Beginning of a great adventure: Patrick Andrews joins the board of Edgeryders LBG

Rather to my surprise, I've been invited to join the operational board of directors of Edgeryders (the limited company) alongside Alberto, Noemi, Nadia and Matthias.  Equally to my surprise, I've accepted.

Up to now, my engagement with Edgeryders has been through attending LOTE 1 in Strasbourg and LOTE 4 in Matera. I really enjoyed the events and was very impressed by the diversity, talent, creativity and passion of the people who showed up to each event,  and by the diversity of projects that seem to be going on in and around the community.  I don't spend a lot of time using social media and am fairly average with technology and I haven't particularly engaged with the community in between those events. I'm now looking forward to learning more about Edgeryders and the extraordinary community.

A brief introduction to me. I followed a fairly traditional career path, spending over 10 years working as a lawyer for large companies in the UK, France, Canada and Russia.  I left that world in 2002, after I had a wake-up call. I was reminded that I had a deep love for the life in all its various forms and particularly things that are wild like oceans,  forests and human creativity.  Yet the one I was working in didn't seem to value these things.  at the same time, I liked in respect of the people I work with. So I set off to see if there was a better system somewhere. Since then I have worked with cooperatives, fair trade companies, social enterprises and others  looking for better ways of organising the bring out the best in people and serve all.

One thing I am working on at the moment it is  a "festival of human organising" in London in spring 2016.  I'm hoping to catalyse a celebration of lots of different ways that people are found to live and work together in ways that don't require top-down control. I feel this fits well within the range of projects that edgeryders gets involved with.

Being on the Board of Directors of edgeryders brings a particular challenge. It is the most formal part of the community, the part that anyone who wants to formally engage with the community will expect to work with.  Thus we form a bridge between more traditional institutions and the more unconventional, wilder edgeryders community.  Inevitably, in this role, at times we will appear remote and conventional (hence the image I attached to this post).  I hope that we can also be truthful, inclusive and act in a spirit of service to all.

I look forward to engaging with more of you on this great journey.

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Comments

A warm welcome

Alberto's picture

I have been a staunch supporter of @Patrick Andrews joining the Edgeryders effort, and am delighted that he (after some soul-searching) did accept. His experience is really, really different from that of the other directors, and this diversity is going to be extremely valuable to take the project forward and serve the community even better. Ad maiora.

For clarity, Patrick is not one of the non-executive directors mentioned here. He is executive: he joins to be involved in running the company. We are always on the lookout for smart, ethical people who want to do work and are not afraid of the backbreaking, usually unpaid work of bootstrapping a company!

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how interesting.....

ArthurD's picture

When were the members notified of a members meeting? Or circulated a motion or information regarding this proposal?

In the absence of records to this effect, I suggest that the amendment to the public records at Companies House is fraudulent.

 

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Indeed, interesting :-)

Alberto's picture

The procedure was as follows.

  • I initiated the process, by emailing all directors on 13th of May, based on Companies House records of directors at that point in time (six people), and asking them to vote on this proposal.
  • Four "yes" votes (cc to all directors) and zero "no" votes came in. 

Suggestion dismissed.

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hmm... problematic....

ArthurD's picture

...since only 'members' can elect 'directors'....

And I am still a member....so this was not done correctly....and my resignation notice clearly states that I resign only as a director ...not as a company member....

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Not really, but...

Alberto's picture

All directors are members too, and four votes is an absolute majority to seven members. I fail to see the problem.

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Incompetence.....

ArthurD's picture

on the part of yourself and the 'legally qualified' putative new appointee.....and somewhat un-democratic....

Since you did not follow the correct procedure of having a members meeting of which all members should have been informed... and allowed to participate....

But it is congruent with the evolution of the ER LBG that the 'community' is what you decide it is to be .....

Four would seem to be an absolute majority of both groups .... but it is still divisive and incompetent....

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Bad blood

Patrick Andrews's picture

Shame on you Arthur. Throwing out accusations like this. Is this how you think a professional behaves?

Article 34 of the articles of Edgeryders allows the directors to appoint a director. Did you not think of reading them before making wild accusations?

I thought you were better than this. I was told you have given good service to the community. Why spoil it?

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Hi Patrick

SamMuirhead's picture

I'm not going to get involved in the discussion itself, but a note about tone. I feel that your comment escalates the conflict rather than helping resolve it.

If you had simply stated that 'Article 34 of the articles of Edgeryders allows the directors to appoint a director.' and therefore that the move was in accordance with the articles, that would state your case clearly enough to Arthur, and to others in the Edgeryders community.

Instead, most of the comment is personal, scolding and outraged. It attempts to make Arthur look childish and unprofessional, but unfortunately it doesn't reflect kindly on you. This conversation is going out to the inboxes of a huge number of community members and it's hardly an introduction which will fill people with hope and confidence for the future.
As somebody who might be not be well-known to many in the ER community, and as an executive of ER LBG whose appointment may come as a surprise to the community, it seems particularly important that your conduct in conversations on the platform is respectful and constructive to maintain and build trust - trust in you, and the company you now represent.

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Speaking of tones and misrepresentations

Alberto's picture

I share @SamMuirhead's dislike of extreme tones – thanks, Sam, for calling attention onto them. This thread derailed quite badly as soon as Arthur started levying accusations of fraud and incompetence (misplaced, as it turns out, but the harsh words were out). Fraud is a criminal offense; in the UK, it is punished with up to ten years imprisonment (source). It is quite a serious allegation to make; Sam, would you not agree a person facing such an allegation has the right, the duty indeed, to defend herself and her honor? Are you sure you are not defending the bully, rather than the bullied?

Me, I also have been accused of fraud by Arthur – for the record: falsely. I don't feel angry, just sad. It saddens me to see a man of that age and experience resort to personal insult and misrepresentation. Regardless, Arthur, we have done good work together; I wish you well, and I hope you find some much-needed peace of mind.

