๐Ÿ” Analysis of the communication workflows and tools of the degrowth network

report
Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f74de43a3c8>

(jon r) #1

A document to support evaluation and decision on the ICT at the Support Group Meeting in Paris, prepared by @yala and @gandhiano

Main issues identified

  1. Duplication of channels
    Different mailing lists, web sites, discourse groups and other informal channels separate participants in the degrowth communities into informational silos.
  2. Unclear entry points
    degrowth.info has a prominent Groups link that goes to a page about the map. Groups are visible behind one of its links.
    They are presented as International working groups | degrowth.info. The list is passive, incomplete and not up to date.
  3. Uncoordinated digital participation
    Multiple groups publish degrowth subjects to target audiences online, e.g. degrowth.info, degrowth.net and degrowth.org, but do not coordinate their actions.
  4. Unstructured survey, mapping and working groups
    produce parallel and disconnected forms that produce more confusion than clarity.
  5. Neoliberalised software development processes
    are reduced to project and product narratives, and lack patience to be thought in a holistic way for inclusion of community, scientific or engineering knowledge.
  6. Static dissemination strategies
    used for digital publication and communication do not distinguish between one-to-many (top-down) and many-to-many (bottom-up) distribution channels, which an interactive medium provides. This implies uncontrolled growth of information architectures.

Proposed actions

To increase participation, direct and clear entry points are encouraged.

These proposals aim at answering the issues above. Please refer to the case studies below for analysis and rationale of these resolution paths.

:one: rename Agora to Groups and move groups one level up

The site agora.degrowth.net is primarily used for working groups. Those can also be reached with @groups.degrowth.net email aliases. For simplification, the whole site can be renamed to groups.degrowth.net - try it out now!

This would be a much less pathetic, but much more functional approach to naming things. A permanent redirect may solidify conditions in the near future.

:two: improve UX for interacting with the community

The community understands itself as self-moderated and provides distinct communication spaces for exchange and coordination. Suggested main improvements are:

  • Provide a more friendly and inviting degrowth.net entrance page that is primarily guiding the user to the entry points with the community, not to its tools.
  • Provide a comprehensive, simple, and unambiguous description of what is the network, which groups exist, where and how people can join, both on degrowth.info/groups and degrowth.net

For Agora/Groups this means:

  • Set groups to (semi-)public so users can join freely, e.g. via the groups overview, or a groupโ€™s page.
  • Group and Category pages are actively curated, with description texts and images.

Good examples to structure a public discourse:

:three: Publish and communicate through events

The groups space is a place to do work, not to talk about work. We coordinate our interactions in time and space. Publishing events in your working group helps people find you and your peers. They come with

  • an agenda view
  • an optional calendar view
    • allows subscription of calendars via webcal, RSS into calendar applications, e.g. in the cloud
  • a map view for locations

:four: Publish and communicate about realities

This can help to reduce the confusion between what is the mapping of realities and are the groups. What happens currently in the presentations on the map process on degrowth.info. It works similar to the events above and displays a map.

The points :three: and :four: can be supported by using wiki posts, tagging and topic templates to attempt a semi-structured, participatory survey.

Case studies

I 09.01.2019

After facts had been produced, question regading a website on degrowth.info arose around communicating the Global Degrowth Day and Picnick. With sensibility to open data, the use of Google for mapping was criticised and OpenStreetMap alternatives asked.

Another blog and another map were set up in commercial infrastructure (.wordpress.com, google.com) plus another degrowth.info page and another survey were designed, all which increase the commercial dependance, diversity and disconnectedness of degrowth presentations.

II 21.12.2018

We refocus our view along these directions:

and reenforce the understanding of the need to cross-polute political with media activism, as we read in the degrowth.info Reflections on โ€œBits & Bรคumeโ€ (Bits and trees).

We find the difference between degrowth.info/map and degrowth.info/groups and begin to ask questions about the usefulness of their presentation. Subsequently we provide a transparent view on still unused publication and education channels, reflect upon the agora./groups. duality and suggest simplifications derived from these observations.

III 20.12.2018, 22:34 CET

This email message referred to a series of messages

and marks a point in time of diverging off topic strings of the original conversation.

It was used to coordinate around Building page of working groups on degrowth.info, yet this may have failed and diverged into other subjects.

Next to bringing up detail observations and questions about the groups process, the map survey and means of participation with degrowth.info, its main argument was that email alone is not a useful medium for coordinating low hierarchies. Already the choice of recipients is a mean of power, and a single person is easily forgotten to be included.

IV 22.08.2018

This analysis discusses the layout of existing degrowth online communication channels. It is the first group meeting about communication & networking and subsumes small design principles under an overarching aim:

Increase horizontal collaboration between different degrowth groups


This had been drafted in :memo: Analysis of the communication workflows and tools of the degrowth network


Question regading a website on degrowth.info