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Specific CoLab activities

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Josh Introne

May 18, 2011
08:29

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We have thus far organized site activity around the notion of "contests," but this is not a hard technical constraint. What other kinds of activities would you like to see on the CoLab, given the features that we already have? Would you be interested in helping to organize/moderate such an activity?

James Greyson

May 20, 2011
06:04

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I wonder if it's possible to build in activity that's more visual? • Profile faces shown besides discussion point texts? Auto-generated prompts for members without photo or info? • Auto-generated visual network of linked discussions, proposals and other pages? Wiserearth.org uses a module that turns member-generated content into a visual network image. There's a network module on my Fixing Systems Not Symptoms group for example, http://www.wiserearth.org/group/systems/ • Member-generated map (visual taxonomy) of possible 'what could be done about the climate?' options? The wikipedia page on this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_policy is pretty rough and most media articles present tiny slices of the territory of possibilities. Possible use of 3rd party modules included in CoLab site? Eg http://insightmaker.com • Art, photos. An exhibition with sponsored prizes? Auto-generated mosaic image from shared images? Could use to engage with deeper non-intellectual currents as well as ideas/plans; for example drawings inspired by hope making a shared world of hope image? I'd be happy to join in organising any of these that others find useful, especially in collaboration with techie people who could handle the software mechanics.

Josh Introne

May 20, 2011
09:43

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I think these are all pretty good suggestions, but the first two are features, to my mind, rather than activities. So, I'd like to move those into another discussion (because it's one I think we want to have!) but also elaborate on the other two if we can. And of course, continue to brainstorm... - Member-generated map: Great idea. My feeling is that insightmaker is more tech than we want at this juncture, both from a backend perspective and a UI perspective. So, instead of going at it from the tech side, can we go at it from an organizational / outreach side? How do we invite participation in such an activity? Is it a bounded engagement, or an ongoing thing? Bearing in mind that ambitious interfaces present a hurdle both to the user and the developer (that's me!), what is the lowest tech way a user could approach the endeavor and contribute? - Art, photos, exhibition. This is great - could you drill further? Who would sponsor? Who would judge? What exactly would we be soliciting? I worry a little about contests & prizes & art in this venue. Seems to me we should be open to all contributors, regardless of aesthetic judgments. I sort of like a mosaic more, but the same questions apply. Perhaps we could use voting not for a prize, but rather to increase someone's reputation as an artist? And this would make them more attractive as a contributor to a proposal that needs visual support... I'm really hoping others can weigh in here. Let's generate ideas and see where it goes.

James Greyson

May 27, 2011
04:41

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I like your thinking about lowest tech approaches. How about a gallery of 'what to do?' ideas and a gallery of art? People could contribute to either as an intermediate action between voting/commenting and making proposals. Ideas raised in discussions (for example 'building resilience in our communities') could be added to the gallery. People could comment on and support ideas just as with proposals. People sharing interest in one or more ideas may consider doing a proposal together. Proposals could draw upon ideas and art in the galleries. I'm with you on being open to all contributions, so perhaps people could appreciate it by clicking 'support' on art, adding comments and bringing pieces into proposals. As you say, artists could build their reputations as well as make future visions more visual. Possible refinements like mosaics and ideas mapping could come later? What other kinds of activities would people like to see on the CoLab?

Josh Introne

Jun 16, 2011
03:29

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Hey - sorry if this is a non-sequitur, but I was reading this article (email me for a copy) http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/amp/66/4/315/, and came across this quote: "The distinction between learning from experience versus learning from description needs to be explored more in the context of learning about future possible common as well as rare consequences of climate change. Given the long time horizons with which such experiential feedback would be provided by the “real world,” psychology could collaborate with designers of virtual realities to design test beds for its theories and to design learning environments that can significantly shorten the feedback cycle as well as provide members of the public with means to experience the consequences of uncertainty, including climate futures that include catastrophic events that may be quite unlikely but that deserve consideration in long-term planning." Ok - so, that led to an idea. We've talked about inviting stories or narratives about climate change, but have never really explained what that meant. I think it would be great if we could start inviting people to create stories about specific things - "a day in the life" stories, following: - catastrophic events - a more sustainable future - mass exodus from coastal regions - etc. But the key is that the narrative should be grounded in known scientific understanding - heavily researched and referenced. It should be a collaborative engagement in which people can poke holes in unlikely envisionings, or lend support by linking to existing research. I'm thinking something like an "exquisite corpse" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exquisite_corpse ) approach to collective story creation. The point, as has been pointed out elsewhere, is that people have a hard time understanding the consequences of climate change. Virtual realities and immersive games are beyond us technically (for now) but creating science fiction (the plausible kind) is not. We could do something like this with minimal tech, but it would be really nice if we could embed references / conversation within an evolving story.

James Greyson

Jun 28, 2011
09:45

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"The distinction between learning from experience versus learning from description..." Great distinction! Really relevant to the question of untying society from a collective path of just worsening climate disruption. And typically exploring other paths with well-worn herd thinking habits, "would you like a carbon tax or carbon markets?" A couple of examples: 1. Extrapolating from recent weather events. http://www.newsweek.com/2011/05/29/are-you-ready-for-more.html 2. Film dramatisation. http://www.spannerfilms.net/films/ageofstupid The challenge with learning from description is the formidable human capacity to fool ourselves that any kind of uncomfortable description of the future is implausible and that the future is more likely to be like selective bits of experience that are so much more comfortable to believe, "Can I have my delusion back now, phew that's better!". You helpfully suggest a way around this by including descriptions of solutions among the catastrophic scary stuff. Both of the examples above try to do this though only lightly and I'm not sure that light solutions are much use to balance the weight of really 'heavy' scenarios. Current knowledge about positive feedbacks in climate seems to provide support for picturing a future that is nothing like the present and not very hospitable for civilisation. I'm wondering if stories advancing heavy weight (out of the box) solutions might make it possible for people to psychologically admit the possibility of heavy (out of the box) scenarios and how they can be avoided? How could this be done to avoid people simply avoiding both parts? We could start a proposal based on this?
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