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This page governs the Ethics Discussion. Main line of discussion:

We keep the MetaCommunication on this page and summaries of ideas and key concepts on supporting pages.

Directory of Supporting Pages

These are pages supporting the ethics discussion.

Helper pages, side-conversations:

Personal concepts and opinions:

Meta pages:

You can also suggest or start pages from here.


Discussion began with IsWantOught, which was very rough. LionKimbro clarified what he meant with SourceOfEthics. AndrewHoerner took an interest, and the discussion picked up steam.

The discussion got to be too long, and we were feeling a little constrained with the form, so we tried to give it a workable multi-page structure.


I think that this is one of the most interesting and difficult discussions I ever saw in a wiki. And I think it is more than a discussion about ethics, probably Andrew is putting wiki to a test, whether it is suitable for a real dialogue. This makes it even more interesting.

Very soon we will have to structure this discussion. One way is to summarize, like Lion has started to do. But this is not sufficient, because it will not reduce the ammount of text that accumulates here. Splitting this page into different pages for subtopics may destroy the flow of this dialogue, but it must be done.

So I’ve started a section “Ethics discussion roadmap” and added pages that I would like to see. I you like this idea of arriving at a consensus, add your initials to the suggested page names or suggest different ones.

I’d prefer not to, because I worry about ForestFire. I’d prefer to keep the conversation, which is intrinsicly linear, in one space, or in a series of single pages that flow one into the other. Where there are important major concepts, I can understand pages that describe what they mean to the conversation, and what their role in it is, and what the different people in the conversation think about them. But I’d really prefer not to carry the conversation, in parallel, on many different pages, simultaneously; I’ve never seen it work before.

Regardless, I have placed my votes.

If we do segregate conversation all over the place, I hope we have some means of focusing the conversation. I think that a question is a good way to do it, because it’s relatively easy to see if we’re answering the question or not.

That’s an interesting experiment. A linear discussion, like you suggested, to keep the flow of the dialogue. And a number of side article or notes or questions, where we can expect no or minimal discussions?

Are you okay with it? I don’t know if it will work either!

It strikes me that there is one non-colliding “two-track” sense of our conversation- we’re doing it right now!

Perhaps we should use “EthicsDiscussionRoadmap” as a page to put this meta-conversation? Helmut, do you want to move this “meta” conversation over there? And then, I’ll put my next comment on EthicsDiscussionB..?

Typically I’d suggest to wait for Andrew’s comments but I assume that as a newcomer he will rely on us anyway. Please, make the changes as you suggested, for I’ve to leave.

Andrew, this is your invitation to fill out AndrewsConceptOfEthics?. If you would like a different name for the page, please request it. You don’t have to fill it with what you had written in EthicsDiscussionA, (then “SourceOfEthics,”) if you don’t want to- I invite you to write anything in there that you want, that represents your perspective on ethics.

Lion, i sent you an email a couple of days ago with some page name ideas, to the address on your home page. I am guessing that you did not receive it.

I would prefer something with evolution or evolutionary in its name to something that just says it is my concept. If this had been named “Lion Kimbro’s Conception of Ethics” i do not think i would have had the temerity to write anything on it. The bolder claim that this is a page about the source of ethics is what left me feeling I had both a right to contribute and something to say. And since my hope would be to create a page that would likewise encourage challenge, feedback and refinement, i would also like a name that makes a bolder and more general claim.

I given your observation that there are already people out there using “evolutionary ethics” in ways tht may be inconsistant with mine, i suggested formulations that are either more specific:

An Evolutionary Ethic

or even more strongly A Universal Evolutionary Ethic,

or more general:

Evolution And Ethics

or Thoughts On Evolution And Ethics.

I think my first choice would be: Program For A Universal Evolutionary Ethic.

If were to get such a page, i hope it would be OK to spawn a few daughter pages where doing so seems advisable. For instance, if i want to give technical example that does not have a Wikipedia page, like the Nash social welfare function or something from axiomatic bargaining theory, I would probably want to put the description and motivation for it on a separate page to preserve the main flow of my argument. Similarly, if i want to take a piece of the argument that seems separable and is potentially contentious or complex and give it its own subsidiary or related page, I’d like to be able to. For example, I may have a main line of argument that goes from the nature of the good to the kinds of entities that have ethical obligations or toward which we have ethical responsibilities through maximization to some applications, like our duties toward animals or future generations, and break out to its own page a section on, say, ethical discourse and community diversity as a device to to evolve the body of ethical beliefs, or perhaps on how to best aggregate individual goods into some shared vision of a collective or common good.

