A while back, @marina, @matthias, @felix.wolfsteller and I had an interesting discussion on the possibility of using Gource to visualize “in one breath” the (now) over eight years of Edgeryders, closing in on 70,000 posts by 2,500 of the 6,000 registered users. The idea matured for a while, and then suddenly last week I made this:
Here’s what you are looking at:
- The story of Edgeryders is compressed in under 3 minutes. Well, part of it: I am still missing all of the Knowledge Collection category. The visualization shows about 40,000 posts, two thirds of the total Edgeryders conversation.
- Nodes in the network represents post. Each post is shown as a “leaf” of a “tree” that branches our from the top-level category, to the sub-category, to the topic. Posts that reply to no one in particular are shown as attached to the topic; a post that replies to another is shown as attached to the it. So, long sequences of replies are represented as long chains unraveling from the topic.
- Color coding is like in this platform. So, for example, Campfire is shown in red.
- Users are shown as avatars zooming around the conversation graph and adding posts to it. The action of adding is represented by them shooting a green beam on the part of the graph where they are creating the new post.
I find it beautiful. Among other things, it is a powerful reminder of what can happens when you treat conversations as data. But what does it mean?
If I squint at the video, and I recall all these years of engaging with this online community, I can see a story that goes more or less like this:
- Late 2011: Edgeryders is born mostly as a collective blog – Campfire is the first category to start developing.
- 2012: very soon, common initiatives start emerging from the interaction on the blog. They are moved on to Workspaces (in gray); for example, each community event becomes a workspace ( we used to call them Living On The Edge: LOTE1, LOTE2, all the way to LOTE6). Some of these nodes are orange, reflecting the early reflections, the color of the Edgeryders company workspaces: a company does not yet exist, but we are starting to think we should make one. The dark blue of the Autarky Lab also appears, reflecting an aspiration to resilience and self-sufficiency.
- 2013 and 2014: the Edgeryders company is born. More workspaces arise, including the unMonastery and Spot The Future, the very first paid Edgeryders project (thank you @elami5 for the opportunity!). We also start to talk about research (the gray-green of the Research Network), and to share advice for making small companies (the smaller orange-and-grey component of OCI Lab).
- 2015: we start to publish structured wikis as reference to our methods for Collaboration (in green) with one another ; also, a Culture Squad (purple) assembles and starts to interact. Projects continue in the workspaces.
- 2016 and 2017: these are the years of OpenCare. You can see it flashing like crazy the Workspaces graph.
- 2018: all the newer clusters strengthen, especially EarthOS (dark blue), where the extant #autarky conversation sprouts two new projects: The Reef and the Sci-Fi Economics Lab. Also the work on Collaboration becomes more structured, reflecting better collaboration practices in the core of the Edgeryders community and company.
- 2019: two new large projects come to life: NGI Forward, in turquoise, and POPREBEL, in light blue. The EarthOS cluster grows further, as we launch new projects and revamp extant ones in the second part of the year.
Ok, so that’s me, at 1.14 in the night after spending the day tweaking the code to make these videos. But what about you? This is, after all, your story, as well as my own.
Do you see anything in the video that looks interesting and you would like explained? Do you have a different story to tell?
Should we even use this language to tell the story of our community? I find it poetic, all these little Monopoly pawns moving around and creating a gigantic conversation graph… but maybe you will find it weird, or too abstract.
I am grateful for any feedback. I plan to make a better version of the video, and it will help me very much.