participatory culture

A participatory culture fosters participation as opposed to argument or complaint or the creation of challenges to power.

political definition

Politically, it expresses itself as alternative institution building, which Gandhi called satyagraha?, ignoring rather than challenging the powers that be. A Troll Age participatory culture requires:

But "culture" remains the key word. No set of protocols, no matter how robust, work without adherents - the stability of any system of decision making depends on the tensegrity of underlying elements.


The dialectics between the three goals creates tensions:
  • Participatory democracy and open politics combine to demand clear explicit commitment to specific terms that can be understood by all, goals that can be quantified and transparently audited. This exposes tension between those who can define and validate and audit goals, and those who have the energy to achieve them (but may lack the understanding). Per classical distinctions between leadership and management?, or representatives v.s. other public service. The Four Pillars historically emphasized the need for uniform ethics and may be more applicable to bureaucracy? than politics. Openpolitics.ca itself may be an application of this.
  • Troll culture and participatory democracy combine to expose tensions between those who speak, and those who are affected by the decisions - trolls who criticize action are far more common than those who take action, however, given the scale of action, very few are allowed to do so - and it cannot be a requirement of ethical action that those who are affected must be involved (impossible in any case for many classes of people helpless to do anything but speak, or whom others speak for). Ideally this ensures embodiment and rootedness, but undemocratic troll cult?s focused only on eloquence or on persuasion technology? also sometimes develop. An emphasis on street democracy? and live meeting?s may help here - Gandhi?'s satyagraha? is the most notable of these methods.
  • Troll culture and open politics combine to expose tensions between those who speak, and those who actually take formal roles as spokespeople or proposers of solutions "within the system"; Neither trolls nor politicians are necessarily committed to protect all parties affected by decisions, so this tension ideally ensures (intellectual integrity and temperament? balances, but a troll cult? can take politics as usual too far, in defiance of political virtues. Open politics itself thus must act In Defense of Politics.


open party

The open party has been proposed as a way to resolve the latter two tensions. The primary tension between "open" and "participatory" require more fundamental analysis and rooted solutions - see mark up and mail back for one example. That between "politics" and "democracy" is more subtle and relates to the nature and basis of claims of authority - per Paul Adler?'s social capital. It would seem also that politics is inherently participatory, and that democracy is inherently open, though, this too requires justification:

democratic structuring

The theory of democratic structuring has been proposed as a way to resolve the former tensions, but, it requires more involvement and thus more time from participants. It deals poorly with representativeness - which representative democracy can guarantee with explicit methods, e.g. proportional representation, at the expense of other goals.


An extreme participatory culture tends to be quite trollish if it attempts to do everything at once. A long term perspective on the usefulness of trolling, and perhaps also the usefulness of doing so less from time to time, may be required.

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