Un total de 11 pages ont été trouvées avec le mot clé Partager et construire collectivement des ressources. logo rss
le 17.01.2014 à 17:13:55

A taste of OpenStreetMap, technical skills and a lot of patience for a citizen mapping and the valuing of scrubland heritage

Card's author : Manon Pierrel - Association Collectif des Garrigues
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Testimonies : Members of the Collectif des Garrigues managed to converge two of their projects which, at first sight, seemed far apart. One project was on participatory mapping, requiring some technical skills, internet tools…and a project to learn about and value the scrubland heritage lead by people who are passionate about history, books and the scrublands…These two "groups" met within the Collectif des Garrigues to set up a lovely collective project, rich in knowledge and innovative! The main goal of this project is to contribute to the dynamics of the network between the actors in the scrublands by co-drawing interactive maps (with collective contributions) as a support to show the rich heritage in the area, to share knowledge and to bring value into the scrubland territory.

Collective areas developed by the network members

The members of the Collectif des Garrigues (350 people) started a common project in several "areas". The goal was to create, bring value to and transmit common goods (knowledge, photographs, written documents and thoughts) on the scrubland territory.
Since 2010, several works have been developed, such as:
  • preparing a Scrubland Atlas (a co-written book for the public at large including all areas of knowledge relating to the territory – to be published in the autumn of 2013),
  • creating a shared photo gallery,
and also more "themed" work on:
  • harvesting in scrublands, and a compilation of local recipes,
  • scrubland heritage, dry stone and dry stone cabins (Capitelles), coal furnaces and inventories,
  • or even works on the discovery of tools, such as the sound media or participatory mapping.

The network members who participate in all these work areas have spaces on the Internet (wikis) to work on and produce content together and at a distance. They have discussion lists, co-writing tools (Etherpad) and "software" that allows them to organise their work (face-to-face for logistics or the distribution of work) and tools to disseminate their work. Many of these work areas perform very well, make rapid progress, and some are even at the stage of completion (especially the Atlas) while new projects are created almost every month. The network members develop the work areas themselves and facilitate participation in the different work pillars. Once the first productions are ready, works are assessed and disseminated at large, especially though their monthly newsletter and the website of the Collectivité des Garrigues, wikigarrigue.info. This way of working makes members want to continue working together to develop some projects in greater depth...and this creates an even greater convergence of work areas and the establishment of new ones. The proof is in the pudding!

The network members have decided to cross two of their collective work areas

Two work areas, one on the scrubland heritage and one on participatory mapping of a territory, were developed in parallel first in 2011 and then in 2012 with a first conviviality meeting to get to know each other and exchange ideas, the Rendez-vous des Garrigues (Scrubland Excursions) are organised every month, and remote group work sending and receiving emails and co-writing collective summaries. Both these work areas followed their own organization and work method. Gradually, they found an interesting area to explore and converge around, leading to the project of participatory mapping of the heritage to bring the inhabitants of the area onboard to hear of the knowledge and management of the territory where they live.
How did the members of the Collectif des Garrigues work to get these two work areas to progress independently? How were they linked further on?

The project to bring value to local knowledge and know-how

This project to gather the knowledge and know-how of the scrublands is, in fact, the story of the scrubland project! Since 2004, the goal of the Collectif des Garrigues has been to discuss the future of the territory, to share the knowledge acquired and dotted around the scrublands to learn to know more about it and to manage it better.
The theme knowledge on "heritage" gained momentum in 2011 with the organising of the Rendez-vous des Garrigues (Scrubland Excursions) on this theme. Dry-stone heritage is particularly an identity feature of the scrublands and the structures (associations or groups) in charge of bringing value to and restoring this heritage on a local level often face the same problems in all scrubland territories. That is why they needed to meet and take some time to think collectively so they could advance collectively in some projects.
After this Scrubland Excursion, some concrete actions were put in place:
  • discovering the different heritage sites in the scrublands of Gard and Hérault together. (This was done in the autumn of 2012 with a heritage-themed Scrubland Excursion in Poussan (34)).
  • making a directory of associations specialising on the territory to enrich the experiences and exchanges within the group.
  • pooling the documents drafted by heritage actors (presentation leaflets for the sites, studies and inventories).
For these projects to succeed, network members used document sharing tools (Google Drive for excel spreadsheets), and exchanged many emails (using the discussion list created especially for heritage).
In the autumn of 2012, with all the exchanges on the list, a second Scrubland Excursion was organised on this theme. That is when the idea emerged of creating a directory of directories of all the dry-stone cabins in the scrubland territories to end up with a map of the areas with these constructions (400,000 Ha.)
One of the members of the heritage group decided to be in charge of the project.
  • The first work was done there and then, during the Scrubland Excursion, with around twenty participants, with the aim of drawing on large paper maps of the territory all those areas with dry-stone cabins.
  • next, a large part of the work involved sending and receiving emails. There was quite a large mobilisation to have a directory of directories of the territory; this was done by the associations and structures interested in doing so.
  • then there was a significant part of summarising to feed the excel spreadsheet: Determining the areas rich in dry-stone cabins and huts: Gard-Hérault.
  • The following information was collected by department and large landscape area: if a location study (or inventory) existed, the name of the author, structure, number of dry-stone cabins (estimated or known) and the number of them in good state of conservation, if they had been mapped or not, and some general remarks.
  • at the same time we were able to gather and computerise the studies we had received to publish them on the Internet platform of the Collectif des Garrigues,
  • in two months, the map was done. It will serve to illustrate one of the articles in the Scrubland Atlas.

A second work area, the dynamics of free citizen mapping to bring life to a territory

For this work area, the associations Outils-Réseaux, and Tiriad pushed us and encouraged us to discover OpenStreetMap and all that goes with it…They came to us with a one-day training session on OSM followed by a Scrubland Excursion focusing on this tool so we could see what to expect from this approach of free mapping of a territory. This excursion was slightly more technical but it was still able to attract around fifteen people to it. Foregoing members of the network (!) who perceived the interest in this kind of initiatives to bring value to their knowledge on the territory.
This training session took place in Gignac (34) in April 2012, and was followed by a carto-party on site to continue attracting people. The idea for each of these stages was to learn about the data collected and how to put them on-line to gradually specialise in mapping elements that were of our interest (especially heritage). At each carto-party we were able to attract new people.
Since the spring of 2012 a healthy group of around forty have continued with the project "cartogarrigue". They have a simple discussion list to exchange and work together which is extremely active and reactive, and convivial with the help of the Collectif des Garrigues network that helps with the organisation and logistics.
In a first stage, the group "cartogarrigue" took some time to learn to use the tool and to build a common discourse. Then it started to train in real life with the organisation of carto-parties in the territories. The idea of mapping the heritage elements was suggested quite quickly, especially because the group members established many links between their work and that of the heritage group, working in parallel…Invitations were sent and there is room for everyone to contribute their knowledge and experiences in each of the two work areas. This group movement, and the overlapping interest lead to the creation of a OSM glossary adapted to the scrublands with vocabulary specific to the territory. (Olive yards, limestone kilns, dry-stone houses and huts…) and tags associated to them.

Today, the convergence of these two projects offers nice perspectives for partnerships, common projects and common financing opportunities

These two convergent dynamics have lead to a common response to a tender called by the metropolitan area of Nimes in its framework of sustainable development policies for 2013. Participatory heritage mapping to engage citizens in knowing and managing the land in which they live.
The submitted project consists in organising a session to give information and exchange experiences on collaborative mapping. To prepare this project and introduce the experiences of territories that participate in these dynamics, the special glossary on scrublands was made, preparing a carto-party programme for the year collectively. The idea is to work in close partnership with all participants in both these work areas, OSM contributors, the leaders of these two areas and associations or groups interested in heritage…
Other partners joined in later:
  • collaboration with the SILAT masters' degree: Localised Information System for Land Use Planning (in French). The team of professors would like to have a themed approach on mapping, to map heritage more than a city or town…
  • a similar collaboration with the school "SupAgro?" in Montpellier.
  • Also, the group cartogarrigue will be mobilised to explain its experience in organising a carto-party with the Carré d'Art in the city of Nimes…
For each of its partners, the Collectif des Garrigues is the reference source for organising scrubland heritage mappings.

The work areas also continue to work independently...

For the project on free mapping on the territory, the Collectif des Garrigues would like to develop a mapping web interface to disseminate the themed maps or the knowledge maps on the scrublands (geology, water resources, bushfire risks…) on the site of the Live Scrubland Encyclopaedia. With a second section and placing a particular emphasis on establishing a participatory tool to make a directory of all the different information and data that are relevant to the future land use in the scrublands (displacements, proximity services, agriculture).
For the heritage project, it would seem interesting to continue with the discussions and to contribute knowledge in the form of collaborative work areas. Especially through co-writing articles and themes to discuss such as the type of buildings, dry-stone huts in literature or these huts in relation to land ownership…for example.

<div class=well style=text-align:justify>

The Collectif des Garrigues, a network of actors at the service of the scrubland territories in Gard and Hérault

Scrublands have a rich diversity of endemic wildlife and plants, a history and an ancient culture that is strongly linked to the origins of human activities (shepherds and coal producers, dry-stone huts and other dry-stone buildings); scrublands also have a rich diversity of landscapes. Until now, they have not been paid much attention and have often been considered as "the underbelly between the Cévennes and the Languedoc Coast" and have never had a structuring project; the scrublands of Gard and Hérault let themselves be discovered and become organised to state their own identity.
Therefore, actors on the territory (researchers, elected members, managers, inhabitants and users) came together to broaden their knowledge, their experiences with the aim of gaining a better understanding a better grasp on and a better management of these scrublands. The Collectif des Garrigues is born! It aims to bring together and bring value to the experiences and knowledge on the scrublands. To contribute to bring actors closer to the territory. Finally, it aims to start a reflection process on the future of the scrublands, preserving and developing the specificities of these lands, respecting the livelihoods of its inhabitants.
</div> <!-- fin well -->
Internet link : http://www.wikigarrigue.info
le 10.02.2014 à 16:54:17

Collaborative writing

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : Conceived as a support for building collective knowledge, Web 2.0 has lead to a deep change in the way information is thought of. By freeing writing from the closed universe of printed supports, it has unfolded a whole change in this field. It is now possible for several people to work on a same document at the same time! The enormous success of the Wikipedia, one of the most visited websites in the World, has opened the door to new ways of writing. Defined as a “project for a collectively written free encyclopaedia”, it has proved to what extent collaboration can contribute quality and make a written document so much richer. Richer for the community who benefits from finding different points of view on a same topic. Also richer for the person participating in a project that will lead them to elaborate new writing strategies and to feed on new ideas.

