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Although we are all part of a CollectiveIntelligence, we are all individuals. If you have ever watched ants carry food back to the nest, you will notice that not all of them head in the same direction. Yet the job gets done. We're not ants, though. Instead we do BarnRaising, but even then it's valuable to know how each of us perceive the barn: what use is it to the world and why are we here helping? Answers to those questions shape the eventually outcome, giving the barn a character that reflects our collective individualities.

A GoalStatement is a brief list we provide on our namepages listing the major things what we want to get out of contributing here. Without one, it's difficult to tell what people want, and that makes co-ordinating towards a SuperordinateGoal much more difficult. Think of it as FairProcess. It's better than just having a MeatballMission statement all by itself, as that is nearly a top-down process that may cause friction with valuable contributors to the community, especially if they have hereto unknown, unvocalized aims we did not see.

This is a CommunityExpectation. Once you've decided that Meatball is a good place for you, once you've rolled up your sleeves and placed a stake, once you've decided you'd rather fix this place than exercise your RightToLeave, you ought to write a GoalStatement. It will help us identify who actually cares. It will help us all understand each other. It will help you differentiate yourself from the RoyalWe that often pervades Meatball. It's both for the collective good and for your personal satisfaction.

Be overt.

But it's difficult!

What can we deduce about ourselves if we find it almost impossible to write one? -- AndrewCates

You can deduce that you are a guest who hasn't yet found his final relationship to the meatball community. This takes some time. Do you have goals in real life that fit to meatball in a way or other? Does meatball offer you enough in knowledge and personal relationships? - After a while you will either feel (1) that discussions become shallow and turn your back as a visitor (2) that you like it but not enough to identify and become part of it but you remain an OccasionalContributor, or (3) that you find it rewarding to come back regularly and become a part (member) of this reflection community. When you know, you will decide about your position relative to the community and whether a GoalStatement makes sense. The default guest GoalStatement is: "find out and decide about my role here".

I think that you will want to find out how to connect people that need help to those that are willing to help. It's one of a hundred wiki applications meatball is potentially interested in. WikiSchool? is a similar application that has difficulties to gain momentum. But eventually projects will take off, when people find each other and create a critical mass of ideas and community. -- HelmutLeitner

Yes I am sure it will take off and I am still thinking about how I might use a wiki at work. But the Meatball community whilst in principle friendly seems to me to suffer a bit from AnswerBack and I am in ExploreTogether? mode not HumblePupil? mode! --AndrewCates

I'm sorry that my message arrived that way, I just wanted to help. I remember that I felt similarly when I started to contribute to meatball. Forget what I said. There is the jungle, walk in, take the lead. We will follow you or not. -- HelmutLeitner

No, honestly I didn't take your comment that way. It wasn't a shoot from the hip thing. It was musing about why I couldn't write a goalstatement and get stuck in, that's all --AndrewCates

Some times we end up doing things without really analysing the reasons, or keep doing things out of simple inertia. This is especially true for drifters, followers, and fatalists.

Other times we do things to satisfy a CovertGoal? - something we are ashamed of, and don't want to admit. Maybe not even to ourselves.

At the other extreme, sometimes some place or activity fulfills so many wants and needs at once that it is difficult to know which are the key reasons, and which are just side effects.

Another Twist

A GoalStatement tells you what a person or community is up to. This is a big step forward, because people can check whether their own goals are compatible enough to join forces. But it is not the whole story. If you want, you can go a step further and add a personal InterestStatement.


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