New Civilization News: Weavers    
 Weavers9 comments
13 Jun 2002 @ 14:24, by Flemming Funch

I believe one of the key roles in the building of better societies is that of what we could call a Weaver. We could say it is somebody who helps self-organization to happen, even if that sounds a little paradoxical. Somebody who notices things that are possible and assists them in emerging, by making connections where there were none.

In order to release our collective intelligence I think it is a firm requirement that creative diversity is allowed and nurtured. That people are inherently free to come up with different approaches to things, and they're free to move about and pursue them in the ways they find appropriate. In other words, a free market of ideas and activities.

But, as that will often seem rather chaotic at first glance, there's a great need for people who will assist in making what is going on clear and meaningful, and who will help new meaningful things in becoming manifest. There are probably several different distinct roles there. But let me talk a bit about the Weaver role.

Who has inspired me the most to focus on that is probably my good friend Leif Smith of Pattern Research in Colorado. We were having a stimulating meeting yesterday. One of the things he wrote is this brilliant piece:

Weavers of Freeorder

"Weavers of freeorder are pattern seers, connection makers, thinkers, artists,
entrepreneurs who work for all who discover that their home is Open Network.

Open Network names a freeorder comprised of and arising from
all aspects of the world
in which an explorer of sovereign spirit may rejoice.

It is very old.
No one invented it.

Freeorder is a balance among designed and spontaneous orders conducive to quest.

Quest is an aesthetics governed pattern of explorations
in course of which resonance grows.

Resonance is the expectation of magic.

Magic is emergent,
an awareness arising from a fusing through present action
of intensity, sensitivity, integrity, and wonder.

Such capabilities of human beings are the reason why
Open Network came into being,
why it continues to exist,
and why it is inextinguishable."

That piece says a whole lot if you pay close attention to the words.

A Weaver could maybe be called a Networker just as well. But networker and networking has probably gotten many other connotations along the way, some of which are a little off. Many people will call it "networking" when they're out selling their own projects or trying to sign people up in an MLM. A "weaver" is something a bit more light and poetic, and somebody who's more looking outward, at what is possible and available, rather than just at what they themselves want to do.

A Weaver might notice that people in two different fields could learn something from each other and maybe work together in some synergetic way that none of them had thought about. And the Weaver might help that happening, by introducing those people to each other at the proper time.

The ideas and people to connect must of course be open to it. Not everybody is open to a new and unexpected connection, and those who are, are not necessarily open to it all the time. If one already has a steady job, and one's spare time is all spoken for, and one is happy with the rigidity of it, one might not be open to what a weaver might be about. One probably has to have a certain respect for the processes of self-organization that happen between free people, and one probably has to be flexible enough to appreciate new, expanded possibilities when they come along.

A Weaver is not just somebody who forwards everybody's e-mails to everybody else. It isn't either just somebody who's inspiring and good at motivating others. It is a more specific action. Noticing some specific potentials and acting to bring them out. Seeing a resource over here that might make sense to use over there.

That requires a certain level of intelligence and discernment and experience to do well, most likely. Although it might possibly also be done from a completely intuitive place. One way or another the Weaver needs to be able to respect the integrity of what people are about, and not waste their time. And, most likely, there's a deepening process. It takes a little while before you get to know somebody well enough to know what you can do for them, or what they can do for somebody else. What it says on their business card or on their website might not really be it. You might connect with something more once you know them better. Something possibly more compelling and specific.

I'm interested in what tools will best serve Weavers. I'm also interested in hearing their stories. Because I think we very much need what they do, and we need more of them.

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13 Jun 2002 @ 16:12 by b : weavers
I think what Ming posted is that there is a type of person by vocation, profession, or interest is a facilitator of bringing people, ideas, contacts together. This person defined as a Weaver, motivates, organizes and brings others together to further a purpose, project, cause. Such a person who is defined in the quoted discription poetically prefacing Mings statement would need and use various tools to help in the facilatation of these abilities. So the question is posed: what tools will best serve Weavers. It seems that the instincts of Weavers have been observed. More needs to be known about this type of person and stories of how they operate would be useful in this. I did not think that politics were implied in the original post but there it is.  

13 Jun 2002 @ 16:41 by ming : Thanks Bee
For clarifying the subject. Yes, it wasn't about politics at all. It is more like a profession, indeed, and what might support that.  

13 Jun 2002 @ 17:31 by protech : 12 Principles of Collaboration
The 12 Principles of Collaboration powering Mongoose Technologies' Portal Studio software, is one very powerful tool for supporting "weavers". Aspects of this software have been implemented here, at NCN, but not completely, and not integrated fully. Before any more programming is done on this database, I would fully integrate the '12 Principles' and code that.  

