Topic categories that reflect core Humane Tech themes

It was suggested that we add a category for Health topics. That makes sense to me – perhaps to start, let’s tag existing topics about health with the ‘Health’ tag. For instance, the Health Research Act, and related curriculum discussions.

Yep, that makes sense :+1:

Edit: Thinking about it, given that the total number of categories should be small, and that there is a lot of confusion on the forum on what constitutes humane technology, IMHO it would be much better if the categories directly reflected the core themes of The Center for Humane Technology!

Current categories

I suggest removing or renaming the following categories:

  • Collaborations and work: Remove. This is better handled by tagging. We already have the ‘collaborate’ tag, and we could have a ‘work’ tag, though arguably better to be more specific, e.g. ‘research’, ‘development’, etc.

  • Meetups: Rename. All the announcements of meetups and chapters can fall into the new category Face-to-face interaction

  • Time well spent: Remove. This is unintuitive and confusing, except maybe if were familiar with the predecessor to CHT, the Time Well Spent movement

  • Parenting: Rename. Broaden it not just to include parenting, but add children in general, thus Children and Parenting

  • Welcome: Remove. There is one Introduce yourself topic and a globally pinned Welcome message (which should encourage new users to introduce themselves). That is enough. I don’t see more uses, no need for a separate categoy

  • Lounge: Remove. This one is unused as of yet, and I don’t know what its for.

  • Apps and Tools: Remove. This one is already removed for new topics (I think), but there are still topics using this category

  • Site feedback: Rename. This is a bit unclear. Does it mean the website, or the forum? No. It means all feedback and suggestions to improve the CHT community as a whole. Rename to Support and Improvements

  • Staff: Rename. This is for moderators and admins only, internal posts. But staff implies employees. Better rename to Moderators and Admins. Note: I don’t know if topics in this category are visible to others, or not.

New category proposal

More interesting is what would be a consistent set of categories that accurately reflect Human Tech core themes. Allow me to kick off with the following list (in random order) which we can further improve… all feedback most welcome:

  • Health and Well-being: Well, this includes health, but with well-being also includes most posts formerly in Time Well Spent-related topics (I think)

  • Security and Privacy: There has been much talk on privacy issues already. Security not so much, but it is arguably a good Humane Tech subject, given all the many hacks and breaches of software products we see nowadays.

  • Freedom and Human Rights: While freedom here means mostly internet freedom, there is a broader relation to tech as well. Human rights includes governments regulations and legal issues wrt internet/tech.

  • Ethics and Social Responsibility: Ethics (and moral values) is getting much more attention these days and should certainly be a CHT theme IMHO. Social responsibility includes behavioural design, avoiding tech addiction, etc.

  • Face-to-face Interaction: Meeting in the flesh, having real conversations, doing things together. Though this is an official term in sociology, maybe a bit broader definition is needed to cover all topics in this area.

  • Children and Parenting: Already there are lively Parenting discussions going on, would be nice if we also had some children/minors adding their perspectives.

  • Awareness and Activism: This community does not just exist for its couple-of-thousand users, but wants to show a better way, prepare the path for millions, potentially billions of people to improve their relation to tech, and yes, improve their lives.

  • Education and Research: Everything related to schools and universities and studies/research methods related to Humane Tech. On other categories the tag ‘research’ can be used, if that is what it deals with.

  • Help and Feedback: This is the only public category that is not a core theme. Reporting bugs in CHT tools and the forum, help requests and ideas for improvements. To avoid confusion I didn’t name it Support and Improvements.

  • Moderators and Admins: Private category fo internal discussion topics.

There may still be a bit of overlap between some of the categories, but hey, life is all about making good choices, right? :slight_smile:


Finally I would like to suggest that the tags should not be freely editable/created by community members, but instead a sensible set of tags that can be added to the categories is managed by the moderators.

This avoids all kinds of strange tags, not related directly to CHT and having only a single topic, like currently ‘brave’, ‘chrome’, ‘featurecreep’, etc.

