Separation of concerns

In computer science, separation of concerns (SoC) is a design principle for separating a computer program into distinct sections, such that each section addresses a separate concern. - Wikipedia

I would like to touch this topic in attempt to start clarifying better which concerns we want to address as unMonastery, and which ones we could consider as out of scope. For concerns which we may define as out of scope, I hope we can always suggest various peer initiatives which focus on addressing them. Here creating high quality directory of peers, with clear explanation of relationship including similarities and differences comes very useful!

Now from my very personal perspective, what I would see as specific to unMonastery:

aim: Enable change-makers, people who work for common benefits of the society, to do their work!

Great! But noting very specific to unMonastery, I guess all of us could list at least 50 different initiatives including very Edgeryders with such aim. Let’s try to narrow it futher:

means: Creating coliving / coworking spaces which provide all the basic infrastructure for change-makers to do their work.

This one I see much more specific. We use simple reasoning that to work on changing the world everyone needs some basic living and working conditions. Here we can also reference Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Still I could find quite some residency based initiatives, maybe we can go even more specific:

trick: Instead of getting stuck on money, securing all the needed real world assets by re-purposing currently unused ones, finding in-kind donations, using assets in collaborative way (sharing), DIY

During lote bar camp session in Strasbourg, we started with conversation about grants and then started imagining other ways of gaining support. In my opinion we manage ok-ish with that in Matera prototype, I can say rather good for the first try! We received, semi-renovated and furnished building plus all the utilities (water, gas, electricity, internet) in-kind, maybe still in indirect way since not actual providers donate them :frowning:

Travel, food, personal hygiene items, drugs, entertainment etc. we still manage through monetary grant and purchases. And of course we experience turbulence worrying about future of the project and falling back in thinking ‘where to get monetary grants’… We already received small donations of food and some drugs but IMO so far we don’t do that well on tracking it and asking for more support in-kind…

One more aspect which I see may give more specific take on unmonastery:

values: horizontal, open, participatory, transparent, green, …?

In situation where more people working on projects would like to use infrastructure provided by unMonastery than its capacity. We can ‘filter’ by looking at values which interested people practice in their work. Do they stay transparent about what, how and why they work on? Can everyone can join collaboration or only people from some closed circle can play along etc.

As one of the triggers for thinking about concerns and scopes of unMonastery, I see my attempt to understand work @Lois does with Food Supply Unchained. First of all I acknowledge it as very creative and important work, as many other important projects people do in Matera and around the world! At the same time I have some doubts how well it fits what unMonastery can offer. Of course I can miss noticing many things here, but so far I see intersection mostly around small stipend allocated to Lois. I remember her couple of times visiting us in Matera, but I didn’t get impression that the physical infrastructure we make available over there comes of any use for her and her work. On other hand while I really don’t know how I, or some other not directly involved person, can see here contributions to Food Supply Unchained, I also can’t recall (which doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen!) particular contributions to other activities in unMonastery. I remember that @Cristiano Siri received some help from Lois’ brother (please correct me if I confuse something) with visiting some farm. On the other hand I must say I find it bit surprising that she didn’t take initiative in helping with securing food supplies for unMonastery.

Just to clarify, I simply let myself thinking aloud here and most likely I miss many aspects of this collaboration. Still if connection between Lois <-> unMonastery (which I see very distinct from Food Supply Unchained <-> Edgeryders) boils down to small share of financial grant, I would propose to set such cases in a future as out of scope. Which would happen automatically anyways when we reach state of operating with close to none or at some point no finances…

As I said, most likely I miss a lot of the context here, but while I do, people who don’t stay seriously involved must miss even more? Checking Lois online activity in various online collaboration spaces we use:

  • Edgeryders platform 0 activity: "This person doesn't have any activity on the site yet."
  • unMonastery mailing list - 1 email
  • Trello - "No actions in the last 30 days"
  • GDrive - 2 activities (or at least i couldn't find others...)

I guess that @matthias and @ilariadauria have more insights into developments around Food Supply Unchained. I wonder in situation when unMonastery wouldn’t get into field of offering financial support, what other intersections exist?

And once again, I don’t criticize in any way what Lois works on and how she does it. I just find it unclear how unMonastery fits into this picture, assuming that we don’t want to get into role of intermediary in getting financial grants where initiatives like Edgeryders and other peers can offer more support here…

Actually formally I understand that finances flow: Citizens of Matera -> Municipality of Matera -> Committee MT2019 -> Edgeryders and then it goes into stipends (~1/2 of which which residents put back together into food budget) and various expenses related to unMonastery:Matera operations. Personally I would prefer if forwarding financial grands would stay as concern of Edgeryders but out of scope in unMonastery :slight_smile:


Lots to think about

Great post, @elf Pavlik, thanks. Lots to think about here. I would add as an unMonastery specificity the monastic metaphor, and that is not just a source of cool aesthetics. It impinges on the economic model, which tends to be non-labor market. But that does not mean non-market altogether: monasteries always had economic exchanges, both in kind and in cash, with the surrounding communities.

In general, there are two incorrect things with your formal reconstruction of the flow of money: one is that citizens of Matera pay the Italian state, not the city of Matera. After a big and complex distribution (which lowers significantly the Gini coefficient of the Italian economy), Italians as a whole end up funding all local government, including Matera and – more significantly – the Basilicata Region. Region and City Hall fund Comitato. Next, Comitato passes somemoney onto Edgeryders which passes it onto unMonasterians (not the unMonastery, that is not a legal entity).

We actually tried not to route this money through Edgeryders. Originally we designed the collaboration between MT2019 and Edgeryders as one where no money would be involved, kind of elf-style: we would do something together, but nobody would pay anybody – MT2019 would directly issue the stipends to the unMonasterians. But then MT2019 got really, really stuck in administration. They refused to pass on money onto unMonasterians without contracts and it all got complicated. Edgeryders offered to do the contracting/invoicing stuff and pass the money onto Ben for communal management. Edgeryders does not withhold any of that money for itself, we pass 100% onto the unMonastery.

This has been a significant source of trouble for us because of a lot of oversight. We would much rather not have to do the man-in-the-middle thing – but I am not sure it is realistic. Ben knows more about this.


In general, there are two incorrect things with your formal reconstruction of the flow of money: one is that citizens of Matera pay the Italian state, not the city of Matera. After a big and complex distribution (which lowers significantly the Gini coefficient of the Italian economy), Italians as a whole end up funding all local government, including Matera and – more significantly – the Basilicata Region.

I would like to look for creative ways that people/companies who offer direct (in-kind) support for unMonatery can benefit from needing to send less money into this crazy cycle… sort of option to use moneyless taxes ;) Hard to expect people to have capacity to do both at the same time, also I remember someone, (@Bembo Davies?) feeling uncomfortable with asking people for donations of food etc. just because we already received money from taxes they paid. Anyhow, let’s don’t sidetrack to much here and maybe move such conversations to Sustainability Plan workflow…