I feel an important cause is to make us, mankind, collectively wiser. I think it's a cause that few would disagree about - that makes it a good ideal, worth promoting. It seems especially strong on this wiki, but hasen't been fully spelled out yet.
You could get mystic about it. Collective awareness, awakening the InterMind / the Wiki:GlobalBrain, making it more self-conscious, etc. But that's not really needed.
Where should we look for global awareness ?
- The internet (global, quick, easy, cheap !)
- Wikis (the closest we can get to collective intelligence)
- The "free culture" movement (because it's about making sure ideas belong to everyone and therefore flourish)
… but also
- The media (people all over the world being aware of each other is new to the 20th century)
- TheAcademy (whose goal is to make us wiser - even thought it may not be the golden path any more, it still has a lot of weight)
- Democracy (and things like RobertsRules - things to organize collective decision-making)
What helps MakingUsWiser ?
- Creating content, especially :
- Public domain stuff (or CreativeCommons - something that encourages sharing)
- "friendly" content (PlainTalk, VisualLanguage …)
- Putting it at the right place
- Making it easily linkable
- Making it easy to correct
- Allowing for comments and criticism
- Refactoring and improving existing content
- Eliminating redundancey (everything should exisyt OnceAndOnlyOnce)
- Organizing ideas (WeNeedToolsToOrganize !)
- Mapping content
- Rating content
- Making better tools :
- Helping the free software movement (Especially when it comes to internet and knowledge tools)
- Helping projects organize and know about each other
- Helping TheAcadamy?
- Participating directly
- Giving them better tools to organize and communicate
- Getting them more interested in this kind of stuff
- Promoting awareness of this
- Promoting knowledge of Collective intelligence, global brain, HiveMind
- Promoting fairness, objectivity and understanding the other's viewpoint as more important than one's own beliefs and interests
- Having a good pattern language to talk about all this
(this list is imperfect and incomplete, feel free to add / rearrange / delete)
I feel the pattern language is what is especially missing here. This has to do with traditional democratic culture (public debate, the ethics of journalism, "I disagree entirely with your point of view but am ready to die to let you express it", etc.), academia (SocialConstructionOfScience, importance of peer review, the academia as transcending national and ideological boundaries, etc.) and the internet.
Private, Public and Collective
It seems to me that there are three steps for ideas, and each step is better for collective intelligence :
- Private ideas - you don't tell other people about them
- Public ideas - you tell other people about them.
- Collective ideas - ideas that have been through some CollectiveProcess?, that represent ideas of a community, not of a single person. Manifestos and Encyclopedias belong here.
And by "ideas", I mean a lot of things. Knowledge, opinions, maybe even code ("public" would be "open source", collective would be, er, the Wiki:CollectiveCodeOwnership you get in Extreme Programming. Not sure this is that relevant.).
OnTheInternet, blogs (and forums, etc.) could be seen as a pump that pulls ideas into the public, and wiki as another pump that builds collective knowledge / opinions out of private ones. Whether online or offline, collective ideas is produced when a lot of people agree, and are aware that they agree.
Two issues :
- Collective ideas is what interests us here. MakingUsWiser includes improving the quality and quantity of collective ideas.
- Often, collective ideas are restricted to one community. So, another important step is making communities aware of each other and of their ideas. Hence, InterCommunityCooperation
(deleted oldish conversation)
The bit on "private, public, collective" needs reworking / review, and linking to other similar ideas … Also, any suggestions on the vocabulary ?