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README.md
world_building_document.md

README.md

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Written by Kade Morton

Open world for MozFest 2018

Overview

Xenshana is a thought experiment around decentralisation. The original idea was a Alice in Wonderland theme, but that was raised as potentially too Western a theme. In exploring Alice in Wonderland myself, I wasn't able to find a lot of influences that were not Western I could draw on to diversify the theme. I decided to create a new wonderland, based off the idea that Africa was the dominant power in the world from ancient to modern times. This was then coupled with the theme of decentralisation and the overall festival theme of data and you. The idea of Xenshana was born, a parallel dimension to Earth, and the theme for the decentralisation space is that people are travelling to Xenshana.

Perhaps all this talk about data here on Earth has worn thin the barrier between the two worlds. Perhaps our desire for better technology and systems that aren’t controlled by vested interests and actually respect us as users has summoned Xenshana closer to our world. Perhaps for a few days a year at a particular spot in London the two worlds overlap, ever so slightly. Maybe mighty Dzivaguru (see below) has created a bridge between our two disparate worlds. Whatever is happening, Xenshana is here and people can experience a new world, experience powerful technology and world changing ideas. Leaving the festival they will take their experiences in this new world back into the old world, hopefully changing it for the better.

Here are the bones of a world building document, licensed under Creative Commons, that people can use.

MozFest

The space description from the MozFest Website:

Can the world be decentralised?

In this parallel dimension, people self-organise into open groups that create art, write code, and even build cities. Their technology runs on consensus and their society is fuelled by data. But data is not just a resource — it’s an extension of individual identity and collective culture. People give informed consent to data gathering and enjoy transparency of use.

Journey to a new world and bring back powerful, resilient technology; explore radical, paradigm-shifting ideas; and take part in cutting-edge discourse. Explore protocols like DAT, IPFS and ActivityPub, alongside ideas such as net neutrality and proof of stake. Experience decentralised platforms like Matrix and Mastodon, and support the equal commons of all.

Let’s discover this wonderland, together.

Xenshanans at MozFest

There will hopefully be repesentatives from four syndicates at MozFest:

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Illustrations by Zachary Smith-Cameron

The Decentralisation Zone at Mozfest

Entering the Decentralisation Zone

You will be given the ability to join one of the four Xenshanan syndicates. You will receive a card (while stocks last) from your syndicate, and you can have your face painted with the syndicate markings (while paint lasts).

Your quest while in the Zone - Kutema Li

To become a complete member of your syndicate, you must undergo Kutema Li. Attend multiple decentralisation sessions. Then, think about the questions on your card. When you are ready, seek out your syndicate representative and discuss with them your answers to the questions. By adding your wisdom to that of the collective, you will have become a full syndicate member.

The Musangano

A place for meetings in between sessions, the Musangano will have chairs, a table and it's planned to have paper and crayons for colour in and drawing.

Dzivaguru

The great Rainbow Serpent of Xenshana will make an apperaance in the Zone. Logistics are still being worked out.

Using the world building document

Xenshana is licensed under Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 and its use under this license is encouraged. We want people in the decentralisation zone to engage with this theme, and connect with the overall concept of decentralisation in a way they maybe haven't before. We encourage people to use this document to write stories set in Xenshana, create artwork that represents Xenshana, and dive into this theme in ways we have never even thought of yet. We will display as much of it as we can in the zone during MozFest itself. Send your submissions to me at kademorton at protonmail dot com.

There are large sections I've not elaborated on in this document. For fleshing out this world (if you want), below are the basics:

  • Language is hard. We are creating a world were English isn't the trade language of the world and colonialism as we know it never happened. By rights we shouldn't even be using English at all, but the line has to be drawn somewhere for accessibility. When naming things, remember we are dealing with multiple cultures that don't speak English at all and just do your best.
  • The languages you should reference are Shona and Mandarin. As Africa is the dominant world power but Asia is the new up and coming power, try to use Shona words for old and historic things. Either mix Mandarin and Shona for newer things or just use Mandarin.
  • If you want to come up with completely new words so that you aren't copying from existing languages completely, there would be some natural divergence, it's often good to take a number of different words from a particular language, break them in half and make new words with the halves. See what sounds good. This way you have a new word and you keep the basic "sound" of the original language.
  • When designing a country, look at the history of that country and what is already known about Xenshana. Ask yourself how would this country's history be different given the new events outlined in this document?
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