February 8th, 2020 04:29

Should Social.coop start a DAO?

Nathan Schneider
Nathan Schneider Public Seen by 151

One of the things I'm most hopeful for about Social.coop is that it might continue to be a testbed for new experiments in cooperative technology. Already we have the first (that I know of) cooperative instance of Mastodon and are a pioneering example of a Virtual Coop. Here's another opportunity.

Ori Shimony of the blockchain-based tech co-op Dorg has offered to set up a DAO (distributed autonomous organization) for Social.coop with their technology. This could be an alternative mechanism, alongside our existing mechanism, for members to join and participate in Social.coop. Ori writes:

For social.coop, I could launch a simple DAO with any interested participants as equal voting members. Then they could vote on proposals to add new members, and manage any funds that were put in the DAO. We could start on testnet so that no one has to purchase any ETH.  I’m not sure if that will be of interest to a group that’s not actively managing funds, but let me know what you think.

We are actually actively managing funds:)

What do y'all think?

Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes February 8th, 2020 04:41

I was just thinking that maybe we should talk about the Distributed Cooperative Organization (DisCO) as a possible model for Social.Coop, maybe even explore collaboration with the Guerrilla Media Collective...
Lots of questions: isn't Open Collective sufficient? Do we need another organization to moderate and do admin for? Wouldn't it be wiser to flesh out Social.Coop's community, tech, and financial infrastructure?

BUT I also think it would be great to explore DAO and DisCo -- if we stop exploring, we lose energy and focus.

Ana Ulin

Ana Ulin February 8th, 2020 06:04

I'm concerned about further atomizing the participation methods / governance mechanisms of social.coop ( http://social.coop ) (there are already other channels of participation that I am not aware of -- e.g. someone mentioned recently something about a Matic group?).

What would be the advantages, pros/cons of starting a DAO? Would the DAO replace one of our existing mechanisms?

Jeremy Apthorp

Jeremy Apthorp February 8th, 2020 06:21

It's unclear to me what this would get us over what we already have with loomio as a voting platform. I don't think we have the sorts of problems that a blockchain solves.

Noah Hall

Noah Hall February 8th, 2020 06:28

I have a predisposition against basically anything related to bitcoin, blockchain, ethereum, etc. But at the same time, I'm absolutely open to hearing about what we could gain from exploring new ideas and new platforms. Right now, I'm skeptical that we have much to gain, and I think we are rather low on resources to spend on that kind of exploration. We are making great steps in rebuilding the Tech WG right now but our capacity is limited, we have some pressing concerns, and there's already plenty of interesting things to pursue with a clearer benefit to the group once we have the basics more stabilized and up to date. The Community WG has been doing a great job, but opening up another separate platform for engagement sounds like a substantial increase to their workload. And from the perspective of a pretty highly engaged member, the idea of adding another parallel engagement platform with its own learning curve, is, frankly, exhausting to me.


mike_hales February 8th, 2020 10:23

I’m with @Matt Noyes on exploring the DisCO model. It’s not basically a tech model, or a platform (Guerilla Media have not yet implemented ‘the machine’ that may eventually form part of their way of working), it’s a sophisticated form of explicit agreement between trusting humans, about work, influence and mutuality. Fundamentally, work. The model does do accounting of contributions (of several kinds) thro OpenValue apps, but most of DisCo is about ethics and social relations among collaborators. I think social.coop really could do with such a frame - it’s so unclear who is doing what work, what the commitments in fact are - and there are so many casual participants who perhaps are not members of the coop in any real sense. However, DisCO is a model for an organisation that does paid work and provides livelihood, so I’m not sure that it could be forked for an organisation that does neither, where everything (including funding) is entirely voluntary, and where the services of a tech infrastructure are free for all comers - not as a commons among obligated contributors (which is what DisCO is about), but as a minimally regulated common pool. But it could be worth opening a discussion on this, some clarification would emerge, I think. @Stacco Troncoso might want to express a view of the social.coop use case?

I’m averse to the idea of a blockchain based frame. The trope of ‘autonomy’ in the fediverse spooks me, when it comes down to ‘trustless’ mechanisms and rule-based mediation by algorithms. Looking at the Dorg website I see a basically code-oriented world (links dropping straight into GitHub repos) with no sense that anybody there knows anything about people working with people. It appears that there’s a ‘get rich’ rationale at work down in the machinery somewhere, with an incentive mechanism akin to that of miners in bitcoin, and the ‘transparency’ that it offers to furnish seems to me founded in mistrust rather than nurturing the opposite. No, thanks.

