Quick guide: engage with the creation of Witness

I’d love if you could give a rather scrupulous double check here — and please help me figure out the grammar mistakes I certainly committed. I pledge guilty in advance.

Are the low hanging fruits I selected good? Or do you have any better ideas?

Cheers! @nadia @yudhanjaya @hugi @alberto @MariaEuler @ivan @bojanbobic


I’d love to help organise a “hackathon” (for a lack of a better word" -> an interactive, ACTIVE, group, collaborative session - where we can work on some aspect of the project together. That would make it easier for me to bring my energy & my presence; I suffer from too much online time and loneliness ; the group activity would make it more valuable for me. I’ve heard multiple people on the webinar enthusiastic of this approach, and I’d like to connect with them.
(still not sure how to use this platform, so here’s other contact details: BECHA@xs4all.nl, vesna@ripe.net, @ms_multicolor on Twitter)


I hope this is the right place to do this:

I would like to help out with the data (even if I have to make it up :joy:)
@alberto I am going to ask you a simiar question to what I asked Yudhanjaya about ecology, have you experimented with anything yet, even if outside this forum, or is the canvas totally blank?
I would also like to maybe write something about the ecology of Witness, as it seems that this topic hasn’t been picked up yet.

A quick thought that popped into my head after all the discussion about words towards the end of the webinar: it seems we are trying to use words in the language of economics (it is the Scifi Economics Lab after all), but one thing that is often overlooked is that economy fits within ecology and not the other way around, so maybe picking words from ecology and patterns of nature (and trying to apply ecological principles) would help ideas flow towards new economies that work WITH nature instead of against it or in spite of it.

The webinar was great fun, looking forward to engaging more! (And now I have some reading to catch up on :grin:)


@carolina_carvalho, that’s the spirit :slight_smile:

Please go ahead. The canvas is blank, though @yudhanjaya has the idea that Witness is post-climate change:

If you look out into the ocean on a clear day, sometimes you can see a line of clouds at the horizon, hints of mountain ranges; and looking down into the water from certain parts of the city, you will see the tops of rotting buildings, hinting at the drowned cities below.

A cataclysmic climate change points to a very severe mass extinction, so you might start from there. But it is not too late to question the whole thing. Maybe seal levels only went up a couple of meters, and the ecology is not so different from our own. Have a go! I suggest you start an entirely new topic in the Witnesspedia category, call it “Ecology of Witness” or what not, and have a blast.

This would fit into aethnography. @amelia already pointed out that there should be different lineages of aethnography. We imagined one based on Mauss-Polanyi-Hirschman-Santa Fe Institute, but others are called for, and she has her own ideas. You could imagine one based on Georgescu-Roegen, Prigogine, ecological economics etc. To do this, just reply to that topic. When you have a stub and you are comfortable with others editing it, I will show you how to make any post into a wiki, so that others can edit it too. Works?

This is a very fun idea. Of course, in an ideal world we would have full information on production, inter-distrikt trade, investments and so on. Would you like to start by imagining a measure of the Economic Complexity Index of the various distrikts? This index is based on foreign trade data, which we would have to make up. We already have hints as to the structure of that trade. For example, we know the Covenant to be a strong exporter:

The Assembly restricts foreign trade to reduce its dependency from other Distrikts:

And so on. This, by the way, is a great way to teach yourself the ECI!

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Thank you for this thorough walk-in!

Imagining a post-climate change ecology shouldn’t be too hard, it mostly involves moving our current biomes around on the map, the extent to which they are moved and the disappearance of some of them depending on the degree of average temperature increase. There are projections for this. But also different cultures arise out of different climates, so reading what you have so far will probably inform the increase, so I may not have to make that up, just figure it out from what you have already written.

When you have a stub and you are comfortable with others editing it, I will show you how to make any post into a wiki, so that others can edit it too. Works?

Yes, perfect!

This index is based on foreign trade data, which we would have to make up.

To be able to make that up, I will need to make a map first, even if just a mind map. Any cool artists on this yet, or sketches anywhere?

Also, to make up data and to build the mind map, will have to figure out flows of energy/trade/exchange between districts, and having the Witnesspedia printed out to underline and annotate helps me immensely (sorry trees!). Is there a PDF of the Witnesspedia? If not, I can make one.

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There is no map yet, and here is why. If you really want to go ahead with this, I think that makes the scale lean towards making one. What do you think, @yudhanjaya?

None. It changes so fast that we have thought it pointless, so far. Go right ahead!

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A mind map would not limit the worldbuilding in terms of size and locations, which seem to be the main concerns in the thread you shared.

I will make one to organize my ideas, and share it here when it is done, in case it can be useful for anyone.

Witnesspedia.pdf (2.0 MB)

PDF here

Thanks you so much @becha! @ivan can I ask you to follow this up?

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Hi @becha, we love the idea. I have sent you an email to see how could we explore this better.

Love this idea! I joined the webinar last year but have been really swamped (lots of computer time for work and struggling with work/life balance). Would definitely be nice to participate with others at the same time like this and I could plan for it a little better.


I just ran into this list of questions for worldbuilders, and imagined it might spark some ideas here.

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Wow, @danohu, that is one great resource!

I love this worldbuilding project… Great thought provoking stuff! I also have some ideas brewing.

Some questions: I noticed the author(s) of the distrikts are not mentioned in the texts accessible via the drop-down menu at https://scifieconomics.world/witnesspedia/distrikts

That made me wonder whether you consider the entries by participants to be under some license or different types of licenses? Who will “own” the material contributed here and under which terms? Having a clear statement clarifying this might also encourage new people to contribute.

And will the main author(s) be credited by name on the website and other finalized versions of this collaborative work? This could be important for someone new who is not part of this community yet. Some may want credit, and others may prefer to remain anonymous.

One more question: is there a schedule and calendar of events and meetings? When is the exercise planned to end?

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Could there be a general channel for uncategorized discussions about this worldbuilding? A place to drop links or ideas that don’t fit directly any of the Distrikts. For example I found this which might be interesting to some. https://www.centreforpublicimpact.org/

Hi @iouxo, it is indeed an interesting link, thank you.

In response to your questions:

The ER platform is structured in a way that the participants can create threads and posts, but this could be the space for the general discussion.

There is actually a clear statement, all the material is released under the Creative Commons license but if you wish to find more these are the terms

In general - it is a wiki, but in case of the publication of some of the materials, the contributors will be credited with their ER id, unless they want a full name credit.

Potentially, never. While there are people interested to participate, we will keep the project open. It does have its asynchronous pace too. But, in the meantime, we are working on future events and meetings and will promote them as soon as they have a defined shape.

This clarified it. Thank you. As usability test feedback, it wasn’t deeply hidden, it’s just one click away but I didn’t think to look under the front page Community dropdown menu for the license terms which cover this activity. The front page has a lot of things going on to attract the eye :sweat_smile:

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Ciao Carolina! Kept you in mind when we put together this call:

Also, dunno if you are interested in artwork/aesthetics:

Hi Zoe, it’s been a minute :slight_smile: Some updates:

Vesna :slight_smile: check it out!