[PIG] RFC: ARC Regenerative Communities Protocol

  1. ARC Regenerative Communities Protocol
  2. Kaliya Young and Day Waterbury
  3. We’re happy to collab with other teams here, particularly
  1. Short summary of our improvement idea

ARC is about outcome-driven civilizational design. We can apply prosocial patterns to a conscious process of community formation only when we have a clear pattern language and set of protocols for that process. We intend to study working examples of existing regenerative communities and document the pattern languages and thus the protocols at work in those communities, to wit: what makes these communities regenerative. It has been said that the arc of history bends toward justice, and we think it can be bent more acutely if we pay close attention. ARC Regenerative Communities is an initiative to attend closely to what works and what does not work when forming, growing, evolving, forking, and propagating a community… or letting it die a natural death when its purpose is fulfilled. It is an effort to generate a nucleus of cultural and sociotechnical DNA including the metapattern of studying these patterns. One of the important metaprotocols is about the process of protocol creation itself, and this is what we seek to study and document. And, just for fun, ARC is a recursive backronym. The A in ARC stands for ARC, like the G in GNU’s Not Unix. :wink:

5. Answers to the following questions.

  1. *What is the existing target protocol you are hoping to improve or enhance?

The IETF is a regenerative community. It is not kept alive by money and staff (like the IEEE), it is not kept alive by charismatic leaders people “follow” (like TBL), it is not kept alive by international treaties that have mandates for an organization to exist (like the ITU). The IETF is kept alive by the energy of people and their decision to actively contribute their energy to the creation of the protocols they develop there. They also actively develop and participate in protocols that are generative forming the “community protocols” . It literally is a recursive organization using its protocol processes to develop protocol processes for protocols. The technical protocols it generates are also available for voluntary adoption (there are no protocol police as Mark Nottingham has articulated - There Are No Standards Police)

  1. What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?

Kaliya via her leadership of decentralized identity over 20 years has observed and participated in the development of protocols that grow to become standards documented in and governed by various standards bodies including the Decentralized Identity Foundation, W3C, and the IETF. She has observed the success of these “protocols” for creating protocols over time that get widespread adoption.

There currently are forces that are trying to “hold the IETF accountable” and at their meetings those who are critical of it like to say it is not accountable to anyone - but it is deeply accountable to itself - how does this actually work? What insights can be gained from understanding or studying it more that can help inform regenerative community processes?

We believe that our work can begin to explain the regenerative nature of the IETF help reduce the sting of attacks coming at it from the forces that are in play to undermine its legitimacy as an organization and body. These attacks are coming from forces who wish to undermine it because they don’t like the vibrant force field that exists there that they cannot fight. They want to push decision making into bodies that are driven by treaties signed by states and their needs which nowadays also happen to be in alignment with “Big Tech". The generative and living work that actually makes the IETF incredibly successful at generating the protocols that underlie much of today’s communication infrastructure needs to continue, and that means we need to learn how it works.

Day is also a participant in many intersecting communities working on developing wise interoperable technologies within a prosocial and proplanet frame; among these the World Wise Web, Ecosystem Raise, the Collective for Applied Regenerative Economics, and Masterminding Eden. These communities are drawing from the work of Graham Boyd on ergodicity, from Elinor Ostrum’s Rules of the Commons, from Liberatory Structures and Open Space Technology, of course from Christopher Alexander’s book A Pattern Language (and the many works inspired by it, including the Groupworks deck) from the wisdom of indigenous peoples, from psychology and philosophy and religion, from permaculture principles and much much more. But these approaches are not necessarily cohered within a general pattern language frame; not necessarily clearly articulated as protocols. In addition to the IETF, we propose to observe patterns and anti-patterns through research and interviews in these and other online communities focused on prosocial tech, including the Center for Humane Technology, the Collaborative Technology Alliance, Tech for Social Cohesion, and the Wise Innovation Project.

  1. What is your discovery methodology for investigating the current state of the target protocol? Eg: field observation, expert interviews, historical data analysis, failure event analysis

Kaliya has attended 3 IETF meetings in the last year - two in person and one online. She will attend her fourth IETF meeting in July in Vancouver Canada and will be doing extensive documentation and observation of how the in-person meetings work and how they interplay with the online life of the community. It is this intersection of online collaboration and discussion and its intersection with in person face-to-face interactions.

As a process and facilitation expert she has a unique perspective to “see” the protocols of this unique forum that is very vibrant and alive. It is really open and at the same time has clear membranes for how new work “enters” the IETF. It has a group mind that is quite discerning and intelligent, but how does it work? Understanding more about how this work can inform the basis of ARC Regenerative Community Protocols.

