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Time Politics
of Doodle Polls


 The Time Politics of Doodle Polls and Anarchic Community Management



       Time management strategies for small communities are needed to promote deep communication and efficacious conflict resolution before it burgeons into an issue of greater scale. I have lived in a small community entitled The Homestead for one and three-fourth years. I see people come and leave; the space degrades and is organized; the spirit of the community shifts back and forth. Despite the many changes that are involved with staying in a community that, by its own nature, introduces new individuals and sees old members leave at a high frequency, I have noticed that people’s conception of “communal time” is consistent throughout my experience within the community. It is an anarchic conceptualization of time that values everyone’s time equally. This idea of time carries to all decisions made by the community; it is aided by a surprisingly anarchist technology: the Doodle Poll.

       I am not saying Doodle Poll was made for anarchist communities, in fact I believe the opposite. I am asserting that the current societal understanding of time has influenced the formation of this technology and the technology’s effect after use.

       Synchronizing temporalities is an essential part of anarchism. Meetings are necessary to enable community functioning. A meeting is a time period in which the community joins in order to deliberate to CONSENSUS [1] about a variety of topics. Many individuals today do not consider reaching unanimous support as an option because the concept of consensus has been lost from democracy after regions under democratic rule were expanded enough to where at least one person statistically had to be unhappy with any decision that was made. There is an implicit assumption in “purely democratic” societies that the majority wins, no matter the cost that the minority pays. This differs significantly from Anarchism, which is founded upon the concept of consensus (i.e: the suffering of the minority is noted and mitigated until the minority group feels comfortable with the conclusion reached).


      I will now elucidate the implicit time politics of the website in question. Doodle Poll is a simple technology. You make polls that ask what day a group can schedule in a meeting. There’s a number of extra details that can be added to these polls. The scheduling can be detailed by setting potential clock-times down to the quarter-hour that participants may choose from. The poll can be set so that participants double-click a time to indicate that the time is "less than ideal". This is our first implicit statement by the website: people’s time should be respected.

       Many other scheduling applications or softwares have binary states that leave no room for middle ground. Others have “Maybe” options that are not focused on ensuring every individual can experience the meeting. Doodle Polls more complex intermediary state may be confusing at first, but it is far more useful to someone planning a meeting where every individual must attend. The connotation of the phrase “Not Ideal” reads compassionately. A polite, yet sure reply that is characteristic of the self-awareness required for a smooth entrance into anarchic society.


       In “Speed Traps and the Temporal”, Sarah Sharma asserted that everybody was experiencing a speed-up currently, in a way that was unexplored and obfuscated (2017). Time is viewed primarily as a resource to buy, sell, or keep and “use” for oneself by those in a capitalist society (e.g.: weavers) (Glucksmann 1998). However, this is only looking at the world through a large-scale cultural zeitgeist. In our day-to-day actions, we are reminded that most people are looking to respect our time preferences. Friends apologize for being a little late. Professors rush into class muttering a, “Sorry for the wait”: these are examples of the way that external pressures (corporations, governments, etc.) inform our relationships to our inner circle of friends and acquaintances. If the pressures of the world restrict and confuse time, many people cope with this by recognizing and mitigating this suffering for others. Order out of chaos, the concept of "self-management" becomes that of "self-government" in anarchies ( 2020).

       This respect for our proverbial brother’s time is emblematic of an egalitarian framework of human time. Egalitarianism isn’t extant in corporate and government hegemony. Doodle Poll is working at the acquaintance-level, valuing everybody’s time.


       The second aspect of this influence is the “print-out”. After participants have taken the poll, a sheet of times is “printed” on the computer screen. The scheduler can see everyone’s most preferred times in a table (Fig. 1). It’s a simple process to cross-reference the preferred times of each person and determine a time that minimizes suffering and maximizes temporal synchronicity. This process is seen in anarchic community management. A facilitator is chosen for each meeting in order to distribute the “wealth” of leadership. No facilitator is more important than another because the position is inherently temporary. The scheduler is a similar transitory appointment for members of small communities. Though they deal with time, not policy organization.




Figure 1. Doodle Poll with Three Participants. There is one time that works for all these individuals. However, one other time exists that all individuals could make. If the decision was made too quickly without this poll, the March 3rd time that is not ideal for “Cain” could have been chosen, assuming that it was the only potential solution.


      Doodle Poll is influenced by the acquaintance-level, egalitarian framework for time management that respects all people’s time. Speed-up and monetary commodification is mitigated. Businesses and governments also benefit from this technology because they require swift meeting planning too. Their anxieties about time are, if anything, more extreme, so the efficiency of Doodle Poll must be quite appreciated. Their time concept is not anarchic, but they use some of the same values when acting on the “human” scale.    




Works Cited (March 1st, 2020). What could the social structure of anarchy look like?


Doodle. (March 1st, 2020). Doodle Poll. Doodle.




Glucksmann, M.A. (1998). 'What a Difference a Day Makes': A Theoretical and Historical

Exploration of Temporality and Gender. Sociology 32(2): 239-258.


Sharma, S. (2017). “Speed Traps and the Temporal: Of Taxis, Truckstops, and Taskrabbits”. Wacjman, J. and Dodd, N. (eds.). The Sociology of Speed: Digital, Organizational, and Social Temporalities. Oxford University Press.


[1] Consensus refers to unanimous passing of decisions.

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