Open collaboration online and offline

Taking a keen interest in the development of the Real Democracy Ya! / Take the square movement I found the evolving open collaboration shared much with open groups I have been working with in recent years.

Considering this I thought it would be a good time to share ideas and resources I have accumulated over this period.

I have been involved around the periphery of-

I've also been watching with interest the many anti-cuts / anti-austerity groups / movements that have been active here in the UK.  There are many of these but some have gained sudden unexpected widespread support / participation particularly.

I spend far too much time on the internet and I've seen much that has inspired.  I've also found that some times my enthusiasm has reduced.

In reflection I think I can identify some of the things that fed or took away from this enthusiasm.


I get excited when I see results.  I like sitting about talking, sometimes far too much.  Seeing concrete developments really fires me up.

Open movements / organisations, participation and thinking about things in a different way

I like to keep my independence (autonomy) and dislike committing to efforts that involve membership or the paying of fees.  I am happy to contribute when I feel there is value for me.  I don't like to feel trapped.  I really enjoy collaborating or co-operating with other people - I get tired labouring on my own.

I got excited when I understood how  Participatory Economics ( ) and Inclusive Democracy ( ) could work.  These models of economic and political system, although possibly not perfect, opened my mind to new ideas.  The thought of actively participating in a society as and equal I find highly attractive.

When I discovered Coalition of the willing ( ) I became ever more aware of the potential the internet has for enabling mass collaboration or co-operation.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such a great bunch of people.

I learnt and shared ideas about open stewardship ( ) bricolage, swarms and interoperability - there are some great collaborative documents that I would encourage people to check out  -



I find some groups use the language of politics.  I'm tired with the 'politics' of parties, and want to see something new.  Many words have a definition (as read in a dictionary) this can differ from dictionary to dictionary and they can also take on a life beyond this.   I suppose I may be talking about memes (although in my logical mind I'm not sure I totally understand memes - I think that may be part of the point of them?)

Many words that are often used in these movements have baggage which accompanies them that has grown over the years.  Left wing, conservative, anarchy, comrade etc. etc. I'm not sure I truly understand what any of these terms means to me. I'm sure lots of people think they mean something completely different to what I feel they mean.  Feelings connected to them will due to the way we have encountered these words during our lives.  I am sure that their use can cause confusion or a departure from the true message. We can put our ideas across using simple language that avoids these problems and we can create or modify words and memes to allow ourselves to be better understood.

While collaborating at the Coalition of the Willing (COTW) I became aware of ontologies ( ) and I'm thinking it would be good for the take the square movement to develop its own, new ontology - (the language we use to describe our reality).  'Open assembly' might be a good way of describing the square assemblies and gives reference to the 'open' meme which has much traction given developments in 'open source' technology.

I've mentioned before in various places that I thought it would be good for people to be able to tag (label) content so that others can find relevant information.  The actions of a group tagging content allow an ontology to naturally develop and to be visable to others.

While collaborating with COTW I became aware of an acute need to be able to give order to the information we were sharing.  I have been using  Delicious, the social bookmarking website, for years.  In delicious you tag web sites with words that you consider are relevant to the content. This naturally appeared the right kind of tool to order COTW related information.  We had also talked of desires to be able to both discuss/comment upon and rate/like/vote upon content that had been shared.  About this time rumours started that Yahoo were going to kill Delicious.  I started to look for alternatives and was amazed at the options available Faviki, Pearltrees and Diigo all had their attractions.  I started using Diigo as it performed all of the functions I was looking for and was very user friendly, and was ready to go.  I guess some kind of open, decentralised service, that offered similar functionality, would fit better.  Opensource social bookmarking -