Social Contract Draft

I am not sure… have you, or have you not copy-pasted the articles as your first post in this thread?
Had you happened to read them also, for the sake of this conversation? I suggest you just look back up to your own post, and discover #8 :wink:

Now to your substantial comment… where you apparently see problems, even after one and a half year of working with them, only in their attribution of authorship, the people we have met doing “collective authorship” had worries about governance, about what they should have expected in hindsight, and how to reconcile what they invested themselves in with what happens. The “social contract in community driven care” (still the text of the call, word by word, none the less) turned out not to be about authorships. Actually, I will argue in my reply to your next post, that the conversations on the platform itself do not belong to authorship, but to the thing you despise and label “overhead”…

And here again, in what we are calling “the juicy part” :slight_smile:

I receive your quote about the “baseline communism”, but I am not particularly impressed. We never set sail to produce baseline communism, we launched our project to find a sustainable alternative to a failing model.
I would also argue that here you are playing with words, mixing contracts (the legal pact binding two or more parties), and social contracts… social contract do not arise in exchange, the exist anywhere people co-live… in whatever form they may take at a certain moment, they explain how people are trading off trust, cooperation, competition, and whatnot…

The Amish, as instance, do not reject risk mitigation… they reject its financial form (insurances), but have put behavioural rules and community oversight that cover the same needs… ultimately the mutual help they offer IS risk mitigation… skin in the game looks a bit different, and they only practice it for those breaking their social contract engaging in risky (immoral?) behaviours.

Your second point, with due respect, ignores the abundant psychological and medical literature on burn-out. You are entitled to your opinions. However, the “failing” scenario and the “people overextending” are exactly the same scenario… the latter is one of the most common forms you encounter of the first. Again, plenty of literature about the cascade effect of breaking limits when offering care, and the transformation of societies when the care-givers become people in need… not something you want to produce by design.

Your final point is what surprises me the most. We have spent so much time discussing how to make something viable avoiding overheads, that your comment brings me 1 year in the past. You are talking a “limousine project” DIY pancreas as if all the initiatives we have seen were the same.
Not everyone monitors, documents, or understand how to scale… because when you are in the grey area you may lack the confidence for asking, or people may not take you seriously (we live in a strongly polarised society), you may simply not have access to some resources…
But again I understand you misunderstand the social contract for a contract… what we wrote is an attempt at making explicit the social contract that already makes community driven care work (or not), as a guide for people setting out with a new project, or struggling with a running one, to have the opportunity of reflecting on their value chain, and find their own solutions

The platform we work on, OpenCare, which puts projects in touch with each other, which uses openethnographer to spot groups talking of similar topics to allow someone to suggest they get in touch, on which questions can be asked about doubts or discomfortable situations, in which uncertain practices are offered to oversight of others… that’s really the kind of need it satisfies… a LOT more than authorship (please, count the number of new care initiatives started here, or the number of innovations… and compare with the conversation about understanding something)… and I am sure you don’t consider what you do an overhead.
Why are you so stuck in thinking it is for them?

It does not look like we can make further headway. It looks like you are defending something, but I am not attacking (and why I would I?), so we are getting nowhere. Instead, I will ask a few questions and step aside for others to make their own points.

First off: [quote=“markomanka, post:10, topic:6977”]
I suggest you just look back up to your own post, and discover #8

I stand corrected. I was looking at the articles on a Gmail preview window, and I guess it had not fully pre-loaded the PDF attachment. Articles 7 and 8 are actually closer to my own way of seeing things.

You are missing a word, and it’s the one denoting the actual object of the action: it’s “social contract in community driven care design”. Not quite the same thing, I would say. When you include it back, things make perfect sense. We need to offer a social contract because we are asking people to spend time with our project (and you know how hard it has been to get 300 people to do that. In exchange, we commit to offering something.


  1. Are the articles describing what you see in community-based care initiatives? Or are they prescribing how they should be, in order to be fair, effective, sustainable etc.?
  2. Whose point of view is encoded in the description or prescription? Your own, as a researcher, or the informants’?
  3. How do you think we should address the issue of collective authorship in OpenCare? Maybe this is a question for the ethical advisors too?

