Digital toolstack

Here we bring up a framework about tools, arising from a decade or so of experimentation. It has three phases: trinity, stack and 'specials'.

We begin by starting well back from tools, with the practice - with the *organising*. The tools have to serve the practice. We can't afford to fetishise the tools. Tools for peer-to-peer collaboration and coproduction

However, we believe that we also must *infrastructure* our practice - ie, make durable and distributed material provision for other times and other locations - to give it legs and to give it scope.

We propose a framework with three phases to it.

Toolstack - Three phases

First of all there's - the Trinity. The trinity is from Rich Bartlett and Nati Lombardo. Then there's - the Stack, a term that comes from Guerrilla Translations - the DisCO people (Distributed Cooperative Organisations). See Guerrilla Translations Handbook #5 webpage . Here's another source pdf

Basically, the trinity is part of the stack but it has a primary importance, which is why it's got a separate name. There are three elements in the trinity - surprise surprise. There are five in the stack. And then it seems to me necessary also to identify things that I’ve called

- Specials, which are not part of the stack, they're not sufficiently generic. 'Specials' become important in some particular kind of domain, engaging with a particular kind of 'stuff' in the world.

DisCO puts (some of) the specials into a third category, ‘the deck’. This is where we find we're doing something quite particular, engaged with a particular kind of stuff in the world, and need a particular kind of tool, involving quite particular skills.

> Something not dealt with in a general way, in all collaborations or communities. Means of **concrete engagement and perception**, rather than generic means of coordination.

But there may still be generic approaches to that kind of practical engagement and that kind of tool infrastructure - protocols, generic affordances. So 'specials' are generic classes of tools too.

--- > This original frame of Trinity|Stack|Specials can usefully be evolved, with some elements of the Stack and Specials promoted to an Extended trinity. > An extended slide deck is here pdf

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