As far as what Matt calls the procedural question: Arthur, you were not involved in any decision following your communication to us of April 16. This is by your own request: on that occasion, you stated, in writing and formally, that you are "unable and unwilling" to do anything, for the company, other than operating the bank account, and that only provisionally. In the same occasion you also outlined your plans for relinquishing your membership of Edgeryders LBG.

I know this, and other directors do: but most people do not, because you, Arthur, have not seen fit to make a public announcement (though you did promise one "in a day or so" on April 16th). Again, that is sad: it would have been a sign of transparency and respect to the community to let everybody know you were disengaging. But there you go.

Of all this we have a written record. Hopefully, that will be enough to close the incident and revert to a less conflictual pattern of interaction.

 

 

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this isn't helping.

SamMuirhead's picture

"This thread derailed quite badly as soon as Arthur started levying accusations of fraud and incompetence" is a long-winded way of saying 'he started it!'.

"Sam, would you not agree a person facing such an allegation has the right, the duty indeed, to defend herself and her honor?"
Sure, why not. But that's not what happened. Patrick did not 'defend himself and his honour'- he directed his anger at Arthur, in a way which did not invite serious constructive discussion.

"Are you sure you are not defending the bully, rather than the bullied?" I am not 'defending' Arthur, I am suggesting that the tone of Patrick's comment was uncalled for, and he could have made his point in a more respectful way, regardless of 'who started it.' Yes, Arthur's third comment was also not without negative tone and misrepresentation, but as someone introducing themselves to the community in this new role with great responsibility to the community, Patrick should have been able to respond effectively and constructively.

'It saddens me to see a man of that age and experience resort to personal insult and misrepresentation.' I find this very manipulative and troubling. @Alberto, you suggest that you are above anger and pettiness and then slip in underhanded comments like this, which simply don't help. You know that a comment like this can only inflame the situation.

I like and respect you, Arthur and Patrick, and for the sake of Edgeryders I really hope that the situation can be resolved, but if it continues like this it's hopeless, and only does further damage to the reputation of ER LBG.

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Fact checking

Alberto's picture

Thanks, @SamMuirhead, liking and respect are heartily reciprocated.

In my previous comment I claim Arthur has been misrepresenting the issue; made an argument for that claim; and backed it with evidence. So that's misrepresentation. The personal insults are there at the time of writing this ("fraudulent", "divisive", "incompetent". Hopefully Arthur himself will decide to remove them).  Please, go through my comment and find any incorrect fact – I will be happy to apologize for my mistakes and correct them. If you can't, can we agree that my reconstruction stands until proven false?

Also, there is nothing to solve. The relationship between Arthur and ER LBG was completely resolved by Arthur himself. He decided to leave the company over a month ago. The rest of us cannot but respect his decision and move on. As we do so, we go public with our main moves (new projects, new people etc.), as we always did, for transparency. That's all. He seems to imply we excluded him, but that, as I wrote, is a misrepresentation. So, what constructive discussion do you think we should have? A possibility would be to ignore the bad blood and ask Patrick about his interests and skills, and maybe help him direct his work to the greater good. Arthur? He removed himself from the picture, not much construction to be done there.

That leaves the "manipulative" part. Yes, I am trying to be above anger and pettiness. Is that bad? What should I do, put up a fist fight? Not to put too fine a point on it, I too have been accused on fraud and incompetence. You did not like Patrick's tough response; you do not like my softer one. What would you suggest as an appropriate reaction to allegations you have committed a criminal offense? It's not a sarcastic question, I really fail to understand. And: do you not think your own gut reaction should have been to ask everyone to stand down and go back to civil interaction?

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pasted from the continuation thread

SamMuirhead's picture

"Yes, I am trying to be above anger and pettiness. Is that bad? What should I do, put up a fist fight?"
No, it is not bad. I wholehearted agree with it. Of course you should not put up a fist fight, I never suggested anything of the sort, and it seems a strange conclusion to draw from my statements.

This situation is not that I 'find Patrick's approach too tough, and yours too soft', but rather that your approach is not as soft as you make it out to be.

You advocate even-handedness and adopt a conciliatory tone, i.e. "Arthur, we have done good work together; I wish you well" but the positive statements are barbed with passive aggressive suggestions about @ArthurD needing to "find piece of mind" and that "It saddens me to see a man of that age and experience resort to personal insult and misrepresentation." This is what I feel is manipulative. It paints Arthur as unhinged and immature, it cheapens any conciliatory or constructive statements you make, and whether you feel that way about Arthur or not, it is simply not helpful to mention it. It's not helpful for the discussion, it's not helpful for Arthur, and it's not helpful for the community perception of you or Edgeryders LBG.

"What would you suggest as an appropriate reaction to allegations you have committed a criminal offense?"
1) A statement of your innocence, and the evidence for that innocence.
2) nothing more.
Both you and @Patrick Andrews have, in my eyes, adequately provided 1), but failed miserably at 2).

"do you not think your own gut reaction should have been to ask everyone to stand down and go back to civil interaction?"

I think that everyone should avoid escalating conflict and making personal attacks'. If disagreements and discussions can be held in a constructive way, then people shouldn't stand down, those discussions should absolutely take place. I never supported or condoned Arthur's position. But it seemed to me from the comments that Arthur is not going to have much to do with ER LBG from here on, whereas Patrick will be taking a leading role. His first interaction with a community member since taking on the role was being challenged and accused of wrongdoing. This is tough, but it's particularly important to be able to rise above personal remarks and lead by example, especially at a time when the relationship between ER LBG and the ER community is so sensitive.

My intention (and I think this was clear to most observers) was not to pick sides, or to suggest that only one person's language was inappropriate, and everything else was fine. I don't have a horse in this race. But it's going to take some time for Patrick to grow into his role, and I wanted to remind him of the importance of his position and his relationship with the ER community, and urge more care in online interactions, even when the conduct of those he is interacting with may leave a lot to be desired.

