User Guide to COWABOO
What is this for ?

COWABOO is an open source tool built on p2p technology that enables online collaboration and cooperation.

What can you do here?

After you sign up, you can browse through existing work stations which we call 'observatories'. You can find observatories by searching for tags (keywords) on the cowaboo platform. You can contribute to existing observatories by adding to existing entries, or writing new entries; or you can start a whole new observatory. One important aspect of all the things you can do here is tagging - in order to enable people to find your work, you always want to make sure you identify the relevant tags for your contribution.

Since the primary goal is to enable cooperation and collaboration, each observatory is a space to work together on a specific and well-defined research topic - to collect relevant research material, write, edit, rewrite in a group. This includes 'Information' on the observatory on your left, the list of existing entries in the middle, and various tools for interaction on the right.



In COWABOO you are in control of all the underlying protocols of how your group works. In this section you can find a brief summary of the current rules and here you can also change them.


This is your main workspace. When you click on an entry, the content of the entry will be displayed here. If you want to contribute to the entry, you click on the appropriate button and this window will become editable. If you start a new entry, this is where you can put the text of your contribution. In time this can include images, videos and maps, as well as text.

Another possibility to add here is a tree structure for the entries - at the moment every entry is the same level, but clearly, there will always be 'main entries' (H1, H2, H3) which need to be in specific order, and sub-entries, bibliographies, etc.


To enable smooth collaboration and a spirit of cooperation, you can not only invite people to join your observatory, but also there is a chat function on the right, which makes synchronous and asynchronous communication possible. This is the 'community space' where you can ping others, ask questions, or ask for clarification or reference.

Another aspect of community work here is voting (AGREE with a new contribution) and earning 'energy' points. Your contributions earn you points, and your votes cost you points. A block chain keeps track of all transactions.

What else can be done here?

Apart from establishing the main protocols for the community working on your observatory (left column); writing, editing, tagging (middle); and community building (right) you can also earn and spend 'energy'. Contributing to a research project (by proposing an entry) earns you energy, and voting (reading and thinking about other people's input) makes you spend energy. The idea is to keep these two in balance - there is a limit to both how much you can earn and how much you can spend. This accounting is based on the Mutual Credit idea.