πŸ“š node [[agora pkg chapter]]

Introduction

In this [[chapter]] we describe the [[Agora]], a [[protocol]] and reference [[platform]] yielding a [[knowledge commons]] provisioned by a self-governing community. This commons is bootstrapped as a [[distributed knowledge graph]] assembled from off-the-shelf components, upholding the user's [[data sovereignty]] while supporting integration with a wide range of [[tools for thought]].

The Agora as described in this article is just [[an Agora]], meaning it should be taken as a simple [[reference implementation]] of the principles delineated in this paper. Because the Agora-defining [[Agora protocol]] tries to build on common principles1 and incorporate conventions already in use at the time of writing, you will likely find that other Agoras already exist online and offline -- if not by name, then definitely in values and direction. When in doubt, the author2 likes to assume that all Agora-like entities we find will eventually be part of a greater [[confederated]] [[Agora network]]. Put another way, the reference Agora described here is just one possible seed from which an [[Agora network]] may grow.

A core aspect of the provided [[reference Agora]]3 is that its constituent [[distributed knowledge graph]] can be straightforwardly bootstrapped using just a well-defined freely-available subset of the [[internet]]. The provided software can already integrate crowdsourced sets of [[personal knowledge graphs]], [[digital gardens]], [[wikis]] and [[feeds]] of all kinds (including social), generalizing to arbitrary repositories maintained manually or via readily available [[tools for thought]] (both open and closed in nature). All supported data sources are retrieved and integrated using [[free software]], while still supporting production and editing with arbitrary tools of the users' choice.

As hinted above, the Agora is a project with multiple facets which we will try to explore in order in this paper:

The triad above fits together in a variety of ways that we will try to explore in relevant sections, but in a nutshell: [[Agora protocol]] can be used by the community while interacting with the [[Agora platform]] to provision entities, intents and services in the [[Agora commons]].

We2 then cover experiments and potential applications in the [[academic]], [[social]] and [[political]] domains assuming the availability and widespread adoption of a free [[knowledge commons]]. This is done in the form of a series of short reports and exploratory essays.

Vision

The Agora can be defined most generally as a subset of the [[internet]]4 used consciously and towards a particular purpose. Slightly less generally, as per the above, it can be seen as a platform and a protocol for provisioning and maintaining a [[commons]] (initially digital) enabling a community to efficiently define and advance their goals. Because of these broad definitions and the wide applicability of the principles detailed in this article, the background required to put this effort in context is ample and fuzzily defined at the edges.

The Agora is inspired by the work of many. Here we mention some of the core influences.

Finally, a [[caveat emptor]]: the [[reference Agora]] is highly [[idiosyncratic]]. It is [[linked]] to a pragmatic project directed towards world improvement, specifically an experiment in [[protopian thinking]] applied to [[global reform and revolution]]. This project tries to explore the full nature of the internet as it could be, using the [[tools]] at hand to work on pressing [[tasks]] as we try to optionally improve the world together. More concretely, [[Flancia]] is an exploration on the power of [[tools of thought]], including [[social media]] and more generally distributed [[writing]], to advance [[altruism]], [[rationality]] and [[loving kindness]].

Agora Commons

The heart of an Agora is the [[Agora Commons]]. It is a [[digital commons]] to start with, extending potentially to an inclusive virtual and real [[commons]] able to sustainably support its associated communities materially.

The [[Triad of Commoning]] as described in [[Free, Fair and Alive]] can be seen to apply to the [[knowledge commons]] we would like to build here, and this informs the design of the [[Agora project]]:

TODO (Diagram): [[Triad of Commoning]] as it maps to the triad of the [[Agora project]]: [[Agora Protocol]], [[Agora Platform]], [[Agora Commons]]? But the later sounds like a category mistake now. Is the Agora just recursive? :) Maybe this works better if we just mention [[intents]].

TODO (Text Structure): Making the commons a higher level section would probably clarify the structure a bit, allow me to bring in the [[Triad of Commoning]], etc. -- but maybe this has already happened, check/fix once we're in [[Google Docs]] as it'll probably be easier then.

Terminology

This project is of large scope and makes use of terminology from different fields, drawing from computer science, systems thinking and political theory. It also makes use of metaphors. To aid understanding, here we provide a short summary of key terms to follow.

  • [[Agora]]: a [[protocol]], a [[platform]], a [[commons]]. The [[noosphere]]. [[Internet]] as a tool held right.
  • [[Graph]]: the heart of the Agora. A distributed [[knowledge graph]] in particular, both explicitly and implicitly containing a variety of social graphs.
  • [[Node]]: a vertex in the knowledge graph. Maps to an [[entity]] description encoded in a [[wikilink]] or #hashtag. Maps to a mental [[context]] in an Agora user.
  • [[Subnode]]: a resource contributed by a user which the Agora will provision when queried for a variety of [[Node]] contexts. A node is a collection of subnodes.
  • [[Link]]: an annotated edge in the knowledge graph. A relationship or connection between concepts or contexts, optionally annotated. Technically you can think of it as tuple of nodes linking to each other, or more generally a set or sequence of nodes related to each other via a composite relationship (e.g. a link with annotations). The later results in a [[hypergraph]] which is what an Agora generally implements.
  • [[Garden]]: a repository of resources maintained by a user over time. (Optionally entity mapped) information contributed by a user diachronically.
  • [[Feed]]: a sequence of points in time with pointers to objects. Interesting resources as positioned in a [[timeline]]. A core [[Web]] technology that an Agora can both consume and provide.
  • [[Stoa]]: a repository of resources maintained by a group over time.
  • [[Bridge]]: a device or process connecting contexts, applying to both nodes and repositories.
  • [[Siphon]]: a bridge which exploits a gradient.
  • [[Commons]]: a [[social organism]] or [[social system]] provisioned and maintained by a community of practice for the [[common good]]. As per [[Elinor Ostrom]], [[Silke Helfrich]], [[David Bollier]], etc.

Intents

This section details intents, goals and values as they relate to the definition of an Agora on a high level.

  • The Agora is a [[project]] for the betterment of the internet, potentially leading to the betterment of the world.
  • To join an Agora, you only need to say you want to join it.
  • The Agora is a platform for [[commoning]] built on a set of public [[intents]], including declarations of [[goals]] and [[values]].
  • If you tell an Agora about a resource you care about, the Agora will try to link it and optionally save it for you.
  • The Agora as a project is positioned at the intersection of the fields of [[commoning]], [[patterning]] and [[knowledge management]].
  • The Agora is a social [[memex]].
  • The Agora is an experiment which seeks to answer the following question: what if, in the field of [[tools for thought]], [[multiplayer]] meant also [[multitool]]?

An [[Agora]] tries to meet the user where they are. As a service in the internet, you don't sign up to an Agora: you sign in. Albeit the reference Agora is based firmly on [[web 1]] principles and core [[web]] protocols and architectural styles like [[http]], [[rdf]] and [[rest]], it also includes partial implementation of [[social]] protocols like [[activitypub]] which affords it a basic level of integration with the [[Fediverse]] and Twitter[^twitter].

In the terms of the [[Knowledge Futures Group]], the [[reference Agora]] is a system that provisions an [[overlay]] (demo at https://anagora.org) querying an [[interlay]] ([[go/agora]], the [[Agora Commons]]) integrating [[repositories]] from a primarily [[git]] based [[underlay]].

With this tool the Agora community can embark on shared projects. The author, as one member of the [[Agora community]], would like to propose (offer) a series of [[projects]] as public collections of [[intents]] in the [[commons]].

[[Agora Protocol]]

Let us use [[Agora Protocol]] if we may.

This section describes a [[protocol]] for publicly defining sets of [[intents]] that can be said to define an Agora. An Agora is a public space that defines itself as such and follows an explicit variation of the Agora Protocol by [[convention]].

In text format, [[Agora Protocol]] is a series of typographical conventions that allow users to link and annotate resources regardless of the medium. Annotating here stands for encoding metadata and personal meaning in resources in a way conducive to be later decoded in an Agora-like [[context]].

If you are reading this book, you probably know Agora Protocol even before reading about it; it is meant to reflect and build on existing practices in the personal knowledge management space, like:

  • #Tags designate entities as related to the annotated resource.
  • [[Wikilinks]] designate entities as related to the annotated resource.
    • Wikilinks may be preferred when trying to encode sentences a particular typographical realization, as they seamlessly contain lossless [[unicode]] strings.

On a pragmatic level: if a person declares a public space or shared resource to be in an [[Agora]], it is in the Agora by definition. This extends to conversations in the real world.

Agora Protocol is parsed by every Agora. On interpreting a statement as an intent, an Agora may take action for the benefit of the user.

An Agora always links by default. Users can opt into automatic saving of resources, meaning storage of resources in a repository under the users' (preferred) or an Agora's control.

  • [[Optimistic linking]] is encouraged.
    • Links that lead nowhere (currently) are encouraged.
      • In an Agora, the place they lead to by default includes resources written by others.
  • [[Outlines]] or [[Agora trees]], as encoded by nested lists such as this one, might be parsed by default as declaring useful [[patterns]]7.

When interpreting the above and extensions, an Agora is liberal in what it accepts and when in doubt tries to default to being extra useful to the user -- meaning it is optimistic in association and surfaces all resources that have a claim to be associated with the context being served. For example: #CamelCase will be provided in all contexts matching [[camel case]] and all known variations, and this relationship is symmetric by default, in the sense that the user might provide either at write time and be later served matching resources in either context.

To put it simply, an Agora defines equivalence classes optimistically with good intention. Later we will discuss the hypothesis that this is an optimal default policy for a social platform.

Note that outlines plus [[linking]] seem sufficient to encode thoughts and structure of arbitrary complexity in a human readable way8. In the opinion of the author this seems sufficient to encode a [[hypergraph]] in a human friendly way, which might do away with the need for programmatically generated [[block references]]9. See [[Technical Specifications]] below for more.

Next we describe how [[Agora Protocol]] can help provision an [[Agora Platform]] which integrates pro-socially with the wider internet ecosystem, and how a community could use both to run experiments on distributed thought.

Agora Platform

This facet of the Agora is that which is closest to the realm of software. See [[Reference Agora]] and [[Technical Specifications]] below for more details.