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Also from the continuation thread

Alberto's picture

Sam, I understand your point better now. Thanks for taking the time to point it out.

However, I still disagree, for two reasons. One is less important, the other is more important. 

The less important one concerns only my own sense of fairness. Since I am The Site Admin, I cannot rely on The Site Admin to protect me from trolling and abuse. If anyone had accused you (or any ordinary user) of fraud, I would have invoked admin powers and banned the person into a smoking hole. But of course, if I do that to protect myself, it looks lame. So: I don't go ballistic, but I do speak my heart. I am careful to (1) only refer to episodes and not people (so, not "X is a liar" but "Y has resorted to misrepresentation here") (2) describe what happened, and only what happened, and people can check for themselves (insult, check, misrepresentation, check) and (3) yes, I allow myself some personal feelings. These are my own, you can not share them but not really tell me how I should feel.

The more important one concerns the general tone of the Edgeryders online space. People should not be allowed to go berserk in it. I can't ban, because of the above; so I administer some verbal punishment. But if I fail to react, I am sending the message that it is OK to abuse people. And, I am afraid, so do you (again, not you as Sam, but you as some user): because a casual bystander will not know who is Sam, and who is Alberto, who is admin and who is not, and will just wonder "what, the community manager is taking holidays or what?". This poisons the well. You can help unpoison it by reacting immediately against violent speech; exactly because you have no horse in the race, I am surprised that was not the case.

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community

katalin's picture

Hi Patrick,

you may want to familiarise yourself with the ongoing discussion about the relationship between the company and the community before you throw out accusations at Arthur. Also see the admin board for more details.

Katalin

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procedural question

Matthias's picture

The "accusations" by Patrick, as you call them, revolve around the procedural question of how directors are appointed in Edgeryders LbG. That's the only thing Patrick is referring to when he writes "Article 34 of the articles of Edgeryders allows the directors to appoint a director." Arthur's comment had a notion of the company / community relation, but Patrick did not pick that part up.

Please do not misread something you do not agree with. Doesn't help anyone, creates confusion. About the company / community relation, I still like the idea of having one community and lots of companies, embedded into it but separate entities from it, with clear rules that allow them all to equally "capitalize" (bad word, I know, just used b/c it's a commercial context here) on the open dataset of the community and to interact with its members. By being separate entities, and not governing the community website, the internal affairs of these companies incl. appointment of directors would be their own business, as it should be: decisions made by those who bear the liabilities. This would avoid a current source of conflict. I'll make and pursue a more detailed proposal re. that, but it's not the topic here now. I propose we let Arthur, Alberto and Patrick sort out the procedural and personal issues at hand here on their own, no need to interfere.

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The point

katalin's picture

I referred to Patrick's angry accusation that Arthur is not serving the community. I think it is important for the new executive director of ER LbG understand that the company does not equal the community and a criticism of the company may not be the betrayal of the community. This is a very important point.

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non-procedural question

Matthias's picture

Independent of how the (admittedly rather embarrassing) discussion of how to appoint a director correctly will be solved, here's what I have to say about Patrick as part of Edgeryders LbG.

Before agreeing with Patrick to become a new director, I wanted an "interview" with him to see if he fits in. Patrick agreed and we had a longer-than-expected video call, which even included the short versions of our respective live stories (following an idea of Patrick which I liked).

So I did not take the issue lightly. Result? I'm confident I can work well with Patrick, and that he can add a lot to the company's progress and sustainability, coming from a lot of life experience from a lot of different activities. I think he also will have valuable input for solving the company/community relation issue, due to his "human organizing" interests. But we grant him quite some time to understand the problem in detail first.

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+1

Nadia's picture

Like Matthias I very much support the decision to welcome Patrick to join the executive board of Edgeryders LBG. One of the insights that came out of LOTE4 (documentation here) is that Edgeryders is going through a phase of transition, as @Caroline_Paulick-Thiel puts it, from a project to a structure. The manner in which Edgeryders LBG handled the appointment and definition of the role of non-executive directors last year is but one example that the needed competence (and additional pair of hands) to manage this transition well has so far been lacking in the executive board. Building anything new involving a lot of people is hard. Building an economically sustainable not-for-profit company that both generates revenue to reliably maintain and develop our shared community infrastructures and provides members with opportunities for paid meaningful work requires hands on, pragmatic experience from having been involved in many different kinds of organisations. It also requires an interest to be part of the day to day work, as well as the longer term strategic development. I think Patrick brings a rare mix of both as a new addition to the executive directors, and I am very happy that he has chosen to accept the invitation.

As is clearly on display (one of the less fun aspects of openness) we are going through a difficult and at times painful process. As someone who is both aware of Edgeryders history, and has maintained dispassionate distance, I very much welcome Patrick on board and encourage us all to accept Caroline's generous offer to facilitate a process to help us get through a difficult phase I think we will still make mistakes, but hopefully we will get better at failing forward into the future. 

 

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Moving to Anti Spam

Nadia's picture

This thread has been closed for comments in order to spare the inboxes of everyone who has ever interacted with a blogpost on Edgeryders (Sam pointed out this bug in the dev group). In the absence of a good technical solution we refer those who wish to continue the discussion in this thread in the Anti Spam group. The direct link is here: https://edgeryders.eu/en/anti-spam/continuation-of-discussion-from-beginning-of-a-great

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Re-opened

Alberto's picture

Following this discussion, and after talking to Nadia, I am re-opening. Please everybody be mindful of netiquette. It is really not that hard to figure out what is or is not OK, but if you are unsure refer to any good netiquette manual (example).

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Thank you @Alberto.

Billy Smith's picture

Thank you @Alberto.

Will @Nadia re-publish all of the threads that she un-published in the EdgerydersLBG-Admin group, and then remove her ability to administrate the threads, until such time as we see fit to re-instate it?

