tools, each focused on a specific use case, sharing code modules and using standard protocols under the hood as appropriate.

If we really want free code/ open source to become the norm, we need to start doing things first, rather than cloning proprietary tools, many of which are now built in ways that are inherently contrary to software freedom principles (Service-as-a-Software-Substitute, built-in surveillance etc see the case for Unhosted Web Apps). We can only build first by talking to users about what they need and want that doesn't yet exist. It's a whole different way of approaching development, and Loomio is actually a fantastic case study in how to do this kind of user-driven development.


Greg Cassel Tue 16 Aug 2016 2:54PM

I don't think the best way to do this is cloning FB, ie one open app that tries to be all things to all people, and serves most use cases very badly.

I certainly agree on that.

I'm much more interested in openly shared, supported and used protocols than I am in specific applications.

As far as applications go, I've been consistently advocating a complete 'ecosystem' of free open and fair communications and collaboration tools for many moons. However, whether or not any specific application tries to fulfil most of the specified end-user functions in a given ecosystem isn't important to me, except that any centrally controlled group would probably do a lousy job of it in comparison to our current and clear possibilities. (Partly because IMO they need the very tools which they'd be trying to build.)

I have a very specific point of disagreement with you regarding the technical separation of private messaging from public broadcasting. I'm content to agree to disagree on that. Otherwise, I think we've been mostly talking past each other. This is partly IMO because we use terms in slightly different ways, but also seems to reflect different personal priorities within what I perceive to be the same general mission.


Bob Haugen Tue 16 Aug 2016 3:03PM

@gregorycassel you wrote upthread:

many activist causes in the world can't reasonably operate that openly. So I think it's ultra important to enable deeply secure privacy as well as options for people to participate in many (not all) collaborative roles via pseudonyms.

Doesn't that contradict using the same medium for private and public messages? Even if "private" is only an option, as it is in Patchwork, for example, where private messages are end-to-end encrypted and only readable by the participants, but public ones are not.

In Patchwork, private messages happen for other purposes than anonymity, because (for example) one my Patchwork friends was having a difficult time and wanted to discuss it with me without broadcasting all the details to the whole Patchwork universe (which is pretty small...)


Greg Cassel Tue 16 Aug 2016 3:29PM

I'm not sure what you mean. I agree that we should all always have the option to encrypt messages end-to-end so that only authorized (individual or group) accounts can access them. I believe it should be possible to easily share the exact same message to different groups, or to make it fully public, or to clone a public version of a private message. (Perhaps the private and public versions will be iterated/revised separately.)

There isn't really such a technical thing as public and private messages. There are only encrypted and unencypted ones. The one-to-many messages we send to platforms like fb, Twitter or Loomio(.org) are encrypted messages, but some of those messages are immediately published by their recipients as unencrypted messages, which can be read by anyone accessing the platform in question from any device.

What matters to me is personal and collective autonomy and agency, which we try to create and describe online via user accounts which have security keys. Those user accounts may interact anonymously, pseudonymously or with legal names/ IDs. It's just a question of creating tools and techniques which fully enable the development and support of intentional community standards.


Stacco Troncoso Wed 20 Jul 2016 3:49PM


Also, if forward-looking organisation like the P2P Foundation are using the best-of-breed free code social media tools, even just as a broadcast medium for the same messages sent into the walled gardens (FB, Twitter), and linking to these streams on their homepages,

I agree. Most of the "broadcast" sm is automatised, barring the odd interaction that Michel and I have with people and the Commons Transition posts, which I like to promote more thoroughly. Right now we're so overwhelmed with projects and maintenance work that we don't have the time to go into this but, if some sort of IFTT deal could be worked out for other social media channels, we'd gladly highlight them. Who can help with this?

I agree with @bobhaugen that's a very useful breakdown


Bob Haugen Sat 23 Jul 2016 6:05PM

I recognize that it is technically possible to use the same medium for broadcast and organizing, but I don't think it's a technical question.

I think most of the people I know who use twitter, fb, et al, as broadcast media use them because of their reach: their mass popularity. I don't use them because I am usually not broadcasting, I am organizing. I consider them to be less effective to reach the people I want to organize with because those people, while they may use those media too, communicate very differently in less popular, more private, usually more open source and experimental media, and feel more among friends there.


Bob Haugen Sat 23 Jul 2016 6:07PM

As soon as I wrote that, I remembered that we use github all the time for organizing, when we could be using gitlab. We contradict ourselves...


Greg Cassel Sat 23 Jul 2016 7:05PM

My experience has been such that I prefer to organize and collaborate as openly as reasonably possible, even if the management and 'ownership' of a process (or project) is exclusive to specific people. However, my personal perception of 'as openly as reasonably possible ' certainly depends on social variables, related to the objectives of each collaborative process.

For instance, I'm really glad that Value Flows and other IMO key projects are hosted and mostly managed via public repositories. But many activist causes in the world can't reasonably operate that openly. So I think it's ultra important to enable deeply secure privacy as well as options for people to participate in many (not all) collaborative roles via pseudonyms.


Bob Haugen Sat 23 Jul 2016 9:02PM

While we work on Value Flows in public, we do it in a medium (github) that is not a broadcast medium, nor does it have mass popularity except among techies. We do not tweet or go on facebook. We occasionally reach out in forums like Hylo CTA where we are trying to attract people who might join us in work. Once, upon request by Michel, I wrote an article for the P2P blog that mentioned VF. But even there, I was trying to organize, I was not trying to sell anything, not even the ideas. I rarely try to persuade people: I look for people who are already at least half persuaded and want to work. The time for broadcasting may come, when we think we are ready, but I figure other people will be better at it than me.


Greg Cassel Sun 24 Jul 2016 1:02AM

That all makes sense to me. I've become increasingly repelled by most forms of persuasive writing for years, although I relapsed somewhat with my (abandoned) January 2015 website.

I do believe in a sort of 'minimum viable persuasion'... like, the pitch or artfully packaged free sample that gets someone to try something, and see if they like it enough to come back for more. Most sales and marketing work is pretty disgusting to me, but there's some strong thinking on how to get people's attention. It's mostly a question of what you do after you get someone's attention: how clear, honest and inclusive is one's work?

Anyway, working openly can be done with widely varying degrees of publicity, depending on the audiences we would like to inform and interact with. I've greatly appreciated your careful approach with Value Flows.


Michel Bauwens Sun 24 Jul 2016 4:26AM

I use the same distinction as Bob,

for communicating you need reach, and you need to use 'massive media', otherwise you are talking to the already convnced

organizing, which carries risk of surveillance and requires autonomy in the tools (lest they shut you out at will), should not be done through these media

and never put all eggs in the same basket, including in an alternative infrastructure, which may have even more chance of failing than a commercial one,



John Kellden Fri 19 Aug 2016 5:40AM

A great conversation.

Dissonance: activism
Dissonance here seen as good, as a source of motivation and creative tension.

Reflexivity: attention turned awareness
This is one of the challenges. What is our "inner core" and what part of it is projected, enacted, including what space we hold, what intention we hold?

Resilience: organizing
Free, libre, p2p, federated, a distributed architecture.

Reach: communicating
This is also a challenge. Most people, eg all those who are using FB and other proprietary platforms, are polarized, fragmented, stuck in a "consuming content" disposition, where most communication is mostly replaced by devolved communication, aka memes, catgifs, pithy quotes.

Resonance: culture
The good sign here, is that old 20C monolith narratives are crumbling, dissolving, imploding. One part of the bad is, most people remain in industrial strength denial, believing the old narratives is all they've got, in order to make any which kind of sense of the world and what is happening.


Simon Grant Sun 24 Jul 2016 12:43PM

I get a lot of this conversation, thanks! Personally, I'm left with an awkward feeling of being caught between the two sides, and I'm wondering how to resolve that. On the one hand, yes, for those in the know, with good contacts, already in the appropriate work or social networks, it can be just a question of coming across an opportunity that fits well. And I agree very much that for those who are going only to use, not materially to contribute to a project, there are good reasons why one doesn't want to move to quickly to tell them about prototypes.

For the moment, I'm going to represent people I think might be like me, who are interested in contributing, but haven't found a way in to the "inner circles". And yes, from the outside they do appear like "inner circles".

Yes, there is a distinction between "organizing" and "communicating", but to me it is not at all hard-edged. Maybe one of the growth points is to explore and expand that middle ground. And maybe that involves a careful choice of tools -- or even a careful crafting of new tools.

Michel's last comment might be taken as suggesting that we need effective reputation management, to help new people, as yet unknown, into a trusted space where people are doing the building work. If so, how? It's pretty important, because if we are too exclusionary, (a bit like Wikipedian deletionists, maybe?) we risk failing to use the resource that is there; being impoverished before we even start. If we are too inclusionist, I guess we all know the noise and chaos that can drown out effective collaboration, let alone the prying eyes of representatives of vested interests that want no change to the status quo.

Finding trustable people who aren't in your networks -- I could help build a system to do that. Anyone interested? It's not answering the question directly as asked, but worth a thought?



Bob Haugen Sun 24 Jul 2016 12:53PM

I think working networks need a nucleus and a membrane. They will always have inner circles. Get over it.

The living networks will also have people doing outreach, bringing interested new people in, and helping them become contributors and migrate to the nucleus.


Simon Grant Sun 24 Jul 2016 3:13PM

Bob, your language seems to imply a single-celled organism. Would you like to go multi-cellular? There's lots of material to be read about how to scale up technology. What about scaling up the scope of libre commons projects by starting new ones, as well as scaling up existing projects? Do you think that's feasible from within a single-celled mindset? If you think so, I'd love to know how; and if not, then how do we go about encouraging new people with new ideas to join in the work; not to confuse existing work, but to collaborate? Of course we don't want to add more people indiscriminately to any project (thinking of the "mythical man month" literature). If you see yourself as having an outreach role, it would be good to know your views on these matters in more detail; if you don't see yourself in that role, then who would you like to refer to? They might have a gentler, more encouraging tone.

