Ming the Mechanic - Category:
NCN

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, November 14, 2011day link 

 Noi siamo la Nuova Civilizzazione

Noi siamo qui.
Noi ci stiamo svegliando adesso dal torpore di tempi passati, per sognare un sogno più grande.
Noi siamo amici e uguali, noi siamo diversi ed unici, e rimaniamo uniti verso qualcosa di più grande delle nostre differenze.
Noi crediamo nella libertà e nella cooperazione, l'abbondanza e l'armonia.
Noi siamo una cultura emergente, una renaissance dell'essenza dell'umanità.
Noi troviamo il modo nostro di guidarci, e noi discerniamo la nostra verità.
Noi andiamo in molte direzioni, eppure ci rifiutiamo di disperderci.
Noi abbiamo molti nomi, noi parliamo molte lingue.
Noi siamo locali, noi siamo globali.
Noi siamo in tutte le regioni del mondo, noi siamo dappertutto nell'aria.
Noi siamo l'universo che riconosce se stesso, noi siamo l'onda dell'evoluzione.
Noi siamo negl’occhi di ogni bambino, noi affrontiamo l’ignoto con un senzo di meraviglia ed entusiasmo.
Noi siamo messaggeri dal futuro, viventi nel presente.
Noi veniamo dal silenzio, ed esprimiamo la verità nostra.
Noi non possiamo essere forzati a tacere, perchè la nostra voce è interna ad ognuno di noi.
Noi non abbiamo nemici, nessuna frontiera può ostacolarci.
Noi rispettiamo i cicli e l’espressioni della natura, perchè noi siamo la natura.
Noi non giochiamo per vincere, noi giochiamo per vivere ed imparare.
Noi siamo stimolati dall'ispirazione, l’amore e l’integrità.
Noi esploriamo, noi scopriamo, noi sentiamo, e noi ridiamo.
Noi stiamo costruendo un mondo che funziona per tutti.
Noi intendiamo vivere le nostre vite al loro massimo potenziale.
Noi siamo indipendenti, autosufficienti e responsabili.
Noi comunichiamo reciprocamente in pace, con compassione e rispetto, noi ci uniamo nella comunità.
Noi celebriamo la totalità che è dentro ed attorno a tutti noi.
Noi danziamo al ritmo della creazione.
Noi intrecciamo i fili dei tempi nuovi.
Noi siamo la nuova civilizzazione.

Thank you, Oscar for this new and improved Italian translation of We are the New Civilization.
[ | 2011-11-14 17:19 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Friday, February 16, 2007day link 

 NCN call for donations
picture One of the main sites on my server is the New Civilization Network. NCN is a community site that has existed since 1995. The site itself is sorely in need of a modernisation, and the group dynamics amongst members doesn't always work great. But, nevertheless, in the longterm view, this has been a very important site, and something still works, the site still has a reason to be, and it serves as home for quite a number of people.

In principle I'm very happy to support the existence of a network like that in terms of server space, and not just because I created it. But I sometimes forget that there are costs involved in running a server, and I tend to not get around to asking for contributions, even when they are needed, and when people wouldn't mind giving them.

So, this is basically a reminder that donations for server costs are very welcome. For NCN members, there's a link on the start page in the member area. For others, PayPal donations to ffunch -at- worldtrans.org are always welcome.

Server costs for this one server are around $100 per month. There are other non-profit activities on the same server. There isn't really much else. You'll find sites such as the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Art of Living, Spirit Rising, OneWorld Flag, We need a dream, Inside Universe, and others. Some of them pay me occasionally for providing server space, but it is basically a gift economy. Meaning, I don't really ask for anything, but I welcome donations.

As to NCN, it doesn't really have an enormous amount of traffic. But I think a lot of people would be unhappy if it wasn't there. Including, of course, the couple of hundred people who have blogs here, but also other members, and many visitors. So, feel free to contribute something, if you feel like it, and you're able to. A few people do on a regular basic, but very few, like less than 5.

