"Observer" Group-Member Class

Matthew Cropp Public Seen by 109

With the new "per active user" pricing model, I recently had an idea that feels like it would be a good fit for several of the co-ops I'm part of.

Under the previous model, it made sense to invite all the members of a co-op to the main group, which would be fairly inactive for most of the year except for board elections, and then create a sub-group for the board of directors, and possibly committees.

So, under the new model, I think a similar use case, but more cost predictability, could be achieved by creating an "observer" class of members. Such members could access and read everything (creating transparency), but cannot comment or vote in polls, with the exception of admin-authorized polls (such as board elections) that there could be a price per poll for.

For organizations that are fine with public transparency, this can be achieved by having a publicly viewable group, but this approach would give an intermediate options for groups that want to control who can view their Loomio conversations.

Happy to unpack this idea further, and/or discuss the particular use-cases that inspired it.


Rob Guthrie Sat 7 Nov 2020

Hi @Matthew Cropp. I kind of wince at the idea of modifying user behaviour or having to be mindful of the business model when just trying to use the app how you want. I wish it wasn't so cumbersome. I'd rather think of this as a discussion or membership level flag of who can comment/is an observer, than a work around for the pricing model

It makes me want to find a way to make the pricing more predictable and less finicky.

That said, Loomio 2.5 was quietly released yesterday and it includes a feature on polls:

Who can vote?

  • Anyone in group

  • Invited people only

Along with much easier member management for polls (and discussions and groups) it means you can easily have a large group with a smaller set of voters within it.

We also have change-logs on edits of discussions and polls, and review dates on outcomes. I'll explain it all next week.

Thanks for raising this - we've heard it before a few times, and I think it's telling us people don't want to pay so much in these cases.

P.s. This thread seems to have notified everyone in the group, and that should be disabled, so you found a bug and I'll fix it very soon.


Rob Guthrie Sat 7 Nov 2020

What I think I'm saying is, this is quite do-able, if we decide to do it.


I don't fully understand the proposal because I am a less active user. (Loomio showed me this thread- ?)

My immediate thought is about how to have robust democratic leadership and succession planning. I am involved in a few things where I am an active leader, and I am involved in a few things where I consider myself part of an observer group/member class.

How do we create a larger group that is following along and involved enough that they can easily contribute ideas to transparent leadership teams? For other organizations, I've been on the leadership team and had good ideas come into it from outside. Conversely, I've been on the outside and contributed good ideas to a leadership team that had no mechanism to be listening and inclusive. From 2014-2019, I was on a leadership team that I mistakenly thought had a good succession plan, but it broke down and our club hasn't met in just over a year. It is not clear who should gather everyone, while I could name 15 people who could take a lead. How do you have succession so that you get new energy and ideas to leadership or conversely, don't slide into a holding position of nothing happening?

When I poke my head into Social.Coop on Loomio, I see Matt Cropp, Matt Noyes, Emi, and Nick Sellen. I have little idea if y'all are doing a good job in leadership, just that I like you personally. I worry that Nick doesn't have support/backup/appreciation on tech roles. For my part, if I am ready to be more involved, I appreciate that our Loomio platform provides enough transparency for me as a member to read and learn more. I could (did and will) step up anytime and help on an effort.