Re: META: Improving the list

Wed, 03 Mar 1999 13:55:31 +0100

Harvey Newstrom <> maybe answered:
|1. ExI claimed in the welcome message that the list would be run as a
|living example of Anarchy and PPL (Privately Produced Law). Everyone
|would be self-governed. Anyone could start or join any PPL they wished.
|Disputes would be handled by negotiation between the PPLs. In reality
|ExI was not prepared to forgo any ownership authority over the list. We
|therefore had the awkward experience of trying to have anarchy
|controlled by a central authority, and self-rule as individually granted
|by the list owner.

Enlightened despotism, then. Deimos ruled by Aristos.

|2. ExI did not have any procedures in place to allow PPLs. When a
|trusted friend of ExI declared himself to be the first PPL, he was met
|with full ExI approval. When some unknown newcomers tried to declare
|themselves as PPLs, they were disallowed. When the unknown newcomers
|asked for the reasons they were denied and for procedures for getting
|approved, it turned out that the procedures hadn't been invented yet.
|Worse, when ExI tried to define the procedures, it became clear that
|self-rule would only be allowed with ExI approval, and that PPLs could
|only exist under ExI control. Although this is perfectly reasonable for
|the list owner to assert, it ruined the experiment of demonstrating
|anarchy and PPL without central control.

Interesting. I have seen the same problem pop up in other anarchy like groups. The friendly anarchy theory breaks down in the face of harsh reality.

The PPL idea seemed such a nice idea when I read about it in those days. Too bad it never became implemented. Did ExI identify it as a resource hog?

One might divide the monolithic ExI list into a decentralized group of smaller lists, each under its own PPL (much like replacing a monolithic one world government with a number of small city states). The ExI list could in that scenario be used as a central hub where the supporters of the different PPLs could discuss, communicate and iron out their bilateral differences of opinion.

Naturally such an implementation would require some loss of control and power for the ExI, which then might decide against it on those grounds.

Maybe one could experiment the PPL idea in a safe sand box environment?

Just a thought. Comments?

|Since the developing rules for anarchy had the same appeal as
|Price-fixing the stock market to keep it stable, most people who wanted
|to see the experiment lost interest. Less interested people didn't care
|and just wanted a discussion list. Finally, I think there was unanimous
|consent that ExI should just run the list as they saw fit, and that
|anyone who wanted self-rule could start their own list.

When one removes the opposition one easily gets unanimous consent.