Peer Economy

This is a concept for a resource sharing network which could run in Crabgrass.


I am looking for an alternative resource sharing tool to share all sorts of resources (from cars to seeds, couches to skills, etc.), as the one technical implementation I know of is sort of dead (it´s buggy, without development, user-unfriendly). I thought Crabgrass could help, without the imminent need to produce a new software tool, as it contains already all technical aspects on a very low level.

Please feel free to comment or ask for editing permissions.

Questions in the preface

  1. Is there already a working CG-group/network for sharing all sorts of resources?
  2. Is there some other resource sharing plattform, which is working, user-friendly and contains a critical mass of peers?
  3. Is there a necessity to bring about some new impulse?
  4. What organisational structure could this network have?
  5. more to come

General Concept

  • the resource sharing network should be open to any CG member, therefore a critical mass of users and resources is potentially already existent
  • it should be more about connecting individuals than groups, as a sharing contract can be agreed on more easily, if the number of involved peers is not more than two; this also solves the problem of deflected responsibility: people may borrow something on behalf of a group, but they stay the responsible person in terms of the concluded agreement
  • groups or committees could be organised either geographically or on a subject level, maybe even both

How could it work?

  • a member creates at least two wiki pages following a certain template: one for resources it wants to share and one for resources it is in need of
    • it could be a plain list, a structured list, whatever, but all resources should generally be tagged so the document becomes searchable (as soon as full text search is implemented this becomes secondary)
  • general and specific terms of use could be stated, too, so people know beforehand on what grounds sharing could take place
  • more pages could be created within the specific group/committee containing either recources which are only physically available on a local level or concerning a certain subject
  • the content is easily searched through the existent CG search tool, using available filters

Technical questions

  1. Is there a difference between tags and full text based search?
  2. Which membership structure is best, making resources available on the on hand (i.e. searchable) without creating informational redundancy to the individual member?
    1. If I´m part of the network/the group, how can the info on updates be held small, while giving full access to data on a search-level
  3. Is there a catch? Something painfully obvious, which makes this idea total difficult/nonsensical?

Next steps

  • Spread the word
  • get people involved
    • get answers/raise more questions
    • discuss/evaluate
    • make a improved general concept
    • collectively create a network/group
  • individually list resources
  • share resources
  • keep high-level awareness to have uptodate data and a high level of exchange
    • evaluate
    • tweak for improvements
    • implement
  • go back to square 1 (bring process on the next level)

(BTW: that´s practical permaculture, not much to it, ey?)


Here the space to try different examples of informational structure. Add a wiki page, with a short explaination of your ideas behind the structure. Give instructions how this pages can be searched for specific data.


i like the idea very much, although I can not imagine an ease way to sort the data in cg.

imagine someone has three questions:

  • who offers to share a washing machine in my street?
  • what are all the things needed in my town?
  • who wants to sell a bus (anywhere)

Hey Kardan,

thanks for commenting. I know, it´s more sort of a crutch than a proper tool. I like the idea, too, as not much needs to be implemented and it serves all CG-users instantly (no need to sign up to something new, get used to the modus operandi).
Answers to your questions:

  1. search “name of the network”,“offer”,“washing machine”,“mytownname”
  2. search “name of network”,“needed”, “mytownname”
  3. search “name of network”,“for sale”, “bus”
  4. Use filters according to your needs

Actually I am clueless about the structure of the network, but I expect you geeks to bring forth a solution. E.g. a board of people, i.e. the Admin Council keep an eye of the logical and semantical structure of groups/committees.

Waddya tink?

As groups and committees are potentially open, users simply join and leave groups according to their search needs, just as we do it already. At the moment, as soon as you are a member of some group all the data within this group becomes searchable. So, e.g. when I am looking for a place to stay in Hamburg I join the “hamburg resource sharing group” and look around for a B&B. As soon as I found it, made an agreement with the other user, I can leave. Resources bound to a certain subject should be matter of a seperate page, which are only connected to subject-related groups, they may still appear on a geographical orientated page. By sharing this page with a certain group it becomes available to the pool of resources. Well, does that make things appear clearer?


i see, search could be a good start to keep it simple.

People would need to use serveral KEYWORDS very disciplined. I’ll try to structure that system a bit:

1. There is a network ‘Peer Economy’.
2. For every bigger region (state / district) you have one group like ‘berlin’ or ‘altmark’.
3. every town or village there is one wiki page
4. To insert a resource on that page, i would enter either my nickname, my address and if necessary the borough1

I would open the page ‘Riebau’ in the group ‘Altmark’ with the content:

Dorfsrasse 78a NEEDS hot water tank (kardan)
Dorfsrasse 78a OFFERS car tyres, several sizes (kardan)
Dorfsrasse 78a SHARES welder (kardan)

To add the own name in brackets is quite handy, as other are able to contact me.
I think, this solution could be established right now. However the long term solution should be a database with a neat interface.

Btw. I dont think is buggy and unusable. Instead I like it and also know the developer very well and how much time he spent for this. Lets use it!

1 crabgrass offers the field ‘location’ for each user and group. with this, there would be the possibility to visualize all this on a map.