Seems to me the valuable project in social.coop is how to associate, affiliate, mutualise and become visible to one another thro the web - a form of society founded in solidarity. I don’t get any sense Dorg/DAO is on that road. It seems DisCO is.

Oli SB

Oli SB February 8th, 2020 10:42

It's an odd question "Should Social.coop start a DAO?" without offering some compelling reasons why that would be a good thing!... Maybe a better question would be "is anyone here interested in collaborating...?" and then we could work out "what on?" and then, maybe, at some point we might need a better way to send messages to each other, to discuss things, to produce working docs, view shared calendars, and possibly even one day we might need to vote and decide on things together... Putting a highly complex technical cart (with no / little track record of providing a useful solution) before a social horse seems like the wrong idea to me... if that make sense!?
I'm willing to be proven wrong - but agree with Matt, and Open Collective probably does more than we would need - why even look at a DAO - and open ourselves up to all the potential problems that could bring? I'm with Noah on this.

Alvaro Solache

Alvaro Solache February 8th, 2020 15:05

I don’t see problems to use Daos & Disco each franework has his functions. daos can be used to save funds and allocate resources of the coop, disco can be the framework pf how to behave and the values to follow. Anyway Disco is also something quite theorical for me cause when it commes to real legal life it has to be defined as a Different entities in each country a user forms part. the good research for me should be how a community driven DAO can help discos . Even if disco creators think daos are evil. Join the enemy to control him.

i use blockchain in my day to day live with wallets and dapps and i don,t se devil there. We are the Devils when make bad use of our talents. Big hug

Leo Sammallahti

Leo Sammallahti February 8th, 2020 17:58

What's Matic? Tried to google but couldn't find out.

We should maybe list all the different ways of participation in the landing page and perhaps in a pinned post in Loomio. New members might have difficulty finding our mattermost chat for example.

We used to have a Wiki for this but somehow it got destroyed :(.

I can see your point about atomising participation, think it can be a problem especially if there is an overlap of functions (such as if we would be having both Discord, Slack and Mattermost chat).

Would there be overlap between what we do with Loomio and what we would do with DAO @Nathan Schneider?

I know very little about DAO/blockchain/DISCO/holochain stuff and find it difficult to wrap my head around it so am agnostic on its possibilities. As a principle however I do think we should more actively seek to engage and support other platform coops.

Nick Sellen

Nick Sellen February 8th, 2020 18:18

What's Matic? Tried to google but couldn't find out.

I think that's meant to mean Matrix, see wiki link below for links to the 3 channels that were in action (I use the open tech one sometimes).

We used to have a Wiki for this but somehow it got destroyed :(.

https://wiki.social.coop is what you're referring to?

Jonathan Bean

Jonathan Bean February 8th, 2020 18:53

@Nathan Schneider I strongly recommend to everyone to read the DisCO Distributed Cooperative manifesto at disco.coop.

It is a well developed set of values and principles and procedures to operate a DAO with cooperative values, it is also a very good critique of what is wrong with traditional DAO culture and structures and how to make it better. I would also suggest that we not use Ethereum but use our own blockchain-based on our values and not be subject to a speculative currency like Ether. We mostly trust our members for the use case for a DAO for us is not strong, because a DAO is for a trustless architecture amongst those that do not trust each other, although we are trusting a lot of people and platforms like this platform.
I do recommend that we help The Guerilla Media collective and @Stacco Troncoso in developing their system to use as well. I am still in the process of understanding the governance model that they have been using successfully to operate their distributed Coop, but it is something we should emulate if we really want this distributed cooperative social media platform to multiply and scale with coop values.

Edit: the website was not loading so I attached it.

Leo Sammallahti

Leo Sammallahti February 8th, 2020 18:59

Ah right, there used to be MediaWiki based one too.

Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes February 8th, 2020 19:12

@Nathan Schneider's interview with Stacco Troncoso

Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes February 8th, 2020 19:17

This is a sidetrack, not meant to distract from Nathan's helpfully provocative question which is about DAO, but how about a Social.Coop Reading Group session on the DisCO Manifesto? It seems like a number of us are wrestling with it and could benefit from sharing of questions and thoughts...

Leo Sammallahti

Leo Sammallahti February 8th, 2020 20:14

Great idea. Consider combining it to do a bit of fundraising for Social COop through WeCo grant :). For every user who takes part in the discussion, we donate 1$ to Social Coop :).


mike_hales February 8th, 2020 20:35

I would join a reading group session on DisCO. There’s a lot to read, and what you see depends on what you read. These two will give quite distinct senses of what DisCO feels like -


The Model3.0 is sober, a working spec, for operational use. The Manifesto is very colourful, evocative, tilting at windmills. Read both? Or if just one, the Model.

Ana Ulin

Ana Ulin February 8th, 2020 21:43

I meant to write "Matrix", not "Matic". Sorry, I think it got autocorrected weird.

Nick Sellen

Nick Sellen February 8th, 2020 21:58

I would be interested too, I've spent the last two or three weeks on-and-off working my way through it, following the many many links (and more links from those links, etc... computer slowing down with all the tabs open), and making notes, etc... (and only got half way through! I'm kinda slow...).

This thread was where I first came across it.

Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes February 8th, 2020 22:27

great thread

Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes February 8th, 2020 22:28

I found this interview useful for the commons and p2p background, and the relation to M15: https://teamhuman.fm/episodes/ep-68-stacco-troncoso-the-commons-is-the-glue/

Alvaro Solache

Alvaro Solache February 9th, 2020 07:13

+1 With the crew of resco.io we are focused on find the best legal framewoek for open a coop in Catalunya and then maybe in Buenos Aires with inspirations like the Fairshare Model and the Disco model, understanding DAOS like a piece of code that can automate few processes related with value accounting and tokens issuance. That values are already in the DNA of our mission

Jonathan Bean

Jonathan Bean February 9th, 2020 15:10

@Nick Sellen - I understand the difficulty of managing the research, tabs, and reading. It took some 10 or more hours to read through the manifesto while going through the links, but I did finish it but still need to read the governance model details and learn more about CAT.

Tangentially, I use Tabs Outliner chrome extention which also works in the new brave chromium-browser. It lets you make an outline of tabs and makes it easy to suspend tabs from the memory, it helps me organize thousands of tabs. I also save each article I am reading to Pocket and OneNote. This makes it so much easier to keep track of everything I am reading and with limited RAM. So I have basically a massive annotated bibliography of articles, links, websites, books, and clips.

I have sensitive eyes so, for websites and articles, I use "Dark Reader" ext. and "Reader View" to get white text on a black background, otherwise, I would not be able to read so much on the screen. I read the manifesto in the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, with the accessibility option for white text on black and, ergonomically, on a 22" HD monitor.

@Matt Noyes - I would definitely be interested in doing a reading group. Where/how should we continue this branch?

@Leo Sammallahti - Yes, let's make a branch on WeCo for cooperative governance and distributed cooperative governance and the Disco Model if there is not one.

Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes February 9th, 2020 15:22

For the reading group, I can start an interest poll in the Reading Group here on Loomio and share it on Social.Coop, followed by a time/date poll. We can then figure out how to integrate a WeCo thread/branch. We will also have to decide which text(s) to read and on which to focus since it is a lot of material.

Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes February 9th, 2020 15:48

Went ahead and started a thread and poll in the Reading Group


mike_hales February 9th, 2020 16:30

I use Tabs Outliner . . . save each article I am reading to Pocket and OneNote . . . limited RAM . . . massive annotated bibliography

Also tangentially - but related to reading? . . In Firefox I have the OneTab plugin, it’s OK. I’m not keen on Pocket, definitely unkeen on MS OneNote (it’s MS) and have quit using Evernote: too oriented to corporate cloud usage and rubbish at formatting of notes - so I migrated to Devonthink 3 (MacOS). It’s proprietary, paid-for and a bit geeky, but it is built like a proper toolbench. Massive annotated bibliography, yes. Sadly the computer still doesn’t read things, and the bibliography and backlog just get bigger every day! RAMwise, even with OneTab I still keep half a dozen pinned tabs in Firefox and a dozen in Safari: they’re constantly in use and help to maintain a visual sense of context. So there goes some RAM! I’m not a fan of a super-clean minimalist hacker-aesthetic full-screen display, I want some lived-in clutter, some colour and the desktop wallpaper (grass trees sky, water) showing round the edges else things get claustrophobic. ;-)


Michael February 9th, 2020 21:12

Interesting as it is to experiment, I’m not convinced that we would currently benefit from setting up a DAO. Personally, I am more interested in DisCO if we are looking to broaden our horizons and strengthen links. Also, if we are considering managing funds on a blockchain, my feeling is that we should look carefully at which one, as many appear not to align with our values.

Jonathan Bean

Jonathan Bean February 9th, 2020 22:15

Thank you so much for bringing devonthink to my attention, it is way better than what I was doing. I remember reading about it like 10 years ago while reading "Where do good ideas come from" by stephen johnson, but I did not have a mac back then and I forgot about it. thanks, @mike_hales

Manuela Bosch

Manuela Bosch February 10th, 2020 10:15

I think the qustion should be: in which way can tools/processes from the DAO space be useful for social.coop? We've been looking into creating a DAO for the Vanilla Way Network, working with some folks from that space and I am following the DGOV movement since a few months. I understand that at the current state, it does not replace a legal form yet, there is a lot out there in beta, and the question is really what we would like to solve/do with the tools available or possible to design. I love the idea of a DisCo reading group. I also recommend you guys interested in that topic to join the DGOV community (https://dgov.foundation), that is full of people thinking of Distributed Governance beyond Tech, and people from the blockchain space interested to collaborate with "real" communities to test their tools.

Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso February 10th, 2020 17:51

Hey, we love the idea. We wanted to do a general reading group. We'll be glad to chime in and we can direct other folks reading the Manifesto etc to the reading group. Another idea was to make a forum here in Loomio called DisCO.talk. Would anyone be up for that.

Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso February 10th, 2020 17:53

Hey there. So, from the DisCO angle, we're just wrapping up a separate project but eager to build on what we've done in the Manifesto. I'll chime in on the next few days to talk about some of the points raised.

Oli SB

Oli SB February 10th, 2020 21:55

Hi @Stacco Troncoso :) I'd vote for less Loomio groups actually... they come with a price now and whilst I'm happy to pay Loomio for a great platform I actually think some of these conversations, and attempts at collaboration would be better with more people in one main forum where we might possibly be more effective. I see so much cross over between the intentions in The Open App Ecosystem, Commons Transition, Social Co-op, Platform 6, Solidfund etc etc groups... but little actual coordination... let alone collaboration. But don't let me stop you, I'm sure A DisCo talk thread would be interesting too... but I'd love to talk more / work with people here, and other Loomio groups, about how we might use the tools at our disposal to more effective


mike_hales February 11th, 2020 10:29

This is a good highlight @Oli SB . I hear the same issue coming up all over. On the Left it’s been an issue since the socialist-feminist Beyond the Fragments was published 40 years back, but the situation’s more severe today, with identity politics fragments and the bubbles that are enabled by social media. If we could find a way to move forward on this one, it would be a big contribution.

What platform/s might serve? And what core topic or theme might embrace the diversity, without constituting yet another fragment?

My hunch on topic is commons (commoning). Eg DAO vs DisCO could be addressed as ‘how can each contribute to the practice of commoning in this or that community’ (app commoning, credit commoning, commoning of coop knowhow, etc) and ‘what commons may they contribute to the current repertoire’ (ie commons of digital means, of digital media, of coop knowhow, etc). OAE, Commons Transition, Solidfund, etc etc are all approaching these questions, I would say. It would be great if we all talked to each other about this tacit convergence? I’m not suggesting that ‘commoning rules’. Just, this is a tacit mode of practice across all these fields.

My hunch on platform/s . . less sure. Maybe a good old fashioned wiki, and a good new-fashioned federated wiki farm. Social.coop is in the (hesitant) process of defining what the distinctive ‘core content’ is, of the discussions we mean to facilitate in Mastodon and Loomio (probably, the development of coops?). We could host/moderate a segment of a larger wiki, which is the wiki of the broad grouping Oli is proposing? We could share fedwikis on various strands of developing thought & practice? Maybe social.coop should host a Mediawiki and a fedwiki farm, alongside the Mastodon instance - each under coop governance?

Not a competitor or duplicate of the P2P wiki. Rather, a domain-focused sister platform, alongside the generic P2P platform.

Note: this doesn’t amount to coordination or collaboration of real-world action, which is probably what Oli was intending. So maybe some other kind of platform for that? Although . . . isn’t that what Loomio is designed for?

Wikis need a synchronous channel alongside too: chat of some kind (text, audio, video)? Mastodon?!

Stacco Troncoso

Stacco Troncoso February 13th, 2020 06:11

Now that the reading group has been created, I'll simply give my impressions on SC as a DisCO.

I think that @Nathan Schneider's proposal above calls for a very simple DAO reflecting Social.coop's present reality and formalising some of the value flows therein. DisCO, on the other hand has been primarily designed for worker coops or WSDE's, while Social Coop is something else.

I think that a lot of the cultural practices we propose (and use in Guerrilla Media Collective) can be introduced to SC but it may make more sense to pilot Ori Shimony's proposal above and then figure out what elements of the DisCO Framework are applicable to Social.coop.

On the latter: For us DisCOs come into being when the seven DisCO principles are being used (in addition to the OG-7 coop principles) .The worker-owner angle affects DisCO principle 6 ("Reimagining the origin and flows of value") mainly, as it currently calls for paid/market work to self finance the pro-bono side. That market angle is the factor I see missing in Social Coop, but I think it'd be interesting to explore its DisCOfication in its absence - once of the purposes of DisCO is to increase decommodification so hey, totes worth looking into.