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[ox-en] social networking kit requirements

(This is a posting on the english Minciu sodas yahoogroup.
minciu_sodas_en I am doing some cross-posting
because there might be relevance for other people.......)

the english oekonux list can be accessed via


Franz Nahrada, Austria -  to Andrius Kulikauskas, Lithuania

Dear Andrius,

Thank you for your proposal work on the Social Networking Kit!
good name and exciting scope of ideas!

The problem is that there are many 
technologies out there who partly fill the need that you
decribe below, but just partly. I have outlined this in the
posting titled "example" of september 26th.
(I repeat this posting at the very end of this letter, because
I cross-post this to the english Oekonux List and some
more people.)

You ask for the needs of Balcan telecottages: I can not (yet?) simply
answer your request because I am not really too much involved into 
what is actually going on in the Balcans, but I have some more
general remarks and requirements in line with Vladimir Marunas 

So the question is on which standards to build and what to add!
This is the current state of the art of Free software.
I think its not a bad idea to do a kind of "competitive analysis"
even if it is going to be an open source project. I say" even", but 
in reality its much more than that!! In the *business* world, motivation
to do a certain product is not *just* the need, but the speculation that
you can make money with a product, even if satisfactory products
are allready out there..... In the open source world, this does not make
very much sense. (But of course this does *not* automatically mean
that need is considered.  Rather people do not do competitive analyses 
because they simply like to play with a certain kind of procuct.
is full of such trivial reinventions of the wheel.
But I think in the long run this is childish and unprofessional. I think 
it is more rewarding to create something which is needed.)

If we want a useful product to succeed and persist, we need to 
examine very carefully what is needed and what is accepted. 
Just the way a good market study is done.

So I urge you to start with an analysis of "competitive advantage"
in comparison to some open standards and even some ASP services
like yahoogroups etc. SNK is a great idea and in my eyes it could
become many things that are not on the market yet. And yes, I even
like the idea of treating it more like an open standard than a product.
But the wheel should not be reinvented from the scratch, this would not

For example, it could be decided that it builds completely on email
(which standard?) as the lowest common denominator. Email is out there
and there are many mail clients that can fetch a structured array of
information. But imagine email that "knows" where to locate itself 
in an offline repository of information!!! - Replicating gradually a much
more complex body of information than just the "email heap" that Eudora
or any other emailclient leaves us with.

Thats the basic technical approach. But there is much more to add.

As far as the content is addressed, I think it is essential that those
tools include the possibility to solve real life problems. This is 
very abstract, but it has certain minimum requirements.

For example, we need standards for technical cooperation, 
symbolic language for construction etc. If we just reduce
communication to ASCII and plain text, communication will
not really serve the needs of people in Villages. Neither do 
images and streaming audio content, forget about bandwidth needs.

It is vital for the project that at least I dream of and am far from 
even having conceived fully, that the people from various 
cultures find trust in exchanging useful technical information.

So each village can improve and redesign its material and
energetical state into a real recycling power engine, giving
us abundance of renewable resources at each point of the cycle.

Communication is not just about beautiful words, but about 
the fact that we trust each other that we can use this potential
of collective intelligence to create a better world EVERYWHERE.

In a recent discussion on our oekonux (economy-of-linux-)
list ( we came to the point that there is an inherent
kinship between opensource and renewable resources!! Both 
approaches fight scarcity, one in the world of knowledge,
the other in the material world. 

So it is quite logical that the relation between both should
more and more be built in in our software and our technology,
striving towards automation at the micro-level.

This sounds very ambitious, and in fact it is. We might start
with exchanging and organizing media content, but a really good
standard should CONCEPTUALLY go beyond that. SNK would be
a good start to thinking about that.

Thats what I wanted other peoples attention also to be drawn to.

I encourage people to look at your work in building
a "multipurpose creative community of independent thinkers
for the productive application of collective intelligence"



Andrius Kulikauskas <ms> writes 

Hi!  Things are going pretty well rewriting the proposal.  It's within 
the 10 page limit.

One new section came up though.  I need to write "Description of user 
group, including expected location(s) and use scenarios".

So my strategy here is to say: "We are happy to serve all manner of 
activists who would like to make effective use of marginal Internet 
access.  However, we will focus our efforts on four groups that have 
different kinds of marginal access."

And then write a couple of sentences about each of the kinds of access. 
 Joy, Mark, Dennis, Bala, Franz I appreciate your help here.

- Africa and AIDS.  Most primitive.  This includes areas where there may 
be absolutely no access.  Mark and Joy spoke about introducing a 
computer (with access) into a village.  So that would be good to know 
more about from you.  A related situation is where there is a computer 
in a village, without access, where work is shared perhaps once a month 
somehow with the Internet.  This may not fit the OneVillage.Biz model, 
but would be a nice example that even here there can be effective 
participation.  But let me know what you would like me to emphasize.

- The Balkans and telecottages.  Making good use of a center. 
Connecting with home computer.  Overcoming interethnic challenges. 
Encouraging people to speak and listen.  Supporting each other.  Serbs, 
Croats and Bosnians.  EUTA.  Haris example.

- The Tamil people.  Wide mix of access, different countries, connection 
with émigré, between people with means and refugees, etc.  Also economic 
potential.  George Christian Jeyaraj.

- Lithuania and Belarus.  Traveling self-learners.  Vladimir 
Fiodossenko, bird breeding.  Saulius Sakalas.  Optimal use of slow 
lines, overnight lines, a wide variety of access.  Creation of 
databases.  Investigative templates.


I include below the new title, and the beginning of the proposal.
Andrius,, ms

Social Networking Kit
(optimized for marginal connectivity)
by which activists may be
heard, found, informed, helped, integrated.


1. Sector of interest and application category

Human rights.  Collaboration.

2. Abstract/overview
We wish for activists to participate effectively in the global Internet 
society. No matter how robust or marginal our Internet access, we want 
to work alongside each other, both online and offline.  We wish to 
present ourselves through our stories and patterns, find each other 
through our projects and initiatives, follow information on the same 
topics but in different volumes, target our help with a web of 
references, and integrate our efforts with a culture of open
Our strategy is to develop custom solutions for 125 individual activists 
with marginal access so that we learn of many effective ways they might 
participate in Internet society. We will build an open source engine for 
web services so as to deliver our best solutions in centralized ways, 
much as webmail is today. We will incubate social entrepreneurs to sell 
extensions and updates for our engine, and to leverage the business 
value of our global movement of activists, coders, investigators, 
organizers, so that our success is self-sustaining.

3. Detailed description of project

For many of us, the Internet is a global civil society where we find 
people of shared concerns and different outlooks, build global teams and 
personal relationships, learn about each other and work together to do 
good, have fun, make a living, and respond to emergencies.
Silicon Valley designs for abundant connectivity, with the promise that 
in short time, all of us will benefit. Yet the bandwidth requirements 
for full participation grow likewise! We have an expanding "middle 
class" of those who have Internet access, but only within limits.
We think of marginal Internet access as any limitations to the 
always-on, at-home, high-speed, fixed-rate, real-time, take-with-you, 
multi-channel, multimedia access that many of us take for granted. We 
wish to help individual activists make effective use of marginal access, 
which in many places means paying per minute, staying up after midnight, 
working from a center, or using a slow line.

There is a need for design, now rather than later, that treats the 
people with the worst access as the most valuable people, the ones that 
we should work hardest to include.  We will trouble ourselves in this 
way only if we value the advantages of working in parallel.  There are 
some basic ways that we would like to be able to work alongside each 

Hear us! Collection of stories and patterns. We make sense of life 
through our personal stories as real people. We need simple systems for 
documenting the wisdom of our experience. Technology buffs might assist 
those who have something to say. Weblogs are a profound advance in 
simplicity, but we need to adapt such solutions for offline users who 
might work to collect stories and extract patterns.
Find us! Directory of initiatives. We inspire each other simply by 
expressing what we are trying to accomplish. We need ways to share 
information amongst existing directories, propagate the initiatives of 
offline activists, and work with such directories offline, so that we 
might be aware of each other.
Inform us! Radio of information. We can interact as a group when we have 
shared information. However, we have quite different tolerances for the 
amount of information that we are able to receive and digest. We should 
get the channels we want at the volumes we desire: one item per month, 
five per day, or twenty per hour. A system could pull new information 
from groups, blogs, wikis, websites, Google, and then prioritize it, 
perhaps with help from a human editor, so that no matter how many or few 
items we receive, at least we all get the ones deemed most important.
Help us! Web of references. Wealth is relationships, so we help 
ourselves by getting to know and integrating each other. Business 
networking venues such as Ryze and Ecademy are showing the way, and we 
should have offline tools for managing our participation. Discussion 
groups provide enormous context for verifying who we are, and what are 
we getting done. We should make good use of kind words for others, and 
frustrations with ourselves. In a distributed manner, we might document 
who helps who, and know how our help can reach the most distant people, 
and the many connections that we might help strengthen.
Integrate us! Handbook for investigations. We may have the Internet, but 
we are not connected to each other until we ask questions that turn on 
our minds, turn up our hearts. Let us learn the art of organizing by 
investigating. What is a question that I don't know the answer to? What 
belief do I take as my hypothesis, and am willing to challenge? How can 
I investigate so that all might contribute thoughts?  Our projects, 
reexpressed as investigations, can touch and involve many more people, 
the global community. We can create a handbook for investigations, with 
examples of self-learning, including templates that may be simple enough 
to become viral.

We have such basic needs for working in parallel.  We have yet to meet 


On September 26th, Franz Nahrada wrote on ms yahoogroup

subject:  "an example"

Dear Andrius,

thank you for your ongoing efforts to get a useful project started, and I
think it is right that you simultaniously address the two issues of
marginal Internet access and of Telecooperation. The letter of Vladimir
Maruna has shown, though, that there is still a big gap between the
general idea of strengthening access and abilities of cooperation and the
world of concrete technological solutions. For example, there are
different worlds of operating systems and different worlds of tools people
prefer to use. There are many styles of work, there is not one telework,
but each type of work and therefore cooperation begets many different
tools. And there are tons of tools out there!

You are right when you voice discontent with the state of tools in
general, be in the fact that there is not any more a universal lowest
common denominator (besides, maybe, email), neither a really satisfying
standard of automating communication work or the work of keeping track of
it. But as Vladimir writes, the industry has flooded us with tools as
Outlook or Entourage who claim to be solutions. MAybe you discussed things
with Ulrich Sigor who has designed a fantastic pattern language of
cooperation but is unable to realize of his telecooperation ideas, because
there are simply too many layers to be adressed simultaneously. Unless a
critical mass of users can successfully implement these ideas in their
practice, unless a very clear workflow is at the center of design, unless
mutual support of these users can be guaranteed, any software project is
pretty much up in the air. We are condemned to do little intermediary
work, based on email or Web browsers and different operating systems. One
of the best examples for that is Opentheory (, a german
attempt to create a collective outlining tool which allows a maintainer to
structure and straightline a discussion in order to improve any text or
discourse. Opentheory is a good example for ASP, the whole maintainance is
done on the server.

I would be glad if something could happen which allowed, for example, to
participate offline in a process like opentheory. The advantage is that
the process is well-defined, plus the weaknesses of the editing process
are evident and they pose a real challenge (I would like to use that tool
more, but it sucks ESPECIALLY from the point of view of the maintainer) .
I would be glad if you and some others on the list had a look.

Thank you



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