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[liberationtech] Fwd: Designing a useful and robust social collaboration tool

Jonah Silas Sheridan jonahsilas at
Fri Feb 4 15:15:45 PST 2011

Hi all! New to the list here. Long time Bay Area NPO tech provide happy
to geek.

I got in on the Twitter conversation as well, suggesting that a more
free/open/democratic social collaboration suite would also need to be
functional over some type of p2p mesh networking, ideally on commodity
handheld devices, to resist shutdown and surveillance. As we have
recently seen in Egypt, the infrastructure between users is just as (if
not more) critical to the resiliency of a communications tool than the
tool itself. And clearly as well, some sort of strong
encryption/validation routines would have to run through the thing to
ensure that interlopers couldn't view and alter info exchanges.

I think Yosem points in the right direction - there are many existing
tools doing part of this work or work with similar intentions.

I would also add into the mix - they have created an
alternative social justice/civil society social network. I have some
personal concerns about the security and weight of the site, but they
are fundamentally aimed at helping political actors to connect.

Also Sukey ( is building tools for non-violent protests
and occupations. On the back end, there is MeshApp
( and The Serval Project
( both aimed at delivering the
connectivity between nodes.

In short, I think much of the core tools needed are under development.
What is needed is someone to aggressively support those projects, help
to ensure they can coexist with each other, perhaps provide some tools
to tie them together and focus on publicizing and distributing the tech
(and information on how to use it). The question to me is whether there
is any group existing whose program could take such a thing on... It
sure would have been a boon to the Egyptian people this last week.


Jonah Sheridan

On 2/4/11 1:54 PM, Yosem Companys wrote:
> I think what prompted this thread was when Suzanne posted on Twitter
> the following:  "shld design social collab w/ way 2 elect&rotate group
> leaders + auto-delegate tasks 2 avlbl rsrcs + anti-infiltration"
> I suggested that she look into OpenPlans, RiseUp & Diaspora.  But
> folks here may have other ideas? 
> (Full disclosure: I'm advising Diaspora.  Their source code is
> available at
> On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 1:47 PM, Suzanne Aldrich
> <suzanne.aldrich at <mailto:suzanne.aldrich at>>
> wrote:
>     Designing a useful and robust social collaboration tool has been
>     chirpified!
>     Go ahead and add any useful tweets to that story. I have a
>     diaspora account and am somewhat familiar with git. Diaspora seems
>     to "get" directing your conversation towards certain groups. I am
>     not familiar with the backend possibilities for encryption or
>     wi-fi mesh networking, or how modular it is.
>     <>

jonah silas sheridan
email:jonahsilas at
skype, gchat, twitter:jonahsilas

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