1500 – A letter to new registered users.
July 11, 2011 at 8:34 pm #1547
Since this time last year TSI has had about 1500 new users register with the site. This letter is to them:
To the 1500,
For what purpose have you joined TSI? Have you recently come across the concept of seasteading or did you hear one of Patri’s Pajama-clad talks? Is there something about life on the open ocean that tugs at the strings of your heart or does it have something to do with living in a society free of silly regulations that has you a twitter? Have you come to seek out like-minded souls or have you staked out a new camp to act as internet trolls? What exactly is it you want from life and how do you see TSI playing a role in that dream? In the following letter I’m going to use some terms you may not be familiar with. Don’t worry, I was not familiar with them either when I first got started… look them up, do some research to understand what we’re discussing here and benefit from the process. (For the purposes of this letter, a wikipedia understanding should suffice.)
I, like many of the first 1500 users (we were called members back then), was drawn to the potential of ‘sea-steading’. Seasteading, it’s a funny word. The first time I read it, I read ‘Seas – Tead – ing’… it didn’t make a lot of sense. The more I read and learned the better the vision and dream coalesced. The term was first coined by a gentleman named Wayne Gramlich, an engineer by trade, he contemplated homesteading on the open seas. Wayne had several good thoughts about how this could be achieved, but at best the ability to seastead was nothing more than an intellectual excersize. (Note: I have not consulted with Wayne on any of this and my opinions may not reflect his own.)
Enter Patri onto the scene. A brilliant young man with a libertarian and economic birthright handed down from his grandfather and an interest in community and government structures, Patri imagined how a group of ‘floating homesteads’ would interact with one another. The concept of ‘dynamic geography’ took hold and Patri saw a system in which mankind could truly be free from the governmental structures that restricted them, while adopting those structures they viewed as beneficial… all on a case by case basis. In order for ‘dynamic geography’ to take hold, someone would need to create these floating homesteads.
First, we stopped calling them ‘floating homesteads’, instead the moniker ‘seasteads’ was used. Then folks began to imagine all different types of ‘seasteads’ (hospitals, apartment buildings, offices, R&D labs, etc) that could combine to build a small city that could re-arrange at will to make use of ‘dynamic geography’. It was around this time that Wayne Gramlich, co-founder of TSI stepped away from the organization. Most of us missed it. A key step in the early years and in our excitement we missed it. A seastead is a ‘floating homestead’ by definition. A ‘floating homestead’ is the key component to any city on the waves, a center where a small family or group can safely live and work in a self-sustaining manner. It is the building block upon which every frontier is settled and domesticated. None of the ‘imagined’ seasteads were even seasteads… they were something else… something grander… something higher.
What we are talking about is the old discussion of high-road vs low-road. It’s a discussion much older than TSI, as many ‘civilization building’ groups have come before us… each one of them now dead and buried because in the end they opted for the ‘high road’ approach. Very simply, the ‘low road’ is when one designs simple cost effective means for a family or small group of individuals to survive in a new environment. This design needs to cover static needs (like shelter) as well as more fluid needs (like the ability to create food and clean water enough to survive). In today’s world of developed countries you might as well add, power generation and communication to that list of ‘needs’. To give you an example, think about those who settled the wild west of the US between the 1830s and 1920s. What did you need? A wagon, a horse, some bags of seed, farming and carpentry tools and basic cooking impliments. This ‘package’ got you to the west (often in groups or wagon trains) and your hard labor staked out a piece of land, put up your cabin and produced your first crop. Efficient but not too glamorous.
The high-road on the other hand is all flash but no fire. Instead of equipping a person to build something modest, let’s convince hundreds to build something monumental. History is full of failed examples of this technique… railroad towns where lots were sold for 1000s of times what they were worth based on a nearby railroad station going up (just to find the railroad pulled out after all the lots were sold) or the crazy gold rush fever that constantly sprung up and brought hard working enterprising souls to ruin. The high road is always run by the ‘haves’ for the benefit of the ‘have nots’. TSI is no different, having chosen the high road for it’s path. Instead of avoiding the mistakes of those who have come before, we instead decided to mimic their patterns.
Ironic then, that the founder could use this 403b to sustain his income and speak at prestigious events… having not made a single tangible step toward creating a ‘floating homestead’ while a registered user like Vince has spent hundred, possibly thousands of dollars to produce a model seastead. TSI is happy to use the efforts of it’s users with little to no compensation or reimbursement… because we are a non-profit, while others can draw a steady income supporting it’s high road philosophy. Not that many would even ask for compensation, merely observing the irony not lodging a complaint.
