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User Flow Wednesday

Posted by James Dubois in Uncategorized.
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People never fail to surprise me. News of the incident traveled fast throughout the lifeboats. We feared the worst, especially with all the backlash from Earth. Lots of questions, of course… people asking what happened, me trying to dispel rumors. But what’s strange is that nobody openly rebelled against the captains’ authority, nor did they protest Sasha’s arrest. People are just pitching in to help out where they can. Guy took on Sasha’s duties in the communications workgroup as well as his own and Sjon stepped in to volunteer his free time. I hear that a couple others from Operations are helping as well. Sjon calls this meta-workgroup a “micro-national, regional cooperative zone.” Hell, if people are getting their work done they can call it anything they want. They even printed out a “flag” of the CHOIRS mission patch to hang up on the wall.

And now that the initial flood of personal video correspondence to Earth has quieted down, I’ve seen people giving over their relay time to Sasha. I expect her to talk to the media to give statements once she’s released. Guy’s team wrote an app to track the data flow people are donating and it’s now an unofficial part of our intranet. People login to the site using their key and distribute their relay time to specific people. What’s really interesting is that the users of this data flow tracking system don’t give away their personal relay time. The system aggregates unused time on the relay and that’s parceled out as needed, with priority given to the person with the most data flow.

Imagine you’re in a big house, and you can’t leave. And there’s only one phone. What this system does is let users nominate who can use the phone and for how long. If the person with phone privileges isn’t available, then the phone usage rights shifts to the next person on the list.

Users nominate other users and tag their nominations with comments or categorizations. Sasha alone has been nominated for bonus time from several hundred people so she has priority. Most of the tags are related to her incarceration. Since she’s not using her time, it goes back into the system aggregator for others to use but she retains priority for when she does become available.

I was too curious not to check it out and made an account (I had to, just to make sure Guy wasn’t doing anything malicious… due diligence and all) and found out that people aboard the lifeboats had nominated me, despite my part in the Russian Incident. It seems I’m not the bad guy after all, at least in other peoples’ esteem. As of right now, more than half the people aboard are using this new time-sharing system. We’ll see how that works.

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Comments»

1. Nick - Wednesday

Bandwidthocracy. Good grief.

I imagine that confinement to quarters is some kind of restriction, but if she’s given as much or more of a right to speak to the world as anyone else aboard the ship, then who’s really the prisoner here?

The world is definitely listening, too: The fight over rights to her “story” has become a story itself.

2. Nick - Wednesday

A friend challenged me on my bandwidthocracy comment, specifically it’s “ability to withstand a rational search for any kind of meaning,” so I thought I’d unpack it a bit, to avoid accusations of being ridiculous. 🙂

What you’re talking about is a proportional im-mediated democracy. It’s a democracy, because everyone gets equal weight in the decision-making. It’s proportional, because rather than having one vote that they give to one nominee, they have “one” vote that can be apportioned however they want, to however many whoevers they want. It’s im-mediated because…because it’s less mediated and more direct than even “direct democracies,” and I’m not good at neologisms.

Of course, what this friend I know that the first criticism is that the relay nomination scheme isn’t really an “ocracy” at all: the command structure remains in place, right? And it’s whoever sits in the biggest chair who has all the power, right?

Maybe. He does have his finger on a lot of buttons. He does have people that will put a bag over your head or blow your house up, depending on whether you live in or outside his recognized jurisdiction. Life and death: that’s power.

Bandwidth is just what you use to communicate, to transmit your commands, pleas, musings and threats to other people. And this nomination system isn’t just the ability to communicate, it’s the ability to communicate according to the degree people in your society thinks you should be able to communicate. It’s a near-perfect measurement of how likely people are to listen to you.

Proportional Im-mediated (immediate?) Democracy. You’ve got your own flag and everything. Careful, sir: it’s a whole new tiger you’re riding out there. You’re far, far from all the blunt instruments of hierarchy out there; as far as the Earth is concerned: you are who you put out on the relay. You sure you want Sasha to be your spokesperson?


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