PS. I volunteer to help in renaming current and assigning proper categories

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I applied some of these ideas. Removed/renamed: welcome, lounge, feedback, staff, meetups, parenting.

collabs+work: seems relevant still. w/ tags for specific types of collab wanted. many people
asked for these topics to be in their own category.

apps+tools: seems relevant. covers many regular topics. still there, as a subcat of TWS

health: added.

privacy: not that many topics for it yet, actually. try tagging them first.

human rights, ethics, activism: falls under “TWS” to me. maybe finding a better name for that category – “human tech”? It’s a bit recursive w/ the site name, but the core purpose.

Q: ‘General’ instead of ‘Uncategorized’?
Q: ‘Vision’ as a topic, perhaps under {TWS / Humane Tech}?

I hope I can add my thoughts here. I feel a few things are missing from this forum:

  1. Definition or examples of the humane impulse. The word humane is used too loosely and needs clarification. One person who comes to mind in this context is Temple Grandin, who used her knowledge to create a more humane end for animals in the food industry. She is a great example of the humane impulse in action. Perhaps the word can be defined by such examples.

  2. As far as I can tell–and I have only read a few of the posts–we members don’t know why we are gathered here. (Some people seem to be running away from something, and others toward something; the collisions need to be recognized and sorted out.) Of course the obvious conclusion is that we are here to teach, collaborate, share. But as with defining the humane impulse, clarification and structure are needed.

The community seems to be a project in process, and therefore this forum has a bit of formlessness–as if we members are trying to assume a useful shape. I think at least acknowledging this infant phase would be helpful. I apologize if you’ve already discussed these things and I’ve missed the conversation.


Thank you @patm! You are spot on! I have created a new topic to address your point no. 2:

Hi @metasj!

We need to think more thoroughly on the categories. The current list does not cut it. I had to change categories of new topics or leave them Uncategorized. Some topics are inappropriately placed in Time Well Spent (meaning ‘worth reading’ in this case), etc.

OK, if we have to get rid of TWS as a category (for being too vague), so be it.

Currently there are efforts to gather research about harms + opportunities in some of these category areas.
Research topics include:

  • health & wellbeing,
  • security & privacy
  • attention & cognition,
  • critical thinking,
  • relationships,
  • democracy & civics,
  • children & parenting
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Forgive me for asking such a basic question: other than organizational, what purpose do the categories serve? That is, where does the information thus classified go? How is it used?

I get the impression that we have big discussion groups: those interested in parenting, please meet at table 12; those interested in developing new phone apps, please meet at table 3; and so forth. Is the information thus collected channeled to the founders? Or does it serve some other purpose in defining the group, the forum, CHT?


Categories are just the structure available via Discourse, for us to create separate discussion groups, and keep the whole from feeling too large to browse. It gets channeled back to use, the readers and posters. And yes, it helps us define and focus: I at least think about this in terms of how to efficiently span the breadth of relevant topics in the world.

One thing I’d like to do is organize research, data, and public essays about the central risks, harms, and opportunities of [in]humane technology. There isn’t a great central place to look for the latest information on mind-hacks and types of addiction, tools for recovery and protection, and enhancements or health improvements. There also isn’t a single place to look for studies one can participate in or try to carry out. In addition to free-ranging discussions, we could have focused knowledge-collecting threads such as Arnold’s summary of great books and papers to read.


I just found the Discourse forum where themes about ‘Dougnut Economics’ by Kate Raworth are discussed. This forum has, I think, a beautiful categorization into different themes. And also the Categories view with a descriptive text above it is the default landing page when you surf to the URL. Check it out:

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It`s seems to be right categories, more focused than before

I think we must going to concentrate the posts within clear topics and categories

If not , it will be confusion to read and to post

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Can you please give us some examples, using your own contributions to the forum? Don’t want to clutter up the wiki with unnecessary things.

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Yeah, sure, though it is a bit hard to guess what are unnecessary things given the absense of direction from the founders, but going from @metasj’s suggestion for forum categories:

  • health & wellbeing,
  • security & privacy
  • attention & cognition,
  • critical thinking,
  • relationships,
  • democracy & civics,
  • children & parenting

These could be top-level wiki sections as well. Given my interests I would pick security & privacy and democracy & civics and on which I have posted quite a bit. So I would process all of that and think of interesting ways to compile that into wiki pages…

But… all of this effort really needs a project/ideation space, where we can come up with and brainstorm on the proper information model and titles + content of separate page. I could easily create a Github repository for that, which has issue + project management, but I am hesitant to do that until we know more on what CHT plans are.