So there you have it. The Seasteading Institute really doesn’t believe in Seasteading (by raw definition rather than the drift that is currently accepted) at all. My apologies if you feel somehow slighted for the false advertising. If renamed as ‘The Dynamic Geography Institute’ it would be more fitting (but less flashy… a no no on the high road) and accurate. Unfortunately if you would like to follow the low road there is no group organizing such a path. Those who choose to follow it have thus far walked in the footsteps of our founder, Wayne Gramlich, and just bowed out from the organization. This is why it is hard to find very many of us from the original 1500 on the forums or active with this organization anymore.
For my part, I have taken to lurking on these boards and checking my PMs monthly. My path on the low road has me working on sustainable systems (with a focus on salt-water aquatic environments) and Intentional Communities (since no one else in developed countries can give us insights into how we will adapt socially to working with a small number of others to meet our needs) as other members have solved most of the other low road needs with their suggestions (Wil’s concrete solutions come to mind). For those of you who clearly desire the high road approach, I wish you well and hope to visit your creation one day. Unfortunately, there has been no tangible progress on this path for all of the dollars spent and your creation seems to be a mental construct at best.
-A member of the 1st 1500.July 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm #14104
Ken SimsKey Master
Welcome back. I had given you up for dead (literally) after you disappeared from the private group and from here for months, and didn’t respond to my email.
A couple of comments:
1. TSI members are those who make a membership donation:
The people here in the forums may also be members, but they have access to the public forums simply by being a registered user.
2. The vast majority of the new user registrations are spammers, most of whom do NOT post spam in the forums or blogs (which means that they don’t interfere with regular users). They do put spammy links on their user profiles in an effort to increase search engine visibility. I vet all user registrations and treat these like the scum that they are.
Unfortunately there are a LOT of these profiles (thosands) which were created before I started checking profiles. I’m deleting older spammy profiles as I have time, but it’s a long process.
I’d estimate that we get around 100 to 200 legitimate new users per year. It’s hard to tell because there are upsurges when there has been some kind of major publicity.
KenJuly 12, 2011 at 3:40 am #14105
Since my name is mentioned in the original post, I just thought I would add a few clarififying comments:
- It was Patri who founded the initial funding for The Seasteading Institute. While Patri did ask me to join on as “co-founder”, there would be no TSI without Patri.
- My departure from TSI was amicable. I still get invitations to go to parties over at Patri’s place.
- My reason for departing was to focus on another one of my many interests — robotics. If you were to come to my house you would typically find me in my garage building various pieces of an advanced service robot. On of the other hats that I wear is that I am president of the Homebrew Robotics Club located in Silicon Valley.
- My lack of participation with the TSI forums is primarily due to the fact that Drupal forums are pretty pathetic. Yes, the people at TSI are aware of this opinion.
- My view of seasteading is largely unchanged, and is documented as the Venice model of seasteading on the TSI web site.
- I am really not that hard to contact.
-WayneJuly 12, 2011 at 8:28 am #14106
and the spam bots strike again! damn you internet!
Ken, Im not sure if the format of this forum allows such a thing, but if they do… You could add a “spam” tag to each post, so that if ones such as the above which are obviously spam come up we legitimate users could click the spam button and anything from temporarily freezing the account from further posting till you cleared it or just sending you an alert could happen so you can then go look later and remove the posts and profiles. Again, if it allows, you could also then rate spam “clicks” as fair or unfair and see if people are abusing the system and need themselves to be corrected.July 12, 2011 at 8:48 am #14107
Not sure why the OP feels the need to belittle the TSI, when they are both working towards the same goal. His history of seasteading isn’t even accurate.
I first stumbled upon the idea of seasteading on Patri Freedman’s homepage in 2004 after reading his father’s The Machinery of Freedom. Then it was just a idea with no organization whatsoever. I was amazed to find this site in 2010 and to see all the work that has been done. It gives me hope that someday it might actually be possible to create a new society with laws (or lack thereof) that actually make sense. I think seasteading is really the only way forward that we have left. So, lets not try to tear each other down please.July 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm #14108
While I’m in general agreement with your assessments and conclusions I take exception with one short statement: “Unfortunately if you would like to follow the low road there is no group organizing such a path.” While it is true that ‘I’ even ‘Me, Myself &I’ arent a ‘group’ it is never the less my intention to put a buoy/marker in the O.C.R.’s North Atlantic Territorial Surface at or about 45.30.00W, 30.30.00N as early as the year after next. Mine, is the lowest of the low road approaches and calls for each and everyone to come as they are with what they have: boats, ships and floating platforms of some kind and just do it! To quote a better man than I, “Let the dead bury their dead” and “Take up your cross and follow me”!July 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm #14109
Ken SimsKey Masteremmettvm wrote:
and the spam bots strike again! damn you internet!
