Thoughtful, interesting responses to my proposal that use from @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp

The proposal is open for six more days, please check it out and share your thoughts.

So, the comments seem to have stopped. I wonder if it makes sense to stick with the original deadline of Feb 26, or just put together a revised proposal now and open a round of voting so we can practice objecting and determining which objections are valid in this framework.

Again the purpose is both a) to think about adopting integrative consent and b) to practice the integrative consent process.

@mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

@Matt_Noyes 1of3
Responding here not loomio so as to be more lightweight. I find I don’t have much enthusiasm for formal group ‘democratic’ process. I’m happy to be guided thro by a skilled facilitator with goodwill, but have reluctance to internalise and be bound by formal group process of any kind, for any purpose. That’s just temperament - not a large group person, a pair or trio person, responding to actual dynamics of that actual pairing.
@michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

@Matt_Noyes 2of3
a) I wouldn’t expect this personal thing to weigh much in the vote. But wonder how many ppl may be in my ‘camp’?
b) When I want to move something significant in the world I approach it as a matter of skilled teaming, with others more ‘groupish’, oriented to accommodation across differences, and we do a lot of diverse ’touching base’. The team does the work, case by case. Builds multi perspective (= consensus??)
@michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

@Matt_Noyes 3of3
Yes labour intensive, only for significant initiatives. No not practicable for admin in a loose coupled community with small things being frequent. But I am unsure how realistic the expectation of formal group process is, or how many ppl in fact subscribe to the model. I respect that it’s de rigeur w some but believe this to be a temperament ’bubble’ rather than a matter of ’science’. And that’s OK but not guaranteed to work.
@michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

@mike_hales @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

I'll try explaining my reaction to this proposal here, first, but may repeat on loomio, depending on responses.

Is an organization or is it one instance (server) in a federated social network, where people signed up for accounts, maybe due to some affinity with the ideas of cooperatives?

part 1 of 2

@mike_hales @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

Part 2 of 2

Or does an organization maintain the instance?

Is it realistic for the members of the instance (the users of the server) to have the same basis of unity as the maintainers?

What democratic protocols are appropriate for which subset of the members of

@mike_hales @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

Part 3 of 2

I should add that I have no problem experimenting with this proposal, but it does make me think of those questions.

@bhaugen @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

This is one reason DisCO interests me. In GT, they have a clear model with three concentric rings: the innermost ring is the co-op members who do the work and admin/management of the co-op. The outermost ring is non-members who do some work but no admin/management. The middle ring is people who are "dating" the co-op, working more closely with the core group and deciding to join (or not).

Could this apply to

> Could this apply to'

I don't think so, but I am not sure I can explain why, and I could also be wrong.

In GT, the work is translating. And the admin/management is about the translating work and its relationship to the source of the material to be translated, where it gets published, why those sources were chosen, how they fit into some political-cultural context, etc etc.

Part 1 of 2

@mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

@Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

Part 2 of 2 (wait, make that 3)

In, the work is maintaining and moderating a Mastodon server. The moderation got very contentious for awhile but then seems to have either settled down or the people who were unhappy left.

Would have been good grounds for a democratic protocol then.

But to try a democratic protocol just for the sake of it seems lifeless.

@bhaugen @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

Eager to see part 3 of 2 ;-), but meanwhile. I think the "work of" is not so narrow as you suggest - again, DisCO is interesting because it integrates care as work. And everyone who toots is producing content and creating (reinforcing) relationships, network building...

I think for some people has more going on than for others. Some of you work and organize and meet together.

I got a few people I work with who are also in, but it's not the focus of our work.

@mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

@bhaugen @Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

I love this thread and the corresponding one on loomio. I think there are a lot of big questions that point to a lot of unfinished discussions we had during the meltdown last year.

I also find myself feeling a slight existential panic about (similar to during the meltdown) and hope others aren't also feeling that way.

> slight existential panic
Yep. This seems to me natural bcos has been a slogan and an ethos and a loose distributed cultural formation, and is still attempting to become an organisation of some kind, which might warrant the description 'coop'?
@bhaugen @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

@mike_hales @emi @bhaugen @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

Interesting! I think of SC as "pleasantly emergent" - whether and how it becomes more formally organized remains to be seen. In the meantime a variety of people, practices, and relationships find space here.

@Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @emi @bhaugen @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti I'm following along with this thread and finding it interesting. I do not feel any existential panic wrt and see it more as "pleasantly emergent", to use Matt's nice turn or phrase. (For me it is primarily an experiment in collectively governed social media platform, the fact that it attracts folks interested in cooperatives is a pleasant side effect.)

@emi @bhaugen @Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin has created a set of shared principles yet? One that all members have understood and actively opted into? The focus on process seems misguided until there is a shared understanding of purpose and principles.

@elplatt @bhaugen @Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin

Hmmm what a conundrum! How should facilitate a process in which we decide on shared principles and purpose?

@bhaugen Things in Scuttlebutt seem to resolve into 'the project leadership'. Benevolent dictators like so much FLOSS practice? I don't see anything there on evolutionary process. Just principles. I'm not disparaging, just saying I don't see the kind of process framing we're seeking.

@elplatt @emi @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin

Scuttlebutt relied on a couple of founding leaders for a long time but things have evolved into multiple related projects with different leaders that are still recognizably in the same network.

They don't use the kind of process framing you are seeking, but the question was about decentralized networks and principles.

They have several times iterated on a set of principles and seem to mostly live by them.

@elplatt @emi @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin

@bhaugen The key thing w Scuttlebutt seems to be that it is a development community (based in 'projects') at least as much as it is a digital-social community. And to an extent, they do have a geography dynamic or context too (NZ?) even though globally distributed?
@elplatt @emi @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin

Show newer

@Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

Part 3 of 3

What if, or some people in, started to use the social medium to organize something cooperative (beyond the social chatter, that does something in what kids these days call real life?

My fave would be a cooperative of cooperatives, but you may have other ideas.

Might have more grist for the mill?

@bhaugen ‘organise something cooperative’?
Yep. That’s the sort of thing I was proposing with my ‘core list’ of shared concerns in our broad discussion some months back. I think it will involve expanding into other tools/platforms - wiki/fedwiki maybe. A repo of commoned coop knowhow. So not a coop of coops perhaps (since individuals would participate too) but a cultural commons. One of the things DisCO is built for.
@Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti

@mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti @SocialCoop

So it turns out that splitting the conversation into two threads, one on Loomio and one on Mastodon, makes it more difficult to document the process and respond to the concerns. Because you have to work through two threads and because the thread on Mastodon broadened beyond the original proposal. So, it seems that good practice is for discussions of proposals made on Loomio to be carried out on Loomio.

I broke out of Loomio into Mastodon bcos I wanted to be more informal, to chat and extend rather than to DEBATE in a formal polis/demos, formal for/against kind of way. I guess I don’t believe in binding decisions (as distinct from straw polls), certainly, not in loosely bonded collectives. And don’t wish to contribute to expectations of that kind of process. So here I am, in Mastodon 😉
@michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti @SocialCoop

@mike_hales @Matt_Noyes
I am finding both discussions to be at least "interesting" but the mastodon one moreso (so far).

(By "interesting" I mean that both interest me, I have been paying attention, and that the differences between the discussions suggest something interesting about forms of organization.

@michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti @SocialCoop

@mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti @SocialCoop


Interesting -- it's true that the shift to discussion here generated a looser, more extensive, and freer dialogue about issues raised by the proposal. That reveals something about the integrative approach, which assumes a set group of people (like a team or working group) and a particular type of discussion that "stays on topic" that is on the proposal. But we may want to broaden the topic, or go "off topic."

@mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti @SocialCoop


The integrative approach is not intended to be a formal yes/no debate, nor is it intended to generate decisions that are binding on members who oppose them. It is about arriving - or not - at consent so that members can take initiative.

So my model proposal may not be a great example, since it suggested some kind of "thou shalt" imposed on SC, instead of an "I'd like to." (The amended proposal does not do that.)

@Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop This aligns with what I've experienced with IDM in my workplace: it is less conducive to deep / wide conversation, and instead focuses the interaction around some action or decision that the proposer wants to get consent for.

(In the context of my workplace, "consent" seems like a weird euphemism for "permission", but that's another conversation.)

@anaulin @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop

Your workplace experience of this is really interesting. Assuming your workplace is not democratically organized, it seems like IDM could be problematic. Consensus and consent without equal standing become something like soft coercion and seeking permission?

@Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop Yep, I consider it somewhat problematic in my workplace. I sense that it was introduced as a way of being "biased to action" and to "encourage experimentation", but without much analysis of power dynamics. There's something in there also about wanting to "be efficient" and not wanting to have long consensus-seeking conversations.

