Living and Working as an UnMonk

meeting tomorrow…

is about getting as much information clear around process and expectations for June and July so we can put things in motion.

I am not sure if the event on Saturday is happening, I hope to hear back from Lois about this. If something does happen, I am happy that we already have something more concrete to share with people about what is going on and how they might be able to get involved.

no event on saturday

@mariabyck @Ben I spoke with @Lois, there’s no time to make the event this Saturday. If we’re still up for it (are we? :-)) we should organize for the next week and start preparing posters, flyers and anything else might be needed.

not tomorrow!

I would like to participate. I think that is the kind of discussion that we should preferably have on our Monday meeting, after the planning session?  

good idea kei

happy to sit down with you and work on this

Okay, so these are notes and minutes from our meeting to get an understanding for how well or in this case badly we’ve handled the integration of unMonasterians not living in the building in Matera. Last week @mariabyck, @RitaO, @Bembo Davies, @Lois, @antonioelettrico, @Lucia and myself sat down together to discuss the experience so far - with a view to how we might handle bringing on people currently based in Matera or the region.

So initial summary of issues that make general integration of Materans into the project difficult (in no particular order):

  • The language we use is tricky, not just the language barrier but the terms we use to describe processes and ideas.
  • In Matera unMonastery and MT2019 are seen as the same entity which has good and bad points - but prevents participation on many levels, as well as contributing to preconceived ideas about who we are.
  • People still don’t wholly understand unMonastery.
  • The most pervasive problem is language barrier - particularly due to shyness of many in Matera.

Now above and beyond this issues and barriers, we spoke at length about personal experience for Rita, Antonio and Lois - I’m going to summarise these again as bullet points. These are interesting points to consider in respect to bring any locals onto the project but also as issues that will likely be encountered in future iterations of the unMonastery.

  • Tyranny of Structurelessness: We suffer from a lack of fixed meeting times, meetings often move around at the last minute - this makes it impossible for someone with a life outside to balance their time and ensure they can attend.
  • Personal Life: It’s exceptionally difficult to separate ones personal life - Antonio has expanded on this recently in his post on EdgeRyders.
  • Lack of Clarity: There has to date been a lack of clarity and definition of roles, as it stands we have unAbott and unMonasterians and this is it - which isn’t adequate for understanding the diversity of participation in unMonastery. This often causes people to feel as though they are not an ‘unMonasterian’.
  • Project Inequality: To date it feels for Rita, Antonio and Lois as though their role has been treated as if they are exclusively a support to other projects, which has been brutally unfair and limited the ability for them to develop their own projects.
  • Different Stakes: For those living and working in Matera, whose lives are based here, have much higher stakes than anyone who has come from outside - and this for the most part is an unknown. They risk personal connections, reputation and all else in their support of the project. Particularly since when/if the unMonastery comes to an end here, they will carry on their lives, whilst others will leave. (This is really really important to understand)
  • Little Appreciation or Validation: People haven’t often enough registered or voiced appreciation for the hard work, particularly Rita has been putting in.
  • Not a Translator: “Translation is not what I want to do” and it’s also quite likely true for anyone else coming from Matera into the project and who doesn’t want to be a full time or possibly even part time translator.
  • Rita’s Role: This is exceptionally important and I want to register here the things you stated in the meeting Rita because I believe it’s important for others to read and understand. From start to finish Rita has experienced deep frustrations working within the project (which is not to discount the joy but it’s been tricky). From the start Rita’s role or job as coordinator was not well defined, lacking clarity and clear expectations. What was meant to be a few hours a week work from September through to end of May became more than a full time job - it’s safe to say that had Rita not done the work she has, the unMonastery would not be here today. This though has come at enormous personal cost for which there has been little remuneration, compacted by a sense that the group hasn’t clearly valued the work, nor fully recognised it.  

So this could all be read as a damning list of failures but this was a meeting focused on honest understanding in order for us to improve on our mistakes. So far we’ve already made some initial steps towards solving or resolving the issues outlined. Here’s a summary of what we’ve implemented and reflections going forward:

  • Fixed Meetings: an easy one, we already had Monday planning overview meetings, we’ve added Friday to this.
  • Definition of Roles: It’s clear we need to define 3-4 kinds of roles for people involvement in the overall project. I’ll write up in more depth tomorrow at the moment it looks split between unMonasterian / Oblate (Remote and Local) / unAbbott (Coordinator) / ???.
  • Fair Exchange: I suggested that to remedy the situation of expected support for individual internal projects, that we operate a sort of time bank - e.g Say Rita does an hour of translation for Kei, Kei would then baby sit for Rita for an hour. This way we ensure an equal respect for one anothers time.

Hopefully this covers everything, If there’s anything I missed from this meeting that seems key could others please comment in reply with their points.


Learning to live in the un-organization …

Thanks for the very open and transparent writeup – I guess it can be at times painful to be that open about shortcomings, but it surely is a fascinating read. For learning from the pioneering team how un-organizations and collaboration can function in other parts of the Edgeryders ecosystem. For example the relations between nomadic and rooted people – possibly informing the relations between global and local initiatives within Edgeryders (@Noemi brought that up recently).

Or the issue of fair exchange. If unMonastery wants to be the pioneer again, there’s an in-house Edgeryders tool for that problem now: Economy App / Makerfox is finally (phew!) ready to use since a few days. We added a “moneyless payment” feature that can achieve the same as timebanking software (plus making it possible to spend that timebank-style P2P credit value anywhere else in the soon-to-be barter economy). Personally I’d be glad to take up that old idea of such a collaboration, after we kinda abandoned it last year. Timing was getting off-track and Internet affinity in Matera was not up to snuff to allow deploying that tool to the general public. But as an unMonastery internal tool it is a different story.

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Makerfox with TimeBanking

Hi @Matthias took a look a the new site - looks great! Very interested in the new “moneyless payment” addition, and would love to use this for Viral Academy lessons. Currently the plan is to create a Twitter based currency for Viral Academy time accounting. It would be great if instead we could instead use Makerfox?

Even better would be if there was a MakerFox API, so that we could script a Twitter based interface to MakerFox? To bootstrap this we could simply Tweet the time transactions and manually enter them into Makerfox until such time as an API is available?