Changing community Mission Statement for a clearer, more manageable scope

(Note: This important topic originated from this valuable discussion Reflections on CHT header image and slogan and the message it conveys and then split off to discuss separately.)

Why change the Mission Statement?

The Humane Tech Community has adopted the same slogan and four strategic pillars of the CHT. We did not adopt a clear Vision and Mission statement, but instead used the slogan “To Re-align Technology to Humanity’s Best Interests” as our implicit mission + vision, and structured this forum’s categorization to match the strategic pillars.

This is actually quite vague. Do we mean all technology? Can we mention Humanity when there are so many different groups with different perspectives and motives, different cultures? And if using Humanity, then what is their _Best Interests? Where they ever known, and can they be defined?

Yes, we can use this slogan for our mission and vision. But only if we adopt an enormous scope of topics for discussion and improvement. In practice, though, this scope is unmanageable and leads to continuous discussion on What constitutes Humane Technology wrt this community? and What does it mean to be humane? or even What it means to be human. Valid discussions, but hard to turn into a comprehensive set of actionable objectives.

Furthermore our audience encompasses the entirety of humanity, all people in the world. This is okay, and as it should be. Our first strategic pillar - raising awareness and starting a Cultural Awakening - targets everyone. Our community is open and inclusive to all as well. But here manageability dictates we focus primarily on enlisting members that are willing to cooperate actively and with a solution-oriented approach.

In other words: Humane Tech Activists who are driving the field forwards, towards our stated goals.

This topic is about what that means for Vision and Mission statement, scope, objectives and strategy, and evaluation of the relationship between the Community and the Center for Humane Design.

Some of the posts below were moved from the original topic (as described at the top), and did not have this intro.

Note: I think the CHT has similar issues which I described May, 2018 in CHT Positioning – Mission, vision and scope (PDF)

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I like it! It pretty much sums up the whole picture: people should come towards awareness and applications should come towards humane design and objectives, forced by new rules in public/private spheres.


Yes just to highlight that we can have both safe and fun.

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Thinking about this statement:

  • To Align Technology To Humanity’s Best Interests

I’m realizing we are focussing on two words:

  • Technology
  • Humanity

Finding them one against the other, we aim in changing technology so it can fit with humanity.

According to me there are two overgeneralizations here:

  • Technology: what do we mean with this word in this ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) context? Do we mean hardware (smartphones, laptops, nets, protocols, …) - structure to make things in upper layers work? Or do we mean software (programs, apps, algorithms, …) - those things that run over the structure? I’m sure we mostly mean software. And software is designed and written according to specific objectives - to increment profit for who runs them. So we come to the second overgeneralization.

  • Humanity: I don’t think we can think of humanity as a whole. There are clearly humans who now are getting profits from softwares are now designed and produced, and humans (the most) who are suffering because of those choices. Probably a lot of humans are in both sides - they work for incrementing the profits of the first ones, but at the same time, in their personal life, they suffer from the consequences of that. For example, a developer/marketer/designer/copywriter/photograph/… who works to improve the software (programs, apps, algorithms, interfaces, ads, …) as it is demanded by companies now, but who is personally addicted by some software created and improved by someone like him/her, not enjoying a happy life.

So I think we need this mission statement instead:

  • To change the rules about ICT that now are rewarding profit interests to the detriment of the majority of humans

From this mission statement, it follows that we have to make choices in order to create new rules, so we have to take a side. For example:

  • on the side of make people careful of which data they leave on the internet, designing hardware/software to let them control/limit their data
  • or on the side of design new laws to prevent profit interests prevailing, preventing user data from being gathered, profiled and exploited by any private/public entity.

We can’t be on both sides. Where does this community place itself? In this example as in many others?


Yes, but remember that ‘Tech’ is already in our name, and name + slogan come together. So I think it does not need to be repeated. I’ll edit my previous posts and add the name in front of them.

Yes, that correction is an improvement, though it focuses too much on the negatives IMHO.

Agree that adding ‘fun’ makes the slogan roll better from the tongue. But the web is not necessarily all about Fun (a large part isn’t).

What a healthy discussion!

I would support the idea of a strict technologists’ code of conduct.

I however believe in the use of the word technology because of its historical context. Information technology if we want to be precise, but at the moment “technology” is a good word as information tech crosses boundries into medical tech, transportation tech, energy tech and so on.

Bridging The Gap Between Humans And The Web

A proposal for our new Mission Statement and Slogan


I like this one, I would add ‘fun’:

  • Redesign Our Web, Accessible, Fun And Safe

I see what you mean @micheleminno and also the points others in this thread are making, so I am warming to the idea of actually changing our Mission Statement.

We have discussed that a clearer scope restriction for the community is in order, and your Mission Statement incorporates that. I don’t think your last 2 bullet points are mutually exclusive, but that we may need to make a choice to get to a manageable scope (May be in line with what you meant with “We can’t be on both sides”).

However, I think we should restrict further:

  • Let’s keep the 4 strategic pillars, but leave CHT to focus on pillar 2) Political pressure (Advocacy) and 3) Engaging employees (Adoption)
  • Then ICT is still too broad. We won’t do cyberwarfare, we won’t do industrial automation, etc. We focus on the Internet primarily!

Then I’d like to have a Mission Statement that is our Slogan/Tagline at the same, so it should be shorter, and a good marketing term.

‘The Web’ is often used as synonymous to ‘The Internet’ (e.g. as used by Solid: “Re-decentralizing The Web”). When using ‘Web’ in our statement, this encompasses the hardware (e.g. smartphones) to access it.

So how about the following options as tagline/mission statement for our community:

  1. Humane Tech Community - Redesigning the Web for Humans - (focus on the humane design aspect)
  2. Humane Tech Community - Improving the Web for Humans - (same, but more modest)
  3. Humane Tech Community - Creating a Web Fit for Humans - (imply current unfitness, from harms to solutions)
  4. Humane Tech Community - Towards a Web for Humans - (mission + vision)
  5. Humane Tech Community - Humans Make the Web - (focus on human values)
  6. Humane Tech Community - Humans Remaking the Web - (transformation)
  7. Humane Tech Community - Solving the Harms of the Web - (from harms to solution, solution-focused)

…along these lines.


Yes you’re right, I had edited my post and changed it.

I think my last 2 bullet points as exclusive, not because they are logically exclusive, but as two completely opposite directions we could go as HCT: one towards the individual, leaving society (market, government, international entities) rules as they are, the other one changing the rules of the game, thing that would bring cascading consequences for individuals.

About mission statement, what do you think of:

  • Removing the ‘under the hood’ profits from your web experience .

I still don’t think they are opposites, but instead they closely interact (e.g. privacy Wild West —> GDPR law —> Adapt IT systems accordingly).

But that doesn’t matter, if:

  • CHT focuses on aligning the rules to the web
  • HTC focuses on aligning the web to humans

I don’t think your statement is phrased well enough (but I’m no native English speaker myself). It sounds ‘individualistic’ to me, and ‘profit’ should not be in it, in any form, I think.

More options:

  • Humane Tech Community - Making The Web Work For Humans
  • Humane Tech Community - Creating a Web For All
  • Humane Tech Community - Redesign Our Web, Accessible And Safe
  • Humane Tech Community - Our Web, Reclaimed And Safe

Or, since we will not be the actual creators:

  • Humane Tech Community - Re-imagining The Beneficial Web
  • Humane Tech Community - Re-envisioning A Web That Works

Or simply:

  • Humane Tech Community - Reclaiming The Web
  • Humane Tech Community - Re-envisioning The Web
  • Humane Tech Community - Towards A Proper Web

Pfew… found more options without ‘human’ in it :slight_smile:

Note: Every slogan gets Humane Tech Community prepended.

I’m coming in late here but the word ethics means- The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person; moral philosophy & humanitarian- One who is devoted to the promotion of human welfare and the advancement of social reforms.

Humanitarians through ethical technology HTET

Maybe I’m missing something though…

Yes, ethics is certainly important to our efforts. The problem is that the term is fuzzy, subjective and does not appeal directly to the masses. Ethics are for someone else to implement. Also ‘humanitarians’ doesn’t appeal to a broad adiences. Both ethics and humanitarianism do not cover the scope of our community accurately, I think.

I have a proposal, that I am quite excited about, that I will present in my next post below, accompanied with a diagram showing how the concepts all fit together.

The two orange arrows are both important. But every group I’m in is trying to be both. I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but I think focus might help.

What’s so wrong about a community focused 100% on activism (creating a cultural awakening) OR professional networking (with other doers in the humane tech space).

In my own work I feel the pull. As a CEO, I’m 100% committed to my company ( but I’d also like to engage in activism against (1) the tech giants (2) shitty, over-used features and products (the infinite “News” Feed on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Reddit) and (3) the US government, utterly asleep at the wheel.

@aschrijver - You’re doing great (hard) work. Keep it up. Is the proposed mission statement “Bridging the Gap Between Humans and the Web” or “Realigning Technology to Humanity’s Best Interest”


Thank you, @loundy! Proposed (just by me) is “Bridging the Gap Between Humans and the Web”, and the other mission still applies to the Center for Humane Technology (we being the Community). This already constitutes a severe restriction of scope and division of work + focus.

I get your ‘one or the other’ idea, and it has its merits. But focus on both orange arrows is also really strong:

  • Raise people’s awareness on tech harms and give them the tools to mitigate them
  • Raise employee’s awareness on (need + benefits) humane technology and give them the feedback to adopt it
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FYI: All the posts above - except the first one - were split from this topic, and from here dedicated discussions continue.

The image and idea resonate with me. However “bridging the gap between” leaves me wondering what the gap is and whether ‘humans’ and ‘the web’ are the right names for each side.

Another reason we need something from each direction: without a feedback loop b/t individuals and designers, focusing on one in isolation can lose relevance.