Co-writing, a difficult process

Collaborative writing is the result of a process that is often considered complex and difficult. The authors explain this difficulty by the fact that to the task of writing individually (based on planning, translation and reviewing, according to the authors), collaborative writing brings in three more levels of complexity. LOWRY, Paul, CURTIS, Aaron and LOWRY, Michelle. A taxonomy of collaborative writing to improve empirical research, writing practice, and tool development. Journal of Business Communication (JBC). 2004. Vol. 41, no. 1, p. 66–99.

A Taxonomy of Collaborative Writing to Improve Empirical Research, Writing Practice, and Tool Development, published in 2004, Lowry P.B., Curtis A. and Lowry M.R.
1. Intellectual
2. Social
3. Procedural

This corresponds to three questions posed by collaborative writing:

1. How do we pool and harmonise individual knowledge to produce collective knowledge?
2. How do we coordinate the members and their different opinions for the project to be successful? How do we overcome social and affective conflicts that arise in this collective exercise?
3. How do we establish a common planning and deadline?

Group dynamics: the core of collaborative writing

The truth is that beyond the intellectual and procedural dimensions mentioned above, what appears to be the real core of collaborative writing is the social dimension that will then allow all the rest to “run smoothly”. By “social dimension” we understand the ability to generate group dynamics that bring each of the members together around a common goal (producing a text), where each of them will find their place. Dynamics that will make it as easy as possible for its members to become engaged and that, if it does not exist, will make the whole cooperative project unavoidably fail.

Collaborative writing can, indeed, generate social and affective conflicts (different points of view, the feeling that one is being judged, etc.) that may seem difficult to overcome. The act of co-writing also requires:

  • A high level of reciprocal interaction between the members that is nurtured by frequent exchanges
  • Taking into account the different points of view and giving value to the contributions of each member to the community, and encourage them all to participate while remembering this sentence by Paul Ricoeur "Tolerance is not a concession I make to the other, it is about recognizing the principle that a part of truth escapes me."
  • That the facilitator is capable to regulate social and affective conflicts arising from different ideas and natures.

The work of a network facilitator is precisely to contribute a convergence within the community and to create constructive work dynamics that promote everyone's participation:

JM Cornu - La Coopération en 28 mots-clés - 4. Convergence et conflit
(Transcript in english)

Facilitating the contribution of everyone using the method of the 6 hats

In order to make it easier for everyone to participate and for new ideas to emerge in a group, the psychologist Edward de Bono, specialist in cognitive science, developed in 1987 a method called the “6 hats”. Starting from the idea that searching for solutions goes through six clearly defined phases, this method invites each group member to explore, in a meeting, six concrete ways of thinking, symbolised by six hats of different colours.

Briefly, the objectives are:
  • to allow each member to perceive an idea, re-think it from a different perspective and thus make his or her point of view on that idea evolve;
  • to avoid any censorship on new ideas that arise in a group;
  • to create a favourable climate for exchange and creativity, favouring freedom of speech;
  • to solve problems in a collaborative way;
  • to offer a global vision and go deeper into the situation;

More specifically, once the problem has been posed, each of the group members adopt, one at a time, a different position by imagining they are wearing a hat, and start exploring new solutions:

  • The White hat represents neutrality. The person wearing it must simply announce the facts leaving all possible interpretations aside.
  • The Red hat represents emotions. The person can freely express his or her feelings and intuitions.
  • The Green hat means creativity. The person wearing it looks for alternatives, while trying to consider the problem from a different perspective.
  • The Yellow hat represents constructive criticism. The person "admits their craziest ideas and dreams".
  • The Black hat means negative criticism, judging. The person wearing this hat announces the weaknesses and the risks entailed by this idea.
  • The Blue hat represents organization, channelling the ideas and process. The person will look at the expressed idea from a distance.

This method that pushes participants to leave their usual way of thinking may prove very useful when it comes to writing collectively.

Three approaches for collaborative writing

Collective writing can be done in many different ways, depending on the levels of collaboration:
  • One member starts by writing an article which is then modified and added to by another member, and so forth until a “document” that is deemed complete by the whole group and that generates consensus is drafted.
  • An approach that is more cooperative than collaborative is when each of the members works on a part of the article. Then the different parts of the document are linked to one another and harmonised to constitute a single and coherent article.
A variation of this cooperation could be that each member, according to their skills and wishes, does one part of the work. For example, one person drafts, the other corrects, the third reads through it, etc.
  • Finally, the most collaborative approach is maybe one that includes all members in thinking about how they are going to write the article; one where there is no real distinction between roles. Each member participates in all the different phases. We will analyse the elaboration phases that could cover this last point.

Elaboration phases: tricks and tips for participatory writing

Each group can find their own method that fits best. However, to have some points of reference, here are some tricks and tips to start with participatory writing:

1. Generating "an irreversible cooperative experience"

When preparing a group for collective writing, there is nothing better than to start by making them live a “Small Irreversible Cooperative Experience” (SICE). This is done to overcome any possible barriers, to bring about the first exchanges and to give a sense to the collaborative task. One of the best tips is to use Etherpad, an on-line service that allows several people to take notes simultaneously, jotting down unfinished contents that will then be corrected or one containing many spelling mistakes. This simple action will instinctively get people to correct the spelling mistakes despite any barriers they may encounter. This tip is even more efficient when the mistake leads to a person: to the quest for perfect spelling we must add ego….The harm is done: the person thus lives their first collaborative experience!

2. Brainstorming

After this first step is taken, then comes a second phase that can be done organising a collective brainstorm; i.e. a meeting to gather ideas that will then allow bringing together all the points of view and the writing proposals of the group. This technique encourages the group members to put ideas into words, to compare them to others and to re-formulate them. It also encourages creativity. Using a mind map is also very useful to gather all this information, create a hierarchy of ideas and have a general overview. The principle is simple: the facilitator creates a mind map covering the points mentioned by each group member and classifies these ideas by topics and sub-topics. Projecting it on a screen, everyone can see if there is information missing and makes it easier for them to intervene. This exercise makes it quick and easy for ideas to emerge and to take all points of view into account!

There are many mind map tools, including Freeplane, which is very easy to use.

3. Drafting

Once the work has been done, the group is ready to establish a drafting plan. The real drafting work will start with this plan. From the start, it may be useful to test different modes of writing (individual or directly in a group, the framework to be used, etc.) to find the way that fits the group best. A reflection on what induces the publication (=exposition) will also be necessary.

Drafting can be done using on-line tools that allow each member to edit and modify the document, improve the common writing work and have a real-time view of the state of the document.

Google Document is quite useful for drafting in small groups. It allows several people to draft an on-line document at the same time that can be modified by each member and where all these changes are automatically included in the document. The advantage of this tool is that work is never isolated and members can see how the drafting process is taking place and, with this, they can make their ideas on the project evolve along the way.

For larger groups, a Wiki could be a good option. Just as Google Doc and Etherpad, it allows publishing all creations or page modifications instantly and having a global vision besides offering other interesting options. In fact, there is the option of commenting on pages, with a more visual display of page contents, to decide on the on-line publishing of the document on the spot and also managing the record of drafting. It also allows a collaborative work that is possibly more structured.

Small feedback on the experience of Animacoop regarding collective drafting

During the Outils-Réseaux training “Facilitating a collaborative network” (Montpellier, October-December 2010), trainers suggested that the group of trainees from Animacoop drafted three articles for their newsletter collectively and at distance. The group members were accustomed to working together and writing an article allowed them to value a common good, a creation. “For the trainers, this writing exercise was sort of a methodological challenge”, say the persons in charge of the training: “How can we test the collective capacity to synthesise crosscutting contents produced during a training? Second challenge: how do we get trainees motivated to do some extra work that is not expected?”

The testimonials of the trainees for this experience (method followed, stages, time management…) can be read on-line (in French): http://animacoop.net/formation2/wakka.php?wiki=PageArticlerc

Photo credits under Creative Commons licence: by bgblogging, by Yves Guillou.
le 10.02.2014 à 13:31:42

Education uses a faulty Creative licence, by Richard Stallman

Card's author : Hélène Laxenaire - SupAgro Florac
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Ideas developped by the author in the field of cooperation within the book or conference : In this article, Richard Stallman denounces the use of CC-BY-NC and CC-BY-NC-SA licences for pedagogical documents and works of reference and makes a call to use CC-BY and CC-BY-SA instead

Free Creative Commons licences and other non-free ones

Among the licences provided by Creative Commons, two of them are really free (cf. the definition of the GNU project software) :
  • the CC-BY-SA licence, which authorises users to disseminate and modify, even in a commercial framework, but with the condition that the delivered work is under the same licence
  • the CC-BY licence is identical to the one above, except that there is no obligation for a licence for delivered works
Other licences, which do not allow any modifications and/or using them in a commercial framework, in fact are not free.

Works under CC-BY-NC and CC-BY -NC-SA licenses are at risk of not being disseminated in a commercial framework

Licenses that allow modifications but don't allow using them in a commercial framework (CC-BY-NC and CC-BY-NC-SA) can be a problem that worsens with time. In fact, the letters NC (non-commercial) of the Creative Commons licence do not strictly speaking prohibit its commercial use; it only requires that the people wanting to give a commercial use to the works under this licence ask for the author's authorisation. However, allowing modifications to the work multiplies the number of authors, a number that over time may become very large and it may be utterly impossible to contact them to require authorisation. Richard Stallman suggests modifying these licences so that they allow defining a person who may be contacted for authorisation.

Works to be used for practical purposes must be under a free licence

According to Stallman, a work that is to be given a practical use must be free, as is the case of software or courses. For them to be free, users must have full control over the work they are using to fulfil their task.
He therefore distinguishes works used for practical purposes, i.e. pedagogical documents such as artistic works, entertainment from those reflecting a point of view. These are legitimized to be protected by a non-free Creative Commons licence.

Note from the author of this factsheet: the article by Richard Stallman is published under a non-free licence, which is in line with his discourse, since it is an article expressing an opinion.

