GreatTurningWebsiteWork

This page organizes discussion between LionKimbro (hereafter “Lion”) and SamRose (hereafter “Sam”) regarding work on TheGreatTurningWebsite.

Backstory

Lion met DavidKorten at the StoryFieldConference, 2007-08-29, and proposed to work on TheGreatTurningWebsite & collaborative systems via the InternetExchange. Sam offers web hosting, so it looks like a good match. Besides, this is our kind of movement, dammit. (See: LiteracyOfHumanNature, HiveMind, …)

Lion & Sam have agreed to work with Neva for the time being, with the future expectation of some kind of barter repayment, in the future. At this point, (2007-09-13,) future payments are not an issue and we’re just exploring the space of possibilities.

Interests

Lion remembers DavidKorten saying that he needed some website work, and that he was interested in collaborative / participation / Web 2.0 type stuff as well. He doesn’t have the funds to pay $10,000, a commonly quoted value for a website. He does have volunteers, and volunteer interest, though.

Neva is Lion’s primary point of contact with the Great Turning website. Neva has reiterated that they don’t have much money to spend. Neva was excited about setting up a participatory Drupal site. DavidKorten didn’t want to spend a lot of money, for something that he didn’t think a lot of people ended up using.

Neva has spoken that they need help even determining what their needs and possibilities are, a statement Lion has taken very seriously.

I agree with David’s reasoning here. I’ve seen a lot of activist groups fail with package deal websites, and not really knowing how to do the online thing very well. It reminds me of HelmutLeitner’s “CommunityOnline” concept.

Resources

Also:

I also remember Neva saying something about an invite-only mailing list. She was disappointed, because activity was low.

Commitments

Research Findings

What is the Great Turning web presence like?

TheGreatTurningWebsite: Mainly static pages. A “share content” link gives a form where people can submit information and contact info, which seems to then go into a SalesforceCRM database, of which LionKimbro understands (from Neva, phone) they have ~10 donated licenses to use.

TheGreatTurningWiki: A few edits a month, in what seems to be a slow but steady pace. That said, it seems to mainly be postings, or announcements. Very little chatter (zero?), and little (zero?) use of LinkLanguage. These people seem to be using the wiki as a document store, rather than a site for TheoryBuilding.

There is one very promising and interesting exception: In a post labelled General Curiosity???, Bob Letcher (older gentleman, suffers MS, an engineer in a past life, involved in community efforts, as evidenced by Buffalo NY gov-corp-community activity) spoke out, saying, “In turn, that led me to try to track down a posting that had led to discussion. and what i found is what motivates me to write; namely, there is precious little discussion--or at least that’s what i found. that disappointed me a lot, as i had thought that these sorts of things were supposed to stimulate discussion.” Sam & Lion have engaged him in conversation.

Questions

Recommended readings for Neva: CommunityOnline, SoftSecurity

Ideas

Discussion

Also, on a more immediate level, we might create a page, or something, to list the current active requests on the exchange. InternetExchangeRequests?, or we can just do it right on InternetExchnage? itself…

I am willing to help with the first request from David C. Korten.

Writing this page has been on my “keep alive” to-do list, and we really need to get back to this.

I just talked with Neva representing David Korton re: the Great Turning site. Sam Rose, I have you directly in mind. Also, Amy, from the StoryfieldConference, who has interest in participating on the exchange functioning as a web designer. There is also Gabriella needing web design, and Dana needing forum support and offering (incredible) art. (Such as the art above.)

We need to talk about the InternetExchange, and these separate contracts, which are starting as conversations.

Neva is from the Great Turning. They need exploratory conversations about what they need. They have played with some community stuff, but mostly in “locked down, invite only” mode. They’re wondering how to increase participation in their low activity lists. (I am thinking: “Well, learn about SoftSecurity.”) They’re irritated that there’s all these web hosting firms asking for x$10,000, for something that may well be underutilized (which they have experienced, in the past.) She was sympathetic to Drupal. I’m thinking “open list, open forums,” even a Yahoo Group could serve them better than what they have right now (as I understand it.) Or is it true that they need completely controlled environments? Make locked down sub-environments, after you have a large open environment.

This is a taste of what I’m thinking about. Sam: Neva’s email address is neva at greatturning.org; I need to trust in this open process, so I’m going to ask you to report back on your exchanges with her and David, should you interact with them.

I’m putting down on my to-do list to write about this more tonight, when I get home. That said, my home is a Chaotic place, what with Amber and Sakura needing things from me, so there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to transcribe this out tonight.

I think we can have exploratory conversations, and we can also set up some “mockup” tools for them to try out, too (meaning actual tools or live instances of software).

I think 10,000.00 is the normal rate for commercial development of community sites. However, I am willing to accept InternetExchange currency for this particular project, because I support the values of the organization.

It is my opinion that we could set them up with a suite of web-based tools to accomplish quite a few different things, and install these on a hosting service, like Media temple, and have them pay the bill (about 20.00 per month). This will give them all of the space and bandwidth they need, and the ability to set up tools like MailMan? for maling lists, Drupal (or possibly other CMS) , their own self-hosted wiki, if desired, and pretty much anything else they need or want.

I am in the process of emailing them now, because I’m most intrerested in figuring out what they want to do. :)

Sam… This is one of the few times I’ve seen a “generic” quote. Can you help me understand what I should expect to get for $10,000 spent on building a community site?

Hans, I’ll attest – $10,000 is the generic quote I’ve heard, for community sites.

I can’t tell you much more than that– that’s just the figure that I hear float about, from various people who buy or sell such things.

Sam: Neva told me that exploring their needs is a pretty big part of this.

I don’t think they’re ordering a coke and fries – they want to understand what they really need, and what the options are that are available to them, and so on. I think they basically need (right now) a technical friend, to help them mull over possibilities, thoughts, labors, give them connections, and help them make “purchasing” decisions. They won’t be paying in dollars, but they’re an enormous network, doing really incredible work for the world, and I think there’s a wealth of services in there that they can pay with.

I am drawn to be that “technical friend.” I live in Seattle, which is a hub of this groups’ activity, and I think they all live around here.

If nobody objects, I’d like to send Neva the URL to this discussion. (I’ve already pointed her to CommunityWiki.)

Hans, I should have been more specific. $10,000 is about the rate that I am seeing people pay for a custom coded, and custom designed site. “Custom” meaning functions, look, and feel beyond what you can get by downloading and installing something like Plone, or Drupal, Django project, or Joomla, or other CMS’s, and their accompanying modules and CSS “out of the box”.

So, $10,000 could net you something like these sites from most commercial devs:

http://beta.newstrust.net/ http://truemors.com/ (actually around 5000.00 in software development, and the rest in legal fees) http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (Django project based)

Now, $10,000 is the amount that extremely high-priced, US-based design firms will charge you to turn out sites like these from the ground up, to your specifications. you’d be surprised how many larger businesses will pay $10,000. Part of what they are getting is the software, but mostly what they are paying for is the custom design, custom InformationArchitecture, and security/robust serving infrastructure that is needed for a high traffic site.

For the rest of us mere mortals without $10,000 to throw around, you can actually build the same thing for way, way less, if you are willing and able to get your hands a little dirty and get involved in the process. Even if you need custom coding. In this case, you would be doing the InformationArchitecture yourself, and perhaps some of the server administration yourself. You would probably pay around $1500-$4000 US for about the same thing, but you would be doing the work of communicating and coordinating programmers and designers yourself, instead of just handing it all off to a firm and letting them worry about it. Does that all make sense?

I don’t think they’re ordering a coke and fries – they want to understand what they really need, and what the options are that are available to them, and so on. I think they basically need (right now) a technical friend, to help them mull over possibilities, thoughts, labors, give them connections, and help them make “purchasing” decisions. They won’t be paying in dollars, but they’re an enormous network, doing really incredible work for the world, and I think there’s a wealth of services in there that they can pay with.

I am drawn to be that “technical friend.” I live in Seattle, which is a hub of this groups’ activity, and I think they all live around here.

I agree. I don’t want to try and make money off of them. I would rather try and help them. I like the idea of them “paying” us with InternetExchange currency, because it helps to jumpstart people using InternetExchange in general. And, I really like the idea of hooking up with a network that is trying to do what these folks are trying to do. I think we can help them quite a bit just by having some conversations with them.

