View Full Version : How to "Liberty Movement" - by wizardwatson

10-22-2017, 08:58 PM

So I started working on this "post" October 10th, 2017. I quote "post" because with all the documents linked it's about 45 pages of material. That's not even counting the google sheets report and sample report. With those you might as well call it 50.

Since all this work is meant to be a derivative of Bryan's MAF/"Site Vision"/Knowledgebase flavored posts from mid-2016, I've posted this in the same subforum, the "Foundational Knowledgebase Project" subforum (http://www.ronpaulforums.com/forumdisplay.php?340-Foundational-Knowledgebase-Project).

All the material that makes up those 50 pages are in 5 google drive documents/sheets in a public folder located by clicking the first link below. The actual document links are also below:

Wizardwatson's Public Folder Link (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7LKdZeJAz1TOGRRYUJqczI3b0k)

...which contains:
1. How to "Liberty Movement" Document (Click to open) (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S5t6LJ6zQd95WWRwWIq1L2eDk8a4rMkfrMc9Pp-ZwT4/edit?usp=sharing)
2. wizardwatson's Notes on MAF and Site Vision 2016 (Click to open) (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Rst8t03uPFfZ9tQx-vbotMplr_8O741ERdDJZHC0_eA/edit?usp=sharing)
3. Starting M.A.P. Master Document (Click to open) (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A1umrdkaAS0rwKn9Pob-FnHBWGDm443AmA1YkSILAr0/edit?usp=sharing)
4. Blank M.A.P. Report (Click to open) (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1l8HidFVy1aFeB4npJAOXFqu9PF2ej3QiPvEVf_RH34c/edit?usp=sharing)
5. Sample Forum Content (Click to open) (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Fgff9j5zYm4aF_gOxo1KEZn5rpEoT2Y7Ume3YpwgS5o/edit?usp=sharing)
6. Sample M.A.P. Report (Click to open) (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Vammuvju5JRoFo2-WpmJUgGTAw_LOIWPA5xARNWYpow/edit?usp=sharing)

The bulk of this post (the part that isn't this foreword) is actually just a reprint of Document #1, "How to Liberty Movement". I will (as usual) answer any questions as soon as I can. Though I'm not too motivated to spearhead the actual daily routine of M.A.P. upkeep. Not that I don't think it's important or won't in the future, just have some other stuff going on at the moment that may limit me for the next few weeks. But 30 minutes a day, for sure I can do. I've done a lot of the groundwork for this project as it is, so it shouldn't be too hard for some motivated individuals to pick up on this idea, together with what Bryan has written.

Anywho, "end of foreword"...

How to "Liberty Movement"
- by wizardwatson


I've written quite a bit here, that I think quite a few of you would be interested in (if those people manage to find and read it), but you'll have to put in some time and read. Typically, for something this long, I would read it straight through once, let it soak in, then a nice steady attentive read to make sure I've gotten all the points, since the overview will be clear from the first readthrough.

But this material isn't just going to communicate some abstraction. I have actually put together a workflow process that can exist on the forum itself and allow the members to actually have a finite and concrete picture of just what constitutes "activism" and "work" with respect to the site mission. That picture will not simply allow you to gaze at it, but it will be a map that shows you how you can start implementing initiatives, be it your own, or some pre-defined jumpstart ideas. This process is complete and detailed enough that any person familiar with spreadsheets and general forum mechanics could implement themselves without any further guidance from me other than what is written in this document set.

This work I have done was started by analyzing, constructively criticizing, refining, and enhancing the work done in early 2016 by RPF member and owner "Bryan" concerning his "New Site Vision" and what he called the "Mission Advancement Framework (MAF)" early in 2016 (links below).

State of the Liberty Movement

The state of the liberty movement with regards to real strategy and organization to carry it out I would say is non-existent. The "ideas" of liberty are certainly shared and expounded in academic and journalistic circles but with respect to results, things seem to be going in reverse. The famous libertarian Murray Rothbard addresses this question of strategy in his book-loved by many a libertarian-Ethics of Liberty. It's worth quoting Murray here:

"The elaboration of a systematic theory of liberty has been rare enough, but exposition of a theory of strategy for liberty has been virtually nonexistent." (Ethics of Liberty - Chapter 30)

Not much has changed. This is still the rock solid undeniable truth that is as much true today in 2017 as it was 35 years ago when it was penned. Even the magic of computers, social networking, and crowd-funding hasn't changed that.

But let's not see this as a failing of "liberty", read the second sentence in Chapter 30:

"Indeed, not only for liberty, strategy toward reaching any sort of desired social goal has been generally held to be catch-as-catch-can, a matter of hit-or-miss experimentation, of trial and error."

So "strategy" and organization (along with theory) is a hard problem. I don't intend to go on a rant here about why "social change" is difficult, or bore the reader to death with vague abstractions as to why humanity is mired in despair constantly (If you are interested though I have some Good News to share). What I want the reader to understand is that effective organizing, strategy, and group action in general is a very hard problem. Even great minds like Murray Rothbard had little to contribute to this subject outside of some broad strokes. It's a difficult problem, we're still at the same place regarding the problem we were 35 years ago, and even the smartest men seem to offer little help.

Bryan's Plan for future of "liberty movement"

I have done a 10 page or so write up anaylzing Bryan's (RPF site owner) 15 or so pages of material where he discusses his ideas for a "Mission Advancement Framework", and a "Foundational Knowledgebase", the direction in general that he wants to see things move. In essence, he sees the building of a "Knowledgebase", a sort of wikipedia of aggregated liberty movement wisdom, as something we can achieve in a cooperative fashion. He sees it as a short term achievable endeavor, what the management community sometimes calls "early wins".

The link below will take you to the document if you wish to read it. This document just has the conclusion. A couple notes though. First, my language is blunt, but I certainly don't wish to be harsh with Bryan or disrespectful. Just honest with my impression of the material. I think what Bryan has done here is a great effort. Not to mention he's been here from the beginning, maintained this site I love, and has a great staff of volunteer moderators. Clearly, he has spent a lot of time, and if you do actually read my response/cliff notes, you will see that I actually read all of what he wrote. I value real grassroots effort, evenly poorly executed, far far more than even expertly executed philosophical ramblling that gets us nowhere.

The other note is to emphasize that the whole point of this massive analysis is to show people that I indeed have a grasp on what the real problem is with organizing. And I believe such a critical analysis (made easier because of Bryan's efforts really, which allowed me to bounce off someone else's ideas) is a concrete way to show, without people thinking I'm conning them, that the solution I'm proposing is within the target area of what we need to be doing, and indeed, what Bryan's ideas are truly aiming at.

Here is the link to my side by side analysis of Bryan's work:

wizardwatson's Notes on MAF and Site Vision 2016 (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Rst8t03uPFfZ9tQx-vbotMplr_8O741ERdDJZHC0_eA/edit?usp=sharing)

My Response to Bryan in a Nutshell

So that response of mine in the above link was quite long. This "Nutshell" will be quite short.

What is lacking in Bryan's write up is any substantial explanation of process. Start with standard stuff: Board, committee, meetings, schedule, weekly tasks. How often will you meet? How do you decide who is even part of this? How does a person contribute? Posting on the forum? PM'ing the site staff and waiting around?

I remember when 2012 campaign was ending was when I first became frustrated with lack of organization in a thread I started called "Who has the lists?" The campaign lists, which it seemed to me at the time CFL simply hoarded and never did anything with except spam us (and I guess sell our lists to the highest bidder), was all our organization really ever was, a list of emails. When it became clear that Ron Paul was over as a politician, it also became clear to me, that we had no "grassroots" organization. CFL, which was supposed to fill that need, clearly had given up on this assignment and morphed into a fundraising only organization.

Now, we are 5 years past that and worse off really. We still, still, I repeate STILL do not even have a public type list of who is in the movement. Just scattered sheep. Bryan, who owns RPF, probably has-in the form of his user table for vBulletin-the most pure email list of The Ron Paul R3volution in existence.

But that isn't enough really. We need organization. We need process structure, and using these words and documents, I'm going to attempt to outline a simple process-not to make some grand organization-but perhaps show others using my flint, rock, and steel...how to spark together a tiny fire of organization.


So what to take from Bryan's idea? The spirit for sure, and I like "The Guide Point". But all the fancy words and excess analysis-paralysis induced walls of text we can safely throw out.

The name I'm also changing, well, for my thing anyway, obviously it's presumptuous to assume Bryan wants or needs to rebrand his own ideas. "Mission Advancement Framework" too tech-y. In light of "The Guide Point" branding, my thing-y shall be called (drum roll...):

The Mission Achievement Process (M.A.P.)

Why? M.A.P. links to The Guide Point. Also, "Achievement" is more optimistic. Each "brick" as Bryan says, is an achievement. Why undervalue it as an "advancement". Also, "framework" sounds like something that doesn't move, while "Process" says "we're doing stuff!" Plus, as a say a few more times later, building the organization "IS" the mission at first, and thus is an achievment in itself, apart from what the organization achieves after the fact of its existence.

Introducing the M.A.P.

The Mission Achievement Process, or M.A.P. for short, is a rudimentary forum-based workflow that uses hashtags to indicate participation in process. It has an external document called the M.A.P. document, that functions as a collaboratively maintained platform, and set of rules for how the M.A.P. operates. It is essentially a type of miniature organization designed to exist in the environment of an online public bulletin board.

By using specifically formatted posts on the forum, in specified threads, using pre-defined and agreed upon hashtags, organizational functionality can be achieved and essentially "piggy-back" on the social platform provided by forum software such as vBulletin.

That's a lot of words, but how does it work? Well, the M.A.P. document I link below has all the prototype rules within it. But in this document, where I also want to get into the "why" of this idea, I will just give a brief description.

Essentially, every week, the users will create a report of the weeks activity in, lets call them "the designated threads of the week." This report will show categories of work, how many related posts, which users had how many posts, results of projects, etc. It's a pretty standard concept of a weekly status report and review of work throughout the week.

The users must voluntarily format their posts according to the standard. Just like an envelope has a standard form so the mailman will mail it, the M.A.P. posts have a standard form so that they can be easily data-entered and serve as input for the weekly report.

For instance, there's an #ADMIN tag to ask moderators to do things with threads, there's a #README tag to inform all members of important information, there's an #ASK tag, when you want a reply to a question. And, perhaps most importantly, there's a #MAPDOC tag, when you want to suggest edits to the M.A.P. document for various things, including adding additional tags and associated rules. You don't even need to always tag every post, and there's rules for how to deal with those situations.

It is quite simple and compact, but even so, requires quite a few pages of documentation. But it is a definite process.

1. Create the threads/posts/modify process
2. Do the data entry
3. Generate the report
4. Go to 1.

All those primary components of structured process are there. That concept alluded to by Bryan of "continuously refining" the process now has a method defined. So it's very much a voluntary system in addition to having a well-defined process. No one is forced to participate in the M.A.P. on the forum. The M.A.P doesn't monopolize the forum in any way. People can continue as they were, or participate in this voluntary M.A.P. process.

Wax On, Wax Off

There are a lot of nerds online who like to discuss "philosophy" and other deep thoughts. Sometimes the brightest people can be stubborn when it comes to learning something new and admitting what they "don't know". Ask a person for their opinion on a subject and they'll try to be an expert. Ask them about their ignorance and flaws and they'll change the subject.

When you first study the M.A.P., even if you are above average in intelligence, you need to not see it as some sort of great tool to accelerate cooperation. It is geared towards being simple for maximum participation. It is an experimental, educational device, that HOPEFULLY will help achieve things within the liberty movement, however small. If all it achieves is helping some people gain some insight into how basic organization can, should, or could operate, even that would be a success.

As Bryan says, we shouldn't be obsessed with things we can't change. I would add, we shouldn't be overly ambitious with respect to things we "can" do, like organize. Don't think we are going to build some corporate behemoth. Don't even think we're going to start a restaurant. Think very, very small. Don't think of M.A.P. as some "Decentralized, Unique, Cat-Herding Breakthrough!" Think of it as the Fisher Price of organizational models. Think of it as the Easy-Bake Oven of entrepreneurial endeavors.

Like Daniel in the movie Karate Kid, who was made to wax cars, sand floors, and paint fences repetitiously before he ever felt like Mr. Miyagi was showing him anything related to what he came to learn, sometimes learning a new thing bruises our ego when we have to start with basics. But the lesson is, that if you pay attention, and always have a beginner's mindset, you will gain the knowledge and be better off for it. If you think it's beneath you to admit you "don't know", then you will remain in ignorance.

My Contribution and Getting Started

This whole idea, to me, beneath the preachy nature of the posts trying to convince people of the underlying problem, is simple really. It's just a basic boiled down organization. It might seem gimmicky or "hokey" to piggy-back on a forum in this way, but to me, putting extra requirements ahead of simply organizing like, "we need a website!", "we need a wiki!", "we need special marketing!", only postpones real action with imaginary action.

So I say, use what you got. Function from your root. This movement's "home base", or one of them anyway, is RPF. People don't want to change that fact too much it seems, so start with that, and see if we can make it into something more than it is, without moving away from it too much.

The M.A.P. structure is very simple and can be improved on immediately. I didn't want to overdevelop it and make it too complex, and I didn't want to obsess over the mission philosophy of "liberty" and all the rest, so you can see that the "Mission" section (which corresponds most directly to Bryan's idea of the liberty "Knowledgebase") of the M.A.P. document linked below has only the Lord's Prayer in it right now. As I've pointed out, we're already chocked full of liberty knowledge, so that part should be easy to develop. We need process knowledge, so most of the M.A.P. focus to me, needs to be on that, and I didn't want obsessing about philosophical mission points overshadowing the process knowledge I'm trying to draw attention to (not to mention it would have taken me way more than 10 days to attempt) so all of my content I fleshed out in the M.A.P. master document is related to rules and process.

The only "fancy" thing I"ve really done from a technical standpoint, is there's a few google sheets functions I used in the report template to make the reporting easy. Essentially "queries". You don't need to understand google sheet queries to use the report, but you kind of do if you want to improve it. But I'm sure there's plenty of people around besides me who can figure out what I've done in that regard. Nothings locked but you will have to "unhide" a few sheets to see everything.

I will certainly be around to help with this sort of thing and to answer any specific questions regarding the idea of the M.A.P. Can't guarantee that I will keep at it indefinitely, especially if no interest is shown. Also, while I can certainly spend 30 minutes or so a day answering questions, probably pretty busy next few weeks, so likely won't put in too much more time than I already have since October 10th, when I started working on this. This analysis of Bryan's ideas and my write up and response in the form of the creation of the M.A.P. idea was a solid 12+ nights of work in itself. I do have other life stuff like many of you.

As far as getting started, it's not difficult, even if you are determined to start it alone. There's more info in the actual M.A.P. document itself (linked below). I would only re-emphasize that it's probably more important to do a little bit consistently within the M.A.P. than to try to accomplish "great things." Doing small things together with others, consistently, long term, is far more beneficial to the cause of organizing than doing one "great thing" mostly alone, really focused-like for a while, but then abandoning and never finishing it. Start small. Two or three posts a week. Maybe split your forum time into regular goof-off, time pass stuff, together with doing something in the M.A.P. Experiment, make it fun. Just because you're trying to organize and have a more formal process doesn't mean everything has to be serious all the time. And on that front I'm definitely available.

Anyway, that's all for now. I hope this has helped or at least given you some ideas.

- wizardwatson

Below are links to the starting M.A.P. document which contains all the rules for the M.A.P. (complete, albeit, a work in progress), the report template, and also a document that contains one week's worth of some fictional forum content and a sample report based on it, so you can see what a final report would look like using some of the standard tags.

The Document Links

Starting M.A.P. Master Document (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A1umrdkaAS0rwKn9Pob-FnHBWGDm443AmA1YkSILAr0/edit?usp=sharing)
Blank M.A.P. Report (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1l8HidFVy1aFeB4npJAOXFqu9PF2ej3QiPvEVf_RH34c/edit?usp=sharing)

Sample Forum Content (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Fgff9j5zYm4aF_gOxo1KEZn5rpEoT2Y7Ume3YpwgS5o/edit?usp=sharing)
Sample M.A.P Report (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Vammuvju5JRoFo2-WpmJUgGTAw_LOIWPA5xARNWYpow/edit?usp=sharing)

wizardwatson's Notes on MAF and Site Vision 2016 (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Rst8t03uPFfZ9tQx-vbotMplr_8O741ERdDJZHC0_eA/edit?usp=sharing)