Loomio
Mon 5 Nov 2018

So, is this thing still alive?

A
Alan (@alanz) Public Seen by 263

I last checked in two months ago when the storm was raging But is has gone very quiet since then.

LS

Leo Sammallahti Mon 5 Nov 2018

Yes. I think the quality of toots after the storm has been better than before it.

MN

Matt Noyes Mon 5 Nov 2018

Our Tech ops team is working and our Community Working Group Ops Team is getting formed now, so the Loomio side of Social.Coop should start picking up. The Reading Group now includes a "Social.Coop Happy Hour" -- a Zoom chat that is recorded and posted on Geo.coop. The next one is Dec. 19th, with George Cheney, author of Values at Work (about the Mondragon cooperatives). When we get the CWG ops team running we can re-open sign-ups. Leo has been proposing interesting ways to collaborate with WeCo and there may be other such opportunities.

MB

Manuela Bosch Wed 7 Nov 2018

@mattnoyes do you see the Happy Hours as the space for the community to connect with each othe beyond social.coop and loomio? @all I still see there is a need to come together as community in a call and share deeper what moves us to really connect. I am willing to host a space like this, but I am unsure if I am the only one who senses this need.

A

Alan (@alanz) Mon 5 Nov 2018

Thanks for the summary. I have been impressed with the tech group picking up the ball and running with it. And good to see the co-op side picking up now too.

I was wondering what had happened, as my Loomio mail had faded to a trickle.

NS

Nick S Tue 6 Nov 2018

I think we've all noticed how quiet it is, both on Mastodon, but especially on Loomio. My impression is that everyone's a bit relieved not to have so many decisions to participate in! But also a lot of people have dropped out entirely, which maybe isn't so good.

Thanks for the tech group praise! We did make an extra effort to keep things from going off the rails. There is however still a lot of work to be done and we would appreciate it if more people could help out. Otherwise I feel it's definitely not going to be sustainable in the medium to long term with the people we have.

Each person taking responsibility for just one regular task, perhaps just a few hours a month, would mean one less task for the core group to manage. (We in the core also need to make inroads on documenting these tasks and making them self-contained enough that they can be done without encyclopedic knowledge and root access everywhere.)

Anyone who can help with a few hours here and there doing tech, please ping me off-list. There's also wish list here for those who have git.coop access. (Likewise the other working groups need help - moderating etc., perhaps we can make a wish-list for those too?)

If we can't muster enough volunteer work we will probably end up in a situation like before, where we get behind with maintenance and a perfect storm brews when some other crisis emerges.

Probably what we need to aim for is enough income from users to pay for dedicated non-volunteers, but we're some way from that...

M

mike_hales Wed 7 Nov 2018

@wulee

tech group . . definitely not going to be sustainable in the medium to long term with the people we have . . get behind with maintenance and a perfect storm brews when some other crisis emerges?

Thanks for this alert Nick. I'm not able to contribute tech work but here's wishing success in growing the tech team.

we need to aim for . . enough income from users to pay for dedicated non-volunteers

@mattnoyes tooted yesterday: 1,218 people on social.coop, 223 paying members. We're SMALL! Must be realistic!

NS

Nick S Wed 7 Nov 2018

Well, yes, I am trying to be realistic. Isn't the aim of Social.coop to be a self-supporting coop, rather than a volunteer run club? If so and we're not on track for that, we need to recalibrate.

Currently, ~200 contributors -> ~$4.8k/year, which is about $2/month each.

I estimate we'd need 2-4 times that to actually make it approach a viable livelihood for someone to spend the time it takes to keep things maintained, yet alone moderated.

And we have a lot fewer active users (~100, being generous) than paying members. This is a bit worrying, as it suggests the contributions may drop.

What do other people think, does that estimate seem fair?

And what was the vision at the start for how to achieve coop sustainability, can @matthewcropp, @ntnsndr or anyone else around then comment?

MN

Matt Noyes Thu 8 Nov 2018

@wulee You raise the key points:
what is our aim (coop or club)?
need to recalibrate
need to increase our income
need to build user engagement
It seems to me right now we are rebuilding our capacity to organize that discussion. First, the tech ops, then the Community ops. Then work on member engagement so we can build a collective discussion on aims, roles, and resources.

LS

Leo Sammallahti Thu 8 Nov 2018

Think we should try to actively recruit new members and do fundraising by helping out platform cooperatives (example how).

I hugely appreciate the work of Membership Working Group and personally like everyone involved, but I have to say that the plans to stop accepting new members and using substantial share of our funds to fund Community Working Groups Ops team are something I'm bit skeptical about.

I think we should try to actively recruit new members and prioritize use of funds to compensate the Tech Team instead.

Hope I'm not getting off topic and really hope the people working in Community Working Group don't take this as devaluation of their effort.

MN

Matt Noyes Thu 8 Nov 2018

I think we should open to new members as soon as we have the Community Ops team functioning -- since it is their job to handle moderation and new memberships. I love the fundraising approach you have offered -- another thing we can better deal with once we have a functioning CWG again. For now, why not move ahead with the (minimal) compensation for CWG ops work? We will revisit it in 6mos.

LS

Leo Sammallahti Thu 8 Nov 2018

Thank you :)!

I don't have a strong opinion on offering compensation to CWG, and certainly am more than happy to go with it if it passes a membership vote. Was just wondering if we should prioritize our limited funds to compensate the Tech people instead?

Don't know how much effort goes into to the Tech stuff as opposed to the Community Ops Team, which is why I don't have a strong opinion on this.

Community Ops team is a very good initiative and think it's totally reasonable to have it functioning before accepting new members.

On the other hand I don't feel comfortable telling the CWG not to receive compensation as I appreciate the effort they have put into it, especially since I have not made effort to help you out!

ELP

Edward L Platt Thu 8 Nov 2018

I think it would be a helpful and achievable goal to give community and tech working groups a monthly budget to pay for people who can commit to regular availability. Something like $160/mo would pay for a day's worth of work at $20/hr.

M

mike_hales Thu 8 Nov 2018

@mattnoyes Say more Matt, on "user engagement/member engagement"? What kinds of activity achieve this kind of thing?

I feel warmly towards the activity but am unsure how it may be conducted in this kind of context . . with an outcome that amounts to more than a scattering of toots.or Loomio-posts in lieu of "a collective discussion", and feels actionable because many people have spoken and concurred. Does it in fact end up with the insight assembled and leadership exercised by the Ctty team? I'm not saying that would be a bad thing, or that I wouldn't trust that . . just seeking a realistic sense of what is practicable.

MN

Matt Noyes Thu 8 Nov 2018

Hi @mikeh8 Two specific things we can do to get started: @manuelabosch has offered to facilitate sharing circle conversations, with the goal of building relationships; I would like to set up a member-to-member network to organize a "listening campaign" with social.coop members. Proceeding "at the speed of trust."

MC

Matthew Cropp Wed 14 Nov 2018

Sorry to be late to this conversation; a few thoughts:
- Current Scale: I actually find our current seemingly fairly consistent baseline of active users quite encouraging. More than 150 folks seem to actively be treating social.coop as their Fediverse "home base," which feels to me to be a solid foundation to build on.
- Order of Operations: Given that our recent crisis came at a period of explosive membership growth, I'm still firmly feeling that we need to get our house in order before re-opening the gates to new members. I think we're getting close with the CWG Ops Team formation, and once that group is constituted, a priority will be getting things lined up to re-open and start building revenue. However, I think we should strategically treat this first 6 month period (the term of the initial CWG) as a chance to focus more on internal development than external growth, laying the groundwork for a more resource-intensive scaling at the conclusion of that period.

In all, I feel like some key things are coming together, we're rebuilding momentum, and finally formalizing some key role, so I'm cautiously optimistic right now... :)

LS

Leo Sammallahti Wed 14 Nov 2018

"Given that our recent crisis came at a period of explosive membership growth, I'm still firmly feeling that we need to get our house in order before re-opening the gates to new members."

Very good point.

M

mike_hales Sat 17 Nov 2018

Glad to have this assessment @matthewcropp - you're closer to the operational reality. It's SO hard to know what in fact happens (and what in fact can be 'solidly' done?) in a virtual space like SC?

BH

Bob Haugen Thu 8 Nov 2018

While I like social.coop, I don't think it provides enuf value to support a full-time devops person. Alternatives:
* figure out how much of a part-time worker could be supported and what would be the effects on the instance;
* move to a hosting service that can be supported by the current level of contributions;
* provide more value to cooperatives, possibly by adding more features. In other words, offer more than social networking.

ELP

Edward L Platt Thu 8 Nov 2018

Bob, do you think we need a full time dev-ops person? Upgrades and migrations are time intensive but rare. If we have several tech people on call who all have the necessary documentation and credentials, we should be able to handle outages and routine maintenance issues as they arise. It probably makes sense to have at least one (extremely) part-time paid coordinator to wrangle the volunteers, but that seems like a sustainable model to me.

M

mike_hales Thu 8 Nov 2018

@edwardlplatt @bobhaugen This is important. Please keep this exchange going until it's wrangled to a standstill :-) @wulee too. Don't feel able to judge, myself.

@leosammallahti

Don't know how much effort goes into to the Tech stuff as opposed to the Community Ops Team

I would say, if each team is equally capable in their own kind of activity, each team is worth the same as the other (called 'Walking on two legs'), and an equal split of funds is equitable, at least until it's clearer what a 'normal' workload is like. However, I do not know how to judge the capabilities of the two kinds of team. Does anyone feel that they do ? Is this evaluation (taciltly) part of the work of the Community Ops team (which in the nature of things, conducts more public discussion than the tech team?)? For sure, this judgement needs to live somewhere, and is a hard one to make. @wulee volunteering to be 'at large' in ctty subgroup is relevant to this oversight and evaluation?

BH

Bob Haugen Thu 8 Nov 2018

do you think we need a full time dev-ops person?

Don't know, I have not been involved in keeping this ship afloat. Whoever has been doing the work might have a good guess.

MN

Matt Noyes Thu 8 Nov 2018

Hi Manuela! I really want to do the sharing circle you proposed. (The Happy Hour is more like a podcast at this point.) I think we need a month or so to get the CWG Ops team on its feet. Then we can return to community-building through your kind offer, Robert's revitalization ideas, Leo's fund-raising proposals, and more. Are you available to join the ops team?

A

Alan (@alanz) Thu 8 Nov 2018

I would expect that the devops work per se would be maximum a couple of days a month, but with a requirement for people to be available to jump in at a moment notice if there is a problem. And probably having someone cast an eye at a control panel every now and then, to check everything in order, call it half an hour a day.

I think the CWG is more ongoing, but also more tolerant of delayed response. And probably makes up say half an hour a day.

Just guesses, to keep the conversation going.

A

Alan (@alanz) Wed 14 Nov 2018

Given our previous problems came during explosive growth, and we are worried about budget, perhaps we could restart taking members, but only on a payment basis.
This should produce a trickle only, and help us smooth out the on-boarding process.

When we decide we are ready for new members, that is.