The project of this community space
Hi everyone, I’m starting a thread on a speculative and aspirational note, about what this online ecological community space could be. Going head to head with Big Tech isn’t easy or straightforward. But like so many others, we’ve been thinking about the promise of smaller and more intimate spaces of shared interest and commitment. Hoping for this to work is different from actually making it work, of course, and this will take a lot of creative and improvisational thinking and tinkering. There are many reflections out there already on such possibilities. If something strikes you as promising and worth thinking through, and if you have such ideas of your own, please feel free to park them here.
Here’s one interesting reflection to start with, on the image of the “wood wide web” in forest ecology what that might have to teach us about online community space. Claire Evans writes, in New_Public, “The project of decentralizing the web is vast, and only just beginning. It means finding a way to uproot our expression and communication from the walled gardens of tech platforms, and finding novel ways to distribute the responsibilities of infrastructure across a collective network. But we needn’t start from nothing. To build resilient decentralized networks, let us create “Mother nodes”—sites in the network bearing a responsibility of care. We’ve built institutions like these before: consider public libraries, which serve both as bearers of cultural memory and as generous sources of nutrients for our minds and communities.”
Could this space become such a “Mother node”? I find myself arrested by the image and the possibility. Here’s the piece: