Call for Meeting - Roles and Structure

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Call for Meeting - Roles and Structure

at our last meeting, we decided to continue with this platform, with some basic ideas on trajectory, including the formation of a non-profit. this meeting is called to discuss a bit of structure.

i’d like to gauge interest in forming and participating-in a non-profit structure, while generally opening ideas on roles, decision-making, regular meetings… with some initial commitments.

first to mention, forming a non-profit was introduced here:
http://www.liquidsolidarity.org/content/non-profit

and notes pertaining to WA State (USA) requirements, as well as some general notes on roles, can be found here:
http://www.liquidsolidarity.org/content/forming-a-nonprofit-in-washingto...

if you are someone who wants to take on some kind of role (as part of a non-profit or not) or engage in a particular task toward this site’s development, you should be at this meeting. all current site users welcome.

before a date is coordinated, indicating your interest is helpful, and more helpful if you consider a few questions:

• regarding a non-profit, do you see a reason for it?
• if so, would you be interested in serving an initial role?

• do you want to serve a particluar role for this site/project?
• what is that role or area of interest?

• do you want to be involved in regular meetings?
• can you commit to once, sometimes twice, a month to start?

• what roles do you believe to be necessary for the progress of this project?
• what kind of decision making structure should we initially employ? and aimed at what?

ok, that’s open for discussion. i’d be open to having a meeting in a weekish to touch on some portion of this with anyone who can make that, as well as plan a more comprehensive meeting in 3-4 weeks.

My answers
  • regarding a non-profit, do you see a reason for it?
    In the current stage, the main, and possibly only, reason would be the transparent handling of financial issues. If the project somehow takes off, we’ll need clear rules for its governance.
    I’m not particularly interested in serving in some official capacity like board member or such, if there are enough other volunteers, but if necessary I’d be prepared for this sacrifice. :)
  • do you want to serve in a particular role for this site/project?
    I think the best use of my capacities will if I offer advise on usability aspects, something that can be done entirely informally.
  • do you want to be involved in regular meetings?
    Sure, as often as needed as long as there are real issues to be discussed.
  • what roles do you believe to be necessary for the progress of this project?
    I believe that what we need most now are developers.
  • what kind of decision making structure should we initially employ? and aimed at what?
  • As far as I’m concerned, any decision making structure should be as flat and inclusive as possible, always aiming at consensus – not only now but also looking ahead. Any mandatees (such as board members) should be recallable, and when mandated for other than one-time tasks be appointed for short periods at a time only.

Reason and Meeting Date

thanks Lambert. some thoughts on the need for a non-profit… i think that both we need structure and a nonprofit seems inevitable.

adding structure in the form of some roles and how decisions are made to evolve this site doesn’t require forming a legal entity, but if we are creating something meant to transcend our work as individuals i think it becomes the logical choice. that is, we want to establish some guiding principles which are not based on any particular individual’s involvement. and, the non-profit allows moving ownership from an individual to a form of ownership based on those principles.

as well, to raise funds, a non-profit makes most sense. and i believe there is more credibility to such formal commitments when attempting to build bridges with activist groups to grow use and development. and, as new users arrive here, less familiar with the project, i think there starts becoming more need for formal structure, so users know what degree of influence they have, what processes exist, and if there are any reqiurements beyond simply using the site.

all these things seem inevitable and some currently in need, so it makes sense to me to do it sooner than later.

as for your role, i would like to see you on the board. there are enough people here in Seattle to fill the roles and requirements. but, if the nonprofit structure is the governing body, it makes sense (to me) for you to be a direct influence. advisory boards could also be established, but i think some of that kind of structure can be put off initially.

i agree about need for developers. one path is to generate a list of things to be done and general trajectory, and make available for volunteer work. but, we may find we can get things done faster by raising funds to accomplish those tasks.

as for decision making structure itself, i agree about aiming for flat and inclusive. i am also looking at this through the lens of a nonprofit. in that, there are positions to be filled and some questions that come up about users and membership. perhaps the site is open for use but one can also purchase a membership that allows voting on roles. by what means are roles appointed or elected?

as i hinted at above, some of that could be put off in an initial round. that is, we could work through a statement of purpose, place some timelines on things that need to be determined, form as a nonprofit with some term limits, and commit to meetings through that term.

i’d like to do a skype meeting on this within a week if there is some availability. i'll set up a doodle poll out of initial interest. i’ll also send out a message after posting this.

Answers

In the long run a non-profit will make it easier for us to raise funds. In the short run, forming a non-profit will give credence to Liquid Solidarity and may encourage more consistent commitment. If we form a non-profit, I am interested in volunteering either on the board or some other capacity and I am fine with regular meetings. With respect to specific roles, I think we need to have discussions to determine what is needed.

