Common Sense[makers]

We’re researching and developing distributed protocols, practices, and tools for collective sensemaking. Join us!

Who are we?

We’re a community of thinkers, learners, and makers, collaboratively advancing the science, tech, culture, and practice of collective sensemaking.

Why Sensemaking Matters

Let’s be honest: it’s not looking good.

Humanity is facing an existential crisis, driven by multiple global crises that are threatening our existence. To do something about it, we urgently need to take thoughtful collective action; but we can’t, because we’ve never been more distracted, confused, and fragmented than we are today.

If we can't think, we can't act.

One of the reasons we can’t band together to solve problems like climate change or poverty is that we can no longer think straight. It’s not that we’re stupid, but noisy and polluted information ecosystems (especially online) are distracting us and hampering our ability to make sense of the world.

It's urgent that we free our attention.

At a time when we most need it, we’ve outsourced control of our attention to platforms for the sake of convenience and short-term dopamine spikes. We use platforms, but in return, they’re using us. As users, we’re asleep at the switch: passive consumers of “junk food” information, mindlessly doom-scrolling through tempting eye-candy, ads, and click-bait.

So, what can we do about it?

It’s time to stop behaving like “users.” Instead, let’s become “makers” who take on the responsibility of co-creating the information ecosystems, practices, and tools that enhance our abilities rather than exploit our vulnerabilities.

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Joshua Home

New York Times

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New York Times

We're starting with protocols.

A healthy ecosystem can emerge when a lot of interdependent things can interact based on simple rules. By developing a system of protocols (simple rules) for sense-making instead of more “walled garden” platforms, (maybe, just maybe) we can cultivate a digital information ecosystem that grows past those walls, frees our captured attention, and allows us to think clearly again.

Check out our Projects page to learn more about what we're currently working on.

Knowledge Garden

A collection of others' work that has inspired ours

Stigmergic Epistemology, Stigmergic Cognition

Leslie Marsh, Christian Onof | 2022
A stigmergic model for social epistemology.

Stand Out of Our Light

James Williams | 2018
How our technology is interfering with our fundamental goals and values, and what we can do to realign.

Protocols, Not Platforms

Mike Masnick | 2019
How a shift to protocols instead of platforms could benefit free speech and innovation online.

Stewardship of Global Collective Behavior

Bak-Coleman et al. | 2021
Why we should treat the study of collective behavior as a “crisis discipline.”

Bad Beliefs: Why They Happen to Good People

Neil Levy | 2021
A case that our “bad beliefs” are the product of good reasoning based on bad information, and not the other way around.

Re-decentralizing the Web, for Good this Time

Ruben Verborgh | 2019
A history of the internet’s shift toward centralization, and a call to return it to it’s decentralized origins.

Our Work

From Users to (Sense)Makers: On the Pivotal Role of Stigmergic Social Annotation in the Quest for Collective Sensemaking

Common SenseMakers| 2022
An approach to designing and building healthier online information ecosystems that leverages the stigmergic nature of social annotation.

Team & Collaborators

Our Partners

DAOstack

Active Inference
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