Towards a Knowledge Commons

As we enter [[2022]], I believe we are in a better position than ever to accomplish many great things as a society -- and this goes for many definitions of society, up to and including perhaps the most important, that as society as the group of all humans1. In particular I believe that we are entering a [[renaissance of the internet]] that will enable it to deliver on the promise of a distributed commons that stalled somewhat in the last fifteen years due to the success of [[anti disintermediation]] as effected by interested parties. But hopefully you won't have to take my belief at face value; let me try to show you why I think what I think.

Consider the potential of the [[commons]] as illustrated by [[Free, Fair and Alive]] and the work of [[Elinor Ostrom]], taken in the spirit of a alternate timeline [[solarpunk]] [[Friedrich Engels]]: [[utopian socialism]] and the internet (seen through the lens of the [[theory of the commons]]) really go together at least as well as a horse and carriage. Engels came up with the carriage (the plan, the blueprint) but didn't have the horse to drive his vision effectively. This is my vision: the internet is the horse that can drive the [[revolution]] we need, the machine that Engels and [[Protopians]] before and after him were missing, and it is more than just machine, because it is endowed with [[higher consciousness]].

But let me backtrack a bit. Let me tell you why I believe both us and the internet we've built are ready for this.

On distributed thought

Thought is a [[non rivalrous good]]; thought can be efficiently encoded digitally; the internet makes a [[digital commons]] both tractable and [[peer governable]]. That's the heart of the matter.

We have lived with [[wikis]] for thirty years now, and [[wikipedia]] is clearly one of humanity's most important projects, but for some reason wikis aren't a big part of many people's lives; in some ways we haven't yet seen them come to fruition. As of the beginning of the [[2020s]], though, personal knowledge management systems like [[tiddlywiki]], [[org mode]], [[roam]], [[logseq]], [[obsidian]], [[athens]] and the like have come to prominence.

  1. I would myself include [[all sentient beings]] in the most general definition of this group, including those made out of silicon, but that's a topic for a different writeup.↩

Receiving pushes... (requires JavaScript)
β­• portal to [[commons]] built by an Agora user
β­• portal to [[counter anti disintermediation]] built by an Agora user
β­• portal to [[digital commons]] built by an Agora user
β­• portal to [[knowledge commons]] built by an Agora user
Loading context... (requires JavaScript)
πŸ“– Open document (Hedgedoc) at
πŸ“– Open document (Etherpad) at