Reuben Staley <> wrote:

> The main manifestation of Agora's adaptation is reports. In BlogNomic, the 
> Ruleset page on the wiki and the GNDT do most of the tracking, whereas in 
> Agora, we publish the information every week because we can't keep a 
> constantly changing record. If we were to transition off a mailing list, 
> Reports would be one of the first mechanics to go.

That’s a surprisingly apt insight. Thank you. One of the motivations behind the 
stuff I’m working on is teaching groups of technical folks to think beyond JIRA 
fields in terms of how to communicate decisions (before, and during, and 
after). It hadn’t quite struck me that Agora’s reporting system fills in a 
necessary role that might not survive outside of mailing lists specifically, 
but that helps me reason about why teams that have mandated information 
reporting systems often struggle with them: those tools often _aren’t_ designed 
around the team’s actual needs.

Reuben Staley <> also wrote:

> Along the same line, we have the distribution system of proposals. This goes 
> along with (1), but is still worth mentioning. In most other Nomics, 
> proposals are immediately put up for voting since one post can represent a 
> proposal. Of course, this is not something that would definitely have to go; 
> it's not hard to imagine a blog-based Nomic in which proposals are 
> distributed all at once.

Agora’s propose-then-distribute-then-vote model closely mirrors how proposals 
are resolved in systems like Robert’s Rules, which are designed to be effective 
up to the 200-person deliberative scale. That a cut-down version is effective 
in Agora is not surprising, but I think it is important. The immediacy of 
decisions in other nomics reflects the immediacy of, say, a pull request, and 
probably puts similar pressures on people to make snap decisions, whereas the 
more structured schedule Agora uses gives people a deliberate and 
widely-agreed-upon window of time to consider and respond before the 
opportunity to give input closes.

You’ve made a strong argument that no current web-based discussion system is a 
good match _as shipped,_ though. None of them include the idea of gathering up 
and regularly publishing digests of important subjects (proposals, in this 
case). It’s something the users can do, just as we do with email on Agora, 
instead, perhaps.

Reuben Staley <> also wrote:

> Now, let's discuss potential new forums for Agora. I believe that a bulletin 
> board would be the best way to continue playing Agora should it be moved. 
> Agoran threads get very long very fast, and a bulletin board would show every 
> comment response. Gamestate tracking could be relegated to a specific 
> category of posts; as could proposals and maybe even minigames. This may just 
> be my personal opinion about bulletin boards being the best out of the 
> current ways to play Nomic; however, I do honestly believe it would be the 
> best way to go.
> I hope this helps you with your research, o.

Thank you, it very much does.

Remember, my intention is not to move Agora. I like Agora where it is, and 
would personally vote against proposals (or try to oust officers) that attempt 
to move it to a web forum, absent an extremely compelling reason to change or a 
patent and obvious shift in the culture of the game. I’m looking at ways to 
extract useful tools from Agora to apply to other groups - particularly, groups 
where I see that consensus mechanisms either don’t exist or have broken down 

Kerim Aydin <> wrote:

> I always thought the MUD (Nomic World) was the best place to play nomic in.
> Because you could have all three of (1) real-time conversation, (2) message
> boards for long threads and (3) automated systems, smoothly linked in a
> single environment with user authentication, and you could adjust the
> balance of types of interactions on the fly.

Do you happen to know which MUD platform Nomic World was based on? Some - 
LambdaMOO comes to mind - are far more amenable to this sort of use case than, 
say, Diku or River would have been.

It regularly saddens me that modern internet social spaces are so viscerally 
non-programmable in the way things like IRC and MUDs once were. Not everyone is 
at ease expressing themselves in code, but excluding people from doing so 
entirely both limits expressiveness and sharply limits communities’ ability to 
reshape their spaces to suit their needs. I’ve been chewing on the idea of a 
web-based MOO-alike for a while, and it seems obvious that that’d be a fit for 
a Nomic for the reasons you lay out.

Kerim Aydin <> also wrote:

> ITT one essential ingredient of Agora-style nomic play is that we use
> natural language to Do Things.  It might be tempting to start automating a
> bunch of stuff, and some automation is good, but half of what we do is find
> clever ways to say we do things under the constraints of language and
> written communication.  So a key feature to preserve is "keep conversations
> intact, and keep the actions as part of the conversations”.

Yes. In fact, Agora’s focus on natural language over structured forms or 
digital input is one of the reasons I’m digging on this subject here, and not 
at BlogNomic. Agora’s use of natural language is legalistic and often pedantic, 
but it’s far more inclusive than, say, lisp forms, and infinitely more 
accommodating of the kinds of weird exceptions that come up in everyday 
collaboration than … well, I cited JIRA above for a reason.

Cuddle Beam <> wrote:

> Woo! Yes, I agree entirely. I’ve brought up these arguments before as well
> lol.
> Although, Discus/Discourse are pretty obscure.

So is email, in this fallen age.

Cuddle Beam <> also wrote:

> Discord is pretty good and the current mainstream for gaming, and a
> growingly popular media for nomics (Infinite Nomic and Now we Nomic are
> there)! It doesn’t favor essay-length replies though but it’s an extremely
> agile and powerful platform, it’s basically IRC on super-steroids.

Discord suffers from the most extreme form of immediacy bias that I think is 
possible - along with Slack, IRC, Twitter, and Mastodon. The complexity of 
tracking a decision across multiple hours, let alone multiple days, is 
substantial, and demands a lot of the people conducting the discussion. None of 
the more real-time-oriented platforms out there handle this well, and it 
frustrates me that open systems like Mastodon are content aping Twitter’s 
demand for instant gratification rather than reaching beyond it to support more 
deliberate conversations.

Cuddle Beam <> also wrote:

> Although, if Agora is housed there and it really catches on, I believe it
> would start to be populated by people and chatter that is a lot less
> serious and academic than the usual Agora, because of the
> younger/anonymous/less mature demography of Discord users. Infinite Nomic
> is a great example of this, and its got a lot more activity than the
> serious (and dying) Now we Nomic - it’s got loads of fun, casual chat and
> banter. It has also got extra misc channels and bots like ones for
> videogames or porn - which in the dominant and juvenile Doritos-and-Mtn-Dew
> culture around gaming and Discord, having stuff like that is status quo.

Lest this get lost, there’s an important point in here that platforms 
inherently bring with them a culture of their own. You’ve correctly - to my 
frustration - described Discord’s ambient culture, and while it is possible to 
shift an individual Discord service away from that norm, any lapse in the 
community’s commitment to that shift will inevitably lead to a slide back 
towards the platform’s mean.

This is not unique to Discord - I’ve spent considerable effort, along with a 
group of moderators, moving a single subreddit’s community norms towards 
empathy and away from rage. Even though we’ve been at it for years, and even 
though that practice is now well embedded, any time any of us take a break, the 
impact is visible in the slow return of angry and often bigoted commentary.

Cuddle Beam <> also wrote:

> I don’t think housing Agora in Discord would be good, but imo the IRC chat
> should be updated to be a Discord server instead - or at least a Slack
> server like BN has, which is funcionally identical to Discord but it has a
> much more professional connotation.

Strong AGAINST, if only because Freenode ##nomic is not under Agora’s sole 
control. It’s a shared resource, and Agora should not propose to make such a 
substantial change to it.

Having said that, it’s also basically dead other than for lurking in, and a 
competing lurk-only venue probably wouldn’t change anything or ruffle any 


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