ZS Directive 3: Unity & Diversity in Communication

The logic of ZS Directives is explained clearly and at length both on the Fractal Law webpage and the Directive 1 blog post
(where you can also find a list of all Resolutions and Directives to date).
Please do not attempt to post any comments here if you have not read and understood those explanations.

ZS DIRECTIVE 3: Unity & Diversity in Communication

The leaders of Meta-House ZODIAC have requested a ruling on ZS’ position regarding press releases and other public announcements. The two key issues raised are:

(1) Clarification of procedure for issuing press releases.

(2) Appropriate aims and approaches for all public communications.

An additional matter was raised during discussion of this Call for Directive: (3) What are the appropriate standards for such a Call, and when would a Resolution be more appropriate?

1. Procedure for Public ZS Communications

Public communications (such as press releases, lectures, technical papers, pamphlets, podcasts, YouTube channels and so on) are strongly encouraged to facilitate ZS’ mission. Furthermore, in accord with Principle 3.1 (“Just Do It”) ZSers are also strongly encouraged to take personal initiative in such matters. That said, it is critical that all such public statements be credited clearly and properly to the entity actually making the statement, as follows:

Houses and Meta-Houses may release their own communications without approval from the rest of ZS, as long as they are acting in accord with their own internal rules, ZS Directives & Resolutions, and the Social Futurist Principles in doing so. The same logic holds for all entities within and affiliated with ZS.

All such entities must, however, credit the statement to individual(s) and/or organization(s) which ZSers can identify in terms of House affiliation. In other words they cannot be anonymous, and they cannot claim to speak for the entirety of ZS or other groups within ZS.

A House need not put its own “ZS name” (e.g. “House Sem-Bhu”) on a statement though, and is actually encouraged to use a name that is appropriate to the type of communication and its audience.
For example, to release a serious policy or technical paper, a House may use the name of an affiliated research institute or group. The message would thus come from the House and not speak for all ZS, but avoid crediting an outlandish House name where that might be any kind of problem. As a parallel, think of the difference between registered company names and their trading names.

Organizations at the House level or higher may request that a statement be made on behalf of their Meta-House, Section, or even the whole of ZS. They may also draft any release and submit it for consideration. The standard procedure for such a measure is to call for a Resolution on that particular release, which means that all Houses would agree to it, but under special circumstances (such as time pressure or a sensitive issue) a Directive may instead be requested.

2. Aims & Approaches for Public ZS Communications

The following comments were offered by the Adeptus Major, and are endorsed by the Teacher as part of this Directive:

Yes, this is an important distinction that a lot of academics and other intelligent people often come to quite late, if at all. You communicate in different ways for different audiences and purposes. Trying to make a message do more than one thing is possible when their goals are aligned, but splitting focus can often mean losing focus, and achieving neither goal well.

Academic writing is for reporting fact and theory in detail, to a willingly engaged expert audience.

Lecturing is to introduce concepts and skills to a motivated beginner/journeyman audience.

When you’re doing press releases and similar forms of public communication, it’s not about showing people the depth of what you know: it’s about presenting something to garner interest from a largely ignorant audience.

When you’re doing advocacy, that extends into convincing them of why they should care, then what they should do about it.

If you’re doing provocation, you are looking to draw your opposition into losing balance and focus and thus initiative, in a way where you maintain all of those things.

The way I see it, some potential goals in issuing press releases could be to:

* Establish media awareness of the organisation as a source of expert opinion
* Communicate our Principles
* Demonstrate their relevance to current events and future solutions
* Find the others, and create a path to engaging with them constructively
* Draw out those who are permanent antagonists, so they can be countered

3. Procedure for ZS Resolutions and Directives

The general outline of procedure in calling for ZS Resolutions or Directives is described on the “Fractal Law” webpage, but it was noted in discussion by Primus Machinae that there is still some question of what constitutes a proper Call for Directive, and under what conditions a Call for Resolution would be more appropriate. The answers to those questions are:

1. Calls for Directive need to be summarised in a single specific question or set of related questions, no more than one paragraph length in total. Calls for Directive must be clear and succinct. They should not come with arguments or complex statements within the Call itself, although discussion preceding a Call is to be encouraged where possible. In short, a clear question makes a clear answer easier to produce, and forces a certain clarity of thought.

2. Calls for Resolution should be the default mode, rather than Calls for Directive. This is partly a matter of Principle itself, and partly a matter of simple logistics. Calls for Directive will always be welcome, however, as long as raising the matter in question for Resolution has first been given fair consideration.

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