Oh, shoot; I’m so sorry. Yes, I haven’t read the e-mail: I only check that email once every couple of weeks.

“Program For a Universal Evolutionary Ethic” is a neat title, the only problem is that it includes the word “a,” which doesn’t work so well for our wiki linking.

One reason I wanted something with your name in it, was to make clear that it was not from one of the core CommunityWiki membership. It gives me headaches to think about hierarchy in CommunityWiki, but it clearly exists, and it does matter. I and others (who you haven’t even met, because they’ve been doing something else; I in some ways feel like I’m “holding down the fort”) have been here for more than 4, maybe 5 years, I’m not s sure, and we made the majority of the PageDatabase here. While not every page here is CollectiveSpeech, it does imply at least, “We entertain these ideas amongst our own.” My present understanding is that you are not going to be a regular here in 1 year, 2 years, and so on, so I wanted to distance your text a little, with “Andrew On ..,” to make it a little clearer.

Just to make sure that there are no misunderstandings: I model CommunityWiki in my head, as mainly a clique, or a pair of cliques, with the CommunityRoles as a basic pattern governing it, rather than as a democratic meeting or gathering. That said, that may change: There is some very exciting thinking going on lately here, and we may change everything, core CommunityMembers willing. If we do end up working out a ConversationProcess procedure, figure out our MaintainerMode thoughts; Then, perhaps we’ll backup the page database, introduce rules about how pages are named, portion out votes to all present, figure out some government and naming procedures, and so on, and so forth, and be a very different thing than a clique-based community.

I don’t know. We’ll see.

But basically, I don’t care about a particular page’s name.

Here are some I’d be fine with:

  • ProgramForUniversalEvolutionaryEthic? – just minus the “a”
  • UniversalEvolutionaryEthic? – easier to remember, type, link to, I think
  • AndrewsUniversalEthic? – I like this one a lot, it does the “distancing thing,” and is fairly easy to type out
  • ThoughtsOnEvolutionAndEthics? – though, I suppose this is a bit too broad? (I mean, other people might be putting in their thoughts; Whereas this is supposed to be about your particular ethical model.)

Are these good?

Again, I hope I’m not being insulting. But I don’t know that you’ve even ever met AlexSchroeder, BayleShanks, ChristopheDucamp, EmileKroeger, MattisManzel, MarkDilley, who have all had major shaping on the CommunityWiki, and sort of (I think) expect CommunityWiki to be what it is, rather than something else.

Hm, these are tough questions… MeatballWiki has a page, “AbsentLeader,” that I think was made when SunirShah was away from Meatball for a while. We need a new page– “AbsentCommunity!”

Re my permanence:

If other folks contribute to StrategicDialogSupportSoftware in an ongoing way, i can be counted on to show up from time to time. It might be useful to have some related pages there too, maybe breaking the sorts of software i am interested in into types (dialogue mapping, dialogue support, decision support, dynamic systems modeling, meeting facilitation/group decision/groupware, maybe project planning. My vision would be to list the better open-source programs in each category, and then have a more extensive description of one or more favorites. Maybe have some meta-discussion about the process of searching for or comparing them to one another or to commercial equivalents.

If interesting ideas on ethical or policy lessons from evolution or ecology continue to be discussed here, I will probably continue to show up, especially if there is a true dialogue on my ideas as well. I have long wanted to write two books on lessons from evolution and ecology, one on ethics/spirituality and one on politics/sustainability, but i have concluded i don’t have the self-discipline to do it on top of my work without a co-author or some other external source of disciple and stimulation. Not sure that this community can or should play that role, but I haven’t ruled it out. It has sure prodded me to write a lot over the last few weeks.

If the Convergence Institute takes off and i am suddenly the keeper of an complex electronic dialogue and community, i imagine that i will be here a lot, looking for answers, asking for advice, and maybe sharing lessons.

If none of these things happen i doubt i’ll still be posting in six months.

