An open space for global conversation
OK, all you Harvesters! There's work to be done! Lovely, luscious crops out in the field that will rot and go stale if we do not collect them, process them and cook make them into "digestible meals" to feed our ongoing inquiry!
Again, I offer this simple process:
Many hands make light work!
You might also reflect on this classic "question for all seasons," courtesy of The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations that Matter:
What is taking shape here? What are we hearing underneath the variety of opinions being expressed? What is in the center of our listening?
One of the most inspiring ideas I heard was the call for "a night of one million tents," as captured here in Susan Mooney's scribing of the harvest from our 11/15 Cafe Call here: http://www.occupycafe.org/forum/topics/occupy-2-0?commentId=6451976...
I connect this with the theme of meditation and of the re-imaging of on-site Occupations as providing services. So I can imagine people all over the country pitching tents and inviting people in to meditate with them! This takes another theme--the desire to shift the conversation away from "camping," and turns it on its head, making camping a socially generative act.
This is also a "hot idea" for me. When Liberty Park was evicted, I had the thought: "What if Occupy tents suddenly appeared in every park in NYC and in more parks all around the country? And if not tents, discussion groups. I remember in the 60's how parks where often a central meeting place in many communities. This kind of decentralization allows easy access to participation for folks everywhere and much more visibility.
How do we further this idea? Anyone have thoughts? Perhaps on a call we could have a sub group looking at this. Or we could have an actions section on the website where people brew action ideas further?
I have been noticing and appreciating your efforts to get more conversation going here on our site. I have a sense that so much more is possible and it is not happening yet. My question that "if asked would make a big difference" was: How can we design communication infrastructure so people can easily get to the ideas and action steps that most interest them and participate in he conversations that are most relevant for them.
For a few days, I was posting a great deal here and most of my posts did not get responses. This was in part, I think, because of so many other discussions happening in different places. Also, my posts were quickly covered over with more recent posts coming in. I think a good search feature here could help us easily get to current discussions and posts about what we are currently thinking about. I realize this may already exist with tags, but I have not seen how to use that yet.
This may just be because of how my particular brain works, yet I do not have an easy time understanding and navigating through the different conversation places. Could this all be simplified? I know this takes time and I think it would be helpful as the number of the conversations continues to grow. Also, as I wrote elsewhere here, I think some organizational outline could be helpful with subgroups and subgroups beneath those. I would be interested in being part of a working group that looks at all this. If others are interested please post that as a comment to this thread or message Ben or me.
I've tried to follow this discussion of fundamental direction as it hopped from "Core Conversations" to "Occupy 2.0" to here on "Harvesting".
I just figured out that if printed out all the entire discussion-thread from "Occupy 2.0" that it would be more than 100 printed pages! By allowing that portion to reach such a length, and with so much of it comprised of too-long, rambling comments, it is very hard to cull through all of it looking for the pearls.
I wish it were different, but if other people do the very same culling, then it does not make for "lighter work". It's the same work. I appreciate that you are trying to use "crowd-sourcing" for a collaborative result, but I think that you have lost most of the crowd and, if not, then its most of its energy.
Ben: You know me, but I want to make sure you (and others reading this) know that I am trying to be critical in a constructive way. You and others are spending a great deal of energy on all of this, and unless people begin seeing some obvious evidence of the direction getting more focused (i.e., more than a plethora of well-meaning, but rambling, discussions) then they are going to start ignoring the email-alerts and begin to drift away. And you will be left with a relative few who do have the time and energy to simply go on and on and on.
Give some thought to how you might make the conversation more equal between the 1% vocal and the remaining 99% of users "left in the dust." (Okay, maybe it's closer to 10%-90%, but it's the same point.)
Thank you for the critique. And I still invite you to try this exercise and see what happens! I think putting on a "harvesting hat" is different from an "advocacy hat." Plus there are fewer of us here. This may not work, but we can learn from the effort.
I particularly resonate with your point about the loudest voices dominating. In our new "hosted threads" section, dealing with this is one of the host's jobs. We'll see how that goes. Maybe you would like to take a stab at leading a discussion? Let me know and I'll set you up.
Meanwhile, what do YOU think might help to make these threads more generative?
How about the idea of putting people into lots of small groups to work on something in parallel, e.g. an asynch world cafe? Each group would report out with a one-pager of synthesized thinking for the whole group and outside audiences to reflect upon.
[I have some new software process ideas, by the way, that might help, if I can find the time and money to pursue them!]
Bruce, Stephen, and Ben
Thank you for your comments and critique about the huge amount of content that is somewhat disorganized and random and the difficulties in culling through this to locate and easily list or post the primary topics and suggestions. Several of the Cafe Stewards (organizers) have had similar thoughts and we have thus started to discuss this. Your thoughts and comments about what to do about it and how to re-organize how the site is structured and information culled, harvested, and collated, etc would be very helpful. Or more focused dialogues developed, etc. Ben talks about including some protocols on the main page introducing each discussion. It would be good if we can develop such protocols sooner rather than later. Ben can you give us some specific suggestions on the types of protocols you are thinking of; and Bruce and Stephen - what are your thoughts about this.
One idea I had was that the author of a new idea or suggestion or topic area could begin their post with a Title or Subtitle describing the idea, suggestion or topic area. Thus it would be easier to scan through to see what the posts are about and what new ideas are being shared. Another idea is for us to create a Stewards Group of Volunteers who follow key discussions and cull out the prime subtopics from time to time and then start new sub-threads and discussion processes. But then it would be good if we could somehow list these as sub-threads in a branching tree manner on the main eForum page.
Another idea of Ben's was that eForum discussion initiators can choose to moderate a discussion they have started and thus take responsibility to encourage and ensure a more focused discussion. Any one have any additional ideas? We should probably start a new discussion (perhaps on the Friends of Occupy Cafe page) to discuss and plan for upgrading the website and move this discussion to there. Thanks anyway Stephen and Bruce for raising the matter.
I agree with the challenges raised about this discussion process, I am not a techie, so I will dm Ben directly with some thoughts so as to not bog the group down.
Thanks to everyone who is engaging in the process.
This is a bulleted list of the threads that resonated for me:
- Interest in carrying forward the Occupy meme nationally, less interest in defending encampements.
- Desire to organize actions that are bound together by a common Meme (tents) and that have some level of national orchestration.
- Continue to reinforce nonviolence and peacefulness. Stress connecting people together as a fundamental aspect of actions- actions shouldn't be just marches and bank closures, they should incorporate components that build connections and opportunities to understand others (which is different than building agreements).
- Need to more explicity tie the meme to demands or strategies - there was not agreement on how centralized that needs to be, but there was agreement that the meme has to be tied to strategies for social change (policy, electoral, environments etc.)
- Desire to carry forward the strengths and successes of Occupy - including the people mic, distributed or shared leadership, resonance of core issues ( e.g. corporate power is killing democracy and 1% benefiting at the expense of 99%). Continue to incorporate these into future actions and strategies.
I know there was allot of other thoughtfulness, this is just what resonated for me,
Thank you Susan!
Ellen Friedman offers this OUTSTANDING Mind Map harvest (attached). Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!
Thanks Ellen for this EXCELLENT MindMap. I encourage everyone to download and review it. Plus I think that we should begin to use and further develop this important tool, building it out with our continuing contributions. We can thus begin to quickly and easily describe and get and share an overview picture in our minds re what Occupy 2.0 could be all about. Before very long we may want to share our harvest and the mind map, etc with the Occupy Movement through the InterOccupy calls that a few of us Occupy Cafe Stewards have been participating in.