The antenna is you.

The ether is full of noise and static …


To energize collective intelligence …
… to magnetize the wisdom of crowds.

Your opinion might be wrong, or it might be right as rain …
… but either way: the fact is that you have an opinion.

I might disagree with you because your opinion is wrong.
And if I disagree then that’s a fact, too.

But I might disagree with you about it even though you’re right and it’s true.
Then that would be a different fact.

Or I might disagree with you when you’re wrong …
… all the while holding an opinion that’s likewise wrong.

And, if that’s what’s so, then that would be the truth of it.

Point is: we’re in it for democracy.
So if you have an opinion, that matters.

Now, question is, are we here just to argue?

Or does it actually matter to you …
… in which case let’s get down to it and sort things out to get it right.

Truth is, folk who are false can talk facts, and lie all the while.

It isn’t quite rocket science or brain surgery … but it’s kinda tricky.

That’s the way of it. That’s the fact. That’s the truth.

Almost as though they just want to argue …
… like they’re getting you to look what’s in their hand while they pick your pocket.

So: … let’s talk things through.

Thinking together about what is crucial …
… speaking deeply about simple things.

My begging bowl

Donate towards my web hosting bill! … id=9618

“Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent at the same time that it enhances the power of the state and the privileged interests that the state protects.
Bill Moyers

Is the Fourth Estate a Fifth Column?




  1. […] p.s. FYI: “Gnodal” on participatory deliberation and “Groundplane 101″ […]

    Pingback by Ben Tremblay at IssuePress » Blog Archive » Hello world, I’m here! | 6December2008 | Reply

  2. i like this, Ben…

    Comment by Rosa Zubizarreta | 1August2009 | Reply

  3. […] I set it out in my “GroundPlane 101“:To energize collective intelligence … … to magnetize the wisdom of […]

    Pingback by Gnodal Journal » Praxis – solutions arising from needs analysis | 22March2010 | Reply

  4. […] I wrote in “GroundPlane 101“:To energize collective intelligence …… to magnetize the wisdom of crowds.==== […]

    Pingback by Why "participatory deliberation"? from where? « Gnodal Journal | 30March2010 | Reply

  5. […] You2Gov @digiphile If you would do me a kindness? … quasi-manifesto # ParticipatoryDeliberation […]

    Pingback by Benz WordPress » Blog Archive » BenTrem tweeted on 2010-05-17 | 17May2010 | Reply

  6. Your points are well made and important. The way I look at is it revolves around the notion of Bad Faith. The fact of the matter is that much of Public Discourse is polluted by actors who both know they are communicating in bad faith and many who just repeat the Common Wisdom, taking memes du jour and stringing them together in the semblance of speech.

    Curious if you’ve taken a look at Henry Frankfort’s On Bullshit. A clarifying read in this context.

    Comment by Michael Josefowicz | 25July2011 | Reply

    • To tell you the truth I find I can do other than to more or less repeat what I was saying on Twitter: I find that theoretical considerations very usually distract from what I’m attempting to clarify here. I come at this after having studied the philosophical aspects, as well as cognitive and social psychology. Unless a point is actually grounded, connected in some way to the actual practice, then it’s doing something other than establishing methods of discourse.
      Writing an essay on cooking doesn’t feed my kids! 🙂

      Comment by bentrem | 25July2011 | Reply

    • “Bad Faith” is one of the things my method sets out to moot, the point being to mitigate all of that … bad faith, sophistry, flaming, all of it. The point isn’t to somehow improve human nature as we find it but, rather, to operate in a way that makes the best of it. And I mean discourse … not argument or debate or even discussion.

      Comment by bentrem | 25July2011 | Reply

    • If folk are just repeating “Common Wisdom” and memes of the day, then that’s what we have on our plate. Describing it in detail may be a worthy academic project, and doing a full diagnosis and study of the etiology likewise, but that’s quite another project.

      At the risk of being crudely blunt: I see hundreds of A-list pundits talking about this sort of thing (OpenGov, SocMed, Gov2 etc etc) but nobody and I mean nobody interested in implementation. When it comes to deployment there’s thundering silence.
      I’ve been at this … various dates … say 7 years with the present design. In that time not a single person has expressed interest in actualization. Make no mistake: I’m talking about a design that’s ready to be rolled out.
      Now there’s material for an essay on social pathology!