(Scare quotes brought to you by my exhaustion with corporate speak.)

I do suspect that
>long consensus-seeking conversations
(or actually, collaborations, and protracted mutual 'labours of valuing'?) may be the only way generate a consensus that 'binds' in the face of other (tacit) bonds. The prior bonds that existed 'in the first place', 'in society' - class, colour, gender, temperament, etc etc - are hard to match with token process?
@Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop

@anaulin @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop

Really interesting. So IDM needs to be used in a context of equally shared power and accompanied by other types of discussion in which consensus can be cultivated?

> other types of discussion
Uh huh. But maybe, *collaboration*? Back again, to the question: what is our core common project here? Among the "small number of active members"?
@anaulin @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop

@mike_hales @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop "What is our common project here?" is a really good question.

Do we even have a "common project" here? Do we need to have one?

If was simply a Mastodon instance governed by those of it's members who care to engage in governance, that would be enough for me. But I sense others yearn for more active cooperation and experimentation.

I know that subsets of the population do work together in different contexts.

I would be interested in more collaboration among the subsets.

@mike_hales @Matt_Noyes @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop

@Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop I do think that IDM needs to be complemented by other practices that foster relationship building, mutual understanding and alignment (which is not quite the same as consensus, in my mind).

@mike_hales @anaulin @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop

So this is one current. And for operations we also want something like consent, right?
Do we need both?

I don't hold any sense that "thou shalt" behaviour is going on here! I just don't believe that formal processes for consensus - or a formal consensus result, for that matter - are necessarily worth the labour that they exact from participants, or can in fact be expected to be binding. I'm not experienced in this kind of practice (no surprises there!) but have a hunch straw polls might be somewhere around the optimum.
@michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti @SocialCoop

@mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti @SocialCoop

Thanks! I find this discussion really educational.

About formality: Right now we (SC) practice a mixture of loose consent (ops teams in synchronous zoom calls), small turnout votes on Loomio, and general reliance on a small number of active members. That is a kind of formality of its own, just not very intentional, and it involves a lot of unevenly distributed labor. Can/should we alter our de facto formal processes?

It is important for any organization to routinely return to the visioning board, with a strong "why", you can do almost any "how". To gain momentum we need a strong mission and vision statement. What are our aspirations for this platform?

@Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @anaulin @johnkuti @SocialCoop

@Matt_Noyes @Jon_Envisioneer @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @johnkuti @SocialCoop

I get the sense that folks are interested in experimentation with democratic governance, but I wonder if at this stage something like IDM or a retreat are solutions in search of a problem.

Is there an actual problem we're trying to solve in this conversation? A project we want to move forward?

Jon, @emi can tell you more about previous efforts to clarify members' aspirations for, FYI.

Thanks Ana, I would love to learn more about these aspiration efforts if @emi would like to tell me.


I'd be happy to share, and maybe we can use that as a launch point for future brainstorming and new ideas for future engagement?

@anaulin @Matt_Noyes @Jon_Envisioneer @mike_hales @michaelafisher @Zee @mattcropp @SocialCoop @emi

Gathering information about co-op governance and trying out different approaches could be a project aim in itself. I joined partly to see what could be adopted as a model for other online collective ventures that I'm thinking of attempting.
The search started with this 3-way typology: representative, participatory and deliberative...

@johnkuti - apolgoies, mastodon is not a great way to get my attention, I mostly join and skim it once a month or so.

@Matt_Noyes Maybe we can have mini retreats with each other who already in our region, I know a full global would be best but that is expensive. The product of Guerrilla translation is material translations, although our "Service" is a mastodon instance, I think we all want more than just maintaining a mastodon instance. We want a real solidarity community. But we do need a process for gaining clarity on our mutual visions. It would be hard to do virtually, but we can try something.

It would be interesting to hear everyones' vision. My vision would be to create a social networking platform that embody the solidarity economy values and a platform that can help manifest . I don't really want an alternative to twitter, I want a new paradigm shifting tool that empowers us to have relationships where we truly care for one another and collaborate to build a world that transcends the for-self economy.
@Matt_Noyes @mike_hales @michaelafisher @anaulin @SocialCoop

Chapter 8. Developing a Strategic Plan | Section 2. Proclaiming Your Dream: Developing Vision and Mission Statements | Main Section | Community Tool Box (

Sign in to participate in the conversation

A Fediverse instance for people interested in cooperative and collective projects.