Naming EdgeRyders' unique media format


Hello everyone,

I was asked to create a new word for the unique interactive media format that’s been used by EdgeRyders. It has previously been described as a process of online activities that accelerates offline activities.


The EdgeRyders process begins when an idea or solution is posted on the platform, sparking discussion among community members. Some join in, actively listening, asking questions or giving thoughtful responses. (This is a safe place and not for debating opinions or speaking for others.)

The discussion begins with first hand accounts of attempts taken to solve societal issues and moves to navigating the personal challenges experienced by members. Nuances and the various different contexts surrounding these challenges begins to show.

Information analysis

Next open source technology is used to make connections between topics being discussed, the people discussing them, places, projects, solutions and struggles. When we put this together, patterns start to emerge that help join these ideas and people to each other and to other information, skill and resources.

By the end of the process, our community members have gained a richer knowledge and understanding of the issue they wish to tackle and have a blueprint to put their idea into action.

The word that I have come up with is “Annares”. It’s the name of the Utopian world in Ursula K Le Guin’s novel the Dispossed.

The visualization Alberto of EdgeRyders work over the past eight years shows a changing organism. It’s like a city or a society that’s alive and fluid, growing and changing. The conversations on EdgeRyders are changing and adapting as society changes and adapts and new challenges arise.

Le Guin’s novel was the first critical Utopian novel because her world of Annares wasn’t cut off from earth (or Uras in the novel). Prior to her novel, utopian fiction’s ‘perfect societies’ were always isolated and static places. People from the real world couldn’t reach them and history and politics had no influence or impact. To the reader they were almost less achievable.

In Le Guin’s novel someone from earth (or Uras) reached Anarres, which breaks this trope and shows that a better imagined society is possible for us. Annares is an evolving place (that’s not without its faults).

In the novel, Annares was established by Odo as a decentralised socialist state where a new society and language were created. Everything is shared or used as opposed to owned. There are no ‘criminals’ because everyone is equal - in fact, there’s not a word for crime or criminal in their language. Many other social constructs are challenged in the book too.

I think it’s a fitting word for the medium EdgeRyders uses. Like the city in The Dispossessed, EdgeRyders uses a decentralised network to help change society. It’s ever evolving and changing just like Le Guin’s world.

Happy to hear your feedback and thoughts,


Cool! do you have any idea on how it would be pronounced?

Here’s a vimeo video of someone talking about the planet and they pronounce it. So an-arays - if that makes sense.

Night School on Anarres from Nestor Pestana on Vimeo.

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Hello Laura, the name is very cool! I have three questions:

  1. In what sense is this a media format? Like a video, or a text?
  2. What is the difference between it and the Discourse language of categories, topics and posts? The process you describe (active listening, asking questions etc.) is typical of forums, and the Discourse folks stayed close to that data model. The visualization you mention also builds on it.
  3. What is the intended use of the name? Are you thinking people would pick it up for everyday use? Like “I’m learning a lot from Pavel’s anarres on permaculture”?
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Hi Alberto,

Thanks for your feedback and questions.

  1. I think the media format itself encompasses the entire process that starts with posting on the platform, sharing ideas to solutions, moving these forward and then the work the technology does: linking ideas, people etc to each through ethnography, how that connects people to ideas, resources etc and often ends with an outcome or something actionable ( that happens offline).

It’s an interactive format and maybe ‘media’ was the wrong one to use for it. My initial task was to think of a new word to explain it. “Podcast” or “livestream” were given as examples. Reading into that these are mediums that have existed in the past (radio packages, audio casettes, cd and live television programmes) that have evolved as they adapt to an online environment. These are very much ‘media’ - do you think format or process better describes what EdgeRyders does?

  1. I think the main difference to other forums you have described is the underlying technology. I find it really interesting that conversations are analysed on lines of ethnography. Where other forums depend solely on tags and language processing to caegorise, two people on EdgeRyders may be speaking about two subjects or processes that are very similar but use different language and still a connection will be made.

  2. Yes exactly people will refer to the process as anarres. So, like saying “I listened to a really interesting podcast yesterday on…” someone could say “We learned some interesting things from an aanarres on permaculture.”

Does that answer/explain what you asked? Do you have any ideas on how you think it could work within everyday conversation?

I think your questions have helped me understand that what EdgeRyders does is more about a process than a final product such as a “podcast”. Do all EdgeRyders’ processes result in something final or is it something that’s openended and changing? (which is originally why I chose anarres)

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So it would be a sort of a common noun - not specific to the edgeryders, like always an ‘edgeryders aanarres on topic x/ in project y’.

I think ‘anarres’ has a Spanish take on it. I would have been tempted to pronounce it phonetically ‘anares’. But it’s probably due to my native language which is a latin one.


Do we have the cultural traction to get people to introduce new words into their vocabulary?

ok it sounds like the response is not too enthusiastic so maybe we drop it/ keep it for later… @lroddy

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Would something more tangible like “podcast” be preferred?

i think we are looking for something that gives a sense of motion and somehow links to the properties of the medium. deepstreams eg