:slight_smile: Are you not familial with conversations in disagreement? Or where you expecting to vent your opinions, which you are entitled to, without my explanations of why I do not embrace them?

You are the master of the house, if you want me to shut up, say so :wink:

At page 49 of the final proposal as it was approved for submission, you will read that the deliverable was entitled “D3.5 Community driven care. A draft social contract (delivery date: month 18)” (which then turned to D4.5 because it was impossible to have a WP0)… You will notice that the “design” is not there :wink:

As stated above, it is not prescribing, but guiding the reflections of that which initiatives trying to mature towards sustainability should pay attention to… we do not prescribe anything, a social contract is something you realise is there, and you reflect upon… it is not something you “enforce”

By definition, this is what we understood (I am not the main editor) from our repeated encounters with what you call “informants”, during the workshops, the clinics, and the other serious games sections…

Your disagreement is noted. I just don’t think we can make further progress, as I have offered my arguments as best as I could. You are not impressed, I know, but that’s the best I can do, so I will just leave it at that. That does not mean you should not write as much as you think is appropriate! Why would I shut you up? It simply means I am stepping aside from the argument.

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Ok, so it is a description. This is what a “constitution” covering Helliniko, Orange House, Open Insulin, Woodbine, EchOpen etc. would look like if they had written one together. Hopefully they themselves will confirm or dissent.

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We are not looking at the same document! :confused: Mine is called “Grant Agreement”, Annex 1. I am looking at the description of deliverables of WP 4, on page 20 of 33 (Annex 1 itself starts after page 82 of the GA, so the overall page number is 102 of 243 as shown by Preview). I read:

D4.5 : Community-driven care: a draft [18]
A draft explicit social contract for community-driven care services design, aimed at removing exploitation from the participatory design picture. This is done by styling the community as a collective author and researcher, rather than a “rightless volunteer”, like in most crowdsourcing exercises. (emphasis mine)

This is echoed in Table 1.3.5, Critical implementation risks, as R5:

Lacking or exploitative social contract. Many online participation initiatives do not address the question of why people should participate at all. […]

@lucechiodelliub, can we have a clarification of what should actually be in D4.5, as per our obligation towards the European Commission? Is there a “definitive document, and what does it say”!?!

Even in the design phase, which as argued above in most cases is happening during execution, not in online conversations, the social contract cannot be limited to tracking and acknowledging authorship.

We can include, as this is meant to be a basis for evolution, further articles since #7 and #8 seems to touch your chords but not to satisfy you… however, observing the initiatives, it would look we would then have to become prescriptive, rather than descriptive… Unless you can point our attentions to instances when such an item of the social contract was at play, for us to study it further…

Concerning risk R5, an initiative respecting the presented social contract is, as far as we have been able to observe, capable of maintaining a long-term thriving community of participants, none of whom develop frustrations or feelings of exploitation, so it covers the basis.
We added #8 when some of the failing/struggling initiatives were pointed out, in which exploitation had emerged for generated value that had been spotted by “sharks”, and were not channelled and governed by the community…

If the unmet need you feel is that of a TOS for the platform, why not adapting one of the contracts used by some GNU projects (which are hanging from the same tree of those used by academic publishers)? That is not a social contract though, just to be clear, that would be a legal contract we propose…

@alberto I would like to stress what I had written in one of my initial posts in this thread, that during OpenCare we learnt a lot, and some prejudices/conjectures (select which you like the most of the two) we had have been challenged… a social contract is something which exists, or something which you hypothesise if you are working with a thought scenario.
In the spirit of the project, it is about reality we talk in the deliverable, and we cannot inject what we would like to see. An exercise in imagining the social contract for an online design process that does not happen in real world (e.g.: Fellowship Blog: Strategy & Labwork in August and the entire thread) doesn’t appeal as a sound deliverable of the project. Reality, however surprising or uncharming, seems more interesting for us, and for future projects.

However, as I also highlighted above, we discovered an ecosystem like OpenCare does satisfy several points of the real world social contract in this living design, concerning the sharing of experiences and best practices, reviewing each others, and such… it hits on transparency, on evidences, on quality… with very low bureaucratic overheads (it’s documented while doing)…
We were quite excited when we realised this, that is why I am still struggling to grasp why you seem so let down.

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Let down is too strong. I do stand with an unsolved problem (collective authorship). That’s my main problem, because, as I see it, we have not solved it, and have used the deliverable meant to address it for something else instead, for the reasons you explained.

As for what the deliverable does address, I do not feel let down, but I have trouble reconciling my mental picture of the OC community with it. I have tried my best to explain why… Look: I will re-read it. I may be wrong. But in the end it does not matter what I think. With a descriptive document, what matters is that the people being described see themselves in it.

I have difficulty wrapping my head around the discussion. Others may do as well?

The contract makes sense. Not sure what its role would be in a project though, where it contributes. Agreeing on a common set of values and drafting your own ‘contract’ helps build the team. The process itself is valuable. Providing people with a readily available contract might not have much practical use then, unless for inspiration, but then the formulation is quite dense for that.

Or if this agreement becomes something like the Fab Charter. Would it work as a unifying thing, for such a diverse group of people/initiatives?

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To understand what is expected for the project in relation to Deliverable 4.5, it is indeed necessary to have a look at opencare’s Grant Agreement, namely its two annexes: Annex 1 (for project implementation) and the Description of Action (for the recollection of the project’s ambition and engagements). These two documents list everything we had agreed to strive to do, and this is also what is going to be reviewed by the EC next year.

Here are excerpts in relation to the work to provide for deliverable 4.5 / social contract for community-driven care design:

Description of Action - excerpts :

1.4.4 Design for participation and collective intelligence: own contribution p22/66

As design tools are democratized, design professionals must take on the role of trigger and support for meaningful social changes, focusing on emerging forms of collaboration (Manzini 2015). OpenCare does just that, and hopes to contribute to advancing the field in two ways.
The first, consistently with objective 1, is to focus on execution and so provide a detailed case study of designing for collaboration. We instantiate a large-scale collaboration experiment and document our trials, errors and successes.
The second, consistent with objectives 1 and 2, is an attempt to take out exploitation out of the participatory design picture. This is done by underwriting an explicit social contract with the OpenCare community, styled as a collective author and researcher. to this end, we run a social lab to reflect on the nature of accountability, governance, and ownership in distributed participatory design in care provision. By role-playing, simulations, and storytelling, we explore the dynamics of the distributed innovation systems under a spectrum of desirable, and less so, schemes of governance, and value propositions from the community members.

The ethnographic account of the narratives of expectations and fears of the participants resulting from this activity, and a systematic study of the technical tools available to empower a fully scalable citizen participation, are documented and published for peer evaluation and reproduction.

1.4.6 Own contribution of the project to care policy making - p23/66
**The objective of the project is to build a foundation for development of future community-based collective intelligence projects.**The ambition is to find ways to collect and disseminate new ideas and knowledge in areas where markets, or market incentives, do not exist. This can be done either by the creation of markets (or pseudo-markets) or incentives (such as Xprizes or prediction markets) or by creating other structures and incentive schemes that are not market based. Part of the research project is to identify workable (and proven) methods to do so, and to find out when different methods are suitable and effective.
Since the area is not well developed, a major contribution is the research on, and mapping of, existing projects. Here, the OpenCare network will be used to help find these projects.
The tangible output (to be published in academic journals) will be:
● Identified best practice from previous research and existing projects.
● Mapping of existing collective intelligence projects.
● Policy design based on this identified best practice.

Grant Agreement, Annex 1, excerpts - p18/33:


The research questions are both empirical, (I) to what extent have collective intelligence projects (including prediction markets) been used in the care sector in Europe, (II) what are the features of these programs, and policy oriented (III) what will make a collective intelligence project successful (e.g. which policies will facilitate the emergence of successful projects), (IIII) to what extent existing project are scalable. The field studied will be the European health care sector, where bottom up, collaborative projects might provide new solutions, providing real value for society.

Description of work on WP4:

Using the empirical findings, and theory derived from other sectors, we identify a “best practice” for community based
collective intelligence projects and use this best practice to evaluate existing projects and provide policy guidelines for future development of such solutions in areas where markets are limited or non-existing. The whole process maintains an ongoing relationship with WP1 by feeding its results onto the main OpenCare conversation.

Description of tasks and deliverables for WP4 (following page):

Task 4.4: Reinvent mass collaboration as a non-exploitative activity (Task leader: SCImPULSE; months 13-23)
We use ethnographic techniques to explore if, and how, the accountability and ownership policies in citizen
cyberscience carry through to community-driven innovation in the welfare sector. We document the expectations and fears of participants to participatory design in care, map pitfalls against sustainability and scalability, and identify the means to deploy fair, non-extractive citizen participation. This latches onto the policy-oriented WP4 because mass participation in public service provision is inhibited by the fear of activism serving as the fig leaf for the political expediency of budget cuts (Lowndes & Pratchett 2012).

D4.5 : Community-driven care: a draft [18]
A draft explicit social contract for community-driven care services design, aimed at removing exploitation from the participatory design picture. This is done by styling the community as a collective author and researcher, rather than a “rightless volunteer”, like in most crowdsourcing exercises.

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Hi @winnieponcelet

this is an interesting question, as most of those born from changing the frame when reading something.

The social contract has a “unifying” value in being constructed by the community… this is true always, and in this sense any effort of writing one is useless.

However, the same power of “constructing” is found in “making sense”, in “meaning-negotiation” among the participants… what does it mean for us “to do X”.

Let me look for a moment at another example… if you are looking at how people handle nations, you will easily spot the differences in social contracts if you claim that a “right to work” exists, or that a “right to subsistence” does… the effect of these choices will reverberate on whether a through representative democracy is possible, or the extent of self-determination of the citizens…
Now this is irrelevant, if all you want to achieve is for people to somehow live together (I often heard the argument that a despotism by illuminated elites may be more effective than an elected democracy… it all depends on what you optimise for after all)… However, if you had in mind to achieve a specific range of behaviours and possible evolutions, the choice does matter.

Observing and making explicit items in a social contract for community driven care that have managed to make their continuing design and evolution sustainable is not meant to prescribe anything… people can still get together wanting to invest some time to gain experience, and they need not to worry about sustainability over time… however, it offers a provocation to reflect about which direction is the process of designing one’s own social contract taking, when the desired goal is to build a sustainable care initiative.
The group will still have to negotiate (ultimately build) the meaning of each of those items for its own community… a process that will happen at different speeds for as long as they exist… but they will have a reference point to reflect upon what their choices are looking like.

This is why philosophers of politics have over centuries spent a lot of resources describing the social contracts of their times, trying to understand how they came to be from the past…

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Do I read that you would recommend we go back to our notes and try to include considerations about the impulses at the origins, before the community driven care?
Seeing your emphasis on the “collective intelligence” as related to this deliverable, we can emphasise in the document how the internal governance promotes or tempers the “emergence and diffusion” of knowledge, where collective would mean “including the community it should care for”.

Concerning the comparison to initiatives like Xprizes and company hackathons, except for the sheer size of advertisement, nothing tangible comes out of them when looking for follow-ups, so it’s a blocked road.

Do I read your recommendation in the right way @lucechiodelliub ?

Dear @markomanka – also mentioning @alberto

I believe it is up to you to decide whether you want to upload deliverable D4.5 as we have it, or you want to edit it in some way after Alberto’s remarks and in view of the GA (thanks @lucechiodelliub for pointing at specific sections/paragraphs). Alberto might have an opinion on this as well.

P.S. I take advantage of this post to ask about the status of deliverable D1.6 “Peer-auditing of the project and indication on how to work around failures and pitfalls” (due Aug 31st).


I hear you Guy. I would like to have a quick chat with @markomanka, but it has to be next week. Marco, is that feasible?

Hi @alberto, how does 25 look for you?

Hi @melancon, I presume it’s just the tension from this item here that has made them slow down the internal review. Let me pepper their tails, and I will be back :wink: