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Where orders emerge

Indiana Jim comments on this post:

But remember, as I reminded when you guys shut down comments, YOU are the ones who advertise "where orders emerge".

If you want "followers" count me out (I am not simply an "audience"
that you are entertaining or informing). If you mean what you say and
want orders to emerge, count me in.

I'm not sure exactly what he means, but I suspect he means that if you believe in emergent order, you have to tolerate it on your blog. You can't have any rules or regulations. This is a subtler complaint than "censorship" but I believe it makes the same intellectual error and understanding this error is of much more importance than improving the comments on this blog.

Emergent order isn't always good. And there is no virtue in allowing it to emerge as a goal. The error (and if I am misconstruing you, Indiana Jim, I'm sorry) is the same mistake people make when they say that under capitalism, there's no planning. In fact, there's an immense amount of planning but it's done privately, voluntarily, and without coercion.

Similarly, I don't try to raise my children without rules and restrictions, trusting that order that will emerge. Order will emerge, but I suspect I wouldn't like it. An owner of a business doesn't just throw open the doors of the business, invite the employees in, and expect that they'll figure out what to do, that order will emerge. There are still dynamics in a business even with the boss's rules and regulations. The boss cannot steer the employees with precision like robots. The same thing happens in a family. And it happens on this blog.

Understanding emergent order means understanding the limitations of one's ability to steer it. I can't steer the comments very well through exhortation, evidently. I've tried a few times now and little has changed. So I am looking for a technology that will help me steer it. Or a set of rules. A different order will emerge that may turn out to be better or worse than what we have now. And I'm not even sure how to measure better or worse though one of my goals is more learning and less yelling.

Indiana Jim wonders if we mean what we say, whether we indeed want orders to emerge. In general, I want orders to emerge from the bottom up rather than control being imposed from the top down. But imposing (or trying to impose) order within this blog is not a violation of my principles. I don't just start typing randomly and hope my points will emerge, that the letters will arrange themselves.

Having said all that, we do produce this blog together, Don, and I, and you, the reader. That's part of the reason there are comments, to produce something greater than just the posts and yes, Indiana Jim, as you point out later, we get benefits from the experience, too. And yes, even after whatever rules or infrastructure Don and I decide to put in place, order will emerge here that is not totally under anyone's control.