2019 Community Reorganization (Discussion)

Brainstorming pyramid concepts…

Pyramid of Alignment

(see also: full overview on github)

  • Process: From discovery to evolution
Compliance level Concepts
1. discovery knowledge, insights, humane design
2. adoption ethics, best-practices, experience, exemplars
3. evolution innovation, sustainability, expansion, immersion

Candidate subcategories

These categories all have broader meaning, but we consider them as applied to tech.

Subcategory Description
Ethics improving of ethics in technology, ethics frameworks, ethical design
Open Standards specifications, standards bodies, resistance to lock-in / walled gardens
Humane Design human-centered design, UX best-practices, ‘designed for humans’
Decentralization re-decentralize the web, resistance to control / monopolization
Sustainable Business alternative business models, funding, values and policies
Open Source working in the open, project / community management, licensing, funding
Governance IT strategy and goals, risk, compliance / certification / audit standards

Opposing harms

  • Possible dark pyramid:
    • Pyramid of Devolution —> ignorance, stagnation, dystopia


There are things that obviously need more thought, but I’ll await your feedback first.

I like this part because it places harms in a box so we can focus on solutions and not be married to the negative… Also harms are highlighted, which is an ongoing discovery process. I see Michele’s point that it’s dark- but we show light in working solutions.

Also- we are an activist group so we can ride the edge- be polite but not necessarily politically correct. This is the arm that serves CHT in a way…

Otherwise I really like the part where we have action as goal to spread campaigns- a local forum just helps people process these things. Once people realize what’s happening perhaps we can post brainstorming ideas on things people can do independently on their own… only a list- no handholding;).

In all this do we have a goal list? In my profession we have no actions without goals. Keeps us on the same horizon.

  1. Have fun
  2. Spread campaign mottos to bring humane tech awareness.
  3. Strive to be an example of humane living in a tech world.

One more thing- a quick guide listing ways to get personally started along the way will help people get started. Quick start guide with privacy education and how to protect oneself. Very brief and no guiding- with cautionary statements that things change etc…


Yes there are objectives stated in summary in the Strategy section in this Wiki Post.

I have separated strategies into

  • core
  • secondary
  • community

Besides that we have tactics and philosophy. Your second point is a mix of tactic (campaign mottos) and core strategy (from awareness to cultural awakening). The third point I would add to community philosophy (and part of culture).

Yes, entirely agree. But I also see that as at lower level than where I have been elaborating. This can be done in many ways and for many subjects, so should be careful that overview is not lost.

Edit: On second thought there 2 things in what you are saying: community overview and e.g. privacy protection.

The first goes to Community Central > I Need Help, where there can be 1 single pinned overview document with a list of links to everything relevant (and this post also referenced from FAQ), while the second thing should be produced in a project e.g. in a campaign with the deliverable being a site section of the community website. This way we only do this once, and it serves a broader public.

Proposal: Audience vs. Stakeholder groups —> scope restriction

This forum only has limited capacity, and with many active members manageability and overview decreases quickly. Stricter moderation is absolutely necessary.

We have goals to serve message to a broader public, our audience: The outside world
They are not part of our community.

I proposed 3 stakeholder groups as part of our community (and people from the audience are prospects):

  1. activists
  2. builders
  3. partners

We want:

- to activate as many people as possible, participating and involved
- to be as productive as possible with reaching community objectives

The nature of the activities we do on this forum will have to change. This is a requirement. Casual posting of random links, as many do now, should be considered. A lot of activity we currently have can be continued however, but needs to be put in context and processed quickly, or we’ll only create archived information.

Also, since activity will be discussed, casual posts will be distracting, and casual posters will find the forum less interesting. But this is not a problem. We can facilitate our casual reader visitors and posters on our social media and the community website. And draw them in as active members from there.

I think the goals I was mentioning places this in a language that is easily accessible to many learners. I can’t seem to absorb some of the language into actual real life actions. I’m very practical and as one of my friends says “scratch and sniff”. If I can’t see it I go crossed eyed and can’t relate;).

