Loomio
December 17th, 2016 13:57

Exciting news: dev.coops.tech is ready for your input!

The amazing work that Outlandish and Glowbox Designs have been doing developing a promotional web site for Co-operative Technologists, complete with a fantastic video from Blake House, is now at a stage where it is ready to have co-ops edit / upload their details, add clients and technologies and generally give it a spin :-)

It is currently set not to be indexed by search engines -- when we are happy that it has enough good quality content to be made live it'll be moved to from dev.coops.tech to www.coops.tech.

Editor accounts have been created using the contact list addresses, if you need access to the site see the process for getting an account and there is the start of some user help documentation, but the site is powered by WordPress and it easy to use so help documentation might not even be needed.

Please Note: It is going to take each co-op some time to get all their data into the site, it is a bigger job than putting your co-op details and categories on the wiki and there are a lot of gaps there...

I'm very excited by the site have have been busy helping sorting out the hosting and deployment process for it over the last few days, in Slack, so haven't had hardly any time to post to the recent discussion threads on Loomio but I have read all the posts via email and might post some thoughts when I have some spare time (just to make the point again that getting stuff done is often more interesting than chatting about getting stuff done... ;-) ).

At the moment the site is hosted on a very low spec development machine, if it is too slow let me know and more RAM can be added to it, the current plan is to host it on one of the Webarchitects WordPress shared hosting servers but if it proves too big or popular for this it can be moved to it's own virtual server (that would be nice!).

Alex is hopefully going to make the code available as a GitLab project soon so at that point we will have a bug tracker / ticketing system to go with it and it'll also be possible to open up to allow wider contributions to the code, in the mean time there is a small wishlist on the wiki.

There has been some discussion of the draft manifesto in the #onlineplatform Slack group and we have created a manifesto wiki page where edits can be made and alternatives can be suggested. People might also want to do the same for the about us page.

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins December 19th, 2016 07:46

Thanks @chriscroome and everyone who got the site to this point. I think it's looking amazing - a great sales and recruitment tool already.

I've added Outlandish's clients and a few more services including Big Data and Hosting. I've also added logos for the various clients people had added - can people make sure they add logos themselves in the future please or it makes the site look broken.

There's obviously more work to do to fix bugs and improve the way it works, but I'd say it's very nearly launchable.

We need everyone to go in and connect themselves to the relevant services, technologies and clients. Please also update your data including your turnover and number of employees. If that is wrong or missing it will make us look less successful than we really are.

There will need to be some discussion about what services should be included, etc. and what features we should add. There has been some discussion around a 'sector' section of the site (e.g. Education, Arts, Not-for-profit) etc. which I think could be really powerful.

We also need some sort of process that will enable us to deal with enquiries - @chriscroome is there some sort of ticketing system that might work?

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks December 19th, 2016 09:31

Ditto on the 'sector' notion. Great idea.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) December 19th, 2016 21:54

@harryrobbins said:

We also need some sort of process that will enable us to deal with enquiries - @chriscroome is there some sort of ticketing system that might work?

At the moment contact@coops.tech is an alias for the the email list, I'd suggest seeing how that works for a while and if the volume of email is such that a ticketing system is needed then we look at what our options are then, rather than spending time putting a complicated (anyone know any non-complicated ticketing system?) system in place before hand, I agree that a ticketing system would make sense if we have a lot of enquiries...

I could set up a RT server if needs be, it is very good if you mostly want to interact with the tickets via email... Or perhaps there is a suitable WordPress plugin we could use? Anyone tried WordPress Advanced Ticket System?

We might also want to consider allowing people to provide a "Subject:" line to their messages by adding a "Title" form field so it's easier to keep track of the form submissions, or perhaps we could use a select list for this? I have collected some wishlist items for the forms on the wiki, that we can consider in the New Year.

One thing I just noticed is that the North Americian tech-coop list just had a request for a quote sent to their public list, see their archives for December 2016, it's the one with the subject line "[tech-coop] Cooperative Educators Network RFP" -- this shows that this kind of thing can be done in public, so perhaps the contact form on the site should give people the option to post to the open list if they wish, as suggested in another thread?

Sam Gluck

Sam Gluck January 3rd, 2017 10:40

Looking great! Thanks to all involved!