I think that's part of what this discussion is trying to grapple with. We want the best communication that is practical with people who are able to join in with the right spirit and values, in ways that are genuinely open, commons-oriented, p2p. We don't want noise, distortion, manipulation, or hijacking (among other hazards). Where is the balance? How to work towards it?


Bob Haugen Sun 24 Jul 2016 4:41PM

Bob, your language seems to imply a single-celled organism. Would you like to go multi-cellular?

Sorry, I must have explained badly. Value Flows, which is my current focus, is a project to develop a common vocabulary and protocols for many people and organizations to be able to interoperate. And we also try to collaborate with any other project trying to do any part of the same thing. Definitely multi-cellular.


Greg Cassel Sun 24 Jul 2016 5:33PM

I'm interested in helping to build a system which aggregates persistent p2p signals indicating individuals' self-assessed proficiency and interest level in specific activities, and enables us to endorse others' self-assessments within the context of specific digital communities.

Our endorsements of others' self-assessed skill levels, and also potentially their trustworthiness, could IMO generate a truly fair and complexly organic, inter-networked reputation system.

I don't currently want to develop that as a system unto itself. I was interested in pursuing that last year, but I wasn't able to generate sufficient interest in my networks. The world's changing rapidly, I'm personally (IMO) evolving, and my goals are more ambitious now. The road may be winding, but I think we can develop nearly universal protocols for media management and communications which fully enable such a reputation system along with other new, flexible powers in our asynchronous p2p information-organizing techniques.

I emphasize protocols over applications and especially over unitary platforms. Also, when it comes to reputation, I think it's especially important to avoid dictating (or using) complex algorithms which enable users to "game the system" in any unforeseen ways. In other words, we have to avoid the commodification of reputation. That's a wicked problem, but I think it's one we can conquer through shared experiments and iterations of asynchronous comms techniques, bringing persistent (but modifiable!) human inputs more closely in line with the realities of interactions, relationships, and sustainable communities.

I realize I'm writing quite abstractly and generically here-- feel free to ask any questions or drop a line here if you'd like to be in touch outside of Loomio.


Michel Bauwens Mon 25 Jul 2016 3:21AM

there are two issues

1) finding people of interest and affinity

2) convincing these people to contribute

they are different and need different solutions


Greg Cassel Mon 25 Jul 2016 4:10PM

I don't think we'll really need to convince people to contribute to commons, if their contributions are fully accounted and aren't exploited by others. (Perhaps this was implicit in your comment.)

Accounting (and, potentially, reciprocity-licensed revenue) is nothing but a matter of communications and information technology. Exploitation, by contrast, is an issue which must be dealt with culturally. However, we need better organizational tech to reduce exploitation: for instance, by creating intentional communities and processes/ projects which hold each participant-type to specific responsibilities.


Simon Grant Mon 25 Jul 2016 11:37PM

I see things perhaps similarly to Greg. I regard the finding process as essentially mutual and symmetrical, not at all one way, or grossly asymmetrical as it is currently in the majority labour market. And when the finding is symmetrical, I don't envisage the convincing as being at all an issue. Both parties have already convinced themselves of the value of exploring the other. Not a guaranteed match or fit, but the rest probably has more to do with values than with persuasive techniques.

And I particularly agree with Greg about the importance of cultural issues. For this whole process to work, there does need to be a shared culture of cooperation, collaboration, reciprocity, p2p, or however you want to characterise it. And, sure, culture and community go hand in hand. And of course, the technology needs to be appropriate to the culture we want to encourage.


Michel Bauwens Tue 26 Jul 2016 10:45AM

see inline


Simon Carter Tue 26 Jul 2016 5:36PM

I'm just a humble window cleaner from Tewkesbury in England, but I could do with some help that relates to this thread, which is beyond me it has to be said in places. There in lies the challenge in that change (Transition) must be found surely within a certain critical mass.
With that in mind I have set up a subscription wordpress website with buddy press & bb press. It is a business designed to deliver value, but it's strap line is 'Sharing a vision for a new economy'.
The idea is to target that mass audience who would never find there way here & then subtly engage them in conversations that will cause them to think that maybe there is something better, mostly with the bb press forum area.
It's £24.00 to join, but that's for local value, It would be fantastic if I could add from the admin. area some of you folk to drive debate, but you may need to dumb it down a bit for the masses, That in itself should be an interesting challenge, learning how to communicate your message in such a way that it is comprehended by most. If you are curious the website is www.acommunity.co.uk. Please bear in mind I am doing my best with a very limited budget to do my bit to change the world when not window cleaning. Humble maybe, but not lacking in ambition.


Michel Bauwens Wed 10 Aug 2016 12:21PM

dear Simon,

I hope you will get support for this,

as for me, I continue writing in my own style, reaching the people I can reach with it,

but I would very much welcome any assistance of people taking on the task of simplifying content for greater comprehension by most people,

it's skills I don't have, I write for the general lay reader with say one year of university degrees ...



Simon Carter Tue 16 Aug 2016 7:57AM

I wonder where you guys see your ideas implemented & used?. Are you all 'purist's', or would you help for example with a company limited by shares if it was set up as a Fairshares company, which is my plan, a structure first brought to my attention by Michel?.
Basically it divides profits equally between founders, funders, workers & users. with a phase two where profits to the first two must pass to the second two. It's a bit of a hybrid in other words that takes more account of entrepreneurial flair & risk taking than an out & out coop.
I would like to think that any & all positives that move things in the right direction must be preferable to simply talking about what may be considered perfect.
My business model is all about communicating much of what is discussed here within the context of a viable business, designed to take large numbers of people slowly but surely to an awakening that business as usual is simply not an option & that there are very real & very attractive alternatives within the context of contributing to the commons & sharing the benefits with a gift mentality.


Jake Hansen Wed 17 Aug 2016 2:20PM

Yes, I agree with you: I am 100% in favor of a practical, I would call it pragmatic, approach. Better have a big vision and take small, pragmatic steps towards it, making real successful things, than trying to "go from 1 to 100 in 2 seconds", trying to make it pure/perfect in the first go and not going anywhere, or even worse: endless discussions and talking, not even going at all (a friend of me calls these people "Coffee entrepreneurs";). I feel fairphone.com to be an excellent example of this: yes I would like to see a 100% open hardware, open source, libre etc. smartphone which runs all OS's, but prefer they started with what they could actually realize with the FP1, earn money there, build their brand, then take all learnings and progress to FP2, now hopefully taking it a step further each time... Perhaps OpenDesk is also a good example, not as 'commons/libre' as I would like to see it, but they seem to have build a viable business model, making winners of all stakeholders.


Bob Haugen Tue 16 Aug 2016 3:33PM

I'm not sure what you mean.

I mean, there are times when I want to broadcast, and times when I want to have a more private conversation. Both are valid. Whether the same tools allow both (as in Patchwork) or not so much does not really matter to me.

I totally agree on a full toolset, though, and want them to be integrated and interoperable where that matters.


Greg Cassel Tue 16 Aug 2016 3:40PM

One additional point I should've made (although it may seem terribly obvious) is that we need not bother with encryption at all in one-to-many messages which are intentionally public from the beginning. We just happen to live in a world where many messages are funneled through proprietary, financially extractive platforms. That should change and I believe that it will.


Michel Bauwens Tue 16 Aug 2016 4:52PM

I'm gonna play advocate of the devil for a while, because I think discussions by technical, open source people, or progressive-political people often miss the central point

facebook works, and it works very well, I love it, and two billion love it,

what 'normal' users may not like, is that fb cannot evolve because it is under corporate control ... but most people want to be drivers, not mechanics, and they want things to be convenient and easy .. this fb does very welll

2 billion people would not flock to something that doesn't work for them

now specialized people will want all kinds of other things, let's built them, but not because fb is 'bad' ... it is not bad because it doesn't work, you may not agree, but a huge swatch of humanity thinks it does and is literally addicted to it


Greg Cassel Tue 16 Aug 2016 5:29PM

Disregarding the economic interdependencies of facebook as a corporation: There are probably at least 2 billion people who love drinking Coca Cola, too, because they greatly enjoy its short term effects but fail to perceive its overall long term effects. I think that such "aesthetic myopia" , if you will, relates to some aspects of the typical facebook experience. However, I certainly would agree that fb is not inherently bad. People currently use it to treat many forms of alienation.

Addiction rarely if ever involves inherently harmful experiences. A very cool article, which you well have seen already in some form: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html


Michel Bauwens Tue 16 Aug 2016 5:41PM

true enough, and the reason it is addictive is that its corporate ownership model drives a competition for our attention and thus, neurological engineering for expanding it,

but as you also say, social media are an important part of our 'psychological and relational reproduction', it is a medicine, which in the wrong hands that it is, becomes a poison (stiegler calls it a pharmakon)

and now I'm thirsty for a coke


Bob Haugen Tue 16 Aug 2016 5:58PM

One of the reasons that I do not use FB or Twitter is that we are organizing "early adopters": people who really wanna do it now; who understand what we are trying to do and want to help. That's a very different ballpark than trying for mass appeal.

If and when I want to try for mass appeal, which might happen locally, I might need to join FB. Probably won't need to tweet, though, I think that is a different crowd and interaction style.


Michel Bauwens Tue 16 Aug 2016 6:01PM

I think that is an excellent principle, which we also use in the p2pf

my/our reasoning is the following: if you do political work, you need to reach people, which means a media and social media presence, even if they are controlled by 'hostile' forces

but the self-organizating can in no way be dependent on corporate media, so for that we use Loomio, our own mail serviers etc ..



Bob Haugen Tue 16 Aug 2016 6:06PM

I do consider organizing early adopters to be political work. Back in the day, it used to be called cadre organizing.

Once a cadre forms, the whole (whatever you are trying to accomplish) moves a lot faster.


Bob Haugen Tue 16 Aug 2016 6:06PM

Also has the dangers of any inner circle...


Danyl Strype Mon 22 Aug 2016 8:40AM


There isn't really such a technical thing as public and private messages

Spoken like a true engineer ;) From any other POV, absolutely wrong. There is a huge and important social difference between a public and a private message. The chilling effects of loss of privacy, eg not being able to rehearse and test out new ideas in private before communicating them publicly are well documented, so I won't rehash them here.


2 billion people would not flock to something that doesn't work for them

There are a bunch of very real social and technical reasons not to be one of FB's "useds". I've already explained why I don't agree that FB or Twitter has a larger audience for any given discourse just because it has a larger total pool of "useds".

EDIT: removed the reference to alcohol as the point was made better further up with Choke ;)


Greg Cassel Mon 22 Aug 2016 10:39PM

There is a huge and important social difference between a public and a private message.

That's another point of vehement agreement! (Lol.) Language is tricky here, and I used the term "technical" vaguely before.

It's certainly possible to define "public message" as one which enables any Net user to access it without logging into an authorized account. (Does that definition work for you?)

What I hoped to express previously was that no matter how we slice it, today's social media apps make the technical differences between private and public messages (needlessly) indirect and convoluted. One sends private messages to centralized servers which then publish those messages 'publicly', on platforms which variously may or may not enable access without logging into user accounts.

Trying to clarify my general view a bit: I believe we need complexly adaptable tools to network specific (unique) messages among any and all communities we desire to, from one-on-one conversations to multiple global networks. Such networking is based on authorized digital accounts. (Bob mentioned Patchwork somewhere above, and they have great vision on this front.) However, we also need to the ability to network media items/packets with no "read access" restrictions whatsoever. Whether such open content is deeply public or not really depends, IMO, on how broadly it's shared or networked.

And, to hopefully clarify my main concern here: for many reasons, I believe it should be made trivially easy (but well-controlled) to intentionally share technically interoperable copies of our privately networked media items in the entirely open public domain/ "global commons".

Does that make sense?

I don't desire to belabor our difference of opinion regarding the potential practical scope of specific messaging applications. I'm just trying to clarify my current perspective.


Simon Grant Tue 23 Aug 2016 5:01AM

And, to hopefully clarify my main concern here: for many reasons, I believe it should be made trivially easy (but well-controlled) to intentionally share technically interoperable copies of our privately networked media items in the entirely open public domain/ "global commons".

Does that make sense?

Let's see if I understand that...

Would this be met by a "publish this openly to the commons" button?

In which case, where would we imagine the button as being displayed (e-mails as well?) and what would happen when the button was pressed?


Greg Cassel Tue 23 Aug 2016 2:58PM

It could be met by a "publish this openly to the commons" button in a specific end-user app. However, I'm more concerned personally with the development of a deeply rational P2P communications protocol, and a related API, than I am with the details of specific apps which fulfill the requirements of such an API.

Of course, there is no "the commons" to publish written and recorded media to, unless we broadly consider "the Internet" we know via openly accessible http and ftp links to be "the commons". Openly accessible media is hosted by servers, which are run (and, usually, tightly controlled) by specific people. Our most public, "commons" media is stuff which (1) can be accessed by anyone on any device, and (2) is legally in the public domain, because all relevant copyrights have been forfeited.

Anyway: if a specific app had a "publish this openly to the commons" button, then I expect that wherever the related media was shared would be a place which is accessible to any user on any device.

I should note that all my speculation about new tech is tangential to @strypey's original post, based on his stated desire (in the thread) to separate private messaging from public broadcasting. That desire certainly does make sense with me, with respect to centralized data-gathering and value-extracting platforms like fb and twitter.


Simon Grant Wed 24 Aug 2016 5:02AM

I too respect @strypey's original intention, but actually I'm wondering if this may not be entirely tangential. May I try to work this out a little here?

We've collectively made the useful distinction between working on projects, and promoting projects more widely, recognising that, at least initially, many people are not too keen to be immediately "public".

While @strypey's initial post mentioned existing "decentralized social media networks", maybe we're moving on to a discussion of the kind of systems that haven't been fully built yet, but would be most useful for Commons projects in particular.

And I guess what I'm trying to say here is that there is more to it than simply "promotion", though that is a great start. The concept of "promotion" to me suggests moving up a scale -- maybe a bit like moving up page rankings on Google? Whereas, what we need may be more like "discoverability". Initially, we want projects to be discovered by other people who can contribute positively to the realisation of the project. Then, maybe, we want projects to be discovered by those who can add strength and robustness through positive critique. At some point, we may want projects to be discovered by people who want to support them through funding. Finally, we want projects to be discovered by all the people who will find them useful to themselves and to the common good.

What would it take, I wonder, to work in the long term towards a commons kind of google, where we permitted a common service to know enough about us to enable a kind of targeted advertising of projects to people? Because I don't really think that simply choosing which social media to cross publish on is going to surmount the challenge of limited attention, and our inability to process, or notice, what would be of most interest to us, if it were brought to our attention.


Danyl Strype Mon 22 Aug 2016 8:45AM


Are you all 'purist's', or would you help for example with a company limited by shares if it was set up as a Fairshares company

Pretty sure I'm the only "purist" here :) The discussion of organisational structures and business models is separate to what we've been discussing, although also important. Lots of the free code tools I endorse are built by businesses, even for-profit companies. What matters most to me is whether the tool is built in a way that empowers users (free code, ethical design etc), or in a way that allows the vendor or third parties to control users (so they become "useds" rather than users). I have alway tried to approach these questions as an advocate for the non-geek user.

EDIT: fixed attribution of "purists" quote I was replying to - sorry Simon Grant!


Simon Grant Mon 22 Aug 2016 10:33AM


I tend to agree with you, @strypey , that the effects of software products are more essential than the mode of production. And we clearly agree that non-free, proprietary code often has adverse effects, or maybe side-effects.

To get back on track with the main questions here (which, sure, may still be a matter of opinion) maybe we have been thinking around the concepts of the software life cycle and the ideas life cycle. Lots published on both, and maybe I should go and do some quick research, unless someone else has it ready to hand. Add to this: the business and project life cycles.

I return to my thought: there are two different kinds of promotion needed at different points in the life-cycle. The first is for collaborators who "get it", or at least live in a world of very similar values. The challenge here is of sparseness: there are very few of them (us) around, and it is wonderful when the right people meet up in the right circumstances. These close-knit collaborators will complement each other, sharpen up the thinking, share and divide the workload, each recognising each others' strengths. I don't think this has been worked through here yet.

The second is promotion for adoption. Here is is more a question of mass appeal; of getting sufficient people on board to make the operation of the system, the project, viable. Maybe here there is a different kind of challenge to targeting. It's more like cutting through the overwhelming noise of competing claims on the attention. "Viral" has been a very popular and successful approach to this, and "viral" uses whatever social networks people use. Are there others?


Danyl Strype Sat 3 Sep 2016 3:40AM

As we see from @michelbauwens1 comments above, people will invest their time in platforms they perceive to have large reach. This is why platforms tend over time towards monopoly, for the same reason markets do in capitalist economies, you can go out on a Saturday night and see people queueing outside full clubs while others are empty. People want to be where the people are. This network effect ("viral marketing") is an important concept to grasp in understanding how social technology emerges and declines. Check out the CCC talk by Katharina Nocun that relates this to the state of federated social networking.

The network effect is why technically inferior products can become de facto standards (eg Adobe Flash hangs on despite being obsoleted by HTML5/ CSS3), and people vote for popular political parties/ candidates they don't really support, because they want to vote for someone who they think has a good chance of winning. Federated social networking here is analogous to both HTML5, and more loosely to a campaign for proportional representation or even liquid democracy.

Even if the majority can see the value of these things, most of them don't want to be the first to publicly commit themselves and risk ridicule by defenders of the status quo. Early adopters perform three services; sorting the wheat from the chaff, forming the social mass that will attract the next layer of uses to the wheat (evangelism), and putting up with the inevitable accusations of crackery (sometimes justified) that go with proposing radical changes.


Jake Hansen Sat 3 Sep 2016 8:01AM

Which is more useful?

  1. Having an abstract theoretical discussion on the perfect social media tool for several months.

  2. Learning how to use existing (social) media tools to disperse your message and engage as effective as possible?

Yes, this is a false dilemma. I am posing this question in reference to this discussion thread and the from my perspective ineffective communcation about the PeerValue conference. And yes, I am showing some emotion here, a combination of some irritation and frustration. I personally believe that action and behavior are in the end what matter, regardless of the 'warm air moved'.


Greg Cassel Sat 3 Sep 2016 12:49PM

I empathize deeply with your frustration. However, I wouldn't frame our options the way you did-- and we don't need to make an either/or decision between using existing tools and discussing or designing better ones.

I make a few comments here and there in existing conversations, but mosty I just work on the next Internet.


Simon Grant Sun 4 Sep 2016 8:24AM

Just wanted to add something to what @gregorycassel wrote in response to @jakehansen .

I would agree that "action and behavior are in the end what matter, regardless of the 'warm air moved'." Also, integrity and coherence matter vitally to effectiveness. By all means, use any medium, even ones that could be seen as "hostile", if one wants to disperse a message. But if that message has a call to personal choice or change, we need to be offering at the same time tools for engagement (rather than dissemination) that are coherent with the vision we are presenting, otherwise it could be a bit like casting the seed on shallow or stony ground, or among the thistles.

So, I could ask, what are the ways people want to engage those who are reached by whatever message is being dispersed? While it's not great to have abstract theoretical discussions for ages, maybe it is worth being clear about this kind of question before major dissemination campaigns. Too often, in the media that end up in my inbox, "engagement" means "now post this to your friends" then "now donate some money to our campaign". Sure, this is easy to cover, and has been well enough done. Can we be imagine being more creative and genuinely engaging?

I think, "enculturation".


Greg Cassel Sat 3 Sep 2016 12:52PM

It's true that people want to go where the people are, @strypey , but (as you probably realize) that's only relevant within the context of shared values. To change society on a large scale, we need both fair and inclusive technologies and fair and inclusive culture, embodied IMO by intentional communities with explicit values and goals.

