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[liberationtech] Self-determined publics

Michael Allan mike at
Mon Jul 29 21:45:55 PDT 2013


Below I define what I call "self-determined publics".  Has anything
similar been attempted before?

   A self-determined public is an open, topical community that
   proclaims the definitive bounds of its own communications.  The
   proclamation takes the form of a timely sequence of references
   (e.g. web links) each pointing to a communication of the public,
   such that all references together define the total of that public's
   communications in time and space.  For example:

       Ago     Place      Title              (click to visit thread)
      -------  ---------  ------------------------------------------
      17 min   r/Foo      How do we attach the doohickey?
       5 hr    Foo-L      The problem with so and so's proposal.
       1 day   FuBarz     Who are these Foos, anyway?
       1 day   r/Foo      This, that, and the next thing.
       2 days  FooStack   What's the best thingamy for such and such?
              . . . and so on

   The boundary proclamation is similar in form to a conventional news
   feed.  It concerns a specific topic or category.  Differences are
   in a) the exclusion of mass communications, b) the claim to
   totality, and c) the self-determination that redeems that claim.
   (a) A principle criterion for inclusion is that one may immediately
   join any of the referenced communications as a peer.  One-way, mass
   communications are excluded.

   (b) The boundary proclamation claims to cover the entire public
   discussion of the topic across all communication media and sites.
   It claims to be the most complete, accurate and timely overview of
   the extended discussion that is available anywhere.

   (c) This claim is redeemed by the public members themselves who
   submit the references, self-organize the necessary labour, and
   self-constitute the necessary government.  No aspect of this
   redeeming self-determination is controlled by an external

I'm looking for brief pointers, please.  I don't know of any actual
implementations of this, or projects that are working on it.  I'll
share what's found.

Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 416-699-9528

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