Photo credits: Preliminares 2013 (CC BY-SA)
Short introduction of the book's author : Richard Stallman is a renowned free software programmer. He is behind the GNU project and the general public licence GNU is also known by its acronym GPL; he is one of the fathers of free software.
Quotations : When a work is used for a practical purpose, users must have control over this task, and therefore must be able to control the work in itself. This applies both for teaching materials and software. Richard Stallman
Literature references : L’éducation utilise une licence Creative Commons défectueuse, par R. Stallman. Framablog [online]. 31 January 2013. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://www.framablog.org/index.php/post/2013/01/31/stallman-creative-commons-non-commercial.
le 16.01.2014 à 10:11:41


Card's author : Frédéric Renier, Supagro Florac
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
To begin with : An Etherpad is an online-service which allows several persons to take notes simultaneously. A chat is linked to each page? Etherpad is also a freeware which can be settled on a server.
Official website : http://etherpad.org/
Tool's boxes : Synchronous Communication
Introduction :
Requirements :
  • a good internet connection
Some practical uses :
  • Collaborative note-taking in a meeting. The consequences on dominating relationships are important, this custom contributes to move the lines.
  • Note-taking between remote partners by coupling the pad with a videoconferencing tool. However it is not always easy to share one's attention and screen between two apps.
  • Live control of the meeting's progress, with a possibility to ask questions in the Chat.
Going further : By opening an account on Framapad.org, you create a working space where you can invite users (with a password protected access), create peculiar pads for the group thus created, and have access to management features from your pads : listing, archiving, downloading, deleting. A pad created from an account is therefore only restricted, by default, to the members of the account (private), but it can also be opened to all as all public pads, or else protected by a specific password. Tutorial on the interest and the use of private pads
Advantages :
  • The classic of first irreversible cooperation experiences.
  • So very easy to use, every contribution is directly noticeable by others, many export possibilities, allows a synchronised co-writing, "wysiwyg" (page layout can be done in any word processor).
  • Notes taken are more complete.
Drawbacks :
  • Creating a pad directly from the web browser address toolbar can be a major methodological obstacle.
  • Limited to 16 simultaneous
  • Depending on the internet connection quality, the experience can be totally counterproductive.
Licence : Open sources, Free
Using : Easy
Setting up : Reserved for IT Jedis
le 16.01.2014 à 11:27:47

Google Documents (Google Drive)

Card's author : Emilie Hullo, Outils Réseaux and Hélène Laxenaire, SupAgro Florac
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
To begin with : Google Docs is an online and free Office suite. It includes a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation software, a software which generates online forms and a drawing software. This suite enables to share office documents (writing protected or not) and to share the writing with others. Since the transition to google Drive, it is also possible to share other kind of documents.
Official website : https://docs.google.com
Tool's boxes : Online Office Automation
Introduction :
Requirements :
  • Having a google account (to create and share a document : other members do not need to have one)
  • Being able to use an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, slideshow)
Some practical uses :
  • synchronous and remote note during a phone meeting
  • Creation of an online survey , the results being compiled in a chart (for more information, see the sheet Tool Google Form
  • to prepare their programming, event planners compile in a chart names and coordinates of potential participants, data are then structured and can be treated later as for a mailing
  • for a training schedule, a chart is put online differentiating rights : students can consult the updated chart in real-time to acknowledge their timetable (but can't modify it) and trainers can modify it directly without having to go throuh with an intermediary
  • to part-draft a document which needs layout : report, etc...
  • to set up a slideshow which can be easily inserted in a website
Using the tools :
Going further :
Advantages :
  • Files are online and therefore can be opened from any internet connected computer.
  • Documents can be part-written synchronously (a coloured cursor points out who is writing) or asynchronously (a history enables to know who did what)
  • The « sharing for all users with the link» option allows the sharing of a document and its modification by all users even if they don't have a google account
  • the available document is always the latest updated (which is not the case when documents are sent by email)
  • Modifications are compiled in real-time, there is no problem of version
  • All documents are created and modified with google doc, thus there is no file format problem as when one uses Open Office and Word (doc, docx). Everyone has the same software of the same version.
  • Possibility to chat next to the document when working synchronously but remotely on the document
Drawbacks :
  • If you are not connected to internet you can't get the document.
  • It needs a little time of practice before understanding all the differences in rights to apply to documents. Beware not to transfer the link in the URL bar but the one given via the button Share, once the « sharing for all users with the link » option is ticked, otherwise people will not be able to open the file. You need to be particularly scrupulous to this when you start using google doc within a group because it can be very demotivating if the first sessions end up by « But I can't open your file !»
  • It's Google again, who will index the contents of documents to generate pop-up ads and create consumers profiles.
Licence : Proprietary software, Free
Using : Easy
Setting up : No setting up
le 10.02.2014 à 17:10:17

How to produce a document when you are several hundred persons (Part 1)

Card's author : Jean-Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

How to turn armchair philosophy into collective intelligence ?

parable of blind men and an elephant 1

It was six men of Indostan to learning much inclined, who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind), that each by observation might satisfy his mind. The First approached the Elephant, and happening to fall against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl: "God bless me!—but the Elephant Is very like a wall! " The Second, feeling of the tusk, cried: "Ho!—what have we here so very round and smooth and sharp? To me 't is mighty clear this wonder of an Elephant is very like a spear! " The Third approached the animal, and happening to take the squirming trunk within his hands, thus boldly up and spake "I see, " quoth he, "the Elephant is very like a snake! " The Fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee. "What most this wondrous beast is like Is mighty plain, " quoth he; "'T is clear enough the Elephant is very like a tree! " The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, said: "E'en the blindest man can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can, this marvel of an Elephant is very like a fan! " The Sixth no sooner had begun about the beast to grope, than, seizing on the swinging tail that fell within his scope, "I see, " quoth he, "the Elephant is very like a rope! " And so these men of Indostan disputed loud and long, each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong, though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

From armchair philosophy 2 ...

We usually seize that if an idea is true then its contrary is false. It is called the law of non-contradiction upon which our logic, as defined by Aristotle, is based. Therefore Eubulide of Millet, who fighted this law, has demonstrated through to the liar's paradox 3 that it was not necessarily true : "A man was saying he was lying. Was this true or false ? ". This sentence cannot be either true... nor false! As well as in the parable of the elephant, some assertions may sound in contradiction but all of them or true 4 . We then talk of antinomy. It's especially the case when we try to have several different points of view on a subject.
Equipped with the law of non-contradiction, we don't spend time searching what is true and what is false but justifying what we have said formerly... and therefore demonstrating that people with different arguments are wrong. Each member spends most of the discussion's time repeating and justifying his own assertion to be sure it will be taken into account. Very often the background of the debate is not about searching the truth but about avoiding being caught out and possibly gaining recognition from other members for having said something seen as true.

...To collective intelligence

To get out of armchair philosophy, it's compulsory first not to look for what is true on a topic but the different points of view on a it. The more people with a point of view, the more complete the view. At this stage, the debate can cope with approximative, not to say apparently false views. The aim is to gather the biggest number of points of view and to create new ones to complete those already found.
But we also have to compromise with our own cognitive limits. Thus, we can only remember the three last elements of a discussion 5 . When we look at the discussion objectively, we can have an overview of the differents assertions or arguments, but there too we are limited and can only remember from 5 to 9 ideas 6 . In order to deal with a subject using collective intelligence, we will then have to apply a method to work with a great number of persons, to map the whole of the ideas but stopping ourselves, first to select some ideas and eliminate others.

The three principles of ideas-co-building

Managing a lifting of collective discussion's difficulties needs to take into account three principles of collective intelligence which are rather counterintuitive but which will be the bases for the construction of a method allowing the production of ideas and contents from several hundred persons.

Size of the group and parts of members 7

As soon as a group is over a dozen people, each member adopts a proactive, observer or idle position and can move from one to another according to a number of criteria. Rather counterintuitively, it is observed that the percentage of active persons stays remarkably constant (principle of 90-9-1) : proactive people are one and over percent and reactive people are between ten and a few dozens of percent.
Different types of groups differing from the number of members :
Small groups up to twelve people whom can be managed restrictively (expecting the action particular to each different member) ;
Intermediates groups between twelve and a hundred people whom need more efforts from the manager to get reactions ;
Large groups between a hundred and one or two thousand people which allows to produce collaboratively... provided a focus is done on reactive persons ;
Very large intermediate groups of several thousand people where the group composed by proactive people becomes easily illogical ;
Very large groups over several dozens of thousand where proactive people are numerous enough to make management less restrictive ;
Large groups between a hundred and one or two thousand people are particularly interesting : they are a prerequisite for groups doomed to become very large, and moreover they represent a good corresponding size to the number of persons which can be gathered on many rather sharp topics. However reactive people need to be taken into account (they can be reached through online systems by push-tools such as email, Facebook or Twitter rather than pull tools as the web or forums) and not only proactive people whom in this case are not enough.

The post factum choice 8

There are several strategies according to the environment around us :
Planning : in a predictable situation where resources are scarce, prediction is needed to optimize them and avoid their spoiling ;
Negotiation: when ressources are scarce but the situation not predictable, negotiation enables a choice in real time since it could not be done in advance ;
The post factum choice: when ressources are abundant (large group, abundant information) but when the situation is not predictable, it is better then to arouse an abundancy of choices and to choose only post factum, within all possibilities ;
Most of the time we do not choose our strategy but we use the one we know better whatever the context. We need to adapt ourselves to our environment in order to choose the best strategy. Sometimes a situation can be predictable for some things and unpredictable for others, some ressources can be abundant, some rare. In this case, we need to adapt ourselves and even to juggle with the strategies.
For instance in a large group of over a hundred persons, thanks to the number of reactive members acting it is possible to arouse the maximum points of view and to choose only afterward those to keep : "Whith enough observers, all appliable solutions to a problem are blindingly obvious ". But if the group is smaller than one or two thousand people, the number of proactive members and moreover the number of persons who join the coordination is weak. The coordination of groups under several thousands must call on planning and/or negotiation strategies.

Mapping for an overview 9

In a debate with several people, and even more in a confrontation, each one tends to defend his idea, to repeat it constantly so it is taken into account. In practice it's often seen that different points of view don 't rule each other out but on the contrary complement each other to give altogether an overview. To go past the facts, me must take into account the two ways of thinking that are each using a different working memory.

The first, based on speech consist in sayings ideas one after the other, just as we make a step after another to progress from a starting point until an arrival. This way of thinking especially allows a rational approach but it hardly takes into account conflict (a starting point, two directions), collective intelligence (several points of view on the same arrival) or else creativity (finding new ways between several starting points and several arrivals) which are all three using another complementary way.

The second way of thinking is based on mapping. It consists in arranging on the same mind map ideas according to their proximity, without trying to select them offhand, to get the more complete vision on ideas and possible progressions. Mind maps (mind mapping in english) which are co-built and projected to all during sessions are very efficient to give a global vision to the whole group and allow therefore to look for new ideas and new points of view rather than having each member focusing on one or two former ideas.