And, again, I hate asking for donations, and I probably wouldn't do so if a few people hadn't poked at me a little bit.
[ | 2007-02-16 21:57 | 15 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Biz yeni uygarlığız
This is the "We are the New Civilization" manifesto translated into Turkish. Thanks Zeyneb!
Biz buradayız.

Biz şimdi, daha büyük bir rüyayı düşlemek için, geçmişimizden uyanıyoruz.

Bizler arkadaşız ve eşitiz, bizler çok çeşitliyiz ve özgünüz, ve bizler aramızdaki farklılıklardan çok daha büyük bir şey için birleşiyoruz.

Biz özgürlüğe ve işbirliğine, bolluğa ve uyuma inanıyoruz.

Biz yeni ortaya çıkmakta olan bir kültürüz, insanlığın özünün yeniden doğuşuyuz.

Biz kendi kendimizin rehberleriyiz ve kendi doğrularımızı kendimiz saptarız.

Biz çeşitli yönlerde ilerleriz ama yine de ayrılmayı kabul etmeyiz.

Bizim birçok adımız var, biz birçok dilde konuşuruz.

Biz yöreseliz, biz küreseliz.

Biz dünyanın her bölgesindeyiz, biz havanın her zerresindeyiz.

Biz kendinin farkında olan evreniz, biz evrim dalgasıyız.

Biz her çocuğun gözlerindeyiz, bilinmeyeni hayret ve heyecanla karşılarız.

Biz bugünde yaşayan, geleceğin habercileriyiz.

Biz sessizlikten geliriz ve biz kendi doğrumuzu dile getiririz.

Susturulamayız çünkü bizim sesimiz herkesin içindedir.

Bizim düşmanlarımız yoktur, sınırlar bizleri ayırmaz.
Biz doğanın döngülerine ve kendini ifade edişine saygı duyarız, çünkü biz doğayız

Biz kazanmak için oynamayız, biz yaşamak ve öğrenmek için oynarız.

Bizim davranışlarımızın özünde ilham, sevgi ve kendine karşı dürüst olmak vardır.

Biz araştırırız, biz keşfederiz, biz hissederiz ve biz güleriz.

Biz herkese uyan bir dünya inşa ediyoruz.

Biz hayatı tüm potansiyelimizi ortaya koyacak şekilde yaşamaya gayret ediyoruz.

Biz bağımsızız, kendine yeteniz ve sorumluluk sahibiyiz.

Biz birbirimizle barış içinde, anlayış ve saygı temelinde ilişki kurarız, bir toplum olarak bütünleşiriz.

Biz hepimizin içinde olan ve hepimizi çevreleyen bütünlüğü kutlarız.

Biz yaratılışın ritmi ile dans ederiz.

Biz yeni zamanın ipliklerini dokuruz.

Biz yeni uygarlığız
That brings us to, let me see, 16 languages. But there are many more, so anybody who feels like translating it into some of the missing languages would be very welcome.

I also notice that the characters in some of them have gotten messed up a bit along the way. Nowadays one can show all character sets with UTF-8, but originally it was done in different ways and was a lot more dicey. So, if somebody who speaks one of these languages can help me out a bit and catch things that are off, that would be great. Like Croatian. Some of the characters have gotten garbled, and I unfortunately no longer remember who provided it originally. And the Hebrew version is a graphic, because of the difficulty in the past in making that visible. If somebody could type that up a regular Hebrew text, that would be nice.

Oh, and I just coincidentally noticed that the site Humanitas International has "We are the New Civilization" in all the translations scrolling by on their home page. Cool.
[ | 2007-02-16 19:45 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >


Sunday, March 13, 2005day link 

 New Civilization Network, 10 years
picture Today is the 10 year birthday of the New Civilization Network.

I suppose it is an impressive longevity for an online community. But I don't think I would have been surprised back then to know it would last more than 10 years. I would maybe be surprised to learn that it didn't really turn out as I imagined it. Then again, few things do. Groups of people tend to take on a life of their own.

