mike caulfield

mike caulfield

intro’d to Mike and (Ward Cunningham) via learning of fed wiki ness.

during dlrn15.. someone tweeted this… and so adding his page to start diving deeper.. very resonating.. with io dance ness et al.



And my sense is that this sort of thing happens almost every day — someone somewhere has the information or insight you need but you don’t have access to it. Ten years from now you’ll solve the problem you’re working on and tell me about the solution and I’ll tell you — Geez, I could have told you that 10 years ago.

self-talk as data – connecting us


This is the lesson I think most of you already know. But I think we often stop there, with openness. And I don’t think that’s enough.

We need to look more deeply into this because this is THE problem of our century.

I fervently believe that amazing solutions to so many of our major problems — renewable energy, education, disease — exist out there somewhere, but they are in pieces. You have a piece of the solution and someone in Bangalore has another piece of the solution. And if those ideas find each other in ten years, we’ll save thousands of lives, but if we can help those ideas find each other in ten months, we’ll save millions.

So I want to celebrate our advances in this area, but I also want to critique them. Because it’s worth the effort to do better.

do this first: free art ists.. shorten time between intention and action.. everyday. as the day. huge energy.

p 2

The biggest problems of the information age is how we make the most of the massive amount of information we collectively have.

And to make use of it, to really make use of it, a few things have to happen. We have to:

  1. record it somewhere

  2. route it to the right people

  3. extend , organize, localize it

  4. pass it back into the streamfor the next iteration

There’s a broad feeling that social media has solved this problem. I think it’s solved a lot of it. But as I think we’ll see, there’s a lot left to improve.



Finally founder Jimmy Wales shows up on the talk page and to his credit says:

Strong keep – I hope someone will create lots of articles about lots of famous dresses. I believe that our systemic bias caused by being a predominantly male geek community is worth some reflection in this context. Consider Category:Linux distribution stubs – we have nearly 90 articles about Linux distrubtions, counting only the stubs. With the major distros included, we’re well over a hundred. One hundred different Linux distributions. One hundred. I think we can have an article about this dress. We should have articles about one hundred famous dresses.–Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:58, 30 April 2011 (UTC)


Wiki is a relentless consensus engine. That’s useful.

But here’s the thing. You want the consensus engine, eventually. But you don’t want it at first.


I hope this can open up an honest discussion about the ways in which social media is not serving our needs as it currently stands. As advocates we’re so often put in a situation where we have to defend the very idea that social media *is* an information sharing solution that we don’t often get to think about what a better solution for collaboration would look like. Because there are problems with the way social media works now.


We’re stuck in an attention economy feedback loop that doesn’t allow us silent spaces to reflect on issues without news pegs, and in which many of our areas of collaboration have become toxic, or worse, a toxic bureaucracy.

We’re stuck in an attention economy feedback loop where we react to the reactions of reactions (while fearing further reactions), and then we wonder why we’re stuck with groupthink and ideological gridlock.

We’re bigger than this and we can envision new systems that acknowledge that bigness.

io dance. networked individualism.. ness



Federated Wiki: Information Lifecycle

document everything ness…



Federated Wiki is Hard to Learn, Easy to Use

Englebart – the lesson people hadn’t heard.. we don’t need to infantalize our users.. we live in a world of light pens…

we never reach our capacity to meld with these systems.. because we’ve chosen these easier paths

fed wiki is hard to learn and easy to use..

you’re going to have to radically reconfigure your intuitions/assumptions of what the web is and how it works.. if you get past it.. you’ll be the one with the mouse in a world of people who still are clinging to their light pens..

fed wiki is not a web site


first steps to set up fed wiki

important principle – not able to write to other people’s sites..


2014 – idea mining with federated wiki

if we want to take the position that only academics think about things.. that’s great.. but i don’t think that’s true

on missing the unlikely


hangout during dlrn15 – what is fed wiki:

what if you could control your own spaces.. ie: via forking – we feather our own nests with posts from different people..

a way to re invigorate the collaborative power of the web..

the problem of my blog is it’s an extension of me.. so i can’t put stuff on there that i disagree with


instead of using as tool to generate understanding we use as tool to express understanding

the original vision of hypertext.. a tool that would allow us to generate new understandings.. get out of our head..

focus on your persona.. can’t explore ideas you disagree with..

all conflicting ideas.. allow you to come up with new ideas..

on capturing things.. even if you don’t totally get it.. because you might use it later.. even though it doesn’ yet fit


Mike’s notes from said talk – dlrn15



p 1 – a year in the garden

the past year I’ve been experimenting with another form of social media called federated wiki. And it’s radically changed how I think about online communication and collaboration.

I don’t want people to get hung up on the technology angle. I think sometimes people hear “Federated Thingamabob” and just sort of tune out thinking “Oh, he’s talking about a feature of Federated Thingamabob.” But I’m not. I’m really not. I’m talking about a different way to think your online activity, no matter what tool you use. And relevant to this conference, I’m talking about a different way of collaborating as well.

