Loomio

Decision-Making Beyond the Representative Board

DS
Danyl Strype Public Seen by 285

In and around the time of the Open Source Open Society conference in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, there were some informal discussions among a number of NZ Pirates, some of them Board members. We floated the idea of dissolving the Board, replacing it with a) a cluster of formal Working Groups, and b) using Loomio to make all party decisions. The original discussion document written by Ben is here:
https://gist.github.com/zl4bv/1995e9ff8536ee20a15e

The working groups provide each Officer (eg Treasurer, Secretary, Communications) with a pool of deputies, who can share the work of that office, and keep the Officer accountable. This has the advantage of avoiding single-points-of-failure, as all work by that Officer and the Working Group will be well documented automatically as the discussions occur, and in the event of Officers going AWOL, another member of the Working Group can be delegated to take over as Acting Officer until a new permanent Officer can be elected.

This discussion is now focused on defining more precisely how this new Board-less/ networked structure will work, through a collaborative document exploring the various practicalities and concerns:
http://piratepad.net/OezvwsyBUl

Once we find substantial agreement on the nuts and bolts, we can cut this discussion document down to the essentials, and refine it into our new party constitution.

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 9 Jun 2015

I support the dissolution of the Board structure. Have current Board members discussed this formally? Is there consensus on this suggestion?

One of our values is what I've been calling "deep democracy", the idea that everyone has a right to fully participate in discussing anything that will affect them, and taking decisions, either directly or by recallable delegation. NZ Pirates need to a) walk the talk, and b) distinguish ourselves from other political parties (eg Internet Party).

We can do both of these things by operating, and being seen to operate, as a member-led democracy. Decision-making is taken on by the membership via an online platform, and working groups who send at least one delegate to Party Coordination meetings on Mumble every fortnight to report back and support each others work.

For now, this means making whole-party decisions using Loomio, with our public group, and private subgroups for sensitive discussions (eg moderation discussions and mediation of conflicts).
* all members who participate in a respectful and constructive way have a right to speak and take positions in Loomio discussions
* all unanimous consensus decisions made on the platform are adopted as binding decisions
* if full consensus cannot be found, and a decision is needed urgently, a supermajority vote (80%) can be taken as a binding decision
* binding decisions can be modified or removed by a future consensus or supermajority

Local groups and working groups can make their own decisions, autonomous of country-scale decision-making.

All and any decisions about acting under the party's name can be made according to the '3 Pirate Rule' (as discussed in SwarmWise): any group of 3 or more Pirates can make a decision about what their group will do in the party's name. Abusing the '3 Pirate Rule', and bringing disrepute on the party, can be grounds for being asked to give up membership privileges, temporarily or pemanently.

We can test this for a fixed period, eg 6 months or 1 year, then evaluate whether to bring the Board structure back.

Do any other members have thoughts on these suggestions?

PC

Peter Cummuskey Tue 9 Jun 2015

In my mind, I see the Party being two distinct entities. One is the formal organisation, which requires a treasurer, etc. The other is the Party as a whole.

The board's activities should be dictated by the decisions made by the Party as a whole, as per the rules suggested above, and have no decision-making authority for themselves beyond that granted by their own participation in full-party discussions.

The event that an immediate authoritative decision must be made is reasonable to assume as a likelihood, so in that case a board member should rely on the '3 Pirate Rule', and submit a retrospective review discussion with the Party as soon as possible.

DS

Danyl Strype Fri 12 Jun 2015

AFAIK an incorporated society doesn't require a board or committee, only a President, Secretary, and Treasurer (or equivalent), which can be symbolic or administrative roles with no special decision-making power.

