Governance Model

We discussed the need to draft and adopt a governance model for our Meet.coop multi-stakeholder cooperative. Some existing resources:

Some questions that I hope we’d have more clarity after this process:

  1. How do we make decisions together?
  2. How do we managed money and compensate for labour?
  3. How will these embed our organizational values? (What are our organizational values? Here are some words from the pad [ commons - cooperativism - grassroots ] but how did they come into existence?)
  4. How do these get captured in our processes and external communications (Member share of democratic control? Transparent financials via OpenCollective?)

If anyone wants to add their ideas, please add to this thread before Tuesday, when @mikemh @wouter and I will meet to get pulling something together.

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I’m available after 10:30 BST (11:30 CET). What suits you @wouter @benhylau?

Anyone else wanting to join us in this? We’ll bring something to next week’s Thursday whole-community meeting.

Same as @mikemh on availability

Great, @mikemh and @benhylau, let’s stick to that, Tuesday 23/06 10:30BST/11:30CEST.

this is just crazily complicated for anyone other than a co-op geek: https://wiki.meet.coop/wiki/Membership - so very few people will do it!
Could we not form a new co-op as an unincorporated association (i.e. no legal entity or model rules required at this stage) which is made up of all existing member orgs - in order to remove the complicated “decide which co-op you want to join” stage !?!?! - Encouraging new members to join 1 of 3 existing co-ops is not a good starting point for meet.coop imho

Can I set up an open collective page (I would be happy to host this under https://opencollective.com/open_coop for no fee - although open collective do take 5%) so new members can pay us easily that way?

Yesterday I drafted a plan that would fit in with your marketing proposals:

https://wiki.meet.coop/wiki/Service_levels

But today I had second thoughts and posted an alternative proposal here:

https://wiki.meet.coop/wiki/Co-op_of_co-ops

This second proposal is closer to the current structure on the membership page:

https://wiki.meet.coop/wiki/Membership

These are useful proposals - I’m not sure about the best way to comment on them…? but just quickly my initial thoughts are that (and this is proving how we need to do the governance / co-op design work first, before we can start marketing etc…) we would be better as a Multi-stakeholder co-op with a few different member classes:

  • Individual customers (who just want it to work… but not do work)
  • Organisational customers (made up of people who just want it to work… but not do work)
  • Workers (who run the co-op and the severs )

If we only hope to serve ourselves and other co-ops then a multi-stakeholder co-op as above is not relevant… but I think we are missing a trick by not offering meet.coop services to the wider world - and making it as easy as possible for people to give us their money - instead of giving it to zoom!

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Marketing Meet.coop

On the co-op of co-ops wiki page I drafted yesterday the suggestion was a multi-stakeholder co-operative made up of producer and consumer co-operatives — I think we could omit individuals and still be a multi-stakeholder co-operative, with individuals having the option to join the producer and / or consumer co-operatives who offer membership to individuals — at least three of them do allow individuals to join, CommonsCloud, May First and Webarchitects and perhaps some others do as well?

I’m not convinced that we should have individual customers at a meet.coop level, it would mean duplicating of a lot of existing infrastructure (legal structures, invoicing systems, accounting procedures etc) and this would add complexity but I’m not sure that this would be a benefit. I think this might be best left to be managed by the existing co-ops in their respective countries as is currently the case, for example CommonsCloud in Spain, Collective.Tools in Sweden and Webarchitects in the UK and so on…

All of these co-ops already offer services to individual consumers and organisatons, albeit not BigBlueButton services:

I think that for the above organisations it might make sense for them to have branded Greenlight containers, for example Webarchitects could have at meet.webarch.coop and May First might want one at bbb.mayfirst.coop and so on, if they want them, with accounts on these containers provided / sold / managed directly by these co-ops for their clients and members. Some or all of these co-ops would probably also want to sell branded Greenlight containers to their clients (who might not be co-operatives) and in these cases their clients would manage their own accounts.

I think the following co-operatives might sell hosted services to clients, or perhaps they only provide services to clients other than hosting (please correct me here!)?

I’m less clear on how exactly these co-operatives fit into a producer / consumer co-operative model, however if any of these co-operative wanted to start selling branded Greenlight containers or to be provided with branded containers on which they can sell or give away accounts directly to consumers then this is an option, for example you could have a meet.open.coop Greenlight container and manage and sell accounts for this service.

I’ve moved some posts to this thread that were originally on the Marketing Meet.coop and I have added added an event to the top post so it appears in the forum calendar and I have enabled RSVPs for it so you can tick a box to indicate if you attending.

