Mon 31 Oct 2016

Designating Sub-Groups in Loomio 馃幐

John Rhoads Public Seen by 425

Currently, we have two types of groups in Loomio:
1. Democracy at Work
2. Democracy at Work - "City/Local Action Group"

From my understanding, here is a brief explanation of each group's current properties

  1. Democracy at Work: Root Loomio Group, Community Group,
    Open Group, Anyone under the sun can join regardless of signing up through democracyatwork.info, Includes d@W website supporters (only members of the website and not an action group), active volunteer supporters (members of action groups via official channels) and passive/casual supporters who haven't signed up officially via the website. Anyone can find the group and ask to join. Only members can see who is in the group, All threads are public, Decisions are binding, FB analogue is https://www.facebook.com/democracyatwrk/.

  2. Democracy at Work - "City/Local Action Group": Local Action Group, Public, Closed or Secret Group freely set by local admin as in FB, Only geographically local people are assumed to be members with few exceptions, Should become member by first signing up at democracyatwork.info and then being assigned to a Local Action Group, Set to Closed by default but can be changed by Local Action Group admin to Open or Secret, Decisions freely interpreted to be binding or not depending on the consensus of that group.

My concern is that we are mixing semi-serious casual/passive supporters and the more serious/official Action Group members together. I think decision making can become diluted and less effective with this setup. However, I do see the need to have an all inclusive "Community Group" similar to what you see here https://www.loomio.org/g/WmPCB3IR/loomio-community. I think this setup would be best for our "Community Group" and only include decision making on a case by case basis (see Loomio Community description disclaimer). I do want to emphasize that by default if we are affected by a decision then we should be allowed to participate in that decision. Conversely, and central to this argument, those that are NOT affected by a decision should not be able to participate in that decision

What I propose is we :

  1. Rename the current Root Group to Democracy at Work Community

  2. Setup a new group called Democracy at Work - Global Action Group. The FB analogue would be https://www.facebook.com/groups/dawgroupscollective/. It basically is all of the "official/active" action group volunteers/members from all the local action groups (go here for list of all the action groups: http://www.democracyatwork.info/groups). In short, we would all remain a member of the Community group but those of us that are "in the trenches" would do our business in the Global Action Group just like we are doing now AND our respective Local Action Group. This is not meant to exclude anybody but is meant to narrow down which people are setting agenda and which people who would just like to remain passive and just follow (or distract).

Last but not least, I would like all "official' Local Action Groups who wish to have a sub-group setup for themselves request it so they can get created. Then each Local Action Group can then narrow down their priorities and agenda setting locally without mixing with the Global Action Group. Currently, I only see West LA and Phoenix as having a sub-group yet we have 46 members. Not sure who goes where without further sub-grouping.

So, here is what I envision the groups look like

  1. Democracy at Work Community (everyone under the sun)
  2. Democracy at Work - Global Action Group (all volunteers)
  3. Democracy at Work - "City/Local Action Group" (local volunteers)

For those of you who don't know yet, here is the various Loomio group permission properties:

Open- Anyone can find this subgroup and ask to join. Only members can see who is in the group. All threads are public.

Closed- Anyone can find this subgroup and ask to join. Only members
can see who is in the group. All threads are private. (In the Root
group this can be public or private)**

Secret- Only invited members can find this subgroup, see who is in it
and see threads.

For a working example of how I think we should pattern our group properties, please go here https://loomio.coop/using_loomio.html

As you can see, they have Group, Facilitator, Purpose, Decisions, Membership and feel this is how we should pattern ourselves in our respective groups.

Please let's consider these things because I would like to make a proposal soon on this.


John Rhoads Tue 1 Nov 2016

I would not have created this discussion if Democracy at Work had been initially created in Loomio with a Public side and a Volunteer side that is 'global'. I personally would have left the general public out of the loop to begin with and dedicated Loomio 100% to the member/volunteers. This discussion is a way to fix this while keeping the at-large community thing going. @betsyavila Please at your leisure critique this and weigh in on it. If this 3rd group cannot be created, it would surely mean that we will be potentially exposing our debates to non-members or people with no vested interest (which at the end of the day creates overhead). Otherwise, only Local Action Groups would be inclined to use these tools and avoid participating in the "at-large" group discussions.


Betsy Avila Wed 2 Nov 2016

I really like and support #1 and #3 but think it may be early (in terms of the size of our Loomio group) to create #2. Can we revisit once we have over 100 members?

I am also noticing that some groups prefer Facebook while some prefer Loomio and others are dividing their time between both. So we can't count on all groups being as active here, though we should always encourage it. PS I am hearing that some groups created their own pages outside ours, I'll try to find out whom they are and send you links.