[pp.int.general] R?ttning mitt?t, sort of: some thoughts for the mailing list

carlo von lynX lynX at pirate.my.buttharp.org
Sun May 18 18:55:23 CEST 2014

It's been almost a year, but since noone said what I have to say, I do it now.

On Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 02:23:17PM +0200, Rick Falkvinge (Piratpartiet) wrote:
> After all, rules that cannot reasonably be enforced are not rules you
> want to have. You cannot keep somebody from posting to an open list,

That is a misconception. Rules of decency and respect of other people
are very well reasonably enforceable. The PPI board could define clear
rules of behaviour and have them respected by moderation. Even the
school of anti-authoritarian thinking has developed rules of reasonable
civic collaboration, here's an example:
I mean the part about electing a "vibes watcher" and having her or him
stop "bad process" which in extreme cases must include moderation,
otherwise the technique has no authority thus no effect.

If even 1968's hippies have learned these basic rules of getting
collaboration off the ground, why do we have to pretend we can
invent something new and repeat exactly the same mistakes others
have made before us?

> and openness is a virtue. The alternative would be moderating posts
> and/or participants, and that's not who we are; that's not the swarm
> way of collaborating.

Yes we rather degenerated into fighting without decency and respect
for each other. Would be okay if you were proposing some technology to
handle the problem, but like this you are trying to propose a new way
to deal with problems that are thousands of years old, and have failed
again and again - just recently in the 80s with the German Greens.

If your idea was so bright, philosophers would have come up with it
much earlier and the world would work in swarms instead of political

> Instead, I'd like to remind everybody about two important principles:
> - - Attention is reward.
> - - If you see something you don't like, contribute with something
>   you do like.

And then look how trolls puke all over it with non-sense populistic
superficiliasm that somehow hurts even if it is completely baseless?

> ATTENTION IS REWARD: If you give somebody attention for a behavior,
> you will reinforce that behavior, whether the behavior is something
> you want to see more or less of. This means that giving attention to
> things you dislike is inherently self-defeating, as they will be
> nurtured by your attention.

You mean "don't feed the troll." That is flawed thinking as it only
works for environments where there is a clearly defined leadership.
In that case the leader ignores the troll and everything is fine.

In a political party, ignoring the troll gives him or her a certain
amount of victory and influences bystanders and newcomers that aren't
fully understanding the issues. That is, with every last word the
troll gets, his or her influence grows.

So "don't feed the troll" does NOT work in democratic environments.
Letting trolls act freely WILL damage the democratic process.
Mailing lists are an ideal platform for trolls.

> LIKE: This is closely related to the Law of Two Feet. We're a
> meritocracy where we're dependent on many people trying many different
> things. Leadership with us is not achieved by vote or appointment, but
> by taking an initiative and letting others follow that initiative of
> their own free will. Disliking an initiative is fine, but criticizing
> the initiative from that emotion misses the point - being pioneers, we
> must necessarily try many paths, and many of them will be dead ends,
> but we don't know that before trying them. The more paths we try, the
> more ways of success we'll find. Therefore, the proper response to
> seeing somebody walk down a path you don't believe in is to walk down
> your own path that you believe more in.

Pirates do that all the time, but most of the time it leads to ten
pirates standing at the end of ten different paths. And what's worse:
All of them have not properly analyzed the problem at hand if they
simply followed their opinionistic instincts rather than engaging
in a rational problem/solution-finding process as also described in
the document i linked above.

I can see it in most pirate parties: N people, firmly convinced that
the PP needs to do AAA or BBB to fix all problems, and none of them
having fully thought it through and based it upon the evidence of
the problems at hand. But they are ready to fight to the blood for
their convictions. Excuse me, this is not my idea of Pirates.

The idea of "voting with your feet" may be easy to implement in
real life, but it WILL NOT return the best possible results as it
fosters populistic followerships instead of rationally and
scientifically debating all options and collectively realizing what
the best solution would be. A proper process of consensus-finding.
(Which I also admit isn't really supported by Liquid Feedback, so
 you will want to choose other tools. We use Pads and Mumble
 meetings for now, then hope the remaining party folks will
 understand and appreciate what we bring to the assembly).

> (As a final plug, these and many more principles are covered more
> in-depth in my book Swarmwise, which covers my leadership experiences
> taking the PPSE from nothing into the European Parliament. Five

PPSE is a very special case. A PP that does not have a court of
arbitration, where it is accepted that whoever is elected to the
board will run the show, no questions asked. This is not the idea
of a political party the other Pirate Parties would like to follow

Also, it seems that the swarm effect has only worked once. It's
like triggering a chain reaction of retweets. Somewhat superficial
and short-lived.

Although that doesn't mean I don't have a lot of respect for your
achievements. For that moment it was perfect. I just don't think
they are a blueprint for the movement in the long run.

It's not sustainable.

> chapters have been published so far, and you can read them here:
> http://falkvinge.net/2013/02/14/swarmwise-the-tactical-manual-to-changing-the-world-chapter-one/
> )
> Cheers,
> Rick
> PS: On the rare occasion, I have seen disrespect against fellow
> activists on this mailing list, and I never think that's ok. Whether
> to call it out or not is a judgment call on a case-by-case basis, but
> that will not be done by the mailing list maintainers in that role.
> See the two names as technical administrators of the mailing list
> server, and not enforcers of any kind of social rules.

And that is a bug that can easily be fixed.

If the Pirate movement doesn't learn how to treat social problems
appropriately, we will always drown our occasional successes in
the destructive atmosphere that demotivates members, supporters,
electorate, and as we have seen in Germany, even makes it into
the media and becomes the #1 thing the Pirates are identified by.

Incapacity of civilization.

Luckily there is some 2% that sticks to us no matter how harsh
we are to each other, but even that may vanish if you don't get
our act together. And that could start with this mailing list.
If the new PPI board doesn't think it's a good idea to have
somebody vibes watch this list, then we can decide to have it
happen by motion at the next GA.

your fan von lynX.

P.S. This statement does not necessarily reflect the
opinions of my employer, my wife or my political party.

More information about the pp.international.general mailing list