Protocols vs rules

Here we make a distinction between protocols, and possible interpretations of ‘rules’.

Updated: 19jul2021

This topic is incomplete, to be expanded xxx, as a commons, operates on a contribution basis, a mutualised practice basis, an in-context, systemic basis. 'Rules ' is not necessarily the most helpful way to express how things are done in this kind of organised social endeavour. Rather, we frame things in terms of protocols that govern . . contributions, practices, actions-in-contexts (ie in commoned spaces), operational venues (Circles), etc.

xxx Ostrom: rules as ‘scientific laws’ of successful commons, as generalised systems. Versus .

xxx Bollier & Helfrich: pattern language as a narrative frame, a ‘scripting-language’, a ‘language-of-action’, a ‘choreography-repertoire’ of commoning; a repertoire for ’singing’ patterns into practice, by a (rehearsed) ‘chorus’ of commoners-with-history and with-mutuality and with-common-means.

In general, these should not be expected to clash with Ostrom's 'rules'. It's just that they are framed from the standpoint of an in-context, self-organising actor or community of actors, rather than from the externalised 'quasi-objective standpoint of economic or systems 'science'.

The handbook is basically framed in terms of protocols. We regard protocols as being framings of a similar kind to the 'patterns' that Bollier and Helfrich for practices of commoning. They are more locally specific to the particular commons that provisions and stewards, but the way of working with them is basically similar. Protocols are patterns of practice: small pieces of organisatioanl life that give shape, dimension and intention to the commons of digital infrastructure and the multistakeholder practice of commoning.

See also: [Commoning]

More on protocols? Linked to social relations? Linked to political economy? xxx

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