13 Jun 2002 @ 18:57 by ming : Collaboration Principles
Mongoose's {link:|12 Principles of Collaboration} are great. Let me take a fresh look ... Hmm, if we took NCN as a whole to be a community, some of these points are lacking. But that's the big question. After all, all the groups who use Mongoose's programs certainly don't have a shared purpose or governance or boundaries. But if we assume for a moment that it is meaningful that NCN as a whole would follow these kinds of principles, then, for one thing, the unifying purpose is not clear, and neither are the boundaries. I.e. it is not very clear what the difference is between NCN members and non members, and what exactly it is that would tie members together. And NCN doesn't have much governance - nobody managing where it is heading. The other points, except for that NCN doesn't have much of a way of exchanging value, are in fairly good shape with NCN.

But, again, the big point is whether NCN is to be considered an all-inclusive non-governable space, or whether it should have a more clear inside/outside and a specific purpose. I have mostly thought of NCN as something like Open Network as Leif talks about above, which is something that nobody owns or governs. Sort of like Planet Earth. We're all on Planet Earth, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should set a purpose that everybody must share, and some boundaries that define whether you're allowed to be there or not. But then again, that might be too big and idealistic to be sensible and practical to most people. I mean, in reality, everybody in the world of course aren't members of NCN, and probably shouldn't be.  

14 Jun 2002 @ 00:55 by ming : Client/server
Yes, the Mongoose thing is about a centralized piece of software one buys from those guys. As far as I remember, when I originally inquired with them it was 25-50,000 dollars. Their target is for it to be used in corporate portals. So, no, that doesn't really apply for us here. Although there's an NCN member who works for that company and who said once he might arrange for a free copy. But still it is a centralized model and not what I think we'd like to have here. Yes, I'm much more interested in something that anybody can download to their computers, and which will connect us together effectively without any bottlenecks.

But those principles are excellent, independently of what software they made with them.  

15 Jun 2002 @ 10:04 by protech : Server/Client to Client/Client
Therefore, Flemming, perhaps filling the holes of NCN with implementation of those principles missing from the structure of NCN, is the first step to completing the server/client nature of NCN, then, releasing the programming for free, as a modular database-powered structure that incorporates distributed-computing methods of database sharing/interrogation (aka, napster-like or better yet, that file sharing protocol I forget the name of that allows direct client-to-client file sharing).

All this seems possible now, the question is do we have the programming skills/resources to implement it now? If not, what's missing?  

15 Jun 2002 @ 14:44 by ming : Programming
Well, what is missing is the simple organizing principle or protocol by which a distributed sharing occurs.

I'd be willing to share the current NCN programming with anybody who wants to use it. But even if somebody else set up another incarnation of it, that wouldn't automatically provide any meaningful way for them to interact, and it isn't automatically scalable into something that is both distributed and coherent.

So, my thought would to towards coming up with a simple mechanism for connecting together different nodes. And I'm open to that it might already exist. But I think it is more important to have a simple connecting mechanism than it is to figure the exact features in the virtual community. I'm more interested in how to glue together many different approaches than I am in making one perfect set of community features, although that would be great too.

One well-thought-out protocol might make all the difference. Something that is simple and compelling and that lots of people would want to connect to, and make diverse implementations of. That's not so much a programming job initially as it is a design job.  

16 Jun 2002 @ 03:17 by protech : I recalled....
FreeNet is the name of that file-sharing protocol I forgot before. I just downloaded it, and the FreeWeb program to interface with it aswell. What if I had my profile here on this local PC, connected 'through' Freenet to everybody elses profile on thier local pc's? I wonder what kind of program would be needed to search/compile profiles and display them on my screen, as if I had just interrogated some server-based database (as on NCN)?

Just thinking..... [BTW, how do I insert a hyperlink into these comments?]  

16 Jun 2002 @ 03:33 by ming : Profiles
So, one's local computer could act as a small web server. Which means, it would listen on a certain port, and be willing to answer certain queries. And then there are some web service protocols, like XML-RPC or SOAP, that would be appropriate to use to format and transfer something that could be read by a program elsewhere. And one might either have a way of alerting some other servers that one has updated one's profile, or it might work like a regular search engine, that as long as your address is mentioned in some directory somewhere, a web crawler will come along once in a while and check what is new.

Having just one copy of one's profile, and having it on one's local computer, would of course make it much more likely that one would pay attention to it, and keep it up-to-date. But then it probably also means that there might be multiple competing programs that people would want to use to maintain their profile, and the potential for them not quite agreeing on what a profile consists of.

But then the key would be a flexible enough way of representing a profile, which would allow it to be transferred and accessed, even if there's not 100% aggreement on what it would consist of. And it would need to allow for an assortment of security and privacy preferences.

I need to study up on LDAP, which is an open standard for shared directories. I know it solves some of these things, so it is a place to start. It is not exactly peer-to-peer like FreeNet or Gnutella, but it has ways of allowing many different directories to merge into a bigger whole.

(P.S. You can see how to make nice hyperlinks at the bottom of this page: or you can just type in a URL to do it the crude way)  

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