The IETF can not be replicated - but it has key patterns and protocols that can be used to help for other regenerative communities for a variety of purposes.

So far Kaliya has been using the Group Works Pattern Language Deck and the Wise Democracy Pattern Language to identify and discern key elements of the IETF process. This research will continue at IETF 120 in Vancouver.

To be clear, we’re not looking to create an(other) exhaustive encyclopedia of patterns, but rather to turn our focus on those patterns that make a community regenerative and share findings about “better practices” (including Avoidance of Hyperbole and Constant Improvement).

  1. In what form will you prototype your improvement idea? Eg: Code, reference design implementation, draft proposal shared with experts for feedback, A/B test of ideas with a test audience, prototype hardware, etc.

The IETF is already amazing - it does not need improvement.

What we are looking at doing is improving the capacity to see and understand this regenerative body and to do so using existing pattern languages like the Group Works Deck and Wise Democracy Pattern Language. We see using these to identify particular instances of the patterns as practiced within the IETF as the output of our work.

Our work is unique and is an improvement on what we have now which is a community that is deeply self-aware and has enormous regenerative capacity but because the topic of what it works on is so deeply technical some find it alienating. This alienation and lack of understanding is driving mistrust and fear, along with pushes to move towards processes that are well “understood” but decidedly degenerative (e.g. the UN and/or ITU processes). The IETF is a precious generative resource for creating internet protocols and it needs to be understood better by communities that are aligned with regeneration.

The documentation of the instantiations of particular patterns as they have been found in the IETF will also inform our capacity to create ARC Regenerative Community Protocols. We plan to also take time to reflect on what these might be.

  1. How will you field-test your improvement idea? Eg: run a restricted pilot at an event, simulation, workshop, etc.

This project is not focused on “testing” as much as it is focused on “seeing” what is from the unique perspective of a social technologist practitioner.

The protocols for protocols that run the IETF and make it alive are practiced by the people who make up the body of the IETF while at the same time these patterns and protocols are not necessarily named (in the language of process facilitators or technologists).

  1. Who will be able to judge the quality of your output? Ideally name a few suitable judges.

We have connections with and could probably ask Nora Bateson, Jordan Hall, Fernanda Ibarra, Ben Goertzel, Peter Wang, Tyson Yunkaporta, Daniel Schmachtenberger, Forrest Landry, John Vervaeke, Bobby Azarian, and John Stewart. And we have access to these good people for sure:

  • Jeremy Akers - Facilitator, Liberating Structures and Agile Coach
  • Laurence Currie-Clark - Facilitator, Living Systems Design, WeCo
  • Rishikes Siva - Regenaissance-Man @ LunarPunk_Labs
  • David Rug & Anna Paresse - Visionaries, Animators, Project Liminality
  • Brad deGraf & Charles Blass - NAO.is, GreenCheck, Co-Intelligence Institute
  • Daniel Friedman - Cognitive Security, Active Inference Institute
  • Ronen Tamari & Shahar Oriel - Knowledge Graphs / Common SenseMakers
  • Shannon Wray - Opencollective, UX and Documentation
  • James Weir - Full Stack Developer, Holonicist, WeCo
  • Jacob Billings, PhD - Computational Neuroscientist
  • Kristen Pavle - Web3, Game Designer, Social Tech, Relational.org
  • Jeff Emmett - Economic and Governance Design, BlockScience
  • Nicolas Luck - AD4M lead, chief-architect at Coasys
  • Thomas Cal - Holochain Developer
  • Nick Gluzdov - Deliberately Developmental Organizations, Speed & Function
  • Brandon Norgaard - Integral/Metamodern/Game-B Writer, Coder, Organiser
  • Josh Field - Collaboration Technologist, Ethereal Engine
  • Pekko Koskinen - Systems Designer, Economic Space Agency
  1. How will you publish and evangelize your improvement idea? Eg: Submit proposal to a standards body, publish open-source code, produce and release a software development kit etc.

We will discern based on our research of the patterns at the IETF if it makes sense to develop and submit an RFC to the IETF about our findings. In any case our findings will be published on a public website under a Creative Commons license.

  1. What is the success vision for your idea?

This project will be a success if it improves the IETF’s capacity for self- awareness and strengthens its resistance to attacks from bureaucratic forces which seek to undermine its legitimacy as a body creating protocols and standards for the internet.

It will also be a success if the particular instantiations of the patterns in the IETF are better understood by those seeking to build regenerative sociotechnical commons.