I wonder if we could have subdomains for each of the member coops? e.g. outlandish.coops.tech

Easier to point someone to than coops.tech/co-op/outlandish

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) January 3rd, 2017 13:53

Good idea! :smiley:

This has been set this up using the domain names taken from the email addresses used for the user accounts on the site as a basis for the list of sub-domains (note that this is shorter than the list of co-ops on the site), with one exception (blakehouse rather than blake) :

  1. https://agile.coops.tech/
  2. https://blakehouse.coops.tech/
  3. https://calverts.coops.tech/
  4. https://broadband.coops.tech/
  5. https://cetis.coops.tech/
  6. https://webarchitects.coops.tech/
  7. https://gildedsplinters.coops.tech/
  8. https://glowboxdesign.coops.tech/
  9. https://gofreerange.coops.tech/
  10. https://mc3.coops.tech/
  11. https://mediaco-op.coops.tech/
  12. https://outlandish.coops.tech/
  13. https://weareopen.coops.tech/

If any additional sub-domains are needed, for any of these co-ops, for example blake.coops.tech or media.coops.tech, let me know, ideally via a /msg chrisc in Slack.

Also note that the URL's on the site can be changed, for example Agile could edit https://dev.coops.tech/co-op/agile-collective/ to https://dev.coops.tech/co-op/agile/ -- if this is done please let me know so I can update the redirect.

When the site is made live we can change the redirects to go to www.coops.tech rather than dev.coops.tech.

These redirects are hosted on a VM that Webarchitects set up a couple of months ago specifically to host HTTP redirects (with HTTPS support) so this is a good test of the scripts we wrote to generate the Nginx config etc. -- thanks for providing a concrete task for this server! :smiley:

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) January 4th, 2017 00:46

It's really great to see some co-ops adding content to the dev site, andI don't want to moan, but can I make a plea that we try not to:

  • Duplicate services, eg Web Design and Website Design (I assume these are the same thing?) and Graphic Design and Graphic Design
  • Add client logos without transparent backgrounds, I know it takes longer to edit them to make the background transparent but it does look better, if possible!
  • Add services logos that are not #FFC531

And what about copyright and attribution of the logos? I have recorded links to the originals of the services ones I have added but they all have different copyrights -- I guess we should do this properly and have a page for this...?

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins January 4th, 2017 11:13

Well moaned Chris :)

I can't imagine it would have been a design-focused co-op that would have made the site look bad - any ideas @sionwhellens ?

Can I suggest the best course of action in future is for people to un-publish duplicate or un-finished clients or services and contact the co-op that created them to ask they finish or amend?

For now I've removed the definite duplicates: printing, graphic design, branding, marketing communications, website design - all of these had existing categories which Calverts should add themselves to.

It seems that we could probably do with either a rationalisation of services (into fewer, larger categories) or possibly some categorisation (e.g. design, data, consultancy).

Perhaps a good topic for the next meetup which I'm about to start trying to organise.

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins January 4th, 2017 11:24

I've also trashed "forest stewardship council" which is not a technology by any stretch of the imagination. I've left @sionwhellens other blatant SEO hacks in place.

I've added all the co-ops to "Dualit" (kettle) but before we get asked, is there an ethical brand of kettles?

Sam Gluck

Sam Gluck January 4th, 2017 11:27

If there is we should let the Met know

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks January 4th, 2017 12:36

A sound plan.

Suggest the meet also makes a start re messaging/positioning from a marketing /PR perspective too - there's some good ad-hoc work on this on the dev site already, but like graphic design, would benefit from some focus and refining

Matthew Parsons

Matthew Parsons January 5th, 2017 15:26

Hey all - what I would really like to see is a new post type called "collaborations". This would reference:

  • The 2 or more co-ops involved
  • Which co-op was the initiator
  • The client/s
  • A short description of the collaboration

This would be really great to see as proof of the value of the network

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) January 5th, 2017 18:38

Harry said:

I've also trashed "forest stewardship council" which is not a technology by any stretch of the imagination.

Fair enough, there is perhaps a case for something like a "member of" category for things like this? For example Webarchitects is a member of Nominet, Janet, Radical Routes, Co-operatives UK, ORG and I expect some other other organisations I don't recall right now.

Matthew said:

I would really like to see is a new post type called "collaborations".

I wonder if that might be best done using blog posts on the site, it could then contain as much or as little details as needed and screenshots, hyperlinks etc etc

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks January 6th, 2017 07:47

Ditto to Matthew - eg GS & Calverts currently working together on .coop
Showing we 'walk the talk' is always good for confidence

Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts)

Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts) January 9th, 2017 18:02

Hah! FSC and ISO are both technologies (FSC for verifying the origin of materials through a certified chain of custody). But if course this brings us to the elephant of what we mean by 'technology' ...

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) January 18th, 2017 20:56

Could we get the https://dev.coops.tech/ site ready for a launch party at the https://2017.open.coop/ social being planned on this thread?