To go further, two possible approaches :
The Method of Loci : During synchronous meetings (online or face-to-face), a map of idea can be coupled with another map, often of territories that each one can keep in his long term memory. It can be a place known to all (for monks in the Middlle Ages, their cathedral) or if this can't be found, a co-built place (in the long term a place is easier to remember than ideas) ;
Textual maps : in asynchronous online exchanges, people who behave reactively (ten times more numerous than proactive people) and the observers (even more numerous) use tools which cannot stand graphics mode very well (email, Facebook, Twitter). Therefore proposing a drawn map needs to share a link to a web page where the map is. But then only half of participants will see the map. The possible use of text laying-out can then be used to allow the drawing of a textual map which won't need to be read in its whole as a text but can be read as a map : lists of bullet points, formulation of short ideas in one line maximum, bold, underlined and italics to enhance some keywords ;

Applying these principles to produce collective intelligence

From the principles presented in the previous parts, we can start to edit some rules to allow the production of ideas and contents with several hundred people. We will deal here especially with online asynchronous exchanges which can be punctually improved by face-to-face or online synchronous meetings.
1. The group must have at least a hundred members.
These won't contribute systematically as in a small group. As long as the group stays under several dozens of thousand people, it's important to focus on the members with a reactive attitude (it is the most common size of group. Even in very large groups of dozens thousand people, only a sub group will take an interest in a specific content). According to the 90-9-1 rule, reactive people will be at least a dozen which will be enough to start a dynamic and possibly encourage other participation.
2. The critical part of facilitator(s).
By definition facilitators do have to be proactive. But within a group of between a hundred and one or two thousand people, they are few. Mistakes or lack of proactivity from a facilitator can lead the whole group to inaction. In a young group (generally less than two years old), the facilitator or the small group of facilitators has a central part. It is even in the freeware Benevolent Dictator for Life. For maturer group, different people can, according to topics, have a leading part. In this case, eventhough animating the discussion is a restrictive part, it is not as much for the whole of the group which may have discussions leading to an achievement or not.
3. First, let people express ideas without choosing.
On the contrary, it is necessary "to open up the fields of possibilities " to point out all ideas that could be added, rather that suppressing those already spoken. Ideas seeming out of hand may happen to be very rich although "a priori " counterintuitive. Even if an idea turns out to be stupid, it can spark off other interesting ones.
4. A map shaped summary gives an overview of ideas exchanges.
In the case of online asynchronous ideas exchanges, it's better to use mind map which anyone can receive. It does not need to be wholy read as a text would, but can be glanced through like a map (with bullet lists, bold and underline laying out...) That point requires the more work. Tools and methods enable to reduce this time.
5.At least a few items of information need to be "pushed ".
To reach reactive people, some items of information need to pushed (information is sent directly to an account that he persons read regularly : email, Facebook ou Twitter). But according to the number of members, the energy of the discussion and the more or less great agreement from members to receive information directly, there is also a need to give a wide access to the whole of information with pull tools (the person fetches by herself the information by visiting a forum, browsing archives or other webpages). A fair balance is then to be found between what is sent to all and what is not sent but has to be looked for by those who want (from the mailing list where everything is received by everyone to the sending of summaries only, including the extra sending of a selection of some stimulating contributions encouraging readers to react).
6.Iterations of contributions/summaries contribute to collective intelligence 10 .
The mapping of different points of view allows to have an overview (as the parable of blind men and an elephant). But collective intelligence really starts when participants lean on what others have said (or to be sharper on the global map of the discussion) to propose new ideas that they would not have had otherwise. Thus each contribution increases the level of collective intelligence and enables proposals, some particularly innovating and smart.

Method to produce a collective text when you are up to several thousand participants

This method aims to produce content collaboratively, not only by including former contributions but also and most of all contributions resulting from exchanges of ideas. It is based on regular text map summaries (a text that can be read as a map rather than scoured, with bullet lists, bold an underline laying out to enhance some words, etc.).
This methods is concentrated on "large online groups ", large enough to obtain reactions without to much effort (a hundred or more members) but still not reaching the needed size to allow a concentration on proactive people only (over several thousand). It is a major part of online groups wishing to produce contents on a specific topic. In this case the stress is the most reactive persons whom are generally ten times more numerous than those with a proactive attitude.
The two parts below concentrate on tools and how to make the group up for those who are creating groups or those whose groups are still too small. The next part on web watch, common understanding and ideation is the heart of the method to build a structured overview of collective ideas. The two last parts on ideas selection and writing enables to have a text easy-to-read for people whom did not take part in the discussion or did not know the topic very well.

Implementation of tools

Tools for discussion
The first stage is to choose push (information is brought to participant : email, Facebook, Twitter...) and pull (the participant seeks for information : forum, webpages..;) tools. For a rather small group of up to several hundred people whom are all using emails, a simple mailing list is enough. The records of the list enable proactive people to seek for old items of information and eases the facilitator's job in charge of mapping.
More and more often, participants read regularly their messages with different tools : some are on Facebook and scarcely read their emails, some follow Twitter but have deserted Facebook. Some only use one of these three tools, sometimes two but rarely all of them. Other groups use a general social network (Linkedin, Viadeo) or a network particular to their community (based on softwares Elgg, Diaspora, Movim, Daisychain...). There is therefore a necessity for : either keeping up with all the different tools used by the group's members or... a reduction of the group to the members whom only use such or such tool.
More over, when a group gets bigger, the number of contributions grows too and can overtake the bearable level for a participant. In an online world where post people suffer from "infobesity " (too much information), even in a relatively small group, some can be annoyed by emails coming from the discussion. To prevent the cancellation of subscriptions or disaffections (emails automatically filed without reading, not to say tagged as spam...), only the most important information is to be sent to all or to those who want : regular mapping of the discussions, a selection of some contributions gathered in the same message to stimulate partipation, etc. In that case it is even more important that the whole of the contributions should be available (by pull way) to allow those who wish, and of course to facilitators who make maps, to find the detailed contributions. It is thus by allying push and pull tools that discussion will allow the sending of some messages to everyone (to reach the reactive people) but keeping the amount of messages at a reasonable level (to avoid over-information).
Find more about the subject : the Fing, link between email and social network under Elgg 11
Since 2010 and after the testing of quite a few online tools for its collaborative works (mailing lists, blogs, forums), the Fing has progressively implemented its social network, an Elgg platform which enables to standardize its contibutors collaborative network environments : some members being involved in several discussions, managing subscriptions to scattered platforms and mailing lists was indeed a problem.
At first, the choice was made to combine the web platform (to publish) and the email (to exchange). At the launching of Digital questions in mid 2012 , the Fing chose to interface the two modes. Each forum of its network allows web or email interaction : for example, a forum subject is posted on the web and notified by email to the 260 persons of the Digital Questions group, who can react either by return of email or by logging in on the platform. Users seem to choose email for quick answers and web when elaborated answers are needed.
This practical detail also allows to have, like on any forum, several parallel threads of discussion, provided a special care is given to titles. It eases access to new comers and open-cast work and lowers the entrance barriers. Activated on forums, this feature can also be easily activated on comments from other publications : blogs, document-sharing, events...

Get to know more : ADEO group, use of Google groups in push and in pull 12
The ADEO group is a firm of 70000 persons dispatched in 13 countries and 27 Business Units (BU). Very much decentralized, turned towards the sharing of Knowledge and Power, ADEO has launched for nearly 20 years into numerous steps of shared Vision with all the staff of some of its BU.
The Communauté Produit, Achat et Supply-Chain (PAS), grouping together the central buying services, the logistic departments of the BU and the PAS Group's Direction has initiated in mid-2011 a transverse step : VisionPAS 2023, the Vision on cooperation PAS of the ADEO Group by associating thus more than 2000 staff. Different collaborative techniques have been used to extract the true substance : work units, creativity seminar, Design Thinking mode prototypes, … but none of these involving more than 150 persons altogether.
In order to do the writing of our target in 10 years, we have decided to divide in 8 great main lines according to the following structure : Benchmark, TOFW (Threats, Opportunities, Forces, Weaknesses), 10 years vision. Nearly 50 work units of 15 persons which have allowed us to make up this very rich and complementary material (see : parable of blind men and an elephant) . We have then realized a first summary on each topic. The importance was then to find ways to make the whole community react on this VO to make the most of collective intelligence. But very soon in an international group with no reference language, the linguistic issue aroused. We didn't have either CRM tools, enriched repertories nor a firm social network. In consequence we have implemented a 6 weeks Digital Debate targetting 1500 persons helped by Google Groups.
The need :
  • Multilingual Forum to favour individual speech.
  • Possibility to send mass emails from the Forum towards mailboxes with an option to answer directly on the Forum without having to join (this criterion made us exclude the Nabble tool that does not allow mass-emails sending)
The solution :
  • 7 Forums = 7 Google Groups (1 per language: french, english, spanish, italian, polish, portuguese, russian) bringing in a group of translators
  • One week of intensive processing on a topic with different and coherent push tools according to
  • 1. Launching of the debate by the sending of a summary on the topic
  • 2. Sending of inspiration on the same topic : open-mindedness, proposal of external perspectives
  • 3. Publication of the latest contributions : the message we want to send is : "the debate is progressing, your colleagues are taking part in it, new ideas are rising, join in ! "
  • 4. Publication of a new summary enhanced by the debate : contributors recognize their hand in the wording of the final deliverable and notice the enhancement of the final summary thanks to the collective debate.
  • A simple system to contribute : answer by email which feeds instantaneously the thread of the forum OR direct contribution on the forum by posting a comment. On the forum, contributions on a topic can be seen indistinctly.
Strong points :
  • Strategic topics tackled in 7 languages : richness of contributions made easier by individual expression.
  • Volunteers within the company for the translation helped to make translations reactive and flexible, which was vital to stick to our rather short deadlines.
  • No hierarchical diagram : all ideas are kept and exploited similarly in the final wording of the final deliverable. Besides, contributions put forward in Flash emails onlyy quote the contributor's surname, not his/her name.
push by daily email : contributor's sollicitation through the media they use most today. Contributions are for stocked in one and same place : the Goggle Group (1 per language). Each person "must " receive information but she is free afterwards to follow or not the thread on an additional tool, here the Google Group. In order to avoid missing the "best " contributions, we "push " to all a selection of these latest.
Difficulties :
  • A forum per language but no transversality between the 7 forums : what is posted in the polish forum cannot be seen by Spanish. EXCEPT that the dissemination of "best comments " in the flash could come from the 7 forums and summaries were common in all languages.
  • Only the coordinator had subscribed to Google Group so that participants would receive summaries but not all contributions. With no CRM, sendings were done from a Gmail account wit a return adredd that was the Gmail account's o ne.Even the Gmail account was opened so that participants could join in if they wanted.
  • Need to have a Gmail account to have access to Google Groups.
  • Need of fitting tools (enlarge repertories, CRM, …) for that sending volume.
  • The not-always-easy-to-implement need for accomplices enabling the bustling of debates.
Results and figures :
  • A 6 weeks live debate on 8 strategic topics.
  • A participation rate of around 13% with more than 400 multilingual commentaries multi-lingues which have enriched the Vision notebooks.
  • Contributions done in 7 languages : "only " 55% of commentaries are in French.
  • 8 input "Vision V1" notebooks of our International Meeting which gathered in february 2013 for 3 days 700 PAS community managers of the Groupe ADEO to do a collective reading 13 .
To conclude, this first ADEO's large scale Digital Debate was rich in learnings. It allowed us to follow the major stages referred to in the paragraph "Applying these principles to produce collective intelligence ". It allowed us to validate this participative method and will surely call out for more.

