8 FAQ
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Q. I do not see much reason to give administrators of servers so much power. I am admin myself of a small instance. That is not much work. Maybe because the users are nice; I never had to moderate. There are people who self-host an instance with only themselves. I see no reason to treat them differently from normal users.

A. We don’t decide who should get the voice from each instance - this is up to each individual instance to decide in their own way who talks for them. We just use the admin check to tell if the person registering the account is a “representative” of the instance - we can open this up to mods as well. So if instances wants one of their user accounts to be the voice then they would have to bump them up to mod or admin.

The idea is to ALWAYS moderate as much POWER downwards to federate responsibility, fedivers native styaly.

The would be other automatic checks

was the instance online last year is the instance used - check for recent posts etc. am up in the air if single user account instances count - this could be an option that can be chosen by the body - I would start with default ON that they count. ideas for more #KISS codeing approaches?

Then the is the human community - would then be user/stakeholder flagging as an option to question if an instance belongs. (TOS)

When an instance registers it would pop up on the body activity feed before it becomes a member giving people time to flag it/discus it if needed.

At the #OMN we have to work quite hard at moderating and removing SPAM and dealing with right-wing attacks on our 3 instances, so it is work - the instances are the WHOLE of the fedivers so deserve a voice that they currently do not have.

Q. Equating accounts with people is not always accurate. I legitimately have four accounts, that is not being a sock puppet. One as human; partially in German. One as scientists; only in English. One for an open science project. I also maintain a feed, which is work in my case, but in other cases will just be a blog feed. How do we handle feeds? The open peer review system I am working on has one AP account per article, there are humans doing the peer review, so it is not a bot or a blog feed, but there is no one to one relationship between people and accounts.

A. We simply ignore this issue, if you have multable USED accounts and be a instance admin and run a support group or two you will have multabe accounts in the lottery.

AGEN if people start to take the piss and game the system the human flaging comes in to mediate this issue. Secondly if few people are taking up the roles the solution is to be more human to get more people involved - this will dilute the problem.

If this controlling few get shitty sighn up more people then flag them out - its politics and if everyone gets shitty the community can solve this issue the same way.

The solution is ALWAYS more people - the lottery will shift bad groups out if fresh people of goodwill join.

We keep it #KISS one user is one activertypub account with basic checks to see if it is active and human then relay on flagging for blatant abuse.

An example the lottery might choose 4 of your accounts as stakeholders in one go… then it’s up to you to resign 3 of them, so 3 new stakeholders can be choicen - and yes you could keep them all as sock puppets, but you would likely be found out and flagged to be removed so not a good long term thing to do.

My though is we don’t HARD code this and keep it as a tradition, but this would be up to the group, we just set the default.

Q. A government that does not distribute goodies somewhat proportional to power will be toppled. Developers have well above a third of the power, giving them less than a third is asking to be toppled or ignored.

That a good point about goodies - the group can setup a treshery group using openclective or something less NGO and then use the tools to provide funding and pay expesise as needed.

The instances are NOT the developers - the codebase have limited say as affiliates - so mastodon would have the same voice as any other code base that jumps the basic criteria and gets excepted by the body as being a part of the fedivers.

This body is mediating the shifting of power from the .01% to the 99.9% who make up the fedivers - it’s a compromise that the body itself can decide the balance of this shift.

WE JUST SET THE DEFAULT and provide KISS tools and structure.

Yes the power is not the normal power of courts and police… this might or might not be an problem.

Q. It looks as if the current system would debate any question brought up to by any user. That will be much more than anyone will be willing to handle. There must be a prioritization. Especially if we work with randomly selected people; part of citizen’s assemblies is a long phase of people informing themselves and consulting experts.

Any user can put in a proposal that would appear on the activity stream of the body - its then up to the body to actually do something with it or just ignore it and let it slip off the activity feed out of site.

In this way its LOSSY.

If the body thinks that a proposal has merit its past to a group or a new group is formed, and it works its way through the process. The groups do the “long phase of people informing themselves and consulting experts.”

SPAM would be dealt with by flagging and standard fedivers moderating tools - remember the whole steam is based on activitypub so is native to the fedivers.

DEV talk The groups can be coded in two ways, we can create a new forum codebase or we can do the whole project as plugins for an existing one like discourse.org which is likely a better choice - this is up to funding and coders.

Q. Asking people to register for the lottery will lead to strong self-selection (oligarchy). Is it possible to make a census of the Fediverse? Then we could invite people who have been selected by the lottery, which greatly reduces self-selection.

Will let an old dead imperialism answer that one:

‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947 en.wikipedia.org Criticism of democracy

Criticism of democracy is grounded in democracy’s purpose, process and outcomes. Since Classical antiquity and through the modern era, democracy has been associated with “rule of the people”, “rule of the majority”, and free selection or election, either through direct participation or elected representation, respectively. Political thinkers have approached critiques of democratic political systems from different perspectives. Many[who?] do not necessarily oppose democracy by its simplest def...

May need to highlight - am using a bit of abstract language as this codebase is not JUST a tool for the fedivers it can be used to democratically run any structures that has stakeholders.

An example let’s look at it running our local street market Chatsworth Road Market - Chatsworth Road

The stakeholder are each stallholder - put in the stall registration number. The users are people who shop at the market - just sighn up. The affiliate groups are the local counceal who licence it, the neo-liberal events company who manage it, the local shop owners association who wont a say.

In this case the codebase is a progressive web app and app ifyed with a rapper to run on mobiles.

Then all the issues and running of the market can be moved from the .01% ( the event company and counceal that gives them the licence) to the 99.9% who actually run the market – yes the would be a political fight which would likely end in a compromise – the power might end up 40/60% which is still a good outcome.

This approach and codebase will scale sideways – lets look at this example you can have streetmarkets governed city wide – in this next level each of the markets becomes a stakeholder the users are users and the affiliates are city wide orgs and groups. Rise and repeat, the whole thing works #4opens

The instance stakeholders is one admin/mod account registers the instance, after that they will get a message that instance is already registered. Important to be clear “we the codebase” play no role is HOW an instance decides who represents them - power is federated down words at every opertunerty.

It’s a democratic body so if one big instance pushes all their member to join then the members of that instance will have a larger say. The solution is grassroots the other instances get their members to join up. In democracy defining the bounders of the “body” is a very hard thing to do, we simply avoid this.

Yes, If there are few registered instances the effect of this will be to encourage people to set up and run more instances as this will be the shortcut to get a voice in governance - as you say a good outcome.

The shaping of the “body” comes from a long history/expirence of horizontal activism. In this the is an unspoken tradition of “those who do the work have more say” .

The bulk of the voice is those who run the fedivers - the people who run/support the instances.

The people who build the tools also get a say, pretty much garrented by their smaller numbers as do support orgs and events.

the users who will be spread widely get a say - but this power is diluted by the much larger numbers involved, but their voice is there and strong to bring in need fresh views and agenders.

The current plan is #4opens to build a production/coding team, go for funding, expanding the coding team, build the tools, test the tools, roll out this test to a real user base - likely not the fedivers to test. While these last stages are happening we can try and ratify it though some process on socialhub or just roll it out #permissionless and see if people use it, both are fine by me.

Important largely what am describing here is simply the ideas for the default config of the “governance” codebase.

The actual function would all have sliders - you want to change the proportions or number of the stakeholder groups: add groups and slide here. It’s up to the body members to use the internal tools to adjust these as they think appropriate #4opens

A lot of this conversation is about the power of the default (bad article Default effect - Wikipedia) the actual running might end up looking different for different groups.

Q. I think you could consider Sociocracy as an alternative to the lottery system

A. Remember the project comes from the lived expirence of a culture, as all the best one do. In this coulture Sociocracy would be the hippy siting round the fire saying why don’t we all just get on love is the answer as the crusty pisses on the garden he planted and the party people ignore the washing up rotor he put up and everyone else just gets on with the jobs they are interested in.

Life is messy, life should be messy, these process “hippies” are of limited utility in the culture am modelling “governance” on the ground should be ruff and ready, built of doing and trust from this doing., people have to work out how to get on with others and make tools work for a useful outcome, we don’t hand them “solutions” we DON’T do tech fixes.

Q. your project seems to be roundabout describing a multi-stakeholder co-op

A. Yes maybe, but it does not come from this, you can look at it as a co-operative anarchist idea of human nature put into code - coops can kinda be this in a much more burocracy focused way than am outlining, but gennoraly do not come close.

Making a edge to a community means you need legalistic policing to enforce this edge. We recognize that as a problem and like the fediverse we ignore this as incompatible with our world view - in the setup we outline its simply not needed, this is “native” to the fediverse.

Q. Using instances as stakeholders makes sense on the surface, I’d like to highlight to you though that (on Mastodon) >99% of the instances are hosted in 5 countries, and some instances hold many more users than others (see comment above on centralisation in Mastodon)

A. We ignore this issue in a creative and usefully way, if you won’t a voice setup and run an instance, then you should have a voice as you are running and caring for a part of the fediverse. You will maybe notice the is a positive feedback loop here.

Q. I think you could consider Sociocracy as an alternative to the lottery system

A. #KISS and human has MUCH MORE POWER than complexity, if people can’t understand the tools they cannot use them in creative and human ways - mess is good. The project is more IMPORTANT for what it does not do than for what it does.