The Agora Platform as described in this article is decentralized in nature: it is meant to be a pragmatic stopgap solution that is relatively easy to bootstrap and still able to compete with the centralized platforms that currently dominate the market in many fields and might vie for enclosing the [[knowledge commons]] soon. A fully distributed architecture might be preferable soon -- surely soon after achieving and ensuring [[knowledge independence]] for future generations. But a [[decentralized]] model like that used widely in the [[Fediverse]] has core strengths that suggest it might be a good fit for bootstrapping a [[knowledge commons]].

Federation

Individual Agora instances, initially provisioned and maintained by like-minded groups in a [[decentralized]] ([[Fediverse]] compatible) model, but tending towards a fully [[distributed]] model, are expected to federate in a greater [[Agora network]]10.

An Agora tries to be a [[repository]] of [[patterns]] in the tradition of [[Christopher Alexander]], [[Ward Cunningham]], [[David Bollier]], [[Silke Helfrich]] and [[Murray Bookchin]].

  • #meta TODO: this [[Agora protocol]] block is a MARK for 'did new writing around here in the last pass', move/delete as needed.

The Agora network is built on a federated protocol the aim of reducing friction to cross-tool cooperation and maximizing the constructiveness of forks.

Take the case in which two groups might temporarily diverge in their views to want to run separate Agoras. Ideally their instances should be able to continue to cooperate on problems and solutions for which there is enough values/ideological alignment. Persistent best effort cooperation as a default contract also maximizes the chance of re-convergence leading to a merge.

Bridges

A [[bridge]] is a process or device that can be set up to transfer resources across (previously isolated) networks, either one-time or recurringly.

Bridges are useful in that they lower friction for users to move across tools and platforms in an ecosystem, and to keep control of their data (as a bridge can be made to cross post data to a repository under the user's control, or compatible with the user's data sovereignty).

Bridges are the main tool we have to enact [[counter anti disintermediation]] and push back against [[walled gardens]].

An Agora tries to provide safe, useful bridges to the community as a public service.

Siphons

A [[siphon]] can be seen as a bridge across which [[flow]] happens efficiently after some initial [[effort]], with cost-benefit often following a Pareto-like 20-80 distribution. Many Agora siphons are specialized to perform pro social [[adversarial interoperability]].

An example siphon would be a bridge with a one-time setup cost (e.g. an end user having to set up an API key for a walled garden) but which can then be run continuously afterwards at low cost (of maintenance on behalf of the user, and of computation).

Agora Commons

An Agora is a [[knowledge commons]] provisioned and maintained by a self-governing community for [[public good]].

A [[commons]] consists, at a minimum11, of:

An [[Agora]]'s [[root repository]] is a [[seed]] for an Agora. In the provided reference Agora platform, the root is a [[git]] repository12 which contains:

  • A sources.yaml file containing a list of all repositories to be integrated into an Agora plus useful metadata.
  • A CONTRACT.md file containing a list of assertions declaring high level goals and values for the Agora.
  • A README.md file containing instructions on how to provision an Agora using the above and free software.

Intents

An Agora contains collections of [[common]] and [[personal]] intents.

By becoming part of the reference Agora, users endorse [[common]] intents by default, but can [[opt out]] of any intents perceived as problematic. In addition they can contribute personal intents which can be endorsed by other users, thus becoming [[common]].

These are sample intents of the [[author]]. They can be optionally endorsed by users of an Agora.

Literate programming

Intents in [[Agora protocol]] can be interspersed in long form writing, in which case they can act as human-readable metadata.

[[Tree structures]] with [[wikilinks]] are assumed by an Agora to carry [[Agora protocol]] by default, and may be elided or hidden when performing human-readable format conversions through [[Agora sync]].

Agora RFCs

[[Agora RFCs]] are the standard way to suggest extensions and modifications to [[Agora Protocol]].

They are meant to be cheap to write, and conducive to running experiments. RFCs are specified by nodes declaring themselves to contain an Agora RFC; a number might be provided by an Agora, but at present time there is no mechanism for allocating numbers except claiming one by pushing an RFC to it in the Agora of Flancia (or any other trusted root). Conflict resolution is done by the community of the Agora. To put it bluntly, an Agora is its own [[numbers Czar]]13.

Agora RFCs might be of varying length and detail, spanning in length from that of common IETF RFC to a tweet or toot describing a social custom to be considered by the community. RFCs which are judged promising by a community will generate and can be expounded about at greater length by the interested community and potentially worked upon in a [[Stoa]].

[[Agora Actions]]

An [[Agora Action]] is a hint left in some medium by a user of [[Agora Protocol]] for the Agora. The purpose of the hint (its nature) is defined by the action; in general, though, Agora actions can be seen as lightweight contracts between an Agora and its authors. Invocations of an action are interpreted as [[intents]].

An [[Agora Action]] is hinted by default by #tagging or [[linking]] the name of the action in resources, optionally next to nodes and URLs which the action might take as parameters.

The sections below should clarify this.

[[Go links]]

#go is an [[Agora Action]] that designates URLs as canonical or highly ranked references for nodes in which the action appears.

Go links provide an interesting base case to study in the field of provisioning and (pro socially) exploiting14 a [[knowledge commons]]. Put simply, [[go links]] are named social bookmarks -- strings of text (usually slugged, but not necessarily) associated with URLs by users in a community of practice.

[[Go links]] are a [[cognitive tool]] which was developed in [[Silicon Valley]] corporations and has the potential to spread and provide utility at internet scale. As [[cognitive artifacts]] they have a meaningful [[complementary]] component, which makes them interesting as a case study of [[Agora RFCs]] regardless of primary utility of application.

As an [[Agora action]], the contract provided by Go links is as such:

  • When you tag a URL with #go or [[go]] by placing said links previous to it in your writing, an Agora will interpret this as an intent to create a Go Link and provision and provide one for you on querying.
  • An example:
    • #go https://anagora.org
      • Means that the Agora nodes which the document I'm writing this on will be served at will, by default, provide a redirect to https://anagora.org when queried for go links.

The primary utility of Go Links, regardless of implementation details, is high. In a [[go links]] rich environment, users can depend on other users to have defined [[canonical links]] for named [[entities]]; that is, collections of specially relevant resources to the terms at hand, as shared in a [[commons]].

  • Go links provide an [[individual]] function.
    • They allow the user to associate a (usually short) string with a resource of interest, and then recall it from any computing with network access with a short deterministic flow.
    • At companies supporting [[go links]], typing go/ in the browser address bar is usually sufficient to be redirected seamlessly to the target resource.
  • Go links provide a [[social]] function at low or no additional cost.
    • The trivial extension case for them is social bookmarking; even with invidivuals (not groups) claiming go link space recall of links spreads through a community of practice.
    • Sharing documents becomes simpler by definition in a community of practice that is go links aware. Instead of locating a resource and invoking a sharing flow to share, users are able to say to each other 'go thisdoc' (meaning either go/thisdoc or go/this-doc by convention), effectively transferring a URL in spoken word very efficiently, depending only on a previously understood mechanism to resolve such links (at a well known point, ideally a [[schelling point]]).

[[Pull]]

#pull is an Agora Action. Its effect is Agora dependent but is, in essence, a form of [[transclusion]]: pull will result in a remote mental context being embedded in the current one.

#pull takes a [[node]], a [[node/heterarchy]] or a URL. Nodes might be embedded by an Agora using special in-Agora provisions. URLs might be embedded in web browsers according to X-Frame policies.

[[Push]]

#push is an Agora Action. Its effect can also be described as transclusion, but in the opposite direction: whereas Pull will transclude a remote context in the current context, Push will transclude the current context in a remote context. Push can be thought of as publishing to a [[topic]] in a PubSub system.

#push takes a [[node]], a [[node/heterarchy]] or a URL. The meaning of pushing to a node is to publish the blocks or context in the destination node; the reference Agora publishes them in a similar format to local resources, either preceding them or after them depending on configuration. The meaning of pushing to a heterarchy (or "path") is to request attaching the resource or context at a point of insertion identified by the heterarchy as an anchor, if one is found (essentially allowing to fine tune placement).

In an Agora, section headings may push the whole section to mentioned nodes.

[[Stoas]]

A resource can be declared a [[Stoa]] by tagging it as such. This marks it as a resource meant for [[cooperation]] or [[commoning]].

Applications

This section explores possible further applications in the social and knowledge spaces in the form of a series of short essays.

Provisioning meaning together with federated heterarchies

  • An Agora supports taxonomies in principle but mostly provides a set of basic tools to converge on meaning best effort through social processes based on federated [[heterarchies]].
  • [[Agora trees]], meaning by default [[outliner mode]] text with [[wikilinks]], hint at sections containing [[Agora Protocol]].
  • [[Agora RFCs]] allow a distributed Agora community to extend the base [[Agora Protocol]] for more efficient [[commoning]] using atomic proposals.
  • TODO: (Details on an [[open source algorithm]] for ranking and filtering based on the above go here.)
  • TODO: (Details on eventual [[convergence]] as a phenomenon to be studied.)

An Agora tries to solve all of these based on social signals contributed to the commons:

  • [[taxonomies]]
    • [[heterarchies]], as represented by [[agora trees]] and [[path/like/queries]], can be reinforced by the Agora as more users hint at them.
    • Hypothesis: this can do away with the need for fixed taxonomies or category systems, and the associated upkeep cost (and potentially gatekeeping) that comes with them.
  • [[equivalence classes]]
    • If [[x]] pulls [[y]] and [[y]] pulls [[x]], then [[x]] ~ [[y]], meaning [[x]] and [[y]] converge in some useful context. This is true in particular if more than one user has contributed these signals.
  • [[ranking]]
    • It is well known15 that links provide a strong signal for relevant and notability in graph like systems.
    • #uprank is an explicit Agora Protocol action that takes a subnode or user and hints at an intent to rank them more highly than the current resource.
    • #pull can be used as a ranking hint as well: if [[x]] pulls [[y]], [[y]] is more likely to be roughly as relevant as [[x]] in any contexts in which [[x]] is relevant.