That would give us a month to sort out the issues there are with the site, I think the main ones are:

  • Getting the two forms working.
  • Agreeing and signing off on the text on the "Our Manifesto" page, the "About CoTech" page and on the "Join CoTech" page.
  • Removing (no need to delete they can simply be made to only show in the admin interface) all the co-ops who haven't got their pages into a presentable state.

Other minor issues like the slightly broken 404 pages are not critical, but I think the above things are.

How is that for a plan?

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins January 19th, 2017 10:30

Sounds good to me. I believe I've got to get a flight on day two of the event to run a hackday so if the launch party could be Thursday that would be awesome :)

I think the site is awesome - hats off to the teams that made and launched it. The only other thing I've noticed is a bug where the menu sometimes goes a bit funky on scroll. I'll get someone here to have a look at it.

Does anyone object to me inviting the bona fide workers tech co-ops who were not able to attend the event to add profiles to the site?

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) January 19th, 2017 11:13

I think the plan is for the social to be Thursday night, I also couldn't make it if it is on Friday night.

@harryrobbins said:

Does anyone object to me inviting the bona fide workers tech co-ops who were not able to attend the event to add profiles to the site?

Not at all, I assumed that this was always the plan, software.coop didn't come to the event and, as far as I know, have not been involved in this project in any way, and are on there... I'll chase them up to see if they can be encouraged to get involved, they really should be, they have been doing this for longer than most of us! :smiley:

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks January 19th, 2017 13:14

A good plan we'd say - grow the family. Forza! #coops

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) started a proposal February 1st, 2017 15:33

Do we agree the CoTech Manifesto, Join and About pages? Closed 3:02pm - Wednesday 15 Feb 2017

The proposed site has Our Manifesto, an About Us page and a Join Us page are we happy to sign off on the current wording of these pages?

If you think anything needs changing please edit the copies on the wiki and post here to say what you have changed and why:

I have set this proposal to run for two weeks so we have time to get the site ready for the proposed launch party on the Thursday night of Open 2017: Platform Cooperatives.

Results
Agree - 14
Abstain - 14
Disagree - 14
Block - 14
15 people have voted (15%)
Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks February 1st, 2017 16:14

Thanks Chris.

If the manifesto is only a call to cooperators, all good. Tho if one of the aims of CoTec is to compete in the non-coop market as a commercial resource/entity then I'd have thought this would be a good place to make that clear too

Brian Spurling

Brian Spurling
Agree
February 1st, 2017 17:32

Great work!

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 1st, 2017 21:21

I think this is a very good point:

if one of the aims of CoTec is to compete in the non-coop market as a commercial resource/entity then I'd have thought this would be a good place to make that clear too

The two Get in Touch sentences address this somewhat, but I'm sure they could be improved so I have created a wiki page so we can work on them (I would have linked to this additional page from the proposal, but proposals can't be edited after someone has cast their vote, which is fair enough...)

I have made some minor edits to two of the pages, feel free to improve on these:

I also have a problem with the first sentence of the Join CoTech page:

Membership of Co-operative Technologists is open to all co-ops that sell technical/digital products or services that are run and owned by their workers.

A strict reading of this would exclude Webarchitects, we are a multi-stakeholder co-operative with shares owned by workers, clients and investors and should anything ever come to a vote (we try to use consensus) our rules give 50% of the votes to workers and 25% to clients and partners and 25% to investors. I guess nobody wants to exclude multi-stakeholder co-operatives like ours, so how can the above be worded to include us?

Chris Roos

Chris Roos February 2nd, 2017 17:59

Are Webarchitects not covered by the first part of the sentence: "is open to all co-ops that sell technical/digital products"?

Tim Davies

Tim Davies February 3rd, 2017 07:59

I've not got Wiki access (can someone set me up with an account?) but a few bits of feedback from @opendatacoop folk:

About Page

Would suggest sticking to language of 'network' at this point, rather than 'collection of' etc. which create some ambiguity around structure of the group.

In particular, suggest replacing:

",a group of tech coops who have formed together to make one large collection of cooperatives,"

with

",a group of tech coops who have formed together to build a network,"

Join

Again, just clarifying the network part would help here. "Membership of Co-operative Technologists network is open to..."

I know there are discussions and possibly plans for other structures in future, but a couple of the team here spent a lot of time trying to work out if the ask was to join a formal co-op, or a looser network form of affiliation.

It might also be helpful on this page to have just a brief sentence or two about governance, even if just:

"Governance of the network currently takes place through a rough consensus process using Loomio and a wiki, and all members are invited and encouraged to get involved. As the network develops, we will explore changes to this governance model together."