Q. Apologies, I hope this didn’t seem like a personal attack. As a middle-aged white guy, I was using it as an example of something I see a lot and am trying to figure out how to solve, that’s all

A. Nothing personal, more am talking about a systematic problem of a class/groups of people, as you say likely “middle-aged white men” who find it impossible to see things have value, even though the is a deep and long history they likely no little about. It’s a kinda poverty in thinking and care that is endemic in late era #deathcult

" Distilled, grassroots, radical governance is a good fit for the fediverse.

Q. You’re bringing in the idea of “fluffy” and “spiky”. And you think both have merit.

A. Have been working with bridging this often hostile divide for more than 30 years in hundreds of campaigns on the ground and online. The best outcome you can hope for is “diversity of tactics/strategy”

Q. You’re also drawing attention to the very hard idea of “diversity of tactics” - using different tools in different settings.

A. It’s a miracle when the two sides can hold this bridge in place, the effect of this miracle is more powerful outcome for both agenders BUT the longer this bridge is held in place the stronger the internal and outside forces push to demolish it - it falls, have never seen a bridge hold for the whole campaign.

Q. You’re also saying that the “spiky” approach to governance has more value for our society.

A. The #mainstreaming agender always supports the #fluffy aproch and pushes down the #spiky aproch so its less a question of right/wrong more a question of holding the balance agenst this #mainstreaming pushing. The balance is where maximum power lies. So yes in this forum, and in general, the “spiky” aproch has more “power” than the fluffy aproch simple because its is repressed by the mainstream and meany of the “common sense” fluffy crew.

Q. And that given the #climatechaos and the swing to the right it’s really important to keep having the “debate” about which approach to use.

A. The “debate” is in this case is a metaphor for action, it’s important to keep both approaches working and hold a bridge in place, so people can cross and communicate between them.

Q. Also that whatever process people use, it needs to work in the mess.

A. In tech outreach work using the hashtag #geekproblem to highlight the “need for control” that is a clear block and not a solution to the very human mess we are in. We need to build structers/code where we “lose” control of our current #mainstreaming agenders and take “control” by building bridges and holding these human bridges in place, so we can choose different paths.

Q. So I think we have to actually experience an approach or a tool before we can say if it is “fluffy” or “spiky”, or works in a mess.

A. Yep, best to build tools/process from “lived expirence”. We are swimming in a river of social shit with the #mainstreaming of neo-liberalism and postmodernism that is the bases of “thinking”. Thou these ideology died years ago, the zombies of both are still eating our social brains.

Q. Is that also true for what you’re calling the “spiky” approach? That unless people have actually experienced it they wouldn’t be able to judge it?

A. You guys experienced it here, when I came to this well “fluffy” space I was met with a well “spiky” reception. The more dogmatic liberals can often be VERY spiky were the #fahernista radicals are generally kinda “fluffy” in their actual outcomes. Lifting the lid and look at the actions, don’t take what people say at face value, to see the fluffy/spiky debate in action, by lifting this lid you start to build a bridge…

Putting and holding this bridge in place is the start of power for social change/challenge.

Q. And I also think that “raising the lid” - starting to see and say what is going on - can sometimes start to build a bridge. Sometimes.

A. Bridge building between invisible world views is the hardest thing to do, but it’s also the most productive if the bridge can be held in place. There are strong #BLOCK ing forces.

Q. I also want to check - you’ve arrived here because you think there are people here who have useful skills to help build the tools you need?

A. A bit more complex than that, I have known and worked with people like this group are made up of, my expirence they rearlly if EVER manage to build a bridge and if they do its knocked down as soon as their self-interest is challenged. It’s a problem that the is NO easy path to challenge/change. I don’t think as a group these people are interested, but the might be individuals who are, reach out to both groups and see what I find 😉

Q. And I am guessing, therefore, that your goal is to check that out, and see if anyone here would like to help you? Is that what you’re trying to achieve?

A. You are expressing this in a way that makes little sense to me, can you think why?

Q. promoting a method of governance, based upon sortation

A. “governance” model based on a long/deep history of social movement going back to the suffragists/suffragets. Building a modern take on this classic, building from the fediverse expirence of federation as a tool for horizontal scaling of social power. Yes we do take the power out of “power politics” by sortation

We plan to mediate the last hundred years of grassroots activist “governance” in a way that works WITH not agenst this history.

The is a long history of “process geeks” coming into activism and playing a role in destroying the movements they set out to “help” - think climatecamp or indymedia as examples of this, lots of post here on this subject http://hamishcampbell.com/tag/indymedia/ or http://hamishcampbell.com/tag/climatecamp/

Q. With regard to Sociocracy,

A. Sociocracy likely works fine for fluffy middle class groups, it comes from the Quakers, have worked with them meany times and good people in their way.


