Proposed multipartite social contract between all users of edgeryders.eu (people and organisations)

wiki

#1

Edgeryders.eu: social contract

The Edgeryders community, its guests (including other organisations such as commercial clients or funders ), using Edgeryders.eu accede to the following minimum social contract.

Basic assumptions

The mission of Edgeryders is to facilitate and encourage people to collaborate on and across different social-good projects in a free, self-governed manner. And to collect, codify and disseminate knowledge and skills that will foster collaboration on a massive scale, p2p.

We do not forget about political, cultural and other differences. However, at the time of working together we put all animosities aside, or at least we try to. Respect for trustworthy colleague, reliable coworker, we consider more important, than our dislike for his views, habits, or prejudices.

We are working out relationships within our team (understood broadly – with the guests) in the spirit of consensus-driven, cooperative community. Only when we achieve this, we can teach it to others.

Relations with the stewards of the platform

The directors of Edgeryders LBG, the organisation that undersigns and is legally responsible for the Edgeryders online community platform. While Edgeryders LBG cannot possibly share all the views of Edgeryders community members, its’ directors are members of the community and shares many of the goals of their peers. Edgeryders LBG appreciates the validity of community members’ goals and work. It also finances technical maintenance of the platform and strives to create paid work opportunities for community members when possible. We appreciate it and show respect and courtesy in return.

Edgeryders is based mostly on voluntary cooperation. Therefore, we are sensitive to anything that might jeopardize good relations with the community at large.

Relations with the permanent directors of Edgeryders LBG

Directors of Edgeryders LBG are totally committed to Edgeryders activity. At the same time – after members enter and leave the platform – they will face the consequences (both good and bad) of our words, actions and omissions. We are aware of it and try to leave a good impression. In all situations of conflict or doubt, we turn to the directors of Edgeryders LBG for help or mediation.

Working for the Edgeryders Community

Each member of the community and every guest of Edgeryders.eu is expected to spend a little time working effectively for the benefit of their fellow community members. Type of work is determined by those concerned, considering the needs of the projects, the platform, and abilities of people involved.

Where money is involved: A multipartite social contract


A SOCIAL CONTRACT PROPOSAL 1.0

ABOUT

If we want to make any participatory, collaboration oriented online space generative, healthy and sustainable we need to weigh all kinds of different factors in. Because the different stakeholders involved will have different objectives, priorities, working rhythms, access to resources, ways of recognising impact and results. Designing the social contracts collaboratively helps surface underlying expectations and assumptions that may be obvious to you, but not necessarily to the people with whom you want to collaborate and the other way around. So we put together a blueprint for discussion and modifcation. This first attempt is based on lessons learned from Edgeryders 1.0 and other online engagement intensive projects and came out of many discussions on and off the platform over the past year. Please have a look and leave a comment whenever you have constructive critique, questions or ideas to help develop this into something solid. For us and others to use.

In this document we use the following names/concepts:

Person = individual community member or participant

Project = An activity or set of activities that have a specific objective set in advance, or are directed towards addressing a general issue ‚

Edgeryders HQ = the team of community members who take responsibility for conceiving of and executing the Edgeryders project including managing and driving engagement in the online platform. They include directors of Edgeryders LBG and Edgeryders community managers.

Client = An organisation, group or individual putting money into a project, and to whom the project is accountable for delivering results.

In this document we look at 8 different relationships:

  1. Person to person: what is expected of individuals or groups of individuals in their interactions with one another on a a peer to peer basis.

  2. Person to project: what is expected of a person or group of people when they are approached and asked to contribute to an action or initiative.

3. Person to EdgerydersHQ: what is expected of individuals in their relationship to the Edgeryders communtity as a collective and to the people who are responsible for ensuring positive outcomes.

  1. Project to person: what is expected of the person, people or organisation from the individual participants they are reaching out to or trying to engage in helping them with actions.

  2. Project to Edgeryders HQ: what do person, people or organisation individual participants who are using any of the Edgeryders channels to reach out to or try to engage others in helping them with actions expect of the team managing the community and platform.

  3. Edgeryders HQ to project: what does the team managing the community and platform expect of the person, people or organisation individual participants who are using any of the Edgeryders channels to reach out to or try to engage others in helping them with actions. The project can be a client.

  4. Edgeryders HQ to person: what does the team managing the community and platform expect of the person who is getting involved in any action through Edgeryders channels.

  5. Edgeryders HQ to client: what does the team managing the community and platform expect of people, groups or organisations putting resources into meeting certain objectives through Edgeryders.

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 community@edgeryders.eu 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.

Person to project:

  • I understand and communicate that my involvement in your project is on an entirely voluntary (nonpaid) 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.

