Governance Model

When shall the governance circle (?!) meet? Tuesday again? 11:30 CET again? Or something suited to transatlantic timing? do you plan on attending this one? I am available Tuesday between 11:30-14:00 CET and 16:00-18:00 CET. Do these times work for whoever else wants to attend?

@mikemh I know of Sociocracy, Enspiral, and DisCO (as in this?), but have not dug deep into their specific terminologies and processes. That’s why I am trying to stay away from specific terminologies, and would like others who have more background context to weigh in on that. I expressed my general idea toward something that can map to our existing practice and can be implemented in a short time, taking into consideration various discussions that happened over last couple weeks. Please don’t feel the need to take any of my terminologies, I’d much prefer terminologies that are well-established among other communities.

Yes that one. DisCO includes circles as core forms of work organisation. Also contribution accounting. And care work (including work in commons transition - called ‘love work’ by them) alongside livelihood work (paid work for clients). The Enspiral principle of openvalue accounting is included within DisCO’s contribution accounting framework.

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@chris @wouter @osb Is the later time OK for you? So that isn’t precluded from joining? It’s ok for me.

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Anytime is fine for me.

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There’s a lot of ongoing exchange in System architecture and Marketing threads, so this will not match up with what’s current by the time we meet tomorrow or Thursday . . but here is a slide deck that attempts to map dimensions of agile, distributed work organisation and governance design. On one hand, with a view to what might be aiming for. On the other hand, with reference to immediate urgent matters including

  • circle work organisation and agile executive action
  • a assembly and members’ voting rights, and
  • contribution accounting

The slides adopt a basic perspective, that governance and work organisation in have two simultaneous frames:

  • an operational, transactional frame (‘the green box’ in the schemas, on the left) which is inter-organisational, involving accounts, account management, service levels and payments; and
  • a practical, collaborative frame (‘the red box’) that is made up of the specific individuals who in fact are doing the work of making work, in the short- and long-term, via a number of kinds of contributions, contributed in a number of circles which take agile-executive action (within limits to be agreed).

Then, handling governance overall, across both frames

  • an assembly which makes rulings and agrees commitments of, via formal voting rights based on contributions not shareholdings, allocated to various constituencies. The circles bring matters to the assembly’s agenda, including stuff they can’t resolve or is too big. The assembly sets the frame for the circles, between assembly meetings.

The present ad-hoc weekly video forum is unlike any of this, so what its ongoing role will be is unclear. Its contribution will change, once there are circles. This here Discourse forum has a relevance to how circles might choose to operate (fast feedback from interested parties?) but can’t be the mechanism of overall steering, which needs to be a designed, facilitated, ‘democracy event’ of the assembly, on some scale (probably using Consul or suchlike, with prep work done in Discourse and in circles) @petter .

The slide deck has a summary slide - an ‘ontology v0.1’ - which contains terms and relationships that will need to be named and defined in a formal governance agreement.

Depending on what tomorow’s meeting makes of this, I can put some of this into the wiki, where others can hack it?

@benhylau the slide deck I’ve posted doesn’t come as close as I wanted to the groundwork you did earlier, sorry to say. The complexity of this system takes some mapping, and I’ve not had time for thoroughly ‘groundtruthing’ the maps in points raised in the threads. I do still feel though, that what I’m aiming to frame with the maps has basic similariy to where you would like to see things go. Whatever :wink: there will be convergence one day (‘rough consensus and a sustainable running collective’).

Let’s have our meeting at 4 pm CEST on Tuesday (tmr) in the same room with the goal of coming up with a concrete one-pager (no more) that can be distributed to anyone, and from reading that text alone that they will understand what Membership entails (responsibilities and rights) and how decisions are made within the multi-stakeholder cooperative.

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Actually I have just realised that I have another meeting at 3pm BST which is 4pm CEST, could the meeting be moved to be an hour later?