Without going to much into what my federated wiki journal is, just imagine that instead of blogging and tweeting your experience you wiki’d it. And over time the wiki became a representation of things you knew, connected to other people’s wikis about things they knew.

self-talk as data ness – document everything ness – in the open and in the chamber

The excitement here is in building complexity, not reducing it.

your idiosyncratic pool of verbiage.. via linking.. to better communicate.. in private in public

Instead of building an argument about the issue this attempts to build a model of the issue that can generate new understandings.

ideas as agnostic…

I created a wiki on issues of found art without even knowing it.

in the city. as the day. if output matters.. input matters. whimsy matters.

rev of everyday lifea nother way

This experience has radically changed me, to the point I find it hard to communicate with a lot of technologists anymore. It’s like trying to explain literature to someone who has never read a book. You’re asked “So basically a book is just words someone said written down?” And you say no, it’s more than that. But how is it more than that?

life as commonplace book.

on to something more timeless, integrative, iterative,

p2 – the garden and the stream

The Garden is an old metaphor associated with hypertext. Those familiar with the history will recognize this. The Garden of Forking Paths from the mid-20th century. The concept of the Wiki Gardener from the 1990s. Mark Bernstein’s 1998 essay Hypertext Gardens.

The Garden is the web as topology. The web as space. It’s the integrative web, the iterative web, the web as an arrangement and rearrangement of things to one another.

Things in the Garden don’t collapse to a single set of relations or canonical sequence, and that’s part of what we mean when we say “the web as topology” or the “web as space”. Every walk through the garden creates new paths, new meanings, and when we add things to the garden we add them in a way that allows many future, unpredicted relationships

www ness

In the Garden, to ask what happened first is trivial at best. The question “Did the bridge come after these trees” in a well-designed garden is meaningless historical trivia. The bridge doesn’t reply to the trees or the trees to the bridge. They are related to one another in a relatively timeless way.

non-linearzoom danceio dance

In other words, the Stream replaces topology with serialization. Rather than imagine a timeless world of connection and multiple paths, the Stream presents us with a single, time ordered path with our experience (and only our experience) at the center.

In many ways the Stream is best seen through the lens of Bakhtin’s idea of the utterance. Bakhtin saw the utterance, the conversational turn of speech, as inextricably tied to context. To understand a statement you must go back to things before, you must find out what it was replying to, you must know the person who wrote it and their speech context. To understand your statement I must reconstruct your entire stream.

how to do that.. we need time in the day and ps in the open. all of us..

And of course since I can’t do that for random utterances, I mostly just stay in the streams I know. If the Garden is exposition, the stream is conversation and rhetoric, for better and worse.

words. labels.

jaron on words

recapitulate instead of iterate.

p 3 – the original garden

Van-NEE-var Bush’s 1945 essay As We May Think – section 6 – memex


So most people say this is the original vision of the web. And certainly it was the inspiration of those pioneers of hypertext.

But in reality it doesn’t predict the web at all . Not at all. The web works very little like this. It’s weird, because in our minds the web still works like this, but it’s a fiction.

Let’s look at some of the attributes of the memex.

Your machine is a library not a publication device. You have copies of documents is there that you control directly, that you can annotate, change, add links to, summarize, and this is because the memex is a tool to think with, not a tool to publish with.

And this is crucial to our talk here, because these abilities – to link, annotate, change, summarize, copy, and share — these are the verbs of gardening.

Each memex library contains your original materials and the materials of others. There’s no read-only version of the memex, because that would be silly. Anything you read you can link and annotate. Not reply to, mind you. Change. ..

no comments ness ?

Links are associative. This is a huge deal. Links are there not only as a quick way to get to source material. They aren’t a way to say, hey here’s the interesting thing of the day. They remind you of the questions you need to ask, of the connections that aren’t immediately evident.

notice the unlikely

Links are made by readers as well as writers. A stunning thing that we forget, but the link here is not part of the author’s intent, but of the reader’s analysis. The majority of links in the memex are made by readers, not writers. On the world wide web of course, only an author gets to determine links. And links inside the document say that there can only be one set of associations for the document, at least going forward.


Going further into the document:

Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions of his whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities…

The historian, with a vast chronological account of a people, parallels it with a skip trail which stops only on the salient items, and can follow at any time contemporary trails which lead him all over civilization at a particular epoch. There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record.

I’m blown away by the vision of this every time I read this. But not because this has happened, but because it *hasn’t* happened. I’m blown away because here, in 2015, there are elements to this vision that we still haven’t explored.

p 4 – enter the stream

It came down to who had the power to change things. It came down to the right to make copies.

On the web, if you wanted to read something you had to read it on someone else’s server where you couldn’t rewrite it, and you couldn’t annotate it, you couldn’t copy it, and you couldn’t add links to it, you couldn’t curate it.

These are the verbs of gardening, and they didn’t exist on the early web.