Other pages needed / small bits

One of my colleagues pointed out:

  • There is no Privacy Policy or T&Cs in the site footer. Does anyone have simple tried-and-tested versions that could be included?
  • The use of the coop marque is slightly ambiguous in the footer - as could be read to imply that co-tech is itself a coop, rather than network of coops. (a) has there been a check that this use of the marque is ok; (b) it might be better to put a line just above it stating 'A network of co-operatives' to clarify the context of the marque.

Hope these points are useful. Looking forward to meeting many of you in a few weeks at the Open Coops event.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 3rd, 2017 09:17

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback @timdavies1, you have made lots of valid points, let me, or anyone with an admin account on the wiki have your email address and a wiki account can be created for you.

Could someone volunteer to take on applying for the use of the co-op marque on behalf of Co-operative Technologists?

Pete Burden

Pete Burden February 3rd, 2017 09:30

@chriscroome and all involved, love the site, looking great, and powerful

I know you all know this, but there are in my mind two steps to this:

1) everyone agrees with what the manifesto, about us, and join pages say and mean
2) *how it is said" - make sure that the words are really clear and understandable by the audience we have in mind

It sounds as if we are nearly there on step 1 - I'd happily accept the proposal, personally.

But I feel strongly that the copy is not ready - step 2 hasn't been done yet - especially for a wider audience than all of us. If, as @roybrooks says, we want to make it relevant to a wider audience, which I think we do.

I like @timdavies1 suggestions but think it still needs more work.

I started editing it myself, then thought surely we must in the network have a professional copy editor who could do this? If we don't I will happily volunteer my partner who is such a person and I am sure will look at it pro bono.

Tim Davies

Tim Davies February 3rd, 2017 09:53

@chriscroome E-mail address of: tim.davies@opendataservices.coop

James Mead (Go Free Range)

James Mead (Go Free Range) February 6th, 2017 14:25

I've made some changes to the Manifesto wiki page. I don't feel strongly about them, but I think they are an improvement. However, anyone should feel free to revert my changes - I felt a bit uncomfortable actually making the changes rather than suggesting them!

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 6th, 2017 17:07

Sorry to stick my oar in without actually making a suggested effort, but how would people respond to a manifesto that is a bit more outwards facing?

Something along the lines of:

We believe in a fairer world in which wealth and resources are distributed to the people who need them rather than those best able to take them.

As Co-operative Technologists we aim to ensure the technology plays it part in creating a fairer world.

Our individual workers co-operatives have shown that workers who collectively own their companies and control their destinies make better workplaces, better suppliers and better digital products.

We call upon tech workers who share our vision to join us[link to join page].

We call upon consumers of digital products - including trades unions, charities, governments and private companies - to reject the assumption the tech companies must be private equity funded startups or multinational conglomerates. Technology is the lifeblood of our future not a gravy train.

We hereby give notice to technology companies that do not treat their employees fairly, do not give their workers control of their businesses and do not seek to create a fairer world that your days are numbered. We are more creative, more committed and more resilient. Join us.

Workers of the world, Swipe Left.

Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts)

Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts) February 6th, 2017 17:34

Go on @harryrobbins, Wiki it!

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 6th, 2017 17:54

@sionwhellens the only way to Wiki it seems to be to overwrite all the work everyone else has done, which doesn't seem right.

@jamesmead I believe you made the last edit to the wiki version - how would you feel about it being overwritten by something a bit more vitriolic

James Mead (Go Free Range)

James Mead (Go Free Range) February 6th, 2017 18:05

@harryrobbins: Be my guest :smiley:

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 6th, 2017 18:14

Done. Not precious about it though so feel free to hack it about.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 6th, 2017 18:20

@jamesmead said:

I've made some changes to the Manifesto wiki page... I felt a bit uncomfortable actually making the changes

This is the nature of wiki's your edit will always exist in the history of the page so if needs be it could be reverted but it is important to be bold:

Be bold can be explained in three words: "Go for it".

Just like Harry has just been :-D

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 6th, 2017 18:25

Thanks Chris.

I felt I was replacing rather than editing, which seemed a bit un-wiki-ish.

Thanks for support @sion :)

x

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 6th, 2017 18:39

@harryrobbins said:

I felt I was replacing rather than editing, which seemed a bit un-wiki-ish.

