Hi Agorans! Please put the pitchforks down - I’m here with a question, not a 

It’s my view that the Rules and the structural properties of the fora in which 
Agora is played have a sympathetic relationship with one another. The Rules and 
CFJ case law combine to treat email as the preferred format for playing Agora, 
and in turn email contains properties that make it uniquely attractive to 
Agora’s players.

Rule 478 (“Fora”) sets out the basic requirements for an Agoran forum:

>       Freedom of speech being essential for the healthy functioning of
>       any non-Imperial nomic, it is hereby resolved that no Player shall
>       be prohibited from participating in the Fora, nor shall any person
>       create physical or technological obstacles that unduly favor some
>       players' fora access over others.
A forum must, in technical implementation, be reasonably equitable,

>       Each player should ensure e can receive messages via each public
>       forum.

It is the responsibility of each player to ensure that they can view each fora, 
before it is the responsibility of the forum’s operator to ensure the players 
can view the forum they operate,

>       A public message is a message sent via a public forum, or sent to
>       all players and containing a clear designation of intent to be
>       public. A rule can also designate that a part of one public
>       message is considered a public message in its own right. A person
>       "publishes" or "announces" something by sending a public message.
A forum is a collection of messages, which may include sub-messages,

are collectively a pretty good description of the email system, as deployed on 
the internet.

However, the use of email (and the use of email distribution lists, in 
particular) is far out of favour on the internet at large. While most people 
can be taught to operate mailman and how to effectively participate in an email 
distribution list discussion, those skills are no longer as prevalent in the 
internet userbase as they may once have been. This shows up for Agora in terms 
of people failing to subscribe, or failing to understand where their messages 
have gone, and it probably shows up in terms of potential players we never hear 
about because they completely fail the initial task of “subscribe to the list” 
without asking for help.

(Lurking in Freenode’s ##nomic has convinced me that that barrier exists, at 
least for some users.)

With that in mind, I have two questions.

1. What, if any, web-based discussion systems would be effective for supporting 
Agora as it is today?

I did a cursory survey of the state of the art, and it appears that web-based 
discussions are dominated by:

* Discus, for discussions associated with some parent document (generally a 
blog post or news item),
* Discourse, for open-ended discussion venues dedicated to specific subject 
matter, and
* Social Media (as exemplified by Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit), for freeform 

None of these exactly map to the forum criteria established in Rule 478: 
Discus, for example, imposes a tree-shaped interface, and provides a completely 
separate discussion for each parent document, while social media systems 
invariably interpose some kind of attention-seeking algorithmic ordering, and 
often algorithmic *removal*, between author and reader. It would be quite hard 
to collate out a single, chronological list of messages (required by the final 
paragraph of Rule 478) from any of those systems.

2. What, if anything, would need to be amended to allow something like Agora to 
be played in a venue other than email?

My real motivation here is to find ways to adapt Agora’s decision-making 
systems for other use cases. I think Agora’s model of asynchronous 
deliberation, its system of votes, AI, and document power ratings, and its 
mechanisms for inclusion are a powerful alternative to the kinds of chaos I run 
into when organizing gaming groups, and I’ve got a personal interest in trying 
to use it to structure a user-owned cooperative enterprise in another sphere.


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