A. The need for “governance” came out of a practical problem, the #activitypub community is made up of “cats” you know the slogan “herding cats” we were doing seminars outreach to powerful EU Eurocrats on why they should be interested in #activertypub and interesting they really are interested. We had no voice, only “cats” with everyone pushing their own tiny projects, it was a lot of work and stress, but we got the presentations done.

Back to the questions. A lot of the issues you are outlining are actually covered outside what is normally though of as process - It’s designed to be messy, it’s not designed to be tidy. Let’s illustrate this by answering each point.

Q. ‘The Voices’ has too much power

A. Yep, they do, but they are subject to “recall”, and gain a lot from working with the “groups” the voices only get TOTAL power with consensus -1 which is a hard thing to acheave without the first working to building consensus through the body and groups and other voices.

Q. no sense-checking step in the process

A. You are right the is no sense checking in the formal sense, but remember the is no hard power, people only have to do things if they want to, its “governance” of a disorganization not a traditional power structer. if people get too “nutty” the is the power of “recall” if the body becomes to nutty the is the power of “dilution” more people can join the body.

Q. The Group liaises with The Voices, presumably until such time as a proposal is deemed fit for ratification, and then it looks like The Voices can just sign off on that and it goes onto the statute.

A. The groups don’t have to talk to anyone, though will work better when they do, the voices can be involved or not worked better when they are - good to remember the “cats” at the beginning on this one.

The is no statute and no laws as this is “governance” with equation marks - there will be a growing body of mythos and traditions that people can call on when making decisions. There are no police or courts, nobody has to do anything - “cats”.

Q. I would suggest that The Body is the sovereign entity and therefore it is The Body that signs off on a scrutinised proposal, not The Voices.

A. The body has negative power over the voices, it can recall them, which is the same as not signing off on their actions. The problem we are trying to solve is focus in a anarchistic/libertarian movement - how to talk to traditional burocraceys while still talking/being relevant to ourselves. The is a level of trust involved which is held in place by the #4opens

Q. What does “core consent” actually mean and how is it achieved. Normally I’d expect some sort of sociocratic process to be deployed in order to achieve such consent, but that’s perhaps impractical given the likely size of The Body.

A. That’s a good question, that is not defined. It’s important to look at the codebase here, everything we talk about is the “default” the actual codebase can redefine just about every variable, it’s a set of tools for horazonatlish “governance” It’s up to the body to decide everything on how to use these tools if they change the default.

We have the traditional voting modals, we have a threshold etc.

The body can be restricted in size by fixing the first variable in this case it would be the instances/stakeholders or can be left to grow organically this is up to the body itself.

Q. Who are the members of a Group - do they come from The Body, does the Group include the submitter of the Proposal.

A. The group is made up of anybody in the body who needs to be a part of it - in this everything is a mirror of the same process #KISS You ask a hard question about “outside” experts/original submitter which i don’t have an easy solution to - so we would add it as an option that can be turned on or off.

Q. What is the lifespan of The Voices?

A. They serve the same as the body, currently have two options 1 year, half every 6 month rolling to facilitate hand holding or easy/simple one year.

Due to the sortation and work load you will likely have a high turn over of new body members, the “recalling” will add to this as there are a lot of “nutters” sortation will bring up fresh people for the body to work this is a good thing as “trust” is built from this.

The voices are “trusted” to be a voice of the fedivers for their term, if they are not “trusted” they will be recalled to the body, and if they are nutters they will be recalled out of the body and a new member added ect.

Q. In the case of a very simple Proposal, can The Body shortcut the process?

A. Yep decisions can be made at different levels, on the image the thickness of the arrow coming out (with the blunt end) is the strength of that voice.

What happens in the case of a Proposal that has “core consent” but then as a result of the scrutiny of a Group, is deemed to be shite?

The group says it shite, and then move on, if the group keeps pushing shit then the voices ignore this group and in the end the body likely recalls it and replaces it with a new group - this is up to the body/voices.

Yes, sadly some good decisions that are not popular inside/outside the body/groups will be ignored we are still self “governing” cats the is no getting away from this.

Q. I assume the entire process happens in the open, so anyone can monitor what’s going on. What processes exist to support whistleblowers?

A. Yep, based on the #4opens so everything is done with activertypub in open process, its a trust based network, if people won’t privacy then they can resign/not sign up from public governance and work through people who are happy to do open process.

Whistleblowering is a case for media not “governance” so is dealt with in this sister project Home - Open-Media-Network - Gitea: Open Media Network

Q. An interesting subject for this group is how this level of messy “governance” can cooperate with more formal models of governance like traditional cooperatives. The two are complementary - but the question is how :)