It's fine, the last version is still available for reference if needs be.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 6th, 2017 22:05

I have implemented the edits suggested by @timdavies1, specifically:

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 6th, 2017 22:33

I have sent a follow-up email to identity.coop pointing out that several of the co-ops listed on their approved spreadsheet are involved with Co-operative Technologists, specifically:

  • Agile Collective Ltd
  • Altgen
  • Blake House Filmmakers Cooperative
  • Brighton Digital Exchange Co-operative
  • Calverts
  • Gildedsplinters
  • United Diversity
  • Wave Design Ltd
  • We Are Open
  • Webarch Co-operative Ltd

Did I miss any co-ops approved to use the Co­operative Marque?

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 7th, 2017 11:12

Well, without wishing to reopen the what sort of coop debate, Brighton Digital Exchange (a consortium rather than worker coop) is approved to use coop marque.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 8th, 2017 10:47

We have been approved to use the co-op marque :-)

So we just need to get the text for the site agreed!

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 9th, 2017 15:00

@chrisroos said the following in reply to an earlier comment:

Are Webarchitects not covered by the first part of the sentence: "is open to all co-ops that sell technical/digital products"?

Yes, but that isn't the issue, the issue is that the rest of the sentence "that are run and owned by their workers" does, as this, to me, implies that only workers co-ops are eligible to be members -- Webarchitects is mostly, but by no means exclusively, run and owned by it's workers

As I said earlier Webarchitects, is a multi-stakeholder co-operative with shares owned by workers, clients and investors (workers could be a minority share holder in terms of the number of shares, ie by value) and should anything ever come to a vote (we try to use consensus) our rules give 50% of the votes to workers and 25% to clients and partners and 25% to investors.

So while, in practice, we are, to most intents and purposes, in essence, a workers co-op, this isn't strictly, formally, true.

Does that makes sense? And does anyone have a suggested wording that would include co-ops like ours?

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 9th, 2017 15:40

I used "that are run and owned by their workers" as opposed to "worker co-ops" because I thought it did include Webachitects - apologies it didn't work.

How about adding a line to make it explicit that Webarchitects and similar organisations are welcome. Something like

Membership of Co-operative Technologists is open to all co-ops that sell technical/digital products or services that are run and owned by their workers. Secondary co-ops and multistakeholder co-ops are also welcome so long as all they (and their members) do not generate money for investors by exploiting their workers.

That phrasing does allow Webarchitects to join but not consumer co-ops or secondary co-ops made up of exploitative businesses (I hope).

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 9th, 2017 16:51

Thanks @harryrobbins, I think that covers it and have added it to the wiki version of the page :-)

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 9th, 2017 20:28

You have been absolutely consistent on this point @harryrobbins

I don't want to slow things down but I feel a strong urge to make a couple of points:

Consumer coops - The Phone Coop being an obvious case in point - would assume that the definition is open to them since they don't "generate money for investors by exploiting their workers". We can have a debate about whether they exploit their workers (I shall remain silent). We can also have a debate about the enrichment of executives. However no one can argue that any exploitation, whether there or not, is for the enrichment of investors. It simply isn't. Not in The Phone Coop, nor in The Co-operative Group.

Secondary coops - by which I assume you mean consortium coops - in the case of the Brighton Digital Exchange, most if not all members would qualify. They are tiny, flat teams of people who are more interested in what they are doing than the money. If you asked them whether they exploit workers to enrich investors they'd laugh. The point I'm making is that the language wouldn't make sense to them. If we are going to be outward looking, spreading the coop ideal to other digital-tech businesses (which I think BDX does) then we need open, accessible language. The notion that capital expropriates value from workers is completely valid. But it's not great comms.

In my view.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 9th, 2017 20:34

@shaunfensom can you suggest some alternative wording and ideally edit the wiki page with it?

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 9th, 2017 20:42

TBH I'm fairly sure phone.coop employees are paid more than we are at Webarchitects... so I wonder who is most exploited... my main grumble with them would be that they mostly resell other peoples things rather than host their own services, for example email...

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 9th, 2017 22:33

@chriscroome totally with you there. There was a time when it ran multiple servers, offered co-lo etc. Just a retailer now.

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 10th, 2017 10:20

@chriscroome I'll have a go. Difficult because I don't really agree with the limitation in the first place. But will attempt something that @harryrobbins and others with the 'worker coops only' view can accept. In the spirit of compromise!

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 10th, 2017 10:55

@shaunfensom I think I'm gradually softening :-!

I'm not trying to say that we should never have consumer co-ops etc. Just that we should start with a clearly identified group and work outwards rather than starting with something loose and watching them drift apart.

Do you think the members of Brighton Digital Exchange would be interested in converting themselves into co-ops? I've got a target to make 20 new tech co-ops by May so any leads greatly appreciated.

RE: The Co-op - do they not pay their checkout assistants something close to minimum wage (below the average wage) and redistribute it to the consumers (who have closer to the average wage). I'd see that as redistribution of money from poor to rich and as a form of exploitation.

Chris Roos

Chris Roos February 10th, 2017 11:11

Are Webarchitects not covered by the first part of the sentence: "is open to all co-ops that sell technical/digital products"?

Yes, but that isn't the issue, the issue is that the rest of the sentence "that are run and owned by their workers" does

My mistake @chriscroome. Reading back now I realise that I'd misinterpreted the sentence. Sorry!

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 10th, 2017 15:38

@harryrobbins I have sympathy with the idea of controlled growth (also softening!)

I can think of at least one member of BDX that might consider converting. I don't think that's the point though: BDX introduces a different form of B2B value exchange using a co-op model. Less 'exploitative' if you like. Asking how these small businesses operate internally is a bit like asking whether the members of a coop are individually racist: it's important, but the impact of the coop is not (directly) at that level.

You are right that the Co-op group underpays its staff, along with the rest of the retail sector. However, whether that is a transfer of wealth to better-off customers is a stretch. After all, they'd just take their business to Sainsbury's or whatever. Do all CoTech members have to sell to customers worse off than their workers? It certainly isn't a transfer of wealth to investors which is the language you used.

Anyway, not advocating that Co-op Group joins.

Louise Scott

Louise Scott
Agree
February 12th, 2017 22:29

Pete Burden

Pete Burden
Agree
February 13th, 2017 09:06

Aaron Hirtenstein (Agile Collective)

Aaron Hirtenstein (Agile Collective)
Agree
February 13th, 2017 09:14

I made a couple of edits to the manifesto.. just grammar stuff but otherwise I am happy with this as a starting point!

Ieva Padagaite

Ieva Padagaite
Agree
February 13th, 2017 10:27

Love it!

Simon Grant

Simon Grant
Agree
February 13th, 2017 12:19

Yes, a good start. Looking forward to talking more at the launch party!

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 13th, 2017 12:39

@roybrooks said:

If the manifesto is only a call to cooperators, all good. Tho if one of the aims of CoTec is to compete in the non-coop market as a commercial resource/entity then I'd have thought this would be a good place to make that clear too

I think we might still need to address this point if possible?

Currently the front pages has:

Strengthening the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

And if the site is primarily aimed at people who might join or setup tech co-ops then this is fine but if the site is also to be aimed at potential clients then perhaps some additional text needs to be added?

@shaunfensom you said you would have a go at editing the Join CoTech page, did you get anywhere with that?

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 13th, 2017 14:49

@chriscroome @roybrooks the Manifesto has been completely changed since @roybrooks raised that. It might still be an issue, but worth re-checking. It does specifically address people who might want to hire us as well as join us now.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 13th, 2017 15:01

@harryrobbins I realise that, it was more the first sentence at the top of the front page -- it seems more aimed at people in existing co-ops and those who might be encouraged to join or set up co-ops, perhaps missing a possible audience of potential clients?

Strengthening the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

Don't worry, it's not a big deal.

I think the only key thing that needs addressing is the blue on blue text for the input fields on the "Get in Touch" form when using Firefox and the white on white for the input fields on the "Join Us" form. I could have a go at fixing that by adding CSS via the theme web interface if nobody has a chance to edit the CSS in via git?

Also perhaps we need to hide the co-ops who haven't added any details to the site?

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 13th, 2017 15:33

I've tried, but everything I come up with loosens the definition. For example:

"Membership of the Co-operative Technologists network is open to all co-ops that sell technical/digital products or services and that promote and adhere to co-operative values and principles. This includes co-ops that are run and owned by their workers and multi-stakeholder co-ops where workers have a substantial or controlling stake."

But then what about consumer co-ops and consortium coops:
* The Phone Coop would be adamant that it meets the first part of the definition. Fine by me but not by @harryrobbins and others I believe.
* Brighton DX would also qualify but, for the avoidance of doubt, we have no control over the extent to which our members make a return for investors.

So, I can redraft, but I end up breaking the intention. I'd just leave it at:

Membership of the Co-operative Technologists network is open to all co-ops that sell technical/digital products or services and that promote and adhere to co-operative values and principles.

But that definitely allows in The Phone Coop and BDX.

So, stuck.

At the very least the existing wording should be changed to:

Membership of the Co-operative Technologists network is open to all co-ops that sell technical/digital products or services that are run and owned by their workers. Consortium co-ops and multi-stakeholder co-ops are also welcome so long as they (and their members) do not generate money for investors by exploiting their workers.

However, I don't personally agree with that.

Shaun

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 13th, 2017 15:35

@chriscroome re: The strapline on the homepage

I agree that this should be focused our broader aims rather than just the co-op movement. How about something along the lines of

"Building a tech industry that's better for it's workers and customers through co-operation, democracy and worker ownership"

The previous about page is also currently quite inward facing - I've had a go at a new version of the about page which hopefully addresses some of those concerns.

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 13th, 2017 15:45

@shaunfensom thanks for clarity. I would indeed prefer not to loosen it to that extent for now but very happy to keep discussion going about how to involve/interact with the broader co-op movement.

I'm very much not saying 'i will never be persuaded that they should join' but I currently feel that 'co-operative principles' are too broad for effective action - hence The Co-op, Co-ops UK and Phone Co-op not setting something like this up despite their considerable resources and long existence.

Chris has updated the text to the "very least" version you've suggested. Thanks very much for raising the issue here rather than getting into an editing war on the wiki. Perhaps we can discuss further at the CoTech launch on Thursday?

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 13th, 2017 15:47

RE: editing CSS - I believe Matt Kendon is doing some work on it. Drop him an email or slack. Changes made via web UI will very likely get overwritten I believe.

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 13th, 2017 15:59

Indeed. I didn't see my thoughts as wiki-ready.

Alas I can't make it on Thursday. Hope it goes really well.

But, yes, let's continue the discussion.

Graham

Graham
Agree
February 14th, 2017 09:42

I made an edit to the manifesto - removing the last line, which I found confusing. Happy to be convinced otherwise though.

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks February 14th, 2017 10:22

To confirm before I make any observations, this https://dev.coops.tech/manifesto is the latest/current iteration of the Manifesto?

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 14th, 2017 10:31

@roybrooks no, we are working on a copy of it on the wiki.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 14th, 2017 10:40

@harryrobbins thanks for the updated strapline, I have created a wiki page for it and made the suggested edit.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 14th, 2017 13:06

@harryrobbins adding CSS to the theme via the web intreface does work, it is added as inline CSS at the top of the page, I have fixed the black labels on the front page form by adding this:

/* Front page form */
div#wpcf7-f1463-o1.wpcf7 form p label {
  color: white;
  background: transparent;
}

However I haven't been able to make the front page form input fields change -- the Your Name and Your Email fields are still unusable with Firefox as they are blue text on a blue background and on the join form the same fields are white on white.

I have raised this quite a few times in Slack and it is at the top of the wishlist on the wiki -- I'd class this as a blocker to the launch.

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks February 14th, 2017 13:09

Ta Chris

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks February 14th, 2017 13:20

Changed.

  • to reject the assumption that tech companies must be multinational conglomerates or private equity-funded startups.

for
- to reject the (false) assumption that only multinational conglomerates or private equity-funded startups can be great tech companies.

Syntax/punch

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 14th, 2017 13:25

Sounds good to me - add it to the wiki.

x

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks February 14th, 2017 13:25

Changed;

Technology is the lifeblood of our future not a gravy train.

For

Technology is the lifeblood of our all our futures, not just a gravy train for the (fortunate) few.

Punch

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks February 14th, 2017 13:28

Changed:

plays it part

For

plays its part

Sp

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins
Agree
February 14th, 2017 13:53

may you live in exciting times....

James Mead (Go Free Range)

James Mead (Go Free Range)
Agree
February 14th, 2017 14:02

I think the Manifesto, About & Join pages are all great. Thanks to everyone who's contributed. I'm happy to agree to them all on the assumption that they will continue to be open to change after the "launch" of the site.

Chris Roos

Chris Roos
Agree
February 14th, 2017 14:05

Graham

Graham February 14th, 2017 14:14

div#wpcf7-f1463-o1.wpcf7 form p label span input[type="text"] is set to background: transparent'
from what I can see. Maybe change that to background: white; or somesuch might do the trick?

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 14th, 2017 14:18

@graham2 I have tried setting it to black and white and even red I think, nothing changes apart from the cursor colour...

olizilla

olizilla
Agree
February 14th, 2017 14:19

Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts)

Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts)
Agree
February 14th, 2017 14:22

Graham

Graham February 14th, 2017 14:23

I can get the background of the fields to change colour, but still can't see anything I type into them.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 14th, 2017 14:26

@graham2 exactly, this is the problem, you can't see what you are typing.

olizilla

olizilla February 14th, 2017 14:29

What's ETA on getting access to the source code? Many of us could help fix these issues.
cc: @amil

Graham

Graham February 14th, 2017 14:31

The 'Your Message' field works. Not sure why the other two don't.

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 14th, 2017 14:46

I have set the co-ops who don't appear to have edited their pages to Draft, so the pages still exist but are not public, they can be changed to Published if the co-ops edit them.

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks
Agree
February 14th, 2017 14:58

Roy Brooks

Roy Brooks February 14th, 2017 15:01

Just an NB on the Manifesto - anything I added in (brackets) is for (emphasis) - in or out depending on how strong we want it to read. Strong - leave in, remove brackets. Less strong - remove

AC

Andrew Croft February 14th, 2017 15:01

I agree whole heartedly with the sentiments expressed in the manifesto and would (and I guess will sign up) but without wishing to sound critical/dismissive, I think we need to get real. To take money out of the hands of the rapacious capitalists, ensure our members earn a decent living, redistribute technological wealth and resources, etc, etc; we need to be able to compete and demonstrate that we provide a compelling business benefit to potential customers - over and above the conventional suppliers. Maybe this manifesto isn't the place to address this. Maybe it's taken as read by us - in which case will we build a customer facing site to get this message out?

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 14th, 2017 15:50

I guess CoTech is not actually a thing yet and so can't (and maybe never will) pitch for work - e.g. we're not a client facing brand in that sense. It's our individual co-ops that need to offer the compelling business case.

Personally I think the about page is the more moderate 'why you should hire us or work for us' page and the manifesto is something more political and aspirational.

I think most people in the network would prefer to work with the sort of clients that would also sign up to the manifesto.

It includes the line

"We call upon consumers of digital products - including trades unions, charities, governments and private companies - to reject the (false) assumption that only multinational conglomerates or private equity-funded startups can be great tech companies. Technology is the lifeblood of our all our futures, not just a gravy train for the (fortunate) few."

And that

"Our individual workers co-operatives have shown that workers who collectively own their companies and control their destinies make better workplaces, better suppliers and better digital products."

Other than showing our clients, size, expertise, etc. do you have a view about what a "compelling business benefit" would be?

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)
Agree
February 15th, 2017 09:04

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) February 15th, 2017 09:11

I have copied the latest versions of the documents on the wiki to the site and also moved it to a live server (the dev server didn't have reverse DNS setup and some mail servers wouldn't accept email from it causing issues with password resets for some people).

I have also given up trying to hack the CSS to get the input fields to display -- I think this might be a JavaScript issue rather than a CSS one, so since the forms were unusable I added this CSS via the web interface to hide them:

/* Hide forms while they are not working */
form.wpcf7-form { 
  display: none 
}

div#wpcf7-f1463-o1:before,
div#wpcf7-f1484-o1:before {
  content: "Contact us at: contact@coops.tech" 
}

This can be removed when they are fixed.

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 15th, 2017 09:46

Typo in https://wiki.coops.tech/wiki/About_CoTech:

"democratically run by it's workers" should be "democratically run by its workers" - elementary!

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 15th, 2017 09:48

https://wiki.coops.tech/wiki/Join_CoTech really should change "Secondary co-ops and multi-stakeholder co-ops " to "Consortium co-ops and multi-stakeholder co-ops " as I suggested. Secondary coops by definition only have co-ops as members.

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom
Abstain
February 15th, 2017 09:50

I still think we should admit consortium coops and consumer coops without policing their personnel practices. But don't want to block.

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 15th, 2017 09:54

We should discuss at some point but I can't see the difference between a consortium co-op made of private businesses and any other capitalist business. Co-ops should be made of people or they're just consortia with seven rather vague 'principles'.

I've offered several times to help those that want a broader group to help set one up but no one seems to be interested/willing/able.

Shaun Fensom

Shaun Fensom February 15th, 2017 10:40

Yes @harryrobbins your kind offer is welcome. I am still interested and willing to help with a two-tier structure as has been suggested and discussed. So are others. But I agree that the priority is getting this done first, and I am not voting against.

Josef Davies-Coates

Josef Davies-Coates February 15th, 2017 10:58

Just for info, I could be wrong, but I think that technically We Are Open Co-op who are already involved is actually a Consortia Co-op whose members are non-co-op private businesses. @bevangelist @dougbelshaw @laurahilliger am I right? Sure I read that somewhere.

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins

Harry "Outlandish" Robbins February 15th, 2017 11:06

If they have humans employed directly by the co-op, or by their member companies who are not eligible for membership then I don't think it's right that they should be part of this.

That said, there are only six members of Outlandish at the moment as the vast majority of our workers (all but one) have not clocked up the 240 days' work required for membership.

Then again, we don't take dividends and the members all put what was previously their money into the co-op so anyone who's worried that we're extracting surplus value is welcome to come and audit our accounts.