Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

LEARN10: Peering into the future of EVOKE

Who? What? Where? Why? Always important questions.

WHICH great challenges and social problems should the EVOKE Network tackle next?

The world is full of problems, but it's also full of solutions. We just have to uncover them and unlock the solutions that people already have in mind—something that EVOKE seems to be very good at. While there are many problems that I would like to see ideas brainstormed about by the wonderful EVOKE community, there are two that I really want to see.

Global Warming, Climate Change, and the human impact on the environment.

A broad category, yes. However, the importance of this general area can't be understated. Many of the world's rapidly developing areas—Africa's coasts, Bangladesh, southern India, and southeast Asia—are at the most risk for being affected by climate change. The developed world will be able to use its resources to cope with rising sea levels, but it could wreak havoc like no other in the developing world, upsetting the delicate progress that so many have worked hard for.

Access to technology/information censorship.

I'll admit, I'm a technology person. I believe that the positives of most technologies outweigh the negatives. This is why I see under appreciation and lack of access to technology and free networks as something that needs to be dealt with. Technology can be the great divider—the digital divide, the knowledge and "gadget" disparity—but it can also be the great equalizer. The internet has done more for some people than anything else could. We're all here because of the internet. Dictatorial regimes and squelchers of dissent should not have the ability to take away this vast pool of knowledge and enabler of human potential.

Religious violence.

I'm not sure how it could be handled while staying rather neutral, but it would be something good to do if it could be pulled off.

WHERE in the world should the network try to build up new EVOKE communities?

We shouldn't be asking "where". We should be combining this with the question below and asking "who". In this age of telecommunications, space and geography doesn't matter when you're coming to knowledge. On the level that EVOKE works on, we're talking about fundamentals and concepts that will work wherever you are. No matter whether you're a Vietnamese villager, a Ugandan resident, or a proud American, many of the concepts and plans of action that EVOKE lends itself to will work and make a difference.

WHO would you encourage to play Season 2?

Everybody. Everybody can benefit from this type of knowledge share, introspection about our problems, and this incredible community. (See above.)

HOW would you change the game for Season 2?

Technologically: dear god, don't use Ning. (See my below rant.) Manage users and spam better. Beta test the site more. Open up all of this amazing user data to the crowd.

Incorporate a wider audience. Use volunteer, official, and machine translations in conjunction to let anybody experience the awesomeness that is EVOKE.

Have a more fluid dialog between the players and the game runners. Many of the problems that arose in this season (season one) came about because of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Have an easy way to start a uni or multilateral dialog between you, someone else, and a runner. Make it easy to create an 'announcement'.

Utilize the forums more!

Foster an even stronger sense of community! Allow players to create formal 'groups', get a chat room going early on, and so on.

A better post update system. Mass message blasts are a thing of the past!

Love thy neighbor. No more trolling, kthx.

Technological Rant

I'm convinced that Ning is a giant steaming pile of you-know-what. A large portion our problems, community or technical, have spawned from Ning. The site has broken many times in little and big ways because of Ning's lack of APIs. Because of that, most things are hacked on top using Javascript and everything could break at Ning's whim (i.e. changing their site layout). In addition, Ning's black-box spam control has led to several major problems with users being banned. The most active (and most polarizing, therefore) agents trip Ning's spam filters, they disappear, and chaos ensues. A new platform—(and if you're a tech person reading this, I have a proof of concept!)—would do wonders for the game and make our lives a lot easier.

WHAT new tools would you want as an EVOKE agent?

Better methods of communication, chat, groups, a better platform, translations. (See above.) One thing that I haven't mentioned is an "EVOKE library"—a library of relevant material compiled by gamerunners and agents. It could help research immeasurably.

WHY would you come back for a second Season? What more would you want from the experience?

For one reason: because it's awesome! The things everybody's accomplished, the sense of community, the joy of reading other peoples' blogs, helping someone with their project. I don't want much more from EVOKE, to tell you the truth. It's pretty good as is. The minor fixes listed above are the majority of what's needed.

Here's to an even better season two!

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