 

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Sadly i cannot remember all

Billy Smith's picture

Sadly i cannot remember all of the original comments that i made in the post i lost, due to @Nadia locking this thread.

I'll try to re-create them.

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One of the problems with Edgeryders LBG, is that the lack of transparency that is codified within the Articles.

@Alberto, In the Edgeryders LBG Admin group, there is copies of the documents that are on file with Companies House. Would you make these publically available?

Yes, we could each individually go to Companies House, and obtain them, but why duplicate our efforts, when they are available here, and here.

Note. If you are not a member of the Edgeryders LBG Admin group, you won't be able to access them. They should be posted publically. I went to a lot of effort to obtain them, and re-scan them, and i could post them, along with the receipts i was given, but it would be better if @Alberto posted the original documents..

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@Alberto, where did the conversations about @patrick-andrews becoming a Director take place?

There was no discussion in the Edgeryders LBG Admin group, until this announcement. This is not in keeping with the transparency that was supposed to take place.

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@Nadia, I understand that you have some trust issues, but while you have offered to show me the threads you have un-published, personally and privately, i feel that this is no longer sufficient.

Would you please re-publish all of the threads you hid/locked in the Admin group?

Your behaviour today, has not inspired any confidence in you, and the way that you unilaterally behaved, when dealing with a conversation that touches upon uncomfortable topics, tells me that you should not have access to the tools, until you have shown yourself to be capable of using them wisely.

@Nadia, will you voluntarily relinquish the capability to make administrative changes to the website, until you can demonstrate that you can use them with an appropriate level of care?

------------------------------------------------------

More to follow...

 

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+1

katalin's picture

I agree with @Billy Smith that it is a good idea for @Nadia to voluntarily give up her tech admin rights until the relationship between the company and the community is more clearly regulated, and responsibilities are clearly defined.

I think this will help re-build trust, by demonstrating that mismanagement of the community resources has consequences.

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Wow. How can one be constructive at this point.

Noemi's picture

@Patrick Andrews welcome on board, I am happy to be working together and especially thank you for helping us manage an urgent transition and things left unfinished upon Arthur's resignation: especially a financial dashboard that we were promised months ago.  +1 to Sam for encouraging respectful interaction rather than emotional language, I understand it can be hard to gauge key online behaviors and the reactions they could trigger. It is easier with time, although to be fair, at times one wants to smash a computer screen when reading somebody's comment. Self-control is bliss.

@ArthurD, what is there to say? What bothers me is the way you do it, and I took deep offense. Gratuitous accusations. Words are free, but powerful, especially when thrown with nothing to back them up: positioning, a link, an argument, a willingness to explain yourself etc. 3 lines and then other people to clean the mess. Sounds easy. And while there are things left unspoken that would shine light on professionalism or lack of, I would NEVER say those things in public out of respect for you and what we have been building, because they shouldn't reflect on ER LbG as a whole, less of the community; they speak of team expectations left unmet and egos. 

@Billy Smith @katalin It saddens me that you want to be the ones throwing stones..  I don't want anyone's rights removed, that is not constructive, nor does it build bridges at all! and especially not Nadia's since she is currently doing the heavylifting in key ER LbG projects and we need to be able to operate and welcome newcomers on board. This is our daily workspace, and hopefully mistakes will be better avoided in the future. What would be useful imho is @Matthias's proposal to have many more committed stewards of the platform.

You two have been witnessing at least some internal processes in the company and day to day work. The rest you haven't because some in the board stopped posting there, for reasons we can't control & trust issues which you are already aware of. But other than that, only accusations? Where does the good go? 

Billy, the decision to appoint Patrick a director involved current ER directors, not the community. Same when someone resigns. It is the person that myself and the rest of the current board will be working with closely, and our responsibility to vote in. Why is that lack of transparency if we went ahead and announced it as soon as it was formal? Since Arthur resigned a month ago, we also needed to engage and find solutions via channels like 1.phone, 2.email, 3. visits to the UK. Not to mention having to solve emergencies and legal/ accounting stuff with people who are not using the admin: Arthur, who has resigned on email and our accountant in the UK who is not engaged on the platform. 

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When i was asked to join the

Billy Smith's picture

When i was asked to join the Edgeryders LBG Admin group, i was under the impression, that that was the only place that any conversations about the running of the Edgeryders LBG was taking place.

If i had known that this was not the case, and if i had known that some of the past conversations had been censored, then i wouldn't have bothered, as it is impossible to get a true idea of what is going on.

This problem of censorship and trust, is one of the core issues that was originally discussed within Un-Monastery, and avoiding this behaviour should have been a core requirement of how Edgeryders LBG should be run.

It was @Nadia that unilaterally deleted threads that constitute part of the history of how Edgeryders LBG was being run, and @Nadia that unilaterally put a block on this thread, when it took an uncomfortable turn.

Asking that she voluntarily relinquish her capability to commit censorship, is a reasonable request.

Asking that she restore the threads she deleted from the Edgeryders LBG Admin group, is also a reasonable request.

We're still waiting for her to reply.

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If this is an example of the behaviour that @hexayurt and @Asta were referring to when they complained about being side-lined, then all the talk about community over-sight is a sham.

Please explain how we can move forward with this situation.

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@Patrick_Andrews, please

Billy Smith's picture


@Patrick Andrews, please accept my apologies for my initial reactions. I've been dealing with a large number of problems, which have been caused by my poor physical health, and i am still suffering from the side-effects of having had a brain tumour removed.

Living with constant pain from arthritis has been wearing on me. Developing focal epilepsy and having to deal with the unwelcome changes that this is bringing into my life, has meant that i am no longer able to express my sparkly creative nature as effectively as i used to.

I am still trying find positive creative solutions, but as you may be able to appreciate, it's not that easy for me at the moment.

