So, there's this concept of "implicit feudalism" in online communities. Essentially, the vast majority of online communities - from old-school forums, to facebook groups, to large platforms like Twitter and Facebook themselves, even to fediverse instances - they're all run as dictatorships by default. It's built into the software - you'll have a top admin who has full, unconstrained power, they might delegate mods who have some limited powers, and anyone else has to listen to what these dictators and lords tell them. We talk about "federating" here in the fediverse, but each individual community - as far as I'm aware of - is a little dictatorship. A federation of dictatorships is not a free society, anymore than the UN, an international body composed of "liberal democracies" and authoritarian regimes is truly democratic. We need a way to start governing online communities through actual forms of democracy.


@anomaly I think about this a lot in the context of MUDs, which were created when most users could be assumed to be developers, so there was an implicit "once you've played a while you'll helpnewbies, then help moderate, then help develop" that was just beautiful.

@anomaly Now obviously this is still a hierarchy and it was very much based on approval by those above you, but, within the context of the Internet then, it was... a big step forward, that I see us having completely walked away from with the Web.

Hierarchical social structures can be tolerated as long as there's mobility. If mobility is only upward and provided by growth, it's not stable. It's important to frame that in terms of labor rather than authority and to rotate people out so that it doesn't devolve into a ponzi scheme

Also games are a much better foundation for A/B testing and iterative development of social structures than general purpose social networks and live institutions


@yaaps @anomaly

I'll point out that in the context of a game, growth is perpetually possible because you can always make up new fictions.

Also, what you're talking about sounds like arbitrary reforms to try and patch some holes in hierarchy, and that's not really what I'm after: only the "whole body of membership is qualified for any position" is what I am speaking to having a nostalgia for.

You might tolerate a hierarchy with the constraints you've put on it, but I wouldn't.

@yaaps @anomaly

management-by-confederation-of-special-interest-committees-representing-themselves-through-recallable-delegation or bust, tbh.

It's not like there's any technical or social inhibition of pursuing a truly non-hierarchical organization here, so... why not? As you say, the medium allows for rapid iteration.

Ok.... This is what I'm hoping to iterate towards, hopefully in a short enough time to avoid entrenchment

@emsenn @anomaly
A lot of thought about how anarchist communities might function is based on voluntary association and revolving representation in intercommunity organizations, but very little is based on actual experience. You can very easily sample social structures, including those based on infinite growth, in game, and I plan to do so in a way that helps people examine the assumptions. I have some experience in game governance, however, and I assure you that it'll take some weaning to get bootlicking gamers off the teat

That's still easier than trying to democratize social media, though

@yaaps This whole post sounds like it was written be someone who is sadly ignorant to the hundreds of thousands of people living in contemporary peaceful anarchy. @anomaly

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