Tools for capture and text maps
To create a text-map summary which enables the group to have an overview, interesting contributions need first to be captured within the different messages (there can several in the same message), eventually given a shorter (less than a line) and more explicit name and then organized into a hierarchy. This last action may need to create new entries in the hierarchy to gather several ideas which can be found there.

Find more about it : reorganize levels while discussing
Let's imagine a discussion on the implementation of this method where the current vision is described by the following text-map :
  • Tools of discussion
  • Mail (push tool : information sent directly to participants)
  • Take into account those who like Facebook rather than email
  • Forum (Pull tool : the participant fetches himself the item of information he wants)
Contributors propose to add the idea of also using Twitter as well as other social networks. The map could then be reorganized under the following shape :
Tools of discussion
  • Pushtools (information sent directly to participants)
  • Mail
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Other social networks
  • Allowing several push tools to leave a choice to participants ?
  • Pull tools (the participant fetches himself the item of information he wants)
  • Forum
  • Something else ?
In this case, not only the idea of "email " moves to the level of "push tool " which includes Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, but the person who does the mapping had the idea to add the possibility of mixing tools and also organized identically the pull tools to leave room for other choices. In doing that, we do not have exactly a summary of the discussion but rather a map of the current vision understanding of the problem. Reorganizing a map often gives additional ideas and even the map-maker can add ideas, which can be completed or corrected by participants during the next iteration of contributions.

The mapping of exchanges can be done by hand with eventually post-it notes on a wall in order to reorganize ideas easily. But when the discussion is important, one iteration of the map can take about 5 hours and this happens once or twice a week during the phase of ideation... organizing such a discussion is greedy in time for facilitators and particularly for those who make or complete maps.
Too reduce the mapping time and therefore allow the animation of groups even by persons for whom it's not the "official job 14 ", time must be reduced to one or maximum two hours a week. The aim of the app Assembl developed by Imagination for People in partnership with the Institut du Nouveau Monde in Québec, is to ease the capture of smart contributions, to help renaming them and to reorganize them easily despite the small size of a computer screen.

Find more about it : Assembl a tool to map contributions 15
Assembl is an online discussion system aimed for groups of people which have to produce collectively a deliverable (opinion, consensus, document, patterns, alternatives, etc.) on any subject. Although it is relatively easy nowadays to mobilize people on a stake through social networks, for a multitude of purposes the quality of a deliverable does not increase the number of participants. This is the main problem tackled by Assembl.
First of all by combining a chronological discussion (necessary to ease implication, feeling of membership and group dynamics) and a more structured and synthesized presentation of the discussion (necessary to enable each participant to have an overview on exchanges and proposals whatever the time and the level of attention he can devote to it).
Assembl enables humans to play a facilitator part in a team. With the help of tools making these tasks productive, they point out key-ideas, disseminate them synthetically and guide participants towards constructive discussions.
Assembl tries not to repeat what we see as weaknesses of preceding systems, thus, Assembl:
  • Doesn't force participants to write their contributions in a special format (the structure must help the discussion, not take its place)
  • Acknowledges that some participants will like better a push mode (for example: mailing lists) and some a pull mode (for example : : web forums web, Facebook groups), and enables them to chat together by breaking those "havens " of discusion 16 .
  • Doesn't brake existing communities by forcing migrations. It can be introduced progressively in the current mailing list of an already active community.
  • Doesn't disconnect maps of discussions that gave birth to it. Reactions to discussion are available from the global version and vice-versa.
  • Doesn't make obligatory a structure of discussion (numerous systems are focused on for/against debates) and imposes less constraints to methods of animation.

Continuation of this text available here

  • 1 parable of Jaïnism, made famous by the american poet John Godfrey Saxe in the middle of the XIXth centuray. Source :
Sanskrit Heritage Dictionary. [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://sanskrit.inria.fr/DICO/index.html, Quoted par Wikipédia : The Sanskrit Heritage Dictionary. Wikipédia [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sanskrit_Heritage_Dictionary
  • 2 The equivalent expression in english could be "bar-room politics " or even better "armchair philosophy " refering to cultured but idle people , whom talk a lot but act little (rather than to people who would have had too much too drink and would talk nonsense) : café du commerce. WordReference? [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=70335&highlight=comptoir
  • 3 A paradox which might have been invented by Eubulide of Millet (IVth century) from the Cretan of Epimenide. Paradoxe du menteur. Wikipédia [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradoxe_du_menteur
  • 4 Alfred Korzybski, author of General Semantics, understood during the first World War that the mechanisms of thinking which caused the war rested on the postulates of Aristotle's logic (principle of identity, of non contradiction and of excluded middle). He expressed then a new non-aristototelitian logic based on new postulates corresponding to scientific advancements in the XXth century : Sémantique générale. Wikipédia [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A9mantique_g%C3%A9n%C3%A9rale
  • 5 It 's about a limitation of one of our working memories called phonologiacl loop, which only allows us to keep in mind three items in a chain of ideas. For the model of the different working memories, see : BADDELEY, Alan D. and HITCH, G. J. Working memory. In : BOWER, G. H. (ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation : Advances in research and theory Volume 8. New York : Academic Press, 1974. p. 47–90. ISBN 9780080863597 0080863590 0125433085 9780125433082.
  • 6 This second working memory concerns the whole of the project or ideas we can remember in our short term memory. It's named after a visuo-spatial notebook. It enables us for example to count post factum the windows in a house when we don't see it anymore... considering their number is limited. It's also this same working memory which allows to create new ideas by linking two former ones. MILLER, George A. The magical number seven, plus or minus two : some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological review. 1956. Vol. 63, no. 2, p. 81.
  • 7 To know more about the topic, see the complete text: "Size of groups and roles of members"
  • 8 To know more about the topic, see the complete text: "//Post factum// choice"?
  • 9 To know more about the topic, see the complete text: "Mapping to give an overview". These ideas were presented formerly in : CORNU, Jean-Michel. Modes de pensée et conflit d’intérêt. In : Nouvelles technologies, nouvelles pensées ? [online]. Limoges, France : FYP éditions, 2008. Innovation, ISSN 1961-8328. ISBN 978-2-916571-03-4. Available from : http://www.cornu.eu.org/files//ProspecTIC_pensee2.pdf
  • 10 See also the Delphi method which enables aware people to improve their forecasting on a topic by an iterative approach enhancing the fields of convergence and incertainty : LINSTONE, Harold A. and TUROFF, Murray (eds.). The delphi method [online]. Addison-Wesley Reading, MA, 2002. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. ISBN 0 - 201 - 04294 - 0. Available from : http://is.njit.edu/pubs/delphibook/#toc
  • 11 This part was written by Jacques-François Marchandise de la Fing
  • 12 This part was written by Victoria Masson and Jean Duclos from the ADEO group
  • 13 See the paragraph "Text Wording : collectivre re-reading "
  • 14 The animation of a debate may be done by volunteers or professionals whom will find interesting to be in the heart of the discussion in order to catch ideas and subtelties fully. This job of animation should not officially be part of the working time.
  • 15 This part was written by Benoît Grégoire from Imagination for People. Imagination for People | Repérer et soutenir des projets sociaux créatifs. [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://imaginationforpeople.org/fr/
  • 16 See the paragraph "Size of groups and roles of members" about the difference between proactive and reactive participants
le 10.02.2014 à 17:50:47

How to produce a document when you are several hundred persons (Part 2)

Card's author : Jean-Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : The first part of this document is available here

Constitution of the group

Invitation to join in
First you need to invite people to form a group. This can be done collectively or individually. Both are complementary. An invitation is not a subscription, the person must give her authorization to be part of the group. But, if she is interested, her subscription must be as easy as possible : a simple click on a link in a email with as little information to give as possible (generally first name and name, sometimes the firm. The email address can be detected directly). Otherwise, a simple return answer by email can be suggested in order to lower even more the threshold of acting out 17 . The answer may be manually treated or automatically with a return heading to a robot which allows to register the person directly (by detecting in the email address the person's email or his/her account in the social network as well as his/her name).

For the collective invitation, niches for the information display must be chosen first : emailing lists (discussion or diffusion), social networks, newsletter... Be careful not to spam groups where such an invitation would not be in the subject. A natural niche where the invitation could be sent would be the list of members, the newsletters and the social networks of the organization(s) which is or are managing the new group. With a CRM (Customer Relationship Management, profiles and sending management system in an organization), it is even possible to personalize the message of the invitation especially by mentioning the name and/or first name of the person.
For those you particularly want in the group
The first individual job to do is to draw up the list of people you wish to have in the group. This can be done for example with a spreadsheet where for each person to invite a field for "First name Name " <adresse_mail> (format which allows an easy sending with not only the email adress address but also the name). Other columns can bear the organization, a field for commentaries on the interest of having this person in the group or else a field with the sending date, the answer, the possible date for first and second reminder, etc. This board (or a more efficent efficient app) allows to keep an eye on individual invitations 18 . If after a week the person has not answered, a first and then a second reminder can be sent. No need to insist, consider that someone who has not answered after two or three reminders, doesn't want to join the group. Invitations and messages need to be personal with first name and name, at least at the beginning, even in a standard message. It can be useful too to have to kinds of messages : familiar and formal (the type of sent message must be quoted in the board) 19 . The message has to be as short as possible but still very clear and complete (it must not take up more than an average computer screen) and it must end with the signature of one or two persons with possibly their status rather than being anonymous and signed by a group or an organization. This way of handling individual invitation, when well carried out and with a minimum knowledge of the guests (messages could be ideally signed by a person who knows the guest) allows a good return rate (up to 80 or 90%).

