London Commons/About the London Commons
This is a short document used on LondonCommons.net to introduce visitors to what the site and the collective are all about. It might also be useful as the text for a pamphlet or brochure.
The London Commons is a grassroots organization in London, Ontario. We are working to facilitate a more closely knit community in our neighbourhoods by providing tools and resources to encourage cooperation and sharing. Our founding principles are freedom, respect, accessibility and grassroots collaboration. This website is our pilot project. It's website is designed so that any Londoner can become the media. The only thing you need to start publishing here is a free user account.
You can use this website to publish your own blog, documents of any sort, pictures and audio files. We also operate a community calendar and forum discussion boards. There are no editors here, what gets to the front page of this website is decided by the users. If you think something should be on the front page, you can vote it there. Over time we'll be adding other features focused on collaboration to this site. Everyone is welcome to attend all London Commons meetings. We encourage anyone who is interested, to 'keep an eye' on the events calendar, to find out when and where the next meeting will be.
Because this website is all about laying down new lines of communication between neighbours, we have a rule that people use their real names for their accounts. There are other websites for anonymous flaming and hiding behind fake names. This website is for people who want to get to know the people in their city and make new connections.
Most of the content on this website is published under Creative Commons licenses. These licenses fill in the middle ground between the traditional copyright's “all rights reserved” and having no protections at all. Creative Commons licenses encourage sharing and recognize that creativity always builds on the past. When you post content to this site, you choose which license conditions you want attached to your work with just a few mouse clicks. If you wanted people to be able to republish your poem as long as they give credit, make no money and leave it exactly as it is, simply choose those options.
Where the Creative Commons licenses get really interesting is the “ShareAlike” option that basically states “you can take this work and sample it, remix it, or extend it into something new, as long as others are given this right with the new work.” This is the attitude the London Commons is trying to bring to London. We'd like to see our website being used for collaborative creativity. Someone writes a short story, someone else develops it into a script. Someone records a song with vocals and a guitar track, someone else adds a bass track, and then a hip-hop group samples it.
The London Commons is working to establish itself as a community owned cooperative. We have bigger plans to pursue once this website really gets going. We'd like to offer services including a computer recycling program, community wireless internet access, and bartering resources to name a few. We also hope to help other coops get started by incubating their programs and letting them start with a copy of our business plan instead of starting from scratch.
For now we're meeting about every two weeks. Our meetings are run by consensus, and everyone in attendance has an equal say. They usually take place in people's living rooms or cafes, and anyone who uses the website is welcome to attend.