Creating a guide

Definition: Meaning-carrying tools, like handbooks or maps, can help people use an idea, collecting content and stories.

Problem: When the idea or system is only “newly discovered”, the associated meanings may not be well understood, and indeed they may not have been created. Even if a topic is only “personally new”, it can be hard to find ones way around.

Solution: In such a case, the process of creating the guide can go hand-in-hand with figuring out how the system works. Thus, techniques of knowledge cartography and meaning making are useful for would-be guide creators.

Example: We started the Peeragogy project by collaboratively making an outline for the Peeragogy Handbook. We recommended this handbook-making practice to others, as a way to learn collaboratively and build a strong group.

Challenges: Remember that “the map is not the territory,” and map-making is only one facet of shared human activity. For instance, a pattern description can be thought of as a “micro-map” of a specific activity. These maps are not useful if they are divorced from practice.

What’s Next: We’ve been talking with collaborators in the Commons Abundance Network about how to make a Pattern Language for the Commons. One of the challenges that arises is how to support ongoing development of the Pattern Language itself: a “living” map for a living territory. We’re refining the Peeragogy Pattern language and template as a seed for this.

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