๐Ÿ Cross-pollination of ๐ŸŒ degrowth communities

In Degrowth world, we find plenty of online communities that associate themselves to the message of post-growth economics. In the past I have often encouraged to take a holistic view at online activity associated with Degrowth, as below:

From this outside view, it is interesting for me to know which communities we serve online, and how we appropriately answer their needs. To arrive at a consolidated picture, we can enquire each other in these three domains. What I would like to establish is an open and ongoing conversation about the needs of active user groups and required maintenance efforts for their processes.

Curation, pollination and maintenance

The use of online communication media, is to reach wide and nearby audiences for increasing exchange and understanding between peers in a group. These groups may vary from being very large (the public, conferences) or medium (Degrowth movements mailing list) to very small and intimate environments (private conversations, action-oriented teams). All of these user groups seek to find an appropriate entry point to their Degrowth-related enquiry.

Their interest may blend multiple domains into an unambiguous whole, why low entry barriers and widely open transparent processes can be helpful to increase accessibility. Thies does not only mean to shape technical aspects, like responsive design, availability of services and documented conduct, but also to have opinions on information architecture and knowledge taxonomy, available community processes to participate in and a habit to work publicly, out in the open.

A relatively simple option to increase relatedness of the degrowth online hubs .org/.net/.info would be to share activities between the different platforms through syndication of content. This might allow to build up a transversal community, which cares about translation and exchange of ideas, and renders actual interaction visible, giving visitors a wearmhearted welcome anywhere.

Ethical use of tools

Prospective, shared aims of the three .org/.net/.info degrowth domains are to provide

  • shared information resources
  • free access to free knowledge
  • space to develop and nurture social relationships

around Degrowth and its associated communities. Am I right so far in this assessment?

The resource we here would like to contribute is a computational common: an infrastructure for communication and exchange, plus maintenance, community moderation and technical support for Degrowth groups and individuals.

What we do here together can be described as collective note taking: when equal access to information resources exists, both read- and writable, people are encouraged to participate and contribute with fairly simple means. Then curation of such processes breaks down into establishing and enabling interaction and exchange between many people and groups.

See also this article with practical examples in the field of Collaborative Online Writing and Techno-Social Communities of Practice Around the Commons: The Case of Teixidora.net in Barcelona in the Journal of Peer Production.

Our chance is to build a learning commons on degrowth practices, like a language of patterns that work well together in a degrowth-oriented world. If we propose and use appropriate web tools for the independent activities, we can build an inclusive and emancipatoric online community that links together very well.

An exemplary presentation of how online tools fit well into each other is published at the Open Learning Commons.

A variety of technologies enable conversations, ranging from slower-deliberate pacing to a faster-ephemeral pacing. Cooperation can be conducted in public, or in semi-private spaces.

Propositions

The above presupposes that there is a strategy to address diverse publics, and the intentionality and capacity to interact tactically with them. Inviting for dialogue has always proven to increase the number of meaningful contacts, so why not make use of the means provided by an independent knowledge commons like the Internet, and the Web alike. Using the web brings visibility and relatedness to distributed degrowth practitioners and helps them realise a decarbonated, decolonised world.

Strategic use of in-person meetings

If we understand the separation between strategic and tactic aims as an effort to separate long-term oriented and short-term intervening efforts, we can strategically reserve to mobilise high amounts of resources only for rare occassions. For example, a coordinated effort of displacing humans across long distances, e.g. for conferences or summer schools, underlines the need and the quality experienced when we seek to meet in person.

It is equally important to bring the users and the maintainers of online platforms physically together, as it is to encourage locally embedded community interaction of peers in distinct places. The online media cannot replace what is necessary to establish strong bonds and empathy across long distances and cultures.

Tactical use of on-line assemblies

The electronic interwebs between us people, as limited a substitute for human interaction they have turned out to be, indeed allow a variety of applications in our informational everyday. Since it is already questionnable why we rely on digital intermediates at all, digital tools deem only useful when employed in a conscious manner. A degrowth-friendly interpretation of this need for software infrastructures and labour is to nurish a local-first culture, which reconnects people in local areas and circumvents the anonymity of the cloud.

An online assembly is a permanent facility to welcome varying informational needs: information, research, exchange, calendaring, editing, budgeting, or presenting, to name only a few. These needs can each be met with timely (synchronous) or deferred (asynchronous) practices. How we assemble the groups to stay in fertile contact determines the ways of interaction possible. Our conscient and explicit intent is to lay out and design accessible information exchange platforms for many publics.

In a familar demeanour, I had previously also stated, reflecting upon this agora as a place for online community interaction, that

Coming from this perspective, how do you see a possible alignment of Degrowth communities and communication channelsยน in the world wide web?


ยน Addendum: Degrowth communities and communication channels

An outline of communication contexts, as seen from degrowth.net

  • Communities
    • Public (.info)
    • Research (.org)
    • Realities
    • Support group
    • Local initiatives
    • Group assemblies
  • Events
    • Global Degrowth Day
    • Summer Schools
    • Conferences
  • Channels
    • Informal, direct contacts
    • Web sites
    • Chat groups
    • Mailing lists, both public and private
    • Agora, with public and private groups
    • Cloud, mostly private groups

of which all bring different needs to a sufficient digital environment.

Thanks @yala for your rich input.
Looking at degrowth.info, it is a very useful and informative website. It is great for spreading information. But we feel that it is essential that there is also a space for exchange and discussion.
Therefore our aim is to make this forum more public, so it can be a true interactive platform for degrowth. (Wachstumswende, which is now mentioned on degrowth.info is nice, but restricted to / only used by German speakers). We think for this we need:

  • a clear / simple structure of open/visible categories in the forum. Up to now the structure is more related to the working groups announced in Malmรถ. It could look like:
    • Open space for everybody
    • Help & feedback
    • Events
    • Realities
    • Language communities
    • โ€ฆ?
  • We need to think carefully about this structure. It would be useful to have more people dedicated to this.
  • Letโ€™s assume the forum is in a nice shape (good structure, enough moderators,โ€ฆ), then it would be great to have it linked into on www.degrowth.info more prominently than it is the case now.

What do you think?

2 Likes

Hi all! This is Coni from degrowth.info :slight_smile:
We use Wachtumswende for our collective documents and such, and not all are german speakers. It works very well for us. Are you suggesting we switch to degrowth.net as a platform? What would be the benefit? Does it offer all the same things?
I will do my homework of getting to know this platform a bit betterโ€ฆ So far, I understand degrowth.net as a sort of โ€œdegrowth redditโ€, is that the case?
And lastly, a question. I would like to share the crowdfunding campaign for degrowth.info on agora.degrowth.net, where should I go to create a post?
Thank you so much :raised_hands: :hugs:

1 Like

Welcome @conihepp!
Thanks for joining us here.
We also use Wachstumswende in other local projects. It is fine for storing documents, if you do not have your own cloud server. Additionally you have the pads and one news feed (per project) and some other features.
Degrowth.net is kind of the same but different.
We have the forum (the agora) for discussion and information exchange.
And then there is a cloud (cloud.degrowth.net ) for storing and working on documents. This actually is better than the file storage on WW. One of the main advantages is, that you can work on documents directly in the cloud. On WW only the pads have this functionality. Another advantage is, that you can share links to folders or documents also to non-members of the cloud.
If you want, we could make you a member of the cloud, so you can check it out.

A new topic in this category โ€œcommunicationโ€ should be suitable, or what do you think @yala?

2 posts were split to a new topic: Requesting access to the degrowth cloud

Hey all, going back to the main topic of this thread. I like this idea, but I agree that the forum needs to be a simple structure of open categories. At least for a start, then I guess it will get more complex as time goes by and more interactions are added. I keep thinking Reddit.
In any case, I will mention this to the rest of the team on our next call and propose to feature the forum on the webpage after the big overhaul (we are planning a re-vamp this year, that is what the crowdfunding is for).

Support degowth.info / crowdfunding

Have a nice rest of the week!
Coni.