None of the irritation i was expressing was aimed at you. If you felt that it was, then i apologise.

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The conversations you have just seen, and the behaviour that was exhibited, is symptomatic of the growing pains that every group goes through, when it is changing.

There have been a number of conflicts within the Edgeryders community caused by the set-up and forms-of-management-used by Edgeryders LBG.  @Alberto's refusal to consider a co-operative legal structure, due to his bad experiences with co-operatives that were taken over by the mafia, is a good example.

There have also been a number of problems caused by the differences in approach used by the different members of Edgeryders, both in face-to-face situations, and in online conversations. @Ben's comments about the problems in the relationships with the locals in Matera, is one example. @Nadia's actions in un-publishing threads because she was worried about her professional relationships with her customers is another example.

One of the other problems we have is the lack of transparency, and un-democratic behaviour, that is inherent in the way this website is run. This is partially a technical problem, but also, a social problem that cannot be solved with a technical solution.

Another problem is the requirements of the funding providers, and potential partners, that can conflict with the things that we require, and how these requirements conflict with the range of potential solutions that we want to consider, and the transparency that we should be using. There are also effective solutions that funders will NOT consider, because of the changes that would have to be made to the funder provider's own systems.

Which also leads to the question, of whether we should be working with them in the first place.

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Trying to deal with all of these problems during a background of austerity in the EU, the legacies of colonialism, the rising inequities caused by the current neo-liberal economics, as well as the looming situation with climate change, means that the idea that "we need to do things differently" is important, because if the way things are currently being done was working, then these problems wouldn't exist.

If we can't fix the simple problems that we have as a community, then how will people take us seriously, when we talk about the larger problems?

All of our respective credibilities took a serious hit this weekend.

 

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Some clarifications .... ??

ArthurD's picture

Dear me, what a mess! We should all have better things to do on a holiday weekend.

 

I resigned from the board of the Edgeryders company because a drift away from a vehicle for community support and towards a personal consulting career  had, in my opinion, become irreversible and completely incongruent with the original stated ambition of the founders. The subsequent actions and comments of some of the directors has reinforced that understanding and led me to this post.

I regret very much having to take up the time of community and company members with this nonsense. I have not been a “heavy” contributor to the site as I had hoped that the ‘legal & financial’ aspect of the company in service of the community could be kept quiet and in the background but I am obliged to defend both my personal reputation and my vision for the community at this juncture. I am actually far more interested in trying to move forward. My efforts to create the company as a vehicle for Edgeryders community development, to support the formation of the unMonastery group and to keep the joint relationship between Edgeryders and unMonastery alive should attest to that. I have some suggestions at the end of this post that may be helpful but, initially, I have to address some recent comments.

 

With respect to Alberto’s recent comments, there a few issues that I should address.

 

I believe he is imputing that I was referring to financial fraud. Since this was and is an impossibility as Patrick Andrews has no access to our finances it is clearly erroneous on his part and a clarification or withdrawal of this inflammatory escalation would be helpful. Alberto also has no access to the finances and so I cannot and did not suggest that he was guilty of financial fraud. I am the person who detected and rooted out the fraudster in Edgeryders and know exactly the varieties of fraud and manipulative paperwork that can exist outside of the merely financial.

 

Alberto also selectively and partisanly quotes from my resignation letter. I was and am unwilling to continue to work as a director as I am no longer content with the overall strategic direction of the company, both as a company and as the functional vehicle for the wider community. In that letter I asserted my continuing membership of the company UP TO the point where new directors etc would be appointed. To claim that I abandoned the company and community is a falsehood. Again, for those who no longer trust my word, I append the text of my resignation letter at the bottom of this comment.

 

Others have raised the issue of passive-aggressive behaviour which I now wish to elaborate on. I did not wish to leave the company nor to resign as a director but I have during these past 5 months;

been described by Nadia as sexist, insensitive and of making her feel physically under threat at LotE4,

been told by Alberto that it was time to choose sides (in a phone call in early April for which I have no recording),

been misrepresented to a third party

been removed as a site administrator without notification, consultation and without notification to the main administrator and, lastly,

been misrepresented on these pages.

 

All of the foregoing has made continuing impossible. I was relieved that Matthias elegantly deconstructed Nadia’s allegations as nonsensical but I found the episode profoundly troubling. I was also upset at Alberto’s suggestion that, in a community focussed on inclusion, it was time to ‘choose sides’. Nadia has, since my resignation, made allegations to the accountant which are unfounded. I have written to her twice asking for clarification on this but she has to date refused to answer these questions while at the same time issuing demands and payment instructions to me. I have given wide latitude to other earlier instances, initially trying to make allowance for ‘non-native speaking’ of English and latterly to avoid confrontation and wasted energies but, in the end and with respect to the concerns of others as expressed privately to me, I have had to conclude that there is a bullying and passive-aggressive tone to the ‘leadership’ of this community and company.

 

For the record, I stand by my suggestion that the introduction and election of Patrick Andrews on the board of Edgeryders was incompetent, unprofessional and fraudulent (defined by my dictionary as “obtained, done by, or involving deception”)

 

Addressing myself to Patrick, I would remark that it is most lawyerly of you to have read the Articles and extremely disingenuous of you to cite a section in an incomplete, partisan and misleading manner.

 

Paragraph 34 refers to the temporary appointment of a director until the next AGM.  The next AGM is imminent within a few weeks and so it is hard to see where the pressing need for temporary appointment arises and it remains the case that the normal procedure for electing a director was not followed. The full and exact text of the paragraph is appended below.

 

Further, neither you nor Alberto nor anyone else indicated that this was a temporary appointment in the original announcements. In fact, the contrary impression was given. I welcome your implicit attestation that your appointment is temporary and look forward to your presenting yourself to the community and company as a candidate.

