Open Collectives "Call" for Tools for collectives

Like edgeryders, opencollective fascinates me and leaves me with the feeling “there is something here that I really do not understand”. Great stuff!

In this post they call for (open source) developers to rethink some tooling:

I thought it might fit well with the participio-line-of-thought (although there are differences in world-view, I guess).

For all who do not know: one of opencollectives most interesting use cases is (in my view and understanding): creating a (financially) transparent, paperless european non-profit association with relatively easy integration of recurring donations by “the crowd” (in my world, I’d like this to be customers and users). But more generally it is used by projects that need an financial identity (where you can send and retrieve funds from/to), used by a couple of big and many small open source projects. The project itself is fully open source. If you use the platform, some percent of the money flow will be “taken” by opencollective itself. But take this descriptions with a handful of grains of salt, as I am pretty sure that I do not fully grasp the concepts and potentials of the platform. If anyone can shed light on opencollective, has first or second hand experiences: I’d be glad to hear them!


Looks like a super interesting backend, thx for post

Opencollective seem like a smart bunch with their hearts in the right place. I have read the call to action, but I’m not sure I understand what he actually wants to build. I think there is also some deeper thinking that has to be integrated as to not run into dead ends. Tools for online collaboration follow roughly the same “rules” as hardware tools:

  • Generalised tools that do many things are usually not high-powered enough to take on difficult jobs.
  • High-powered tools that can be customised to do specific and complex jobs very well usually have a steep learning curve.

I would like to turn one of his assumptions around:

As long as at least one person is not comfortable with it, using it would mean excluding someone from the group. That’s a no go. That really forces us to rethink the way we build software. We need to make sure that everything has an email interface. No one should be excluded from participating in the collective.

I think this sets the bar really low for pushing forward the ways in which we collaborate. People are not impossible to teach. About 14 months ago, I introduced Loomio to the Borderland community. A year ago, almost to the day, I had this discussion about fear of exclusivity of the platform. I also had some resistance on the Facebook group. My response to this was trying even harder to post links to important discussions to the Borderland Facebook group, and now I very rarely hear this sort of complaint. People have become accustomed to the tool, but that required some stubbornness on my part. A year later, our participation rate in decisions is way, way above what it has ever been before.

By pushing for a new and better way to collaborate, you might loose some people, but you might include others. For example, when moving to Loomio from Facebook, we “lost” most of the trolling participants in our decision making and gained a whole bunch of people who really liked being given a non-commercial and progressive platform to collaborate on.

Anyway, I’m really interested to see where this goes.