Anyway, I hadn't really thought it through very much. I had identified some principles which I thought were key to growing a new kind of civilization from the bottom up. Oh, and they're still good. But I was probably greatly underestimating the amount of organization and effort that would be needed to do such a crazy and ambitious thing. And I failed to release a magical viral catalyst that would make it all just sort of organize itself.

Since sometime in 1994 I was running a mailing list called "Whole Systems", which was about systems thinking from a big picture perspective. It was a very active and stimulating place. But mostly people were talking and sharing ideas. So, I wanted to build something out of it that was more action oriented. So, all I really did was that a posted a message stating that intent. Which apparently hit a nerve, and it spread around quickly. So, within the week 100 people had joined. What exactly it was they had joined wasn't clear, but they were ready and inspired.

My vision was along the lines of a network of teams working on different important problems that needed to be solved to build a better civilization. A teamnet of self-selected teams who shared information and results. I imagined it as something that would self-organize and transform itself along the way. Nothing terribly wrong with that, other than that it isn't easy to start off like that. One can't just decree that that's how it is, even though I tried.

A sizable number of smart and inspiring people were attracted to that very loose vision, though. A veritable who's who of activists, explorers, visionaries, futurists, artists, inventors, leaders of organizations, etc. Just like I hoped for. That didn't mean that they knew how to work together, though. I had from an early point on asked people to fill in a myers-briggs type profile when they joined. Which showed that about half of these folks were visionary idealists. As compared with something like 3 percent in the general population. Which made it all very inspiring, but not particularly coherent or practical. Particularly when it turned out that many idealists really don't get along with each other, as they might have very strong, but conflicting, ideas about what needs to be done.

A vision of a new civilization is maybe inspiring, but vague. One can put all sorts of things under that heading. And I thought that was a feature rather than a flaw. I still do, in many ways. But it also means that people show up, and then find that they don't at all agree on the details. In principle that shouldn't matter, as the idea was that those folks who shared a specific aim or a specific approach would simply get together and do it that way, and if some other group wanted to do it differently, they'd just go do that. No need for everybody to agree on everything. A civilization isn't built out of uniform agreement on what it is. It is a collage of a diversity of currents that somehow get woven together.

But we're so used to living inside of organizations that share a coherent set of norms. So it turned out that some sorts of people simply wouldn't coexist with others. Like, the scientists just had no patience for having their project mentioned in the same listing as somebody working on astrology or healing or something. So, people would leave, or get into fights.

And, now, the idea was that these various teams would just pick their own mission and go to work. But most people didn't quite know how to do that, or they were sort of waiting for the master plan to be formed. And since I was the guy who started the thing, they were increasingly looking to me to come up with the plan. I was quite caught by surprise by that, as it hadn't at all been my intention to be some kind of leader who was calling the shots. On the contrary, I preferred being relatively invisible, and giving focus to the good things others were doing. That's of course all half impossible. How does one lead a new activity while being invisible. How does one organize a self-organizing network that will change the world. How does one best service a leaderless group that doesn't yet know what exactly to do.

The most vibrant period of time was probably while I regularly sent out various regular newsletters to the whole membership, with content aggregated from what people sent to me. Various news items, project updates, visions, and more. And each month I sent out the list of new members and what they said about themselves in their profiles. Which was always inspiring and illuminating, to see the diversity of activities and perspectives people were engaged in. All of it sort of created a shared atmosphere of constructive progress and sharing and networking. It also tied into various face-to-face activities, as people would meet, arrange events, etc. Like, the series of New Civilization Salons I organized in L.A. for years were consistently a great success. Typically around 100 folks at a time, and a combination of a networking event where everybody introduces themselves, and a party, with show and tell, performances, poetry, drumming, etc.

Oh, and a number of great projects almost happened along the way. Various ventures, plans, projects, activities. For a while it looked like some major funding would be available, and a group started constructing a framework for a New Civilization Foundation that would implement many projects.

