Building a global community through the mycelium of local communities.
A brief look at the communities role in the Crowdpol ecosystem. Every individual community will have the same options as the more general community that is Crowdpol but can set their own individual rules and pick their own community appropriate features to function as autonomous cells in the greater body of communities. However, to interact on the global level, all communities must agree to the same basic rules.
The Community Structure
The Crowdpol ecosystem is designed to support a bottom-up structure for global governance. The base rests on the rights of the individual to have privacy, autonomy and free access to information, but the activity that supports society happens on the community level.
Just like any other social platform you can create a profile, post content on your wall and connect with other members. However, what sets us apart is the purpose behind the design of the platform, to create change by empowering changemakers. Impactful change is never the work of a single person, it is the work of a community. Therefore, Crowdpol must support local communities as much as it aims to empower you as an individual.
Each community on Crowdpol is sort of a microcosm of the greater ecosystem, a unique cell of the larger body if you like, but like any cell, it has all the features of the body available to it through its shared DNA. The communities are the operative arm of Crowdpol. This is were debates happen, where proposals are voted on, where projects are implemented and where the results are monitored and evaluated. Simply put, communities are where the rubber meets the road, where the magic happens.
Anyone can create and curate a community on Crowdpol. Using Crowdpol’s Community Toolbox, you will be able to set all the individual parameters of your community. This might be specific rules of engagement or codes of conduct you require of your members, acceptable forms of identity or other means to prove of access as well as what hoops, if any, you will want your community members to leap through in order to join. Further, you will be able to select the specific categories that are relevant to your community in order to index content in the most appropriate way.
You also get to select the specific features of the platform that you wish to activate within your community. For some, tools for deliberation and voting might be the focus, for others, crowdfunding and managing projects might take precedence. This is entirely up to you. Crowdpol will provide a basic set of tools but will also allow third parties to build integrated tools that you can incorporate into your community, should you have more advanced needs.
Simply put, there will be a number of universal tools and settings used on Crowdpol through which content is created and shared at the global level, and any number of local settings and tools for maximal autonomy and granularity.
Autonomy and responsability
On the flip side, once you take the step and create a community, that community is entirely your responsibility. You, whether you are one person or a group who share the responsibility, need to foot the bill, operationally, financially and ethically. Practically speaking, this means you have to pay the running costs for your share of the servers that host your community, the bandwidth costs to run it and moderate your member’s activities, provided you wish said activities to be moderated at all.
Furthermore, you decide which content posted on your community is open to the rest of the network, and which content is private. You get to decide which standard your content needs to achieve before sharing. You also get to decide if people outside of your community get to interact with your content, and in what ways. In the same way, other members of the greater network get to decide what type of content they allow to show up on their maps, based on what type of conduct or rules they are prepared to interact with.
To provide a practical example: Crowdpol does not allow the intimidation of or personal attacks on any of its members. Any such behaviour can be reported and will have consequences, such as temporarily losing ones right to interact on the global scale. You, on the other hand, might not want to place any such restrictions on the members of your community, which is entirely up to you. If other members do not want to interact in this type of environment, they can mute your community by default in their individual settings, and any shared content will not register. In the same manner, if you share content on the global level that is deemed to be of low quality by a majority of users, it will eventually be downranked and will not show up unless someone has specifically selected to see the content created by your community.
In short, all interactions that take place on a community level need to follow the rules of the specific community. The same goes for the top-level community, where all content is potentially shared. The higher quality content your community provides, the more likely it is to spread and gain traction. Which, as it were, is the name of the changemaking game.
Freedom of speech and reach
The importance of this is that only content posted within a community becomes part of the commons and generally accessible. This is part of Crowdpols ambition to curate content before it is released onto the commons, so to speak, where it might become more noise than signal. Communities that consequently share low-quality content will over time lose their reach in the same way individuals that do not make the effort to research content before they share will lose credibility and impact.
It’s pretty simple. If you want to create change, you need to convince people to support you. If you want people to support you, you will need to provide them with solid arguments resting on reliable data. In order to do all this, your first priority is to let them know you are there and worth paying attention to. The best way to maximise attention is to ensure the best quality of the content you post and to post it in the most respected communities. And to be clear, we don’t decide what constitutes high quality, the network does. We merely provide the toolset used to arrive at this collective decision.
It is significant to note that Crowdpol will not centrally deplatform any community. It is entirely the prerogative of our individual users to decide who they wish to follow or what content they wish to receive. However, each community on Crowdpol is required to sustain itself as far as server and bandwidth costs are concerned. It is also fully possible to set up a community on an independent server and connect to the Crowdpol ecosystem in this way.
To further protect freedom of speech within the network and protect individuals right to privacy and to partake in open discussions without threats or other abuse, as well as maintaining a high signal to noise ratio, there will be to more options to connect with the global community.
For larger organisations, there will be an option to become an affiliated community. Basically, this means using the Crowdpol open-source software on an independent server and connecting to the global network through a shared protocol and ruleset. This will allow said organisations or networks to manage and maintain their user data on their own private servers but still connect to the global network in order to share data, solicit support for proposals, seek funding etc.
Such separately hosted but affiliated communities will be able to post projects on their networks that users may fund through the Altruistic Wallet system, provided they follow the common protocol. However, as such communities will carry their own running costs and will not be required to fund any activity hosted and maintained on the Crowdpol platform, there is no direct need for their members to have Altruistic Wallets. That said, it will be quite possible for any member of an affiliated community to set up a Crowdpol profile that is linked to the separate profile within the affiliated community. Individuals can be part of as many communities they whish, be they hosted on Crowdpol or elsewhere.
The second option is to host your own community on a separate server and not subscribe to the global protocol. This might be a viable option for many communities for several reasons. On the more benign end, a community might want to design and trail various new services or a new interface, which will require separate hosting. Creativity happens at the fringes after all, and for the greater platform to evolve, new ideas need to be trialled and tested out safely in a contained space before being adopted by the global network.
A second reason might be politically sensitive communities. If you reside in one of the sadly all too many dictatorships and other semi-democratic nations across the globe, expressing yourself freely is not a viable option. In order to facilitate a democratic and open debate, a far higher degree of privacy will be required than the Crowdpol ecosystem can currently supply. For this purpose, a version or versions of the platform with the specific focus on user privacy and voter security would need to be developed and hosted in such a way that all users can be reasonably sure of their anonymity.
Another reason to host your own community might be that you which to sell goods and services, charge users a subscription fee or conduct other activity that is currently not permissible on the global level. Or perhaps you simply do not agree with the code of conduct and other protocols required to be part of the global information exchange. Of course, there will be more sinister reasons to create communities on separate servers, such as a basis for scams and other forms of abuse and advantage taking. This is the nature of the internet and not something we can regulate away but must find other ways to deal with. Whatever the reason, you are welcome to do what you please on your private server and welcome to connect to the global discussion with one central caveat: this must happen through individual choice.
In practice, for content to show up on the global level, the individual user must actively choose to add your community to their global feed. Once a user elects your community, all posts you make on the global level will show up with the rest of the global content for that user. However, content coming from elective communities will be clearly represented as separate from other content, and when a user interacts with an elected community, they will be informed that they are operating under a different set of rules than on the shared global level. A gentle reminder to be mindful and do one's own research before electing such a community and to be extra careful when visiting it.
Also, elective communities will not be able to create projects eligible to be funded with the Altruistic Wallet system. The simple rationale for this is the likelihood of fake accounts and scams being simply too high on the fringes. There might be exceptions, but by and large elective communities will not be included in this form of funding. That does not mean that such communities cannot run crowdfunding campaigns and accept other kinds of donations. And there will always be plenty of official communities that will be happy to host your project if it follows the global guidelines, so this should not influence the ecosystem negatively.
The Crowdpol ecosystem is built on communities, and each community is a fully autonomous part of the greater whole.
Individuals can post anything they please on their presence page but this will only be shared with their friends and followers. For content to show up globally, it needs to be posted in a community and meet community standards.
Anyone interacting with specific content displayed on the global level will do so in the local community and must follow that communities guideline.
Communities are encouraged to pursue and maintain a high quality of posted content as they will in effect be earning reputation each time they share content globally. The more appreciated the content is by the rest of the network, the more likely the content is to have the desired impact. Publishing content on the global level that is less appreciated by the network will damage the reputation of the community and will over time lessen the impact of said community.
Crowdpol will not censor or limit access to any community, but individual users are free to remove or mute any content or community that they do not wish to interact with. By the same rules, any user can subscribe to content from any community they please, even if the community is not hosted on Crowdpol.
If you wish to host a community on your own server, you can do so as an affiliated community that shares the same template and protocol or as an elective community that designs its own set of rules and features. In the latter case, the individual must elect to receive content from your community whereas in the former all content is displayed in the same way as internal Crowdpol communities.