Thinking about establishing a team of maintainers/curators · degrowth / map · made me realise how the mapping process is communicated to the wider audiences. This in turn can tell us a lot about how networking between different Degrowth groups is taking place.
Next to building the technical infrastructure around the mapping I am also happily and voluntarily engaging myself here in building up a Degrowth Internet Commons. Thinking these two together makes me ask how to counsel these community processes in direction of becoming self-moderated environments.
Questions that constantly reappear during our activities in the #group-assembly-process:communication-networking assembly are:
- Which are the exchange needs that individual users and user groups bring into the conversation?
- How can we as users and need-providers in the same time make use of an interactive medium in which communication happens bi-directionally, where participants in the exchange do not only consume , but also contribute at the same time?
- What are the means available to provide a consistent experience for users?
For an exemplary reasoning about why these aspects are important for practitioners in the Degrowth movements, please enjoy a read of A Conference for Digitalization and Sustainability? Reflections on "Bits & Bäume" (Bits and trees).
Following are two examples which trigger the exact same questions. This happens in the very concrete contexts of online publication of our activities to a wider public, and in providing interaction points for volunteers to engage with the assemblies.
Example 1: Groups | degrowth.info
The first example is a page entitled Groups, accesible at `www.degrowth.info/en/map/. Its text is headlined with The birth of the degrowth movement: a map, a meeting and a dream!. It combines the narratives of the survey, the international working groups (naming deviates a little from group assemblies here) and mobilisation actions like the conference or the global degrowth day with the mapping and the activities here.
While we are often talking about groups in the context of assemblies, here the term rather points the groups which are active on the ground and visible in the map.
Then it links two documents which are precursors to the descriptions we publish in About the Research group assembly - Group Assembly Process / Research and International working group for degrowth activists and practitioners - Group Assembly Process / International working group for degrowth activists.
What we could try to achieve here is a similar presentation of the online communication environments at least on degrowth.info, degrowth.net and the Agora.
/map/ path would also sufficiently legitimise a dedicated page centred around the mapping there, one could take a little time to revise the other contents of that page into an article presented in the blog. Meanwhile we can think a little more about how we link and direct the communication and attention streams from the various entry points.
Primarily I am interested in supporting collaboration styles that are enabled by employing the world wide web. There are different Communication and collaboration tools at your disposal in degrowth.net. Let’s also remember to spend time to write in the public-facing spaces of the ❓ Degrowth.net blog and the end-user documentation at learn.degrowth.net.
As a first step, it would be good if wherever the email interfaces to the
@groups.degrowth.net are mentioned, there is also a link to the web sites with the description texts that explain how each assembly works. These are the category description texts which become visible from the #group-assembly-process view, and are also linked from the titles in the introductory text About the international degrowth working groups (which as a wiki post is open for public edition — find the orange pencil next to the date and click it).
Example 2: International working groups | degrowth.info
The second example picks up from where the first left off. While we previously spent attention on distinguishing between the different uses of same terms in public communication, and asked about how to employ the existing means for a coherent presentation in various places, we can perfectly continue to apply these framings in trying to answer our initial questions.
Now we are looking at a page entitled International working groups and accessible at
www.degrowth.info/en/groups/. We can witness the continuation of the earlier confusion of using the term groups for what is often also known (here) as assemblies, or group assemblies. While working group may be a suitable synonym in a conversation, it is not clear that we are talking about the same thing here.
The headline on the page itself reads Want to become active? Join an international working group, which is different from About the Group Assembly Process - Group Assembly Process - Degrowth Agora. Interestingly the confusion continues in the description here, which apparently is a remix of the previous example and not present in this one. Maybe it can be good to take these paragraphs from here, and put them there instead.
In comparison of the two pages, we find again that only email addresses are provided as entry and interaction points for participation and engagement with the group. The only links to the Agora are hidden in the group description of the @communication group, which has been copy and pasted from here already. The headline could reflect this relation by linking explicitly.
So I do not wonder anymore why people primarily interact with the Agora via emulated protocols, while we are offering more interactive and responsive interfaces already: They are simply not actively promoted! Looking at degrowth.info and the few interaction and feedback points available there, and taking into account the editorial assembly is only reachable via email, makes me conclude we are not following similar intents here.
The introductory questions, which were provided as a rough guideline, have proven useful in evaluating accessibility and accountability of the recent (online) community processes. Where one the one side we have (1) an editorial platform that engages in one-to-many communication (1:n), for which reflexes to build direct exchange between users into the software are not needed, we have on the other side (2) the attempt that combines a number of specialised environments for peer and group exchange via the web platform, namely through hyperlinks, to an interconnected hypertext for many-to-many communication (n:m).
As a lesson from this, and looking at the other assemblies, it seems we are advised to add notes on the self-intended role as process counsels we can see in a @communication and networking group to the ℹ About the Communication group charter.
Then we may wish to distill a useful template for group/category descriptions in general and apply it throughout the places, to increase recognition and similarity throughout the place(s).
How would you proceed from here?