April 2013 Newsletter
Newsletter sent to CAN members on April 17, 2013
Dear Members of the Commons Abundance Network!
This is the first newsletter to the membership. We started this website in early February, most members joined since the beginning of March. Now it is mid-April, and we are getting ready to promote our network at two significant events in May, namely the Ouishare Festival in Paris and the Economics of the Commons Conference in Berlin. Considering that the idea of CAN only crystallized last July, and that throughout the fall of 2012 it consisted of little more than a series of conversations and written documents on various computers, we've come a long way already.
Thank you all for being part of this venture!
Currently, the leadership group is continuing to work on getting rid of some bugs in the system, and thinking through various organizational issues, which we need to do before pushing for rapid expansion of the membership. In the meantime, all members can participate in making this an active website that can contribute to building an economy that works for all people and for nature. In particular, you can 1) contribute to the NORA wiki, and 2) contribute to discussions about governance, organizational development, and funding. The rest of this letter is devoted to these two forms of participation.
Developing the organization
There is now a tab on the header of each page called "Development." If you click on it, you get to a "tasks" page with some tasks for CAN, ranging from the technical to the organizational (http://commonsabundance.net/docs/tasks/). Please have a look at this page, and leave comments!
Like Wikipedia or wikis in general, NORA is to be a large group project, even though at this point it is essentially the work of myself and my students. Students in my economic geography class are working on pages even as they are learning about what they are writing about. And at this point, I think they could use the help of other CAN members.
There are several ways you can contribute to NORA, and I'll start with the easiest ones:
1) You can start by reading some of the pages that already exist, and if you find things that need changing, or you find that a link should be added, or a literature reference be added, do that!
2) You can also send a message with comments to the author. Most of the time that's me, some of the time it's my students. You can check who actually uploaded the content by clicking on the "History" tab (which isn't entirely accurate, but if you're not intending to figure out exactly who contributed what, it's good enough). Right now, I would especially encourage you to read the work of students who are now in the process of writing content. The pages which are at the stage of a second draft are the following:
To send a message, first make sure you are logged in. Then find the contributors' names by clicking the "History" tab. Then click on a person's name there, and you get to their page on CAN. Then you can send that person a message, which can be either "private" (so that other people can't see it), or "public" (others can read it too). You can also copy selected other people into the message. That way you can suggest improvements, additions, or whatever. Please remember that these students are just learning about what they are writing about as you write comments!
3) A next stage of involvement is to start writing pages yourselves. Check out the Guidelines for NORA Contributors page (http://commonsabundance.net/wiki/guidelines-for-nora-contributors/) before doing that! You can start a wide-ranging page (such as a page on one of the "needs," "organizational forms" or "resources" for which there is no page yet) or you can do a more specific one (for example, check the lists on "approaches to creating greater abundance" and write a page on one of those approaches that is listed but has no page on it yet, or if you find that there is an approach that's not mentioned, add it to the list and create a page for it).
Eventually, NORA should become an effort of many people. If you become familiar with editing or adding content, you'll also become much better able to draw more people into this project. So I will welcome any contributions you can make!
Remember: changing the world is difficult, but it is necessary, and it is not beyond human ingenuity. So let's get together and figure out how to do it!
If you have questions or comments that you wish to send directly to those of us developing the website, please don't hesitate to find either my or Helene Finidori's profile page and send a message!
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