Both good points! I would agree with leaving it the coop level but then again, I imagine that will totally confuse new customers. They’ll come to the meet.coop site and then when they get to the sign-up page, they’ll be confronted by the fact that they need to investigate and find a co-op that works for them and re-sells the meet.coop BBB service.

One attempt to solve this that I have seen is the https://chatons.org/en/ “find a service provider” form: https://chatons.org/en/find (unfortunately in FR but you’ll get the idea). CHATONS is a platform for a whole bunch of service providers and users can find the right one that works for them from there. I can imagine we could emulate this type of form with a few simple buttons which then selects a provider and takes them directly to their sign up page? That would take some coordination but might work…

Another approach is the “pick a mastodon instance” site for https://instances.social. Not very fancy but you can also get the idea here. Guide the user through some basic questions and get straight into sign-up.

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this is the KEY point… if it is not SUPER easy people will not do it…
making joining meet.coop as easy as possible (i.e. even easier thena joining Zoom) should be a TOP priority imho

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I’m afraid it isn’t going to be super easy in the near future and I think this is unavoidable.

For it to be super easy we would need automated account creation and account deletion and account migration between Greenlight containers when service levels change and also account cancellation. None of this is in place and it would be a significant amount of work to write the software to enable this to be fully automated — it doesn’t currently exist…

I have floated the idea that this might be something we could work on together with ColloCall on to @hng in our IRC channel, but it would be complicated software project and with the best will in the world it would probably be months of work before we had something that we were able to deploy for production use even if we start on a specification for it today.

All my suggestions are based on what we can do in the next few weeks with the hardware, software, knowledge and skills that we currently have.

We will soon have the potential to spin up multiple Greenlight containers with different branding and different service levels. These containers will require manual account maintenance unless they are linked to to external authentication systems, however we haven’t yet had the time or resources to experiment with external authentication systems.

This means that when someone fills in a form and provides payment for an account we will then need somebody to manually login into the correct container and create the account and then send the user an email to inform them that their account has been created and that they can now reset their password and then login and start using the service (there is a CLI command for account creation however the corresponding commands for listing accounts, updating accounts and removing accounts are missing so we don’t have the underlying tools to start building from).

The work of account creation and maintenance is going to be tedious and laborious — I’m speaking from experience of having to do this for several systems already, this is why I’m of the view that we should delegate as much of this work as possible, the more organisations who are in charge of the account creation and maintenance the better, we will need to spread this load as much as we can.

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I’m interested in attending this meeting, but the time is too early for me here near Toronto. I’m a member of Digital Life Collective, and I’m interested in how it is currently relating to meet.coop. Does it need to do like it seems webarchitects has done and create a special class of shares that distinguishes who are meet.coop members?

Also, living in Canada, I am interested in what options I will have to contribute to meet.coop with Canadian dollars.

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I don’t think meet.coop should be led by the technology - or what software already exists…

I think we should aspire to being great and providing a great service… for anyone who wants to ditch Zoom and become part of a cooperative future. To me that means we set our sights high and work around any tech issues… I completely understand that we need to be pragmatic about

what we can do in the next few weeks with the hardware, software, knowledge and skills that we currently have.

But I don’t think that (i.e. what we can do in the next few weeks) should have anything to do with our “governance model” (which is now the title of this thread…) in fact, I don’t think governance should be conflated with marketing at all (which is why i started a separate thread about Marketing specifically).

A lot of potential customers will want the services that meet.coop is providing - but will not want anything to do with governance.

I agree with the governance strategy proposed by Benedict (via an email thread):

I’d like us to strike a balance, where we make sign-up really easy, but at the same time allow for paths for anyone to meaningfully participate in decision-making if they want .

me too!

RE enabling people to sign up quickly and easily for meet.coop services (i.e. Marketing!) as @decentral1se said:

I would agree with leaving it the coop level but then again, I imagine that will totally confuse new customers.

Avoiding confusion and making signing up super easy is our KEY goal - if we want customers!??!

And there seems to be some disagreement about this… as @chris said:

I’m not convinced that we should have individual customers at a meet.coop level

So this seems like the first thing we need to agree on … because unless we have some agreement on that we can not design a governance model or any marketing plans…

So maybe that should be a key decision for the meeting tomorrow? - NB what time and where is this meeting?!

