Rationalizing digital communications within The Reef's Teams

This is mostly for @manuelpueyo and @Pieter if he decides to join Team IT after all.

As we roll out the new teams, the problem arises of how they should communicate within each team. Following a conversation with @lee, I would propose the general structure is something like this:

  1. Each team’s members can decide for themselves how they want to stay in touch. Please, everyone try to be mindful of making things easy for team members that might come onboard in the future, as they are not yet there to make their own case.
  2. However, Team IT should supply a reasonable solution as a fallback.

The reasonable solution could look like this:

  1. For anything that invites debate and is meant to stay in the Reef’s digital records: use the Edgeryders forum, as I am doing now. The forum is long-lived (over 10 years already) and easy to search. Also, almost everyone has an account by now. To make things easier, we can create tags of the form #reef-team-TEAMNAME to associate to pertinent forum threads: for example, this thread is tagged #reef-team-it. Multiple tags are possible, when a thread is relevant to more than one team. We can also create groups of users. We all already belong to @reeflings, but we can create smaller groups of the form reef-team-TEAMNAME. The advantage of the groups is that you can send notifications to the whole team by mentioning the group’s name (mentions work with @, like on Facebook and Twitter).
  2. For rapid-fire communication: use Nextcloud’s Talk app. Advantages: we all have Nextcloud accounts, and Talk supports groups of users. So, we create a group for each team and assign each of us to the groups corresponding to the Teams we are a part of. Notifications seem to be working fairly well in Nextcloud: a notifications manual is here.
  3. For calendar events and tasks: use Nextcloud’s Calendar, Tasks and Deck apps. For calendar, I see advantages in using just the one calendar, called The Reef meetings. To add this calendar to your personal calendar, go here and follow the instructions. For Tasks and Deck, Manuel and I have been testing them, and they have different upsides and downsides. Feel free to experiment, or ask us if you have question.
  4. For shared documents, everyone is invited to use Nextcloud. We have already some dedicated folders for some teams that started working already. We will make the others.

Suggestion: at tonight’s meeting, Manuel can create team groups on Nexcloud on the fly, and add people to them (or people can add themselves, if they have laptops with them). With a bit of luck, we leave the room with everybody being already within reasonably easy reach of their team members.

Makes sense?


Thanks a lot @alberto!

A quick clarification:

The conversation’s topic: I am feeling a little tired because I need some streamlining in the channels through which I am being contacted. Right now - and I am saying this without any blame - I am getting contacted through email, text message, Signal, Edgeryders and Nextcloud and that is more than I can handle.

I’ll bring it up at the meeting tonight and suggest to do a round.

This is why, in practice, the freedom of teams to choose their own channels is limited by the needs of each team member to only have a limited number of channels. Since we need the forum and Nextcloud for The Reef in general and Team IT is willing to support them a bit, in practice many teams will choose to stay with them, without needing to make it a rule. :slight_smile:

1 Like

A question regarding communication between team members, which I hope that I’m asking in the right place. Now that we are in our teams, I would like to contact the other members of the two that I’m in to set up a meeting before some of us head off on holiday. Can I just do that with a group message on the Edgeryders platform? I’m not sure that I’ve got this right, but it seems that Edgeryders is the default place to communicate with other members, unless it is specifically about Nextcloud documents, in which case we communicate there…


This is also how I understand it.

Give me a day to create the groups on Edgeryders and manually assign people to their groups! Then yes, you just create a new topic and mention the team like this: @reef-team-TEAMNAME.


hello @ChrisM I had same question. this is how i have done it . let’s see if this works :grinning: :drum:

No, @manuelpueyo, this does not work to create a group here on the Edgeryders Discourse. A group is an object in the Discourse database; what you did is create a thread announcing the group (which is also great). I have created one for you.

1 Like

aha, ok , i get it. thanks

1 Like

Also, here is how you create teams in Nextcloud:

1. Create the group

What we call “teams” in the Reef correspond to groups of users in Nexcloud (the logic is exactly the same as for the Discourse forum in Edgeryders). To create and populate a group, you need to be a Nextcloud admin. If you are not, ask @reef-it to do it for you.

  1. Click on your avatar to open the menu, then choose Users.
  2. Click on + Add group in the menu to the right. Type the Team’s name, then click on the arrow icon. You have created the group, but for now it is empty.

Add users to the group

  1. Click on Active users in the menu on the left. This displays a list of all the Nextcloud users. Locate each team member, then click on the pencil icon to the right of the user’s name. The display for the users now changes and becomes editable.
  2. Click in the Groups column of the user you are editing. This opens a drop-down menu with all the groups we have created. Click the one corresponding to the team you want to assign this user to. Click anywhere on the screen to close the drop-down menu.
  3. (Optional) Maybe you want this user to also have admin powers for the group. At least one member of each team should have admin powers. If you do, click on the Group admin for column and repeat step 4.
  4. Click on the check sign to the right of the line. This saves your changes.
  5. Repeat 3 through 6 for each team member.
1 Like

@reef-it and everybody else: I am wondering whether we should separate communications that concern the whole group (decisions about the actual work of each team) and practical information (when can we meet, etc…).
I would suggest posting topics on the forum for the actual work, and messaging for the practical aspects…
I feel like it would be easier to follow for the non-team members that are interested, as there will be less posts to scroll through… And it will be tidier overall, with less useless posts…
What do you think?

1 Like

Agree. Though sometimes it is difficult to draw a clear line between “getting organized” and “doing the acctual work”. For example, part of the organization of a meeting could be agenda setting, and there can be some meaty discussion there. The way I imagine it, teams will make their own decisions for how to work together.

1 Like

agree. this is close to how i see it. forum for the actual work. longer knowledge intense posts. and then a messaging app (slack style) for a more practical things

1 Like

Clearly, it’s not a perfectly neat line… I guess we’ll see as we go…

You don’t think the messaging function of edgeryders will do? What’s the pb with it?
But I agree with you, slack works quite well… But I’m not sure if everybody can deal with yet another app :sweat_smile:
But I guess, as alberto says, teams will get themselves organised.


the risk I see is that since each group will do the messages in their own platform is the creation of “silos”. if i don’t have a way to check ,from time to time, what other groups are doing there might be duplication of work or connections missed.
what slack offers is channels. in a single view i can see my channel and other channels. i can easily check what’s going on.

I don’t worry about that too much. First of all because we are small group of people who choose to work together towards a shared goal. So nobody has an interest really in working in silos. Second because we have a couple of sociocracy-inspired mechanisms in place to ensure transparency, information flow and coordination such as our commitment to documenting, the Coordination Group etc.

1 Like

Hmm… would this not be https://edgeryders.eu/c/the-reef/420? it’s a list of all topics in The Reef’s forum, most recently updated topic first.