How would one prepare for a conference workshop if one were asked to provide a position statement in the form of a federated wiki site? How can we develop a style for this form of engagement?
Consider: From April 17-19, 2002, at the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we will hold a workshop to begin to define a set of significant computing problems - like Hilbert's - for the next age, aimed at concretely exploring biological metaphors for computing and at guiding computing research and development for the next 100 years. post
A diverse group of thirty researcher/practitioners met for an extended conversation arranged at u-shaped tables punctuated by informal presentations and collective authoring in an event wiki from personal laptops.
The wiki proved valuable in the moment. It could have had a life beyond the event but didn't. I brought the wiki technology and offered to make the site public but only with the participants agreement. There were mixed opinions but no consensus.
Returning to the garden metaphor, we all brought prunings from our own gardens and assembled these in a patch, a stream of sorts, because it grew with each presentation, but a garden of sorts too, but not one healthy enough to flourish on its own.
Aside: My own contribution was an argument that we would do well to stop 'addressing' elements in our computing infrastructure be they programs, chips or datacenters. See Escaping Addressing
With this background, consider how the patch would look if each attendee brought their prunings in a federated wiki and left with that enlarged to match their experience of the event.
We begin with interpreting the call-for-participation. The organizers have a goal that justifies their efforts. Possible participants must judge their own ambitions with respect to likely peers similarly engaged. One considers what could come of other's forced attention.
A position statement declares alignment with the organizer's intention for the event. Each author reviews their available results and composes an attractive position. Imagine a for-purpose site with a single page proposition surely read and supplemental pages forked for clarification and proof of credential.
A position statement accepted then becomes solicitation for related interests among the prospective attendees. Imagine pod-like behavior where the call stands in for a charter, the attendee status, invited/accepted, is reflected in a roster, and position revisions accelerate as the travel date approaches.
A position so refined becomes the template for note-taking in the heat of face-to-face conversation.