Some good technologies languish because they lack clearly identified and sustainable communities, even on the small scale (of community) needed for an 'early adopter' mentality. This is especially true when those technologies don't integrate (via socially responsible media sharing tools) as painlessly as possible with more popular networks.

Likewise, many clearly identified and sustainable values languish because of a lack of clearly fair and inclusive technologies-- and I'm not just talking about hardware and software here, but also organizational standards and procedures. But this will all change, and hopefully in time for humanity to survive.


Simon Grant Sun 4 Sep 2016 7:12AM

@gregorycassel, I find your whole point here very well made. Community culture is often mostly implicit, unstated, and we can lack awareness of it. I live in a cohousing community, which is clearly intentional, and we grapple with the realities of trying to make explicit -- sometimes even to codify -- the aspects of culture that we collectively think of as the basic assumptions that people need to be able to rely on in order to feel psychological safety (I can dig out suggestive references if people are interested in the primacy of psychological safety.)

And maybe the less we see each other face-to-face, the more explicit we need to make the culture that we value? We not only need to feel safe, and that's quite an ask in an online community, but also we need to experience being heard, which is perhaps asking even more. I don't think I'm alone in wondering whether we can apply our technology to assisting and motivating behaviour that is in line with our (evolving) collectively chosen culture: technologies that spring from that culture and serve to give it strength and resilience.

So maybe I'm saying that, in order for us to know where technology is adequate, or where it needs to be developed, we first need to become increasingly aware of culture: not only the culture (and values) we already share, but also the aspects of our communication culture that we dearly want to inhabit. And this goes for, among other things, actual and potential culture around P2P social media.

I guess all here recognise, at some level, the deep interpenetration of technology and culture. A big question, for me, is how we build good, safe, fruitful online communities (where people can and do grow and flourish) in full awareness of this interpenetration and the issues it raises.


John Kellden Sun 4 Sep 2016 8:33AM

This is good

"We not only need to feel safe, and that’s quite an ask in an online community, but also we need to experience being heard, which is perhaps asking even more."
-- Simon Grant

it resonates deeply with experience and insight from interactions in the Conversation community (in Facebook).


John Kellden Sun 4 Sep 2016 8:35AM

Re coherence I've just started reading

Coherence in the Midst of Complexity: Advances in Social Complexity Theory
-- Hugo Letiche, Michael Lissack, Ron Schultz

if there's interest, I'd be happy to share the odd finding, possibly relating to p2p, platforms and networks.


Jake Hansen Sun 4 Sep 2016 9:17AM

@gregorycassel Yes, you are absolutely right, we can do both and the dialogues we have here are just a tiny fraction of the stuff we do. Make everything count! ;)

@asimong Having attended PeerValue yesterday, I got a glimpse of understanding of the subconscious values and worldview I am trapped in, I am starting to understand just a fraction of what language does, how careful we should reflect and intentional we should use it and how unaware framing can be made conscious and then changed. Thanks for pointing this out here as well.

@asimong (again) Yes, it is "practice what you preach", where I do feel we are lacking some viable alternative tools that also less tech-savvy people are comfortable with. As for engagement, I agree with the lack of creativity of a lot of initiatives to get people involved.

As we are making a tiny bit of progress on writing The Commons book, I am thinkinig about how to get people involved. Depending on each initiative/context there is a 'scale' of engagement, from "no thanks", to "keep me up to date", to "ask me some simple questions sometimes" all the way to "I am actively co-writing". This is a process, people need to feel safe, feel heard, feel respected, feel they are contributing to something (relatively) important, etc.

Also, as for safety: I experience people are not that comfortable being in an open discussion group like this one (and I am also using a pseudonym by the way). I am looking at creating a mailing list, which has many benefits, but also has the disadvantage of perhaps being to complex to use for some people.


Danyl Strype Thu 8 Sep 2016 5:13AM

I understand @jakehansen frustrations about 'warm air moved', although it's worth pointing out that the internet is a giant complex of meeting rooms. Nothing that happens online really counts as "doing", it's all talk, some bits of it more useful than others. I've found the discussion here useful, and I appreciate that we tend to create more light than heat here, which is a nice change from all too many online conversations spaces.

So, to return to the practicalities of P2P/ federated comms/ publishing, I continue to find GNU Social (strypey@quitter.se) an easy and useful source of information and comments. Any libre/ commons organisation that already runs a webserver can easily set up a GNU Social node and I highly recommend trying this out. As mentioned already, posts made on GS can be syndicated to a Twitter account, or vice-versa (the Doctorow method), although it would be great if @replies worked across the Twitter bridge too.

I finally got around to setting up a "channel" on Hubzilla (formerly Red Matrix), although I haven't played around much with it yet. If GS is roughly analogous to Twitter, Hubzilla (like Diaspora and Cozy.io) covers a similar range of funtions to FarceBook, although one of the lead devs, Mike Macgirvin, said on GNU Social "hubzilla is more of a web publishing platform than a communications network". I found that interesting as it's similar to the distinction I was making earlier in this discussion.

Then there's NextCloud, forked earlier this year from ownCloud, which was originally pitched as a DropBox alternative. It seems to be migrating towards being a federated FB/ Google alternative like the above, claiming better support for things like contacts, events calendars, and conferencing. Haven't tried this one yet, although I've been testing the off-site backup/ file sync functions of ownCloud using the service offered by OpenMailBox.org.

I also finally got around to trying out Apache Wave, using the instance at Kune.cc. I can see why Google abandoned this project; it's a federated, free code alternative to Google Drive/ Hangouts etc that allows communication between users and groups on different Wave servers using the popular XMPP protocols. This is more a collaboration suite (think Slack) than a broadcast platform.

Jennifer Pahika (founder of Code for America) wrote an excellent piece on Medium about the problem of seeing every problem as a nail because one likes hammers. She makes reference to Simon Wardley's technology mapping. I think one of the big adoption barriers is there isn't a clear map of the different functions served by The Stacks, and which of them are offered in a mature, stable, user-friendly manner by the various free code projects that hope to replace them. This is an important piece of theoretical work that needs to be done by libre commons advocates, if only to counterbalance the fact that The Stacks and their marketers and strategists will be using techniques like this to try to cut federated competitors off at the pass.

EDIT: Added Kune/ Apache Wave info


Jake Hansen Mon 12 Sep 2016 9:58AM

@strypey thanks for sharing your practicalities! It motivates me to also go and explore, test and hopefully finally use some of these and related tools. As I always get more energy from working together instead of by myself, alone behind my computer, I am also looking for ways to find like-minded people and co-explore. At the moment I have a NetAidKit lying around, waiting to be unpacked and tested. As soon as my new website is online, I will get to that. And write a blogpost on it.


Danyl Strype Sun 25 Sep 2016 4:43AM

Cool! I'm keen to connect with other folks who are kicking the tyres on these and other systems. At the top of my bio page, you can find all my addresses/ links for the various free code systems I've tried.


John Kellden Sun 25 Sep 2016 7:08AM

Thanks much for the Kune instance of Apache Wave. I joined and set up a prelim project.


Danyl Strype Wed 3 May 2017 11:03AM

At the risk of necro-posting, I finally got around to writing up a brief history of federated social networking, so I thought I'd share it here. It focuses heavily on the "Fediverse"; apps that interoperate using the OStatus standard (including GNU Social, Mastadon, and Friendica). I still need to write one that looks at the "Federation"; apps that interoperate using a privacy-aware version of the protocols that make up OStatus, developed by Diaspora* (Friendica and Hubzilla have implemented this).

FYI Standards work on a unified standard protocol set that all "social web" apps can support seems to be focused on ActivityPub. The more I look into it though, the more it looks like making protocol support a plug-in architecture is more flexible, and more futureproof, than trying to get an increasing number of projects into a design-by-committee process on a single standard for all use cases.


Bob Haugen Wed 3 May 2017 3:59PM

@strypey - that's fascinating! One minor correction: while I appreciate your including ValueFlows in that company, we have a much narrower focus: economic interactions only.
We do commune with @gregorycassel whose scope is much broader, covering the communication and collaboration universe. But we try to stay narrow.


Danyl Strype Fri 5 May 2017 5:04PM

Thanks for the clarification, I've only just started to really understand the ValueFlows work during our recent discussions. It's really bleeding edge!

My main motive in writing that post was to educate all the newbies flocking to Mastodon without knowing anything about the history of the federation(s) it grew out of. I thought it would be a good chance to point some of them at the work of ValueFlows and the CTA groups. Do you mind if I update the piece and quote your clarifying comments?


Bob Haugen Fri 5 May 2017 6:18PM

Do you mind if I update the piece and quote your clarifying comments?

Go for it.


Caroline Smalley Wed 3 May 2017 7:31PM

I really appreciated your thoughts and efforts @simoncarter's. There's a lot of tech talk in this thread but little about the intention and psychology behind how a P2P social media platform could take off. It must connect with communities and provide a clear benefits if people are to be motivated to take part. What are we wanting to achieve? What makes P2P conversations meaningful? How can people begin to develop economic opportunity that uses their principles and ideas? For people to connect, they need to be able to see how to implement our ideas into their lives.

Is the social media platform we seek for ideas, the P2P foundation or the movement at large? If P2P is true to its word, it should be the movement. There are many platforms which touch on this - but their networks are small. So far as interoperability is concerned, I think we should be less focused on this and more on interoperability of how people connect. Where is the future of search? The hashtag? (a side point) Where will things like Ceptr take us?

The work I do through CM has everything to do with this. @michelbauwens1 - I'll send you the implementation plan, which speaks to the network effect, also mentioned in this thread. I head to the pilot community in South Africa next week. Also trying to get Whistler on board. Comment I just posted (it's Provincial Election time here - this was on a Whistler Politics Group):

"Today's economic system works so the more you have the more you can make. It's not Whistler or the people that's to blame, but the systems through which we exchange. Communication is the glue to everything we do, yet people get little say in how it works.

For a true democracy this has to change. Money needs to shift from central to decentral, which means nothing less than a paradigm shift created one conversation, one community at a time.

I'm a little concerned to sound as if I'm self promoting - I don't mean to. it's just that so much of my thinking is wrapped in the work I do with CM. It's (www.the-cm.com) idea/intention is to provide a system for investing in communities in a way that maximises social, environmental and economic impact. It does this through the network effect and is independent of centralised control. People helping people: developing understanding of what we each have to 'give' and 'need' along the way.

I like to think Whistler will play its part. I'm looking forward to meeting with Cheeying at the Sustainability Centre when I get back home late June. Dan - would really value your thoughts on CM and other models that can contribute to the shift we need to see... and what we can do to help make them play. Another world is possible. We are all responsible for what happens next. Let's keep the Whistler Spirit alive!"


Danyl Strype Fri 5 May 2017 6:40PM

There's a lot of tech talk in this thread

With respect, we're talking about doing things on computers using the net, not organising face-to-face meetings or planting gardens. If we're not talking about tech, we're just writing poetry about things that someone else, somewhere else, will have to work out the technical details of.

Case in point, Ceptr website has lovely photos of trees, but otherwise delivers nothing but a flood of start-up buzzwords (Semantic! Interoperable! Cryptographic! Concurrent! Responsive! Networks! Ecosystems). They're using Slack, a proprietary platform corporation that consists of incredibly bloated apps for using one of the oldest and simplest internet media; text chat. Which pretty much illustrates that they know nothing about what any of the buzzwords they spout mean in practice.

At least they are actually building some free code. DigiLife are asking people for money before they even prove they can run servers (let alone write code) by installing a demo of other people's code. Apparently all their real docs are not on their website but in Slack faceplam.

Your CM project looks fascinating but I need to read more when I'm less tired. From a quick skim it looks like you've mashed together crowdfunding (a la Flattr), an investment club (a la the BuyTwitter project), a Twitter clone (a la GNU Social, Friendica, Mastodon, a group project platform (a la Crabgrass, Kune, Hubzilla, Cozy, CoActivate), a social justice cryptocurrency (a la FairCoin, FreiCoin, SolarCoin), and Cyclos, which used to be free code, but is now proprietary. This probably needs a thread in itself, but I'd love to see the nuts and bolts of how CM works mapped out using ValueFlows vocabularies.
EDIT: snipped unnecessary sentence, added missing word, removed extra word


Simon Grant Sat 6 May 2017 3:04AM

Hi Caroline @carolinesmalley -- I really like the values that you speak of in your leading video. To me, it's a question of trying to understand (for each project like The Citizens Media and many more) the part they could play in the whole scene. The whole scene is huge. Individually, we can only address a small part of it.

So my suggestion is that we talk in depth to one another. Give it time, and reflective listening on both sides. Aim to learn from each other, and to bring that greater insight and wisdom to enrich both concepts.

Maybe, to do this deep communication, we need more of a common language and a common culture. I'd be interested in helping to put together that language and culture, not by trying to create something completely new, but by selecting -- discerning if you like -- and coming to a working consensus about what tools work well for which purposes already.

I had a good chat yesterday with Shaun Fensom, who is bringing Co-op values to the DigiLife project. And, interestingly, it seems that what they are really planning to do is not so much to build software as to certify / badge / endorse it (not sure about the best word here) To me, that's an interestingly different take on what needs doing, compared to building new stuff. And maybe, just maybe, the bare-faced scale of ambition of the idea might get somewhere. Who knows, but if it's different from other approaches, I guess that's one reason to try it -- if it fails, well we'll learn from that...


Michele Kipiel Fri 5 May 2017 1:44PM


me and a bunch of fine gentlemen are already on it: https://social.coop/about/more :)

We set up the instance and set out to coordinate ourselves as a distributed cooperative, each of us contributing both financially and materially (servers, skills etc...) to the project.

Feel free to file for membership or help us at: https://opencollective.com/socialcoop


Simon Grant Fri 5 May 2017 2:21PM

Love your saying, @strypey , in that post,

Working on standards is complex work, but not nearly as hard as getting everyone to agree on what standard to use.

I guess that's why people do that face-plant deserving tactic commemorated by XKCD!

But this reply should live on the "Commons harmonization ...." thread. Sorry ;)


Simon Grant Fri 5 May 2017 2:43PM

A more thoughtful reply, relevant both here and to the standards question...

It is, genuinely and for good, understandable reasons, mostly easier to formulate one's own model of the world (or some part of it) than to work through other people's models / worldviews / conceptualizations. But, we are only likely to get agreement when many people do actually take that trouble.

Cultural shift needed. Need to value reflective listening -- really hearing people out and empathizing with them. Much more to be said, but not here, perhaps!


Michel Bauwens Fri 5 May 2017 8:00PM

I found this today, and it deals with the same topic, http://ictlogy.net/20170413-centralization-vs-decentralization-tensions-in-the-digital-economy/

for those who read French, the book Imperium by Frederic Lordon deals with the horizontal vs vertical dynamics and I found it very challenging,

yet, we have had periods in history with successful distributed and fragmented sovereignty, such as the European middle ages, and the relative horizontal class and stateless human organization of hunter-gathers lasted for tens of thousands of years ...

my take on this is that they had a whole series of counter-balancing techniques (as described in books like Pierre Clastres' "Societies Against the State" and Boehm's Hierarchy of the Forest, that worked at redistributing power and preventing accumulation ...

How do we do this today ?


Simon Carter Fri 5 May 2017 8:24PM

People need as much interest in shared interest as they do in self interest.


Simon Grant Sat 6 May 2017 4:28AM

Michel : @michelbauwens1 interesting that the article you cite ends up by citing Trebor Scholz -- who has good points, of course! And the Clay Shirkey TED talk from 2005 is pretty full-on against institutions and for something else. But actually, I guess people will agree, it's not a question of centralization or decentralization being good or bad in themselves, it's a question of what works better (for the commons) centralized and what works better for the commons decentralized?
As far as I understand, platform cooperativism is subject to the same questions. How much should any platform be central? I've seen arguments that everything should be distributed, with no central platform -- or should that be, a central agreed protocol, but no central hardware or installations? I guess these are some of the questions playing out in our discussion of social media. @strypey is welcome to put me right on that ;)

Maybe, though, we need to discuss more and clarify what we mean by centralization, as I think there are different concepts here under the same name? Until we do that, I feel we risk talking at cross-purposes. Can we have a (de)centralization lexicon?

If we define centralization as bad, that brings nothing to our knowledge. I'd be interested to see a positive valued definition of what can / should be centralized, i what positive ways, from the point of view of the commons. Anyone got recommendations here?


Danyl Strype Sat 6 May 2017 9:45AM

Definitely important to define our terms, and make sure we're not crossing over usages from different domains in ways that confuse us. In computer networking theory, there are three basic topologies (see attached graphic). These were defined even before the invention of the internet; centralized (everyone on one sever), decentralized (multiple servers, interoperating) , and distributed (P2P, every peer is also a server). The net was originally conceived as a distributed network.

In political theory, the term distributed is not used in thinking about social network topologies, and this is a source of great confusion. Debates have raged for centuries between anarchists, who advocate for decentralized organisation, and statists (and corporatists), who assume decentralized means distributed, seemingly unable to conceive of any third option between centralized organisation and distributed organisation (ie none at all, just individual decisions and actions).

In networked technology practice, things get messy too, because it involves both computer network and social network layers. Take BitTorrent. Strictly speaking it's distributed, because every client is also a server. But to make it useful as a whole, it currently depends on layer of services that are decentralized but not distributed, including the trackers and search sites. Socially, it's not distributed either, although it is decentralized, with coordinator power shared between the various open source communities and other groups who write the code for it all, run trackers and search sites etc.

Or take The Stacks (FarceBook etc). We generally think of them as centralized. But their data is served from multiple servers, in multiple datacentres across the world. So while they are highly centralized as an organisation (like any corporation), their network infrastructure is actually decentralized. What is isn't is federated, because its servers don't interoperate with the servers of other decentralized networks, resulting in what the IndieWeb folks call a "monoculture").


Danyl Strype Mon 8 May 2017 3:01PM

Your points about successful horizontal societies in tribal and agrarian societies is well made, especially in the context of a number of recent books of revitalized colonial propaganda that claim "modern" societies are less violent than earlier forms of society (esp. Pinker's 'Better Angels...', Jared Diamond's 2012 riff on the same alternative facts etc). David Graeber writes in a number of his popular works about his field work in Madgascar, and the cultural practices used by stateless communities there for "redistributing power and preventing accumulation", as you put it.

Coming back to P2P social media, the cultural practices used here to distribute power are threefold; free code, decentralization, and federation, and all three are important. Free code software distributes the power of the sysadmins (the High Priests of The Stacks) to anyone who is willing to run their own 'instance' of a social app; free code is the Gutenberg Bible of our times and The Stacks are the Catholic Church trying to keep control of the code. Decentralization prevents any one instance from leveraging the network effect of its users to attract more users, at the expense of others. "Noncomformists" unwelcome in one digital "church" can choose another, or form their own, while retaining the ability to connect with the meta-network of users on any site running that social app. Federation does the same thing, but at the level of applications rather than instances, allowing users to switch to (or set up) a site using a different social app, or write their own, while still being able to connect with the same "Fediverse" of users, using standardized protocols like OStatus and ActivityPub.


Simon Grant Mon 8 May 2017 3:09PM

Thank you @strypey for the centralized to distributed spectrum. I'm not surprised people get confused, because "decentralized", going by the graphic, seems to mean something more like "hierarchical" as opposed to pure hub and spoke. Surely, in common language, what the graphic shows as "distributed" also counts as decentralized. I would therefore advocate, for clarity, that we don't use the term "decentralized" at all. If we mean a tree structure (like the figure's "decentralized") then can we get a better name from network topologists?

To be thoroughly confused, I guess that very few networks actually look like the "distributed" model, where 6 is the maximum number of nodes connected to one node. Unless, that is, it is centrally planned to look like that ;)

To me, the interesting discussion is, for which purposes is which network topology most useful, as well as most in line with commoner values? Which brings me back to, what is, actually, best done centrally? A bit like the question of what should be global ("light things"?) and what should be local ("heavy things"?).

Now, again, one way of investigating this would be to look at a range of existing social media (as you and others have started to do), look at their topology, and assess its aspects, positively or negatively. The danger I see (as with much "unscientific" stuff) is that until someone has done the real investigation, we tend to base our opinions on personal whim informed just by our own personal experience. Not a recipe for achieving consensus!

Back to a core question: how best can social media be run as commons, and for commoners?


Danyl Strype Tue 9 May 2017 4:17AM

"decentralized", going by the graphic, seems to mean something more like "hierarchical" as opposed to pure hub and spoke

Yes, as I said earlier (in this thread or elsewhere), The Stacks are decentralized (in a network topology sense). Their centralization is in their social layers (esp. ownership and decision-making), not their technical layers, much of which is actually free code used on the quiet. For example, FarceBook uses XMPP, the IETF standard for realtime text chat, to coordinate FB chat, it just doesn't allow its useds to connect to XMPP users outside its walled garden.

how best can social media be run as commons, and for commoners?

For the reasons given in my last comment, I tend to think Federation is the best option, where both the software, and the meta-network made up by different software interoperating, are held as an ecosystem of commons (in the Ostrom sense of the word). The most obvious precedents for this are the net, and the web itself (do folks here understand the difference between the two?). I would certainly support the social layers of open source projects and server instances being constituted as cooperatives (like Loomio is), but as with the web, I don't think its essential.


Andrew Jacobs Fri 5 May 2017 9:14PM

There's a movement I'm fond of: IndieWeb. Their principles tackle a lot of the problems that have been brought up in this thread:

1) Principles over project-centrism: plurality is the best way forward
2) Selfdogfood: actually set up and do what you're proposing yourself
3) Design first, protocols second: best experience, minimum formats & protocols

The idea is that you should set up a corner of the web for yourself. Choose your own software, share as much or as little as you want, connect to other people on the web and then share the progress that you've made with others.

This seems to really address the "medium is the message" conversation that started the thread.


Caroline Smalley Mon 8 May 2017 10:52AM

So sorry for delayed response to comments referencing my post! Traveling from Ca to UK Friday/Saturday... then important time with family that I didn't want to interrupt.

@asimong - I took a look at Digital Life and value its cause. That said, still feels as though I'm somehow not communicating the key point I sought to address: technology should serve the need and not the other way round, @strypey's comment suggested this too.

To get a movement going we need to focus on the WIFFI. Most people don't understand the tech or know whose opinion to trust. Platforms that seek to impact the change we all want to see should indeed practice principles of shared (commons based) ownership - with the content (and rights thereof) being owned by its creators. It also needs to be easy to use. Get the conversation started with this foundation then build the tech around it. Once the conversation gets going then we'll see how people respond and gain clarity for priorities in tech. This is the approach I am taking with CM. @strypey - it's CM.. it's not twitter or any of the other platforms/networks you mentioned, but my 'best shot' at seeing how we can connect tech and principles through a system that serves real needs: economic development that is based on real commodities and serves 100% (= Occupy's 99 + 1). Interesting perspective though! Enjoyed reading and appreciate your sharing.

Re: Cyclos, following conversation with Jim Anastassiou at https://blocksense.io/... sounds as though we may not need it. Re: use of blockchain, this is how CM will 'belong to the people'. It will do this by distributing ownership based on contribution of funding and/or content. Contributions of funding will be measured by amount given to projects; Contributions of content through Comcoins (note: name of currency might change) received (see: https://thecitizensmedia.com/misc/kudos and https://thecitizensmedia.com/pub/section/exit-strategy?id=1285). Important to note that:

1.The Comcoin exchange will not connect with centralised finance, and that – in part – this enables the circulation of Comcoins to be used to measure impact of project investments (part of the motivation for impact investors to pay attention), and;

  1. To receive funding, projects must practice open design, use local resources etc (see: https://thecitizensmedia.com/pub/section/project-values?id=1295), which therefore means that conversations on CM will incorporate the values the commons movement wants to see.

@asimong - Would welcome a deep dive conversation at some point. Perhaps when I return from pilot community for CM? I head there (Rosendal, Free State, South Africa) on Wednesday to 18 June. I'll make a note to connect.

Would welcome any feedback/thoughts/ideas. That said, please forgive me if my upcoming commitments restrict the time it takes for me to respond.

p.s. @bobhaugen and @lynnfoster - still very much thinking of OVN and your project mapping tools. Decided best approach would be to focus on what data to collect, then to manage data entry through hashtags, which will be incorporated into Community Microsites, Project Profiles, Proposals and Funding Reports in CM. This will make it easier to integrate into any number of mapping tools. Part of what I will do in South Africa will be to discuss how mapping tools could be used to help members of community to identify how they can be included in projects.. so increasing inclusivity and the means to establish equal opportunity for people to increase wellbeing. More soon!

@michelbauwens1 - received email from Yurek


Simon Grant Mon 8 May 2017 3:22PM

Caroline @carolinesmalley -- I'm very hesitant here, but wondering if you would like some private and personal feedback on how you come across? (Reciprocity welcomed!) This is something I personally value greatly, but in my experience few people are prepared to give unsolicited helpful constructive feedback on how people best present themselves in non-hierarchical forums.

Please, anyone, do me a favour and tell me how I come across! :)

More generally, where are the guides to commoner "manners"? I do think this is a vital part of building commons projects, and one which commoners are too shy of. We don't need to be judgemental at all. But perhaps we do need a socialization process (or even "enculturation") that does not simply disengage from people with good thoughts just because they aren't socially brilliant (as I'm not), but helps them with a good bit of mutual aid and reciprocity to behave in a way that others feel comfortable with. As we are still few, we can't afford to ostracise people unless they are irredeemably toxic. It's a super-positive way of building up our community.

Perhaps this isn't mainly for a thread on social media, but on the other hand, maybe it is? Because I would say this could beneficially be a feature of social platforms. We could use a safe holding space where people can be frank, or worse, not openly, but with people who are experienced enough to cope and do some restorative socialisation. Or something (wondering if anyone has the slightest clue what I am going on about ;) )


Danyl Strype Mon 8 May 2017 3:45PM

I agree that some effort needs to be made to understand user requirements (the "social" stuff) before software development begins. I wasn't aware this was a radical concept, certainly in the open source world it's common sense. Its worth pointing out though that modern software practices (eg Agile development) have almost universally adopted the "release early, release often" principle of open source, because it's a lot easier to make major changes to quick prototypes when it inevitably turns out user requirements have been totally misunderstood, or communicated by self-important managers instead of the actual users etc etc. In the age of networks, software is not a 'build and use' thing, but an evolving thing, constantly adapted in response to ongoing communication between users and coders. Sometimes we don't know precisely what we want from software until we try software that almost does it, but not quite ;)

My point in listing those other projects is to help you follow the Kalashnikov principle:

."...before attempting to create something new, it is vital to have a good appreciation of everything that already exists in this field."

For example, is it really necessary to add another cryptocurrency to the huge and growing proliferation of them that already exist? Could you not achieve the same results using FairCoin, FreiCoin, SolarCoin or one of the other existing blockchains set up with social justice motives?

Re-using mature, free code components instead of reinventing the wheel has a number of benefits;
* it massively reduces the development time required to get a usable version of your platform up and running
* it massively reduces the complexity of your project, and the number of problems your developers need to solve with security, scaling up (making sure the software copes when you add more users) etc
* it massively reduces the amount of maintenance your developers have to take responsibility for. Most of the maintenance work is effective crowdsourced from the project communities whose code you're using, although your developers may send bug fixes upstream to those communities.
* it contributes to a commons of stable, mature, reusable software components, rather than adding entirely new chunks of code to the commons that will take years to be debugged to the point of being reliably stable and secure (assuming the project can maintain enough funding or volunteer support to keep developing it).

BTW It seems logical you don't need Cyclos if you're using blockchain currency, but if you do need some kind of server-based exchange software, I suggest looking at the work of Matthew Slater and the team at CommunityForge, rather than a proprietary black box like Cyclos.


Danyl Strype Tue 9 May 2017 4:22AM

I really appreciate @asimong 's nuanced thoughts about how to improve social spaces online. I would like to stick up for @carolinesmalley though. I've found her comments in this thread challenging, but always respectful, and if anyone has been guilty of grumpy, hectoring style here it's me ;) This has been a very male dominated discussion (not intentionally but it has) and its essential for a discussion on social media to welcome women's voices. Caroline's points about focusing on the "social" in social tech have been a valuable contribution to this thread IMHO.
EDIT: missing word


Caroline Smalley Tue 9 May 2017 8:30AM

I ain't tech - that much for sure! Family of physiologists and mathematicians. Sigh. Thanks @strypey for supporting my point. Re the arguments I don't understand, I confess to leaning on my biz partner in crime to advise on what we should/should not be concerned with. His credentials are perhaps a little more up your alley @asimong ? http://stackoverflow.com/users/479863/mu-is-too-short Respectfully, he unfortunately doesn't have time to get involved in this thread.
Regards your other comments, I know Matthew well. Last time I saw him was here in Brighton.. he staying in brothers flat ;) I also know and have conversed much with Enric - connected with Neil Heron who's based in Vancouver so I share with him a fair bit too. Though I love much of what they do and how it works, Faircoins model is connected with centralised exchange, where the more you have at the beginning the more you can gain. It was not distributed in direct reflection to what people actually contributed. Together his would warp our ability to use the circulation of 'currency' as a means to analyse impact: a key part of CM strategy – though not the only one – for bringing funds in. We need to be able to demonstrate value in new ways. Value based on the production of real commodities. Difficult to do if we keep resorting to using cash as bait.


Simon Grant Wed 10 May 2017 10:28AM

First I'd like to apologise to you @carolinesmalley as I can see my comment didn't come across as intended. I meant to say, I was having a little difficulty relating, not so much to where you are coming from (very happy with that) but with how what you are saying relates to the rest of the conversation. I'd be delighted to get a chance to understand more.

