It’s what Clay Shirky described as "situational applications". Every day we make applications in response to the demand of that day. Every day it’s a different technological stack. At the core, of course, there’s the parliament itself, industries around it, and because of that on the infrastructure level there needs to be electricity.
There’s electricity for generation. That’s the root of all the things. Then after which there’s the cable, there’s the layout, there’s IP over electric wires, there’s IP over WiMAX, there is IP over Bluetooth, there is IP over a lot of different things.
The idea is that this multiplexed network that provides a very high resiliency of any kind of spectrum period, at any given mode. By the middle of occupying our Chunghwa Telecom, which was the national telecom operator privatized 10 years ago, that’s something they never did.
They ran a fiber-optic line to a street with no address — which might be an interesting violation of their protocol, but they did it anyway — perhaps they really wanted to see high-quality live feeds instead of 480p-feeds.
After they run that fiber then we got a lot more uplink bandwidth, and then was able to offer 1080p-feeds, and some interviews with Al Jazeera, and so on. That’s the second part, the peaceful part of the occupy.
The first part, the more chaotic part of the occupy, was mostly defined by the topology of the parliament street itself. To avoid rumor to spread, we setup a LAN -- a local area network -- and we made projectors that projects whatever happens inside to the street, and whatever happened to the street to the inside, so as to not making the rumor spread.
Rumors spread anyway because people couldn’t hear that well, and they don’t want to open their phone when they hear a rumor saying there’s fire in the parliament or whatever, which is why we took a page from the Internet engineering community.
All the IETF meetings have those real-time stenographers typing in whatever captions to whatever they hear. Stenographic people as early as the second day of the occupy to type whatever they hear inside the parliament.
Then we ran the IRC channel, as a side channel on the projector on the street, so that people can very easily check with their eyes what’s happening. That actually did put a stop to rumors. Then what else? Because we have a transcript now, we were able to collect the transcripts for deliberations on the streets, and the one in the parliament.
Then we put them into hackpads, and then people take the hackpads and work on translations. People would write daily summaries and translate it to maybe 12 languages and so on. What else? There’s logistics, spreadsheet-based logistics of all the resources.
There were equipment and logistics of what you send where, when. When everything turned peaceful, this became an infrastructure of deliberation. That the seven or so sides, physical sides of deliberation each occupied a very different ideological camp, generally find themselves televised, and then transcribed.
Then like the projects that I mentioned, because everything is transcribed, people were able to include each others’ arguments even though they are physically on different side of the streets. It cross-pollinated all the ideological camps. By the end of the occupy, there are stronger, finer consensus emerged where there was none.