This is a really useful idea:
Before the conference, Dan educated me about the Core Protocols. This is a set of communications practices to be used among humans that are designed to suppress a lot of the bullshit and primate politics that commonly get in the way when we try to do and decide things together. I got to see and use them both by email with Dan and face-to-face in groups at the conference.
The Protocols have at least two results. One is to create psychological safety, largely by guarding the right of participants to opt out of a transaction rather than be subjected to power trips or other forms of manipulation. Another is to make it easy for participants to model each others’ intentions and desires. The consequence is that groups using them can learn more effectively and make good decisions more rapidly.
The Core Protocols are very clarifying – that much is obvious to me even from limited exposure. One of the authors calls them “software for your head”, and they’re a building block that can be used with other kinds of software for your head, including ways to re-invent how we organize groups larger than will fit in a single meeting room.
I’m going to put some time into learning these protocols. I still think ESR is hopelessly idealistic about human behavior (a consequence of the excellent company he keeps), but I’d have it no other way. All nonutilitarian reasons aside, the ideas he originates are too useful.