In this paper, we lay out an alternative unit of social cohesion to replace platforms on the distributed web: neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods are designed from the perspectives of agents and groups, as well as the social intelligence they require to coordinate with each other. Here, we describe a means to accomplish the proliferation of neighbourhoods. These include:

  • A language that groups can use to articulate their cultural practices and preferred modes of interaction; Such practices are normally inherited from platforms rather than chosen by the groups that enact them.

  • the Social Sensemaker, a tool that instantiates and preserves expressions of group culture as metadata to enhance the visibility of this data, and its method of generation, within a group, and usability of such data when ported to new contexts by individuals and through group-to-group agreement.

  • A bazaar of basic social coordination tools with an embedded accounting system to incentivize the creation of standardized, interoperable miniature applications ("applets").

Neighbourhoods, as a mode of group organization on the web, is meant to greatly extends the ability to reason about reputation, credibility, and other social data in a nuanced way. It also addresses the current lack of "algorithmic transparency" about how social data are used to create user experience on and off the platforms where they are generated.

Together, we call these extended abilities to make sense of social spaces, “social sensemaking”, and such sensemaking is the chief affordance of building a neighbourhood.

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