After reading the document per request, it seems the tipping point is the scaling fractality that is described in the text. This is something that we know from the Holo*-world, or which can be perceived by using one of these networked notebooks that offers backlinks and transclusion.
Another point that is made in the article is one about how in socio-technical design we cannot only perceive the technical environment alone through its implementation details, but also need to account for the actual use of knowledge epistemologies, and in a higher order ontologies, in the everyday.
This is to say, that existing categorisations, neither in hierarchic or flat namespaces, can often not replicate the actual intertwingularity of social processes. Whereas in a web of directly connected peers, supported by a and supporting the Creative Commons, pieces of knowledge (“epistems”) wander freely between domains.
I can say that, because I have been using the federated wiki for the greater part of the last decade, which employs a more “passive” type of federation. Other forms of interaction become possible, beyond the commonly known ones, beyond those replicated by the ActivityPub protocol family. Feel free to dig deeper into that rabbit hole, which can hardly be explained, and must be experienced:
What you are asking for is sometimes named inbetweenness in philosophical discourse:
This space, this “inbetweenness,” […] will then be governed by the laws of probability and uncertainty characterizing all unstable systems.
We shall stop here, because that’s another rabbit hole to avoid for the moment.
If we allow ourselves to conceive the Web as an Atlas, an atlas of human knowledge and interaction, for example, the following words might apply as well:
An atlas (the Web) can connect space and time in new ways. An atlas (the Web) can articulate the coalescence and collision of local and global trajectories, described by the late Doreen Massey as ‘throwntogetherness’. Massey describes how different elements and trajectories – human, more-than-human, social, cultural and political – come together to define a here and now. In this understanding, space is not limited to specific areas or points on a map, instead it is produced by the encounter of multiple local and global trajectories which have also a temporal dimension.
I think it is this kind of random encounters, and greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts experiences, that would render the space between communities, the space inhabited by “borderless” communities with semi-permeable membranes, into one beneficial to social plasticity. Ultimately realised through interaction, and recorded as data desiderates, before constraining our imaginaries with what is already there, this is what we morally will want to design (gestalten) our shared public space, the Web, for.
If we allow ourselves to consider the Web also as a place, than all theory around Third Spaces (Bhaba, Soja) also applies here:
The MDPI article also contains a paragraph about the nature of federation and asks:
Still, this organic process is haphazard at best. Unclear is how to more systematically boost such a self-organization process of a ‘federation of locals’ grounded in such a ‘relational epistemology’ and ‘scaling fractally’. How do we begin to realize these necessary but abstract goals at scale? This is where the literature gets fuzzy and few operational methods are offered.
Here we want to find new ways of mediating social interaction, in so unexpected forms of sociomes become possible. This is already part of establishing technical protocols. And understanding their implications and limits may help us to think around the box, to give way for the much larger, interdependent contexts of each community’s stories:
Given that communities all have their own interests, characteristics, culture, and language, how to make sense across their boundaries in order to explore and expand their common ground?
To pick up your earlier question regarding an actual proposal, let’s forget about this ontology thing and that mapping process for a moment, and focus on their hypotheses and offered pathways for resolution:
My intuition tells me an inferred proposal could be, that some kind of fuzzy search (recommendation algorithms, based on NLP and automatic classification of media?) will have a higher chance to open up “the space between” the spread (technically federated) but isolated (socially embedded) side-effects of digitally encoded social interaction, than explicitly modelled structured data, even if we’re talking about folksonomic approaches like tagging and social binning through categories/groups.
Please feel invited to recapitulate my summary and discuss the text further in its annotations
For a critical review and conversation around the paper, I have skimmed the Introduction and Conclusion and highlighted (to me) notable sections that make up the text’s core findings (for me):