Ken, Im not sure if the format of this forum allows such a thing, but if they do… You could add a “spam” tag to each post, so that if ones such as the above which are obviously spam come up we legitimate users could click the spam button and anything from temporarily freezing the account from further posting till you cleared it or just sending you an alert could happen so you can then go look later and remove the posts and profiles. Again, if it allows, you could also then rate spam “clicks” as fair or unfair and see if people are abusing the system and need themselves to be corrected.
There’s nothing in the core Drupal software (at least the version that we are running) to do what you are describing. It’s possible that there is a user-written module, but I haven’t seen reference to one.
I proactively look for spam at least three times per day. I also check various logs looking for spam attempts that were blocked by the spam filter, hack attempts, etc.
So I will see spam as quickly as I would see any kind of notification. Only an option that would actually block the account from posting would really be useful.
In this particular instance Joep deleted the spam before I got to it. (I saw that in the logs.) I deleted the spammer’s account and also logged the information.
Besides just deleting spam and spammer accounts, I look for patterns where I can institute blocks to stop spammers in advance. But what I can do in that regard is very limited because I don’t want to block non-spammers.
Volunteer admin, moderator, and primary spamfighterJuly 13, 2011 at 1:04 am #14111
Hi Pastor, long time no see!
I think the things TSI has been doing in the past three years is exactly what it should have. TSI never said they would operate a Seastead (they even said they would not, btw). TSI did help to make people aware of the possibility Seasteading which is, and IMHO should be, their primary goal.
The first step to get a novel idea into reality is to find people who like the idea. If nobody knows about it getting the first Seastead started is an impossible task.
Enter Patri and TSI. In less than three years, litterally millions of people know what Seasteading is. It’s been on CNN, Discovery Channel, you name it. TSI has done a absolute tremendous job getting the world to know what Seasteading is. Many people, or actually most people, don’t like the idea. But the few that do like it find their way here. When the public is large enough, a very small percentage is big enough to actually start things.
I wouldn’t have known about your existence, or Vince’s (whose projects I’ve sponsored a few times btw), or anybody else interested in Seasteading, if it wasn’t for TSI.
Apart from getting people to know what Seasteading is, TSI also has shown us which path is possible, and which path is a definite failure. All information Seasteaders would need about politics, waves, energy, food, algae, etc. is here or will be here.
I think the major job of TSI, getting people together, has been extremely succesful. The time that Seasteading was hosted on seastead.org with “the book” and no community at all is way back. Now there is a professional organisation, talks all over the world and huge media attention. TSI even got Peter Thiel on board which is not only great for the funding itself, but also a stamp of approval by someone who has been proven right all his life.
But inevitably it’s up to entrepreneurs and people like you and me to use this network and the gathered information to make it happen. TSI should not be building the thing, just like government should not build cars. If “the market ” does not make it happen, it’s just a bad idea. TSI provides the infrastructure and other people can use it or not. I’m convinced of one thing: when people like wohl1917 (or me) do start actual building, they wouldn’t have if TSI didn’t exist.
I’m convinced I’ll be living on a Seastead within 10 years from now. I hope I’ll meet you there!July 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm #14118
Thank’s God that you guys are all ok! And ty for stopping by! You have no idea how “blessed” we all feel here for you granting us few moments of your precious time.
PJ, I am so glad to hear that you have found your path with salt water sustainable aquatic environment and intentional communities. Wayne, I am sorry to hear that that the pathetic nature of the Drupal forums is keeping you away from seasteading and wish you the best of luck with your robots. Joep, I hope your 10 years time frame conviction of living on a seastead will materialized sooner. Other than that, you guys didn’t miss much since you’ve been gone. It’s the same wannabe sea scouts roasting marshmallows on the camp fire by the lake, talking seasteading. Don’t worry, I will keep you posted if a seastead will pop up and send you guys an invitation. I guess I’ll see you next year!
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Written by Pastor_Jason