Perhaps you have taken notice of me being quite interested in self-organization lately. So far, I’ve finished reading Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux and almost finished reading Swarmwise by Rick Falkvinge. Those are seriously mind-expanding books, especially the first one.
First of all, let me first tell you what I understand by “self-organization”: Self-organization means that people in an organization are encouraged and even expected to take the initiative on their own accord without being unnecessarily prevented from doing so by authorities. This means, people should have the power to do what they want to do when it’s in the interest of the organization and authorities only can intervene in certain cases, if at all. Self-organization doesn’t mean that there are no rules and no leaders! It just means that the rules are encouraging grassroots activity instead of blocking it, and it means that everyone can step up and act as leader when something needs to be done. It’s important to note that under self-organization you can’t command others to do what you want them to do. You need to encourage them to do that – and accept if they say no.
So far, the F2 (Fractal Future) doesn’t have any explicit rules and it still works fine. I want to introduce a rule in order to make it work even better. In order to make it clear to everyone how the F2 operates, so that there is no uncertainty about how we do things here. If you think any proposed rule would make the F2 operate worse, then please state your objections.
Because we don’t have a rule about how to make rules, we will have to improvise at the beginning. If we get a clear consensus, the following rule will be accepted. Otherwise, it may make sense to talk about how to make and accept rules in the first place (this is important and has to be done sooner, rather than later, anyway).
One last comment before the actual rule proposal. The following rule is supposed to turn everyone into effective leaders. it should make it easier for members of the F2 to take the initiative without my explicit consent, or the consent of anyone else.
24 h Initiative RuleEveryone can start an initiative in the F2 by posting in the Meta > Fractal Future subcategory or any other really relevant category. The initiative post should contain what the initiative entails and who is encouraged to participate in it and how. if the only one involved in this initiative is you, then you don't need to follow this rule, but you can do so anyway, if you want feedback.
Now the rule is that the initiative is rejected if there is a single rejecting reply in the thread within 24 hours. Otherwise the initiative is officially seen as accepted by the F2 and people are officially encouraged to support the initiative, if they want. Nobody if required to take part in the initiative, not even the initiator him- or herself!
Note that this is only a rule about initiatives, not a rule about how to make rules or something like that. Rule setting requires a different procedure which will be discussed in the future.
Why does that rule make sense?Rules always should have a clear justification, so I am providing the reasoning behind the proposed rule.
- First of all, this rule is there to encourage and simplify initiative taking. Without this rule, people can still try to act as leader, but without backing from an accepted rule of the F2, their effectiveness will be diminished.
- Weak consensus: This rule implements a principle I call weak consensus: Anyone can come up with a proposal. How is that proposal accepted or rejected? There are many possible mechanisms for that. People could delegate the decision to an official authority position, or vote on the issue. Those are suboptimal practices, especially because they may disrespect opposing opinions from stakeholders. A consensus mechanism avoids those problems. Strong consensus is when everyone agrees that the proposal should be accepted. In contrast, weak consensus means that simply nobody opposed the proposal. No explicit agreement from anyone is required. Staying silent is not interpreted as agreeing with the proposal itself, but as absence of strong opposition to the proposal. If someone would sabotage the proposal, it would be better for that person to oppose the proposal in the first place. Sabotaging an uncontested proposal is not seen as acceptable behaviour. Of course, proposals can be discussed later on and possibly be replaced by a new proposal.
- Online community timing: We don’t all live in the same place, so we can’t just ask everyone instantly (of course we could try to PM or phone each other, but some persons might not be available). I see 24 hours as reasonable time frame for online communities with which people are actively engaged. This means checking out this forum at least once a day, if you want to make use of your right to oppose initiatives. Writing a simple “no” suffices. An explanation would be preferable in any case, and is actually expected at least later on, but I understand that you can be pressed for time sometimes. Also, a simple “initiative” is nothing which will completely reshape the future of the F2 forever anyway.