 

‘Professional’ conduct before joining the board of a company and especially so in the case of appointment to replace a contentious resignation, would at a minimum involve an introduction to and discussion with ALL the other directors and a review of the financial and legal affairs of the company. You did not do this.

 

Professional conduct would preclude repeating false allegations and misleading assertions regarding the behaviour of an officer of the company such as your repetition of Nadia’s remarks to the company accountant that I was refusing to make payments and thereby putting people in Nepal in harm’s way.

 

You have since reversed yourself on this and another matter of fact in email correspondence to me but it remains the case that your instincts and practice fall below that which I have come to expect from members of your profession and there would seem to be reasonable grounds for describing the joint conduct of you all as incompetent, unprofessional and fraudulent.

 

In English corporate law a director is a director is a director. The practice of having ‘non-executives’ as guarantors of good corporate governance is a practical and not a legal distinction. I have repeatedly talked about this to my fellow directors who mainly come from the European tradition of having separate boards for ‘advisory/supervisory’ work and for ‘executive’ work.

 

The fact that Alberto believes that there should one public and consultative process for electing ‘non-executives’ and a separate one of private and exclusionary self selection of ‘executive’ directors demonstrates a failure to comprehend this and the degree to which he has drifted from the original vision of using a corporate vehicle in support of the wider community. I have been left with a distinct impression that the company was becoming a private vehicle for a personal consulting career. The subsequent selection and presentation of PA without any wider consultation or even the minimum of legally required process has confirmed this impression. Nadia’s censoring of this debate for quite spurious reasons of ‘spam protection’ reinforces it.

 

There are two matters of regret on my part. Firstly, that my increasing dismay at the unhappy evolution of the company within the community distracted me from completing the ‘financial dashboard’. Second, that I did not publicise my resignation to the community immediately. I had spent considerable time trying to support the evolution of the unMonastery within a relationship and community with Edgeryders, whether informally or formally and had insisted that this include a role for Alberto and Nadia. Lastly, events moved quite quickly after I resigned from the board and my time was taken up with that rather than with publicising the matter to the community which I felt would further aggravate matters ….which, of course, it has.

 

I would like to suggest that, in order to move ourselves forward as a community and a company and to remove some of the personal conflict from this sphere, we do the following;

  1. agree a separation of the ‘community’ from the ‘company’ in terms of focus, activity and assets;

  2. create a separate legal entity for the ‘community’ (an English registered ‘Community Investment Company’ which could have ‘charitable status’ would be a convenient vehicle);

  3. amend the articles of both ER LBG and ER CIC to have a maximum of 7 directors of whom 2 should be the nominees of the related company;

  4. amend the articles of both ER LBG and ER CIC to be obliged to transfer XX% of their respective annual profits to the other;

  5. clearly define what the requirements for membership of the voting roll of each entity should be, which definition should NOT be in financial terms.

 

I believe this suggestion is in line with that suggested by others in the company and the community. I hope it is not too late for us to reclaim our original vision for a collaborative and mutually supporting community of Edgeryders.

 

Lastly, on a point of information, I have been away from 'keyboards' for the last 2 days and will be away again from tmrw morning until Saturday morning. Do not take my silence as dis-interest.

 

---------------------

 

Para 34 of Edgeryders Articles of Association;                    

34.    (1)  The directors may appoint a person who is willing to act to be a director.

  • (2)  A director appointed by a resolution of the other directors must retire at the next annual general meeting and must not be taken into account in determining the directors who are to retire by rotation.

---------------------

 

Letter of Resignation

Greetings.

 

Over the last few months I have felt increasingly out of 'sync' with the evolution of the Edgeryders corporate vehicle. This has affected my capacity and willingness to work on company related matters.

 

​Rather than continue in a less than whole-hearted fashion I believe it would be best for all concerned that you find someone else to take the role of legal and financial officer for the company.

 

I hereby resign my directorship of the company effective from the time a replacement officer is appointed to the board. At that point I will transfer the operation of the company registration, company tax records and other operational controls to whomever the board recommends.

 

I will continue operate the bank account under your direction until such time as you find another bank willing to accommodate the company's needs. I am unable and unwilling to participate in any other activity.

 

The bank account was and is under the primary stewardship of our accountant and HSBC will not allow anyone else to be the primary account holder, so Edgeryders cannot simply put another person(s) in charge, so the company must (as it already was) seek other bankers.

 

I will remain as a shareholder in the company until ​such time as new director/members are elected in accordance with the wishes of the community. I will relinquish that membership at the point where an new LFO is appointed.

 

I will post this announcement on the website in a day or so.

 

Regards

 

                    

                

            

        

 

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An important discussion to not ditch

joel.obrecht's picture

Hello Noemi, Nadia, Alberto, and all,

I was following the threads going on in edgeryders for a while, especially curious about new ideas and creativity.

I would like first to congratulate everybody here for all the work done and for this community to be still thriving, and driving, so far so good!

Now I wanted to take part in this conversation because of all the good personal memories I had, seeing this community get its independence, especially from the COE, and to have a dynamic on its own. And especially in order to try a different format of management.
So this message is to encourage you to not let this important question down!

I would say that there is a good point made, to the necessity to keep the edgeryders community free from any kind of hierarchy and I would like to concur in the way of a separation between the different companies based on the community and the community in itself. It might be dangerous to give the impression that the community is instrumentalised to the benefit of a few. It should benefit sure, but to all, and nobody should be kept out of the decision process.

If the community cannot appoint a company director, why should the company members have admin rights over the community? To have non-executive directors might be a way to answer this issue, but who again will appoint or validate them?

Sure there are no miracle answers here but I would encourage everybody to work towards a more radically democratic way to answer those questions, including some voting, online voting, giving as well the opportunity to participate to decisions to "low-implication-level" members.

Courage! See you in a next LOTE (depending on its place and my children).

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The * social contracts for EVCS - Dated November 2012

thejaymo's picture

Multi-partitite social contract.