Anyway, gradually, from a mixture of lack of tangible results, and bickering about details, most of the more prominent members that really were the target group, the ones passionately engaged in groundbreaking projects, drifted away along the way, as they didn't really have time for arguing about anything, as they had things to do.

Again, lots of stories to tell along the way, and various transformations, but still a continous flow of thousands of new members. Until, today, well, NCN is a website, with an assortment of community features. Weblogs, workgroups, chat rooms, etc. And it is a nice group of people who can be found there on a daily basis. Mostly to communicate and pursue their various interests, and to explore some of the dynamics that happen between people. It isn't to any great extent any network of teams building a new civilization. It is maybe a microcosm of some of the issues involved in building one. Which is all probably good, and I can't really complain about what it is. I sort of have to respect the path it takes. Which of course has a good deal to do with what I put on the website, and how I laid out the interactive features in the member area.

I have sort of shifted around between different views of it. Whether I should be happy or disappointed. Whether I should do it differently, whether I should just leave it alone. Whether I should take a lead again in trying to make it what it originally was meant to be. Or whether I should better support what it is today.

I don't really know. But, regardless, happy birthday, NCN! The future is still ahead of us.
[ | 2005-03-13 03:02 | 34 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Friday, January 28, 2005day link 

 Ons is die Nuwe Beskawing
picture Renier Maritz translated my poetic manifesto "We are the New Civilization" into Afrikaans.
Ons is hier.
Ons ontwaak nou, uit die verlede, om 'n groter droom te droom.
Ons is vriende en gelykes, ons is divers en uniek en ons is verenig tot iets groter as ons verskille.
Ons glo in vryheid en samewerking, oorvloed en harmonie.
Ons is 'n verrysende kultuur, 'n renaissance van die kern van mensheid.
Ons vind ons eie weg en ons bepaal ons eie waarheid.
Ons gaan in vele rigtings en tog weier ons om uiteen te gaan.
Ons het baie name, ons praat baie tale.
Ons is hier, ons is oral oor.
Ons is in alle streke van die wêreld, ons is oral in die lug.
Ons is die heelal bewus van homself, ons is die vlaag van ewolusie.
Ons is in elke kind se oë, ons trotseer die onbekende met opwinding en verwondering.
Ons is boodskappers van die toekoms, wat teenswoordig lewe.
Ons kom uit die stilte en ons praat ons waarheid.
Ons kan nie stilgemaak word nie want ons stem is in elkeen.
Ons het geen vyande nie, geen grense kan ons binne hou.
Ons respekteer die kringlope en uitinge van die natuur want ons is die natuur.
Ons speel nie om te wen, ons speel om te lewe en te leer.
Ons handel uit inspirasie, liefde en integriteit.
Ons verken, ons ontdek, ons voel en ons lag.
Ons bou 'n wêreld wat vir almal werk.
Ons strewe om ons lewens te lewe tot hul volste potensiaal.
Ons is onafhanklik, selfvoorsienend en verantwoordelik.
Ons behandel mekaar in vrede, met medelye en respek, ons verenig in broederskap.
Ons vier die ongeskondenheid in en rondom ons almal.
Ons dans op die ritme van die skepping.
Ons weef die drade van die nuwe tye.
Ons is die nuwe beskawing.

Thank you Renier! That brings it to 15 languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hebrew, Danish, German, Russian, Croatian, Slovenian, Finnish, Afrikaans, Esperanto and Interlingua. Anybody else inspired? Arab, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Greek?
[ | 2005-01-28 12:50 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Friday, October 1, 2004day link 

 Comment Spam
So, comment spam has begun to be a problem for my blog and for others using my newslog program who have public commenting turned on.

It is obviously automated programs doing it. They're surprisingly clever and circumventing the most obvious ways one would recognize them. But at the same time making mistakes that humans wouldn't do. Poster name or comment filled in as 'room' or 'site', for example. Which gives us a clue that somebody has written a spam program directed at chat rooms or forums. Which is flexible enough to work on blogs too, and figure out what fields to fill in.