Collaborative world building

  • We seek to provision and maintain a distributed knowledge graph tailored specifically to the goal of solving problems: those of its users and society at large.
  • Its users, as a cooperative group, are promped to take a naive but rational and constructive approach to problem solving by default:
    • For each problem in the set P of all problems:
      • Describe it as thoroughly as possible.
      • Maintain a set of known and supported possible solutions, S(P).
    • For each solution in S(P):
      • Describe it thoroughly as an algorithm, a dependency graph or both.
      • Maintain a set of resources (people, time, attention, wealth) needed to implement it, R(S(P)).
    • Individual users can also declare their views on the state of the world explicitly: they define which subsets of P, S and R they agree with, in the sense that they believe they are feasible, true, interesting.
      • Users that agree on their defined subsets can then efficiently collaborate on solutions as they become available by pooling of resources.
  • Assuming the existence of such a graph we apply some good old recursivity and bootstrap an Agora with the problem of building itself.
    • That is, we are tasked with solving the problem of building a system that allows participating users and entities to collaborate optimally in the face of adversity (such as biases and irrationality), maybe only assuming good intent.

Node Club

Once a week or a month (depending on the time of the year), the [[Agora community]] proposes a set of nodes to be provisioned loosely concurrently over the next period -- meaning nodes to be contributed to individually, at roughly the same time.

Thank you to [[neil]] and the [[agora community]]!

Educational technology

Solving coordination problems

Flow problems

  • #pull [[liquid democracy]] [[network flow]]
  • We seek to bootstrap a [[Universal Basic Income]] experiment using an Agora with a set of simple rules:
    • If you consider yourself under-privileged, you sign up to receive an income.
    • If you consider yourself over-privileged, you sign up to donate an income.
    • Incomes are recurring donations for a set number of months.
  • Optional [[virality rule]]: the person receiving the income should elect to forward e.g. 10% of the sum received to someone less privileged than them.
    • The virality rule both pushes network growth and constructively exploits wealth inequality and asymmetry of information: an under-privileged person is closer in the world to a more severely under-privileged person than the initial donor, so can more efficiently allocate the resources. This also empowers under-privileged people to also make ethical decisions.
  • [[Flancia Collective]] runs experiments in this field using an [[Agora]].

Market composition and regulation

A [[knowledge commons]] may be conducive to tackling the issue of regulating markets responsibly. A commons can essentially embed a federated network of ethical markets; the community of commoners can agree on the definition of such network and the rules which they which to enforce on transactions through the interface.

Commons can be seen to be well positioned to operate as meta-markets in a world (and internet) where markets, originally distributed in nature, have been coopted by corporations.

Application stores worldwide, the dominant bookseller in many countries -- all work as centralized markets that can impose high trading fees because of the lack of competition. It seems evident we must avoid this same scenario from reoccurring in the [[Tools for Thought]] space; a federated network is needed. But corporate profit driven interests are likely already dreaming of taking hold of the space; how can we stop them?

Simple, maybe: we must retreat up a level and build a healthy integration layer that pushes back against early efforts to build walled gardens around tools and their strong communities. We must build bridges out of walled gardens and into the commons and there provide services to users of a wide range of tools, and enable ethical corporations to use these bridges to also provide these services.

Technical specifications

Agora Protocol example

The blocks that follow, and others in the current text in the same [[console typeface]], are a self-documenting demonstration of text based [[Agora Protocol]].

  • #push [[agora protocol]]
    • (Push can be used for writing child blocks to a remote context, as if broadcasting to a [[pubsub]] topic.)
    • a [[protocol]].
      • Based on lightweight conventions conducive to [[knowledge federation]] of supported [[data formats]] as described below.
      • [[plain text]] as layer 0 (bootstrapping).
        • What the literate world already runs on: just plain old human language in full [[unicode]].
        • Note that indented bulleted lists are efficient while encoding trees, [[heterarchies]].
      • [[wikilinks]], #hashtags and other link conventions and annotation as part of layer 1.
      • Layer 2 being defined, the same as refinements to other layers, as [[extensions]].
        • If you are a member of an Agora, you can propose extensions to Agora Protocol by contributing to [[Agora RFCs]].
        • This should be sufficient to bootstrap a [[governance layer]] defined by each [[Agora]].
        • #pull [[agora rfcs]]
        • (Pull instructs an Agora to incorporate a remote context into the current context, e.g. [[transclude]] or provision below.)

Data format

  • Layer 0: [[plain text]].
    • Plain text is ubiquituous.
    • It is not only a common standard for all tools in the knowledge space, which simplifies interoperability; it is a common standard for thought as shown by thousands of years of preserved culture.
    • It can trivially encode outlines.
      • It can be made to encode trees, like in this example.
      • Indented bulleted lists designate a useful [[heterarchy]].
    • It generalizes to binary data.
      • It can be made to encode arbitrary data via application of uuencode or other encoding conventions.
  • Layer 1: [[markup]] and conventions for cross-referencing and linking.
    • Markdown, org mode, HTML or other rich markups building on top of plain text belong to this layer.
    • [[wikilinks]] and #hashtags seem like sensible cross-format extensions for semantic linking.
    • Markdown plus [[wikilinks]] is the default Agora layer 1 format.
    • More generally, this is an [[inline metadata]] layer. The above are just relatively unobstrusive generally available implicit standards that inline well.
  • Layer 3: JSON, EDN, RDF, protobufs.
    • In general, data exchange formats.
    • The Agora reference implementation currently provides JSON and RDF endpoints.

Graph definition

The Agora [[knowledge graph]] can be defined as a hypergraph A with a set of k nodes N ([[entities]] an Agora knows about) integrated out of subnodes SN_0 .. SN_k, each containing subedges SE_0 .. SE_k, aggregating into edges E_0 .. E_k (semantic links between entities inferred from known subnodes). Edges are annotated implicitly by link context and explicitly via the use of [[agora protocol]] affordances, which is extensible and tries to build on existing conventions in the [[personal knowledge management]] space.

An Agora differs from other projects in the personal knowledge space in a few ways: whereas a personal knowledge graph usually contains resources authored or collected by a single person, and a wiki usually contains resources produced by a group, an Agora contains, integrates and interlinks both personal and group resources. Whereas links in a personal knowledge graph or wiki usually have a single target, Agora links fan out by default and can be thought of as queries mapping to sets of resources. This is consistent with a general design principle of facilitating storage and retrieval of entity-mapped information with a view toward removing friction from agreement and cooperation.

Building on these general principles and a [[free software]]3 reference implementation of the underlying protocols and data, we model and detail how to implement a distributed system that provisions social knowledge services ethically and sustainably with a focus on upholding [[data sovereignty]] principles. We then analyze some of the potential applications of such a system. Finally, we shortly explore future work and implications assuming that the Agora network is run as a [[confederated]] system for the [[public good]].

  • Being built around a [[knowledge graph]], an Agora can be defined as a set of vertices or nodes N (each mapping to an entity in a knowledge base) and edges E (each mapping to a relationship between entities, annotated by context).
    • An Agora [[node]] is a collection; it contains the set of all known resources about (or related to) the entity described by the node id, defaulting to its name as an arbitrary length unicode string.
      • (But potentially overridden or extended with provided metadata and annotations.)
      • In this paper each such resource attached to node N is known as a subnode N_s.
    • Note that because links can be annotated by context (as they can be considered to be by nearby #tags and [[wikilinks]]), an Agora graph can be said to be a hypergraph 16.

Reference implementation

  • This section covers details on the work-in-progress reference software implementation built on the principles described above, developed as [[free software]] and run as [[public service]].
  • The provided [[reference Agora]] is designed to be a minimum viable cooperative platform that integrates and complements [[personal knowledge graphs]] in particular and, more generally, any writing done with a [[social stance]].
  • Its guiding architectural principle being to build as much as possible on already existing conventions common to as many tools and platforms as it is possible with the aim to achieve maximal inclusivity and diversity.

Here we cover some details of the provided free and open source reference Agora which provides a minimum viable implementation of the [[underlay]], [[interlay]], and [[overlay]] components of a [[distributed knowledge graph]]17.

  • The reference Agora stands out from other projects in the [[knowledge graph]] space in a few ways:
    • Whereas links in a personal knowledge graph or wiki usually have a single target (a particular note or page), Agora links fan out by default; targets can be thought of [[collections]] of resources.
    • While a personal knowledge graph usually contains resources and links authored or collected by a single person, and a wiki usually contains resources provisioned by a group in (a priori) a shared voice, an Agora tries to integrate and interlink both personal and group resources while preserving distinct voices18.
    • As of the time of writing, some personal knowledge graph tools are exploring collaborative editing in format- and platform-specific ways. In contrast to this, the reference Agora described in this chapter tries to be tool, format and platform agnostic to maximize interoperability and data exchange and provide utility to users of many tools and systems. This is achieved by targeting a minimum viable set of cross-tool conventions.

Architecture

agora architecture

  • The reference Agora is a simple distributed architecture based on off the shelf components.
    • [[agora root]] is a git repository containing the Agora definition, meaning a base [[contract]] which sets the tone and high level goals of the Agora, and a list of data sources to be recurringly integrated.
    • [[agora bridge]] is a git repository containing connectors and importers for supported data sources.
      • User controlled [[git]] repositories are the default data source.
    • [[agora server]] provides a UI supporting querying and composition and [[json]], [[rss]], [[rdf]] endpoints.

Data ownership model

The [[Agora platform]], although strictly rooted in [[web 1]] principles in its reference implementation as of the time of writing, is based on a strictly distributed model: by default users are entities that inform an Agora of repositories they want to contribute to the [[commons]]. As such, an Agora is trivially distributed in the sense that all data required to bootstrap it is hosted independently by users at independent locations19.

  • Users can contribute [[repositories]] to an Agora.
    • To do so, they publish their resources to a repository they control and then they let an Agora know of their intention to integrate, a desired username and their agreement with an Agora's contract.
    • [[git]] repositories are the default data source, with other repository providers ([[http]], [[ipfs]], [[drive]], [[dropbox]]) to follow.
  • Users can contribute individual [[resources]] to an Agora.
    • As of the time of writing they can interact with an Agora system account (i.e. bot) in supported platforms like [[twitter]] and [[mastodon]] while indicating nodes they want to attach to using a Layer 1 convention.
    • (Soon they will be able to submit this information directly on the [[agora server]] provided interface.)
  • Whenever a user signals [[opt in]] to remote writing (bridging, siphoning, cross posting), [[an Agora]] does its best to guarantee user data ownership.
    • By default, an Agora will not store data for the user if it the user has not signaled a strong enough intent to write full data. Instead, an Agora will try to [[link]] to resources only in matching contexts, allowing users to recover resources without meddling in data management (see [[go links]] study case).
    • Whenever it does write data, an Agora will try to provision a separate repository per user and try to turn data management into a user's concern at the user's earliest convenience.
      • To put it another way, an Agora actively tries actively to own no data, preferring instead to act as a temporary [[data steward]] of the users' repositories.
      • When an Agora sets up a repository for the user, as in the case in which the user requests to write without having previously indicated their repositories, the Agora will try to set up repositories in such a way that turn-key full access can then be given over to the user on demand.
      • Inasmuch the user depends on services associated with an Agora for repository hosting, an Agora tries to trees repositories as instances of [[pods]] in the [[Solid]]20 sense.

Endpoints

This section triers to summarize the endpoints that [[Agora server]] provides and plans to provide.

Agoras can define mappings from these to URL schemes generalizing to isomorphic REST-like APIs using agora.yaml21.

Entity resolution

  • GET /<context> -> by default the same as /node/<context>, might be overridden with a more particularly useful context
  • GET /node/<node> -> entity resolution, node can be percent-encoded
  • GET /nodes -> lists known entities in canonical form
  • GET /@<user> -> provides details about a user and the [[subnodes]] in their repositories.
  • GET /users -> lists users
  • GET /search?q=<query> -> generally redirects to /node/<node>?q=<query> with node being a maximally useful context while preserving fidelity with the percent-encoded query string

Feeds

  • GET /feed/@<user>
  • GET /feed/<node>
  • GET /feed/journals
  • GET /feed/journals/@<user>
  • …

Actions

  • GET /go/<node>
  • GET /go/<node1>/<node2>
  • …

References

Thanks and farewell

The author would like to thank [[Flancia Collective]], the [[Agora community]], and the [[Fellowship of the Link]]: for your inspiration, interest, guidance.

To my [[friends]]: for your ongoing love and support.

To you: for reading.

To all the Agora builders and maintainers through history, including those of the motivating historical [[poleis]] and those who will build Agoras for the peaceful cities and countries of the future.

Finally, some friendly parting words: if you don't like this [[Agora]], rest assured that's perfectly alright -- it is early stage. The [[Agora of Flancia]] is [[open source]]; these projects have [[Apache]] and [[Creative Commons]] licenses respectively. Please consider improving them!

  1. both commonsense and related to instances of [[commoning]].↩

  2. Eduardo Ivanec, a.k.a. 'flancian', representing [[Flancia Collective]] and the [[Agora community]].↩

  3. The provided [[reference Agora]] tries to remain tool, format and platform agnostic, building on general conventions common to many tools and platforms in the knowledge space for ease of integration and maximal inclusivity22 and diversity23. ↩

  4. Or [[Web]]? See literature for most common term, likely web due to ties to the [[semantic web]] if nothing else.↩

  5. As per Matuschak and Nielsen (2022), Kenneth Iverson seems to be the source of the currently dominant blanket term "[[tools for thought]]" -- although I can report he didn't use it in his seminal paper, preferring instead "[[tools of thought]]". I use these two interchangeably, maybe preferring the latter due to it giving thought agency.↩

  6. As of the time of writing the reference Agora can't publish to fedwiki, but can import fedwikis into the Agora Commons as repositories.↩

  7. An Agora is a repository of [[patterns]] and its design owes a lot to [[Christopher Alexander]], [[Ward Cunningham]], [[David Bollier]], [[Silke Helfrich]] and the [[commoning]] community.↩

  8. indentation is sufficient↩

  9. Hypothesis: [[Block References]] are suboptimal as [[cognitive devices]] due to being [[competitive]], whereas user generated IDs and encoded structure can be [[complementary]].↩

  10. An Agora is part of the Fediverse.↩

  11. https://logicmag.io/commons/singular-plural/ (or https://anagora.org/go/singular+plural as of the time of writing.)↩

  12. https://github.com/flancian/agora (or https://anagora.org/go/agora as of the time of writing.)↩

  13. https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc8700.html#name-the-rfc-management-and-edit↩

  14. TODO: there's probably a better term for this in [[Free, Fair and Alive]].↩

  15. TODO: find paper or good up to date reference.↩

  16. "Stephen Wolfram likes them." -- see for example https://www.wolframphysics.org/technical-introduction/.↩

  17. https://www.knowledgefutures.org/↩

  18. it is an expression of the [[pattern]] [[chorus of voices]].↩

  19. as of the time of writing, GitHub is the most popular git host, but not by much (TODO: percentage goes here). This is likely suboptimal as it undermines the claim of the resulting [[knowledge commons]] of being truly [[distributed]], and can be seen as an instance of the (anti-)pattern [[Anti Disintermediation]].↩

  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_(web_decentralization_project) ↩

  21. or TOML?↩

This document is world writable and has been seeded with a copy of what I ([[flancian]]) sent to the [[editors]] in an intermediate deadline. Feel free to make it your own! That is, edit and expand this to fit your vision of what the [[Agora]] should be like.

Feel free to also contribute your own subnodes to this node by tweeting/tooting [[agora pkg graph]] (and following [[agora bot]]) or by joining this Agora and contributing notes from your [[digital garden]] directly.

Have fun!

Introduction

  • In this chapter we describe an Agora, a social knowledge graph provisioned and maintained by a community as a commons.
  • An Agora stands out from many other projects in knowledge graph space in a few ways:
    • Whereas links in a personal knowledge graph or wiki usually have a single target, Agora links fan out by default and its targets can be thought of as mapping to collections of resources.
    • Whereas a personal knowledge graph usually contains resources and links authored or collected by a single person, and a wiki usually contains resources provisioned by a group in (a priori) a shared voice, an Agora tries to integrate and interlink both personal and group resources into a [[chorus of voices]].
    • Whereas as of the time of writing several tools in the personal knowledge graph space are exploring collaborative editing in their individual way, the reference Agora tries to be tool, format and platform agnostic to maximize interoperability and data exchange.
  • This [[chapter]] describes a set of [[conventions]], [[protocols]], and [[contracts]] that can be said to define an Agora.
  • It also covers a work-in-progress reference implementation developed as free software built on those.
    • Its guiding architectural principle being to build as much as possible on already existing conventions common to as many tools and platforms as it is possible with the aim to achieve maximal inclusivity and diversity.
  • Finally, we cover potential applications of a network built around such a platform in the [[knowledge]] and [[social]] domains in the form of short exploratory essays.

Graph definition

  • Being built around a knowledge graph, an Agora can be defined as a set of vertices or nodes N (each mapping to an entity in a knowledge base) and edges E (each mapping to a relationship between entities, annotated by context).
    • An Agora [[node]] is a collection; it contains the set of all known resources about (or related to) the entity described by the node id, defaulting to its name as an arbitrary length unicode string.
      • (But potentially overrided or extended with provided metadata and annotations.)
      • In this paper each such resource attached to node N is known as a subnode N_s.
    • Note that because links can be annotated by context (as they can be considered to be by nearby #tags and [[wikilinks]]), an Agora graph can be said to be a hypergraph 1.

Data format

  • Layer 0: [[plain text]].
    • Plain text is ubiquituous.
    • It is not only a common standard for all tools in the knowledge space, which simplifies interoperability; it is a common standard for thought as shown by thousands of years of preserved culture.
    • It can trivially encode outlines.
      • It can be made to encode trees, like in this example.
    • It generalizes to binary data.
      • It can be made to encode arbitrary data via application of uuencode or other encoding conventions.
  • Layer 1: [[markup]] and conventions for cross-referencing and linking.
    • Markdown, org mode, HTML or other rich markups building on top of plain text belong to this layer.
    • [[wikilinks]] and #hashtags seem like sensible cross-format extensions for semantic linking.
    • Markdown plus [[wikilinks]] is the default Agora layer 1 format.
    • More generally, this is an [[inline metadata]] layer. The above are just relatively unobstrusive generally available implicit standards that inline well.
  • Layer 3: JSON, EDN, RDF, protobufs.
    • In general, data exchange formats.
    • The Agora reference implementation currently provides JSON and RDF endpoints.

Reference implementation

  • Here we cover some details of the provided free and open source reference Agora which provides a minimum viable implementation of the [[underlay]], [[interlay]], and [[overlay]] components of a [[distributed knowledge graph]]2.
    • The reference system is based on off-the-shelf components like git and Markdown.
    • Individual Agora instances, initially provisioned and maintained by like-minded groups but later moving to a fully distributed model, are expected to federate and organize into a greater [[Agora network]].
    • We describe how this network can integrate with the wider internet ecosystem and how it could be used to run experiments on distributed thought.

Architecture

agora architecture

  • The reference Agora is a simple distributed architecture based on off the shelf components.
    • [[agora root]] is a git repository containing the Agora definition, meaning a base [[contract]] which sets the tone and high level goals of the Agora, and a list of data sources to be recurringly integrated.
    • [[agora bridge]] is a git repository containing connectors and importers for supported data sources.
      • User controlled [[git]] repositories are the default data source.
    • [[agora server]] provides a UI supporting querying and composition and [[json]], [[rss]], [[rdf]] endpoints.

Protocol

  • The Agora network should be built on a federated protocol to limit the negative impact of diasporas. Groups might temporarily diverge in their views enough to want to run separate Agoras, but ideally Agoras should be able to cooperate on problems and solutions for which there is enough ideological alignment, and eventually merge back.
  • #pull [[agora protocol]]

Data model

  • Users can contribute [[repositories]] to an Agora.
    • To do so, they publish their resources to a repository they control and then they let an Agora know of their intention to integrate, a desired username and their agreement with an Agora's contract.
    • [[git]] repositories are the default data source, with other repository providers ([[http]], [[ipfs]], [[drive]], [[dropbox]]) to follow.
  • Users can contribute individual [[resources]] to an Agora.
    • As of the time of writing they can interact with an Agora system account (i.e. bot) in supported platforms like [[twitter]] and [[mastodon]] while indicating nodes they want to attach to using a Layer 1 convention.
    • (Soon they will be able to submit this information directly on the [[agora server]] provided interface.)