Not sure I’m lost again;).

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I just posted the draft forum structure publicly I created yesterday. Working in the open :slight_smile:

But indicated that the actual reorg will be done by our community team itself. This way we keep people informed, and can collect feedback, while avoiding endless open discussion on what we should be and what not.

Forum categorization

Got some good feedback from @Free about my draft of the forum categorization. I don’t feel much for his proposal, but agree that mine has too many subcateogories. As a result I made changes to the structure on that page (but not yet on the Wiki post).

I would like to discuss this during our Sunday call, can you add that to the agenda @micheleminno?

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Community methodology and Spotify

This is just a reminder note, to mention a good tip I got via PM by William Rice (@Mndctrl) about the following: to apply some of the agile principles from the Spotify Engineering Culture to how the community operates and divides its work.

I’ve worked with Spotify methodology myself and it is very creative and flexible, and - importantly - allows work processes to scale as an organization/community grows.

There is an animation in 2 parts that clearly communicates how this work (and need not be too technical to understand, I think). Part 1 details basic work process (which is less relevant to us) and break-up into squads + chapter leaders, while Part 2 goes deeper into cultural aspects. Here is Part 2, which contains link to Part 1:

Edit: In addition @laurex suggested the following resources to use for community building. One is the Snowflake model used by Obama for campaigning, and the other an interesting article on fostering community leadership:

Article: Building Community Cultural Leadership

Finally the inspiring story of David Jay and his building of the Asexuality movement (I removed the ‘friends’ code, as I am not at freedom to share as such):


Feedback on Pyramids model by David Jay, CHT

I received an email from David that contained feedback on the Pyramids of Humane Technology that is copied below:

I see CHT and HCT as separate organizations which share values and and have strongly (though not perfectly) overlapping worldviews. Your pyramid is a fantastic articulation of what HTC stands for, and one that aligns very well with the conversations that we’ve been having about our work. I think that we’ve been particularly focused on what you’d call the Alignment triangle: thinking about how to move towards products that are aligned with our humanity rather than exploitative of it.

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A post was split to a new topic: We will not have a HTC for Kids ‘parallel’ community

Community Roadmap


Now that we have a finalized Mission and Vision and the start of a methodology to take our members along an exciting, i.e. ‘The Pyramids of Humane Technology’, the highest priority is reorganizing the community along these aspects.

Important guidelines:

  • Going from awareness to solutions
  • Going from audience to activist
  • Separate harms (negativity) from solutions (positivity)
  • Solution-orientation and optimism
  • Volunteering / activation —> speed / mindfulness
  • Participating is fun and rewarding
  • Finding your way around is easy and intuitive
  • We’ll create a MVP first!

Most important is to not fall into previous trap:

  • Onboarding should be easy, low barrier
  • We need to know what information members need
  • We need to provide necessary info at every appropriate place
  • We need to keep things simple and —> maintainable!

Top #1 Priority: Community reorganisation done well!

Pyramid building ‘storytelling’

I got good feedback from Michael de Groot (@stayingaliveuk) - who is a Storyteller by profession - on the ‘pyramid building’ analogy. He suggested to combine it with “The Hero’s Journey” storytelling concept.

His Pyramids feedback on public LI post:

I have been following (not that active though) the work of Tristan Harris, co-founder of The Center for Humane Technology and Arnold Schrijver, their community lead, just released The Pyramids of Humane Technology. An inspiring and courageous initiative to make technology an enabler for human freedom instead of what it appears to be being created for - M.A.D. = Manipulation, Addiction, Domination. You may have to create an account to access this article, but I recommend it’s worth it, there’s some great stuff being discussed.

#activism #inspiration #enablement #creativity #vision #philosophy #culturechange #entrepreneurship #collaboration #transformation #community

And privately to me:

Forgive me for responding in English, my Dutch is rubbish now plus the silly spellchecker will mean that it will take me days to write. Haha. I agree a story would really support the process of explaining the mission. I did see on the community that you asked for people with skills to come forward. I did consider pitching in but I believe you may have enough. The Hero’s Journey format would lend itself very well for the cause I believe. Anyway I do believe you have enough on your plate and you’re doing a awesome job. I do hope you’re getting paid for it. Take care and will dive into the community from time to time to see what’s occurring there.

Community Roadmap (2)

Continuing from earlier post

Some brainstorm of milestones after forum reorganisation (unordered, sub-bullets are not milestones per se):

  • Community branding
    • Style guide (fonts, colors)
  • Community website
    • Requirements
    • Design
    • Implementation (MVP)
  • Community strategy
    • Organisation structure
    • Activation strategy & ‘Rewards’
    • Awareness Program
    • Solutions Program
    • Partners Program
    • Meetups strategy (Eventful)
    • Education strategy
    • Forum vs Github processes
    • Website content strategy
    • Social media / PR strategy
    • Programs vs. projects vs. campaigns
    • Continuous improvement process
  • (Re-) Launch Awareness Program
  • Quarterlies
    • Retrospective
    • Strategy review
    • Incorporate?
    • Plan next quarter

Extending the Pyramid model

Following up to my post processing @micheleminno’s categorization feedback, I’ll add some more thoughts to extend the Pyramid model, especially the ‘storytelling’ aspects of it.

In my post I suggested to wait with categorizing the Freedom pyramid, because I was unhappy with the subcategories it currently has. I’ll repeat the Github notes I created on the Freedom pyramid here:

Pyramid of Freedom

  • Process: From engagement to flourishing
Adoption level Concepts
1. engagement involvement, freedom of speech / information / expression
2. expression creativity, human values, genuine emotions
3. flourishing purpose, synergy, optimism, vision, direction, innovation

Candidate subcategories

These categories all have broader meaning, but we consider them as applied to tech.

Subcategory Description
Collaboration communication, co-creation, cooperation, partnering, synergy
Growth sustainable business, sustainable growth
Innovation prudent adoption of technology improvements, innovation models
Evolution not revolution / disruption but evolutionary development

Opposing harms

  • Possible dark pyramid:
  • Pyramid of Decline —> individualism, suppression. bondage

Pyramid structure

  • We have 3 pyramids that represent the focus areas of our community
    • Each pyramid reinforces the next: Society —> Wellbeing —> Freedom
  • We have 1 pyramid representing commonality of the focus areas (as applied to the digital realm): Alignment
  • Each pyramid has 3 layers that represent a kind of ‘Maslow’s pyramid of Needs’
    • Bottom 2 layers are further subdivided into subject matter that we’ll find as subcategories on the forum
    • The top of each pyramid is a sweet spot - a place to be - for the particular focus area

Now extending the storytelling of the model…

Treasure and Mystery

We will add Treasure and Mystery to our model to make it exciting to work/contribute in our community and - for others - to discover its information. We can say that treasure + mystery is what lures people to know more about the pyramids.


As we all know from the tales and experience Pyramids come with hidden treasure to be discovered (i.e. in ‘hidden’ chambers).

We are building our pyramids from building blocks that already exist (i.e. mankind’s knowledge that is out there on the internet, and that can be added/extended by research and discovery), and we will stash our pyramids with treasure.

The treasure in our case are the solutions that we’ll find: treasure == solutions


Pyramids also come with a significant amount of mystery, and this mystery fascinates people. Pyramids have secrets to their construction, like in their geometry, from which hidden, spiritual forces arise.

We’ll also add this mystery to our model. We have a number of ‘sweet spots’ and concepts that are hard to define. So we do not define them, but are on an ongoing quest to discover their true meaning.

These hard-to-define sweet spots and concepts are:

  • The sweet spots. They are the top of each pyramid, that creates its magical force

    • For our focus areas they are: safety, happiness, flourishing
    • For technology alignment it is: evolution
    • Each of these sweet spots can have their own Vision definition
    • Each of these sweets spots has their own quest of discovery
  • The Pyramid of Freedom in its entirety. ‘Freedom’ is a very elusive concept, and we have trouble defining it in the real world, let alone in the digital realm.

    • For the Freedom pyramid we could just hint at its blueprint, and discover its proper architecture as we go along evolving our community.
  • The Fifth Pyramid, also called The Hidden Pyramid

    • Its true name is the Pyramid of Human Flourishing and corresponds to the final sweet spot that represents our ultimate Vision of Humane Technology.
    • This pyramid is a compound of the other 4 pyramids bound in an intricate pattern (the Pyramids image)


I think the whole Pyramids of Humane Technology is becoming a very interesting framework that we can model our entire community to. I am getting very excited about the possibilities.

As I mentioned before I followed the Coursera Gamification course (note: a new iteration of the course starts tomorrow. I highly recommend this course, if you are interested in the concept. It is not IT-specific).

With the pyramid storytelling as a guide we can create a gamified experience that both involves our audience as well as our members. In this experience:

  • The community members are both players and game designers
  • The broader public are both players and ‘being played’ (but in a good way)

Of course, it is also possible to consume community content without participating in the gamification (if you don’t want to be playful, but ‘business-like’). The gamification is optional, but functions to bring the fun and rewards into community-building.

I really appreciate the feel and dense context of these maps + classifications + visuals.
I love the idea that community members are both players and game designers.

In a sense the spirit of forming + fleshing out such maps is a way of designing [infinite] games. Encouraging that can be as important as making any one map complete or balanced. Perhaps there can be a space in the community – and in these categories – for gathering and naming other compelling categorizations and concept-maps.

Over time, groups of similar maps might be aligned or merged; or it may emerge that two approaches cover roughly the same ideas using very different dimensions – suited for different sorts of observations.

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Thank you @metasj

It is good idea to make a space for this. We have an exciting road ahead, that’s for sure.
@NSaikiwiki, did you see this thread? I think you will find it quite interesting in light of your HTC contextualization.

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:flushed: okay, just when I thought I was maybe wrapping my head around it all :joy:

Ha ha, yes, but don’t worry.This entire thread contains a brainstorming exercise with ideas, loose strands and breadcrumbs that indicate possible ways forward. Thinking out-of-the-box, and in no way providing a solid model yet.

Some of the thoughts behind all this storytelling ideas was this:

  • How can we elaborate on the “Fun and rewarding” community principle?
  • How can we avoid that creating a Maslow-like pyramids model is only a formal, business-like exercise?
  • Having pyramids, what is some of the existing storytelling that exists out-in-the-wild about them?
  • How can we combine fun storytelling concepts with serious work that evolves the model?
  • How do we package ‘boring’ work, so that people - volunteering members - like to do it?

Treasure + Mystery + gamification are not things that are easily rolled out to forum and community website, but they could be excellent for e.g. Hackathons we organize with our Meetup groups, or even a global, synchronized Hackathon involving all groups together.

A real problem that a community with only a small amount of really active members faces, is that it is really hard to start projects that entices others to become active in too. When you facilitate a (‘serious’) project, people start asking “Where is the full picture?”, “Where is the complete documentation?”, “What is the intention behind this and that?”, etc. They forget that we are just volunteers just like them, and only have so much time to prepare, elaborate solid foundations. With growth of the community this problem grows. Only a very small percentage of people are willing to be active if projects are not chewed out in fine detail for them.

So part of the ideation behind all this, is to make “incompleteness” and “quests for discovery” part of the model. Something to be expected, and exciting to - together - get to know more about. We have been asked countless times “What is Humane Technology actually?”, and we tried to explain it over and over again with varying success.

Another way to go about this is to answer truthfully: “We only know so much about this answer as you. It is a new field. An entire body of knowledge that is still to be discovered, and you and I can do the discovery and become the experts in a new profession.”.

Bring pyramids storytelling into the mix and we could say “We don’t know… we found this hidden Pyramid of Freedom buried in the sands of time, and we know it has hidden treasure chambers for us to uncover. We are sure they hold tremendous wealth and wisdon for humanity. Do you help us search the hidden entries?”, etcetera.

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