Value of reusable content
I gotta disagree respectfully.
First, good theory is just a generalization of good practice. Without practice, no theorizing about it.
Then, I can see the aesthetic, artistic and practical value of the book you propose. Yes, it would gather its following, and there would be people who read a “narrative instruction manual” end to end. But how many? It’s not everybody’s style, esp. on the Net where content gets ever shorter and more focused. (And that’s not necessarily bad. It’s different: the web as an answer machine makes this kind of content meaningful. People would be embarrassed to know how little I know about Drupal and how much I look up just-in-time in stackoverlow.com’s 4 million pre-solved problems :D.) Although creating a book is an achievement to be proud of, if we can have more impact with another format, why would we go for a book format, that potentially only a few people really consume? (“Nobody tells us to produce long (policy) documents any more, so why should we?”).
Also, the theory in such a book is not everybody’s view of things. By adding a theory layer, you add potential for disagreement, while on the level of details there will be a lot of agreement. For example, I’d potenially agree with Christopher on practical questions of squatting. But not on the meta level, where he proposes to develop a framework for leveraging the state, and I propose one (EarthOS) for replacing the state with decentralized solutions.
Of course I see a place for political theory and a framework – it’ spart of becoming true citizen experts. Just that, as in economics, there will always be different schools of thought in politics and sociology, and I propose to acknowledge that Edgeryders will always contain experts of many such schools of thought.
Here’s where I see the value of reuse coming in: If the chunks of detail content we produce are open content and prepared to be reused, we can just do so. You might write a narrative-style cookbook for social change on big and small levels. I might be happy with hands-on topical collections of Q&A type instructions, or maybe summarize them into a hands-on booklet like Tech Tools for Activism.
I acknowledge however that nodbody can be sure to have the best theory and best approach for impact. We’re all trying. But trying multiple approaches in parallel is a strength even, as can be seen in the free software movement. So I propose we all (as potential content producers for this kinda project) should find a way to produce reusable chunks of content, and then reuse them as we see fit. A Stackoverflow type of site would be a suggestion. And I can well imagine institutional and governmental actors to be there as well, for example answering questions about social innovation as I propose here or about EU funding (thinking of our very valuable discussion session with Prabhat Agarwal in the EU parliament). Collaboratively authoring a complete book produces however hardly reusable content, as book content with interwoven theory is not modular enough for that.
(Side note: from all the 101 StackExchange sites, there is only sustainability.stackexchange.com with an at least somwhat similar focus to what I propose. But maybe somebody found something closer elsewhere?)