Adding a 3rd membership class: Collaborating membership

over the last months we have had discussions in various moments and situations about adding a 3rd membership class, the Collaborator Membership.

Why adding a 3rd class, was 2 classes not already complex enough?

  • Consider that Ops Members commit to operational work in a formal commitment to run the business, attend at least 50% of All Hands meetings which for several organisations has shown to be more than they can commit to, or more than is needed in other cases. Some ops members of the past have become “inactive ops members” by not complying with the minimum. That’s ugly for all involved, while we still want their participation.
  • Consider that User Members contribute with their usage, and maybe active in the community but without committing to any responsible operational role.
  • That leaves us with organisations like Platoniq / Goteo Foundation who contribute with promoting in their commons crowdfunding network as per agreement, Koumbit who provides community datacenter services in Montreal, OpenCollective who provide the financial contributions platform and so on. Each one of them is very valuable for our collective, but we can’t really group them under any of the previous two membership classes.
  • Note also that we are in conversations with various organisations, some of the represented in the new Board, but also other likeminded orgs who would like to collaborate with us. Especially for promotional activities, communication and outreach.

Therefore we propose to add the Collaborative Members class, a very flexible one that allows us to make an agreement with any organisation that wants to make a relevant contribution to our mission - and we feel happy with, after due approval of course.

I have gone through the existing Membership Class Definition that we approved in July 2020 and cleaned it up in some places, and added this new class to it. Note that I took out the Reseller options, not because I think we don’t need that, but because I think it doesn’t belong to the Membership Definition. Do check if things are better now in below draft document.

Draft 2022 Membership Definition

I approached this membership definition in another way, building on @wouter 's draft. See here membership and contribution 2022 draft-v2

Graham (in email) has been concerned about rigid classification of members, forming a tacit hierarchy. This draft has three classes that are distinguished by three distinct kinds of commitment to contribute in the commons. I hope that seems simple and practical. People do have different commitments. This is the same differentiation that Wouter proposed.

Graham was keen to promote and recognise actual contributions very flexibly (perhaps including ‘tags’ of some kind) so that any member can voluntarily and opportunistically make many kinds of contribution, and get recognition of an appropriate kind. This draft introduces contribution accounting as a central principle intended to deal explicitly with this. This begins to lay a basis for contributions in differently pitched ‘businesses’ (platform business, conversations business, infrastructuring business, etc) some of these recognised by financial payments and prioritised (as livelihood work), some being recognised in-kind or by ‘cultural’ tags (as internal ‘care work’, maybe) and some being purely voluntary contributions to community development, business development, community capability and commons stewardship.

The draft also refers to privilleges and obligations for contributors in various locations in the commons: operational spaces, user-accessible spaces, the Board, the Forum, the General Assembly, All-hands, commons.hour. Thus it begins to specify opportunities for contribution in governance, open to all kinds of members.

Rather than voting rights of stakeholder classes (traditional coop), the basis of this is privileges and obligations of voluntary contributors in a commons (an ecology of plural diverse actual contributions).

thanks Mike, I think your version is better, embedding the membership definition in the contribution accounting practice that we are developing. I have cleaned up some repetitions here and there. Interested to hear what the test thinks about this Membership Definition 2022 draft v2.

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I’d vote yes to this proposal - OPEN would prefer to be a Collaborative Member, rather than inactive Ops member


that’s great to have OPEN as collaborative member. Please do vote this 3rd class into life :slight_smile:

that’s great to have OPEN as collaborative member. Please do vote this 3rd class into life :slight_smile:

(we’d still need a better voting mechanism integrated into Discourse, but this is what we have for now)