Monday, July 27, 2015

Village Clan Tribe

The anonymous nature of the Internet is one of the things that makes Internet security difficult to get right. The anonymous nature of modern daily life affects real life security too. Consider the way loners can accumulate weaponry and then cause a sudden massacre. But the following proposal isn’t intended to address these issues. It’s just meant to be fun. It is also meant to allow experiments with social structure on the Internet that may help with practical concerns in the future.
The idea is to get people to self-organize into a hierarchy and let the participants try using that for various social purposes. The levels of the hierarchy are: Village, Clan, Tribe, Nation, Empire.
Participants join some Village that will take them, or they get together with others to create one. A Village has from 64 to 128 people, at most ⅔ of one sex. The only rule is that every member must have a face to face brief meeting, perhaps in a small group, either live or by video link, with more than half the other members of the Village on some regular basis (and covering every other member on some longer time scale). The intention is that everyone knows everyone else, and a little bit about them. Belonging to more than one Village is not allowed but is not necessarily detectable.
Once there are 32 Villages then every Village belongs to a Clan. A Clan has 32 to 64 Villages. Once there are 32 Clans they belong to a Tribe. And so on upwards, but it can’t go much further.
What things the Village may do is to be decided democratically, and then by representative democracy in the Clan. Every Village appoints 2 representatives to the Clan, not the same sex. These then are in contact with other representatives on a regular basis, and thence know a little bit about the other Villages in the Clan. And so on up the line.
When Villages (or Clans or Tribes) get too big they need to  reorganize. It is just, barely, possible for them to get to 128 and split to two 64s. A more interesting option is for 2 Villages to get together and emerge as three. (Clans and above are perhaps more likely to take the split option.)
Individuals have unique names or pseudonyms in a Village. Village names are unique in a Clan, and so on. So this gives every participant a unique identification.
Villages will, in general, have additional future members who are not yet qualified (minors who have a parent in the village, or candidates who haven’t yet met other villagers). Similarly Clans can have incipient “future” Villages that don’t yet meet the rules, and villages are demoted to that status when they break the rules. Things will presumably be more stable higher up.
I imagine that a significant activity will be jokey us-vs-them cultural activity. I.e. Villages will have some special, perhaps partly secret: dress rules, handshakes, idioms, musical activities. Villages will socialize with other villages in some ways. The aim will be to grow villages by attracting compatible people, then perhaps get to the mock-serious business of getting together with another village to produce an offspring.
Note that there is a presumption of privacy beyond the Village level, apart from the reps at the next level up, and village activities that people have agreed to take part in. A high level objective of this proposal is to experiment with cryptographic support for making this work in ways that combine security with the medium level of privacy which we all enjoyed until recent decades.