(Project for a) Participatory Web
By Jonathan Schindler at Mar 30, 2010
Update: I've updated a preliminary, non-official charter to give people a better idea of the focus.
This blog post will likely see quite a few edits, but some of us (former) ZCC members are forming a new group where we can continue ideas while hopefully not stepping on other's turf. The name (pending approval) is participatoryweb.org
We have forums at www.participatoryweb.org/phpbb and a wiki at participatoryweb.org/mediawiki
Why the new site and what's the purpose? A lot of this arose out of some ideas that members of ZCC have had. The general idea is to create a website that is dedicated to developing tools that foster parecon, parsoc, and the PPS movements. There a few ideas that seem to have common ground, and potentially a home at participatoryweb.org:
1. Most important, this site will be democratically run, and attempt to develop democratic, participatory management principals. Some of the ideas we can use to run the site can be borrow from Parecon/parsoc, but others will require a bit of debate. One question I've been thinking of, for example, is, "In a volunteer organization, how do we motivate people to balance tasks for equal empowerment? How do we democratize decision making while also dealing with the fact that people may drop out for on reason or another, sometimes unannounced?" But there are many others.
2. A site focused on the development of tools for communication between PPS websites (hosting mailing lists, forums, chat, wiki)
3. Development of tools for democratic decision making and distribution of tasks (it can start with polling, and formalized procedures for polling, but be expanded to specialized software later). Quite a bit of the decision making that goes into effectively running a parecon requires software, this is a place where we can focus those efforts.
4. A common wiki that PPS chapters can share, or link to.
5. Development of templates that new PPS groups can copy, eventually making starting up a new chapter as easy as filling out a form, instead of the current situation, where each chapter has to start their own website
6. A place where groups can share hosting, instead of going it alone with their own server, again lowering the costs for PPS chapters
7. A place where PPS chapters can go to formalize and standardize their site design for easier navigation.
8. A place for tools focused on organizing and creating real-world presence (i.e. meetup type tools)
9. A website where multiple PPS groups can get together and experiment with new web software related ideas.
Obviously, some of the ideas require buy-in from the PPS groups. Other ideas, such as the development of tools to help with participatory decision making, stand on their own.
Either way, we want to hear from others who are interested in creating a world based on parecon and parsoc. What are your ideas, concerns, and needs? We haven't even formed our charter yet, so please, take the above ideas as suggestions, and if interested, tell us your thoughts, and help guide us in our decision-making going forward.