Not sure exactly what the concern is about pages representing the community – do your pages represent the views of the other members? I have gathered that the wiki style is to summarize such disagreements as can not be resolved, or embody each view as the subjecton its own page. I admit that the connection between this whole SourceOfEthics discussion and the overarching topic of the wiki seems tenuous to me, and a page or pages on my ethical natterings would certainly be at least as questionable. I have been assuming that if i identify a missing topic that is related to the mission of this community and have something responsible to say about it, that community approval of creating the page will be fairly automatic. Is this correct? But in any event, i would be happy to start with a disclaimer that, though my views are shared by right-thinking people everywhere, nevertheless they may not represent the views of others in this community. ;) And in particular, if you and i roll round to disagreement rather than agreement, i’d expect to link to and contrast your discussion.

If the community roles are intended to be rules rather than guidelines, i am surprised that you don’t just enforce them directly through the software. I made a page that was not a name page as soon as somebody suggested that i did, and i have no idea whether the suggester was a community member. It’s kind of hard not to make pages, actually, at least in the sense of coining CamelCase terms.

ProgramForUniversalEvolutionaryEthic? has grammer problems

I’d still rather not use my name if possible.

UniversalEvolutionaryEthic? may be a little too bold, but I’d be down with it. Or one could go British: ProgramForAnUniversalEvolutionaryEthic?

  • Most CommunityMembers have some degree of sympathy N for my views, and me for theirs. I think this is just a basic part of being in a particular clique. A page here means, “We roughly think that this is so, or at least, this is something we are interested in, and have talked about to the extent seen on the page here.”
  • Our goal is not to map all positions in all dialogs; Rather, only for those that we find so interesting. As a clique, we favor some positions to others. We are SelectivelyOpenMinded. Things are rarely “neutral” here- we have positions and favorites and opinions and discriminations.
  • We use the LinkLanguage of this wiki outside of the wiki, and thus it must be TrustedLinkLanguage.
  • Pages are foundations for further building, and names and pages are a political question within the community. The LinkLanguage matters, the form of the ArgumentPyramid matters. Supposing that CommunityMembers agree that a NaturalisticSourceOfEthics is legitimate expression of the SourceOfEthics, then we (/ I) would rather say “…and since the SourceOfEthics is a…” rather than “and since the NaturalisticSourceOfEthics is a…” …because we may have confidence that the SourceOfEthics is naturalistic, and not want to communicate ambivalence on the subject. This also helps with the ArgumentRouting?. When I write pages here, I regularly do it with the intention that I’ll be making further pages, that build upon the prior pages, to explain “the next step in the reasoning.”

Many people are shocked to find that there is (A) a clique here, and that (B) we operate on a SelectivelyOpenMinded basis, not a blanked OpenMinded-ness. Yet, there it is. We have the door open, but it doesn’t mean that everybody in the GuestRole or VisitorRole is automatically on the path to being a CommunityMember. There are conversations and people that we say “No, thank you” to.

It’s very likely that I claim too much in the RoyalWe of the CollectiveSpeech on this wiki in places. But there is also truth that I speak for a disproportionate amount of the interest in this wiki.

I’ve written to AlexSchroeder (proprieter, AbsentLeader right now,) about this, saying, “I feel bad about posting here a lot of the time, because I shape the wiki disproportionately.” He responded that he’s extremely interested in the things I say, and that he doesn’t care. Others have said similar things. And I know that when I don’t post, activity tends to stagnate, and that when I do post, activity tends to pick up. There are several other cliques here on this wiki, but they do not produce as much activity, and often have greater fire elsewhere. For instance, there is TedErnst, BrandonCsSanders, who work with O-Net. Then there is the CraoWiki crowd here, including ChristopheDucamp. It’s hard to say for certain, but there are these other affinities.

It’s a very complex thing, and I’m thinking about starting a page on CommunityWikiGovernment to finally settle this once and for all.

If the community roles are intended to be rules rather than guidelines, i am surprised that you don’t just enforce them directly through the software. I made a page that was not a name page as soon as somebody suggested that i did, and i have no idea whether the suggester was a community member. It’s kind of hard not to make pages, actually, at least in the sense of coining CamelCase terms.

This is an extremely interesting statement, and it may be valuable for your StrategicDialogSupportSoftware efforts to think deeply into this.

It turns out that SoftSecurity can do a heck of an aweful lot for you.

When a WikiCommunity decides to change it’s rules, it can do so, in the heads of the members. The change is instantaneously, “in effect.” It also allows for rules that are CommunityLore, or that people don’t even realize that they’re enforcing.

Materially putting rules into the computer takes a lot of time and effort, and requires all sorts of intense supports. (“Okay, is the user logged in? Okay, has the user filled out X? Okay, was the permissions tree set up like Y? Oh, it wasn’t? Now we need to adapt it to Z, but we can’t do that, because of A, … Shoot; Can we really do this?”)

When people have been around here for a while, and pick up how pages are made, and what kinds of things work and what kinds of things don’t, somehow they decide, “Ok, well, I’ll try making a page now,” and they do, and if everythings okay, things go smoothly.”

It remains to be seen whether the Ethics Discussion is leading to DeepDisagreement, or not..! There are times where I think to myself, “Wow; That’s a scary thing to argue,” ..! (And at those times, I want distance.)

This community is more of a jam than a mission. It matters more that music harmonizes, rather than that it fits “the mission.” I’m not even sure that we have a mission, … It’s kind of hard to say.

No; Community approval of new pages is not automatic, but: We’re frequently quite forgiving. We’ll say, “Oh, well, let’s rename that page to X, …” or, “A great way to introduce an idea is to write it on your NamePage, first.” The VisitorRole explicitly forbids new page creation; The GuestRole page is mute, and requires caution. You are presently in the GuestRole.

If you were still here in 2 years, I would not have this sort of power over the page name you choose for the page. You would be a CommunityMember, by virtue of having vested so much of your thoughts and efforts into the wiki. I would have no case for saying, “Oh, you can’t use that page name.” Rather, it would be like: “Hm; Could you use this page name instead?” And you could say, “No, Lion. I want this one.” And, unless other community members thought something, I’d likely say, “Ok,” or explain why I was so concerned, and we’d continue talking.

These discussions are distracting enough from EthicsDiscussionRoadmap, that I’m thinking about relocating them to a date page, to keep them off this page, if you don’t mind.

Andrew, what you write feels a bit strange. I think that StrategicDialogSupportSoftware suggests a primarily technical solution to a primarily social problem. When you say “if other folks contribute” you don’t seem to see that we currently try to contribute, just not so much on that specific page and not exactly following your lines of thought. A community can be welcoming but it can’t act on “if … then …” clauses. If there are interesting discussions then people will start to think and a flow of ideas may come, but not on the push of a button. Everyone is acting autonomously and we assume as collaboratively as he can.

If you want to organize a Left community, then you may have to learn how to organize an online community in the first place. This means that you will find yourself more in the role of a student than of a teacher. There is currently no indication that you can cope with that. There is a strong German Left community online, who have many years of experience of organizing itself online. I’m not part of that, more a sympathizing outsider. You might contact people like FranzNahrada, ThomasKalka and AndriusKulikauskas. They could probably support you. There are projects like OEKONUX, OpenTheory and CoForum and some others to learn and get support from, most of them failing in interesting ways imho.

I love the TestIt image, Andrew!

A few things, though:

  • I would consider that conversation more appropriate for EvolutionarySpirituality, rather than the EthicsDiscussion. Related, but different.
  • I’m afraid I still consider that conversation “On Pause” for myself, personally.
  • When we put images on the wiki, we have a convention of ending the page name with “Image.” So it would be: “TestItImage?.” This helps with automation software, and such.

Since it’s impossible for me to resist: The universe very much cares for our toils– look: there, there, there. All these people, caring for our toils. And everyone in the past, and in different states of evolution, who have labored and hoped for their children. Care appears to be a fundamental substance of the universe.

But if you’d like to respond, I beg of you to answer on EvolutionarySpirituality, and I’ll follow by relocating our comments to go right above your response.


Define external redirect: ProgramForAnUniversalEvolutionaryEthic ConsequencesOfNaturalisticEthics TestItImage ProgramForUniversalEvolutionaryEthic AndrewsConceptOfEthics OneTrueEthics ArgumentRouting EthicsDiscussionC ThoughtsOnEvolutionAndEthics AndrewsUniversalEthic ProgressInEthics UniversalEvolutionaryEthic LionsConceptOfEthics EthicsGlossary

EditNearLinks: RoyalWe AbsentCommunity GuestRole AndriusKulikauskas CommunityMember CraoWiki FranzNahrada VisitorRole WikiCommunity ForestFire AbsentLeader MeatballWiki CoForum CommunityRoles PageDatabase CamelCase SunirShah