Christmas 2007, looking at 2008

Another Christmas is behind us, with more Lego for Alex and a carpet for Avril’s room, plus small clothes for her ‘bébé’. Looking at 2008, Socracy’s draft status is ready and waiting for feedback & lawyer review. It is also encouraging to see that some of the best engineers in Comverse seem to be interested in a contribution to the project, and the feedback is generally very positive. Meanwhile, I asked Ludovic for a quote for the required changes to the XWiki engine.
I hope that I will get a bit more time for this project in 2008. The consultancy for Comverse should allow me to reduce the frequency of trips, remains the issue of finding some way of working at home !

I also sent this email asking for contributions to my former team in Tel-Aviv, all extremely talented and creative people. I hope some of them will find some time to help:

Christmas is behind us, time to think about ways to make 2008 a better year!

In our daily professional life, we all contribute to a better and more useful technology world. While I enjoy this, I always missed somehow the feeling of having an impact on ‘real life’. For a long time this need remained without an answer, as the jump from engineer to politician seemed a bit far-fetched… until the Idan Asher conference we had on July 26th. Then I realized that the success of Web2.0 proved that if you let everyone contribute (e.g. in Wikipedia), then those who want to contribute positively prevail over those who prefer to walk blinded in their own views. Incredibly, consensus emerges.
As an engineer, I thought that I could help bring such tool to our politicians. Of course, politicians in the past have tried to gather people’s opinion directly, either by polls or brainstorming, but nothing approached the power of Wiki-like collaborative work.
Although not everyone always agrees on Wikipedia, the challenge is even greater in politics. I quickly found out that the vast majority of the budget spent on IT & communication during campaigns is not to promote your own points of view, but to undermine your opponent’s!

Still after more thinking and gathering ideas, I do believe that a Wiki-like approach can work in politics, if designed with care (see for instance the notion of referral member in the attached blog extract in order to avoid spam). So this will be my contribution to 2008, and I am in process of setting up the “socracy” non-for-profit organization to support this.

I feel that perhaps I am not the only engineer around with a desire for doing something ‘beyond technology’, and while I will cover all expenses of legal, design , hosting and otherwise, my own skills at programming are unlikely to be of any help for bringing all the required changes to XWiki. You will see on socracy.xwiki.org the home page placeholder… which needs to be turned into the real thing, e.g. as described in the attached blog extract.

If contributing for Socracy is something you feel like doing, please let me know as I believe the challenge of bringing an efficient Web2.0 engine to politics can use all skills we can gather, and I know how talented you are !

Meanwhile, I wish you and your relatives an excellent year 2008 !

Olivier

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