Proposal for a structured agreement tool

by DilGreen 3 min read30th Sep 201012 comments


I hope this is a good place for this - comments/suggestions welcome - offers of collaboration more than welcome!

I envisage a kind of structured wiki, centred around the creation of propositions, which can be linked to allow communities of interest to rapidly come to fairly sophisticated levels of mutual understanding; the aim being to foster the development of strong groups with confidence in shared, conscious positions. This should allow significant confidence in collaboration.

Some aspects, in no particular order;

  • Propositions are made by users, and are editable by users - as in a wiki
  • Each proposition could be  templated - the inspiration for the template being the form adopted by Chris. Alexander et al in 'A Pattern Language', namely;
    1. TITLE (referenced)(confidence level)
    2. picture
    3. context - including links to other propositions within whose sphere this one might operate
    5. Discussion
    6. CONCLUSION - couched in parametric/generic/process based terms
    7. links to other propositions for which this proposition is the context
  • Some mechanism for users to make public their degree of acceptance of each proposition
  • Some mechanism for construction by individuals/groups of networks of propositions specific to particular users/groups  (in other words, the links referred to in 3. and 7. above might be different for different users/groups) These networks can work like Pattern Languages that address particular fields / ethical approaches / political or philosophical positions / projects
  • Some mechanism for assignment by users/groups of tiered structure to proposition networks (to allow for distinctions to be made between fundamental, large scale propositions and more detailed, peripheral ones)
  • Some mechanism for individual users to form associations with other users/established groups who are subscribing to the same propositions
  • Some mechanism for community voting/karma to promote individuals to assume stewardship of groups

Enough of these for now. Some imagined interactions might be more helpful;

  1. I stumble across the site (as I stumbled across LessWrong), and browse proposition titles. I come across one called 'Other people are real, just like me'. It contains some version of the argument for accepting that other humans are to be assumed to have roughly the same motivations, needs et al, as me, and the suggestion that this is a useful founding block for a rational morality. I decide to subscribe, fairly strongly. I am offered a tailored selection of related propositions, as identified by the groups that have included this proposition in their networks (without identification of said groups, I rather think) - I investigate these, and at some point, the system feels that my developing profile is beginning to match that of some group or groups - and offers me the chance to look at their 'mission statement' pages. I decide to come back another day and look at other propositions included in these groups' networks, before going any further. I decline to have my profile made public, so that the groups don't contact me.
  2. I come across some half-baked, but interesting proposition. As a registered user, but not the originator of the proposition, I have some choices;  I can comment on the proposition, hoping to engage in dialogue with the proposer that could be fruitful, or I can 'clone' (or 'fork') the proposition, and seek to improve it myself. Ultimately, the interest of other users will determine the influence and relevance of the proposition.
  3. I am a fundamentalist christian (!). I come across the site, and am appalled at its secular, materialist tone. I make a new proposition; 'The Bible is revealed truth, in all its glory' (or some such twaddle. Of course, I omit to specify which edition, and don't even consider the option of a language other than english - but hey, what do you expect?). Within days, I have assembled a wonderful active group of woolly minded people happily discussing the capacity of Noah's Ark, or whatever. The point here is that the platform is just that - a platform. Human community is a Good Thing.

  4. I am pushed upward by the group I am part of to some sort of moderator role. The system shows various other groups who agree more or less strongly with most of the propositions our group deems fundamental. I contact my opposite number in one of those, and we together make a new proposition which we believe could be a vehicle for discussions that could lead to a merger.
  5. I wish to write a business plan that is not a pile of dead tree gathering dust 6 weeks after it was presented to the board. I attempt to set out the aims of the business as fundamental propositions, and advertise this network to my colleagues, who suggest refinements. On this basis, we work up a description of the important policies and 'business rules' which define the enterprise. These remain accessible and editable , so that they can evolve along with the business.
  6. I am considering an open-source project. I set out the fundamental aims and characteristics of the tool I am proposing, and link them together. The system allows me to set myself up as a group. I sit back and wait for others to comment. Based on these comments, the propositions are refined, others added, relationships built with potential collaborators. At some point, we form a group, and the project gets under way. Throughout its life, the propositions are continually refined and added to. The propositions are a useful form of marketing, and save us a great deal of bother talking to people who want to know what/why/how.

Enough... Point 6 is almost recursive.......


There is more discursive (and older) material, here.

Thanks for reading, and please do comment.