1. person to person
2. person to project
3. person to edgeryder HQ
4. project to person
5. project to edgeryders HQ
6. edgeryders HQ to project
7. edgeryders HQ to person
8. edgeryders HQ to client

1. Person Person:
I treat my peers, and they in turn treat me with respect and a spirit of "we are in this together" . Knowing that your time is valuable, I put myself in your shoes and ask myself how can I make the experience of helping me as smooth, enjoyable and generative as possible, and I ask you do the same for me. This means:
- I check wikipedia, google, twitter and youtube for information before asking you for it.
- I try to do it myself, several times before I even think to ask for help. I get an estimate of how much work/ time it could take and break it down into small steps.
- I take a good look at your profile and try to get an idea of what you are interested in. If there is an obvious connection, 
- I think twice about what you are likely to get excited about in my ask. If I'm not sure how to approach you I get in touch with the network fairies and ask them for help to facilitate the connection.
- I show gratitude and write a personal thank you note and recommendation. I support your personal development by taking the time to give you constructive feedback about your performance, and taking on board the feedback you give me. I show appreciation by endorsing your skills and sharing a meet the Edgeyder post about you and what you are doing/ interested in right now as well as what I have learned from you.
- If I am asking you to help me just out of generosity,  this does not mean I am indebted to you. Nor the other way around. But it does mean that we are connected in a web of generosity and owe it to ourselves to keep the community, healthy, nurturing and welcoming to new arrivals.


2. Person to project:
- I understand and communicate that my involvement in your project is on an entirely voluntary (non-paid) basis. If I think there are costs or expenses involved for what you are asking me to do, I point that out to Edgeryders HQ and ask them to negotiate on my/our behalf.
- I treat you with kindness, respect and patience.. I communicate in a polite, non-violent matter even when I feel very passionately about something or if I feel you are misbehaving. Because I know this improves the chances that any issues can be resolved in a way that makes everyone happy.
- I ask for help from Edgeryders HQ if I have any doubts or questions about you or what you are asking of me.
- I promise to communicate my expectations clearly and to identify beforehand what resources I would need to be able to take on a task.
- If I commit to doing something within a set time frame and can't make it I have to let you and Edgeryders HQ know a reasonable amount of time in advance (reasonable= how much time it reasonably takes to find someone else to do it). Ideally I can help reach out to my own social networks to help you find someone else.
- If for any reason I am not happy about how you are treating me I take it up with Edgeryders HQ and trust them to mediate between us.

3. Person to Egderyders HQ:

1. I commit 8 hours of my time/ year
2. I am prepared to do some things that are not fun but necessary to keep the platform & community going, independent and generating value for everyone.
3. I understand that a commitment is a big deal. It's better I do not take one on rather than bail out later. If for any reason I need to cancel I do so in wriiting to you, it in ample time so you have time to find someone else.
4. I agree to treat everyone and anyone with respect, kindness and patience. In what you do, what you say and how.
5. I understand that the platform is for work on a volunteer basis only. Any discussions involving money or other forms of payment are not to be had on it. I understand that Edgeryders HQ are NOT ok with anyone being exploited: If I feel that this becomes an issue at any point, of if  a project or person is asking me to do anything which consumes my own resources or that they are failing to cover costs involved I get in touch with Edgeryders  HQ so they can resolve the situation in a way satisfactory to everyone and which keeps healthy relationships and social capital intact for everyone.

4. Project to person:
 We understand that Edgeryders are skilled, buisy people with lots of social capital, and that their choice to engage with our project is an act of generosity. We promise you'll be treated with respect by the project. This means:
- we won't waste your time
- we will be accommodating of your schedule
- we won't insist you use tools or methodologies you don't believe i. Even if this means we have to change how we work.
- we won't exploit you: If we have resources for the kind of work we are asking you to do, can cover expenses for your travel or in some other way pay you we will do so.
- we won't make you do something stupid or unethical.
- We will ensure that we have secured the ability to act on your input clearly before engaging you. Or communicate clearly that we are reaching out on a speculative basis.
- We will try our best to communicate our needs, expectations and available resources for the task or issue at hand online before reaching out to you. And make ourselves available to answer questions from you in writing with 24 hours of recieving them.
- We agree that any and all communication regarding the project is conducted in writing and using the site's online tools to ensure transparency for anyone who wants to follow and learn from the process. 
- We will respect your integrity and privacy, and not spam you with unsolicited and unvetted requests for participation through any channels outside the platform including but not limited to email and or your social media presence.
- We cannot offer any money but will support your efforts to secure the means to be able to participate with institutional legitimacy. Tell us what you need and we'll try to help.
- we will show gratitude and acknowledgement. We will write a personal thank you note and recommendation. We will support your personal development by taking the time to give you constructive feedback about your performance, and taking on board the feedback you give us. We will show appreciation by endorsing your skills and sharing a meet the Edgeyder post about you and what you are doing/ interested in right now as well as what we have learned from you through all the channels we have at our disposal. We will connect you with other opportunities for you to work, especially paid ones if we come across them in the future.

5. Project to Edgeryders HQ: 
You join the Edgeryders communty and on a yearly basis
1. You commit one day, 8 hours, of your time/ year. 
2. You are  prepared to do some things that are not fun but necessary to keep the platform & community going, independent and generating value for everyone
3. A commitment is a big deal. You can cancel once you have taken on a task but do it in a way that minimises disruption for EVERYONE involved.
4. You agree to treat everyone and anyone with respect, kindness and patience. In what you do, what you say and how.
5. You understand that the platform is for work on a volunteer basis only. Any discussions involving money or other forms of payment are not to be had on it. However we are not ok with anyone being exploited: If you feel that this becomes an issue at any point, of if  a project or person is asking you to do anything which consumes your own resources or that they are failing to cover costs involved please get in touch with HQ. We'll do our best to resolve the situation in a way satisfactory to everyone and which keeps healthy relationships and social capital intact for everyone.