Commitments

agree about encouraging consistent commitment. it’s of course fine if anyone has a personal preference for a more informal role, but we need some specific commitments either way.

as for roles, we’d need to fill the requirements for a nonprofit. still waiting to hear from a couple people, but but if there’s a current preference for more informal roles, it may even be easier initially to fill those in Seattle as we’re in more direct communication.

in addition to the nonprofit requirements, we also need to establish a Web team structure. other areas that may be useful could be outreach and general facilitation. a number of tasks could be made available as temporary jobs to be completed, as well.

pushing meeting another week out to give more time for responses.

informal commitments

Hi guys. Happy to donate. Know zilch about the tech side of things, more a political/theoretical content man. After a lifetime of meetings, avoid meetings where I can.

En passant, just a dumb question that's probably been answered a million times already but anyway: getting developers to do what exactly? - develop Liquid Solidarity into a site with maybe a few more bells and whistles, or develop a completely new whizzbang site? And if the latter, do we still believe the time is really ripe for a Global Activists Site, a POW (Portal for One World), or did not the non-responses to our lengthy Common Website attempts prove the time for that is not yet ripe? Or else a more Seattle- or US-focussed community activists site? (Just as the predictable 3-4% 'members' responses to the latest IOPS poll would indicate IOPS should either fold or radically reduce to a mini-site like Liquid Solidarity for about 15-30 willing to chat or blog online, with maybe another 70 willing to occasionally drop by and read or click 'like'?). Just asking. All the best to all.

whole systems

hi Peter, good to hear from you.

to your question on development, at the previous meeting it was determined to continue with this site and its Drupal platform toward bigger and better things. with the current platform, this site could be a lot more whizzbang itself, and there’s a mountain of development work to do, but also i think a smaller chunk of work that will make it much more functional with a more intuitive flow. you can find a general direction on that here: http://www.liquidsolidarity.org/content/drupal-development

unless the need for a globally-connected community-activist portal full of tools for activists via activist-driven functionality… has already been met, then i’d say the window on that is still open. yes, could focus locally, but on the tech-side, i’d still be aiming at the same devlopment process with the only difference being who’s invited.

but, it takes climbing some hills to gain momentum. it’s hard to see activists just flooding to use an unknown format unless it really has something different to offer, and can be trusted. as Lambert observed in the original CWP invite:

“Once we reach the stage the system starts to be actually usable — although still fairly basic, good enough to be deployed — we can hope to attract users who also become volunteer contributors to further development of the system, just like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap were built from humble beginnings mainly by users volunteering to contribute to their development.”

i’ve also added a general statement about usership and that process on the homepage, as i am now doing a little soft promotion just to open the door for some connections, with very modest expectations. in part, i think i could do more with that if there is a more organized set of commitments and a legal entity.

true or not, i think it’s time to move past a structurless work environment. i can think a ton of stuff that needs doing on tech-side and other, but i don’t know which aspects i should consider myself or anyone else responsible for. there’s also things i think would be helpful that take no formal commitments, but i do not know the best way that should be conveyed, at the moment. perhaps a board of directors produces regular reports which are open for feedback toward meeting agendas, and back-and-forth, to help foster a more concerted strategy.

so, sure, i need access to a Drupal-familiar php-whiz. but, it’s also helpful to just maintain some activity on the site, or invite someone here, add some manifestos to the resource section, or ask a “dumb question” :)

probably not bells and whistles just yet, but replacing some parts attached by duct tape and greasing the joints. well, it's sunny in Seattle so i'm headed outdoors for now...

couple more roles for the list

fundraising was mentioned and potentially needs someone to direct that. paid development hasn't been formally considered yet, but beyond that, it may be helpful to have a stash for bad weather. site crashes and need immediate help.

look and feel. beyond some of the functionality work, some CSS theming work would also help bring the site together better. better layouts and font use, replacing some of the text links with icons, more attention to mobile-device usage. the site uses default images in many places where a user does not add one... images of aquatic life i pulled off the internet. we might consider a consistent set of original images and icons.

meetins and roles

I can see a reason and value in forming a non-profit. I am willing to be on a board but only if it is necessary. I can provide some assistance regarding formation but probably not much more than anyone else who has done some cursory research on the subject.

Regarding roles for myself, I am happy to help with development and outreach when the time comes. Happy to be involved in meetings, willing to participate however often we decide it is necessary.

Not sure what roles we need, fundraising and development both strike me as important. And I think Lambert laid out a good suggestion for decision making.

Meeting and roles

Hi Alex!

• regarding a non-profit, do you see a reason for it?
Not at this time.

• do you want to serve a particular role for this site/project?
Not at this time.

• do you want to be involved in regular meetings?
• can you commit to once, sometimes twice, a month to start?
Yes.

• what roles do you believe to be necessary for the progress of this project?
A facilitator for meetings.

• what kind of decision making structure should we initially employ? and aimed at what?
A way of listening speaking that might lead to a space of coherence within the group.

Thanks,

Rick

Answers...

• regarding a non-profit, do you see a reason for it?
Yes, there are many benefits! Some disadvantages are time and money and expertise in becoming nonprofit, all things I think we can tackle if we agree it's the route we want to take. From the little I know about it, we may need to consult an attorney and/or an accountant and we'd have to raise money for the fees involved. It would also require management once it was up and running, it would be a job in itself to maintain records and file paperwork throughout the year.

• if so, would you be interested in serving an initial role?
If necessary. I'm not a financial or legal whiz.

• do you want to serve a particular role for this site/project?
No particular role I can think of, I'd like to help.

• do you want to be involved in regular meetings?
Yes, if I can contribute. I wouldn't have much to contribute to a web development meeting.

• can you commit to once, sometimes twice, a month to start?
Yes.

• what roles do you believe to be necessary for the progress of this project?
Developers, thinkers, talkers, collaborators, writers, researchers, badasses

• what kind of decision making structure should we initially employ? and aimed at what?
What Rick said.

my role?

thanks Fred, Rick and Claire!

i’ve already answered most of my own questions, but not what role i might be seeking. there’s three things i would personally like to focus on…

one, since i’ve built the site thus far, it’s probably helpful if i can guide other programmers to areas in need of improvement. there’s some things i believe should be rebuilt before other development is done. there’s a couple little bugs and in general, some work-arounds that string some modules together to create functionality that could be replaced with little bit of code to perform more directly and cleaner. too many work-arounds built on top of each other could lead to problems, and i is generally limiting.

two, i’d like to just spend time writing. there’s a few topics swishing around in my head, and i set up a group based on the Next System Project i’d like to focus on a bit, if just to set up some teasers to initiate that activity. i promoted a bit based on the Teach-Ins through NSP, but i will update the descriptions as a long term discussion spot.

three, i’d like to focus on strategic development and outreach. and that’s an area where i think a nonprofit can add some credibility and trust, as mentioned. while the site can’t yet offer something technically innovative as a draw, it may be a bit of a head-scratcher to get an invitation from people you’ve never heard of to use a site where a single individual could tear it down with notice, there’s no assurances about protection of private information, and who’s-who in the team or building process is unclear. i’d like to pursue some kind of alliance with the Next System Project, as they don’t have a participatory means for discussion or resource building through their own site. but, asking them to put their own credibility on the line to support what is basically ‘my’ website right now, seems unlikely to produce a favorable response.

jumpstart

ok, so mixed responses regarding a nonprofit. Syd has indicated a willingness to serve on a board, but not checked in here. think she’s packed her schedule pretty heavy so i don’t want to pester.

Rick, what would mark a need for a nonprofit from your perspective?

for now, i’m going to focus on outlining some specifics on web development needs, and a little writing. i’d like to make it through some of the considerations necessary to form a nonprofit with those who are willing, but move final decisions to the backburner.

one thing that could be worked on is a mission statement. applies with or without the legal entity.

as development goes, perhaps a couple of the tech-savvy folks engaged in IOPS may want to contribute here. really need someone with some php skills. it’s been suggested a couple times to talk to the folks at riseup. if you got programmer friends you think might be interested, give ‘em a shout. or, i think fundraising is another valid option. if you have ideas on bringing in web builders we should coordinate these efforts.

i do see a general interest in some regular meetings, and would like to try for a monthly meeting. there’s always plenty to discuss and think it will be helpful to maintain that consistency.

what i’m wondering at the moment… is if some others here just don’t see things that need doing, or don’t see the point, or something else. is there a reason there’s been such little activity in the forums, lack of testing or addition of content?

perhaps i should add a forum to list specific ideas or tasks i’ve thought of, and for others to add to, but there’s been a lack of feedback thus far so i’m not sure what is necessary. obviously i would want users to contribute because they want to contribute. see above question.

perhaps we can keep this discussion going and decide on a meeting date with a revised agenda from there.

>> Rick, what would mark a

>> Rick, what would mark a need for a nonprofit from your perspective?

