Loomio
June 26th, 2016 16:56

Should we get rid of role of Core Connector?

Francesca
Francesca Public Seen by 370

This has been on my mind for while. so I'd like to see what others think:

Ever since we introduced the notion of core connectors, it seems to me like the usefulness of this additional role never really proved itself and has become increasingly obsolete. In 2014 in Berlin we introduced the role of Core Connectors, and every since never "officially" added any new ones, with the process we created to do this (which is the same as the Connectors process)

>> SEE WHAT A CORE CONNECTOR IS HERE.

Having to officialize new Core Connetors seems like a lot of overhead and effort for very little value, which was mainly in being able to explain to people better why there were large differences in how involved Connectors are (since some are only doing this as volunteers in their free time, and others as a full time job).

So even though at the time I felt it was important, I now come to the conclusion that it adds unnecessary complexity and a level of hierarchy that does not actually reflect reality (there are active members that work full time on OuiShare, on specific projects).

To me it seems like a more accurate description of currentl existing roles in OS would be members >> active members >> Connectors.

Is this a shared sentiment? How do Connectors who are less active feel about this?
Should we just get rid of it?

P.S. Of course, this hints at a larger discussion needed about probably reviewing the roles & responsibilities of Connector as well - but I thought that it would be good to start with this one.

LB

Lucie Basch June 26th, 2016 21:45

I agree : we can create as many titles as we want they will always be people with the same title getting involved in a complete different way. That's why I don't see the point of having an extra level to qualify core connectors especially when we already have issues sometimes with the definition and "rights " of a connector . For me it's just adding complexity and hierarchy without gaining much interest from it.

Benjamin Tincq

Benjamin Tincq June 27th, 2016 09:36

My feeling is that the current description of the Core Connector role, is probably obsolete. But at the same time, I also feel that the current understanding of what a Connector is (and the Connector appointment process) might also be a bit obsolete.

Taking inspiration from our Enspiral friends, I have three suggestions:

  • We could re-think how we define the boundaries between the levels of involvement, as well as the roles and responsibilities attached to it. Enspiral has three circles, from outside to inner circle: partners and friends, 300 Contributors (people that at least one Member trust) and 50 Members (people that all the Members trust). I have the feeling that our "Core Connector" circle was too small, and at the same time our "Connector" circle is a a bit between Enspiral's Member and Contributor circle (not because we don't trust everyone, but simply because we don't know everyone yet). Of course, we could argue that this would make even more sense at the local level

  • We could (and I really think we should) change the Connector appointment process. I think it would make much more sense to have it invitation-based rather than request-based (even though motivation would have to be verified and tested). There has been several cases, more or less recent, where the request-based process has been either painful (cf. Ehab) or discouraging (cf. Marguerite, Maiwenn, Manuella). Following the paragraph above, we could have one level where 3 (or 2 or 1 o 4) people trust and invite one new person, and one innermost level where everyone agrees and votes for that person. Of course, we could also choose to keep only one level ...

  • We could put the emphasis on "operational titles" instead of on "connector" as a generic title for everyone. which does not mean we should ditch "connector", but relying only on this name, feels a bit like we are all smurfs. I would imagine having in everyone's email signature or online profile, the emphasis on things like "Social Media Manager", "xyz Project Manager", "Fundraising Ninja" - with connector being not necessarily the most public title

Sorry, I realize this is a bit broader than your initial question @francesca :)

Albert Cañigueral

Albert Cañigueral June 27th, 2016 21:09

+1 on reducing levels and get rid of CC

+1 on having operational tittles ... yet that can also be "limiting" when exploring what you'd like to do/learn (I could think on couple of cases that their focus of interst changed drastically). So we need to be wise on how to have this approach in a way that people can still jump around

Unsure about onboarding process

Jef-b

Jef-b June 27th, 2016 21:24

My feeling is that there are several levels of involvment in our community. Hard to deny that. I think the current organisation describes that pretty well without being too complex : 1) those who basically dedicate 120% of their time to OuiShare ; 2) those who "put our mission into action" ; 3) those who contribute 4) the rest of the world.
It sounds logical to me that the community should endorse those who will be allowed to speak in its name. There must be a special distinction for that. Having said that, it is practical to tag those who can speak in OuiShare's name. Connector is the current tag but it could be an other one. If CC does not mean anything to anyone anymore, let's get rid of it. If you see OuiShare as an international organisation it also works.

Personnaly, I would not use operating titles as it will probably more confusing than the current situation to external stake holders.

As for the process of endorsment as a Connector, I think it is best to have one / several Connector(s) suggesting a member to apply and then following a process of verifying the motivation rather than letting a member running by himself. It is like "I have found someone who could be valuable for the community, what do you think ?". It would avoid painful experiences.

Simone Cicero

Simone Cicero June 28th, 2016 06:16

Totally agree on obsolescence of CC, also agree that connector role is becoming increasingly unclear. My only suggestion at this point is that we should have mechanisms to be "downgraded" if not active. Ideally to me connectors (kinda equivalents of Enspiral Members - or Cocoon Projects' Members) should be those active on governance and not only projects, but this would imply that a governance process / decision making exist and is more codified respect to the light, highly informal, consensual, loomio based one we have now. JM2C

Francesca

Francesca July 1st, 2016 17:36

All good points. So it looks like there is clear consensus on Core Connectors being obsolete, so I will make the necessary changes to eliminate this category on the website, ouiki and internal docs.

In terms of the role of Connectors and the process of becoming one, I would like to point towards the decision made about 6 months ago about opening up communication channels first to see if this will help us tackle some of the "problems" we identified that seemed to be linked to the process.

Now that this has been changed, I think we can start to see more clearly what changes still need to be made to the Connectors process, so I agree we should continue this discussion now to hopeful make a change in this by the Fall. The two things that need clarification / modification seem to be:

  • definition of what differentiates a Connector from an active member, who works on projects for instance
  • process of becoming a Connector

Should we start a new thread on this or discuss here @benjamintincq @simonecicero ?

Albert Cañigueral

Albert Cañigueral July 1st, 2016 20:28

As we are in the process of updating I would also try to address the less nice scenarios / debates:

  • Someone claiming to be a Connector when it is not (that could happen if someone is rejected as Connector for any reason or even with people we might not know)

  • Someone who's a Connector missbehaving as such (that happens with the larger scale of the group)

I know that's not very OuiShare :) yet reality is complex and can't be ignored

Simone Cicero

Simone Cicero July 4th, 2016 08:24

I think this is a huge thing (rethinking connector role is rethinking OuiShare and I think it's definitely the right time to do that since a lot has changed more or less formally in the BG) but maybe we should kick off this conversation with a good old global hangout eg: trying to have on board all geographic areas? cc @benjamintincq @albertcanigueral @antoninleonard

Myriam Bouré

Myriam Bouré July 4th, 2016 11:56

Thank you @francesca for starting this conversation. I have been wondering from the very beginning about this core connector title, which was for me a form of hierarchy... there are natural hierarchies on projects and operationas and it's all right but what is the point of having a formalized hierarchy in a bossless organization? It creates unflexibility in a way... I have always felt a bit uncomfortable with it. Anyway, I recognize the high involvment of certain people and I would rather be in favour of each connector describing in a title what is their involvment (a bit the holacracy style but less formalized ;-)).

I think that would naturally invite every connector to question his/her role as a connector. For example in my own case I've been involved in developing the Oslo community so I was Oslo connector, but now that I am moving back to France what is my involvement as a Connector in OuiShare? My answer to that is the focus and the specific expertise I am developing on the Food topic (Food Connector?), but it's true that having to think about "what am I concretely actively bringing to OuiShare" is something needed for every connector. And we need to do that regularly, because we are all in permanent transitions ;-) Maybe having a 6 month reminder with an "update your OuiShare contributions" would maybe help Connectors to realize they are not really active anymore and stepping back, or they can be invited to step back if they don't have anything to put in their OuiShare contributions list.

@simonecicero on Connector only being people working ON OuiShare and not only IN OuiShare (carrying out projects or special fields of expertise needed for the community), I won't favor that. If we say that it's in the "job description" of every connector that he/she has to participate to the permanent reshaping of the organization...
If that's a fact that not all connector participate to those reshaping discussions (like the present one), maybe we can just accept as a fact that we all bring different treasures to the community, and try to distribute stewardship as Francesca is currently doing with local communities pages... I think giving another title to the people actively working on permanent reshaping will add again the same complexity we want to get rid of with the CC titles, and will also dissuade other people to participate as "there are other people doing that job"... Being realistic, we can't answer all the discussions all the time, we choose our subjects, sometimes we are every busy and won't participate a lot, some other time we take time to contribute to the discussions.

About the connector process, I agree that having an invitation based process is needed because the process to become a connector can be discouraging. But I would keep a request based process as well, like someone start to get involved but is not yet identified by the community, requesting to be a connector can also be a way to tell the community they want to get more involved and recognized for what they are actually doing...

Maud

Maud July 5th, 2016 08:36

Hello; thanks for starting this discussion @francesca it's indeed an important one that we started having at the 2 last summit without getting anything formalized out of it;

About the core connector, I agree with the fact that it's not needed anymore; but indeed we have to think a way to recognize people who dedicate most time and energy to OuiShare. What kind of recognition do you want? a title or something else ? And is this for giving clarity to people outside OuiShare, or a way to thank people when we cannot pay all the work in a more classic way ?

Concerning the deeper discussion on all other aspects of connector (and I agree with @albertcanigueral that, as we grow and get more mature as a community, we also need to discuss "out" options in parallel of adjusting "in" options), maybe we can keep it here (and renaming the discussion, if it is possible?) for the moment, but then it could be worth to move on a shared document where we could list all the questions we have here concerning the connectors process and the different reactions on it ? To first have a complete view ?

Benjamin Tincq

Benjamin Tincq July 7th, 2016 15:52

it seems there is a consensus that we get rid of the Core Connector as it is today but maybe we should do a formal Loomio decision for something like this @francesca ?

And yes, for the more general re-definition of what is a Connector, and more generally about the roles, responsibilities and level of involvements in OuiShare, would need a separate Loomio Thread I believe.

For me the key parts, taking inspiration from Enspiral:

  • Re-defining levels of involvement and the roles and responsibilities attached to each of them: members, contributors, connectors, etc

  • Updating the appointment process for Connector (and whatever other level involvement) for instance to be invitation-based rather than request-based

  • Phasing out the "Smurf Effect" i.e. working toward "operational titles" instead of on "connector" as a generic title for everyone (while keeping connector in the background)

I still believe there is a need for a least two (clearer) levels of involvement, and @myriamboure I don't think it classifies a "hiearchy" (which means that you take orders from someone else) but more on different ... levels of involvement :) Enspiral has a clear distinction between Members (innermost circle) and Contributors (2nd circle) but that does not exactly qualifies them as being a hiearchy

Simone Cicero

Simone Cicero July 7th, 2016 15:59

as @benjamintincq is saying below most of the existing networks that are somehow comparable to OuiShare (though OS is kinda unique) differentiate between an inner circle which is responsible to take decision and evolve the organization and a more utilitaristic/friendly-connected circle (eg: Enspiral and Cocoon's both calling it members/contributors)

Simone Cicero

Simone Cicero July 7th, 2016 16:00

so to say that for me working on governance is essential to be in this inner circle

Simone Cicero

Simone Cicero July 7th, 2016 16:00

loved this "smurf effect" ROTFL

Samuel Roumeau

Samuel Roumeau July 11th, 2016 09:17

I share this feeling that the role of Core Connector - as it is now - is kinda obsolete, @francesca. It tends to put a bias on regular connectors who may think "there'll be someone to take care of this & this". For me, it's really correlated of the discussion we had during France Summit : taking care of the Commons. A connector not only brings projects but also take care of the commons. Otherwise, you're more like a contributor.

We're facing another problem as we're growing quickly : we don't know each others yet within the connectors group like @benjamintincq said. I would suggest to encourage ways to communicate & share with others among connectors. I agree with @simonecicero on "downgrading" although I wouldn't use this negative word. I would rephrase it as "actualizing" the state of art of current connectors, maybe every year based on both qualitative & quantitative aspects (summits attendance, projects contributions, Commons taken in charge...).

Simone Cicero

Simone Cicero July 11th, 2016 17:13

Taking care of the commons is a great way to say: governance. Agree with Sam.

Il 11 lug 2016 11:31 AM, "Samuel Roumeau (Loomio)" ha scritto:

Samuel Roumeau ti ha citato mentre discuteva su "Should we get rid of role of Core Connector?"

I share this feeling that the role of Core Connector - as it is now - is kinda obsolete, @francesca. It tends to put a bias on regular connectors who may think “there’ll be someone to take care of this & this”. For me, it’s really correlated of the discussion we had during France Summit : taking care of the Commons. A connector not only brings projects but also take care of the commons. Otherwise, you’re more like a contributor.

We’re facing another problem as we’re growing quickly : we don’t know each others yet within the connectors group like @benjamintincq said. I would suggest to encourage ways to communicate & share with others among connectors. I agree with @simonecicero on “downgrading” although I wouldn’t use this negative word. I would rephrase it as “actualizing” the state of art of current connectors, maybe every year based on both qualitative & quantitative aspects (summits attendance, projects contributions, Commons taken in charge…).

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Lucía Hernández

Lucía Hernández July 19th, 2016 11:29

Hi,
Agree with the obsolescence of core connector title, agree with redefining the connector role and levels of involvement and because all written here and my personal/community experience I think is actually more important the role of connector, a person who has the OuiShare culture integrated, who knows well the organization and its members, a person who is able to represent the brand with all its values and knowledge, works to develop the organization and takes care of the commons how Samuel said.