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we/will/must

There is a simple distributed language of making collective commitments and we will rely on it in the LP wiki. Why? Because we must:

  • we is the people committing - a group of beings
  • will is what we will do - or are doing - these doings are a subset of what we may do according to our basis for unity or other limits that we mutually accept
  • must is what we must do to achieve what "we will" do together - if we take will seriously, we must also take the best next steps to get there - where we must begoing to achieve that doing

The being/doing/going correspondence was observed only later mostly due to spatial metaphor re: "must".

This we/will/must structure evolved naturally from trying to track binding commitments that are made on many different wiki pages. It NEVER works to try to keep ALL PLANS OR ALL TODO ITEMS ON ONE PAGE. If anyone can see them all, anyone can change them all, and nothing is secret. If anything is secret, then, all plans are not on one page. Also, if anyone can commit, but not anyone can edit, then, tracking commitments is up to a few people and becomes a bottleneck, not up to everyone all the time.

Accordingly, the only answer is to have a reliable way to tag goals and implications of goals, and a reliable way to track all of those on pages that anyone can read. This is done on pages like


Notice that the notation changes for longer term goals which are not LP:insider business - yet - who knows who the insiders will be THEN?, but everybody's business:

Anyone can make a long term commitment just by linking "by 2006 LP will", and the LP:insiders are supposed to come around and figure out whether it actually will, what interim goals that accepting that "must" entail, and document those by linking "by 2005-09-01 LP must" and so on.

This makes the simplest possible open planning process. Once one gets used to the notation, it's obvious how "will" and "must" forces one to state the goals one by one without using lists. As an example, here's the most complex way to report time that you'll ever see:


What does this mean? Exactly what it says: there are things that LP "will" do, these are fundamental goals that "we" commit to doing. GIVEN THAT COMMITMENT, there are other things that "LP must" do to be able to meet the commitment. The distinction between will and must is important and should be differentiated. To avoid lists of goals and make it easy to find each individual goal using "pages that link here" the by DATE LP will and by DATE LP must assertions are really important. The WORST thing you can do is fail to put one of these in front of a goal - no one will ever find it.

The "must" pages actually redirect to by 2006 LP or disambiguate a list of shorter term pages like LP:by 2005-05-01. So it is easy to find everything that "must" be done and "will" be done separately. It might be harder to tell which "will" implies which "must". To deal with that requires we/will/must:

  • we is the people committing
  • will is what "we will" do
  • must is what "we must" do to achieve what "we will" do together