      Comment by bentrem | 25July2011 | Reply

  7. I can’t say much about that. Although I do know that the best is not what always gets implemented. Sad, but the history of technology has demonstrated that again and again and again….

    Comment by Michael Josefowicz | 25July2011 | Reply

    • … and that’s very much where I’m at.

      At a higher level of abstraction: the way I’ve undertaken my study of ?what? human nature is to look at practice … praxis, if you will. How folk treat comments, how threading affects what they do, how threading is implemented in different systems, how threading is not implemented in others (e.g. G+, which is just dumb) … how systems get deployed, created, designed, thought up, etc etc etc.

      Could pick almost any area of human endeavor; we’re very nearly the same in different activities. Like the hippie guru said: “Wherever you go, there you are!” 🙂

      Comment by bentrem | 25July2011 | Reply

  8. But what if someone has a stupid opinion, or one that is detrimental to the common good? Shouldn’t their voice be silenced?

    Comment by voidbubble | 2August2011 | Reply

    • I’m afraid you missed my point.

      Just who is it that says that opinion is stupid? I might think your opinion here is stupid … should I then delete it? mark it spam? Some might agree with me … does that make it right?

      My tactic: bring it out, and test it. Test it with facts. Test it with how it plays out, how it affects people’s real lives.
      Just a tactic, I admit, but I feel it beats judging folk as “stupid”. I might just be in the grips of some powerful propaganda!

      Comment by bentrem | 2August2011 | Reply

  9. Hi Dad,
    For a working basis of collective intelligence let’s look at privacy. Now this is something that’s different for everyone and it is going to change all the time. So it would make sense to make a specific request for some specific privacy, and have that request honored. Why would we want to all live under the same privacy laws? Each of us has different desires when it comes to privacy. We need a point of communication of our wishes, and that goes beyond privacy. cheers

    Comment by Albert Tremblay | 7January2013 | Reply

    • Hi there – Nice to see you.

      But say, what made you think this post is about privacy? Or, for that matter, even about “collective intelligence”?

      I’m glad you eventually came around to my point, when you wrote “p.s. I see that you did, in the end, come around to what my post was about: “We need a point of communication of our wishes, and that goes beyond privacy.”
      I wish you could see that this is what I’m talking about here. HeyHo

      Comment by bentrem | 7January2013 | Reply

      • Privacy is the point that is missing. This thing is great to talk about how opinions matter in a democracy .People may consider it a breach of privacy to ask their honest opinions. That is the point I would explore, to see what is holding up democracy. “like they’re getting you to look what’s in their hand while they pick your pocket.” Victims too often do not want to charge, or claim injury. it’s a matter of media and public image. go ahead and gather opinions, but without building community it would be an invasion of privacy.

        Comment by Albert Tremblay | 14July2014

      • People may consider it a breach of privacy to ask their honest opinions.” Perhaps. I don’t think that would usually be the case, especially since folk could just say no.
        But I’ve never even thought about asking people, so that doesn’t apply to anything I’m working on.

        go ahead and gather opinions, but without building community it would be an invasion of privacy.” Building community? That’s a good thing to do, of course, but I’m 1 person.

        BTW this is about more than just “gathering opinions”. Not talking about doing surveys. Talking about engaging real discourse in order to reduce conflict on the issues.

        Comment by bentrem | 15July2014

      • You know there’s one thing that’s really key that kind of relates to people feeling invaded: folk very typically write or talk in a way that protects their private thoughts or projects the personality / persona they want to show. Hard enough to get a good clear answer, but to get an answer that truly depicts what the person really thinks and feels? so much harder!

        Shorter: folk 1) protect their private thoughts and feelings, as well as 2) create, manage, and maintain persona.
        There’s a lot going on!

        Comment by bentrem | 15July2014

  10. […] "Groundplane" 101 […]

    Pingback by The architecture of a discourse system | Protension on GPlus | 11May2013 | Reply

  11. I’ve chewed this cud so often since 2008 … since 1994 … since 1973 … my elevator pitch has fallen to pieces.

    Nuts&Bolts … BrassTacks .. discussion where individual persons’ values are nurtured.

    Comment by bentrem | 19December2018 | Reply

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