Sense of Struggle

Collective Intelligence for the Common Good

With the challenges and opportunities afforded by the Internet and other information and communication technologies at this historical juncture, the development of a broader community or network becomes more-or-less necessary if civic society is to establish and hold any influence over the establishment and governance of information and communication systems, resources, and policies that are open, allow unhindered access to information, and encourage civic problem solving. Our goals include advancing research and more action-oriented approaches in a number of relevant directions at the same time.

As members of civil society who are not coordinated directly through government or business dictates, indirectly through the market, or through coercion, we recognize that informal associations, sharing, and responsibility, will be necessary if we are to organize effectively in the face of challenges to the health of the planet and the people that inhabit it.

Beyond conducting research and developing tools, services, policy, and the like, we are hoping to build the circumstances that help promote this work and the orientation in the world. For one thing, this perspective compels us to think about the inclusive community that this work requires, one that will necessarily be more focused and integrated and organized than currently exists.

Our hope is to consciously and organically nurture this community / network. One approach would be to proceed largely through the actions of members inviting potential members. (One research issue introduced here for our own edification is whether this approach could help instill and reinforce the norms and values that hopefully propel this project.) The intent of this conscious community development is of course not to build a gated community, but to help focus attention on relevant issues including how best to engage the “outside” world and maintain porous borders.

In a general way, a member of the community would agree to:

Emphasize work that is explicitly and conscientiously intended to advance the common good*;
Think about how their work complements other work of the community — and consciously work to integrate or complement that work and extend its effectiveness in the real world (some examples are listed in the next paragraph);
Engage in online and other conversations with the rest of the community on a regular basis;
Focus on the organization and processes of the community in addition to the specific areas in which you specialize; and
Endeavor to use the tools and systems developed by people in the community both as part of our community obligations and and as a way to help improve the functionality and effectiveness of the tools and systems, and hence our potential effectiveness.

We envision the work that falls into the heading of “Collective Intelligence for the Common Good” in an extremely broad way: it includes research and action and products such as deliberative systems, research enterprises and case studies, think tanks, model policy documents, curricula, ruminations and epistles, thought experiments, art works, and many others.

Year the organization was founded: 
Organizational engagement: 
Organization's geographic focus: 
Volunteer Opportunities: 
Check via the email list....
Contact person: 
Douglas Schuler

Pattern Languages for Public Problem-Solving

Resource name: 
Pattern Languages for Public Problem-Solving
Resource type: 
Resource description: 

The pattern languages perspective for the design and development of the built environment was popularized by Christopher Alexander and his colleagues in the late 1970s. Although many people have adopted the pattern language philosophy and framework in a variety of design / problem domains, there is a small but growing awareness that this orientation could serve a much broader and influential function than it currently does: organizing around and with pattern languages could provide much needed support for addressing complex problems, by supporting direct and indirect distributed collective action with more flexibility and respect for local context. Eleven "seeds" that could help improve our public problem solving capacity with pattern languages are presented. These seeds promote better understanding of our work, enhanced sharing approaches, publicizing the work, and organizing and enhancing our own communities.

Invitation to Join the Collective Intelligence for the Common Good Community / Network

Invitation to join the Collective Intelligence for the Common Good Community / Network

We would like to invite you to participate in a new research and action community network that focuses on Collective Intelligence for the Common Good. We hope that our collaborative efforts will help address our shared challenges.

Project Goals: 
Develop collaborative tools, policies, etc. — and links between them — that have a positive influence in addressing local and global challenges.

HERMES Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights

Organization's slogan: 
Whistleblowing Technologies: Empowering Truth as a Human Right
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

Our mission is to promote and develop in the society the awareness of and the attention to transparency and accountability, be they related to the society-at-large or not. Our goal is to increase the citizens’ involvement in the management of matters of public interest and to boost the active participation of workers and employees to correct the management of corporations and companies they work for.

Organizational engagement: 
Organization's headquarters: 
Milan, Italy
Organization's geographic focus: 

Internet Defense League

Organization's slogan: 
Make sure the internet never loses. Ever.
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

Beyond the blackout

The Internet Defense League takes the tactic that killed SOPA & PIPA and turns it into a permanent force for defending the internet, and making it better. Think of it like the internet's Emergency Broadcast System, or its bat signal!

The Problem

Internet freedom and individual power are changing the course of history. But entrenched institutions and monopolies want this to stop. Elected leaders often don't understand the internet, so they're easily confused or corrupted.

The plan
When the internet's in danger and we need millions of people to act, the League will ask its members to broadcast an action. (Say, a prominent message asking everyone to call their elected leaders.) With the combined reach of our websites and social networks, we can be massively more effective than any one organization.

How it works

First, sign up. If you have a website, we'll send you sample alert code to get working in advance. The next time there's an emergency, we'll tell you and send new code. Then it's your decision to pull the trigger.


We'll keep in close touch with groups like the EFF and Public Knowledge to identify threats and opportunities. We've also got a subreddit. This will get formalized more soon, but for now we're definitely targeting ACTA in June and CISPA as it re-emerges in the Senate.

Year the organization was founded: 
Organizational engagement: 
Organization's geographic focus: 
The World
Contact information:

Street Music

Douglas Schuler
The Public Sphere Project
Celebration of Public Music

(note that the Problem Statement is still in work.....)

Music, including singing as well as the playing of instruments, has been a key element of the human condition for millennia. Unfortunately -- at least in the United States -- music has become more of a commodity, to be enjoyed passively and non-interactively. 

The rise of mass media is probably at least one of the culprits. 


(note that the Context Statement is still in work.....)


(note that the Discussion is still in work.....)

Street Music blurs the distinction between producer and consumer of music as well as the distinction between formal and informal venues for music production and consumption. 

Although street bands, including many of those found at Honk Fests, can be found at protests (including the Infernal Noise Machine (image below) that supported the demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999), their actions are often political to a large degree by virtue of their publicness in an era of electronic or other formalized or mediated forms of music consumption. 

See for Environmental Encroachment's performance of Hashia.


Thanks to a member of the Bucharest Drinking Team and to Bob of Environmental Encroachment for their thoughts on the current breed of "new street bands" including their history and motivation. 



Solution in work:

something about establishing and supporting street music. More and more and more of it....

Social Critique
Community Action
Social Movement
Media Critique
Information about introductory graphic: 

Photo of Church, a marching band from Santa Rosa, California. Shot by Douglas Schuler, June 1, 2012. Georgetown (Seattle, WA)

Information about summary graphic: 

Infernal Noise Machine, Seattle Washington

The Long Walk for Justice by George Lakey

"What do Native Americans, Costa Ricans, Thai villagers, Hispanic students in U.S. colleges, Indian independence activists and Maasai women have in common? They’ve all organized long marches as part of campaigns for justice. Their campaigns’ very different choices about how to use the tactic raises strategic questions for us today. In some campaigns the long march was used primarily to heighten awareness, while in others it was to gain new allies. Sometimes it was used to launch other kinds of direct action.

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