It can be wise to mention in the invitation that contribution to be part of the group is not compulsory (between 60 to 90% of members are observers or even completely idle 20 ), that the number of messages will be reasonable (for example only summaries and a selection of contributions will be sent with a maximum of five emails per week, details being available on the web) and that unsubscribing is possible any time 21 .

To know more about the subject : example of customized individual messages
Example of customizedindividual message (aimed for a man and using a familiar tone)
Subject : starting up of a work on monetary innovation

Dear <first name>,

I am launching within the Foundation Internet Nouvelle Génération (Fing) an "expedition " (a collective work of several months) on "Monetary innovation " : Today more than 5000 "complementary currencies " are circulating in the world. The crisis, the research in new means of development, the internet and finally the mobile phone have speed up its development. What if the same factors could also help to reinvent the very uses of these currencies and what they make possible?

All the results of the expedition will be made public and freely reusable. The objective is to open up new opportunities and to provoke action. With regards to your knowledge on currencies, I suggest that you join us to take part in this reflexion. If it's ok for you, simply click on the following link <link to register> or, if you prefer, you can email me back and I will take care personally of you registration.

Looking forward to exchanging on the topic with you.

Best wishes.

Jean-Michel Cornu

Example of reminder (aimed for man and using a familiar tone)

Dear <first name>,

The first discussions of the Monetary Innovation group will soon occur. If you want to follow the debate on the new definitions for currency uses and what they enable (and maybe participate if you have time), click on the following link : <link to register> or, if you prefer, you can email me back and I will take care personally of you registration.

Best wishes.

Jean-Michel Cornu

[copy of the previous invitation email]

First gathering of exchanges
Once the number of participant reaches one hundred, the first thing to do is to invite each participant to present himself briefly in one or two sentences adding what he expects from the group and how he might contribute. This first pool may seem useless particularly in social networks where each member has a user profile, but its aim is to have the maximum people speaking a first time with a simple question that can be answered immediately. Those who have already posted a message have more luck to contribute later, allowing a larger number of contributors (not counting those who systematically contributes...). It shows to other members of the group that they are numerous and that many of them contribute, a fact which also catalyse participation. For the launching of this first gathering of opinions, partners which will introduce themselves very fast might be required to encourage others to introduce themselves as well. That kind of gathering of opinions may enable a participation of up to 40% in large groups.

This first email inviting people to introduce themselves is also the opportunity to present short and simple rules for the functioning of the group. They have to be easily agreed by all members and will allow remarks to contributors whom will not respect them.

To know more about the subject : example of three short functioning rules
Short reminder of rules for our exchanges
  • Be short : one email one screen (except for summaries...)
  • Be constructive : no one has all the solutions, each contribution improves the debate
  • Dare to contribute and welcome new contributors : no idea is useless

If the group is long to set up (over fifteen days), it may be necessary to send, before the first gathering of opinions, a message to inform that the group is underway, that discussions will soon start. On the other hand, it's not compulsory to wait for all registrations to start the first gathering of opinions (there might be just few individual reminders to send after fifteen days).

Once the group is over a hundred and that the first gathering of opinions has enabled a maximum people to talk, the group is ready to undertake a work of collective intelligence. The introducing cycle often continues while the first question on the topic is asked. It's normal, once participants see that more and more people are contributing, that some undergo a certain stress which leads them to introduce themselves in their turn. Others won't. It's important then that messages from the manager put a stress on the fact that there is no guilt to have for people whom did not contribute (in a large group the non-contribution is normal), but those who want to share an idea even a simple one, are welcome anytime no matter whether they have contributed before or not.

Besides a group of partners has to be identified : people that you know well and that you may contact individually to ask for their contribution in order to initiate the discussion, hence creating a "catalysis " effect for the reactive people within the group.

Web watch, common understanding and ideation : an iterative mapping

This stage is made of an alternation of phases of contributions followed by textual maps summaries giving an instantaneous overall view on the problem's understanding. It can be separated in 3 main functions : web watch, building of a common understanding and pointing out of new ideas. It may be interesting to present them one by one, but they often occur simultaneously. Therefore, a more precise understanding of certain subdivisions of the initial question will lead some participant to quote web watch resources and new ideas will often make compulsory the reorganization of previous knowledge with an improved classification.
The initial question
This stage starts with the wording of the question or even better, when a prep work has been done, with a first map. The debate is even more motivating for contributors that it is well advanced while leaving numerous domains to explore. From this question or this textual map, the question is now to ask the group members what are, in their opinion, the missing knowledge and to start quoting relevant resources in those domains (watch).

As in each "stage-email ", rules can be reminded briefly (see previously "example of three short functioning rules ").
Contributions : from "partners " to "reactive people "
To spark off first contributions which are going to spark the following ones, partners can be called for : ask directly some persons of the group whom you know very well and outside of collective messages, to react to your messages the faster they can to initiate the discussion. Of course you will do that just before sending the initial email or the intermediate maps. Even if not all partners will react, contacting them directly increases relevantly the percentage of those who will contribute. By contacting from 6 to 10 people you are sure to have between 3 to 5 first contributions which will encourage other participants to react.

Leave a little time too (generally a week or little less if many contributions) in order to enable the reaction of those who wish to. In groups where everyone sees all contributions (list of discussion for instance), answers from others have a boosting effect. In groups where only some messages are sent to the whole group, sending a message quickly written with a selection of the contributions received just after the initial email (one or two days after the sending of the initial answer or the intermediate map) may be useful. These contributions will contain those from your partners but also some more spontaneous ones

Boosting exchanges can also be done by pointing out domains where contributions are fewer. You can also suggest to identify web watch items (with references or URL), to improve the differentiation between two very close concepts (and bearing sometimes the same name) to achieve a better common understanding or else to suggest the developing of new and not yet identified ideas. Participants often focus on some approaches keeping the discussions in the same fields. As presented by Plato in his dialogues of Socrates, maieutics is 22 "the art of delivering a soul " by asking questions. By suggesting the group to focus especially on such or such part or approach, you will improve the final result quality.

To know more about the subject : the method of the six thinking hats
The Edward de Bono's method of the six thinking hats 23 allows to point out the angles of the different contributions. Relaunching the group towards insufficiently developed approaches becomes possible then:
  • white hat : which ideas can be suggested from a rational point of view ?
  • red hat : what can be added from an emotional and intuitive point of view ?
  • black hat : what are the problems from a pessimistic point of view ?
  • yellow hat : which new opportunities from an optimistic point of view ?
  • green hat : let's start anew from a creative point of view
  • blue hat : which management to develop the control over the process ?

In a debate, more comprehensive methods enable to point out the domains that are insufficiently covered in order to get an optimal quality 24 .
This part of iteration can also be done during online or face-to-face sessions, as a supplement to online asynchronous exchanges. Within the framework of the Lift meetings an underway map about monetary innovation 25 was submitted in two different workshops in Marseille and Paris, by asking the participants what in their opinion was lacking. Even though the assembly was composed of participants from the group and of people unaware of the topic, the presentation of each part of the map has enabled each time a discussion with the emergence of new trails and new concepts. Each time these meetings allowed the updating of a map that was then submitted back and online to the group. A third meeting has been organized in the high place of Design in Paris inviting three speakers from different disciplines (anthropology, economy and philosophy) to react to the map resulting from these collective works. In another group, a stage of contribution has been tested during an online session about stigmergy 26 (a mechanism of indirect coordination between agents which allows a system of allocated self-organization) by adding items from the SECI method for animating a session proposed by Nonaka and Takeushi 27 . Iterations can be mixed during asynchronous online exchanges (from half a week to a week long)and online or face-to-face sessions (lasting from an hour and half and three hours), in order to get the maximum diversity within the contributors. Some are more comfortable with written or oral contributions, even among those whom attend both exchanges and sessions.
Textual mapping
Once a week, twice if contributions are numerous, improve the map which summarize the items coming from the participants watch, understanding and new ideas.
The first stage consists in catching contributions items in the different messages from the group. There can be two or more contributions in a message. To ease their use, they can be characterized by a reformulated sentence of one line maximum. Keep the name of the contributor to ease the esteem mechanisms within the group 28 .
The following step consists in completing the textual map of the debate (or creating it if it's the first time) by inserting new contributions wisely. This process often needs to reorganize the map by adding levels to distinguish concepts which were before mixed up.
The map is aiming to give an overall view of exchanges. It appears under the shape of a bullet list with different levels. In order to keep the map as short as possible and to avoid scrolling to read it, there is one contribution per line. The first name of the contributor can be added at the end of each line. The objective is to circulate on the textual map as you read a graphics board : instead of needing a complete reading, we must be able to point out quickly the key items and then to look closer at the parts we are interested in. For that purpose, the use of bold, underlined, italic lay out allows to enhance some important words or group of words. Colours can also be used, red for example to point out special items.

To know more about the topic : example of map about to show cooperation
Which cooperation sell ?
  • 1) Safeguarding general interest forgetting short term personal interest (altruism) (Mathieu)
    • Foundations exist but they are complicated (theory of green beards...)
  • 2) Joining on the long term collective and personal interest (Michel)
    • it is the foundation of cooperation (Jean-Michel)
    • there are economic models : radical collaboration, coopetition (Gatien)
    • What simple examples to understand easily ?
How to join personal interest with collective interest
  • Giving a long term vision (Mathieu)
    • "the shadow of future " in the jargon of economists (Gatien)
  • Developingabundance rather than rarity(Jean-Michel)
  • Favouringesteem mechanisms
  • Taking part in a collective work and sharing it (Michel)
  • Transforming the mechanisms of support for projects (Michel)
Cooperation can help us to gain time... or to loose some...
  • by the contacts it brings in (networking)
  • belonging to a community creates confidence and legitimacy (Richard)
  • the production of the group can help us to gain time (mutualization) (Philippe Olivier)
  • but cooperation needs to be less time-consuming
    • for participants : method of online exchanges (Jean-Michel)
    • for managers : by being a "lazy smart " as Linus Torvarld (Michel)
Cooperation can help us to earn money... or to loose some (This side needs developing)
  • Living better collectively : redirecting rivers to irrigate soils (Mathieu)
  • Innovating economical models (see free, web 2, music...) (Jean-Michel)

The map is not only a summary of the discussion. In fact, by reorganizing it, the manager often sees what is obvious in terms of new ideas. He must not do without adding them on the map because the next iteration of comments might invalidate or complete his choice.
End of the stage
After several iterations, contributions tend to dry up and participants stop adding new ideas. This may occur after the first iteration (but in this case the contributors ideas have not been exchanged) but we have example of exchanges including up to 7 iterations 29 . Besides, if the manager thinks that enough angles were treated (see for instance the six thinking hats method above), then a final map can be displayed within the group. The question is now to make choices and more than that to show results under a form that anyone who is ignorant on the subject will understand.

