New Civilization News: How Collective Email Dialog Works    
 How Collective Email Dialog Works11 comments
picture14 Aug 2004 @ 10:12, by Roger Eaton

Work continues, slowly, on developing the specs for the Voice of Humanity Network. Meanwhile in an important side development, a prototype collective email dialog program is being assembled using Python and MySQL. Time frame is to have it ready by January for a possible Jewish / Muslim Interfaith Dialogue. Focusing on the Middle East, this dialogue will use collective communication to build consensus in a non-confrontational way. Each of these three terms needs a short explanation.

Collective communication is a novel technique of communication between groups. Instead of communicating through a spokesperson, members of a group write messages and then vote to select the one message that best represents the group. A benefit of this method is that it is democratic and involving.

The dialogue will build consensus because there will be a third group to take part, that of the two groups combined into one. The messages selected by the combined group will represent the common humanity of the Jewish and Muslim participants, giving the advantage to those who are looking for a positive outcome.

The dialogue will be non-confrontational in that it will be structured so the common voice of the two groups mediates the interaction and the two groups never directly engage each other. This is best seen in the accompanying diagram. In words, the dialogue will proceed in alternating "together" and "apart" rounds. First there will be a "together" round producing one message to represent the common humanity of the two groups. Then there will be an "apart" round producing two messages, one from each of the groups separately. Then a together round and so forth. The two groups never respond directly to each other. This structure reinforces the consensus building aspect and, importantly under the circumstances, should altogether prevent a negative outcome.

Given this structure, the Dialogue will attract people looking for a positive, win-win outcome in the Middle East and will put off those whose real purpose is inimical. Let us therefore begin the Dialogue with faith in our fellow dialoguers and renewed hope for the world.


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11 comments

15 Aug 2004 @ 11:44 by ov : Collective E-mail
This idea sounds to me like it has tremendous potential, not only for collective dialogue but for a participatory goverance as well. I really like how it distills the essense of a group thought down so that not everybody has to listen to everything that everybody else has to say, but without going into the group think mode, and without having to rely on the 'trust' factor of electing a representative. People voting on an end product rather than a promise or expectation. Just goes way beyond either 'democracy' or 'republic' which the more I think about it are both tools of control for and by power elites.

Where did you get the idea for this Roger? Is this your own or is there some sites out there that give more of the details?  



15 Aug 2004 @ 14:57 by mre : An Open Elite
It is my own idea, ov, developed over the years. We'll see how it goes this time around. I expect even if it takes off big time, and goes global, it will still be a small fraction of the people that take part, but we will be the positive thinkers and opinion makers and we will be self-coordinated on a global scale, so that gives us a chance to turn things around. We may still be an elite, but oxymoronish as it sounds, we will be an open elite.  


15 Aug 2004 @ 16:01 by ov : Collective e-mail
Congragulations and well done Roger. I think there is a new principle at work here that could work in conjunction with lots of other methods of many to many communication. For example there are different types of voting besides the 'first past the post' such as ranking systems and proportionals etc. I had the opportunity to witness a few of these methods discussed here in Vancouver at Citizens' Assembly, and hopefully this will go through a few iterations since it was favorably received by both public and participants.

Jewish/Muslim interfaith dialogue is definitely a volatile subject to take this on a shake down cruise, but then again it might also reveal the most information. Offhand I would think that an objective of inquiry into identifing the multiple underlying causes would be more fruitful than coming to a consensus on a policy action but heh, who knows. Keep us posted.  



26 Sep 2004 @ 21:58 by connie risk @62.128.45.53 : hm, not sure i get all of the idea....
ah yes i believe in magic, and the magic in me, and the magic in us all, therefore i believe in the magic in the www!!

...not sure if i get the process. actually i think that in the process of reading others comments...others could include and revise their own thoughts and writting...to get a composition that embodies the unity or synthesis arrived at after a good discussion. im not clear why a specific peice has to be voted as representative...different voices of different aspects of...???perhaps my comments on someone elses peice would help person improve his-her writting. while im not good at writting, im good at positive and constructive feedbadk. does it have to be a vote??ok ill go re read the idea. maybe the second time..

hm, um, in my experience when people are dealing with such traumatic, and strong emotions, and...experiences of such polarity...the healing, and transmuting value of forgiveness, love, just listening, looking into the eyes of the other, holding them as they cry....really powerful for personal shifting. moving into faith, trust, heart connections. i would hope that some attention would be made to helping, listening to others in your group...in a compassionate and loving way...even if it isnt a written comment that could be voted upon. the quality of the result depends upon the ethics of the process. imo whatever the task.

interesting...doing this over the net. im not sure what the goal is....would it be according to topics like political issues?? i think that there doesnt need to be a goal....rather a process of listening talking....i truely believe faith and love and forgiveness and compassion move mountians.

hm, hope this is atleast interesting....loving you, connie  



17 Oct 2004 @ 23:24 by mre : face to face
Sorry for being so long to reply, Connie. The collective communication process is meant to complement, not replace face to face compassionate communication. The Jewish / Muslim Dialogue is being structured to lead to a conference on Human Rights where the participants will get to know each other personally over a couple days in a pleasant setting in Malibu. (Btw, human rights will be the focus of the dialogue instead of the Middle East -- this way we have a better chance to get some traction.)

Of course I have thought of adding one or more processes so a group can develop a message rather than select a message. At some point, I think that will be wanted, but for special circumstances rather than for the general run of the exchange.

The goal is to establish a voice of humanity as a focal point for human consciousness, making "think globally" a reality for everyone. I am convinced that we are at a major turning point in human affairs. We must organize ourselves more efficiently so we don't destroy our lovely planet. To do that we have to get past War and establish a globally humane society that wants to protect God's creation.

A voice of humanity cannot be built on the web alone. A huge amount of organizing will have to go into making it work. Here is where the the faith, love and forgiveness, the simply human listening and talking has to come into play. I want to thank you for your kind words. They really do help!  



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