Enough resources coming in or going out that must be reported to the IRS.

something else?

>> what i’m wondering at the moment… is if some others here just don’t see things that need doing, or don’t see the point, or something else?

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your questions.

Perhaps we might be able to first address fragmentation? By projecting plans into the future maybe we can avoid dealing with fragmentation for a while, but down the road (and perhaps not too far down the road) it comes up and begins to slow a sense of moving forward.

If it takes a long time for division to emerge, perhaps a larger group forms, but then fragmentation comes up again and we find ourselves with more people, but still in a fragmented condition.

If we look at ZNET and IOPS (or most organizations these days) it seems like that fragmentation, division and conflict is fairly obvious. (Maybe it plays a role in many of the global issues we want to address as well?)

I'm not suggesting it can be avoided (or its opposite, ie, some kind of totalitarian order) but perhaps it can be understood? Out of that understanding might come a stronger sense of coherence. If we were able to deeply listen, to feel deeply heard and speak from that depth who knows what might come?

This would require a tremendous curiosity about conflict and division. I understand that most folks just want to get on with it (whatever it is) and that is of course just fine and good (not really even my place to say that!)

I'm not necessarily proposing this, however when asked, fragmentation and division seem like a key movement/structure to be understood before moving quickly into future plans. That might help open a space for something new to emerge.

Thanks,

Rick

fragments

thanks for your thoughts Rick. just home from work on this chill night between early year’s sunspots, a recognizable pattern for Seattleites which yields no final answers for what’s to come.

on your point about resources, i’m not sure i understand what resources would be getting moved prior to a legal entity. i see that a nonprofit holds benefits for raising funds, not something to be implemented once significant funds are being raised. as of now someone could send money to a personal account, which doesn’t seem appropriate or viable. other experiences?

i agree with your sentiments about fragmentation, and i can offer some examples of where more cohesion, rather than fragmentation, occurs in my own experience. it’s probably my preferred conversation to focus on what does work, with what doesn’t as a foundation for questions.

i summed the Participate! doc, with:

“Fluidity. We seek technical, social and structural fluidity. Liquid Solidarity should help stream people together and around obstacles, by design and the culture we create.”

and before that:

“While there are no specific rules concerning styles of communication, if the goal is building solidarity, our methods of connection should reflect that intent. Welcome to an atmosphere of enjoyment, thought and productivity.”

and from Vision text:

“Why use this site? There are plenty of tools available for activists or those seeking to create a better world already in use, but when it comes to building bridges between the work being done there seems to be something missing. This is an attempt to find that missing element, the one that results in the fragmentation of our efforts.”

i certainly don’t consider the texts i’ve put up to be perfected works. i’ve considered changes but i think still points some good directions, and has some basis in CWP (the Common Website Project - a talked about goal) outlines, too. forum topic available and working on text talked about in last meeting.

so, yes, i consider it core to the direction and “mission” that we are seeking answers to fragmentation, but more-so that we are pursuing a culture where it’s really not an issue. differences to be had of course, but if maintaining a mutual goal of solidarity we have a reference point. not always that simple in practice.

part of me feels that establishing the ideals of what IS non-fragmentation, as text, is important as a basis. and, part of establishing that in practice comes from simply doing things in a non-fragmented way to establish that culture.

i differ on the idea of “first” addressing fragmentation, at least if that means it must first resolve before a second, as i see it as a long-term question embedded in multiple pursuits.

i’m not sure if by placing that as more primary, there is something you feel is thwarting activities here, in this group thus far (and i recognize observations of other organizational outcomes). for the two things i mentioned, text and doing things, we have some options. my questions were about what’s holding anyone back from either their enthusiasm or direction for participation here, and i don’t mean it rudely. with solidaritous intent, is there a reason you have not brought some of this up in the forums or dissected some of the site text?

fragments

Thanks, Alex. Sitting here on a cool morning, looking out my window at softly moving green, breath and wind.

Prior to responding, I want to make sure I've heard your questions and statements clearly.

You feel that we need to raise funds and to do so we should go ahead and get non-profit status. You feel we should get this sooner than later as without it we can't raise significant funds.

You agree fragmentation is a problem and a way to create more cohesion is by focusing on what works rather than what doesn't work.

You feel that the mission statement reflects that we are seeking answers to fragmentation and pursuing a culture what that is really not an issue. You feel that holding a mutual goal of solidarity gives a reference point that will help avoid fragmentation even though it may not be that simple.

You feel that we should establish ideals about what is non-fragmentation as a text, then make sure we do things in a non-fragmented way to establish that culture.

You don't feel that should be addressed first if it blocks other pursuits from moving forward, but that the question of fragmentation (or solidarity) should be a part of each pursuit.

You wonder if by placing fragmentation as more primary if I feel there is something thwarting our activities together. You ask if there is a reason I haven't brought this up (earlier) in the forums on in response other content on the site?

How did I do? Does this summarize what you are saying? Please correct anything I've missed.

Thanks,

Rick

Edit

You feel that the mission statement reflects that we are seeking answers to fragmentation. (stop)

nuances

partly accurate. i’ll add some nuances.

“You feel that we need to raise funds and to do so we should go ahead and get non-profit status. You feel we should get this sooner than later as without it we can't raise significant funds.”

fundraising is one element a nonprofit makes sense for, but holds other benefits as well. i consider it an inevitable direction, so makes sense to me to work toward.

“You agree fragmentation is a problem and a way to create more cohesion is by focusing on what works rather than what doesn't work.”

there’s a lot of ways to approach it, and i can offer my own examples. if there are examples where fragmentation has been a problem, maybe there are specific questions from that to provide a base to seek solutions.

“You feel that the mission statement reflects that we are seeking answers to fragmentation and pursuing a culture what that is really not an issue. You feel that holding a mutual goal of solidarity gives a reference point that will help avoid fragmentation even though it may not be that simple.”

current texts refer to a number of things. what should be emphasized or revised is up for discussion.

“You feel that we should establish ideals about what is non-fragmentation as a text, then make sure we do things in a non-fragmented way to establish that culture.”

the texts and conversations we have now may set a tone that is helpful toward the future culture of this forum. autonomy is also helpful.

“You don't feel that should be addressed first if it blocks other pursuits from moving forward, but that the question of fragmentation (or solidarity) should be a part of each pursuit.”

it’s not a one-two to me, no.

“You wonder if by placing fragmentation as more primary if I feel there is something thwarting our activities together. You ask if there is a reason I haven't brought this up (earlier) in the forums on in response other content on the site?”

if there’s something you feel is blocking efforts, then we should seek solutions. the general call is for some commitments and process.

nuances to nuances, but hope that has some clarity. thanks for thoughts.

nuances

Thanks again for replying, that does help. Let me try again to get the key points with the nuances.

Non-profit status makes sense for fundraising. There are other benefits, too, but since fundraising is inevitable, we should work toward that now.

There are many ways to approach fragmentation, examples would be helpful as it would help form specific questions as a base for finding solutions.

The current texts (LS documents) refer to many things which are open to emphasis and revision within the group.

The texts and conversations help create a future culture. You mention autonomy here, could you say a bit more?

Addressing fragmentation is not a one-two step by step process but is part of each pursuit.

The general thrust of the group is commitments and process. If there is something blocking that, it should be addressed.

Closer?

nuances

Hi Alex,

Missed a question:
The general thrust of the group is commitments and process.

Could you maybe say a bit more about process here?

Thanks,

Rick

nonprofit

i'm on my way out the door so i can't respond fully. on one thing...

"Non-profit status makes sense for fundraising. There are other benefits, too, but since fundraising is inevitable, we should work toward that now."

moving toward a nonprofit is what i have mentioned is inevitable further up in the thread, but i see how you could get this from my last statement alone. the original response concerns your marker for a need for that transition as based on movement of resources. a nonprofit represents a transfer of ownership that comes with multiple benefits.

nonprofit.

Thanks, Alex.

trees

“The general thrust of the group is commitments and process. If there is something blocking that, it should be addressed.”

general thrust of the group? no, i called for a meeting and asked a few questions regarding commitments and process

“..this meeting is called to discuss a bit of structure.

i’d like to gauge interest in forming and participating-in a non-profit structure, while generally opening ideas on roles, decision-making, regular meetings… with some initial commitments.”

as far as process goes, i am introducing that as a need. and, to some degree would like to keep this thread limited from all-out conversations on the meaning of every aspect. that is, we could put some topics on the table for other specific conversations or work. process now might be just to individually consider what you feel your role could/should/want to be, what you want to commit to in fulfillment in the next while (if at all, or if you feel something has been stopping you, felt unavailable or whatever)… and we could do a meeting based on steps to connect in some real-time free-flow. process? commit to a couple things, follow through, establish a bit of structure in the process, and move to the next stage.