Choice : an approximate consensus

Not all discussions need to be finalized by choices. Sometimes it's useful to keep everything in order to show the maximum approaches, for example when one wants to publish a guide on how to implement a project 30 . On the contrary in other cases, a collective choice has to be made within the diversity of submitted ideas on actions to be implemented by the group or on proposals to carry out. The method used for the previous stage enables to lessen the problem generated by the people's tendency to fight first for his point of view against other's.The most interesting ideas are often those coming after several iterations. Even if they come from one participant, they blossom from the numerous exchanges and cannot be attributed to only one person (even if the first name of the person is quoted in the textual map). People choose more easily from collective ideas than from individual ideas.
An efficient approach is the rough consensus one. It is neither a consensus (hard even impossible to achieve) nor a vote which leaves aside part of the participants choices. In the rough consensus, the question is "has anyone got a major objection to the actual choice ? ". Like in all large groups where participation is an exception and non-contribution a majority, the rough consensus only asks people who would have a real problem with the choice to react. It is therefore possible to reach a point where all the choices made, even though they are not those each person would have made individually, are acceptable enough for all.
The rough consensus is one of the base of the IETF, Internet Engineering Task Force, the community which specifies the standards of the Internet since 1986. Despite the important stake for many industrials to choose a standard rather than an other, the IETF methods have enabled the development of standards agreed by all 31 .

Text writing : collective proofreading

Once the group has pointed out all items of reference, concepts and ideas – and eventually has made choices among them – the whole work still needs to be turned into a document that anyone outside the group can understand. This stage is undertaken more traditionally by one or two "scribes " for the writing and the whole group for the proofreading and the comments.

The proofreading by the group is useful because even with the best will in the world, no one understands all the subtleties written in the final map, not even the manager who drew it ! So, by writing the whole in a literary style, words considered as synonyms are often used to lighten the style. But one contributor may notice that if the word used in the map is right, it is not any more in the proposed text. There still are therefore many implicit items in the final map. If the map is accepted by all members of the group, a slightly different wording which would be harmless to the majority of the group, may be unacceptable to some.

The map done by the group can either give birth to a text of one or two pages or to an important text. So, in the example of the group on monetary innovation, the six weeks of online debate and the three working sessions have issued on 7 versions of the map and a 160 pages book 32 . The Book sprint 33 methodology used by Floss Manuals 34 to carry out collective books in a week time can be useful. A group of people gathered for five days to write each a part of the book. In our case, it is not so much experts in one domain whom will bring their knowledge but people whom have taken part in the exchanges and whom will try to transcribe as faithfully as possible the final map in a way understandable to all. The contents is parted between the different participants (numerous enough to write their part in just a few days) and each written part is submitted online to the group for comments. Tools which enable to comment online such as Co_ment 35 or Google Drive 36 are useful during this stage.

Once the writing is up and stamped by the group, an edition work to hunt mistakes, improve style and homogenize the whole. At this stage, avoiding adding mistakes is very important. It is also interesting to have the final text displayed with the modifications, done on the text proposed by writers, visible (added text in bold and removed text crossed out), in order to enable the group to have an easier final proofreading only focused on changes.

Once the work is completely over, a wide online and/or printed diffusion still needs to be done. The use of a CC-BY-SA 3.0 Creative commons licence 37 allows to ease its diffusion and its taking over by a large community.
le 16.01.2014 à 17:44:47

Introduction to commons

Card's author : Gatien Bataille
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

Common Goods ?

Traditionally called « common resources » (things which belong to the community), commons have been a little left out.
They have been supplanted by:
  • private goods organized by the market
  • State provided public goods provided
Therefore commons have become « the goods of the person... » of which no one takes care.
Yet commons are not ownerless goods.
Each of us can legally claim rights over them.
They feed us, allow us to communicate and travel, they inspire us... even enable us to reject our wastes (in the air or the water).

Commons are characterized by the fact that:

  • a ressource, for example water or knowledge, is durably used in common, rather than consummate individually or excluding other people.
  • a specific group is in charge and takes care of the ressource rather than letting it to the mercy of profiteers.
  • this group agrees on appropriate and clear rules of property rather than accepting the absence of regulation.
  • the access to resources is highly self-organized rather than determined from the outside.
  • all users have citizenship and voice rather than being systematically representated by others.
  • advantages are shared rather than concentrated.
This conception strongly questions the notion of private property over goods which could be qualified of commons... Yet, it is not currently discussed.

What would be the consequences of a redefining of lands as commons ?
Commons have to be strengthened, beyond and in complement with market and State. Each one is called to take his responsabilities as a co-owner of things which are « commons », in order to get more freedom and community from them.. Commons need men and women, not only markets, government's subsidies or state regulation. Wealth which expands through commons must be shared in a new and fair way in all spheres of our lives.
Because commons are the well-kept secret of our prosperity.
Each one meets them daily, in all places. Each one uses them in his economical activities, in his family, in politics or during his spare time. They belong to the obvious presuppositions of economic and social life but still remain widely invisible.
Things used as commons make up the inside skeleton of a prosperous society.
Within nature, men and women are all depending on water, forests, soil, fisheries, biodiversity, lansccape, air, atmosphere as well as on vital processes linked to them. Each individual has a right to share natural resources, regardless of private ownership of these resources.
In the social field and among all the conditions requested to enable the blossoming of social relationships are squares, gardens and parks, parties, sundays and bank holidays, together with public transportation, digital networks, moments of sport and leisure. These commons can be directly taken care of and cultivated in various ways, by the concerned communities and on the initiative of citizens. They can also be a matter of the public domain where public services play an important part.
This goes without saying, about culture, that language, memory, practices and knowledge are essential to any material or immaterial production. In the same way, todays gains must contribute to serve freely future generations.
In the digital sphere, productions and exchanges work even better when access to objects and data is easier. It is essential that software's source codes, as well as all the richness of texts, sounds, images and films online should not be closed off by restrictive rights on intellectual property.

Useful to know

Commons do not mean public
A fundamental difference with classical typology of public goods is that commons are inherited: or they represent gifts from nature and are taken care as such, or they are produced by people or groups (not always clearly identified), and then transmitted. This transmission can be long lasting process (cultural landscapes, langauges) or short ones ((Wikipédia, free software). Commons can also appear when they have been produced by a person and aimed by this person to have a common use (for example html language).
No politician or state has ever thought like that.
Naturally, commons or human rights linked to othem often depend on the protection of a State. Thus, preservation and claiming of global commons could be difficult to achieve without the different state's agreement.
Commons are fairly and durably managed when things whose availabilty is limited for all are shared, and when everybody has an access to abundant things.

Commons do not mean common property
Common property is a kind of collective property. It can occur with co-ops, heir's community or else anonymous stock corporation. As private property, common property involves the exlusion of some people (the non-owners) from access and use of the good. In this, it is different from commons.

Everything is not commons, but many things can become so.

Commons Architecture

Commons are made of three essential bricks: resources, people, and then rules and standards which allow to link all these components.
Fisrt brick is material. It refers to actual resources: water, earth, genetic code, software codes, knowledges, algorithms and cutural technics ; it refers also to the time we display, and naturally to the atmosphere. All this constitutes « common pool resources ». Each of us has an equal right to use them.
The second brick is social. It refers to human beings using those resources. The concept of commons is unthinkable unless reported to real individuals acting in a defined social space. Knowledges, i.e. all those using resources collectively , turning them into commons.
The third brick is regulatory. It encompass rules and standards which govern the relation with commons. Clearly, it is not the same to regulate bytes and information and to regulate natural resources such as water or forests. The relation with those things have different forms. But what these relations share is that they have to be defined by wide communties of users. And this can only occur when a human group develops a common understanding of his relationship with resources.

Resources + Communities + Rules and standards = Commons

Commons define the quality of life

Commons are a source of value, out or in complement of the market. For everyone, the ability to resort in commons, besides services provided by the market and the state, has various advantages.
The fact is obvious everywhere shared natural resources such as pastures, water, seas, forests, fields and seeds are the base for survival. Community rights insure free access to those vital resources, payed in cooperative and solidarity money. As soon as the services insured by those resources – human and animal feeding, building materials, medicine, heating and raw materials – have to be bought with money, men are reduced to a state of poverty because they are deprived of purchasing power.
The real tragedy of commons is that people are unaware of their value (not monetary) until the moment they are about to disappear.
Thus, urban population density is a kind of wealth that becomes visible only when lost. Short distances:
  • enable to save up the time required to go shopping on foot,
or for the children to go to school without taking public transportation,
encourage socialization's networks and shared work, and therefore the opening of autonomous day-nurseries.
Common resources + Communities + Cooperation = Creation of not monetary values

Commons ; tools of creativity and cooperation

The truth is accepted for a long time that cooperation is a powerful factor of productivity. The digital world has allowed the developping of completely innovative ways of cooperating.
In the world of sciences, collaborative ways of working which are globally shared and auto-organized, have become an obvious fact.
At the digital age, creativity takes on a new meaning, beyond individual.
It often turns out that amateurs' enthusiasm and competency joined together have nothing to envy to the professionals, on the contrary. Thanks to Web 2 .0 apps always more numerous, like Twitter, wikis or blogs, new ways of working in common and of sharing of knowledges are experienced. The Internet has the potential for developping platforms of collaborative intelligence and of decentralized ingenuity, and to make them available to all.
Thanks to a large participation, « Online communities » can propose high quality products and services that can have a monetary value.
Nearly all human societies are based on a mix of competition, planning and solidarity. However, their relationships grow different as the time goes on. The exchange of goods on the market – as obvious as it can be for us today - is only a way among others to procure goods.
Ways to get goods are:
  • a market ruled production (principle of competition)
  • a state ruled market (principle of planning)
  • a community ruled production and retailing (principle dof reciprocity).
The feeling of community and free sharing seems to be acquiring a new meaning and a new importance by combining with the will of independance. The strenghtening of commons meets this need.

The solution to todays problems is not in a withdrawal of the State in order to make place to markets, but rather in the State making efforts to secure communities' rights on their commons.

Les atouts des biens communs

What appears today as a one of the commons' weakness might be a force very soon: money plays there a supporting role. What makes commons different is that cooperation is seen as a way of shared property rather than competition aiming to a personal enrichment. Generally, monetary incentives play there a very marginal part.
The purposes that matters really are rather:
  • the common use,
  • the development of skills,
  • sociability or reputation.
In this meaning, the sphere of commons is a demerchandized space. It's an economy of sharing and participation, and not of accumulation and exclusion.
Without a such economy of sharing, an economy freed of the growth's pressure is inconceivable. Indeed, all that is done for general interest, by passion for the topic or by solidarity enable to satisfy needs with a lesser monetary investment. So, doing Wikipedia would have been too costly if each contributor had had to be reributed
In other words, what took place in the sphere of commons – often referrred to as share capital – could be qualified even more relevantly of « monetarily efficient ». A lesser investment is required for an equal level of performance.
This is precisely the central challenge of an economic system which would have to do without economic growth, but still would have to keep on going. Because monetary efficiency understood that way can be the pilar of a post-growth economy, the rediscovery of commons is the condition for the emergence of an economic order with a future for the XXIst century.
A new model to create: peer production based on commons
Unlike market production, production by peers based on commons is not aimed for sale, but for direct use. Peers projects have a common goal – creating software, doing music, gardening – and all contributors are acting for the purpose. Most do it because they share the goal or wish for its achievement, or simply because they like what they do. They don't do it for money. A production such as this one produces new commons, or else maintains and improves those already existing. Hierarchical structures are widely unknown. That doesn'tsomeone else what has to be done. Relationships built around these commons are not deprived of rules. Rules are the result of the peers' consensus. In the egalitarian economy of commons, there are no constraints nor orders. This results in a free cooperation between contributors of equal rights.
A peer production based on commons always takes place within communities, where people sharing common interests or being just neighbors gather. Virtual worlds also enables the emergence of new forms of community, with no territorial attachment.
It's true that peer production developped mostly in knowledge and software production, but its principles can be transposed to material goods' production. This means that:
  • Knowledge and natural resources are commons which fundamentaly belong to everybody. Rules are there to garanty equity. For their use, there are rules that ensure equity.
  • Physical goods' production is based on free patterns (for construction), that everyone can develop and adopt to his own needs.
  • The management of physical production is decentralized. For the main part, it takes place locally.
  • Production is directed towards the use and the user: La production est orientée vers l'utilisation et l'utilisateur: we produce for life !
  • The involvment of each contributor ensue of his « free choice »: each one chooses by himself where and how he wishes to contribute. It requires an important effort of harmonization, but it also brings more satisfaction.
  • Peer production is based on integration and not on exclusion. There are rules, for sure, that communities equip themselves with and that every member respects, but the barriers to enter are low. Contribution is facilitated.
While commons in market economy are almost invisible - eventhough of vital importance – relations should be reversed in a share economy: markets, as organized in today's market economy, will play in future a minimal rôle, when commons and communities will be teh centre of life.

Tracks to act

We may devote straight away our energy, our institutions and talents to commons and to what their essence is: diversity of life.
We may systematically ask ourselves about every project, any idea or any economic activity if it brings more to communities, corporations and to environment than it takes back.
We may reverse the actual trend: by setting limits and by using durably natural resources, but also by being lavish in the circulation of ideas. So we will have the best of both.
We may find clever ways of promoting progress for all, instead of concentrating exclusively on individual promotion.
We may recognize and support first and foremost materially activities which generate, maintain or multiply goods available for all.
We may ensure that the collective and equitable participation in donations of our land and in collective achievements of the past and present is institutionalized and becomes the norm.
We may resort to decision-making process, communication means and transparent, participative and free technologies, as well as improve them.
le 15.01.2014 à 11:17:26

Using lists in Tela Botanica

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Testimonies : The Tela Botanica network was developed around discussion lists.

The first "tela-botanicae" was established in March 1999, when the network was created. It finds its support in the services offered by Yahoo Groups. It remains active today, with 1,092 members and 34,000 messages exchanged since its creation, with an average of 225 messages per month (figures from 8 March 2010).

Diversity of its members

The list combines specialists and amateurs, neophytes and people passionate for botanic sciences. A beginner asks a question and then dozens of specialists answer, sometimes in great depth. Admittedly, if they had met up with each other, the exchanges would probably never have been so dynamic (for the fear of being judged by others, the high level of discussions…).

Division into themed groups

As exchanges went on, themed discussions emerged, sometimes creating an overwhelming number of messages on the list. The network facilitator, who was monitoring the situation, immediately suggested creating a separate and specific discussion list. This is how more than fifty themed groups were created, leading to some intense cooperative work for some and to collective production.

Summarised lists

The advantage of dividing the network into themed groups is that you can subscribe to discussions that you are interested in, without becoming flooded with emails every day. The disadvantage is that you don't have a global view of what is going on in the group. To solve this issue, one of the network members encouraged the creation of discussion summaries: the person asking a question had to write a summary with all the answers received.
Three levels of summaries were defined based on the level of information feedback.
  • Level 1 - gathering messages. Returning all exchanges on a topic (the only process involved is to compile all the messaged in an order and clean-up the form).
  • Level 2 - gathering messages and shaping them. Intermediate summarising giving messages a certain shape.
  • Level 3 - summary. Enriched summary (adding elements and controlling references).
All this under a Creative Commons licence, of course!

Tools to facilitate and frame exchanges

The network also created tools to facilitate access to these lists for new members: animated user manuals (video tutorial) and a code of good conduct (Netiquette).
le 16.01.2014 à 16:31:40


Card's author : Outils Réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
To begin with : YesWiki is a free wiki engine, modular, under GPL licence, which allows to create and manage a website or an intranet. YesWiki is particularly intended for groups wishing to be equipped with an internet-cooperating tool.
Official website : http://yeswiki.net
Tool's boxes : Wikis
Introduction : Just like its dad Wikini, on which it leans, YesWiki allows with any web browser :
  • the creation, deleting, modifying, commenting of web pages, whatever the number of publishers and of pages.
  • the management of file system permissions to different pages (read, write, comment), by one or a group of users.
  • a visual and intuitive laying out of contents, without IT knowledge.
  • the instantanous publishing of any page creation or modification.
  • the analysis, the management of the site from simple features : site map, list of users, list of the last modified pages, etc.
  • YesWiki is also:
    • templates, adjustable to each site.
    • the generalizing of the wiki principle to the whole site : modification of the title, banner, menus, footer etc. with a simple double-click.
    • a flexible antispam.
    • the ability to join to each page an office or multimedia file with posting or reading of the content for images, sounds, videos, mind maps.
    • a manager of extensions allowing to add new features such as database, key-words, microblog, shared forecast etc.
YesWiki can be set up on a Web server bearing PHP 5 and more and a database MySQL. Once set up, the site is directly operational and everything is managed online with any web browser.?
Requirements :
  • Having a PHP / MySQL web hosting
Some practical uses :
  • it helps to approach existencial matters !
  • it helps to create a potentially collaborative website easily
  • it helps to keep the control on the website
  • it helps to think about the question of power
  • it helps to set up intranets
  • it helps to co-write books
  • it helps to co-build projects
  • and it helps to demonstrate that project that are co-built are feasible and efficient
  • it helps to demystify the internet
  • it helps to do databases even better than a Googleform
  • it helps to point out the people who really want to cooperate (others say that anyone can change their name)
  • it helps to spot the IT specialists who see in cooperation safety weaknesses
  • it helps to remove passwords in order to act
  • it helps to show that Wiki can also rhyme with pretty
  • it helps to increase one's skills for the sake of the whole team
Using the tools :
Going further : Documentation "get on's hand dirty" for the setting up, the configuration, the customization
Advantages :
  • very easy to start writing
  • flexible (extensions of databases, qrcodes, etc...)
  • the new features given by extensions offer multiple cooperative possibilities.
  • easy-to-edit menus
Drawbacks :
  • Need to know the specific wiki syntax
  • the"tools" extensions add complexity: be careful to add them when the group is mature enough.
  • small community of developers.
Licence : Open sources, Free
Using : Easy
Setting up : Reserved for IT Jedis
le 15.01.2014 à 11:29:26

You may not know it, but you are helping to digitalise old books!

Card's author : Hélène Laxenaire - SupAgro Florac
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Testimonies : Thanks to reCaptcha, a project created by the Carnegie-Mellon University, every time you screw up your eyes while trying to decipher a twisted text to validate an entry or post a comment, you are actually contributing to improve a programme to digitalise old books.

Going back to the start: what are captchas?

Captchas are deformed words that you are required to re-copy to validate and entry or for an action on the Internet. The principle behind captchas is finding an action that is easier for humans than for robots, so as to avoid the action you are doing to be done automatically (using robot-software). Especially to avoid millions of email accounts or Facebook accounts from being created automatically or to avoid a blog being flooded in comments to sell false Viagra. By re-copying the deformed text, you are proving that you are a human being (only from a biological point of view though!)

The issue of digitalising old books

Old books that are in the public domain could easily be made available to a larger audience on the Internet; however, to facilitate the search for these books, it becomes necessary to process a page scan (which is actually a photocopy) into digital text where searches can be made. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software is in charge of this, but very often this software has many problems with this type of books. To improve their recognition rate, optical character recognition software programmes need to "learn". This means that their results must be compared to the results obtained by humans to gradually increase the number of characters they are able to recognise. However, transcription by humans is a long and repetitive task.

What if we joined the tool to ... the tool?

Luis Van Ham is a professor at the Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh and he works on human computation, meaning programmes that combine the power of human thinking with the calculation speed of computers to solve problems that humans or computers alone cannot solve (OCR tools are a typical example). He developed the concept of objective games, whereby humans while playing, are actually carrying out useful operations. Even if it is not a game, the reCaptcha he developed follows this principle. Every time we decipher deformed words, taken from the digitalisation of old books, to prove to the internet site that you are a human being, you are actually contributing to the growth of the database used by OCR software and to improve their effectiveness in recognising digital characters in old books.

reCaptcha, how does it work?

Scans of old book pages are read by two different types of character recognition software. When a same word is read differently by these two software programmes, it is considered suspicious and is added to the reCaptcha database.
When you are asked to prove that you are human and not a machine using a reCaptcha, there are always two words, one is more deformed than the other. One of the two has already been identified as valid by OCR software (and this is the one used to verify that you are human) and the other one has not (this will be the word you help to identify). When a certain number of internet users identify a suspicious word in the same way it is then validated. It is then included into the database of validated reCaptcha words and into the database used by OCR software to recognise the characters in digitalised books. Today, the reCaptcha character recognition software has achieved a level of error similar to that of a human being.

Is this work positive?

Google purchased reCaptcha in 2009 and installed it on its pages asking for this type of validation. Given the power of Google, this has given a large visibility to the project and a larger number of participants. Google's main goal is to digitalise Google books and make it easier to refer to and search text in their pages. However, it would seem that Google has adapted reCaptcha to other projects; in this sense, some reCaptchas appeared containing street names from Google Street View.
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