Meta XRepublic

Design & Discussion - The Wonk Path
updated August 2003

The Wonk Path describes the methods available to individuals who wish to gain some consensus or deliberation on a subject of interest to them.

As a new participant in her House, our Citizen has stumbled over a subject of interest. He will ask 'dumb' questions to try to get his bearings in the discussion and try to understand what is going on.

In ones own House, a Citizen, may decide after some point that she is tired of the discusssion. As far as she is concerned, all additional input is just a rehash of what has already been said. It is time, she decides, for people to put up or shut up. At this point, she goes from being an active participant in discussions to lurking. She watches but does not speak.

Taxonomy Hike
At some point, the Wonk needs to do some research. The research that is done online in the context of discussions and artifacts of the XRepublic necessitates a Taxonomy Hike. The Hike requires the Wonk to show a demonstrated effort to understand the context of similar discussions. Since there will be a Master Taxonomy which incorporates all of the discussions, the system should deliver the most 'considered' objects relating to the subject. This assures the Citizens that wonks have done their homework. After a wonk has taken the hike, she may be presented as a wonk and begin crafting a resolution, litmus test or other partisan artifacts.

Hipbone Room
The Wonk at any time in the process should be able to free-associate in the research space. In the Hipbone Room, some gaming is done to connect different concepts. An excellent introduction to Hipbone Games is given by Charles Cameron. As Charles Cameron has showed me via Hipbone, one of the most attractive things about dialog is that sometimes you happen upon a connection, a vibe as it were, which is completely unintentional but gives a great deal of insight to another class of problem or issue. XRepublic is more of a funnel for weighty arguments as determined by peers and is such directed towards a specific purpose. But it is also the aha of a tangential discovery that can lead to greater insights.

How indeed does some matter of Niger relate to a resolution of war? Nobody, but nobody was discussing that in March of this year when it came to the top reason pro or con. Nevertheless, something tangential in a different house, perhaps talking about Northwest Africa might be hipboned to the conversation somehow. The best we could come up with was the idea of a 'hipbone room' in which people free associate and build weblike structures in which seemingly disparate ideas could be linked to each other for another layer of contemplation.

Cat Herding