Neva wrote to me:

Lion: Wow. So impressed with the level of communication on CommunityWiki, and of course, people’s interest in our GT Initiative. I would have added a comment to the Wiki, but I was not sure exactly how to do it. I did use the edit button on the bottom of the page, but from there didn’t know how to enter content. I could say lots more, for example, about the new database we are using (Salesforce) and how that fits in to the larger picture. And, how much of our natural community seems to be “older” folks who do not take to a lot of the newer technology easily. This is big consideration with all we do. Looks like Sam (?) plans to email me. And, I look forward to further communication with you. You are now a member of the GT Wiki. Thanks, Neva

Neva, if you ar reading this (and I will also email you), instead of talking about this through email, maybe we can discuss at http://greatturning.wikispaces.com/ ?

I don’t think she’s reading;

I promised her:

  • an assessment email by tonight (to do)
  • an assessment email in another week (to do)

I’ll forward to you as well, Sam.

  • Neva’s not technical. – She knows email, but wiki is a challenge for her.
  • Neva’s community isn’t technical. – (She told me on the phone.)

Let me broaden this for a moment: I observe a TechActivistGap?. The very powerful and insightful activist communities are also very technically weak.

That weakness is not just on the order of: “I don’t know how to use this,” but even: “Even if I did know how to use this, I wouldn’t know what to use it for,” and even: “Hey, just why is this stuff important, anyways?” This is my finding, after going to:

…and from talking with Neva today, on the phone. I do believe this is a real, general, phenomenon.

(The TheatreOfTheMediums is an experiment project I am proposing, to see if it “speaks to” activists, and to listen to the response. The project of bridging the online & offline worlds that HelmutLeitner has alluded to is very interesting.)

So while I am looking at the particulars of Neva’s situation here, I am holding this in the back of my head.

They have a mailing list (or two?) that is invite-only, that they use. Neva was very opposed to an open mailing list, and I need to understand something about why that is. (There was similar opposition by the Storyfield conference leaders, as well, though I changed their minds. That said, the storyfield conversational list has not seen much use.) Neva says they’ve been having difficulty getting juicy conversation going on on the list, there’s no action, nothing terribly interesting going on there. I have my own ideas about why this is, but want to do a little more poking around before voicing them.

I’m seeing our conversation with Bob as a crucial and interesting starting point in this (what feels like) detective work. Here’s a guy who wants to communicate, has some critical things to say, plops down on the wiki, and nobody’s talking with him. Why? It seems like a good starting point.

On first examination/impression, this seems similar to other projects I’ve worked on with some authors who are not too technically inclined. They also hoped for vibrant, meaningful and engaged conversation, but also we averse to opening up any web-based presences.

Often, people who are involved in cutting edge thinking paradigms, or theories, are magnets for weirdos, trolls, and other various angry people who work against community. or, their may be a “camp” of people who come from the same schools of thought, but oppose them on some fundamental level.

So, the people involved in these types of projects see avoiding direct contact with these elements as outweighing the benefits of open-ness that they do not yet understand, perhaps. These are some conditions I’ve run across in the past that could apply here.

Plus, if they make a sigificant living as consultants of their theories and work, they may also be averse to opening up conversation because it “gives away” some of what they are selling.

If none of these examples apply to them, then I’d be interested to know what their actual unique conditions are.

I think, in any case, that if they want to accelerate vibrant discussion online, they will have to intiate and propel it for a while, among a genuine community of people enthusiastic about whatver they are talking about.

Another idea that occurs to me is: “What did WorldChanging? do?” I looked and saw that they are mainly blog posts, and then they accept comments, but very deliberately say, “We’ll delete whatever we even think might be a troll post.”

I’m going to ask Neva tonight (shortly) the question I gave. I want to be sure to do it in as non-threateningly a way as possible.

OK, I’ve written up the state of things, as I understand them, and my questions, at the top. Time to e-mail Neva.

I wrote the LionKimbroEmail0004 to Neva; She recently said, (paraphrasing,) “I’ve got a lot going on, and can’t answer the questions right know; I’ll reply early next week.”

I may be going to a meeting next Friday to talk with DavidKorten and NevaW as part of a planning gathering; I think it depends on my schedule, and what Neva says early in the week.

I’ve received answers to my questions to Neva, and am now on the core team for getting the Great Turning message out, helping as someone who understands the tech world, the online world, and the youth culture (people under 30. 31. I guess.)

They’ve given me incredible discretion, in terms of: “How should we do this?” For example, they’re fine with the idea of running a wiki open. Just as long as, “you teach us how to do this, because we don’t know a thing about any of this.” I listened carefully to hear for signs of “this-isnt-our-thing,” and I can say confidently now: These people are really into this, they really want to do this, they have the social literacy and know how; All they lack is knowing how to do TheoryBuilding on wiki (pragmatically,) what the EcosystemOfNetworks looks like online, what a BarCamp is, and so on. But they already understand the importance of building language, of story, of connecting with people, of authentic dialog, and so on. So, wiki is right up their ally, and I’m confident that they’re going to do great things with the wiki. David Korten himself is particularly excited, and kept trying to jump the gun in the meeting, to skip to the part in the agenda where we talk about the wiki. (Neva kept moderating him back- “we get to that later!”)

I’m going to work with them, part and parcel, an “embedded techie,” with my head, hands, heart, and soul.

Sam: Can you host an OddMuse wiki for us? They need it decked out with:

Not important: Sub-wiki.

At the meeting, we did not talk about repayment. I’d like to start that conversation on the new wiki.

Things that they, as an organization, I think are specially capable of providing:

  • mass software testing – for example, if MailingListsReplacement takes off, then they could test it by using it as a whole group, understanding that there is risk in use
  • video production & expertise – Charles in particular knows a lot about this
  • network access – they know a bajillion bajillion people; each of these individuals is a networking agent with global connections through all kinds of people

Sam, there’s a critical piece missing from your contribution on InternetExchangeyour wants! What are you looking for? Without knowing that, people can’t repay you! :)

Are you okay with this?

Can you set up a wiki with the expectancy that it’ll be up for, lets say, at least 2 years?

Do you want clarity on payment first?

I’m eager to help, as well. (user account, password, access, then coding, installing, etc.,. …)

Lion, I’m sorry I missed this originally. If they want to use OddMuse, payment is not important, and 2 years is fine, because I can migrate OddMuse easily, not matter where I end up hosting websites. Your list fo requirements is also fine. We can set it up as a WikiHive, no problem.

My wants: I’d like people to try out some ideas I have about mapping group-to-group knowledge, and some accompanying software. I’ll post this to the InternetExchange site.

http://socialsynergyweb.com/cgi-bin/wikihive/HomePage There is is! I’ve got everything you asked for set up, except for user portraits (workign on now…). I’ll email you admin pw.

Current modules are here: http://socialsynergyweb.com/cgi-bin/wikihive?action=version

Update: http://socialsynergyweb.com/cgi-bin/wikihive?action=version

Now it’s got newest version of OddMuse, with newest localnames, nearlinks, pageanchors and all other newest modules! Including portrait support

http://socialsynergyweb.com/cgi-bin/wikihive/SamRose :)

Let me know what else you might need…

Sam… Clicking on this link generated…

 /home/4560/domains/socialsynergyweb.com/wikihive/modules/irc.pl: [Thu Oct 4 08:13:46 2007] wikihive: Unterminated <> operator at /home/4560/domains/socialsynergyweb.com/wikihive/modules/irc.pl line 5.

Thanks Hans!

Hmm…tried to add IRC module, and that was what happened. Removed for now, while I try to figure out why…

You usually get that error if you by mistake download and save a HTML web page instead of a Perl source code. Used to get that a lot when Oddmuse had confusing links to savannah.org, later the links were fixed.

Define external redirect: AmyLenzo InternetExchangeRequests InternetExchnage GoogleGroups TechActivistGap WorldChanging MailMan MetaballWiki

EditNearLinks: TheWell SunirShah CommunityOnline MeatballWiki OnlineCommunity InformationArchitecture

Languages: