Dialogue: we tried it, it did not work
Hello again, @Kei, and sorry for late reply.
Dialogue is a great tool, but it requires time and effort, so it needs to be used well. Unfortunately, we have a history of using it as a stalling technique (probably in good faith). It works like this: dialogue is invoked on something (like you here: “work with us on XYZ!”). People come onboard and try to make some headway: they craft arguments, research resources, write syntheses. At this point the whole thing is cordially ignored. Of course, whatever problem dialogue was meant to fix is not fixed, so it comes back up. And again “hey, let’s have a conversation about this!”. The memory of the previous round is not built upon, so we start all over again.
Coincidentally, the points you mention (a space conducive to productive discussion and realignment) make two great examples. The case for Edgeryders to be “messy but open source, so fixable and expandable” was made here a year ago. Dialogue ensued, and if you read the thread it will be clear that we did understand each other. We really talked. But we did not agree. In the end, as you know, the decision was that the UX was simply not good enough for the uM crowd, and everybody moved over to Facebook/GoogleGroups/Trello etc. What you achieved was this:
“some of the most valuable members of the ER community don’t post or read very often/ever […] when it comes to the moment when they’re needed, our workflow seems to bring them in at the right time.” [source].
What you lost is that it’s hard for anybody outside the Very Inner Circle to know where stuff is. I have no idea where stuff is, and I am supposed to be a founding member of unMonastery LBG! Or maybe I was, at some point, but then a discussion happened (where?) and the people doing the heavy lifting changed their mind (as is their prerogative, and I am not offended at all). In fact, I don’t even know that. All I know is that I was asked to join a company in February by a mass email (???) and then, for over three months, I have heard nothing: not a link to a discussion space, not a rationale for incorporating, not an idea of who would pay for what. Not even a date, or a “if you have questions contact XY”, or “we have changed our mind, it’s not happening”. From where I stand (which is supposedly the inside of it), this process is completely opaque. So you pay a very high price in terms of legibility: I hope the benefit was worth it. Me, I prefer the other way, the one ER is organized, as flawed as it is. A year ago we agreed to disagree, the unMonastery built its own comms, and everyone is happy. What do we stand to gain by rediscussing that?
Facilitated realignment was tried in March/April 2015. It went really badly, and sank in a debate on who should design the process (which reminds me - I owe the generous people who engaged an apology). Same thing: not much of a case for going back to it that I can see.
So, as far as I am concerned, we already played the dialogue card on both these issues. If we are still not happy, it means we have not solved our problems that way, and we will need to think of some other way. Does this sound reasonable?