Stable, well-supported platforms we can for this group instead of corporate datafarms
*TL;DR *: this thread is a place to share our experiences with community-hosting organizations, both good and ... not-so-good. The primary goal is to identify reliable community hosts for storing the inputs and outputs crucial to our work in this group, as a replacement for using corporate datafarms. The secondary goals are to help individual members and our projects identify reliable community hosts for their needs, and to help community-hosting organizations to be better understand how to serve their users well.
Body: I've been refusing more and more to use corporate datafarms since I quit FarceBook into 2010. I don't use Skype and other tools that I'm not already locked into, in ways that require research on data export and replacements (still working on breaking my last ties with Google, GH, and others). I will never use Slack, Discord, WhatApp or the various other datafarms that have become popular since I started this journey.
This is literally the only reason I'm putting effort into this group. Because I understand it as being about identifying, and where necessary creating, ethical replacements for the datafarms, and making them more accessible, first to ourselves (developers and geeks), and then to the general public.
In the Housekeeping thread, Greg C said:
> I don’t think it’s very important for me to abandon ‘using the tools of the enemy’ compared to my many urgent priorities.
I don't quote this to pick on Greg, but rather to ask that we all acknowledge something important. Having the option to not worry about the practical implications of using corporate datafarms is a privilege, one that not everyone shares. For example, I cannot read GoogleDocs without a working VPN, nor can anybody else in China, and a number of other countries. I want this group to be inclusive of people who may live in less ... liberal regimes than others, and for whom having their activities on the net tracked by corporations, and sometimes made available to governments, may be more compromising than it is for others. For these reasons, and many others, I'm not comfortable with obliging members of this group to expose ourselves to corporate datafarms to fully participate in the discussions here.
For sharing documents in this group, I suggest avoiding third-party sites unless they're really needed.
* If you want to explain something in too much detail for a normal comment, type it in a text editor or word processing program, save it in a free format (eg .txt, .md, or .odt), and attach it as a TL;DR comment.
* If you want to share something that isn't text (eg an image or diagram), if you can, attach that to a comment too.
* If you want to create a text collaboratively use the context box at the top of each Loomio thread.
But yes, sometimes we will want to collaborate on documents in ways that editing a Loomio context doesn't allow, and we do need to identify good tools to use for this.
In that same thread, Greg raised some valid concerns about the reliability and longevity of self-hosted or community-hosted platforms. I'm sure we've all been stung by having a site disappear on us, I certainly have. But when this happened to me, it was mainly because I didn't the have reliable information I needed about software, and hosting organizations, to make good choices. The better I've got at collecting this information, the safer my data has been.
Let's share the huge amount of collective knowledge held on this by the members of this group, so we can all make better hosting choices. Both for this group itself, and in our own work.
If we need to collaborate on texts as a group, my suggestion is to create an Open App Ecosystem project on a GitLab instance run by a cooperative or non-profit that we can trust to be competent sysadmins, to stick around for the long haul, and to give us plenty of warning if anything changes that might require us to change hosts. On GitLab, almost everything is a Git repository, including issues trackers and wikis, so anyone who wants to can maintain a synchronized backup of all our data using Git tools. Those who want to, could even contribute to collaborative documents using GIT and a text editor in their terminal, while the rest of us, who don't feel confident using those tools, can just use the web interface as we would on GH.
I would suggest we use either:
* use git.nzoss.org.nz, run by a non-profit called the NZ Open Source Society, "We are happy to provide this service for any Free and Open Source Software licensed projects with a New Zealand connection. You may create up to 10 projects". Enspiral/ Loomio are a NZ connection, and I'm confident the NZOSS would thoroughly support this project. GH accounts can be used to login here.
* ask to use git.feneas.org, run by a non-profit called the Federated Networks Association. We're not strictly a federated network project, but I suspect that federated networks will play a big part in anything that deserves the name Open App Ecosystem. This instance allows login using accounts from GH, GitLab.com, BitBucket, so it wouldn't necessarily require folks to set up a new account to use.
* ask to use Git.coop, run by a cooperative in the UK called Web Architects. Used by social.coop and various other projects folks here are involved with.
I have been building up a list of community-hosted GitLab instances on the P2PF wiki: