This page is meant to host discussion of the following proposal: Establish within this wiki a centralized, equal-opportunity forum for Occupy Boston.
Premise: Communication Misunderstood
Communication between Occupiers is often chaotic and stressful because there is a lack of clarity in the meaning and intent of various communication mediums. The wiki, mailing lists, and .org group spaces are in conflict because they are neither clearly defined nor consistently utilized.
The meaning of the 'website' is clear: it is a public face - a 'news' outlet hosting only the most well-developed and/or urgent stories. This is extremely important, because it presents a primary landing zone for anyone in the Boston area who wished to become more informed about the Occupy movement.
- A wiki is intended to be the most complete resource for information on any great number of topics. The strength of a wiki comes from its public, transparent, autonomous, and open-source natures. There is room not only for the most pertinent information on every specific topic (on the 'Page' tab), but also for a discussion and evolution of those topics (on the 'Discussion' tab). The front-information on a wiki may change frequently due to broad intelligences, constantly increasing the validity of any page.
- A wiki updates immediately, meaning that users may see proof that their contributions are being hosted right away, whenever they press the 'Save' button.
- If the wiki's dynamic nature can be understood by the Occupy Boston community, it can be transformed into a centralized, collaborative space for anyone truly interested in societal progress. A wiki represents a tree of knowledge; it should be organized and coordinated as such.
- Lack of 'Standard Practice': Collaborators may be unable to easily locate and/or post the information they desire because there is not a standard navigational structure (if there is a standard structure, it lacks clear representation).
- Mailing lists are the best medium for immediate and specific updates. A mailing list updates subscribers in nearly real-time, creating a kind of forum for very specific working groups. The newest reply is always at the 'top'.
- 'Forced' Participation: Subscribers receive every message sent to the group, without any potential for filtering per content. Many subscribers use their personal email addresses, and mailing lists tend to 'clog' that space.
- Mailing lists often require hours of waiting for a response. There have been many queries within the mailing lists regarding whether messages are being received or not.
- Lack of 'Archives': Subscribers are unable to view messages occurring before their subscription request, so they may be unable to view pertinent discussions unless those discussions are updated within their subscription period. Those updates must also include all previous text from the 'thread', which is not a requirement for replies.
- The 'groups' section of OB.org is clearly a 'forum' for all working groups.
- 'Exclusivity': Membership to each groups must be approved by an admin, greatly slowing the process of contribution and creating an air of authority in what is otherwise meant to be open discussion space.
- Lack of Use: It does not appear that the groups/forum functions of OB.org have been fully realized by the OB community, and the amout of 'progress' made via the forums appears negligible.
The Occupy Boston community must respond to the noted communications issues if it wishes truly to evolve. In lieu especially of the eviction (per Mayor Menino on Saturday, 10 December, 2011), the community must devise a non-local meeting space that is equally or more inviting than was our 'campsite' in Dewey Square. This wiki can be that space.
Any organization of dedicated individuals can maximize efficiency by coming together as a whole to agree upon goals, methods, and tasks. This should be a first prioroty of any organization, and the discussion should be 'alive' as long as there is anyone in support of the forum. The Occupation movement has reached a massive scale, but it does not present a navigable structure, so the whole is more of a chaotic mob than a committed organization. The mess of communication methods shared by contributors has led to a lack of definition. Each medium should represent a specific function within the goals, methods, and tasks that are determined by the whole people via round-table discussion.
The Occupation has presented an impressive show of arms; this is not to be overlooked. The massive participation in protests gives weight to our decisions. I believe it is necessary now to dismiss the issue of assembly/occupation, because it distracts us from the overarching social issues that we may be able to solve on our own (whether or not we are able to protest without the violent opposition from a dying society). We must build a new society that sprouts from the old. As we impart small changes, the old systems will slowly dissolve.
There should be, as a central structure, an online people's forum. In the forum, there will be a much larger foundation of voices if all contributers are able to navigate intuitively. By following the basic structure of topics and their nested discussions (a natural aspect of every wiki) we may build a professional feel upon the face of the wiki, and individuals will be able to quickly find and discuss the issues of greatest personal interest. A wiki is meant to crowd-source information - I suggest we use OccupyBoston's wiki to crowd-source a revolution.
The major issue with using a wiki seems to be understanding the process of contribution, which is, in my opinion, much easier than reading and replying to a number of massive email lists. Becoming familiar with editing functions, navigation tools, and special pages can be daunting. We should therefore post guidelines proposing a specific structure and method that can be scaled and adapted to the many sizes and specialties of groups. We should unify to determine our ideals and the best methods to attain them. We should host a fully public, round-table discussion to determine the first steps of action. This discussion cannot cease until a central forum has been established.
If the Occupation appears to the mainstream to lack unity, clarity, definition, or priority, it is because the Occupation has failed to create the pathways that maximize the efficiency of crowd-sourced social evolution. At best, unity in the Occupation is extremely vague, and can generally be summarized in a single word: discontent. Indeed, the Occupation has barely agreed upon a few 'official statements'. The discussion is limited by the structure of the forum, or lack-thereof.
An intellectual conversation requires a soft, inviting, understanding environment that is founded in a peaceful methodology.
The ultimate goal of the Occupation (and truly the ultimate goal of any compassionate act) is the creation of (or evolution toward) a perfect society. Rather than acheiving perfection, the most difficult task is defining perfection. Coming to a working agreement on 'perfection' would allow us to determine pathways for acheiving that perfection. After conceptualizing our goals and sorting out the best potential methodology, it would be necessary to create tasks which could be delegated to working groups. This process establishes ultimate authority within the people, leaving no room for modification of that principal. A people's forum should declare that the only sovereign being is a human (or another creature of human-like sentience). The people should declare a Global Entity, a peaceful species unification for all those willing to apply. There will some day be global revolution, but we cannot know exactly when. We might facilitate the revolution by its discussion, however, and I argue that it is the most important discussion in which we might partake.
- User:OneKarma/Forum Table of Contents
- User:OneKarma/Forum - an introduction to the concept of an open forum, and utilizing this wiki as such
- User:OneKarma/Forum/Functions - the functions that an open forum should perform in order to be successful
- User:OneKarma/Forum/Demo - a 'prototype' for how working pages can be organized in an open forum