Request: can we convert agreed upon date/times for meetings into threads like Weekly progress meeting: Thursday 2/July which show up on the shared calendar and make it easier to catch when a meeting is coming up? That would be nice since it is hard to catch all the comments, thanks!


any time between midday and 2 would be best for me … otherwise I will be juggling baby (again!_) but will still try to make it…

Between noon and 2pm BST is fine for me.

Let’s make it 12:00 BST (13:00 CEST) at since that works for @chris @osb and a possible time for Toronto.


@decentral1se I am not sure how to do that. I wonder if ^ would do it.


Works! Thanks :slight_smile:

I ended up changing it at the top, replacing last week’s event. I hope I didn’t screw anything up :slight_smile:


thanks, @benhylau! By changing the event we lost last week’s event. Maybe for next time we could open a new topic with the event?

I will see you in a few hours then, looking forward.

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I just started drafting a proposal for that “one-pager” (or two pages if needs be ;-)) on a pad. It’s co-creation, please jump in, or if you consider we’d better do it different, go ahead. During the meeting we can tweak and afterwards we can move it into the wiki.

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See you all there. Thanks @benhylau

@wouter “one-pager” :+1:

After 24 hours gestation I feel that although we had a good meeting yesterday :slightly_smiling_face: : and clarified some dimensions, we haven’t yet nailed the complex relationships between

  • membership classes and service-user accounts
  • worker contributions and consumer/beneficiary obligations
  • circle-organisation of workers, and the mechanisms of autonomy/executive action
  • governance mechanisms for both passive and active coop members (forum/circle/assembly)
  • administration of arrangements for service-supply, from operational coops (Hypha, Koumbit, WebArch plus a front-desk coop tba) to room account holders (‘beneficiaries’)
  • relationship between accounts admin (payments, reception desk, creating container accounts on servers, etc) and admin of rooms-per-member organisation, by an organisation’s ‘room admin’ person

I feel what matters most is how things look from the user end - the account-holding organisation’s admin role. But we spend so much time - for understandable reasons - focusing on server admin and software tool behaviour on the server, rather than account admin and platform-facilitated capability out there in the world of non-geek cooperators (= ‘use cases’).

I feel we need to develop a well-matched three-way focus on

  • the front office . . . accounts, reception desk, server ops, financial transactions with account holders (who mostly will be passive consumers), legal obligations and limitations of service-providing coops, statutory stuff (GDPR, data security, etc); and
  • the back office . . . agile multi-stakeholder circles of enthusiastic paid and unpaid worker-contributors doing executive work, internal work organisation/agile division of labour across circles, cultivation of the evolving multi-discipline community of coproducers (ie folks collaborating at least weekly), ‘permanent assembly’ in Discourse (as an agile, circle-support function); and
  • formal governance in terms of voting in whole-coop (annual?) assemblies - weighted according to contribution, as distinct from shareholding and simple, generic membership classes (where financial contribution by account-holders is just one kind of important - minority - contribution).

Some gloss on all of this will be needed to make a convincing marketing pitch to early-adopter account-holder members in the alpha phase - bcos its the whole vision and long-term intention (and ability to contribute to this) that will attract the kinds of collaborating/coproducing participants that we need in the medium and long term (ie for beta relaunch). We would need to be able, for example, to have a discussion around this with MayFirst, or Or the (UK) Coop University. All, significant potential users of accounts, all quite large and complex, all wanting more than just a room or two occasionally.

The front-office stuff is about ensuring reliable service delivery according to fair-use service-level agreements, for paying account holders: so that when they turn the tap on, water comes out. Even among committed ‘new economy’ activists, this is what account holders mostly will want - they said this at Open2020. They might be willing to pay premium, crowdfunder rates for services. This is basically ‘consumer coop’ stuff.

The back-office stuff is about nitty-gritty worker coop coproduction, teamwork and capability to nail operational problems, evolve better working arrangements, and meet actual user needs thro multi-stakeholder co-design of non–geek oriented digital tool bundles. In familiar coop terms this is basically worker-coop culture - this makes mutli-stakeholder, with heavy worker loading.