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 writing 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.

Project to person:

  1. 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

  2. We will be accommodating of your schedule where possible.

  3. We won’t insist you use tools or methodologies you don’t believe in. Even if this means we have to change how we work.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 72 hours of receiving them.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 Edgeryder 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.

Project to Edgeryders HQ:

You join the Edgeryders community 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 do our best to 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 meaningful 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 if you drive the process. 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 public recognition of the skills developed in and by being active in Edgeryders.

Edgeryders HQ to Client:

  1. 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, design work, programming) you make the commitment to provide them clear ( what, how much, conditions for access or selection), in advance, and make them available in a timely manner.

  2. You understand that community members are not in your line of command. This ensures that they have nothing to lose in standing for truth. The knowledge work is transparently generated in a context which facilitates multidisciplinary, inter-generational 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 high quality knowledge-work on wicked or fuzzy problems, that comes with legitimacy & has been vetted by hundreds of eyes. You get human resources for social transformation in a context which makes effective use of online engagement to facilitate multidisciplinary, inter-generational collaboration between a diverse group of individuals on a global scale. We guarantee delivery (assuming you the client fulfill your obligations towards us). We will not charge you for the knowledge-work outside of specific deliverables, but we do expect you to pay a corporate membership fee to help keep the community going and developing further. 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 initiatives.


Coming to the festival? An important reading list.
#2

Nadia, this looks very much like an employment contract

A lot of this might be appropriate to subcontractors, but I cannot legally imagine binding casual platform visitors to this.

Are you entirely sure this is in our interests?


#3

Its two separate parts, still in progress

Background:

Patrick Andrews raised the need to have more detailed social contract in a mixed economy setting.

Others have complained they cannot get a grip on the complexity of different kinds of interactions and relationships in Edgeryders.

We have discussed the need for making clear how different companies, some of which are for profit, can coexist within Edgeryders in symbiosis that is generative for everyone. Escpecially in the early phases when they never have any monetary resources to contribute towards maintainenace and development of the platform, events etc …infrastructure.

During the various meetings and conversations at ote4 it was very clear that there are different working cultures, conventions and expectations. They are largely implicit and therefor potential source of conflict unless bridged through:

  1. clarifying what expectations are between community members where there is no money involved and where there is money involved and in the ambivalent continuum.

  2. developing general social contract/harmonising expectations for all commercial companies that would like to operate within or using parts of the Edgeryders ecosystem. Makerfox is a startup and you mentioned wanting to set up a a for profit venture etc.

If you dislike the above attempt you are welcome to contribute something better.


#4

I think what we have right now is better than this.

Much as there are complexities around this area in EdgeRyders, we cannot ensure representation of all relevant and affected parties by having a unilaterally drafted contract as a starting point.

The Chaordic method (used by Dee Hock) is heavyweight, probably far too heavyweight for our purposes, but it’s value-led approach (rather than either rights-led or responsibilities-led) has much to recommend it.

Pretty sure if we’re going to formalize in this way we’re going to need to get all relevant and affected parties around a table to discuss how they see the moving parts and their relationships: this doc summarizes your viewpoint, but I don’t think it has the necessary diversity of perspectives at the inception to get general community buy in.

Of course, if the intention is simply to bind EdgeRyders subcontractors, you can use any language you like. But if it’s going to affect the community as a whole, not just subcontractors, buy in will be difficult to generate without inclusive processes from the outset.


#5

Agree, sort of

I hear you Vinay, and I agree that this doesn’t have to be taken as such in that the end we’re aiming for a collaborative document, I think the idea is to put something out there that people can help tweak according to their own views. My preference would be for a one pager containing only value led principles like in the first part of Nadia’s proposal.

I can only speak of the community side, the client one is less familiar. We do need a written social contract somewhere here on edgeryders that protects both us and community members should there be any complaints. Problems will arise and grow in number as our organisation grows… so we need something for sure. Still chewing on this and maybe come up with a version of my own or edit this one…


#6

It says proposed for a reason :slight_smile:

The idea is that I put something together as a starting point as I promised I would, then it’s up to others to edit and move things around. The main thing I wanted to highlight is that a) there are a number of different relationships (8 to be exact) b) each one has it’s expectations

My idea was never to throw this document in it’s entirety onto every single person who shows up to leave a comment :slight_smile: Rather that the relevant part pops up when you do something relevant e.g. set up a new project on the platform.


#7

My 2 page version

This is what I had in mind when thinking of what people should read before engaging in Edgeryders related work - including the short long story, the possibilities to host projects and to set up new companies which I think is crucial to unload some of the perceived responsibility on our back.