In the "event that an immediate authoritative decision must be made", any 3 Pirates can make it, presumably those who will be expected to action said decision. I see no reason to require any of them to be members of a "Board" (or for said "Board" to exist), as this only seems to result in member perception of a bottleneck on decision-making, which seems to discourages initiative and participation. To quote the Matrix, " we all well know that the reason that most of us are here is because of our... affinity for disobedience." ;)

AR

Andrew Reitemeyer Mon 15 Jun 2015

"In the Swedish Pirate Party, we had manifested this through a three-pirate rule, which can easily be translated into a three-activist rule for any swarm. It went like this: if three activists agree that something is good for the organization, they have a green light to act in the organization’s name. It’s not that they don’t need to ask permission — it goes deeper than that. Rather, they should never ask permission if three activists agree that something is good."
Rick
http://falkvinge.net/2013/04/01/swarmwise-the-tactical-manual-to-changing-the-world-chapter-three/

BV

Ben Vidulich Wed 24 Jun 2015

Here's the relevant document I drafted at around the time of the OS//OS conference referred to above: https://gist.github.com/zl4bv/1995e9ff8536ee20a15e

DS

Danyl Strype Fri 10 Jul 2015

I would like to respond to the comments made by @hubatmcjuhes in the discussion about Andrew R's resignation as President ("Chair"):
https://www.loomio.org/d/jLvXKymV/that-andrew-reitemeyer-stand-down-as-chair

I have to say I find Hubat's conclusions to be somewhat premature. Firstly, despite the decision to dissolve the Board having been made informally about 3 months ago, it's never been properly discussed on Loomio, meaning we've never come to any clear consensus on how the new working group structure is actually supposed to work in practice. How can you declare an experiment failed when it hasn't properly begun yet?

Hubat said:

We have no groups in place, no speakers, no constitution or CoC, no due processes at all.

AFAIK none of this was put in place over the last year while the Board was functioning either. It seems unreasonable to demand that the membership complete, in a few months, things the Board was unable to do in a year.

Finally, Hubat refers to low participation at Mumble meetings. The four Board members who were regularly attending are Hubat, @andrewreitemeyer, @andrewmcpherson, and Ben V @zl4bv. Andrew R has been very busy in his role as International Officer, as shown by his recently election to PPI Chair. Andrew McP has been very distracted by health problems. I'm not sure what Ben's been up to, but his limited participation on Loomio suggests he too has been busy with something else. I haven't attended the Mumble meetings as I've also been unwell, and trying to focus what energy I do have on engaging constructively here on Loomio, and opening up communications with the Internet Party.

In summary, I think we need to have the discussion, and agree on how the new working group structure is to work, and each put ourselves forward to be part of at least one working group. Then we are in a position to formally propose to dissolve the Board for an experimental period (at least 6 months), starting from when the proposal closes. At the end of that experimental period, and not before, is the time to start evaluating the results of the experiment.

Oh, and David, I strongly suggest you read and familiarize yourself with Ben's proposal document before you make any further comments on this topic, so we're all on the same page.

BV

Ben Vidulich Sat 11 Jul 2015

I’m not sure what Ben’s been up to, but his limited participation on Loomio suggests he too has been busy with something else.

Indeed, I have been busy over the past few months which means I've had to decide more carefully where I spent my time. This project has consumed a large amount of my time for two main reasons (in order):

  1. The work was challenging. I enjoy being challenged and I try to focus my time on things I enjoy. Very often I stayed late in order to reach the pinnacle of whatever problem I was trying to solve - and after 10-12 hours of work I wanted only to relax when I got home.
  2. Some of the deadlines imposed on our team meant our whole team would stay late to complete the required tasks. This was made enjoyable by the moral support of fellow team mates as well as well as the dinner and beer that were purchased for us as a thanks for staying late.

I mentioned enjoyment a lot above because I like to spend my time on things that I find enjoyable and by the inverse property I try to avoid spending time on things I don't enjoy. For a long time the Pirate Party was something that I really enjoyed participating in - often I spent all of my spare time working on things that I believed would benefit the Party in some way. Even if those things were not visible to other people. However, there became a point where I stopped seeing value in spending as much time as I was on PP-related things. At that point my enjoyment of participating in PP was lost. If you've been following my rant so far you've probably guessed what happens next: I stopped spending time on PP-related things and, well, here we are.

TLDR; participating in PP stopped being enjoyable so I stopped engaging.


Back on topic...

Have current Board members discussed this formally? Is there consensus on this suggestion?

Outside of Loomio I don't recall there being much discussion on this topic - at least not recently. I believe our consensus was that we wanted to dissolve the board, but we wanted a benchmark to measure the successful of the change and a sunset clause to restore a/the current board in the event that the change was deemed unsuccessful, say, a few months after the dissolution.

How can you declare an experiment failed when it hasn’t properly begun yet?

Agreed. It seems unreasonable to deem the experiment failed when we haven't started to try it. Also, it is difficult to call an experiment a success or a failure if you have no definition of what those words mean in context.

To put context to my original proposal, I wanted to remove barriers for members to ownership of party-related ideas and activities. If any member has an idea that is supported by other members then they should just do it - regardless of having the board's approval (obviously said idea with have to align with pirate principles / benefit the party as a whole). If I recall correctly this was based on my frustrations of the previous board where despite ample support from other members I was blocked from introducing Loomio for many months because the board couldn't reach a conclusion about whether it wanted us to be able to move discussions there. Now that I'm a board member I've tried to be supporting on new ideas and even when I personally disagree with the idea I've tried not to let that be a blocker for supporters of the idea.

So personally, my definition of success for the dissolution of the board is if more than one member outside of the current board introduces a new idea, takes ownership of that idea, and with the help of other members executes that idea. That definition is quite broad, and could easily be achieved with a board and failed to be achieved without a board, but if it results in more ownership from non-board members than we currently have now then the party will still have benefitted more from having executing the idea than from not.

In summary, I agree with what @strypey is suggesting: that we define the structure of a working group before we attempt to dissolve the board. I also believe we should complete our attempt to write a CoC as mediating any dispute after we dissolve the board will become more challenging. Finally, we should look at re-writing the constitution - perhaps not entirely but enough that it would let us maintain stability within the party in the event that the dissolution results in complete failure. That last point obviously means we would need to define failure in context.

HM

Hubat McJuhes Tue 14 Jul 2015

I am sorry if I sounded somewhat harsh in that comment in the other discussion. Some of the more recent frustrations may have been tainting the colour of my wording. I certainly wasn't up to blame anyone or something (as I would have to blame myself in the first place). I also didn't mean to declare the experiment failed.

The point that I wanted to make and that I think is perfectly valid is that we shouldn't try to react upon the vacancy of the President's chair by formally dissolving the board, even though we are obviously not readily prepared for such a step just yet.

Your point, @strypey , to ask why one should expect that the experimental semi-dissolvement of the board for only two month would have lead to having all our issues resolved by now, particularly as we haven't had broader discussions about the details of the model yet, actually supports my point.

So, yes, please let us have lots of great discussions...

HM

Hubat McJuhes Tue 14 Jul 2015

Some thoughts:

  • Any three or more pirates can form a group (in analogy to the 3-pirate-rule).
  • Every group has to appoint and announce a speaker and a co-speaker.
  • Any pirate can be member of as many groups as she likes.
  • A common group can decide for itself whom they want to accept as members of the group.
  • Examples of possible common groups could be: a copyleft group; a neutralNet group; privacy pirates, sustainable pirates, social pirates,...
  • A group stalls, should the number of members fall below 3. It then looses all privileges of a group until the number rises to or above 3 active members again.
  • A group ceases should the number of active members drop to 0.
  • The constitution defines certain groups with a mandate to deal with certain cross cutting concerns which are essential to the parties infrastructure.
  • The membership may define additional essential groups as they see fit.
  • Essential groups must accept at least speakers of other groups as group members unless otherwise specified by the specific mandate (E.g. a constitutional group could be defined so that only members elected by the party membership are allowed as active members).
  • An essential group must not be allowed to stall, i.e. the active membership must be 3 or more (or a higher minimum number if codified for this particular group) at all times.
  • The constitution must define a mechanism to ensure minimum member numbers for essential groups.
  • An example for an essential group guaranteed by the constitution would be the treasure group.
  • An example for an essential group the constitution or the membership could specify could be a server administration group.
  • Another example the membership could specify as essential group could be a Public Relations group.
HM

Hubat McJuhes Tue 14 Jul 2015

If the above framework would appeal to the current membership, we could outline a first implementation that would suit us right now, given the small number of active members right now, like this:

We define the treasure group in the constitution as a group of X members, elected by the membership, to deal with the parties secrets (formerly Secretary) and funds (formerly Treasurer). Active membership would be limited to elected members, but any pirate must be granted passive membership (full participation and attendance right without voting right).

The treasure group would also be obliged to appoint (as a last resort even out of their own ranks) temporary members for other essential groups where such a group cannot fill their minimum numbers by their own means.

It is pretty obvious that this treasure group is pretty much the same thing as the current board, but embedded into an overall concept that makes very clear that it is an administrative unit only, rather than a power centre. So pretty much what we have always wanted.
This construction would make the transition easy and clearly points out the direction where future development is supposed to lead to.

Once we have grown a little we certainly would love to release the treasury out of the second obligation, for example.

BV

Ben Vidulich Wed 15 Jul 2015

A common group can decide for itself whom they want to accept as members of the group.

This might prevent trolls, but could be destructive too.

A group stalls, should the number of members fall below 3. It then looses all privileges of a group until the number rises to or above 3 active members again.

What privileges does a group have?

I suppose we need to define an "active member" too.

It is pretty obvious that this treasure group is pretty much the same thing as the current board

I like the idea of a group that could help us transition to our board-less organisation. Perhaps with another name though?

If we do this, then the group should have a more explicit definition of its power. Otherwise we might as well call it the oligarchy group.

HM

Hubat McJuhes Wed 15 Jul 2015

I have thought of a common group as being modelled after the three-pirate-rule. So if we think that three pirates that meet in a pub are a group that can plan actions in the name of the party, then we sure would love to see these three pirates seek wider support in the membership and invite other pirates into their circle - but we also acknowledge that they are not obliged to do anything like that.

It is very important that this is in contrast to groups recognised as essential, where the membership must have more control and can define the rules of their existence.

What privileges does a group have?

At the outset:
* a collaboration and publishing platform in terms of access to the Pirate Party infrastructure
* a named speaker with possibly privileged access to essential groups
* and I am sure that once we decide on such a model and discuss the details we will recognise more...

I suppose we need to define an “active member” too.

Yes, that is a tricky one. There is a clear case of activity and inactivity, but what exactly makes one status to change to the other is a very tricky one. But we may not need razor blade sharp definition. For now we could just go with the rule and say that a group with no posted comments in the last 6 month has ceased (e.g. The Engine Room?) and a group that has not had vivid discussions over the last 6 month anymore but a couple of members are still posting a comment with a link to interesting resources every now and then is pretty much stalled.

we might as well call it the oligarchy group.

If we decide to go forward in this or that direction I will argue that Funds and Secrets (Treasurer and Secretary) must be dealt with a group of elected people that have agreed to a defined term of attendance. I find the name 'Treasury' pretty much perfect; maybe 'Guardians of the Taonga' may be better? We would have to ask for that, though.

The problem of the group as outlined is, that - for practical reasons - I have added the burden to guarantee for the persistent existence of essential groups to the Treasury, where this role doesn't really belong to. It is just that we realistically cannot afford to build up a second elected group at the present point in time. But this obligation should be removes from the Treasury at the earliest possible point in time.
This is why I don't think we should give it a name signifying the broader power. Instead using one that identifies clearly the intention of the containment of some powers.

HM

Hubat McJuhes Mon 20 Jul 2015

Anybody else having some thoughts?

I am asking to discuss how we want to proceed. We should hold a conference meeting for this.

I have put up a new event for a mumble meeting on Wednesday 22nd.

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 21 Jul 2015

Wednesdays are bad for me, as I have two social activities I intend to regularly attend on Wednesdays. Of course I don't expect the meeting on the 22 to be changed on my account at such late notice, but if it would be possible to choose a new day for future meetings, I would be much more likely to attend.

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 21 Jul 2015

I have started documentation of our proposed horizontal/ networked structure here:
http://piratepad.net/OezvwsyBUl

Edits welcome.

DU

[deactivated account] Wed 22 Jul 2015

Well, I have another committee meeting on thursdays, and their newsletter labelling is on a monday.
I would suggest that tuesday might be better to hold meetings, as fridays are usually a night at the pub for @zl4bv and @hubatmcjuhes and I am sure other members would also be busy on friday nights.

HM

Hubat McJuhes Wed 22 Jul 2015

Not sure what makes AMcP think that I am 'usually' having a night in the pub on Fridays - but Tuesdays is fine with me.

DU

[deactivated account] Wed 22 Jul 2015

I mean in the context of afterwork-week relaxation that Friday is not the best day for meetings @hubatmcjuhes and @zl4bv will probably agree.

BV

Ben Vidulich Thu 23 Jul 2015

It seems like Tuesdays are the most suitable day to have mumble meetings.

Can we confirm this?
Tuesdays, 20:00, in our mumble channel, weekly for the next six or so weeks?

Even if only a subset of us manage to attend on any given week it should still help us get things moving a little faster.

DS

Danyl Strype Fri 24 Jul 2015

Sounds good to me @zl4bv . Can I suggest you test consensus on that by putting it up as a proposal, where the outcome is clearly visualised, and easily found? Might as well make the most of the features Loomio offers :)

BV

Ben Vidulich started a proposal Fri 24 Jul 2015

We meet on Tuesdays at 8 PM to work on the details of our new party structure Closed Mon 27 Jul 2015

Outcome
by Ben Vidulich Tue 25 Apr 2017

Meeting on Tuesdays at 8 PM seems to work for a majority of respondents. It is important that they we keep track of and share the progress we make with these meetings so that those who cannot attend remain informed.

Day: Tuesdays
Time: 20:00
Repeat: every week for the next 6 weeks (approx.)
Where: Mumble

By agreeing to this proposal you are indicating that the chosen day/time suits you. Attendance is optional, so agreeing doesn't mean you have to attend.

Results
Agree - 4
Abstain - 4
Disagree - 4
Block - 4
5 people have voted (11%)
DU

[deactivated account]
Agree
Fri 24 Jul 2015

HM

Hubat McJuhes
Agree
Fri 24 Jul 2015

BV

Ben Vidulich
Agree
Fri 24 Jul 2015

DS

Danyl Strype
Agree
Sat 25 Jul 2015

I think it will help to talk regularly to get clear on our new way of working, and how long we're going to run with it before reviewing.

DU

[deactivated account] Mon 27 Jul 2015

I really like the idea of dissolution of an executive board to remove any dependence on a centralised administrative body so as to promote the freedom and initiative of individual/s to work on any projects of interest unhindered without needing 'endorsement' or 'validation' from an arbitrary 'official' organising entity - the merit is in the results of the work itself and the power of the people to choose. very profound. The Pirate Wheel is also very awesome.

This might be a bit off topic, but I was just wondering, if PPNZ were to run in elections, how are the candidates chosen?
I discussed this in depth in the IP Policy Incubator, and thought that the best method would be to run open elections from the membership at large in each electorate to designate each electoral candidate, and to run nationwide elections to determine a party list.
The election methodology would combine aspects of both approval voting and preferential (STV) voting. Ballots can list unlimited choices, and every member is a candidate to election by virtue of declaring membership. In this way everyone is treated as truly 'equal' in that no one needs to appoint themselves or be nominated to run (such acts are intimately connected to feeling of superiority/inferiority, they are anti-anarchist feelings that risk leading one to the darkside, it's sad that so many of our systems require that people discern a differentiation in value from others to be nominated to run), rather we are all running by the intrinsic virtue of our each and everyone's very own existence. In this proposed system, election ballots and the process of nomination have been conflated into a single part of the process to result in a system that is humanist and inclusive.
The appointed members for candidacy are those that receive the greatest overall populist quality of approval.
I feel that this kind of election is founded on similar principles that are the reason that lead to the creation of the Pirate Wheel and the dissolution of the PPNZ board.

Please see my recent comments here for a more specific description of the mechanics of a possible example of the potential election/appointment methodology I am proposing.

DU

[deactivated account]
Abstain
Mon 27 Jul 2015

Not particularly free during this era of my life, though always keen to catch up on updates when I get round to checking my emails.

DU

[deactivated account] Mon 27 Jul 2015

Also sorry if that comment is in the wrong thread, wasn't sure if it is appropriate or if there is any space for it to be shared or if the members might find the ideas valuable to consider at some stage during deliberations. Faafetai tele, Viliamu

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 28 Jul 2015

Yes, @williamasiata candidate selection is a bit off-topic, and this an urgent discussion about party structure. You are welcome to start a new discussion thread about that, it's important, but not urgent.

DS

Danyl Strype Tue 28 Jul 2015

Sorry I couldn't make it to the Mumble meeting tonight.

@hubatmcjuhes an elected "Secrets and Accounts" WG is just the Board by another name. The whole point of this exercise is to see if we can do without unrecallable delegation. I believe there should be elected officers, but as few as possible (Treasurer and Secretary, perhaps Co-Presidents/ Co-Leaders), and each with their own WG, which any party member can join.

All Core (constitutional) WGs need to document their deliberations and decisions on a member-facing (maybe even public-facing) Loomio subgroup, for accountability to other WGs, the broader membership, and supporters and allies. With our small active membership at present, most of us will need to be part of at least two WGs, so there is likely to be a lot of overlap and cross-talk anyway.

Proposed Core WGs
+ Hospitality (moderation, currently being handled in one ongoing discussion on the main group)
+ Secrets (secretarial and membership, currently 'Membership Rules')
+ Treasury (finances and fundraising, currently 'Executive', although some of its archived discussions may be more relevant to the 'Engine Room')
+ Communications (internal and public-facing comms, subgroup already exists)
+ Engine Room (digital infostructure, platforms, tech support, subgroup already exists)
+ Policy (discussion and drafting of policy*, subgroup already exists)

  • when the members active in the Policy WG think they have a stable draft, a proposal can be made to pass a version (versioned by date) to the main group. Once that happens, a consensus (or supermajority if consensus can't be reached) decides if the version is adopted as official policy or not.
HM

Hubat McJuhes Wed 29 Jul 2015

@williamasiata I find the ideas you bring up and that have been discussed in that thread you liked very interesting and important. I would love to participate in an in-depth discussion about that and I kindly like to ask you to start a separate discussion about that.

I wonder if it might be a good idea to wait with that until we have the new structure in place, though, as our resources are pretty limited and need to be focused right now. But I am really looking forward to having that discussion then, and I think I have a thought or two to contribute :-)

DS

Danyl Strype started a proposal Tue 4 Aug 2015

Create or Modify Subgroups to Create Core Working Groups Closed Mon 10 Aug 2015

Outcome
by Danyl Strype Tue 25 Apr 2017

Agreement on using this schema to tidy up our Loomio group, while we continue to iterate towards a new constitution.

I propose that we create or modify subgroups of this Loomio group, to create our core Working Groups, as follows:

Create new:
* Hospitality: new subgroup for moderation according to CofC, "How We Use Loomio" discussion to be moved there.
* Records: new subgroup for archival of discussions which are unlikely to continue, but which may be referred to for historical purposes

Modify:
* Secrets: currently existing ‘Membership Rules’ subgroup to be renamed, for secretarial and membership matters
* Treasury: 'Executive’ or 'PPNZ Board'subgroup to be renamed for finances and fundraising. Some of the discussions in either of these may be more relevant to the 'Engine Room’:
* Policy Incubator: currently existing subgroup 'Policy Group' to be renamed for discussion and drafting of policy

Existing:
* Communications: subgroup already exists for internal and public-facing comms
* Engine Room: subgroup already exists for digital infostructure, platforms, tech support

Results
Agree - 1
Abstain - 1
Disagree - 1
Block - 1
2 people have voted (4%)
AR

Andrew Reitemeyer
Agree
Tue 4 Aug 2015

HM

Hubat McJuhes
Abstain
Wed 5 Aug 2015

This proposal is too concrete given that many aspects of it are still currently disputed.
This proposal prematurely sets us up for the 'subcommittees without a committee' model ignoring the 'Permanent Membership Assembly' model, without discussion.

HM

Hubat McJuhes Wed 5 Aug 2015

I am surprised to see a proposal popping up that goes so much into detail, even though an alternative concept has been offered but not been discussed on loomio so far.

While we agree in principle, there are many details that are currently disputed and should preferably be discussed in mumble, as a asynchronous written trail like this is just not efficient enough for this task.

We need to clarify:
* the meaning of the root group,
* the concept of the essential groups,
* elected officers and their WGs,
* the scalability of the different models,
* the benefits and disadvantages for the user experience, including:
* first contacts of interested non-members,
* highly active members who want to have a say in may things,
* sporadic members that may every now and then comment and vote on many things and then disappear for another while again,
* single issue activists members who want to work on their particular concern and may or may not be interested in voting on finalising other policies, but not want to be spammed by unrelated policy development.
* people who are willing to take over the boring administration and formal stuff,
* and all the others.

The current proposal is too concrete given that many aspects are still currently disputed and sets us up for the 'subcommittees without a committee' model, ignoring the 'Permanent Membership Assembly' model, without discussion.

HM

Hubat McJuhes
Disagree
Wed 5 Aug 2015

There are 6 administrative WGs proposed that provide services to the party.
There is only 1 WG proposed for policy building which is the purpose of the party.
This is vastly disproportional.

The purpose of the root group is unclear.

HM

Hubat McJuhes Wed 5 Aug 2015

In the proposal there are 5 groups that fall into the proposed category of essential groups. Given that we can realistically count with 3 to 5 members who are currently willing to engage permanently in the administration of the party, and that the requirement of such a group shall be three members at least, this concept appears completely impractical at the present point in time.
Each such group will have to organise their formal meetings. As they are basically the same people, one group will probably meet after the other at the same day. Many tasks that need to be thought through will need information to be given by another group. As the members of a group are also the members of the other group, they will quickly just answer their question themselves, effectively making one meeting being a meeting of all groups at once.
I can tell to what degree this seems ridiculous to me (making it harder finding enough people to play that funny game), but I cannot see any advantage in not just letting them be one group, as they effectively are.

HM

Hubat McJuhes Wed 5 Aug 2015

The 'policy incubator' is not a Working Group at all. It is a place where working groups can place their discussions (as long as they are about policy development - where do other topics go to?), intermingling everything again.

I see the purpose of a Working Group to be a place where a group of people can not only discuss their matters without the clutter of everyone else; but also to present themselves in the group description, offer links to alternative activity platforms that that group uses, cultivate their unique identity and sharpen their profile.

If we have WGs like 'Social Pirates', 'Ecological pirates', 'Wellington Pirates' (and maybe 'Palmy Pirates'?), then these groups can start their discussions in their sphere if they are about incubating a policy or not. The discussions still belong to them.

The Policy Incubator is pointing into the wrong direction IMHO.

DS

Danyl Strype Sat 8 Aug 2015

@hubatmcjuhes this proposal is just about subgroups we obviously need. All I'm proposing is to tidy up our existing subgroups, so we can categorise the various types of discussions we have using Loomio. I agree that some of these are not necessarily Working Groups (eg Records) and my proposal says nothing about what constitutional status (if any) these subgroups should have, whether the members who use them will also use other platforms etc.

I believe the categories I've listed in this proposal are just as relevant with 5-10 members and they will be with 500, or 500,000. Having discussion on policy in the Policy Group, and infrastructure in the Engine Room, while other kinds of discussions are going on in the root group, has made for less confusion about where to find the kinds of discussion one is looking for. All I want to do is make more use of this ability to categorise discussions, and if you agree to this proposal, all you are agreeing to is a reorganisation of this Loomio group, not anything about the constitution or structure of the party.

DS

Danyl Strype Sat 8 Aug 2015

Also, having reviewed your additions to the PiratePad, I think you misunderstand my use of the phrase "committee without a committee". Like you, I envision the WGs being accountable to the full membership, via the main Loomio group ("root group"), as a Permanent Membership Assembly. I agree that nuts and bolts discussions affecting only subsets of the membership should be kept out of the PMA as much as possible. That said, if and when to start a discussion in the PMA is ultimately up to each member, just as each member has a choice about whether to read or comment on that discussion. It's easy to see when proposals are being made, even in a discussion you haven't followed, and we can set a quorum below which a decision is only suggestive, not binding.

HM

Hubat McJuhes Sun 9 Aug 2015

Restructuring our loomio groups and sub-groups will be a necessity after we have been agreeing to a new structure.

Your clarification that your current proposed loomio structure is not supposed to pre-define our constitutional structure is helpful. Certainly your changes will be resulting in a tidier situation that we have right now. But are we not just doubling the workload if we have to do it twice? Would it not still be more efficient to first agree on a constitutional structure and then model the loomio structure accordingly?

HM

Hubat McJuhes
Abstain
Sun 9 Aug 2015

As a tidy-up without any indication of a future constitutional structure, this is fine and an improvement.

But I am worried that this task doubles the workload and distracts us from the constitutional work at hand.

DS

Danyl Strype Mon 10 Aug 2015

I'm happy to do the work I've proposed. As @hubatmcjuhes says, this will result in a tidier and (hopefully) more user-friendly Loomio group for us over the next few weeks at least. If further work is needed after we find consensus on our new party structure, I'm confident that the changes I'm proposing will make this easier, not harder, for example:
* not having to tidy up two Executive/ Board subgroups
* website related discussions from those subgroups already moved to the Engine room or Treasury as appropriate

I'm proposing some major changes to our core decision-making platform, so I'd like to see more comments and positions from other members. I was going to extend the proposal for another couple of days, so it could be discussed on Mumble on Tuesday night. I will wait until after then to implement, to make sure there are no objections or suggestions I need to take into account.

DS

Danyl Strype Wed 12 Aug 2015

I've started to implement the Loomio tidy up:
* I've renamed the Policy Group to Policy Incubator
* created the Hospitality subgroup and moved the Code of Conduct discussion there.
* created Records subgroup and moved the 'How we use Loomio' moderation thread there, as it's been superceded by Hospitality
* I tried to change the Membership Rules group but I do not have admin privileges. @andrewreitemeyer can you please make me a coordinator of that group?

What's left now is:
* moving all the 'Executive' discussions to Records, and deleting that group.
* modifying the Membership Rules and PPNZ Board groups to become Secrets and Treasury

@hubatmcjuhes if there is a combined Admin WG, as we discussed on Mumble, it's members can just make sure they are members of both the Treasury and Secrets subgroups, and start new discussions in one or the other depending on whether they're mainly about money (Treasury) or correspondence and membership (Secrets). I do think that as we grow, these will need their own subgroups, so I am future-proofing.

DS

Danyl Strype Sun 20 Sep 2015

I ran into a problem here. AFAICT there is no easy way to move all the discussion from one subgroup into another, and I'm not sure what happens to the discussions in a subgroup if I just delete the subgroup. I will post some questions in the Loomio Community group.

@andrewreitemeyer I still need admin access to the Membership Rules group. AFAICT you are the only admin in that subgroup? If anyone else is admin in that group, can you please make me admin?

AR

Andrew Reitemeyer Tue 22 Sep 2015

Done

DS

Danyl Strype Fri 25 Sep 2015

Thanks @andrewreitemeyer I've renamed the group to Secrets and set it's description to "secretarial and membership matters" for now.

I've made some suggestions to the Loomio devs about bulk moving of discussions and merging/ splitting of subgroups.