6. Edgeryders HQ to project:
- We'll help match your project and its means with the right people
- You can engage people just for a specific task
- Edgeryders is continuously striving to position itself as being a faster, safer way  to get something off the ground in different parts of the world than any other organisation. Because we work online, through individuals and with little or no red tape involved.

7. Edgeryders HQ to Person:
- We offer you support, information and tools to help increase your social capital
- We continuously invest in improving the community as an unschool for futurehackers where you discover and learn by doing something meaningul
- We (try to)  offer you the possibility to do internships without needing to travel (added costs) through the platform
- We (try to) get deal with unemployment offices if needed for you to be able to work in and for the Edgeryders community.
- We  make sure that other people, projects or organisations are behaving with respect to you. You need to let us know though so we can step in and resolve questions before they become issues.
- We'll ensure that the resources required in order to implement something are secured in advance from organisations asking for  your help.
- We'll try to get some kind of certification or very public recognition of the skills developed in and by being active in Edgeryders

8.Edgeryders HQ to Client: 
- You get high quality knowledge-work on wicked or fuzzy problems, that comes with legitimacy & has been vetted by hundreds of eyes.People have nothing to lose, so stand for truth where incentives aren't skewed by money.
- The knowledge work is transparently generated in a context which facilitates multidisciplinary, intergenerational collaboration between a diverse group of individuals on a global scale. You can choose your level of active engagement in the work of generating it. However we do require you to have at least one contact person from your organisation engaged in the online conversation. Ideally this person has to have a mandate to network and knowledge-weave between people working in your organisation and members of the Edgeryders community.
- You get human Resources for social transformation in a context which makes effective use of online engagement to  facilitate multidisciplinary, intergenerational collaboration between a diverse group of individuals on a global scale.
- We guarantee delivery (assuming you the client fullfill  your obligations towards us).
- You the client understand that you have a shared responsibility for keeping the community healthy, thriving and mutually generative for everyone. This means you agree to treat Edgeryders with respect, consideration and appreciation in all interactions. And that if you do have resources allocated to cover costs involved for Edgeryders to help you (travel, server space and other third party technology services, designwork, programming) you make them available in a timely manner.
- We will not charge you for the knowledgework, but we expect you to pay a corporate membership fee to help keep the community going. And to have at least one person in a senior position sign up as an edgeryder and volunteer 8 hours of their time/year to help other edgeryders with their own personal or organisational initiaitves.

JAY // Taken from an email between Vinay, Nadia and Myself November 2012 post LOTE1 pre LOTE2 - written by Nadia. I don't know what happened to this, or why it wasn't used, ratified or adopted but i consider this an UR Nag Hammadi style text that really highlights the founding spirit behind Edgeryders  and thought i should share. I definitely feel and it should be revisited in light of the huge disappointing mess above.  

like0

Feels and thoughts from 2012

thejaymo's picture

I had some feels and thoughts about the above back in 2012. posted below - but with spellings corrected. 

p2p 

there is nothing about saying no

nothing about radical acceptance. need to be explicit community will not tolerate misogyny etc (think about my italian room mate at LOTE)

project to client 

there is nothing about clients right to listen and then not do anything with/about the outcome of the project

edgeryders to project -

need clear guidance on the idea of a 'fork' or if certain members want to fork a project.

9th category :: edgeryders to the world

no pollution, minimise environmental impact , global justice (not just in Europe, but mindful of all residents of the planet) - we all should have a social contact to the environment


-0-


Senior people don't actually no shit about technicalities - for example "i want to get this thing off the ground/need to scale my database" :: senior person "you need my database engineer for that"

What happens if person from project gets employed by business through links/social capital gained via ER?

ER could end up being a highly flexible / interesting recruitment venue for companies looking for talented young people
it feels like a 'guild' or a 'trade union' but something new, as a consequence - if you are part of ER and get hired. company needs to let you give 8 hours to ER per year as part of your contract and be allowed to engage with other members of your business with regard to those 8 hours for advice etc.


THE IP BOMB :: licensing and patents. - no mention of how we handle that: my pref is CC and GPL for patents. if we create a document for a client how is it licensed? CC? if an project comes up with a awesome idea who should make money off it? - personally its no one. CC or GPL if i was there at the conference i would be uncompromising on this.

who's holding the purse strings? - can the community vote every 3/6 months on projects it wants to get funded (say 5% of total budget each time round) - kickstarter like project pitches.

having the community issuing funds to projects that might not have been funded by ER main council is a good way to encourage internal solidarity and take chances

all of this social contract should be on git hub. as a remote person i want to see constitution branches and tracked changes. who wrote what, who approved it etc - where was the vote, who voted. its what i expect ultimately from the government. i would expect it right NOW from a constitution i was writing.
        
see > http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_the_internet_will_one_day_transform_government.html
        
also. when a project proposal is submitted to ERHQ - project needs to be clear about internal working structure: horizontal / top down etc. this will lower confusion levels for outside people offering time - could even say "we arn't horizontal/top down, we are AGILE algorithm run"

a democracy is 51% majority - if not, why not. whats our ER community quorum?

goal of LOTE 2 should be to reach / finalise the direction. not practical implementation - each  point needs to have a working group and its own lawyer on it between now and xmas.

no mention of unmonasterys??

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Nurture your networks

thejaymo's picture

Could someone post the content from this dead link pls? The page must be saved by one of the admins somewhere.
https://edgeryders.eu/en/edgeryders-lbg/nurture-your-networks/company-design-principles/
This was the published ER LBG values / mission statement just after association. They (at one time at least) represent the views and values, dreams of the organisation right when ER was becoming a community to a company and would be nice to review - as i reckon they probably still do.

like0

Could it be?

Noemi's picture

Maybe this is what you're looking for @thejaymo?

 

like0

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