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Commons Treasure Hunt Survey

Tags: commons, taxonomy

Discussion (5)

  1. Hi Ellen,

    Good luck on your survey!

    Here are some comments/suggestions, arranged by row numbers and column letters.

    6F – when you mention "nation", do you mean "national government"?

    10F, and also further down, 22C – it may be better to say "non-material" rather than "immaterial" because the latter also means unimportant.

    16D – I think it would be good to offer a definition of what you mean with an "open" or "closed" community.

    17C – with "participants" do you mean individual members, or organizational members (if the commons consists of several organizations), or people actively participating? There could be some problems of definition here, as there could be a range of degrees of participation. And so, expecting respondents to give a simple number in response may not be a good idea – perhaps give ranges to tick off, and maybe a text box so that people can epxlain what they mean with "participants."

    21D – it should read "gift of nature" not "or nature" (typo).

    22D – you might add an example or two of non-material commons, such as knowledge

    27H – among the nature commons, I would include land-based ones (such as grazing land, agricultural land, forests) and energy (solar, wind, biomass, natural gas etc.)

    28H – there's another typo, "foragble" food

    33C – when you mention "wealth," do you mean "monetary income"? I consider "benefits" as well as "rent" to be part of wealth; money is not wealth but an organizational form that allows people access to or control/power over wealth.

    44 and 47D – on both LIkert scales, make sure to define what 10 and 1 mean, i.e. which end is "complete health" for 44 and "extreme conflict" for 47.

    I think that's it!

    All the best,



  2. Thanks for taking a look at the survey, Wolfgang. You made some excellent suggestions and identified areas that need unpacking in order to be understood and useful. I appreciate your feedback!

    We're real close to having a visual method to navigate our map and data collections which continue to grow weekly. I stopped updating the website a few months ago so there will be lots of new things to see. I've been sorting the maps into a tree formation for the visualization. This mindmap shows the current categories: Hopefully it will make it easy to find maps and data that you can use for NORA.


  3. Great news and great work Ellen! Things are progressing nicely. Your mindmap is impressive and will be very useful together with the results of the survey when we start to look more closely at ways people approach the commons (what I called the engagement and action logics).

    As far as the survey is concerned, I'm wondering whether it wouldn't be interesting to have a question such as "In which sense is your commons a commons? What makes it a commons?". Not sure how to formulate this. I assume that you will not only survey commons that have explicit commons organization or governance form, but rather those who declare themselves a commons, or who focus on growing the commons as an outcome of their activity, even if they are not a commons per se, and that is much of a diversity. So this question would help maybe find common grounds, and points of similarity that are not the obvious ones (maybe more related to action logics…).

    The other point relates to the protection of the commons. There are great questions on the possible cooptation of the commons. One of the goals of the pattern language we are developing is to find ways to 'vet' whether an initiative is beneficial to the commons or not (growing, reproducing, regenerating it), whether it is a commons or not. So I'm thinking of questions such as:
    "How do you protect and grow your commons".

    Let me send you the paper I wrote for the WOW by email. There are some questions in the last part. And we could plan a skype to talk about it?





  4. Fabulous suggestions, Helene! I do want to be inclusive of all the various types of commons including the ones that should be commons or are considered to be global commons (i.e. oceans) but are not yet managed as such. I'll definitely add something that addresses "What makes this commons a commons?".

    I'm also starting to grapple with how to vet entries to exclude cooptations. I'll read your WOW paper this week and see if that stirs some ideas. I attended a panel on the sharing economy at the Texas state capitol a couple of months ago during SXSW. I found the experience disturbing as 5 out of 6 panelists were for profit businesses. At least two were funded by venture capitalists (Lyft, Homeaway). Cooptation should be pretty easy to tease out. Two key factors are easily identified: who receives benefits and who manages the "commons". Perhaps we need a simple tool that creates the boundaries for what is a commons, rather than what is cooptation of the commons paradigm.

    Another piece of news is we came full circle and we are now a nonprofit again. I filed form 1023 a few weeks ago so we can get federal tax exempt status. I'd love to see new legal entities created that are specific to the commons sector.

    It's taking longer than expected to get funds for CommonSpark (isn't that almost always the case) so it looks like I will not be attending WOW after all.



  5. Helene,

    I’m happy to Skype about the paper after I’ve read it. I hope to read it this weekend. I’ll touch base afterward to schedule a call. Anytime after Tuesday looks good unless I get chosen for jury duty. I’ll know Monday if I have an assignment.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


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