Elements of a successful Ephemerisle culture
(Chris, Matt, Adam, Isaac, Dave, Terry, Becca, Robert, Helen, Tammy, Richard, Ulrich, Jade, Greg, Ping)
A number of ideas were thrown around:
- Radical self-reliance
- No spectators
- Take care of yourself and others
- People may offer you things, but don't expect to be a freeloader
- Expect to work
- Bring something to the table
We agreed on this -- all attendees should be self-reliant and should part of the community.
Also, we seemed to define what we are about as a community:
- Building and discovering together. (Not static. It's a process.)
TODO: Before the next year's event, we need to come up with a clear set of expectations (and don't expects) for attendees. (e.g. EXPECT to be self reliant...)
Advertise to the right audience: Don't call it a party. Absolutely don't show up looking for a boat. The pictures of naked people on the boats send completely the wrong message.
Pull people in: delegate, give them responsibility, invite them to participate.
Ephemerisle 2011 was overwhelmingly white, wealthy engineers. Do we need to do something about that?
Some of us personally really like the "no vending" culture at Burning Man. But on the other side of this, there seemed to be universal agreement that 2011's ironic t-shirt sales were okay. In 2011, one boat was selling booze next to another boat giving it away for free. Our culture may simply dictate what people bring to sell, and what they don't.
For safety and emergencies, one contact per boat.
Following ancient mariner's code, every vessel needs a captain and the captains need to have sole and final say in regards to the handling of the boat (course, anchoring, tying up to the flotilla, etc.) This is critical, because the last thing you want when your boat is rapidly drifting toward the rocks is to waste time with a vote, or trying to gather consensus.
But let's not have the captains decide all kinds of things. The "council of captains" should have very limited powers.
Actively working against "entitlement"
At our recent feedback meeting, we spoke a bit about the problem of people feeling entitled. We need to make sure that people don't feel entitled to have other take care of them, and instead take on a large degree of self-reliance. True.
But after the meeting, I reflected more on my thoughts and how the problem of entitlement may be the best way to explain.
My concern, because I've seen it before, is a feeling of entitlement coming from the other side. As soon as we have official leaders, or even official roles, these people will natural have a feeling of entitlement, of being special, of having a right to tell other community members what to do.
This creates a deep division in the community, between those with the official roles and power, and everyone else. It also completely destroys the true meaning of "self-reliance" when others are in charge of various things, like your safety. So, that's what I'd caution against.
Let people take on roles as need be, and let them make things happen. But let's be sure that they (we) never feel special or different or entitled in these roles. We're simply part of the community, doing _our part_ to make it a success.
-- Adam 22:40, 22 June 2011 (UTC)