Anyway, I've put up several lines of defense now, so let's see if they can get through that.

First I set up a blacklist for IPs. That has limited effectiveness because they manage to post the same spam from a bunch of different rather unrelated IPs. So either the IPs are completely spoofed, or it is done by programs installed by viruses on unsuspecting people's windows computers.

Then, to hinder that a program simply posts the data, without coming from my form, I check the referring page. Oh, easy for them to fake that, so that doesn't guarantee anything either.

Then I put a couple of extra fields in my form which are unique every time, and which both need to be given back, and need to fulfill certain criteria.

I can think of several more things to do, but let's see if that does it first. I'm trying to avoid forcing that one has to register to comment, or that one has to solve puzzles every time or something.

Anyway, it is probably safe to turn public commenting back on.
[ | 2004-10-01 23:59 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Friday, June 6, 2003day link 

 Blocking
In the community area of the New Civilization Network there's an occasional heated discussion about blocking. There are various ways for members of communicating and interacting. They can post to their weblogs, they can send messages to each other, hang out in chat rooms, and form virtual workgroups that other people can be invited to. But everybody do not get along with each other all the time, and the question is how to deal with conflicts, and with various people's wishes to not have to deal with certain other people. And again other people's desire to have all conflicts be settled.

In many ways it is like the Internet at large where pretty much anything goes, and you just route around the stuff you don't like. I mean, if you don't like a website, just don't go there. If you don't like e-mail from a certain source, set up a filter and send it directly to the trash. But in another sense it is like a closed community. If we were all living in the same house, as a family or as an intentional community, would it then be acceptable if two people refused to talk with each other, or, worse, if they accused each other of sinister deeds and motives, and they actively campaigned against each other? Maybe that wouldn't work, and maybe, for the sake of the community or the family, we'd have to force them to sit down and work out their differences. Or we'd have some mechanism for settling disputes. A court case or mediation of sorts. Finding out who's right or wrong, or getting them to kiss and make up.

On the Internet it easily gets fuzzy what rules we're playing by. If you and I have separate websites, it is not much of a problem if we don't get along. But what if we signed up for the same discussion group mailing list? What if we have weblogs and we write things about each other? What if our weblogs are aggregated in some of the same places, and read by many of the same people. What if there's a feature for leaving comments in our weblogs, but we deliberately block a few people we don't like from leaving comments there. But we might still write things about them, and they might appear to be bereaft of the right to defend themselves.

Well, that's the problem and the occasional disagreement. My answer is generally speaking to try to arrange things so that there's space enough for everybody, and nobody's forced to be in the same place if they don't want to, and that there are features for blocking specific other people from invading your space when you don't want them to be there.

In NCN a member can block another member from sending them messages, from leaving comments in their weblog, and even from seeing their profile. I don't see any reason for changing that. If somebody has something to say, there are plenty of places they can say it. There doesn't have to be any inherent right to force a particular other person to listen to you. But one issue at hand is: should the fact that one person blocks somebody else be public information? I'm talking about in the online community situation. The argument for it could be that it makes it clear why the object of possibly slanderous postings do not show up to defend themselves. They can't, because they're blocked by the author. The argument against it is for one thing that nothing stops the second person from stating their side elsewhere. And, secondly, making it public might make the blocker a target of further harrassment from the person being blocked. The blockee might consider it public defamation that he's being blocked, or as a personal insult, and might start a more vigorous campaign for having the block removed.

Despite that I in principle want most information to be as public as possible, I don't think an individual's preferences have to be.
[ | 2003-06-06 21:05 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Monday, December 30, 2002day link 

 A Little Server History
picture Something got me to start reminiscing about the history of the servers and websites I've been intimately involved with. Well, it is the end of the year, so I suppose it is appropriate.

I'm writing this in my weblog, which most people read at ming.tv, but which arises from the integrated NewsLog function of newciv.org - the New Civilization Network.

I had my first website in early 1994. It was served over ftp rather than http, because real web hosting was harder to come by. I called my website World Transformation, because that sounded like a good thing I'd be interested in, and I just listed some sub-interests and some links for each. Today it looks quite similar to back then, I'm embarrassed to say, which makes parts of it very outdated now. Later in that year I got an offer of free hosting on protree.com. At the time it turned out to be THE starting place for a bunch of alternative/metaphysical sites that later made it big, like Rene Mueller's SpiritWeb. Bob Garth who was running the server had just a 28.8 modem connection, but that worked perfectly fine in those days.

When NCN happened in early 1995, the thought was that there would be a bunch of decentralized servers, owned and operated by different people. Max Sandor started the first one, which he called "Server One". A 16MHz 386 running Slackware Linux. This too had an always on 28.8 modem for the net connection. Max took care of that for several years.

At some point I took that server over, and connected it to a new T1 connection in Venice, California, in the Global Solutions Center, later Synchronicity Networks office. Many more stories to tell about much of that. The hardware got replaced since then a few times. A total sequence of about 4 servers since 95 I think, although there have sometimes been several at the same time. Once, for several months, the servers lived in a plastic box on the parking lot by the beach in Venice, which was rather strange and risky. Somebody else had moved into the premises, but the T1 connection was still on, so we drilled a hole in the wall and led the cable out to that rubbermaid storage container, which was made for garden tools or something. Luckily nobody stole it. After that, the servers moved to Beverly Hills with the T1 line for another year or so, where I worked with Julie on the Oasis TV website and other things.

Nowadays there are luckily more options. I work out of my house and have a few servers here. The current main server is now located in Irvine, California, on a T1 line at the offices of one of my clients. NCN and my own sites are on it, as well as many other good non-profit sites such as Global Ideas Bank, International Society for the System Sciences, BagelHole, Spirit Rising, Richard Hawkins' Synergetic Geometry animations, Art of Living, Unity-and-Diversity Council, CyberSangha and probably many more I'm forgetting.
[ | 2002-12-30 22:39 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Friday, December 20, 2002day link 

 I'm not that far behind
I was sort of thinking I was way behind on implementing features in my newslog program here, which other weblog programs had long ago. But I just noticed Doc Searls saying:
"Blogging is basically just writing live on the Web. There are lots of upsides to it, as we know. But there's at least one downside: saving stuff. When you're writing for yourself, you save constantly. But when you're writing live, for the world, you don't always want to do that. You might want to wait until you're done with your post before you save it. That's risky. ... as I just found out when I wasted twenty minutes I didn't have answering Eric Norlin's latest volley, point by point. I was up to number 5 out of 6 when something "unexpectedly quit" and I lost it all."
Sorry to hear that, but, hahah, MY newslog program has a button for saving a draft while one is going along, and one can also leave a post hidden and saved for later publishing. Because I too absolutely hate loosing stuff I just wrote. So, maybe I do have a few things that others don't have. Like, the picture management system for this program is quite simple, but powerful and useful. Many weblog programs require people to know HTML to include links and pictures, and you would be on your own in terms of uploading the pictures somewhere.
[ | 2002-12-20 16:10 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]


Wednesday, December 18, 2002day link 

 Comments
Several people have asked me recently why I don't have comments enabled on my public newslog. I guess I'll consider activating it if I make some changes first. See, there's first the problem of a muddling of different spaces on the net. My newslog appears primarily in two rather different settings. It appears as ming.tv and the majority of people see it there, and there is no commenting. And then it appears inside the NCN member area. That appears as much more of a sheltered community environment, as there's a relatively small number of newslogs (50-100) and they are shown in one list, and it is very easy to jump around between them, and they look very similar, and there's an aggregate newslog which shows all the posts from all of them. For my log, comments are enabled there, as it is for most people who post there. And there's a very friendly crowd of supportive people who will pay attention to everything that is posted in any of the logs. I appreciate the comments and feedback there very much. But part of the problem is that it is such a fairly cozy environment that most commenters take for granted that we're all hanging out just in here. Whereas I mostly write my newslog for the people 'out there', who mostly exist in different environments and write their weblogs with very different software.