So my advice is to have a bit more patience, before we start all of this :slight_smile:


This sounds like an excellent idea, both the categories (I’m biased of course!) and starting w/ a github repo as a simple multitool.

Arnold, let’s try to synch with Mamie later this week (I believe she stops travelling tomorrow) about any tools or other support needed for the project/ideation space. I just had a great quick chat about this.


I think the categories @aschrijver and @metasj identified are a great place to start!

I love the idea of organizing this community around those topics.

Then here are some ideas for what we could do next:

  • Identify community “facilitators” or “hosts” for each topic – I prefer that language to moderators, since it is more about welcoming people to the party, facilitating conversation, and then helping conversation move into action when necessary

  • Reorganize this Discourse around those topics – we can start a whole other thread on how to make the Discourse a better / more effective commons for connection + conversation!

  • Match community members to topics – make sure people are connecting with the other community members + topics they care most about

  • Define next steps for each topic area – could be to identify & agree upon the most pressing issues that need to be discussed, could be actions beyond the Discourse… it will vary from topic to topic, but the topic host / facilitator can help lead this process & perhaps the tooling @aschrijver describes (Github, wikis) will be useful (see also: Ideas for additional CHT tooling)!


There are so many good ideas for how to improve this forum & community – let’s jump in!

As proposed in the last post, let’s re-organize this forum around a few topics/themes that are core to CHT. As both @patm and @metasj discussed earlier in this thread, categories are a way to:

  1. provide focus / direction for the overarching community
  2. enable different community members to convene around the topics they are interested in
  3. make this whole collection of conversations easier to navigate and participate in

I’m meeting with @randy today and will get his feedback on the categories previously suggested to ensure they are each aligned with CHT’s mission. In the meantime, I think it would be helpful for us to collectively define what each category is about.

:point_right: I’d love your help defining & describing the purpose of each category below. This post is a wiki, which means it is editable!

Please edit this post to define & describe each category:

Health & Wellbeing: [Subtopics? Most important elements?]

Security & Privacy: [Subtopics? Most important elements?]

Attention & Cognition:[Subtopics? Most important elements?]

Critical Thinking: [Subtopics? Most important elements?]

Relationships: [Subtopics? Most important elements?]

Democracy & Civics: [Subtopics? Most important elements?]

Children & Parenting: [Subtopics? Most important elements?]


Thanks – nice to experiment w/ wiki posts, and these still strike me as good topics for areas of research.

But there are also cross-cutting categories of how we’re thinking about something: problems + opportunities; general analysis; outreach + activism; design + coding. Discourse makes us choose one dimension for categories, leaving the rest to tags… which makes sense for the most visible categories?


Just now I`ve experiencied what you said about cross-cutting categories

This experience introduces me into a synergic lab where elements are meeting and striking , changing from their original form , and developing into a new and more sophisticated level

Recently I`ve found latest post “Seeking feedback on Apple petition” and “Principles or Humane Tech Design” and easy found relation with my posts “10 principles for humane technology” and "Keys for putting in practice the 10 principles., so I posted in both new topics

I think energy increased synergic movement.

Because of that it`s time to have not unidimensional categories , but mutidimensional ones

We need such kind of organization that makes it possible


Oh I like this point about “multidimensional” categories needed.

In some ways, I think certain community members can play that role… acting like honeybees by buzzing around from topic-to-topic and category-to-category, cross-pollinating ideas and making connections. :honeybee:

I also wanted to share an update about the forum re-organization that we started to discuss a few weeks ago.

I’ve been working with core community members & members of the CHT team to architect a new structure for this forum to better focus/direct the conversations that happen here – and make sure they are aligned with CHT’s goals. Here’s a preview into what the new categorization might look like:


Excelent metaphor “honeybees by buzzing around…” !
You put it life and heart to the multidimensional concept.
Great !

Thank you very much for your commitment with this forum and with the ideas we are offering as draft concepts.
I want to highlight that you usually comment about the work process in which you are involved, and always tried to inform us the probably next steps.
This attitude produces , al least to me , confidence and makes strong my commitment with all of you, feeling in this way close to the CHT Team
Best for you