So the next comment of our friend, the facilitator of the all event... --ArturSilva

I may be facilitator here, but I am also participant, convener and generally interested lurker, all rolled in to one. If you are expecting me to play by some textbook rules for ost facilitators, rather than being guided by my own two clicks, you will be surprised and disappointed. Now what was it that you wanted to work on here? As I recall, your topic posted was SpiritofOST, which sounded to me something like NetSpaceSpirit, a session that i posted some time ago. Perhaps there is some overlap? --MichaelHerman

No, I don't think there is an overlap, because what I want to discuss is what is the OST spirit an how it applies, or not, and with what diferences, in an online assyncronous "event".

As I once said in the OSLIST, there is one big difference between a "presential event" and an "online assyncronous event". In a presential event, people have space and have a presence in time. If they are in a session they CAN NOT be simultaneously in a diferent one. They can use the "law of two feet" and leave one session to join another. But this takes time! In an assyncronous online event, time flows in a different way... In one given day or week (a minute in terms of a presencial event) one can be in ALL the sessions.

This makes a special challenge for a "non-directive" facilitator, namely an OST facilitator. He must be very carefull to NOT be in ALL the sessions "at once" (in one given day or even week), as this may disempower the other participantes, limite diversity and the potencial for conflict, not allowing for chaos to appear - and, in the limit, have a "very interesting agreement" and "co-created document" where all the diversity has been stoped and nothing creative really happens. Double loop learning is inhibited - exactly the contrary of what happens (I think) in OST events.

All this is only a small (and minor) point to ilustrate what I hope from the dialogue about OST spirit and its relations (and counter-relations) with the "wiki spirit".

So what I am saying is that the OST spirit may be, at least in some cases, in contradiction with the "wiki spirit", or with your interpretation of the wiki spirit (I have not yet the knowledge to know what applies). This eventual contradiction between the "OST spirit" in presential events and the spirit of online events, and, in this case, wiki ones, seems to me a point justifying a dialogue. Is this clear enough?

And yes, this in not mainly, at least in the first phase to co-creste an agreed knowledege (agreed meaning also that one part as to "agree" with the supression by the other of words he previously said)

In what concerns the main point, SpiritofOST, I am not yet sure, but in this conversation i think that signed contributions is the way to go -- ArturSilva

Some other thoughts some hours later.

in line with my posted project NetSpaceDevelopment?, i am interested in working out the things that make working in wiki more easy for everyone. what explanations and structures make wiki accessible and possible? I am interested in learning what minimal structures are necessary for people to come together and enter the wiki. These include the both the technical and the social stories that allow us to understand this place and each other, so that conflicts can arise about content rather than about process. i am wanting to borrow from and build on the learning that has already gone on at MeatBall:MeatBallWiki and other places. I see all this as participant contribution and experimentation, btw, rather than facilitation. --MichaelHerman

MeatBall:StyleGuide, MeatBall:DocumentMode and MeatBall:ThreadMode do much to clarify this bit about "co-creation" of documents v. evolution of conversation.

ChrisRobertson?, a colleague of ChrisCorrigan, has noticed that OST resolves conflicts by literally taking the issues out from between people and putting them on the wall. normally, we meet at a table. we put the issues on the table. the issues come between us and divide us. in OST, the issues do not divide us. we stand shoulder-to-shoulder. we face the issues together, in alignment.

This is one of the core concepts in the book Getting To Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury. They call it separating the person from the problem. This concept is critical to emerging forms of collaborative conflict resolution models including most mediation models. JulieSmith

this seems the difference between MeatBall:DocumentMode and MeatBall:ThreadMode. document mode seems more like open space. thread mode can pop up inside of it, but the emphasis is on union, wholeness and common view of the issue. document mode seems to hold the space for thread mode.

in practice this would mean that one person writes the document, and others comment into it. where there is general agreement, individual comments dissolve into document. this seems to happen easier when comments are made within others comments, rather than in threaded (he said, she said) dialogue. --MichaelHerman