I related very positively to what you said earlier on:

It must connect with communities and provide a clear benefits if people are to be motivated to take part. What are we wanting to achieve? What makes P2P conversations meaningful? How can people begin to develop economic opportunity that uses their principles and ideas? For people to connect, they need to be able to see how to implement our ideas into their lives.


technology should serve the need and not the other way round,

and it's perhaps because I connected so closely with these, that I have been rather bemused by being unable to connect with what you say later...
For example, I don't understand:

To get a movement going we need to focus on the WIFFI

and felt that much of the rest of that contribution went over my head, or was based assumptions I did not understand. My problem. If it had been just one thing, I would have asked directly. I'd still like to understand where you're coming from.

To generalise a little, I guess this happens quite a lot in fora where people share different depths of common language / concepts / assumptions / values. Maybe we could think of it as footnote and link culture. Write at any level that we are comfortable with, but see if we can explain anything that might not be clear to our readership, in footnotes or links...

This is all highly relevant to how to design social media to help people connect. Social media that operate between people who already know each other get over this, just because people are familiar. How do we design social media to support unfamiliar people coming together? People with different backgrounds, languages (or jargons)? People who want to find other rare people with similar values but from strange places?


Danyl Strype Mon 15 May 2017 8:05AM

EDIT: Oh dear! First things first, I'm sorry Simon for misinterpreting your comments. For the record, I find your comments pleasant, thoughtful, and thorough. If I ever thought otherwise, I would find a discreet way to let you know ;)

Imagine a platform having a 'Clarification' tool that allowed you to select a phrase and click 'Clarify' to ask person who posted that phrase to put in a link to an explanation. For now, I find that web searching key words I don't recognise often helps.


Greg Cassel Wed 17 May 2017 6:18PM

Imagine a platform having a 'Clarification' tool that allowed you to select a phrase and click 'Clarify' to ask person who posted that phrase to put in a link to an explanation.

I'm collecting this great idea to incorporate in suggested recipes for "conversation for action" as well as the (literally) peer-to-peer development of resource description frameworks. (Such recipes are related to, but not part of, my slowly developing book on p2p digital networking.)



Danyl Strype Tue 9 May 2017 2:34PM

I ain't tech - that much for sure!

Please don't underestimate your ability to understand tech, esp. digital tech. It's not magic, and you don't have to be wizard or an immortal to get it (see attached graphic ;) ) That said, I hope it doesn't seem like I'm speaking geek, because I'm really not. As a co-creator of a community project that will depend heavily on software, you need to be able to understand the kind of stuff I've been saying since you joined the discussion, and I'm certain you can. You do need to read carefully, and web search any terms you aren't familiar with (or just click on the links and have a skim).

Family of physiologists and mathematicians.

Actually this sounds like the perfect combination of backgrounds for understanding computers. Computer networks have strong parallels with organic networks (eg fungal mycelium is a common metaphor for the net), and programming is essentially applied algebra.

Faircoins model is connected with centralised exchange,

I'm confused. Can you please clarify what you mean here? FairCoin, like all other cryptocurrencies is a blockchain currency. Although they're not completely immune to power concentration (eg BitCoin's huge mining pools effectively holding veto power over the software development), blockchains are, by definition, not "centralized" in any way I understand the term.

Cyclos, and CommunityForge, are centralized exchanges. This isn't necessarily bad, they just serve a different function. Until I get a better grasp of how your project is intended to work, I'm not sure whether a centralized exchange, a blockchain, or some hybrid of the two, is the best technical solution for your project.

where the more you have at the beginning the more you can gain.

Again, can you clarify what you mean by this, and what information you're basing it on? On the face of it, what you're saying sounds like a rough description of BitCoin, and many other cryptocurrencies. The FairCoin video suggests that it's not true of FairCoin. I'd be interested to learn more.


Greg Cassel Tue 9 May 2017 4:50PM

Without desiring to backtrack, I want to suggest @strypey that we should be cautious about advocating strongly declarative or 'prescriptive' definitions for simple generic terms such as decentralized and distributed. Yes, there are special connotations for these terms in some disciplines and industries, as you've eloquently described. However, obviously no one owns such generic, flexible terms and gets to decide how they'll be generally used.

Decentralized means de-centered, of course and you suggest that it implies many (distributed) centers instead of either one center or a "flatly" distributed structure. That's a specialized academic argument or specification. It's useful if and when people agree to such specificity.

Distributed means that something occurs in more than one place, and IMO tends to imply that a process is intentionally and actively distributed, with goals of fairness, inclusiveness and/or sustainability. I often use 'distributed' with such connotations in mind, but I'm mindful that others may use it differently.

Be that as it may, I think that the term peer-to-peer is more descriptive and useful when it truly applies than either of the above terms. Of course, "peer-to-peer" is often misused. Also, "peer-to-peer" doesn't necessarily imply that all processes occur between peers who share a set of rights and/or responsibilities. IMO, however, it does imply that peer groups-- or teams, with peer members-- are potentially valuable at most if not all levels of social organization.

Anyway, generally speaking: I think that when we desire to be highly specific in our terminology, we should do so through either through "unique" (i.e. highly unusual) terms or-- more scalably-- through unique combinations of terms. Non-coercively shared protocols for modular naming & addressing can help with that. http itself is such a protocol, although it (unfortunately IMO) predetermines hierarchical structure within sites and servers. Faceted classification can supplement or often even replace such hierarchical structure. Faceted classification is one of my main focus areas, FYI, but extremely tangential to this discussion.


Danyl Strype Wed 10 May 2017 2:06AM

However, obviously no one owns such generic, flexible terms and gets to decide how they'll be generally used.

Couldn't agree more. This is essentially what I was getting at by contrasting the usage of "centralized", "decentralized", and "federated" in tech vs. in political discourse, and noting that "distributed" is not a term used in political debate except in tech circles where it's imported from its tech usage.

BTW For anyone keen to liberate themselves from the digital jail of the birdsite, here's a video introduction to using GNU Social and Mastodon.


Caroline Smalley Thu 18 May 2017 7:01PM

Am so sorry! I wrote this out a few days ago now but was pulled away.. and forgot to hit send!!

In Africa at last. Very limited online/computer access/time while here, so thanks for your patience in receiving this reply. In appreciation to you @strypey for continued thoughts, lessons and encouragement. I get the logic behind computing and generally seem to get on well with programmers, probably - as you said - due to math/psychology mindset. As a btw, my UK background (going back some 16 years) was network management sales/marketing. That said, I confess that - with having Eric at my side - I tend to focus on marketing/communication strategy and leave the decisions re tech decisions to him. I use slightly crude methods to map out the way I see a system working.. we share conversations re interoperability/future of tech.. then he does the building. Hope that makes sense?!

Re Faircoins: Love Enric’s mission to generate revenue for coops, which - from what I understand - is achieved by transacting/evaluation of Faircoins on centralized exchange. They have also invested quite a bit of energy in ATM/ability to cash out. Money created goes to ‘good enterprise’, but they have already generated the coins ad its business strategy (to get cash ‘in’) is directly connected to central financial markets. The latter point not too We would also need to purchase Faircoins - can’t generate more so won’t fit CM financial model. CM returns from participation are rooted in people wanting to make an impact-and ultimately own-p2p economy.

@asimong I enjoyed your thoughts on “fora where people share different depths of common language / concepts / assumptions / values” and totally agree. There lies humanities beauty yet challenges too. Figuring out how we can connect cultures and values - building understanding in a way that allows us to celebrate our individuality and togetherness too is key to the work I do. This is why I’m in a South African community: connecting with project leaders and locals in building my understanding for what matters to them and seeing what ‘real’ value can be leveraged through CM/my ideas. I get that seeing how we can use social networking sites to manage CRM is important, but see this as 2nd phase. Let’s build simple models that enable inclusive economic development, then use that insight to determine how best to use available tools.

Suggestion: perhaps let’s schedule a hangout where we can further share thoughts and ideas. Would very much value the opportunity of answering any questions you may have and seeing how we can effectively contribute to each others ideas. Let me know if game and what would be the best time... preferably sometime after I return to BC on 18 June. Could be a great way to get to know each other so less misinterpretation of each other's intent <3 C


Danyl Strype Wed 24 May 2017 7:47AM

I like the idea of a video conference, although I'd prefer to use a free code tool like Jitsi Meet or GNU Ring over corporate-owned walled gardens like Skype or Hangouts. If voice would be adequate I have access to a private Mumble/Murmur server for community development discussions, and I would be happy to host a voice conference there. Mumble clients are available for all desktop/ laptop and mobile platforms. Perhaps we could try using the Time Poll to find a suitable time, and to gauge interest?


Guy James Wed 24 May 2017 9:05AM

Good points but not sure you're 'on the money' regarding FairCoop and Faircoins:

"Money created goes to ‘good enterprise’, but they have already generated the coins ad its business strategy (to get cash ‘in’) is directly connected to central financial markets. The latter point not too We would also need to purchase Faircoins - can’t generate more"

It's true that there are a fixed number of coins but the business strategy is not to get 'cash in', it's to create an entire alternative economic ecosystem where centralised currency is not necessary. The cash-in and cash-out functions are required by merchants and users who have to pay for things in centralised currency where that item is not available in Faircoins. So that is more of a transitional, practical need than the core of the strategy.

Also it's true that you can purchase Faircoins but you can also receive them in exchange for something you are selling, e.g. a good or service or your time.


Simon Grant Wed 24 May 2017 11:25AM

love the idea of

answering any questions [we] may have and seeing how we can effectively contribute to each others ideas

Personally, I'm wondering if perhaps this might start best 1-to-1. I work well that way, anyway. Though perhaps open to trying a threesome...

Once people have got to know each other individually, the way seems much clearer to have group or team collaboration.

In any case, maybe we need to try out different approaches, document them and share the experience, as part of reflective communicative practice?