Hey, that´s an interesting start. I know, you geeks want info always to be packed nicely in databases, accessible through a comfortable GUI. I think an important aspect is to give the possibility to insert batch data, to prefabricate a list offline and easily bring it online. Whopools didn´t have this, which makes a whole lot of work, once you try to list up all books in your book shelve.
So one aspect of informational structure could be to write data in a way, that it can be easily thrown into a later database, to be processed. has this disfunctional feature of skills, which would be helpful. But then again, a major aspect of the idea is that resource sharing works with the existing, given assets within CG (within the CG work realm, the tsolife feature is not really needed). I mean, it´s like you let somebody bleed to death, just because there is no ambulance around. Wouldn´t you try to stop the bleeding with what´s at hand? Aspects of use should come naturally, limiting technical borders to the most necessary extent.

I didn´t mean to discredit the efforts of the developer, which is totally not my intention. I´d love to see it grow to a new bloom, actually, if development would proceed, I´d be more than happy. Some (to me important) aspects make it nevertheless difficult to use (I didn´t say “unusable”):

  • missing batch upload (missing for a long time)
  • integration in a multi-functional environment/community (i hate to manage a multitude of accounts, I love swiss army knives)
  • there were some strange bugs, which I cannot recall, but they were sort of enerving
  • to make resource sharing easy within an instant in CG: no/little extra knowledge needed, familiar GUI workflow structure

In response to you second question:

Is there some other resource sharing plattform, which is working, user-friendly and contains a critical mass of peers?

Have you looked at the list of ‘Related projects’?
I guess you’ve probably heard of already.
I think it has a number of shortcomings – e.g. you have to select resources from a pre-defined list, and you can only offer – never request – tools/help.
But it’s reasonably well-organised and has a large user-base.

There is also a resource-sharing platform for the Zeitgeist movement: .
I signed up but haven’t used it (partly because I have reservations about the ideology of the movement).
Then there is also .
I signed up for that too, but the project seems to be dormant at the moment.

Is there a necessity to bring about some new impulse?

I feel that there is, yes.
Very much so.
Something like a non-centralized version of the Zeitgeist movement maybe?

I don’t have an answer for the other questions you have raised, but wanted to express my interest.
If or the crabgrass team were to implement such a facility, I would almost certainly use it.

I think location data is important.
Not necessarily a map even, but some mechanism which allowed one to search by location or proximity.

Just so there is no ambiguity, I would like to clarify one thing: this would be about sharing – rather than some sort of barter or exchange – right?


Hello dslc,

thank you for your input, I’ll dig it as soon as I find time for it (which becomes pretty scarce right now). To your last question: it is first of all about sharing, but does not base on specific presumptions concerning the mutual agreement. In my eyes this does not necessarily exclude bartering or exchanging. To me, this is contextual, sometimes I share, sometimes I barter, and even sometimes I buy. Undogmatic approach :).




Regarding whopools : as far as I know the source code for the software that runs it is available, and is free and open-source software.
Maybe it would be worth looking at adapting that (introducing a map etc.)? Or at least learning from it?
Maybe the original developer would even allow the changes to be re-implemented into the current website (which would obviate the need to try to re-build a user base).
If the whopools developer is not part of this group already, maybe one of us should invite him here?

Just a thought.


Hi nemo.
Maybe this is slightly off-topic, but I just wanted to comment on the notion of ‘dogma’ briefly.

I understand your wariness of dogma.
But I don’t think this exonerates us from trying to be as rigorous as possible, or from ensuring that we’re all on the same wavelength, or from aspiring to a high standard.
I don’t think it exonerates us from trying to indicate very clearly what we are aspiring to by being part of a project like this.
As long as there is no coercion involved, as long as no one is being forced to participate, I don’t think there’s any harm in trying to discern the potential scope of a project like this.

Part of my concern arises from the observation that fans of alternative currencies, LETSs and other exchange systems often try to muscle in on these sort of initiatives.
It’s something maybe to be wary of.

I have no desire or intention to inhibit people’s freedom of speech or action.
But at the same time, I am not willing to provide a platform for, or participate in, practices that I see little or no merit in (e.g. barter, alternative currencies, etc.).


hey dslc,

you may call me “nemo” if you like. i am no coder. so if someone else gets the job done to improve or develop the code, I have nothing but the greatest respect (which I have to the original developer(s) anyway). just do it. I only chip in, according to my available resources, which are translation, structural design (novice), and workability.

If it can be implemented into Crabgrass I cannot fathom, I don´t know if it´s wanted (maybe as a checkable extra feature, which can be subscribed from within the personal profile). But sure, do invite the developer. As I recall, kardan knows him personally.

Concerning your input, on aspiring high quality exchange on a certain dedicated level, I go with you. Right now, my assets within aren´t that big. So if someone brings about some impulse, I actually might work with it. I personally have little experience with alternative trading systems, be it a separate currency or something comparative. Personally I just realize, mutual agreements which are documented are much more important, than dogmatic issues. People tend to find common ground, but whether they are able or willing to document it (which gives possibilities to track-back processes) is a trait that is little developed.

All the best.