And still some more thoughts:

yes, Harrison is a model for many. the presumption in OST meetings of a separate facilitator is one construct OST does impose on a meeting. and yet, the facilitator is never really separate from the rest of the world, or the meeting. this seems more true when the facilitator is actively engaged IN the topic, when the facilitator is also a participant. working online blurs the lines between roles (facilitator, convener, participant) even more. everyone has fewer options or channels for communicating information. confusion rises more easily with fewer tools for expression and resolution. working online is just harder. it is also good practice for working in live spaces. --MichaelHerman

I think that in this new and so interesting wiki-world we still have to learn how to apply the "OST spirit of facilitation". That is part of my quest with this "OST spirit" session within the "wiki spirit" one.

fewer channels for communication might factor into this.

also, the stickiness of the communication. in physical gatherings, issues and comments "fall off the table" all the time. they get acknowledged with a raised eye, brushed off with a gesture, deflected with a grunt. online there is no way to respond to pixelated words except with pixelated words. and every move is recorded and 'sticks' in the record. the stickiness has an upside, too. the "facility" is the wiki itself. this facility holds all of the words "spoken".

in live sessions, the facilitator is often the one who initiates the flipcharting of ideas spoken. a traditional facilitator does the writing. an open space facilitator invites the writing into topic postings. once the writing has started and the topics are posted, the facilitator can go take a nap. often the os facilitator has also provided notes-taking templates, flipcharts in breakout spaces, and computers for typing and publishing the notes.

in wiki and other online records, the invitation to document is made early and all is "held" by the facility. the wiki holds the space for conversation. the facilitator is the technology as much as it is a person. no participant and no would-be online facilitator is in charge of the space. none has more or less opportunity or tools to control the content. so all are necessarily participants. in wiki, there seems no way for one person to be outside or inside of the circle, not even enough to "walk" it.

if no one can actually stand apart from the others, all are simply IN the circle. the facility holds the space. the people are conveners at most, or participants, or lurkers. there is only learning and contributing. facilitation becomes impossible, because indistinguishable. there is no separate self. there is only self-organization, self-generation, self-observation. --MichaelHerman

YES! Most excellent, Michael. Thank you. JulieSmith ...And really, help! What IS wiki etiquette? Can I clap my hands like this and let you know I'm doing so? And how do the rest of us interact in the middle of a conversation that's already happened? I'm trying to do so in this particular way, but not sure I'm "supposed" to. It's only because I'm very comfortable with both of you that I'm willing to break in like this. Are these kinds of comments helpful or disruptive? How does a newcomer learn the rules? JulieSmith

WhatAreTheRules is still taking shape. This is something I'd like to see built out together. There is document mode and thread mode, as noted already, but then there is maybe something like this in between. There is also a process called 'refactoring' which has to do with cleaning and distilling without changing the meaning of what is written here. It's all new and experimental here. Thanks for playing. One thing, it does help to sign whole names, when signing.

In what concerns me, you are welcome, Julie, to write what you want, when you want, and where you want... Sometimes it will latter be 'refactored' or moved to some other place... But we are still playing to get to understand this. Thanks for joining - ArturSilva

yes, and an interesting experiment in trying to control the starting time of the discussion by requiring a specific number of people. what has been the effect of waiting or not waiting for the 'real' conversation to begin? two of us seem to be not waiting. one of us now is waiting. interesting to note that the one who is now waiting is actually the one whose posting inspired this topic. seems that in following the request that he has simply been taken out of the conversation altogether. and what if i die before the conversation ever starts? where will i give my gift? and what learning will i miss? --MichaelHerman

Only a very short comment: I don't know if Global Chicago provides you a list of readers, pages acessed, etc. What I can see from this dialogue and from tracking the changes is that, until know, there are very few of us "co-creating this space" (and in what concerns me, when I am "here" I am not in the Iberian Wiki...). Our private conversation is very enlightening for me but it is not really similar with the SpiritOfOST?. Readimg the first version of the User's Guide, I have noticed that Harrison suggested there a minimum number of 20 for an OST session. That, by the way, confirms my own experience that 20 is ok but 12 was not enough (ar least in the specific context whre I had those 12). Anyhow your introduction to OST, that I have translated some time ago, talks about a minimum of five. My experiment was to see (1) when will we have at least 5 co-creators interested in the issue I have proposed; (2) how the dialogue will then be different from a private talk of two butterflies in the (assyncronous) bar... - ArturSilva

