A few years ago I read ‘Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom’ by Cory Doctorow, and I was very taken at the time with concept of Whuffie, a form of social economy that appears the book.
It got my brain whirring, how would that work in reality? So I knocked up a little proof of concept website, which I then didn’t really push as much as I should have to test the concept. I think my lack of enthusiasm for the project was due to the fact that it felt incomplete, but I couldn’t quite figure out why.
Since then, I’ve made several other websites, but my mind has always returned sooner or later to Whuff, and it’s lack of completeness. Then on the train home from work last week, I finally figured out the missing piece, the idea of interest (as in capital, rather than attention), and ‘rewarding’ people for using the site.
I’ve spent the past few evenings digging out the code (which I’d archived off) and prettying it up with a bit of mobile jQuery. The results can be seen at https://whuff.org. But I can’t test out my new theory until I get a few more people on the site, so if you have a few minutes to spare, please head over and create a profile and spend a few whuffies on people. There are a few demo accounts on there you can use if you don’t want to invite people at this stage.
It’s very much Minimum Viable Product at the moment, but until a few people use it, there’s no way to best figure out how to take it forward. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated!
There’s a good interview with Rory Stewart on the Spectator’s Saturday Coffee House Shots podcast this week, where James Kirkuk quizzes Rory about various things. Funnily enough, the first thing they talk about is the ‘radical centre’ which is basically what I was expounding in yesterday’s post.
Rory discusses his ideas for a government that takes the best of left and right, very much echoing my points. He also goes on to describe how he proposes to get round the Brexit impasse by creating a citizen’s court, which I also think could be a good thing. James Kirkuk seemed less convinced by the idea, but as Rory says, if it doesn’t work, it’s only taking a few weeks out of the process and is a better idea than anyone else has come up with to break the stalemate within Parliament itself.
The one thing I’m not sold on is the term, ‘radical centre’, it sounds like a group that are only interested in the centre ground of politics. Kirkup also runs a think tank that calls itself the Radical Centre, and I agree a lot less with most of the things he tends to come out with (but I’m sure he’s a jolly nice chap).
To me, Rory’s (and my) political stance needs a brand, more than a ronseal title, something that is relatively meaningless, but people can assign values to. As I own Whuff.org (long story, read Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Corey Doctorow to get some idea of where I got that name from), I’ve started to use that as my little playground for further exploring my political ideas. I’m not saying that whuff.org, or the Whuff Party, is the way forward, (phones tend to autocorrect it to whiff for a start), but something along those lines.