The following is a first draft of the core principles of the Social Future Metanet. Of course, everything in here can and should be debated openly.
The Social Future Metanet is a collaboration platform to support work on projects aimed towards a better, more futuristic, and more social world.
What is a better world?
The world is better when all feel better sustainably.
What is a more futuristic world?
The world is more futuristic when it embraces and applies radical innovation. Be it technological, scientific, personal, societal, or systems innovation.
What is a more social world?
The world is more social when people are aware of their interconnectedness and interdependence with each other, and therefore act in a more collaborative and inclusive fashion.
How to improve the world?
Projects are the levers with which a better world can be built. The projects and the people working on them here on the Social Future Metanet need to be in alignment with the following working principles:
- It must be aimed at creating a better, more futuristic, and more social world: Whether that is the case may be debated. The people supporting a projects need to make a convincing case that their projects does have a realistic chance at making the world better, more futuristic and more social.
- Will it make people feel better eventually? Projects should not cause pointless suffering. Their goals need to be perceived as in principle universally positive (actual disagreement caused by ideological resistance may be seen as obstacle than can be overcome).
- Is it innovative? Ideas that have already been tested and didn’t show good success in the past are not suited as basis for creating a more futuristic world. If projects are based on old concepts, they need at least to contain significant innovations in order to be acceptable as worthwhile experimental interventions.
- Does it actually improve society? Projects that only benefit certain individuals or certain groups, and not everyone won’t be supported by the Social Future Metanet. For a better world, society needs to change in positive ways. And because society is composed of people, we need to change in positive ways.
- Less ideology more empiricism and critical thinking: Ideology is to be kept at a minimum. Preconceptions about which methods lead to a better world need to be questioned. Implementations of projects need to be tested and evaluated. Projects that don’t let themselves be subject to critical questioning and empirical testing won’t be supported.
- Focus on actual effectiveness: Talk and idealism alone won’t change the world. Productivity alone is wasted if it isn’t directed at achieving actually worthwhile goals. There needs to be a realistic trajectory for how any project will actually be effective for improving the world.
- Self improvement: Our effectiveness depends on our skills and abilities. When we stay at our current level of personal and interpersonal effectiveness, our chanced to cause positive change in the world will remain small. That’s why we need to learn a lot and improve our methods. Doing that together can be more effective than doing that alone. Therefore, the Social Future Metanet is also a personal development platform. Where possible, we will try to help each other to become better and more effective persons.
How do the projects work?
Everyone can start and join and project. If someone wants a project to be supported by the Social Future Metanet, then alignment with the working principles needs to be made plausible and believable to the community admins. In the case that the admins agree, the project will be adopted as official Social Future Metanet project and get support in various ways:
- It gets its own (sub)category in the forum.
- It can use the blog for advertising itself or release any kind of information about itself.
- It gets its own section in the wiki.
- It is advertised in various social media channels.
- Additional resources can be asked for and may be provided where doable at reasonable effort and cost.
How projects operate is completely left to those who choose to engage within these projects. Collaboration can be completely open and without hierarchies, so that there are no leaders, no list of official participants, and no rules. Or it can be structured in complex fashions with any number or leaders, officers, or coordinators, and with strict rules which participants need to adhere to. Or anything in between.
Projects have no duties other than complying with the working principles. They may do progress reports or something similar on a voluntary basis, though.
What happens when projects violate the working principles?
In that case, realignment with the working principles can be attempted. If the realignment is made believable and accepted by the admins, then the project can continue as before. Only if the realignment is not attempted or fails to convince the community admins, official support from the Social Future Metanet ceases to be provided.
Why these principles?
If it is our honest goal to change the world to the better, then it would be rational to do that in an actually effective manner. Certain approaches are more effective than others. Consider these factors:
- For an ambitious project to be successful, it needs many engaged participants. If there are too narrow ideological constraints, the pool of potential participants will be small. That makes the project less likely to attract the necessary number of participants. For this reason, the Social Future Metanet does not have “affiliates”, but “cooperation partners”. Being a collaboration partner does not imply any ideological approval of either side, but simply means that both organisations pursue a common goal or project.
- Rather than restricting projects to a certain ideological environment, project leaders can recruit people from different groups and networks which may adhere to different ideologies. But if these networks cooperate on certain projects nevertheless, they count as members of the wide Social Future Meta-Network.
- Going into the right direction is hard, because it’s hard to find out which direction is the right one. Because our ideas and estimates may be wrong, we need to be open to criticism in order to align ourselves with the truth a really promising path to a better world again and again.
- Productivity and effectiveness are of central importance to any projects that is supposed to have an actual impact. The working principles should therefore optimize productivity and effectiveness of the participants of a projects, and of the project itself, without being too intrusive and deterring.
- People who take the initiative and go ahead with projects have low tolerance for formal nonsense, bureaucratic requirements, and external people and factions who want to gain influence over that project. That’s why there is no pointless overhead for any project being added by the Social Future Metanet.
- The core principles refer mainly to official projects. They do not represent general rules for the Social Future Forum.
- There is no requirement for members of the Social Future Forum to join any project.