Caroline Smalley Thu 25 May 2017 5:18AM

@guyjames - I appreciate the end goal of Faircoin and am not 'closed' to using it... so long as it doesn't distort the level of transparency I want to present for impact analysis through CM. Indeed - using it could well make life a whole lot easier. The key problem comes from the value of the 'community currency' in CM. Projects receive funds then release the same value through the currency - so funds for projects are essentially treated as a loan. The value of Faircoins will fluctuate because it's a cryptocurrency. I suppose it's true to say that the CAD will too.. I'm just not entirely confident about how things would follow through. Using Faircoins as the benchmark for 'loan conversion' could confuse people and may create skepticism as - for most - it's another new concept. Perhaps I am overthinking it. Perhaps we simply share the conversion rate vs whatever the community's (using CM) is using. i.e. we could include the conversion value in a users account, depending on the country they are in (10 Rand = x Faircoins).

Sharing a conversation on this would help - perhaps invite Neil Heron and Enric to join us when we do. @asimong - I hear you! ...though maybe sharing a 'per subject/project' conversation best. We did something at the Impact Economy Summit called the goldfish bowl, where the project leader say in the middle of a circle and others asked questions until the 'ah ha!' moments came in. So maybe we could begin with one on Faircoop/Faircoins, then do another on CM.. and others as proposed by willing participants? @Michel - thoughts?

@strypey - I appreciate where you're coming from, but feel that being able to see each other (even if just to wave hi) and screencast can be conducive to effective communication, so maybe a compromise for now knowing that our preference would be to do otherwise?!

SO - what do people say about conversation #1 being on Faircoop? Could also be focused on the initial intended purpose of this thread?


Danyl Strype Thu 25 May 2017 7:27AM

Like I said, I like the idea of a video conference. To be crystal clear, I'm only interested in doing it using a free code tool like Jitsi Meet or GNU Ring over corporate-owned walled gardens like Skype or Hangouts.


Guy James Thu 25 May 2017 9:24AM

I'm not that up on how you could integrate Faircoin into CM so I'd have to do some more research on that. In general the main problem we've had with the whole FairCoop project is that it is perceived as too complicated, despite the fact that it is growing at a good pace. But when you're trying to replace an entire - very complex - financial system, it is inevitably going to be complicated.

So adding Faircoin into your system could well confuse people, even though Faircoin itself is not that complicated unless one wants to get into the details of how it works on a technical level. As you say it's adding another new concept to something which may already be unfamiliar. I definitely advocate the KISS principle if possible. But I think it's a good topic for a conversation, yes.


Danyl Strype Fri 26 May 2017 8:36AM

Maybe instead of a blockchain of untrusted peers, your CM cryptocurrency could be based on a group of trusted peers? Have you come across these software projects by Dyne.org?
* Secrets: "Social and decentralised management of secrets... Secrets can be used to split a secret text into shares to be distributed to friends. When all friends agree, the shares can be combined to retrieve the original secret text, for instance to give consensual access to a lost pin, a password, a list of passwords, a private document or a key to an encrypted volume"
* FreeCoin: "tools to let people run reward schemes that are transparent and auditable to other organisations. It is made for participatory and democratic organisations who want to incentivise participation, unlike centralised banking databases."


Bob Haugen Fri 26 May 2017 9:56AM

FairCoop has been collaborating with FreeCoin a bit, and plans to have a multiple currency system soon.


Caroline Smalley Fri 26 May 2017 4:08PM

crazy slow internet here tonight! @strypey - especially after learning so much be being here in pilot community, basing the return on communication and production of real commodities makes so much sense. The idea of trusted peer would create complication that would be next to impossible to implement. People who form the majority of underserved markets (the 8/10 on less than $5k a year) need something super simple that they can relate to. Giving them a means to purchase things they need, provides motivation to learn about what's possible. We're talking about a people who have been quite literally stripped of opportunity. Most have become so accustomed to 'day 2 day' survival - with a severe lack of education - they see 'money and banks as identity and importance. To get a movement going where it matters most, we need to bridge between their reality and the world / way of doing things we see - and understand - as possible.

game to share a conversation with you on whatever medium, but you'll need to guided me through as not familiar with the tools you're suggesting.

@Bob and @guyjames - woke this morning remembering the problem why we can't use Faircoins. In short - we'd have to buy them. The return projects give through funds in CM = the value of returns they give to citizen journalists who attracted the funds - we can't 'double pay'. What I DO want to encourage is ability to exchange our currency (which is NOT a cryptocurrency as value/profit enabled not based in centralised exchange) WITH Faircoins.. as the heart of what we are doing and the nature of markets we wish to serve is but the same.


Danyl Strype Sun 28 May 2017 6:01AM

Jitsi Meet is easier to use than Skype. You don't need to create an account or download any apps, all you need is a web browser (and of course an internet connection, a microphone, and if you want video, a webcam). You just enter a Jitsi Meet URL (eg https://meet.jit.si/commonstransition), and anyone else who enters the same URL will be in the same voice/ video conferencing 'room'.

I've reread it a couple of times, but I'm still struggling to understand how anything in the rest of this comment relates to the comment I made about software based on trusted peers. Can you clarify?


Caroline Smalley Sun 28 May 2017 10:36AM

sounds great! looking forward to giving it a shot. are there easy options to record calls? what would you recommend in terms of scheduling a good time for call/s?

off to a 'calling of ancestors' in Mautse (black township where I am.. so many amazing connections happening here but that's another story!) - it's a celebration of the dead. funerals every saturday here. one of the projects we plan to get going is teaching carpentry skills to make coffins - selling at a more affordable price to locals and giving a personal touch to design. each local trained will be required to train another. @michelbauwens1 this concept fits with Art's 'Agile Learning Centres' - the concepts of which resonate with people who live here in a big way.. and for good reason too. the need here perhaps even more so than in the west.


Danyl Strype Mon 29 May 2017 4:48AM

This is drifting a long way from P2P Social Media, maybe it needs it own thread? What we often do here is start a new thread with a link to an article or blog post that then sets the topic for the thread. Perhaps you could do that with a detailed article about your vision for CM, and we could get this thread back on-topic?


Caroline Smalley Tue 30 May 2017 5:08PM

apologies @strypey - that wasn't my intention.

to be honest, I think enough has been shared at this point. If anyone is interested to connect with the project further (via online online call as has been discussed), then please reach me at caroline@the-cm.com. I have a huge amount to do in following through with all that's happening in the pilot community and related crowdfund campaign... so don't want to get too distracted at this time by starting another thread.

in appreciation to all! Caroline


Michel Bauwens Sat 27 May 2017 8:49AM

copying arthur brock of ceptr, who is also working on a system of distributed trust, to avoid the expontential use of energy in the blockchain system,



Caroline Smalley Sun 28 May 2017 10:29AM

thanks @michelbauwens1 - I have a very good feeling about Ceptr and very much relate to Art's work. saw him a few months back in Vancouver at Synereo event. I suspect it's where the future of distributed web will head. my/cm focus is in getting economic activity 'real work' going from within communities in a way that means it will easily 'merge'/integrate into what's next - smart contracts etc too.

values in CM are instilled because of terms of projects that get supported and the 'type/values' of contributors. CM will record contributions of content and finance, which can then be used to determine distribution of 'ownership' on blockchain. Jim Anastassiou at https://blocksense.io/ (who was working with @tibi at Sensorica) is working on a proposal for this.. maybe good to get a conversation going with Art and Jim to discuss how their ideas connect? would you be interested in being in that call? could be a good hangout to share in similar way to the 'great currency debate'.


Danyl Strype Mon 29 May 2017 4:50AM

There's a lot of exciting stuff happening in federated social media that I'd like to discuss, including the hybrid business models growing up around instances of federated social apps (eg the Social.Coop instance of Mastodon). There's also the #BuyTwitter campaign (involving some of the same organisers), which is stimulating a lot of interesting discussion about investment clubs funding new net services, as an alternatives to venture capital funded start-ups optimized for acquisition or IPO.


Bob Haugen Tue 30 May 2017 5:20PM

I'd like to discuss ... the hybrid business models growing up around instances of federated social apps (eg the Social.Coop instance of Mastodon).

Please continue...


Danyl Strype Sat 12 May 2018 8:39PM

Sorry for abandoning this subject for a whole year. Again, a lot is happening in this space now, especially the publication of the ActivityPub spec by the W3C Social Working Group (see https://activitypub.rocks ). A lot of federated social network projects and others are converging around ActivityPub (eg PeerTube, the federated YouTube replacement using WebTorrent), and by the end of the year I'm hopeful the AP fediverse will finally hit critical mass.

Are folks here familiar with the Institute for Network Cultures? They started a project in 2011 called Unlike Us (https://networkcultures.org/unlikeus/about/), analyzing the theoretical frameworks around centralized social media, and decentralized social networking, and had a few events in 2011, 12, and 13. Might be insightful to engage with some of their findings from a vantage point 5 years into the future.


Bob Haugen Sat 12 May 2018 10:19PM

We're looking into ActivityPub as a possible component in the Open App Ecosystem.


Nick S Wed 30 May 2018 11:28AM

These old threads only come into view for noobs like myself when someone posts to them..

But I was wondering if the P2PF blog is re-posted on Mastodon or equivalent anywhere?

If not, I was wondering if it could be? Like on http://social.coop, perhaps? I think the blog uses Wordpress, there's this: https://wordpress.org/plugins/autopost-to-mastodon/


Maïa Dereva Thu 31 May 2018 12:21PM

Hi @wulee , we tried this plugin on the French blog but had issues with it. So I publish manually here: https://social.coop/@p2pf_france (without the brackets which are automatically added by Loomio!)

And also some English stuff here: https://social.coop/@maiadereva

@staccotroncoso Maybe we could try again, the plugin works well now on the blog http://www.les-communs-dabord.org


Danyl Strype Sat 4 Apr 2020 8:02AM

WeDistribute uses a modified version of Pterotype plugin to integrate their WP instance with the fediverse, but the admin said if he was setting it up now he'd use this plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/activitypub/
... but migrating to it would probably be time-consuming.


Michel Bauwens Thu 31 May 2018 7:36PM

that would be great indeed,

I copy our 'advocacy' team, Stacco and Ann-Marie