Conditional Rights

How do we share ownership online? I want this website to be shared, but it’s currently locked up inside my head and inside my user’s privileges. I am the admin of this website, I have all the keys and can turn all the nobs. Each subsequent admin must go through me, pass my test of trust, to join me at this seat (or little stool) of power.

This is how you end up with a whole bunch of people just like me in power. What if all of us, the users of this site, granted the power? It wouldn’t totally solve the problem (the server, for instance) but it would dramatically increase the amount of possible co-ownership.

I had the idea to simply show everyone’s user privileges, sort of like this:


Each member giving or taking away any number of privileges, almost like an up or down vote. You kept the power if you maintained the right ratio of up votes to down votes.

Then, while reaching out for ideas on the subject, I received this nugget of insight:

Conditional rights (Of course!). The community sets the conditions for any user to wield responsibility in the space.

  • They could be technical, e.g. must know how to SSH into a remote server or have completed
  • Is recognized as a Facilitator by nother Facilitators.
  • Went to ALF Summer.
  • etc.

With the proper level of community trust and some foresight in how conditions are set you could submit blog posts to satisfy most conditions. Some conditions might require other people comment on your blog or write posts about you.

I could envision a system that starts out as YAML inserted into posts, like so:

confirm-user: @tomis
role: Facilitator

Then Tom would have my endorsement and be closer to filling the proper condition. Rather than what happened in real life where I simply made him a super admin!

What would be really snazzy is if people could write and submit formulas (code) that would perform these tasks.

I think this would make a great WordPress plugin.


In Defence of Littering


waste is unveiling. As we find ourselves standing in garbage that we know is our own, we find also that it is garbage we have chosen to make, and having chosen to make it could choose not to make it.

James p. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games

To throw trash away is to hide a truth from ourselves. When we throw trash into designated bins, we cast a veil over our choices. We cannot throw trash away, because there is no “away.” There is only this world, our home. When a person hoards their waste, we look on in disgust. Their home slowly fills with trash until all life—any activity that could be considered living—is choked out. Why do we react differently to identical treatment of our shared home, the Earth?

Because we don’t see it. In most cases, we put it out of our sight, pushing it into someone else's back yard. If we had to face our waste, we would see the consequences of our choices and have to ask some uncomfortable questions. To avoid this, we veil our trash. We hide it, try to reconfigure it. But buried or burnt, waste doesn't disappear; it only changes form and moves around. It usually becomes the problem of peoples who are less powerful than those producing the waste. We choke the life out of their homes, often while they produce little themselves. We stay far enough away to keep their demands for change, like our garbage, out of sight and out of mind.

The only just solution is to not throw anything away. Trash should be dropped at the point of creation: wrappers deserted in the spot where they ceased protecting food stuff, packing peanuts left in the place where they finished their job, styrofoam cups set down empty after the last sip. Let’s hold on to everything that passes this point of transformation… until we begin to drown.

For we will surely drown if we don't cease, and we will not cease if we do not see that we are drowning.

The next time someone points to litter in disgust, ask them: if not there then where should the trash go?

Games you play and games you win.

I was reading Tommie’s blog today and came across this passage:

We played 2 boots. Tarka, Jackie, and I won.

2 Boots is a disc game we play. Yesterday I was trying to describe to the guys about why I don’t keep track of the score.

I recently finished Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse, an amazing philosophy book based around the idea of games and how they relate to everything we do.

The basic premiss is that there are two kinds of games, finite and infinite. The finite are played to win so that play comes to an end and someone (or a team) is given a title. Baseball is played to win, each team trying to end play and get the title of winner.

Infinite games are played to keep playing. You don’t play “house” with the expectation that someone will win and play will stop. You don’t play to stop.

Finite games can be played within infinite games, the “infinite player” recognizes this and plays the finite game seriously with the understanding that it is ultimately part of the larger infinite game.

I witnessed this when I was staying at Acorn last year. Twice a week we would go over to Twin Oaks and play Ultimate Frisbee. It was the best ultimate I’ve ever played, hands down. I didn’t quite understand why until I was introduced to the above concept.

We didn’t keep score, something I hardly noticed at the time. It wasn’t necessary to keep score because we were all infinite players playing a series of finite games.

It was at the moment of the opening disc thrown that the finite game started. We played for the point at hand. Not for the accumulation of points. Once a the point was scored the finite game ended, the winning team got the title of team to most recently score a point then we started play on the next finite game.

We played to keep the game going. If one team kept winning and the other team was getting frustrated we would trade players to even out the skill levels. We would adjust the rules, boundaries on or off, people rotating out, etc. to ensure that the game continued (until sun down, of course).

Each finite game was played to it’s fullest. We played with great seriousness. Even more serious than professionals I would guess. Because no point was worth any more/less than another. We were never so far behind in points that scoring couldn’t keep us from losing or so far ahead that we could go easy on our opponent. We were never playing warm up or pre-season games that “didn’t matter”. We were playing for the point, the only point—at that moment in time—that mattered.

I see this kind of play in the kids. When they are in the round they are in that same kind of finite game. They forget who is in the lead for a moment and they simply try and make the goal. The whole world collapses down and they forget their fears and perceived inadequacies, they forget that just a few minutes ago they were complaining that they were too tired or not fast enough or not good enough to enter into this world of play.

It is in this space I always want us to be.

That’s why I don’t keep score.

Peas and Disk

Tarcca, a friend of the students, visited today.

Before starting our day we watched the latest episode of Last Week Tonight:

I’m really liking John Oliver’s show. It’s well researched and so very pro-people. Many of his segments are also attached to culture jamming campaigns, like the one on Tobacco where they took out ads in many of the countries where Marlboro is killing people.

They also started a hash tag around a new mascot Jeff the diseased lung, called #JeffWeCan.


We went to the park and played another great game of two boots. We also practiced the prologue of Romio and Juliet.

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

We played a game where we passed the disk around each time we threw it we said a line.

I played my Ukulele at the park.

When we got back Tim came by and did a day of permaculture with us.

Digging up the grass
Digging up the grass
aeration of soil
aeration of soil
Giving the bed good vibes
Giving the bed good vibes
Planing the peas. We did Sugar Snap and Cascadia peas.
Planing the peas. We did Sugar Snap and Cascadia peas.
Finished bed, covered up to protect it from crows. Up on the hill Jurr is planting his own little pea garden!
Finished bed, covered up to protect it from crows. Up on the hill Jurr is planting his own little pea garden!

Goals and Frisbee

We played an awesome game of Two Boots today at the park. I had the kids help me add engine oil to my car, though I’m afraid I might have overfilled it… I’ll check tomorrow.

I started to map out some of my 2015 goals. I’m expanding my Kanban to manage goals, I’ll write a blog post about the goal section when it’s out of beta. Right now I’m putting all my goals on stickies on a page 2 pages before my kanban.

Goals move through a processes where they start as ideas then move to ready, when I’ve documented them on my wiki. This process is basically writing a description of the goal using the SMART method and writing out why the goal is important and what obstacles I might face. The obstacles influence what steps I need to take to finish the goal.

Once a goal is ready I write out the “action steps” that needs to be taken to achieve the goal. These action steps go on the next page, which is my monthly kanban. This then feeds into my weekly and daily kanban. I’lld document this better soon (it’s on my kanban)

Clay and Climbing Trees

Nick and I were again the only people at ALC Everett this morning. We found some clay and played with it a bit. Nick’s is on the left, mine on the right.



I then played some Ukulele while Nick fooled around on the piano. After that the Sterlings came back and we all went out to the park. Some of us climbed trees.


On the way back I saw a bee working in some flowers.



What are you going to do on Valentines day?

I’m going to take myself out on a date! I love the outdoors so I’ll probably start with a hike then head into Seattle and see a show.

What are 5 things you are afraid of or fears you’ve gotten over?

  1. Talking to strangers, being generally outgoing. I’ve basically gotten over this.
  2. Heights. I still get a gut reaction to heights but am no longer afriad.
  3. The dark. I used to fear boogie men and now I’m not, I could go into an abandoned asylum at night and feel fine.
  4. Driving. Was in an accident when I was young, not bad, but left me a little fearful of driving. Last year I drove 10,000 miles.
  5. How others see me. I still think about it but I don’t fear it.

Back from/to Paradise!

Today’s my first day back in school. It’s also the first day with some of the kids going to the local public homeschool resource program. So it was just Nick, Jurr, and myself here today for nearly the whole day.

We started the day off doing some exercise. Jurr (@thetypicaldonger) introduced me to these cool visual workouts by Neila Rey.


We did 3 reps, the planks were really hard… It was nice to get all sweaty early in the day.

After that Jurr and I worked on redesigning the new group Kanban based off my sketch. The board’s velcro backing broke and the whole thing wont stick to the wall anymore, so I’ll have to fix that. Otherwise it looks great. I’ll be testing it out with the students for the next 2 weeks then write up a full report.

After that Jurr, Nick and I played Starcraft 2, I got pwned. Then we played a game I was a little bit (a lot bit) better at, Team Fortress 2. We all did really well playing with people on the internet. So that was cool.

Then I went on to working on e-mails, dealing with my ALC account.

In light of Valentines day we are writing about love. We are writing about the people in the ALCE community and what we love about them, then a list a things we love about ourselves.

I really love how willingly everyone in this community jumps into activities and tries new things. The kids and their parents are open to trying new things and having new experiences.

What I love about me:

  1. I love that I am very grounded.
  2. I love my cheery personality and that I get along will with others.
  3. I love my playful outlook, even though I can be quite cynical I still am light hearted.
  4. I love my compassion.
  5. I love my body for being well and having strength, even if it can’t plank more than 30 seconds.