Applications

Building meaning best effort

  • An Agora supports taxonomies in principle but mostly provides a set of basic tools to converge on meaning best effort through social processes.

Collaborative world building

  • We seek to provision and maintain a distributed knowledge graph tailored specifically to the goal of solving problems: those of its users and society at large.
  • Its users, as a cooperative group, are promped to take a naive but rational and constructive approach to problem solving by default:
    • For each problem in the set P of all problems:
      • Describe it as thoroughly as possible.
      • Maintain a set of known and supported possible solutions, S(P).
    • For each solution in S(P):
      • Describe it thoroughly as an algorithm, a dependency graph or both.
      • Maintain a set of resources (people, time, attention, wealth) needed to implement it, R(S(P)).
    • Individual users can also declare their views on the state of the world explicitly: they define which subsets of P, S and R they agree with, in the sense that they believe they are feasible, true, interesting.
      • Users that agree on their defined subsets can then efficiently collaborate on solutions as they become available by pooling of resources.
  • Assuming the existence of such a graph we apply some good old recursivity and bootstrap an Agora with the problem of building itself.
    • That is, we are tasked with solving the problem of building a system that allows participating users and entities to collaborate optimally in the face of adversity (such as biases and irrationality, but perhaps assuming good intent).

Coordination problems

[[Counter anti disintermediation]] through [[adversarial interoperability]]

  • An Agora can be used to solve coordination problems like those we need to solve to enable users to leave walled gardens and protect the [[commons]] against [[enclosure]] by [[anti disintermediating]] parties.
    • An Agora provides free [[bridges]] to escape [[walled gardens]] with your friends.
    • An Agora can help people regain and maintain control of their data, including their [[social graphs]].

Flow problems

  • #pull [[liquid democracy]]
  • We bootstrap a Universal Basic Income experiment using an Agora with a set of simple rules:
    • If you consider yourself under-privileged, you sign up to receive an income.
    • If you consider yourself over-privileged, you sign up to donate an income.
    • Incomes are recurring donations for a set number of months.
  • Optional virality rule: the person receiving the income should elect to forward e.g. 10% of the sum received to someone less privileged than them.
    • The virality rule both pushes network growth and constructively exploits wealth inequality and asymmetry of information: an under-privileged person is closer in the world to a more severely under-privileged person than the initial donor, so can more efficiently allocate the resources. This also empowers under-privileged people to also make ethical decisions.

Thanks

To [[Flancia Collective]], [[Agora Discuss]] and the [[Fellowship of the Link]] for discussion and inspiration. To my [[friends]] for their support.

  • #push [[agora pkg chapter]]
    • received updated [[guidelines]] yesterday
    • will probably move to a [[google doc]] as that'll be the medium used for editing (makes sense because of the comment flows)
      • although the end result will still make it back to Markdown
      • happy about this I think? it's a good opportunity to "reboot" the effort which I partly need to do.
  • -> back to #push [[agora pkg chapter]], now writing
    • target for today is 5k words
      • 5.6k at 20:40 after an eight pomodoro (and some more time writing after the bell for the fun of it)
      • [[agora]] -> [[agora pkg chapter]]
    • #push [[2022-08-24]]
      • maximum for the submission is 10k words, maybe shoot for 8k by [[wednesday]]?
    • follow the principle of adding 1k a day, only expanding ideas that are currently in [[agora protocol]] somewhere in the node already; do not add more ideas until those are fleshed out (unless something truly huge is missing somehow?)
    • make Meta a proper printable section for fun: maybe detail how the document exemplifies Agora Protocol, and how Agora Protocol was influenced by:
      • writing the outline
      • the process of converting
    • for fun, measure WPH when in a [[writing pomodoro]]?
      • it was fun to run wc -w agora\ pkg\ chapter.md occasionally and seeing the number go up; but I wasn't super structured about it (e.g. I didn't keep tabs precisely pomodoro to pomodoro)
β₯… node [[adversarial-interoperability]] pulled by user

Adversarial Interoperability

Or: [[The Two AIs]] Link: https://anagora/adversarial+interoperability

Adversarial must be qualified and quantified immediately: what we set out to achieve is [[Digital Independence]] and increased public benefit, with [[Right Intention]]. If it seems to contradict (maybe temporarily) the alignment of corporations and be against their interests, so be it, because we need to do what is right for the future of [[humanity]] and our [[friends]].

adversarial interoperability

β€œThat’s when you create a new product or service that plugs into the existing ones without the permission of the companies that make them,” writes [[Cory Doctorow]], special advisor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

– Breaking Tech Open: Why Social Platforms Should Work More Like Email - The Re…

β€œThink of third-party printer ink, alternative app stores, or independent repair shops that use compatible parts from rival manufacturers to fix your car or your phone or your tractor.”

– Breaking Tech Open: Why Social Platforms Should Work More Like Email - The Re…

Without adversarial interoperability, users have limited [[agency]] and innovation is stifled.

– Breaking Tech Open: Why Social Platforms Should Work More Like Email - The Re…

The writer Cory Doctorow talks about β€œadversarial interoperability,” which describes a situation where one service communicates with another without the latter’s permission, or perhaps only with grudging permission secured through legislation.

– [[Internet for the People]]

For most of modern history, this kind of guerrilla interoperability, achieved through reverse engineering, bots, scraping and other permissionless tactics, were the norm. But a growing thicket of β€œIP” laws creates severe legal jeopardy for these time-honored traditions. Just one of these IP rules β€” the β€œanti-circumvention” provision in Section 1201 of 1998’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act β€” provides for a five-year prison sentence and a $500,000 fine for anyone who bypasses β€œan effective means of access control.” And that’s for a first offense!

– [[Freeing Ourselves From The Clutches Of Big Tech]]

β₯… node [[agora]] pulled by user

Welcome to [[boris mann]]'s section of the agora!

We're experimenting with [[Connecting to the Agora]], and what some of the configurations and conventions are. The [[Anagora]] page has my notes and feature requests.

Status

  • This document was mostly written in 2018. The Agora was then just a thought experiment. It has since grown to be a living project.
  • As late as 2020-10-17, the Agora barely existed as a concrete implementation -- it was not a single tool but rather many which you could use in tandem following a convention, which I provisionally named Agora Protocol.
  • As of 2022-01-02, a reference Agora is online on https://anagora.org . Using terminology gained and derived in the last three years (with the help of the Agora community!), I can now describe it as a [[knowledge commons]].

Regardless of implementation details, an Agora can be assembled out of off-the-shelf parts available on the internet, mostly for free:

  • Knowledge management tools used for the purpose of building a distributed knowledge graph, following the aforementioned convention based on lazily evaluated [[wikilinks]]. See https://anagora.org/agora-editor for a review of some of the tools in this space, or Roam Likes for an older take.
  • Social networks and the constructive bits of the internet as we have them, annotated and enriched using open tools and standards.
  • An explicit constructive social contract. For reference you can consult the anagora.org default.

If you are interested in collaborating on building Agoras or similar constructive spaces, please reach out or peruse the Git repository.

See also: https://flancia.org/go/agora-howto , https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1322619094563258370.html.

Head

You can think of the Agora as a convention based social network; an optional, user-controlled annotation layer that can be applied over any internet platform which supports user-generated content.

I think one of the best possible uses for such a network would be to use it to pro-socially maintain a distributed knowledge graph tailored specifically to the goal of solving problems: those of its users and society at large.

Its users, as a cooperative group, could by default take a naive but rational approach to problem solving:

  • For each problem in the set P of all problems:
    • Describe it as thoroughly as possible.
    • Maintain a set of known or argued possible solutions, S(P).
  • For each solution in S(P):
    • Describe it as thoroughly as possible.
    • Maintain a set of resources (people, time, attention, money) needed to implement it, R(S).

Individual users could also declare their views on the state of the world explicitly: they define which subsets of P, S and R they agree with, in the sense that they believe they are feasible, true, interesting.

Users that agree on their defined subsets can then efficiently collaborate on solutions as they become available by pooling of resources.

We apply some good old recursivity and seed the Agora with the problem of how to build itself. That is, how to build a system that allows participating users and entities to collaborate optimally in the face of adversity (such as biases, irrationality and even actual ill intent)1.

The Agora should be built on a federated protocol to limit the harmfulness of diasporas. Groups might temporarily diverge in their views enough to want to run separate Agoras, but different Agoras should be able to cooperate on problems and solutions for which there is enough ideological alignment, and eventually merge.

Tail

I have a more focused and detailed unpublished document which will probably replace or complement this chapter soon.

I know the premise sounds almost like a joke: what the world needs is a new social network. The internet and social networks are technologies we are just barely learning to live with, and the recent cause of a lot of polarization and political escalation and Trump Being President2. It doesn't sound at first like we should add another stick to that particular dumpster fire. But hear me out.

We need a designated place in the internet where we can discuss ideas in a constructive way. In particular, where we can discuss possible strategies to face the problems that humanity is facing. This is already happening, for sure; but is it happening somewhere on the internet where everybody can contribute? I don't think so. If the Agora exists already, please point the way -- I'd like to get there, and building it from scratch would be hard. The network of universities and institutes are the closest we have and I love them, but the Agora should be fully open and available to all over the internet, so every participating individual can contribute work and thought. Of course the whole internet could be an Agora; but the internet as a whole is chaotic and disorganized and thus its implicit Agora is entangled with places that are not constructive and not safe. There must be a better way.

Nick Bostrom has a paper on existential risk where he talks about a kind of lottery of ideas; humanity is constantly playing this game, the metaphor goes, and drawing ideas out of big lottery wheels of Science and Technology and Culture. Some of the balls in this wheel are colored white; these are good ideas. They contribute to human good, and we're glad we found them.

There are also black balls, though. These are bad3. They are things that, on the whole, produce enough bad to be existential risks to humanity. Nuclear power seemed to be this for a while; perhaps mutually assured destruction could have resulted in an apocalypse. But it didn't! Aren't we lucky? If (and it's a big if) things stay this way, we got away with playing with something dangerous. Perhaps we can use the idea for whatever good it holds (cheap and relatively safe energy), or perhaps we decide to bury it underground in a big vault of ideas (this one doesn't have to ever spin again) that says Do Not Go There, Trust Us. For now, though, the idea might still turn out to be black; we could, perhaps, represent this situation as a grey ball of whatever shade we deem most likely.

We need a social network for discussing ideas. For talking about Bostrom's lottery urn, and what it has in it for us. In the Agora, we discuss ideas and their shades and merit; we discuss, first and foremost, ethics. We talk openly and clearly about how to best move forward as a society of humans, with the knowledge we've gotten and the resources we have.

What if social networks are grey? How dark is their shade? The high modernist in me wants to believe that the structured flow of information is more of a good thing than a bad thing. But we need to be cautious, and this is why I wrote this and you are reading it now.

I need your help.

In Flancia there is no poverty.

  1. To start with, discussion in the Agora should follow the tried and tested Principle of Charity.↩

  2. what if Twitter is already a decent Agora, and Trump just woke up to the fact that it's a superior meme transfer device sooner than others?↩

  3. White = good and black = bad is in the original paper. Now, an apology: I don't like the fact that our culture encodes bad things as black, it's associated with death, etc. I think associating black with badness is a bit trite in a world that puts so much stock on being a particular kind of yellow.↩

Agora

An agora, in its broadest sense, is a conceptual space where people attempt to bring an increased level of intentionality, explicitness, and mutual agreement to the principles and protocols for interacting in that space. A further aspect of the idea of an Agora is that it is a space which enables collaboration. In particular, it is a space that allows for collaboration guided by specific shared interests, without requiring the co-consitutients of the agora to be aligned more fully or generally in terms of their intentions, values, etc.

Some topics that the idea of an Agora is related to: [[transparency]] [[decentralized structures]] [[egalitarian principles]] [[judgement]] [[algorithms of interaction]] [[communication]] [[collaboration]] [[knowledge sharing]]

There are (infinitely) many possible variants of how this idea might be implemented in concrete, real-world situations. For example, an agora could be a space that is opened up inside a conversation between two people. Or it could be a collaborative project that is accompanied by specified rules. Or it could be a collective agreement about how to handle certain types of situations.

One variant of the idea of an Agora is a place where personal notes are shared, with the common goal of pooling information and sharing knowledge. One implementation of this idea is https://anagora.org . See also https://flancia.org/go/agora .

The term "Agora" and the basic idea come from [[Flancia]].

img side { lapin 77 {My visual take}}

Agora is a β€˜wiki like experimental social network and distributed knowledge graph’, so they said. I would say it's an aggregator of digital gardens and a community around it. Anagora is the first and biggest instance of it. [[Flancian]] was the one who created it and the software behind, but there were other good contributors. Thank you!

=> https://anagora.org

I'm part of it:. I also frequent the associated video conferences.

=> https://anagora.org/@melanocarpa | Melanocarpa in Agora => https://anagora.org/@bouncepaw-betula | My recent bookmarks in Agora

Agora makes a big emphasis on graphs and links. Their analogue of hyphae is called a node, nodes are generated from contents from multiple sites. There is also a cool notion of push/pull and go links!

//I was inspired by Agora's go links and implemented something very similar in [[Betula]].//

2022-01-18 I wrote the author an email about the possibilities of making Agora and [[Mycorrhiza]] compatible. 2022-03-06 Melanocarpa was added to Anagora, along with Mycorrhiza support. Furthermore, in 2023 proper support of [[Mycomarkup]] was added.

=> https://github.com/flancian/agora-server/commit/7783430aa33986186e9fd66ee858250b115e0d7e | Commit that adds Mycorrhiza support.

The Agorans also seem to be using [[git]]-based [[markdown]]-driven digital gardens mostly. It is the default choice for many, but luckily support for more formats was added. Mycorrhiza, for example, is supported! There is also [[Betula in Agora]].

= See also => Wiki => Social network => Digital garden => https://mycorrhiza.wiki/help/en/hypha => https://anagora.org/node => https://anagora.org/go => Flancia

You can't really talk about Agora without Flancia.

Agora

This looks like a really cool way of aggregating digital gardens into one place. To produce a community garden (or, an agora). Interesting to contrast with how a solely P2P way of connecting gardens might work, no central aggregator.

An Agora is a distributed, goal-oriented social network centered around a cooperatively built and maintained [[knowledge graph]]. The implementation you are currently looking at tries to assemble such a graph out of a collection of digital gardens.

– GitHub - flancian/agora

See also [[sister sites]].

See: [[What do I think about the Agora?]]

What do you think about the Agora?

Feel free to use this open space to tell us! We'd love to improve it for you; in general, to make it more useful and inclusive for others.

-- [[flancian]]


Your opinion could be here :)

β₯… node [[agora-protocol]] pulled by user

What follows is Agora Protocol in a nutshell: https://twitter.com/flancian/status/1437079533253976066 .

Self: flancia.org/go/agora-protocol

See also: flancia.org/agora (motivation and TLDR), flancia.org/go/agora (early stage implementation), flancia.org/go/agora-roadmap (roadmap)

By: [[D. W.]], [[Flancian]], your name here!

[[Meta, and a note to contributors]] 1

[[Background]] 1

[[Wikilinks]] 2

[[Backlinks]] 2

[[Block references]] 2

[[Multi-user experience]] 2

[[Proposal]] 2

[[Concepts]] 3

[[Multinodes, or constructive conflict handling]] 3

[[Other clients]] 3

[[Data format]] 3

[[Go links]] 4

[[Contexts]] 4

[[Open questions]] 4

[[Possible Applications]] 4

Meta, and a note to contributors

  • Agora is just a working code name; it is a recurrent label that one of the authors has been using as a placeholder for a set of concurrent, only occasionally convergent ideas. Please feel free to propose a different name, or indeed to ignore the name overall.
  • This document will probably make use of unresolved [[wikilinks]] both for the purpose of demonstrating the concept and labelling entities. Eventually this text is expected to move into a reference Agora, and such links will resolve.
  • I tried keeping Background to about one page and Proposal to about one page. Unsure if this is the right proportion/format at all. Open to any and all feedback :)

Background

The Agora is an annotation layer for the internet based on a loosely coupled socially maintained [[distributed knowledge graph]] based on [[wikilinks]] and back references.

Some conventions may be emerging in a new batch of personal knowledge management tools

1

, or amenable to them; for the duration of this document, we'll refer to these tools as Roam-like. These systems have caught on over more legacy apps such as Evernote, because associations can be created in a mesh or graph style between concepts and notes instead of relying on folders and more traditionally hierarchical organizational approaches.

This document seeks to explore common ground and propose a way towards a protocol for cross-tool distributed collaboration including aspects like interop, federation, etc.

Wikilinks

The ubiquity of [[wikilinks]] is a notable innovation over the previous batch of Personal Knowledge Management tools. The [[wikilink]] convention is in wide use not only in wikis proper, but also in all Roam-likes.

At their core, they allow a user to quickly make a relative "wiki-style link" between a note in one place and a note or concept in another. Typically the user will employ a wiki-like convention to begin-- for instance, typing "[["-- at which point an increasingly constrained set of options will be offered in real time as the user continues typing, against a set of notes or concepts that have already been created in their personal knowledge graph.

As of the time of writing, all Roam-likes support [[wikilinks]] with optimistic resolution

2

; following a non-existent [[wikilink]] triggers a new note creation. This encourages link-driven writing and enables users to easily create stub pointers to entries to be filled in later.

Backlinks

Backlinks are core to the note taking and navigation experience in Roam-likes. They are the main innovation over most common Wiki tools previously in widespread use.

Backlinks are usually implemented as a list of incoming edges to the currently focused node.

Block references

Block references are critical to some, but not all, of Roam-likes; notably Roam Research and Athens Research support them. Block references are an instance of block-level transclusion.

Obsidian, Foam and other players either don't support References at all or support only limited forms (e.g. Obsidian can transclude sections only). It is unclear whether this should be a core feature of a protocol aiming to federate between tools.

Multi-user experience

At the time of writing Roam is the only tool with an established multi-user (a.k.a. "multiplayer") experience being developed.

Proposal

We propose to develop Agora, a protocol that

  1. Enables interop between Roam-likes and the rest of the participating internet, in particular the [[fediverse]] and the [[semantic web]].
  2. Offers a common interface for tools targeting Roam-like databases as knowledge graph backends.

Concepts

An Agora hostsa collection of interlinked gardens # 3. Each garden is an instance of a personal knowledge graph such as that produced by any Roam-like targeting a database. For the purpose of this document, assume that distinct users A, B and C all publish their digital gardens in an Agora.

Multinodes, or constructive conflict handling

Whereas in a Garden each node id is expected to be unique, in an Agora conflicts are desired and enable multinoding # 4_._Assume users A and B have nodes in their gardens with a given id, for example Stoa.

Multinoding results in the following behaviour:

  • When a user of the Agora (not necessarily A or B) visits a [[Stoa]], both A and B's nodes will resolve, and be shown one after the other.
  • When user C creates a new node in [[Stoa]], they are made aware of A and B's node (it is shown as related context).

Other clients

One of the most common uses of tools such as Hypothesis is for users to create annotations which are then imported into a wiki-note application for other purposes.

An obvious affordance would be for folks to directly reference their or other's knowledge graphs in their own annotation bodies. Both the Hypothesis app and others in this category are often using a flavor of markdown as the editor syntax, so the applications are already conceptually similar to each other.

Annotation tools could connect to an Agora of the user's choosing so that while an annotation was being created, a direct reference to a concept node could be created inline. The editor would need to be able to query the remote knowledge graph in real time such that candidate concepts could be presented as the user types, just like in a native client. One could imagine this kind of capability becoming social, if some knowledge graphs were exposed publicly and one could query across them and choose amongst them. In this way, if the Hypothesis note were to be exported to another systemβ€” including the remote knowledge app itselfβ€” the direct reference to the graph would automatically work.

Data format

Most Roam-likes, with the notable exception of Roam, store their data as plain Markdown files. This makes their databases amenable to being hosted in common version control systems.

With the exception of block references, Roam notes can be exported to this format in a lossless way.

The Agora v0.5 reference implementation makes use of this data format and is based on git subtrees. This makes it so that each participating user can host their gardens independently, and rely on the Agora exclusively for Agora-enabled flows (such as multinoding and publishing).

Contexts

To be written. See [[distributed knowledge graph]].

Open questions

  • Should [[wikilink]] resolution collapse or maintain plurals and other common variations? Same for go links.

Possible Applications

Go links

Note [[go links]] and [[wikilinks]] have synergies. Go links can be seen as HTTP 302 as a service; they can provide both simple social bookmarking (letting users easily claim "URL space") and be seen as a social knowledge graph client. Making clients resolve also resolve [[wikilinks]] to [[go links]] as published by participating domains (perhaps those in a list controlled by the user, or those of their "friends") would allow users to crowdsource interesting targets.

Wikilinks everywhere

See: anagora.org/go/wikilinks-everywhere.

[[1]]Roam Research; Athens Research; Obsidian; Foam; Notion.

[[2]] Or as Ward Cunningham said: "When you reach the edge of your knowledge, create a new Wiki Page" (h/t Gyuri Lajos for the quotation).

[[3]] The term comes from digital garden, as exposed in https://joelhooks.com/digital-garden.

[[4]] Noding is borrowed from everything2.com, which successfully explored a similar setup.

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Meta

Architect, urbanist and design theorist.

Resources

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Effective Altruism

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Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom

a resource arrangement that works in practice can work in theory

^ In a very small nutshell that sums up Ostrom's huge contribution to the commons.

Building on Ostrom

Ostrom worked from the perspective of the rational-actor school of economics and a focus on resource management at small scales. So she worked within a limited analytic framework and did not engage with political economy.

– [[David Bollier, P2P Models interview on digital commons]]

To the extent that Ostrom and many other commentators, economists, and politicians focus on the Commons as chiefly a resource, it shifts attention to social and political questions of how a Commons organises itself into the background. It adopts the standard rational actor frame of Homo economicus and puts into the background the contestable, negotiable, circumstantial ways in which social governance emerges.

– [[David Bollier, P2P Models interview on digital commons]]

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Federation

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Free, Fair and Alive

URL : https:://freefairandalive.org

Subtitle : The insurgent power of the [[commons]]

Authors : [[David Bollier]] / [[Silke Helfrich]]

I read it in 2021. I loved it.

Partly as it draws threads between topics of great interest to me - commons, complexity science, commons-public partnerships, digital commons, patterns. It even ticked my wiki box.

It's also a very practical manifesto for political / social organising. I really like this about it. Its feel like a guidebook to (one form of) [[Anti-capitalism]].

As they say:

this book is not just to illuminate new patterns of thought and feeling, but to offer a guide to action.

It also full of real-world examples of commoning already in action.

Since reading it I'm dipping back in to it and looking at the specific patterns and ideas in more depth. The pattern-style they use makes it really usable. See [[Triad of Commoning]].

It has three main parts:

  • part 1, discussing the commons and commoning and what they are and their insurgent potential.
  • part 2, outlining a whole bunch of patterns for commoning that you might use. See [[Triad of Commoning]].
  • part 3, about how to grow the Commonsverse and challenge the hegemonic power.

Some sections I particularly liked:

Discussion

How does it relate to Ostrom / Governing the Commons?

Not a reinterpretation - but a shifted orientation, yes. Subtitle of FFA is "the insurgent power of the commons". Ostrom is certainly not insurgent! Somewhat propertarian in her basic framing, akin to 'Austrian' economics (Hayek etc). Whereas FFA is counter-enclosure, counter-extractivism, post-propertarian. Hence common-ING as its pivot, the radical, situated practice, rather than commonS, the co-optable, abstract, political-economic form.

– @mikehales - https://social.coop/@mike_hales/106280463656699063

How it was written

I found it great to discover that this book was researched and composed using [[FedWiki]].

https://occitanie.social/@yala/107322947574130084

What's the title about?

This is reflected in our title, which describes the foundation, structure, and vision of the commons: Free, Fair and Alive. Any emancipation from the existing system must honor freedom in the widest human sense, not just libertarian economic freedom of the isolated individual. It must put fairness, mutually agreed upon, at the center of any system of provisioning and governance. And it must recognize our existence as living beings on an Earth that is itself alive.

Bit of similarity to [[Doughnut Economics]] there - free and fair is a bit like the social foundation, alive is a bit like the avoidance of planetary overshoot.

Quotes

You will find many quotes from FFA dotted around my wiki. Check out the backlinks.

Unfiled

What we really need today is creative experimentation and the courage to initiate new patterns of action. We need to learn how to identify patterns of cultural life that can bring about change, notwithstanding the immense power of capital.

The new structure can help us envision different sorts of community, social practices, and economic institutions β€” and above all, a new culture that honors cooperation and sharing.

We came to realize that if we aspire to social and political transformation but try to do so using the language of market economics, state power, and political liberalism, we will fail.

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free software

Free software

Free Software is any software that grants any user the [[four freedoms]] to use, study, share and improve the software. These β€œfour freedoms” are given by a [[software licence]]. Software licences define the conditions under which a programme can be used and reused. For it to be Free Software, the licence text must contain at least the full exertions of the aforementioned four freedoms to any user without limitations.

– [[On the Sustainability of Free Software]]

If open source takes longer, so be it - degrowth is fine

'slow tech'?

'the maintainers' idea is kind of a slow tech movement

not 'degrowth' - post-growth

[[Municipal FOSS]]

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Hans Widmer

P.M. is the pseudonym of the Swiss author Hans Widmer (born in 1947). Besides writing utopian novels, other literature, theatre performances, and radio plays, P.M. has also been an activist in autonomous and [[eco-socialist]] projects and movements. [[bolo'bolo]] is P.M.’s most wellknown book. Reminiscent of Kroptokin, bolo’bolo outlines how a future grassroots communist society without capital and the state could look. [[Kartoffeln und Computer]] (Potatoes and Computers) is an update of bolo’bolo’s vision written almost thirty years later.

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Liquid Democracy

  • In [[Flancia]] they tried liquid democracy.
  • In liquid democracy you can choose a [[delegate]]. A delegate is a [[person]] who votes in your place on the ocassions in which you are unable or uninterested to do so.
    • [[experts]] are reasonable delegates.
    • you can [[opt out]] of any vote to yield.
  • Which are your thoughts on [[liquid democracy]] and alternate forms of governance?
    • You can leave your thoughts on the public document below.
  • If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
    • In Flancia all the people's proposals are considered as thoroughly as possible by those in positions of power.
  • I believe [[Google]] should adopt the key principles of [[Liquid Democracy]].
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It seems natural to start by talking about memory, as writing is an aid to memory, and here I find myself deciding to start writing.

My memory has always felt a bit insufficient. It's not horrible, but not great either. I've always been a bit self-conscious about it; I mention it often, as if to explain how I am. Deep down I think I might be like I am precisely because my memory is a bit short and unreliable; from the set of all possible thoughts, perhaps people explore only those that fit within their memories (working, factual), and to some extent learn to ignore the rest. If my memory capacity happens to be fewer than the average seven items, that sole fact probably shapes my thoughts. Having a bad memory had always sounded like a bad thing to me, but now I'm not so sure anymore.

It could be that you learn how to make up for a bad memory in other ways. Perhaps, say, you intuitively focus on trying to see more distant relations between fewer things -- relations that people thinking more complex thoughts (dealing with more things at a time) just don't bother with. I feel like I have ideas -- most of them pretty dire, but perhaps more copious than average. Forgetting and creativity are sometimes thought to be linked, and I can see how that could be the case: you have to forget your past self a little bit before you decide to start doing, or believing, anything new. So, on the off chance I have anything of note to say, I will try to leave my self-conscious past behind and just "do me" and write as well as I can now: not particularly well, but perhaps uniquely -- due in part to my unique limitations. I plan to persist and see how good I can get. Hopefully good enough for you.

Having said that -- this is a bit uncomfortable, but I guess I'm starting with a manifesto. It happened this way: I started to write down my thoughts on a few matters I had on my mind (before I forgot them, which happens a lot -- see above), and things got out of hand. This is a manifesto about how to live with privilege: how to try to do more for others with our privilege. How to take this great deal that some of us get, think hard about what to use it for, and perhaps end up doing something more interesting -- and, hopefully, a bit fairer -- than just living another privileged life to completion. Ideally, doing all this without huge leaps of heroism or strokes of genius; because we all have our limitations, and because simple plans work best.

I claim that:

  1. Living well is not ethical as long as other people suffer needlessly. Privilege (having much while others have too little) is not ethical because it depends on the existence of inequality to the point of suffering1.
  2. Privileged people must use at least part of their privilege to help the less privileged, to come up with ways to improve our world for others and all -- within their means and position. Privileged people must become thinkers and actors for good: acting as temporary caretakers of those less privileged and trying to effect social and technological change for their benefit, using whatever skills they happen to have, even if it means risking opprobrium or ridicule.
  3. All thus like minded people must work together to solve problems end eventually end suffering. This is humanity's ultimate project: by incremental improvements we must try to build an utopia. How we define utopia is important; we must begin every important project by discussing its nature and its goals.

So I want to get things started in this corner of the internet by writing a plan, my best plan -- very high level, its nature insufficient, but a start. If not to crack the problem, to inspire others to do better. The plan I have so far tries to show what I know, what I don't know, and what I don't know I don't know. I intend to dedicate my privileged life to this plan: to research it, to make progress on it; to advance it within my means. You, reader, can contribute to my plan, or a derivation of it, if you choose to believe in it. You could start your own. My plan is to inspire others to improve on mine, or theirs. Having a multiplicity of possible ways to improve the world written down seems good. It would be a distributed system.

Social and technological change must be directed at decreasing inequality until we are in a post-scarcity world. We must all work on trying to come up solutions to humanity's problems, one by one, at every level of abstraction, in the best way possible given our collective means. We must come up with a set of rules that maximize the value of our cooperation. I, myself, think we should designate areas of the internet as Agoras; virtual places which promote a higher level of discussion by enforcing a set of debate rules and values. These places are concerned with solving the problems of the people: of individuals, of societies, and eventually of humanity itself. These could be our current social networks; or better ones. Ones set up explicitly to function as problem solving machines.

