I’ve got some comments from a few people wondering about how I implement decisions in the Fractal Future (F2). My style of leadership seems to be a bit different from the leadership style of other communities, so it requires some explanations. Technically, as founder, community leader, and infrastructure administrator I am somewhat of a benevolent dictator here. The F2 is my personal project in that respect, and I could do with it whatever I please. Now let me jump straight to the principle behind the way I make decisions. The underlying principle is:
I want to make the best decisions by using collective intelligence.
The decisions I want to make for the F2 ideally should be the best for me, the community, and the whole world at large. Since I am human and am not able to consider all possibly relevant factors, I cannot make the best decisions on my own. That’s the main reason why I ask for the input of others. It is possible that I haven’t considered important factors when making a potential decision, so I want others to be able to point that out to me, if that should actually be the case. Also, it is possible that others have better ideas than I have, or that they want to improve on my ideas. In that case, they should have the chance to present their ideas and improvement proposals.
And that is why I often don’t implement decisions about the F2 immediately, even if I could technically do that. I simply want to make the best decisions and that requires from me to be open about community feedback. I am aware that this can be interpreted as insecurity, but it’s simply a logical requirement to ask for feedback, if one wants to make the best decisions by using collective intelligence in the way I’m doing it on the F2 by not implementing serious decisions immediately. Improving potential decisions first is better and easier than rolling them back after they have been made.
Also, it’s important to note that the reason why I’m often asking the community is not that I want to be democratic, or want to appear democratic. In fact, I think that “democracy” is too much of a fuzzy term, so I prefer to talk about collective intelligence and autonomy. Anyway, it’s not about democracy or about the appearance of democracy here, it’s about the use of collective intelligence! At this stage, it would actually be pretty inappropriate to use formal democratic for Fractal Future, because the general level of activity and investment of most members is relatively low. Giving (the appearance of) formal power to people who use the forum one a month for 5 minutes is probably not in the best interest of anyone. Since the F2 emerged out of my own initiative and there’s not a huge amount of (time, energy, money, infrastructure) investment from others into the F2, I deem it to be the best that I lead the F2 as “benevolent dictator” – which most people expect me to do anyway. But being a benevolent dictator doesn’t imply that I’m not willing to listen to feedback and input. It just means that I will reject such input as I please, if I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the F2.
In fact, there’s a rule in place that would allow F2 members to use self organization to shape the F2 and its activities:
Perhaps that rule doesn’t make too much sense at the current size and activity level of the F2, but it exists, and could be used, if anyone actually bothered to do that.
The usual Fractal Future decision making process
Anyway, the F2 decision making process is usually like this: I propose a decision and wait for community feedback. If no negative feedback comes in, or if I reject that negative feedback for some reason (whether I care the explain that reason or not), usually I will eventually make the decision official for the F2. I will use the following icon for that (at least for now): . It is also possible that I reconsider my decision proposal – whether that’s because the community pointed out of a potential problem of the decision, or whether I realized that the decision is problematic on my own (perhaps after having slept about it). In such a case, I will reject the decision proposal:
This doesn’t mean that all decisions regarding the F2 will be made in that fashion. There are certainly some decisions I’ll make on my own without asking the community, either because they are trivial, or because I have very good reasons to do things in that way – and not in any other way.
F2 members can of course try to show more initiative and propose changes to the F2 on their own. As I’ve written, I’m open to feedback and ideas. In fact, I would be happy if F2 members came up with such ideas, but at the same time I can totally understand and accept that there can be good reasons for why they are not motivated to engage with the community in that energetic way. Nevertheless, F2 members shouldn’t get the impression that they have the right (or the possibility) to force their decisions on the community. Only I have that right and the possibility, because I am the benevolent dictator here, but I am aware that forcing arbitrary and important decisions on a community is not always the best leadership style.
I hope all of this (or at least most of this) makes sense to you. If not, please feel free to ask for clarifications. Or propose a well-founded way of how to do things better, if you care to do that.