@conihepp , if you would like to give input how such a structure could look, or if you know someone who would like to help us with this by giving input, please let us know! We would be very gratefulโ€ฆ

Hi @conihepp and @Anne_Arndt_Jacobi,

thanks for keeping this conversation alive. Indeed degrowth.net itself is so much more than just the discussion platform on agora.degrowth.net. When you visit the site, you will see that next to the Agora for discussions and a Cloud for files, contacts and calendar sharing, we are also offering mailing lists, a new kind of pads and also an experimental chat service that runs in the browser and on mobile (think Whatโ€™s App, Telegram, etc.). The intent of degrowth.net is to liberate degrowth communications from commercial platforms and interest.

This is why I can only support that you are using wachstumswende / wechange for your internal organisation. Yet my original request in this conversation was a little wider than thinking about linking the agora, and how to make it more accessible for either visitors of degrowth.info, or for visitors of the conferences.

My question was more directed at how we can align the editorial processes in the big degrowth domains .info/.org/.net to have an accessible online environment for people interested in degrowth. Where I see that degrowth.info is more a one-to-many communication platform, from which an editorial board publishes to the broad public, degrowth.net could be a many-to-many communication platform that supports the grassroots of degrowth communities and allows for cross-pollination of nearby communities.

Up until now I understand they might be communicating in their individual circles, but not openly, and not in the public. With the advance of information and communication technology, we can use them for increasing transparency and accountability of our community processes. If the degrowth communities would be interested in working publicly, out in the open, degrowth.net could be a place for such ideas.

How do you see the relationship between technology and humans, and how we can use the first for the benefit of the latter, esp. in the degrowth context?

1 Like

Dear lovely people of degrowth.net,

at degrowth.info, we are aware of this thread and we are trying to build on it. In fact, we are currently trying to better understand the digital presence of degrowth and to identify opportunities for the movement to evolve. We see this as a collaborative effort, and hence would love to use the opportunity of the now-digital Vienna conference to get in touch with you as we think of you as some of the other institutionalized websites in the digital degrowth space which aim for a broader international audience.

We are proposing two sessions: one for R&D, degrowth.net and degrowth.info, and another one for all the degrowth digital actors (local and international) that we know of. The objective of the first session is to get the conversation between us three started and to develop a shared understanding of how our websites complement each other. The objective of the second one is to get a picture of the degrowth digital actors around the world and to discuss our understandings of the general goals of the degrowth digital presence.

We have for each session a 90 minute slot reserved during the conference and came up with a tentative agenda (see attached). Both sessions take place on Monday, June 1st. Session 1 is from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm, session 2 from 1:30 pm to 3 pm. It would be great to have at least 3 people per website in the first session, and at least one in the second session. If you have any questions/comments regarding the sessions or the conference, please reach out to vienna@degrowth.info.

Thanks and looking forward to meeting you!

Degrowth.info team

2 Likes

Thanks Coni for bringing this up! Iโ€™m happy to continue to learn where overlaps and similar interest exist. I also understand the separation of conversations between the more formal actors, and the wider network of digital practitioners.

@Anne_Arndt_Jacobi confirmed to me that they would be able to join the first session from a user perspective, and we can also ask @gandhiano do be present as well, if thereโ€™s time.

Also your message fits very well into this initiative aiming at a similar conversation end of June:

As these sessions will be timed quite tightly, public and open for anyone to join, I would suggest to consider an additional introductory conversation for all of us beforehand. Iโ€™d feel better in such a conversation, if we start producing a mutual understanding of our cases before attempting a conversation in public. This could very well be a short and informal get together in one of the next two weeks, to quickly make acquaintance and update each other on current self-evaluation and difficult challanges.

Then the later, broader conversation might already help to see where we mobilise the differences to aid each otherโ€™s ventures.

Talk to you soon,

Jon

A post was merged into an existing topic: Virtual assembly for better coordinating degrowth movement

Hello Jon,
Super good that @Anne_Arndt_Jacobi will participate in the first session. I am awaiting your and/or @gandhiano 's confirmation. An informal call beforehand could be a good idea, can you find time next week for that? I could make time for it Monday, Tuesday or Thursday morning.
Best,
Coni.

Hi Coni,

yes, letโ€™s settle for Tuesday morning, so thereโ€™s some time left to prepare.

Thanks for your effort,

Jon