And we see that develop into the web as we know it today. A web of “hey this is cool” one-hop links. A web where where links are used to create a conversational trail (a sort of “read this if you want to understand what I am riffing on” link) instead of associations of ideas.

The “conversational web”. A web obsessed with arguing points. A web seen as a tool for self-expression rather than a tool for thought. A web where you weld information and data into your arguments so that it can never be repurposed against you. The web not as a reconfigurable model of understanding but of sealed shut presentations.

And a web that can be beautiful and still is beautiful on so many days. I can’t stress this enough. I’m not here to bury the Stream, I love the Stream.

But it’s an incomplete experience, and it’s time we fixed that.

p 5 – implications

You want ethics of networked knowledge? Think about that for a minute — how much time we’ve all spent arguing, promoting our ideas, and how little time we’ve spent contributing to the general pool of knowledge.


let’s talk about Wikipedia. There’s a billion people posting what they think about crap on Facebook.

There’s about 31,000 active wikipedians that hold English Wikipedia together. That’s about the population of Stanford University, students, faculty and staff combined, for the entire English speaking world.

We should be ashamed. We really should.


We and them is built into the logic of the Stream. In blogging, each person gets to define who they believe is in the conversation they are having. That’s what blogging/twitter/facebook is, by definition.


Kate Bowles, .. She talked about Studio Space, the idea of working next to people while building, of looking at their stuff out of the corner of your eye. Your *work* reacts and connects to theirs, not in this disposable or reactive way, but in this iterative way.

unschooling mom ish w/ her kids.. usefully preoccupied.. so kid not monitored.. everyone having something else to do


Documents that choose proliferation over centralization. Page and paragraph level-forking. Edit and fork trails that travel with the document. Link resolution contexts that build off those trails. Page items as JSON, with serial numbers that can be tracked across a new sort of web. Page names that form semantic networks in interesting name collisions.


Let me give you a simple example — we just mentioned the OER problem, right? Nobody can find good OER on certain subjects. But imagine a world where you write an article named Subsidies and Local Government in WordPress, and that pings a notifier that indexes that page. And immediately you are notified of all pages named this, and presented with a list of pages those pages link to.

tech as facilitator of curiosity – app chip ness – for interoperabilityio dance

And funders: And if there are any funders out there — fund this sort of experimentation, all of it. The potential here is huge, and the reluctance to fund tools has long been the blind spot of open education funding.

indeed – but need to do this first (free art ists) – to make the dance dance..


David Wiley has outlined a scheme whereby students could create the textbooks of the future, and you can imagine that rather than create discrete textbooks we could engage students in building a grand web of knowledge that could, like Bush’s trails, be reconfigured and duplicated to serve specific classes and purposes.

why text books.. why classes..?

we can imagine a world, I think, so much better than this one, if only we can get our heads out of the Stream for a bit, and build the Garden we need.

irrelvant quote vinay

p 6 – green shoots


find/follow Mike:

link twitter




How to reason in a media saturated world? Save and link the best of what you read until you have 500 pages when the story breaks.


Wikity, One Year Later: a report on my @ShuttleworthFdn project: hapgood.us/2016/11/20/wik…

ie: hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data


originally read/skimmed in dec.. adding this day..

Jeff Mummert (@jsmummert) tweeted at 4:39 AM – 4 Jan 2017 :

Yes, Digital Literacy. But Which One? digital literacy as an inseparable skill from domain knowledge https://t.co/ihhDa1pMqr #in (http://twitter.com/jsmummert/status/816610113335214081?s=17)

One of the problems I’ve had for a while with traditional digital literacy programs is that they tend to see digital literacy as a separable skill from domain knowledge.


Above all, I just want something that gets to a level of specificity that I seldom see digital literacy programs get to. Not just “this is what you should value”, but rather, “these are the tools and specific facts that are going to help you act on those values”. Not just “this is what the web is”, but “let’s pull apart the guts of the web and *see how we get a reliable publication date”.

? *can’t we go deeper than that today..?

It’s by learning this stuff on a granular level that we form the larger understandings — when you know the difference between a fake news site and an advocacy blog, or understand how to use the Wayback Machine to pull up a deleted web page — these tools and process raise the questions that larger theories can answer.

i think we’re beyond (or we could be).. news sites and advocacy blogs..

But to get there, you have to start with stuff a lot more specific and domain-informed than the usual CRAAP.

i’m thinking.. ginorm/small specific.. ie: individual daily curiosity… otherwise.. it’s just another curriculum/supposed to list.. (perhaps kinder seeming) .. with some level of raised eyebrow..


Building Complexity https://t.co/F0rAjQATBG  New post from @readywriting on @holden ‘s work #DoOO #edtech #digped

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/umwdtlt/status/832253240678948864

That moment when the facts slot into a narrative eventually comes for everyone. It has to; we’re human and what we want is meaning. But I’m  interested in delaying its arrival, if only for a little bit. And the question I have is how we can orient our pedagogy and digital interfaces to increase that delay, and in the process construct some narratives that are a bit less tidy and a bit more useful.