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RE: [kFW] Needed: Collaborative systems for driving consensus...

Kendra has been a true democracy to date and a very effective one.  Everyone
gets to discuss their points of view on every topic.  This is good way to
interact when you have a small group, however more structure is need in a
larger group.  Without the structure, large democracies can fall under their
own weight.  This is an impediment to growth and development.  I believe
that we should consider instituting a formalized structure on to Kendra.
This will compartmentalize discussions by subject to the interested and
knowledgeable parties. We are not attempting to impede the flow of
information, just modify the flow.  Each team could work independently and
bring their findings before the all members to review, debate and ratify.
So, we could chose to restructure how the information flows within the
groups and the organization.  Again, we are not attempting to impede the
flow of information, just structure it for greater efficacy of the

I propose that we elect a short term governing body from the members at
large.  Their purpose is to build the new framework for the Kendra
Initiative.  After careful consideration, the governing body should bring
its proposal(s) before the members to vote in whole or segments.  The
following position would be up for nominations from the members at large:

Vice President (Europe)
Vice President (US)
Counsel (legal, if possible)
Senior Advisor (3)

What do ya'll think?

David Morris

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel Harris [mailto:daniel@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 18:58
To: k-framework@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [kFW] Needed: Collaborative systems for driving consensus...

Hi there All,

Been thinking... [crowd shouts in unison - "duck everyone!"]... about how 
to communicate better. Using these lists a number of problems have arisen 
that perhaps need to be solved in order to enable Kendra Initiative to move 
forward. Here are some issues I've had and *possible* fragments of 
solutions. Beware, this is brain dump style email...

Everything has to be said in the open - I'm having a real hard time talking 
to people (one to one) about Kendra. I see that what's being said could be 
going out to 100's and not just a handful. Also, in having closed 
conversations I feel I am going behind people's backs and it's not of 
benefit to the project. Many times I have asked people to re-send their 
email to Kendra lists where I will reply (open), rather than reply to them 
personally (closed). This is all fine for discussion lists that get 
archived but what about one to one or small group communication - they need 
to be archived too. Perhaps send all email to a Kendra alias such as: 
daniel.harris@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or something like that. People can then 
see what's being said to me and also what I reply. Every kParticipant 
(people exposed on the website) would have such an alias. Only 
kParticipant's could send to aliases and participate in the discussion. 
Though anybody could listen anonymously just as they can view the web 
archives anonymously. There can be no anonymous input as that removes 
responsibility from one's words. Expose!

Many times people have tried to send to a list only to be bounced. All 
kParticipants should be able to send to topic without having to explicitly 
subscr!be to a list. But they should only start receiving from a list once 
they have either sent to it or explicitly subscr!bed to it. We should be 
able to set up in our profile what our "send" and "receive" email 
address(es) are. They could be multiple and different for each. We need as 
much functionality in email only as for web only users.

Could discussions be more dynamic so instead of people joining a list they 
join or create a topic dynamically? Not sure where that thought goes but 
something about linking these topics in a mind map kind of way. Maybe 
that's more future stuff.

Problem with mailing lists - People get turned off really quickly getting 
too many emails and not relevant to their topic. Wouldn't it be good if 
people could set a threshold for the number of emails that they get. Or 
only receive email that have had a certain number of recommendations. 
Hopefully, not everyone will set the threshold at >1 recommendation! ;-)

Perhaps all this collaborative system is a trial too. When viewed as a 
trial one can see why it needs a lot more structure than it currently has. 
It needs to evolve with input. Filtering in and accentuating "what works". 
In fact, as Willy Wonka said "accentuate the positive and eliminate the 
negative"... [croud burst into roaring applause and good old Bing starts to 
sing (backed by crowd). You can join in too:
...] Sorry, lost it there for a second... ;-/

Everyone needs to play a part in the editing process. Collective editors. 
Some sort of rating/recommendation system. Perhaps 2 states: "I have read 
the email" and "I have read the email and I recommend it". Could be a 
couple of URLs or mailto's at the bottom of each email depending on what 
each participant prefers. Peer pressure? Keep people involved in the 
process of creation and show that what they say has a direct/demonstrable 
result on the outcome. That's very important - "I made this!" Motivation!

Remove hierarchy - Just like on the Internet (pretty much). We *could* just 
put moderators in place. But what rules would they use to moderate? We know 
the goal that Kendra is trying to reach. But we don't know the rules, 
methods, tasks or tools that need to be followed/used to achieve the goal. 
We have to make the rules up and modify as we go along. There, I said it, 
we are all moderators. What works will float to the surface.

Another point... any system like this that we are working must enhance the 
current system. Big changes in the way we operate can confuse people and 
that means loosing people. One example of this was when we moved from the 2 
old lists to the current 4 lists. Each of the old lists had a lot of 
activity and things seemed to be going well. But when we moved over people 
had to subscr!be again through their profile web area. Not only did quite a 
few people not re-subscr!be but also the list traffic died. A real shame. 
One to avoid. Having all the list subscr!ption information in a database 
means that one wont be a problem again as we can generate list members for 
any new system we go to and maintain continuity.

In order to build it we have to become it. What I mean is: in order to 
construct Kendra we need to understand what it is and in order to do that 
we have to put our selves within it, so that we can be it. Hopefully, 
pulling myself out of a recursive loop here, all these trials are part of 
the process of finding out what works and hence what methods/tools to use 
for construction. It's an iterative process. The answer to the chicken and 
egg problem is iteration! It's all getting very Zen, isn't it? ;-)

Thanks to John Oliver, Gordon Ross and Joe Pietroni (he says he only reads 
Kendra emails with "joe" in them! Ha! Ha! ;-) for recent discussions on 
this subject.

Needless to say: comments anyone?...

Cheers Daniel 

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