Updated guidance on OLC and MetaCAugs needed

Hello, I am writing to try and address some questions about media and platform design. I’ve started a thread in the Peeragogy Mailing list here outlining my concerns in a general way:

Here’s how I started that off:

This message is motivated partly by a pain I am experiencing. Presently we’re using various chat apps (Telegram, Keybase, Hangouts) and none of these are giving me a satisfactory experience. Messages disappear quickly and remain locked in “silos”. The problems could be partly solved by persistently archiving old messages so that we can find them again (like they do here: https://leanprover-community.github.io/archive/). But I am also motivated by a more positive vision and broader potential ‘gain’…

I also posted some related reflections in the MetaCAugs Telegram channel:

Maybe we should alter this forum so that it uses somewhat more substantial media methods. If we can’t even use it to have a simple Q&A without resorting to private messages I would contend it is not really fit for purpose for a group whose MO is mainly public dialogue. This was raised a couple weeks ago along with the question “should we get serious about producing things”. As someone who only checks in infrequently it seems like those themes were also lost to the ever scrolling medium. I suggested Twist and someone said s/he thought an open source solution would be better. Maybe it would be good to follow the wiki theme and make a wiki? It is difficult to find any previous points of discussion in here.

To be clear, this was before I had a log in on this Discourse site. However, my concern still applies, if most people in MetaCAugs are using Telegram and this site is a relative wasteland. Telegram may be fit for certain purposes, but I don’t see it as very useful for careful discussion. This Discourse forum looks like it would be better for that, but only if it’s actually used.

At present I’m not even sure what the other tools and channels are, or how active they are. I’m aware of the tool matrix on the openlearning parent page (but Telegram isn’t listed there) and the related Metacaugs blog (last updated in 2017). The most recently updated page that I’m aware of is the @MetaCaugs channel on HackMD which is updated regularly, but which is the home to a newsletter rather than a landing page for the project that explains what the tools are.

As such: I’d like to know what this site is about, and what tools (on this site or elsewhere) the community uses. I’d like to know what purposes these tools are being used for, and how I can usefully get involved. I’m also interested in ways that these tools sometimes don’t work that well, and what other arrangements of tools and media could be used instead.

It would be great if we could start simply by pulling together an updated directory of tools and projects affiliated with this site.

Addendum: I’d also like to know something about the protocol is for posting on the Discourse site itself, since it has different places to post and not everything shows up on the front page.

These are all very good questions. Please be aware of the fact that only since very recently the Zoom sessions and the Telegram channel are gaining some serious traction. Before that, only a limited number of Howard Rheingold alumni had meetings in order to read books and to experiment with all kinds of tools.

Personally I agree we could use a classical wiki and a landing page. Maybe we could start a collective blog space, but the wiki and landing space seem more urgent right now.

We need to explain what MetaCAugs is about, what Open Learning Commons is about. IMHO MetaCAugs is about peer learning (about various subjects, my own favorite is Futurism), Open Learning Commons is about offering affordances to various like-minded groups, in an effort to weave together different teams. This makes it even more necessary to have a good landing page explaining what we can offfer and what the conditions are (will we do some vetting before collaborating with other groups? do we expect financial contributions?)

So actually this is a developing situation, and I look forward to the things we’ll come up with!

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Thanks for the reply @Roland! One solution to the technical problem of too many parallel chats archived or ongoing in different places could be based on Matterbridge. I know @Robert_Best has been using this tool to route information into Telegram, but apparently there is a plugin called matterbabble that can also be used to get information back out and put it here.

I think it seems quite worthwhile to archive materials, and make them findable and re-discussable. I do not think Telegram makes a very good final archival repository because it is very difficult to search. The ability to integrate various streams of information in a coherent way is a major advantage provided by Matterbridge and related open source software more broadly. A system that can be used from whatever interface one likes with all of the information shared and indexed coherently would be lovely. That takes work to set up but it’s a crucial advantage of a commons vs a private park.

It’s perhaps unfair to single out Sutra, which Lorenz Sell kindly demo’d in some of our meetings, but for illustrative purposes: on inspection it is missing these features of integration and discoverability, and the key point is that at present we would rely on Lorenz to implement them. In principle, the OLC and surrounding tools could have a more relaxed policy around who can add to and integrate software components, in order to build up a richer ‘ecosystem’ (in Robert’s term).

But along with tools and the specific details of technical integrations, this points to the need to say something about how things work socially (i.e., some form of governance model). Even if it presently comes down to “put things in a hopper and Robert will eventually deal with it”, it would be good to make the arrangements explicit. One thing we looked at in one of the recent Peeragogy courses was a preprint on modular politics that could potentially provide some inspiration. I don’t know that material backwards and forwards, but, for example, it could be used to help understand the relationship between MetaCAugs and OLC, and other external or sub-groups.

Returning to the technical theme, it would be useful to have some software that is developed in common for multiple different organisations; whereas information might flow between them, they needn’t all be on the same installation!

Thank you for the reply, there is a lot in there. I’ll read about the modular stuff to figure out the relation between OLC and MetaCAugs. Once we find that out and agree about it, it would be great to develop landing pages to explain it all to newcomers and to provide a navigation.

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