I have never heard harrison ever mention a limit of 20, and i've been doing osonos conferences and training workshops with him and reading the list since 1996. in fact, whenever asked about minimum numbers, he almost always tells the story of when 12 were scheduled and 5 showed up, due to snow. there is no minimum, really. and there is a difference between a conference and a conversation. I have had quite powerful days with 8s and 10s and 12s. --MichaelHerman

The point is not the number but the requisite diversity. To see what he wrote see [A BRIEF USER'S GUIDE]. Quoting from there: «The size of the group is not absolutely critical. However, there does seem to be a lower limit of about 20. Less than 20 participants, and you tend to lose the necessary diversity which brings genuine interchange. At the upward end of the scale, groups of 400 work very well, and there is no reason to believe that number could not be increased» (HO) - ArturSilva.

yes, and that 'brief user's guide' was but an early draft of the book he eventually published as the first edition of the Users Guide. In that book he wrote... "OST has worked effectively with groups of 5 to 500. The real question is how many you need to get the job done. There is no reason to believe that fewer than 5 would make any difference, nor that 500 is a sort of 'sound barrier'" Since then we have stories of LisaHeft and others having remarkable sessions with 2s and 3s and 4s. There is also the recent Berlin story of 2108.

This is really interesting...something like this just happened in a "real" Open Space that I facilitated.

What I am noticing here is that Artur posted a session on the Spirit of Open Space and wiki and that the real dialogue ABOUT the spirit of wiki IN the spirit of wiki, has happened over here!


In the Open Space I just did, which was about resolving a long standing set of conflicts in a community, we had 24 or so topics posted. During the break out sessions, the hottest topics attracted most of the participants and very few of them stuck to the pre-determined times. As a result there were people milling around waiting for their convenors to show up for subsequent sessions. After a while, a couple came to me and asked if they could just "knock off" a few of the "easier" topics on the wall. I invited them to do what they needed to do, and so several "private" conversations happened that got the easier ssues dealt with. In a couple of cases when the convenors finally showed up and found out that their sessions had already been held they smiled impressively.


You are right, Chris, and I think something similar will continue to happen here. I have made an experiment in the session I have convened on the SpiritofOST, defining a certain number of conditions (5 presences) before it begins. I was expecting that number to "join" in a few days, but our big "circle" (OSLIST) is not working. And now I will be out of office from 4/8 during 15 days. But I am sure that the right thing will happen in that session. Or probably it already happened here ;-) --ArturSilva

[The following comment was made in the SpiritofOST session but moveded into here by the convener of both dialogues]

So, I'm wondering if we have enough data yet to make conclusions about this experiment. Already four people have posted on WhatIsThisSessionAllAbout before they signed in at SpiritofOST. If they had signed in first, we'd have begun the conversation on that page instead. It seems "sessions" are always open in wiki and the best way to get a dialoge (or a document) going is by writing it and then others are free to edit it or comment on it or whatever. What does that have to do with OST? I don't know, but it seems to have a lot to do with what the wiki is all about and what co-creation is all about. Isn't that what OST is about as well? --TedErnst

No, Ted, in my opinion we "don't have enough data" about the experiment yet. If this Wiki was the only tool for comunicating amoung the OST community of practitionners, probably we would have enough data. But, in my opinion (and Chris wrote something similar somewhere) this is only part of it. The other very important part is the OSLIST, that is our big circle, where morning and evening news are posted, and where the creation of this dialogue COULD NOT be posted, as the OSLIST is not working right now. So one can not even know yet if an open dialogue without a previous writen doccument can be sucessful or not. But I think that this side-conversation proves that it can... Anyhow, and as I will be out of contact during 15 days, I will do two things. I will post this evening an initial statemente to facilitate further dialogues on the "spirit of OST". And I will not be present in the first 15 days of that dialoque but I am sure that those that will be present will be the right people. --ArturSilva