The assembly stuff is about stewarding commons of digital infrastructure, and their strategic contribution to an evolving commons-cooperative economy . . which is all a new kind of practice (beyond typical coop scope), and needs puzzling out.

All of this is basic launch pitch? The practice will take years to evolve :roll_eyes: but the picture is short-term urgent, to bring in the early-adopter visionary-contributors, to become development partners (back-office coproducers) for the long haul?

If this seems like an issue in Thursday’s meeting, I’d be willing to do a presentation-for-starters that attempts to (visually) pinpoint these things, and with others here, to co-host a 90min discussion session (maybe Sunday/Monday?). If this seems too ‘future’ oriented rather than ‘now’ . . I’ll shut up and stop striving for design-thro-protocols (to enable organisation-hacking in the medium term) as distinct from a short-term ‘alpha stack-hack’ to get some users on the servers and money in the kitty.

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I consolidated what we discussed so far, and from yesterday’s meeting, into this that I hope to receive feedback on Thursday. If we can get this sorted, we can move on to drafting what our Circles are and decision-making and voting in the next Governance meeting.

Proposed one pager, The Online Meeting Co-operative, is a meeting and conferencing platform powered by BigBlueButton, stewarded by co-operatives across the world.

We have two types of memberships–Operational Members and Beneficiary Members. One may apply to one or both membership types as an organization or as an individual.

Operational Members steward all operational aspects of

  • To apply, you must commit a minimum of 500 in Euros, equivalent resources, or 40 hours of voluntary labour in work areas defined by the Co-operative.
  • In turn, you may participate in the Co-operative’s working Circles and are eligible to apply for waged positions defined by the Co-operative. An Operational Member may also self-elect to become a Beneficiary Member as well, without an application process or paying annual membership fees as long as they remain an active Operational member.
  • To maintain active membership, you must be contributor to at least one Circle and participate in at least 50% of our All Hands meetings.

Beneficiary Members use the platform for internal meetings or resell Greenlight accounts.

  • To apply, you must commit a minimum of 200 in Euros per year.
  • In turn, you will get a set of Greenlight containers as according to our defined Service Levels, which you can manage for reselling our BigBlueButton server capacity. You may also participate in the Co-operative’s working Circles.
  • To maintain active membership, you must maintain good standing with annual membership fees and from your resale revenue, pay a percentage set by the Co-operative to to cover its operation costs, and provide best-effort oversight to your Greenlight accounts in compliance with the Co-operative’s Fair Use Agreement.

All membership starts with an application to Upon approval, in addition to the responsibilities and rights for the type of membership, the new member may also participate in the Assembly, Forum, and other member spaces. All memberships carry voting rights with voting strengths as according to membership type and level of participation.

Current membership as according to above

Currently, the following organizations and individuals meet the application criteria above based on Contributions page:

Operational Members

  • Autonomic Cooperative (40h from Luke)
  • (50-100€/month for renting servers + hours from Petter)
  • Digital Life Collective (2x E5440 @ 2.83GHz (8 core) 16GiB ram 2TB machine at
  • femProcomuns (40h from Wouter, David)
  • Hypha (40h from Ben, Yurko, Elon)
  • Webarchitects (40h from Chris)
  • Mike Hales (individual) (€120 + hours)

Beneficiary Members

  • Animorph Co-op (€500)
  • Free Knowledge Institute (€500)
  • May First Movement Technology (£225)

The following organizations and individuals are unclear:

  • Agile collective
  • Koumbit (our main server is with Koumbit and Sébastien has spent time on
  • Melissa (individual)
  • Remix the Commons
  • Yasu (individual)

Sébastien, Melissa, and Yasu are all involved, it’s just unclear from the Contributions page whether they intend to commit to the threshold of being an Operational Member.