Just for clarity (and in case I can not join the meeting) - I’m 100% behind the idea that meet.coop should be able to accept individual customers as I know there is significant interest in such a service - and if it meet.coop does not cater for that need then I think it will miss out on significant revenues and the potential to do many more exciting this once we have developed a strong customer base… but if meet.coop doesn’t want to fill that need then that’s OK too i guess… although I can’t see why meet.coop would pass up on such an amazing opportunity to become a leader in cooperation and collaboration!?

I disagree, I think we can only use (and develop to some degree) the existing technology and tools that exist in the commons, in other words existing Free software programs.

The reason for this is simple — we have very limited resources in terms of time and we have no capital.

I would suggest that these customers should have their services provided by members of meet.coop.

But we can’t automate this in the near future so we can’t scale it — what you are asking for can’t be done.

11:30am CEST / 10:30am BST https://ca.meet.coop/b/wou-cyy-wpt

Hey @robert.best I saw your message but I cannot make it at later times tmr. I have scheduled a medical soon after the meeting hour since @wouter confirmed the time 3 days ago. So if no one objects I’d like to stick with:

11:30am CEST / 10:30am BST https://ca.meet.coop/b/wou-cyy-wpt

I agree with @osb that Governance != Marketing/Sales/Strategy. On the latter, I feel I am mostly in-line with @decentral1se and the resources he shared, but that should not be the focus of tomorrow’s meeting.

For tomorrow, I propose that we start with a modest goal, to come up with one or more options about the following, which we can try to adopt at our weekly meeting:

There have been some email threads going around, sharing resources and early thoughts ahead of the meeting. I feel those conversations are better had on here, so I am sharing some of my thoughts:

I agree that while figuring out Meet.coop service offerings is important as it is something concrete and core to our sustainability, but we more urgently need to codify how our multistakeholder group makes decisions, share work and profits, and the level of transparency we want to commit to.

There is a lot of potential for small local organizations, cooperatives or otherwise, to collectively maintain digital services that otherwise would be hard to provide reliably as a single small org. BBB is one example, community networks as ISP is another (Guifi.net as a multistakeholder example), and I look forward to drawing from previous practices and lessons to build our own commons governance for Meet.coop.

Some thoughts on organizational values and how they may be expressed through our organizational structure, internal processes, and external communications:

[…] how Meet.coop expresses our approach to technology, as a practice vs. as a consumption. Are users participants or consumers?

If we directly copy from what collocall offers to their users, then we aren’t signaling our intentions to engage users as participants. On the other hand, as in the case where "traditional leftist background found it hard to simply change their ways of practicing politics overnight”, it is hard for those who want alternatives to Zoom to all of a sudden learn about cooperative membership in order to hop on a reliable videoconference call. I’d like us to strike a balance, where we make sign-up really easy, but at the same time allow for paths for anyone to meaningfully participate in decision-making if they want.

What Luke says here seems like a good starting point: Governance Model

I think if we can formally codify and socialize how decisions are made by this week’s “everyone meeting”, we have made a huge step forward. We can then set up recurring meetings for the Governance group to work on the other problems, at a more Toronto friendly time :smiley:

I had thought that tomorrow’s meeting was a small group - Wouter, Ben, me - to hack something to bring to Thursday. But, if numbers are piling in to
11:30am CEST / 10:30am BST https://ca.meet.coop/b/wou-cyy-wpt
then here is the rough hack that I made for tomorrow.

It contains some numbers (eg fair use) that are just illustrative, not yet synched with @chris posting above. And there are too many elements posted above to have been able to check whether all are implied in this draft. Thus, view the draft as an attempt to scope the range of governance matters, rather than to focus down on or synthesise a specific proposal yet.

The draft ranges wider than classes of accounts and convenience of the front end for sign-up - which are urgent matters but far from the end of the story. Much of this rough hack derives from the Open2020 conference, including the 12jun session on governance of tool infrastructure, which @wouter ,@petter , @osb and I contributed to.

In the rough hack on governance matters there are some thoughts on individual as well as organisational membership of meet.coop, and the possibility of a ‘crowdfunding’ solidarity relationship for individuals with meet.coop, as ‘funder-contributors’ in a multi-stakeholder assembly.

Notes from our June 23 meeting. @wouter will draft up membership conditions (join, leave, rights, etc.) and current member list on wiki, and @mikemh will make visual representation of it, that we hope to bring to Thursday meeting to discuss.

We are also leaning towards having a dedicated thread where important “official decisions” can be made asynchronously, with sufficient lead time to discuss, and reflect voting rights of the federation’s membership. Also to be discussed on Thursday.

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