Humanity has many problems. We should get together and plan on solving them as efficiently as we can. Humanity is the biggest possible social group, and human groups have of course been solving problems together for all of our existence; it's what Homo sapiens does. The internet can accelerate our problem solving; it already has, but it can probably go further as a technology; it is not done disrupting. We need to research, and implement, systems that optimize human collaboration; that implement optimal collaboration strategies using the Internet.

To solve a problem you write down what you know about the problem; you find other people that agree that the problem exists and needs solving; and you collaborate with them to build more knowledge about the possible solutions to the problem. An optimal system probably implements explicit ways to perform these actions. That is the Agora: we discuss problems and we attempt to solve them by writing all that is known about them; then sketching solutions (as many as we can think and find structure for); then researching each step in each likely solution; then writing project plans good enough to convince participating parties and stakeholders that the plan has a chance at solving said problem if the people and corporations participating in the plan all contribute some quantified resources.

This approach is naive but perhaps also universal; so such a system, if it existed and fulfilled its requirements, would perhaps be generally useful. If lots of people use it its usefulness might go up with network effects; ML could also perhaps be applied to the data gathered to build models that help humans solve their problems.

The ultimate problems are those that are, or should be, universal. For these the majority of people are interested in them and believe in them -- by definition. As of the time of writing I think this might be:

  • Global warming.
  • Economic inequality, with its subproblems and manifestations:
    • Homelessness.
    • Hunger.
    • Shortened life expectancy.
  • Social inequality, with its subproblems and manifestations:
    • Racism.
    • Sexism.
    • Classism.

Economic and social inequality are, of course, intertwined. Most of the world has adopted capitalism, so pragmatically speaking I believe finding patches to capitalism that reduce inequality is an inherently interesting venue for seeking a solution to these issues. One such possible patch is the wider adoption into our discourse of the concept of altruism. Under a different name, "charity", it is a common value across many world religions; as a principle it is perfectly compatible both with religious living and secularity. So the Agora should also provide easy, rewarding ways of performing charitable acts and supporting or becoming part of altruistic projects. Think Effective Altruism for the totality of humanity's problems as they can be modeled with the help of an Agora.

Some early proposals: Basic Income (not universal at first) could be set up via the Agora: people around the world sign up to participate in the program. Take you: if you consider yourself under-privileged (e.g. you live in a developing country and struggle to make ends meet; you are homeless in the developed world), a profile might be set up for you to receive donations. Take me: I consider myself over-privileged. I am a white male working for one of the biggest internet companies in the world. I would be willing to donate 1000 USD a month for one year for a trial of this program that gives 1000 USD montly to one person who is under-privileged, no strings attached. I can't be the only one willing to do this. Also, virality can be built into the system: the person receiving the 1000 USD can (or has to?) forward 100 USD to some more under-privileged than them.

Longer term: inheritance preserves inequality, so it is not progressive. It (probably) could be curbed over time, and replaced by a better way of redistributing wealth upon individual's deaths. Perhaps it should go to a Universal Basic Income tax -- funded separately. People care about their families, but at the time of their death lots of people surely understand that other people in the world are also important. The Agora could enable them to find underprivileged people that need an income -- with good, solid, ethically sound defaults provided by the community.

Solutions for other problems could be funded in a similar way. Think of people actually voting with as much granularity as they want on how money is spent, or expressing their domain-specific trust on delegates that decide on these matters2. As more and more people participate in this distributed system, the group collaborates optimally and thus perhaps reaches its goals.

Anyway, that's one plan. There are many. The Agora should have them all -- it's a library of plans, huge but a strict subset of the Library of Babel. The thing you just read is just one particular plan, an utopia, and I call it Flancia. But the Agora doesn't exist, so it's actually part of this utopia in my mind, and it's thus in Flancia. Yeah, a bit plot-twisty, I know.

I wanted to write a book about these concepts in a more oblique and properly literary way, try to follow the rules of art and show and not tell -- but I'm telling you what I have now, not what I wanted to have, as I feel my message became too urgent. Flancia must be this high level sketch, not a novel but an essay about a book. About a possible world. I would hope Borges would like the idea, if not the execution; when I think and I write I can only do what I can, and this is the best I could currently do.

People out there are suffering and every chance of making a difference is worth taking. Must be taken, if we are to behave ethically. Suffering due to economic inequality must stop and we thus set out now without fear, with joy, but risking ridicule; set out to fail, be doomed or blessed, forever persisting. No matter how bad the odds.

This is my manifesto. If you choose to believe in at least some of the ideas in it, it could be yours too.

In Flancia we share clear goals.

  1. My definition of privilege is closely tied to economic inequality. Note by privilege I don't mean comfort: I don't want to take away your comfort. I like my comfort too, and comfort is often a requisite for thinking. What I would like, instead, is for everyone to have as much comfort as they want. In other words: in my mind, a fair world in which nobody is privileged is equivalent to a world in which everybody is privileged. If you prefer, you can read privilege as inequality and injustice.↩

  2. Machine Learning could yield interesting optimizations when applied to all the system's data, that should be administered by a neutral organism which would guarantee that the users always "own" their data. What "owning" means is something that the Agora should also solve.↩

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Murray Bookchin

Murray Bookchin

I find interesting the tack he took of defining something in between [[Anarchism]] and [[Marxism]]. That appeals to me, part of the whole [[Horizontalism vs verticalism]] thing. Bookchin had chops in both of them so was well-placed for a synthesis I reckon. And I like his municipalist take on things ([[Libertarian municipalism]]) and his ecological concerns ([[Social ecology]]).

I listened to an interview ages back on [[Revolutionary Left Radio]] with his daughter [[Debbie Bookchin]] ([[The Philosophy of Murray Bookchin: An Interview with Debbie Bookchin]]). I remember he sounded like a fun Dad - taking her to the cinema, but waiting outside writing political tracts while she watched the films.

He seems a bit cantankerous.

The only other author I can think of who similarly combines brilliant analysis with bad faith caricatures of his perceived adversaries is Murray Bookchin.

– Center for a Stateless Society Β» Review: Srnicek and Williams, Inventing the …

His ideas inspired [[Abdullah Γ–calan]]. [[Rojava]].

O.G. [[solarpunk]].

[[Communalism]].

Rejecting ecological arguments that blame individual choices, technology, or population growth, Bookchin argues that the ecological crisis is caused by an irrational social system governed by the cancerous logic of capitalism, driven by its competitive grow-or-die imperative and its endless production directed not toward meeting human needs but accumulating profit

– [[The Next Revolution]]

Bookchin’s proposal is by far the most sophisticated radical proposal to deal with the creation and collective use of the [[commons]] across a wide variety of scales

– [[The Next Revolution]]

In the late 1950s, he began to elaborate the importance of environmental degradation as a symptom of deeply entrenched social problems. Bookchin’s book on the subject, [[Our Synthetic Environment]], appeared six months before Rachel Carson’s [[Silent Spring]], while his seminal 1964 pamphlet [[Ecology and Revolutionary Thought]] introduced the concept of [[ecology]] as a political category to the [[New Left]].

– [[The Next Revolution]]

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Node

what each note in the [[agora]] is called

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node club

node club

A week-by-week communal [[drift]] through the [[Agora]]. It is perhaps one good way to [[Ritualize Togetherness]] in [[Anagora]] / [[Flancia Collective]].

History

[[vera]] posted in Matrix:

What do you think about node of the week, where we pick a node per week to all write about and/or stoa on

like an agora book club

– https://matrix.to/#/!WhilafaLxfJNoigHCj:matrix.org/$XIRrdpblqdJ6lxz-p3mJHRcdja2fpEr5FjfS-XmInIs

Rules

There aren't really any rules. At the beginning we put a few nodes in to a pool and then voted on which one we'd all look at together. Sometime later we switched to each simply listing an interesting node they're looking at, and people do the same one if they want, or not. Dip in, dip out week-by-week. No pressure.

The first rule of node club is: you do talk about node club, if you want to.

Why I like it

It could stimulate the community aspect of Agora, to be conversational / goal-oriented. It feels a bit like [[Blogchains and hyperconversations]]. It also feels a bit like an async wikipedia edit-a-thon, but highlighting the federated rather than centralised wiki approach a la [[A Platform Designed for Collaboration: Federated Wiki]]. A communal bit of [[knowledge commoning]] to [[Ritualize Togetherness]].

Future

It'd be interesting I think to plot the paths we've taken through nodes. And to graph the constellations we've worked on.

Interesting nodes

For me personally a fun way to seed the node suggestions for a new week is a harvest of some of the forward links from the previous week's node. As it's all about making connections after all. We grow the Agora with [[creeping rootstalk]]s…

See https://doc.anagora.org/node-club for past interesting nodes of the week.

interesting nodes of the week

Under each week add some nodes you think other people will be interested in. We can study them together.

join us on matrix #anagora:matrix.org

season 3

episode 6 (30th October - 6th November)

episode 5 (9th October - 16th October)

episode 4 (2nd October - 9th October)

episode 2 (18th September - 25th September)

episode 1 (11th September - 18th September)

august special

season 2

episode 9 (13th Mar - 20th March)

episode 8 (6th Mar - 13th March)

episode 7 (27th Feb - 6th March)

episode 6 (20th Feb - 27th Feb)

episode 5 (13th Feb - 20th Feb)

[[node club tarot]] readings

episode 4 (6th Feb - 13th Feb)

[[node club tarot]] readings

episode 3 (31st Jan - 6th Feb)

[[node club tarot]] readings

episode 2 (23rd Jan - 30th Jan)

episode 1 (16th Jan - 23rd Jan)

season 1

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  • a [[person]].
    • I met someone tonight!
    • I have the feeling we'll be [[friends]].

[[2022-08-31]]

[[2022-08-19]]

  • Greetings!
    • How are we?
  • [[Grant]] running until end of August.
    • Around [[edtech]].
    • Can pivot (in this last stretch) to bounties.
  • #push [[interledger]]
    • project used for [[web monetization]]
    • used for transferring between sponsors and contributors
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Transclusion

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Table of Contents

File to control logseq behaviour

lust a fake node to make logseq graph connected and happy

[2021-01-16] ignore some tags like 'inspiration'. they make a mess in the graph, but mostly only make sense to me anyway [[logseq]]

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πŸ“– stoas
β₯± context
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