My solution will probably be to make it more self-evident in NCN which newslogs are very public and which ones are only local, and then on the public face of newslogs, making it easier and more seamless to post comments to them. Maybe with an easy one-time NCN registration, and then being recognized the next time you come by. See, I have somewhat bad experiences with completely open commenting, where people can just type in a phoney name and e-mail and run away. Most serious posters wouldn't mind a quick registration, I think.
[ | 2002-12-18 18:16 | 2 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Tuesday, November 12, 2002day link 

 Back to Back
pictureWhen we interact with other people, or we form groups with them, we might often not realize at first how we have different ways of doing things. If we notice and appreciate how our different ways are complementing and supporting each other - that can be a great thing. If we don't, we might speak past each other, and misunderstand each other's intentions.

I originally set up NCN as a gathering space and a set of tools for people who're out there working on building a better world. Not any end in itself, and no agenda, but a bit of infrastructure that might help people do what they do, or that might help them find what to do if they don't know.

The way I personally use NCN features, such as this NewsLog program here, is as a way of addressing the world, a way of working with the people I work with, and a place to get inspiration or feedback when I need it. But my attention is mostly outwards, towards what might be needed in the world, or what might need to be said, or who else I ought to work with.

I suppose that the people I most enjoy working with are those that I can comfortably work back-to-back with. You know, I work on this piece, and you work on that piece, and we don't have to talk a whole lot about it, other than when our pieces overlap. But I trust that our pieces will probably fit together eventually. And we're somehow in sync.

It is my own fault, I'm sure, but I often forget that other people work quite differently. Of course we need all sorts of ways of doing things. If some people have their attention out on the big world, others will have to pay attention to keeping the house in order. But what I still don't get is why some people sort of get stuck in the middle.

It is like if I put up a big notice board, and I say: "Here you can post notices for your friends to find them and read them". Some people will go off and do things, and will use the notice board to stay in touch with some of their friends and will be quite happy with it. A few people might volunteer to keep the notice board in good shape, removing notices that are too old and forgotten, and emptying the trash can. But some people will also just keep standing in front of the notice board. For some, that's because it is fun, and there's a lot of activity, and they can read all the notices, and create inventive notices themselves, and they thrive in that, and that's cool. But other people somehow think they're actually supposed to be standing there, and that something will happen. And after a few months they say: "Hey, I've been standing here for several months, and nothing is happening. This sucks. Screw your notice board. I'm gonna go out and do some real things."

And that makes me sad. By all means, go out and do the things you see need doing. Do them sooner rather than later. If you need a notice board or a meeting room or a megaphone or a newspaper, it is here, you can come and get it at any time, and its free. And please share the stories of your successes and failures when you have time. But first of all, do your thing. And I'll do mine. If necessary, we'll talk. Cover my back and I'll cover yours.
[ | 2002-11-12 17:46 | 2 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Who's Real
pictureA concern for any virtual community space is how we can verify whether people are who they say they are, or whether we even care if anybody is who they say they are.

If people can just go and create a profile by filling in a name and an e-mail, we're not really going to be sure who they are at first, beyond what they say. They might create several accounts and pretend to be different people.

We can of course make more stringent criteria for opening new accounts. For example, that one has to be referred by some already known person, and that one has to fill in a considerable amount of information about oneself, and somebody has to examine that and approve the application.

But it still comes down to something more fundamental. Community doesn't happen just because some people fill in profiles, even if they do it correctly and truthfully. Community is something that happens between specific people, not something that can be automated in a database.
[ | 2002-09-21 22:12 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Where are the people it works for?
The New Civilization Network is intended to be a place where useful connections form, where people find the collaborators and resources they need to manifest the things they dream about doing. Or, shall we say, NCN is an exploration towards creating structures that accomplish that, and that allows such teams of people to inter-connect productively with each other.

Now, as to people finding what they're looking for, there appears to be a problem. I know that some people do find important things they were looking for. But the tendendency is to leave after you do so.
[ | 2002-05-30 13:23 | 22 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 NCN Rules
Below is my draft for a set of rules of the NCN member area. There have been a number of discussions in the last few months where people have expressed that it wasn't clear what the rules were here. So, I'm trying to remedy that.
[ | 2002-05-09 17:23 | 28 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Disappearing
Well, I was really planning on starting to point my newslog outwards, to the rest of the world, rather than talking about internal NCN stuff all the time. But I guess the energy is flowing a little different.

For years I've wondered what kind of role I ought to personally take for NCN that would best help things actually working. Because I noticed early on how I easily became a bottleneck or even an obstacle in making things happen.
[ | 2002-05-01 14:44 | 30 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Things I'm working on
Here are some of the things I'm planning for the NCN software. This is just to give a hint of what I'm doing and what direction my mind is going in. And there are a lot of details, but these are some of the headings:

- Surveying and Polling
- Shared connections with other sites and networks
- A market place for services offered and unmet needs
- Specialized workspaces
- More personal organizer features
- More simple, intuitive layouts wherever possible
- Access for people speaking different languages than English
[ | 2002-02-27 14:17 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Making NCN work for you and me
pictureI feel like I'm saying the same things over and over, but sometimes it seems to be necessary. NCN is a somewhat strange and unusual entity, so it is a little hard to fit it into a known category. It is not an organization for one thing. It doesn't have one particular agenda or product, and it doesn't have a hierarchical leadership. It has a sort of meta-agenda, which is to provide a framework that supports all sort of constructive agendas. And it is meant to be self-organizing in a network layout, not controlled through a hierarchy.

Some people run a bit afoul of the whole thing and end up disappointed that it doesn't do the "right" thing, so I figure I've better outline that a bit more. If you feel you already "get it", you might not have to read on.
[ | 2002-02-22 13:57 | 10 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Action
picturePart of the reason why I started NCN originally was because I felt it was time to take action. Enough talk, enough philosophizing, now we need to actually build something together based on what we believe in, and now we need to actually go out and make the world right, as if it depended on us.

It is no different today. I wouldn't pour most of my time into building this virtual environment here if it was only going to be a social club. The only reason I keep doing so is because I still believe we'll find out how to arrange things so that we actually make a difference in the world. So far we haven't found the formula.
[ | 2002-02-21 14:37 | 42 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Diversity of Perspectives
pictureA recurring phenomenon in NCN is the friction that appears when people find out that they don't agree. It seems very ingrained in our habits to expect that the people we connect with all have to have the same world view. And if they don't, we'll somehow persuade them to have the same world view. And if, after a lot of trying, we still can't agree, then they become our enemies, and either we get them kicked out, or we ourselves leave.

I have often preached that the only viable way forward is to embrace the fact that we'll always have a diversity of perspectives and preferences, and that it doesn't stop us from sharing the same bigger space, and from finding synergies amongst our various activities. And that we would be more likely to succeed as a diverse group than as a homogenous group, all believing and saying the same things.

Exactly how that is going to work, I don't yet know. But I know it is of vital importance to solve that whole issue.

Below is a message on the subject I wrote a few years ago.
[ | 2002-02-19 19:34 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Billions and Billions
pictureThere's a story that is part of NCN's earlier history that many of the currently active members probably haven't heard of, so I just want to bring it up again, for possible inspiration.

In short, for a while it looked very, very likely that an extraordinarily huge amount of money would be flowing into what we would call the New Civilization Foundation, which would be used for funding many of the projects we collectively could envision, and that would tangibly build a new civilization.

It is a strange and, for many, completely unbelievable story, so I'm not even going to share all of it, but I'll bring up a few hints.
[ | 2002-02-18 14:50 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >



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