autonomy? maybe we can build a place that has some agreeable definitions for a pretty large body, in the “creating another world” context, that allows them/us to both create solidarity and move freely. the ability to move freely, i believe, can also aid solidarity. as an example of something i feel was problematic for IOPS, as you mentioned fragmentation issues, was the very broad wordings mixed with some more specific intentions both written and unwritten. there’s some things i could talk about on that, both on the tech-development and organizational culture, but i’m thinking that might deserve its own space. perhaps in some spaces where i can ask you things like what you mean when you say “If we look at ZNET and IOPS (or most organizations these days) it seems like that fragmentation, division and conflict is fairly obvious.”

how much of that is obvious or in what way, by who, and how do you know? but, those are maybe large topics.

i’ve mentioned the lack of activity here these past few months. i’ve committed to a few things during that time and have some things i want to do, and i know what a couple others are doing. i’m really just asking what "you" want to do. if it's a conversation on fragmentation, is it fair to ask that that has a different thread with questions or a premise specific to that?

you've indicated, Rick, that you do not wish to serve a particular role at this time. does that mean you have or seek no commitments to this project?

trees

Dear Alex,

Another beautiful morning here. Sunlight filtering, brightness and shadow playing against the trees and ivy. A bit quiet, usually there are more birds singing, breeze is gentle.

At this point, I'm trying to just be able to say back what you are saying so I can understand it fully (nuances and all.) By understanding it, I'm hoping to be able to respond. I appreciate you taking the time to help clarify my understanding.

I think the summary of what you are saying is here:

You would like to see if people are interested in: Forming a non-profit, forming roles, deciding on decision making, deciding on regular meetings and making some initial commitments. You would like to have a meeting to talk about these items.

You feel that a discussion of fragmentation should be part of another thread, not part of this one. You would like to keep this discussion limited to the above list.

You would like to know that as I'm not interested in serving a particular role, if that means I have no commitments.

Does that sound like a good summary of what you are saying/asking?

Thanks,

Rick

addendum

Hi Alex,

Fuller shadows in the trees, a blustery wind, leaves dancing in the light.

Thought it might be useful to add here your question that prompted my raising the issue of fragmentation. It might help complete a summary.

"What i’m wondering at the moment… is if some others here just don’t see things that need doing, or don’t see the point, or something else. is there a reason there’s been such little activity in the forums, lack of testing or addition of content?"

When I read this question, I thought you were asking what might be holding folks back from fuller participation. Being deeply aware of how we might be creating fragmentation came to mind, so that's what prompted me to write about it.

Many regards and thanks again for the work on the site and this effort.

Rick

Although it is not urgent IMO

Although it is not urgent IMO, I support forming a non-profit which at first can be just at the WA State level, not even going for a federal tax status. Eventually if we do not wish to operate under the umbrella of another 501c3 we might want to request such a nonprofit status from the IRS (qualifying for tax deductible donations). I have gone through this process more than once, and have been a part of deciding on by-laws and later making revisions. I have been on at least 5 nonprofit boards and served as an officer on several of them. So, the process of creating one, and the requirements is an area of expertise I can bring to the table. Also, I have been on one board that used formal consensus as its decision making process. I'm trained in facilitation and consensus, and while that doesn't make my skills superior nor do I ask to be a facilitator in this group, I have worked with group process a lot, and have taught facilitation and consensus to other collectives and cooperative-oriented groups. I have experience with grant research and writing, event production (of various purposes and sizes and length) as well as media communications and general outreach (community engagement).
I think that board development and clarity of mission and roles are very important. While I have some web content management and site building experience, I don't want to be involved with the online technical side of things here in LiqSol. I'm into having explicit responsibilities outlined for people who are on board. The rest of my answers to Alex's questions are below.

• regarding a non-profit, do you see a reason for it? Yes, preparing for NPO status, but it is not urgent to have that in place first before doing voluntary and self organizing work to expand reach and clarify a vision and mission and how to have that best shared/represented.

• if so, would you be interested in serving an initial role?
I am willing to be a board member.

• do you want to serve a particluar role for this site/project?
Yes, although in bursts of time available... I will need advance planning to take on projects and don't want a role that requires my attention every week. About 1/mo. I can see myself able to have an online meeting.
That role would be as board member or advisory board... focusing on outreach, events, and/or fundraising.

• do you want to be involved in regular meetings? OK

• can you commit to once, sometimes twice, a month to start? Prefer once a month.

• what roles do you believe to be necessary for the progress of this project?
I want to think about this more, and hear from people about what they voluntarily have experience, time, juice and readiness to do first. Then piece together our desires and offerings... It might be just tech enhancements for a while with a check in every couple of months with an advisory board while one or two people are investigating the possible funding sources / proposals to make to group, and another person registering LiqSol as a WA Nonprofit Corporation.

• what kind of decision making structure should we initially employ? and aimed at what? Core group consensus. "Core group" can be a nice way to have a small team of the more involved people act as an executive committee, and have a predictable schedule of reporting to and getting input from the larger body of informal board/advisory board while we are creating a culture (forming and storming, then norming) and getting priorities clarified. Later on there might be a voting process that is all board members can veto something. And if there is a future where anyone would be paid for work, at any amount of time, we would need a process to say how they are hired, supervised, who accounts for time and how quality of work is determined. If generally everyone is happy, this level of detail can be ignored, but it's really nice to have an accountability routine in place, or if things go awry, a conflict resolution process decided on ahead of time in the case that someone is unhappy later. Then there's not the heat of emotion to try to work in to create a fair and sensible process from.

Syd

Next System - Whole Systems Change (posted on LS)

Cloudy skies, evergreens nearly within reach from this window, quiet, so quiet...

Perhaps this article provides another expression for what I'm trying to say about division.

"While different in many respects, all these approaches have one thing in common:
they derive from old thinking.

They look at societies from the perspective of old categories such as capitalist versus socialist, religious versus secular, Eastern versus Western, rightist versus leftist, and industrial versus pre- or post industrial. They ignore the lessons of history: societies in all these categories have been repressive, unjust, and violent, and all have failed to adequately protect our natural environment.

Most importantly for whole systems change, none of these categories help us
answer the most critical question for our future..."

****

If we start with old thinking (which I think we are) then we cannot answer the most critical questions for our future. We are still tending to operate from a us vs them, me vs you approach. Agreeing or disagreeing with one another. Can we step outside that approach? seems to to be a very important question that comes prior to (a) movement.

That step requires no one outside this particular circle to participate (though it doesn't exclude anyone from joining in)

down in fraggle rock

hey thanx Syd. i’m in general agreement, and i’ll return to a couple things a little later. at the moment, some of what you said integrates into some mental notes i was planning to express here while taking a pause in my weekend busy-ness.

i want to side-step a brief moment on format. it was generally agreed at the last meeting that anyone could raise a need for a meeting and post about it to gauge interest, and then follow through with those who are interested.. and also understood that some meetings will be of interest to some but not to others. tech meeting? not going to be of interest to everybody, for example.

on that note, i wanted to elaborate a bit on some of your direction, Rick, and reiterate a proposed process of putting some ideas on the table which may deserve a more dedicated setting.

i support exploration into deeper awareness of fragmentation and would participate in a discussion on that. i think i have some things to learn, as well as some things to add. but, even if i were to not participate, i consider that to be valuable and would want to know what came of it, and think it would be of further value to outline some main points from it for an easier read or guide to others, to increase accessibility. and, maybe some of those lead to other discussions or creations or needs for text or development, and are generally helpful to create a positive culture.

i do still have other pursuits for this project i am dedicating attention to right now, so i don’t plan on stopping that, either. in asking about lack of activity, it’s a basis for which i see a need for some structure, and vocalization. that is one part of the answer i’m proposing in this thread, but not the only approach.

just in that, i see an amount of useful autonomy even within a small group, as we are. i see a potential of overlapping circles that can set a tone for further use of this project.

a brief note on fragmentation by the google dictionary definition “the process or state of breaking or being broken into small or separate parts.” :

i go with a general idea that lack of cohesion is not effective for the social change we strive for. but, i don’t consider autonomy to be an enemy of cohesion. we should IMO break things down into smaller parts and act on our passions or best abilities, but we also need means to coordinate or connect those efforts, or elements of creation.

this thread has been very useful so far to get sense of the influences here. i’d like to do a little check on the power dynamic, as i’ve realized something. since the forums are set up to be linear for comments, it has a table-discussion feel, not allowing for embedded-comments/side-discussions. as such, it may be good to be mindful of space-allowance and conversation-directions. i’m responsible for answering to a proposal, but i’ve also spoke a lot now and will tend to other things.

lots of notes i’ve made from this, and things to work on this week. i don’t have a defined idea of what a next meeting should be based on, but for this call, i’d like to keep it within the context of structure and process. we can narrow down to some things, and give some time for that. underneath, whether choosing to participate or not, seeds may be:

where do you ideally visualize this project going?
what are the next steps to accomplish that?
what would you like, or be willing to contribute to that process?

down in fraggle rock

Thanks so much, Alex and Syd. Lot's to consider and ponder. Staying tuned.

Rick

sooner than i thought

thinking about some things concerning structure.

there lacks consensus for a nonprofit as part of that facilitation. i haven’t really proposed much at this point, just exploring, so maybe not some basic questions to even form an opinion from. note, i don’t see it as something that needs to be inflated as the core of all decisions, but i also see benefits in using it, and if using, a need to learn how to blend it into whatever other models are being used here. IMO gives a good reason to start exploring structural needs.

on a direct level, is there a form of ownership others here see to be best to move toward? maybe i’ve made an assumption about nonprofits but legally, i own this site and that doesn’t seem practical or appropriate to me. i don’t own this project. is there an ownership model to strive for? is it a preference that i continue to own it? are there pros and cons that form the basis of those preferences?

there are of course plenty of things we can do structurally without transferring ownership, so requires no urgency if there are other voids to pursue, and i’ll continue to work on those things, but it remains that this site belongs to me. do you think that’s ok? should last forever?

if you haven’t spoke much you are encouraged to take that space.

Fragglementation

This here may not be an appropriate thread for discussing how to avoid fragmentation, but what would be a good spot?

Nonprofit

As far as I see, no one is opposed to forming a nonprofit. Several of us think there is no particular urgency. For now, many of us are perfectly happy with handling everything informally. But if the legal ownership is a psychological burden on the present formal owner, creating a different legal set-up does become a priority.

For the medium run, legal ownership by a nonprofit seems best, not for ideological but purely for practical reasons. But, assuming the project takes off (with UnFuturistic speed), the board should see itself as being the temporarily appointed servants of the user community – neither more nor less.

Nonprofit

(Hmm. I commented earlier, but it doesn't show here.)

Thanks, Lambert. Yep, if I said anything that sounded like opposing the NP, didn't mean it that way. Yes, there shouldn't be an unnecessary burden on anyone right now.

>> is there an ownership model to strive for?
What are some of the ownership model options that make sense at this point in time?

Thanks,

Rick

mild tech with structural notes

you let me know you figured it out, Rick, thanks, but know it has confused a few people the way notifications are handled. a not too technical note on that, there’s a comment by Lambert in site suggestions about splitting personal messages and notifications. i’m currently using the message system to also handle notifications, and they show as a message from the commenting user. there’s also some notes on it in the User Guide.

the messaging system could be tweaked with a bit of code to help to separate that in clean, intuitive manner. i lack any serious base in code but see how it could work that way. i’m putting together some notes about some of the first tasks where some code help is needed. that one’s at the top while i’m currently looking at that as a balance of request, urgency, and feasibility, as a kind of decision making process. it’s been asked about, it’s common usage that has created some bumps, and should be a fairly simple task for someone with php understanding.

i’m thinking that code tasks can be posted and available for contribution, after requests are translated into how the current system functions. and there may be more specific expansions on how to prioritize that.

true i might be crazy!

agree with your assessment Lambert:

“As far as I see, no one is opposed to forming a nonprofit. Several of us think there is no particular urgency. For now, many of us are perfectly happy with handling everything informally.”

as far as the psycho-me-logical burden, there’s some truth in this. by setting up a starter site, i am invested to a degree that i feel a responsibility for. i certainly don’t want to be perceived as the owner of the project. i’m more of a worker for, or mutual owner in a collective effort as i feel. note, i generally see the setup of the site as a bunch of placeholders. ideas that can be discussed and worked-on based on various personal inclinations.

on that, like the reference to code tasks, i envision moving toward a kind of open-source framework where needs of many kinds are vocalized and collaborated on independently, developing the site’s direction in an organic manner. though, it requires a framework to facilitate that as well (and ultimately a larger base of users for there to be interest and ability to fill needs and to work with on ideas).

i’m not interested in pushing for decisions about a nonprofit right now, and also agree, it is more of a utility thing. i will be looking into bylaws of other projects, such as Riseup, which may also have some insights on how they deal with development contributions concerning access of volunteer coders, and what process they use to prioritize and make final code commits.

but, perhaps there is a next stage which includes some formalities without the legal formalities. i gravitate toward a general idea of user ownership. in that, just posting a blog creates an investment and so some amount of ownership. ideally, the framework allows for people just to do their thing and the project progresses because it’s set up structurally to do so. in these formative stages, i may actually see a stronger need for some consistencies and responsibilities than may be necessary on a more developed site. and, of course, i want everyone to be doing what they want to do. i’m mixing what i want to do with some other things i feel less passionate about. if someone felt more passionate about some of that than me, then i want a way that makes that available. like i mentioned, i’m not sure the best way that should be conveyed right now.

i would for one, just be interested in a general usership meeting being held once a month with a semi-formal process for facilitation and outcomes. can be difficult to maintain energy on long-term projects, but consistency and small steps make a huge difference.

meeting agenda met

closed, and open for others