Some reflections on community after LOTE4

I found the four days intense and rewarding. What an extraordinary community of passionate, creative and engaged people! The food was great too! Gratitude and appreciation for all those who made it possible.

I want to share some thoughts on the way Edgeryders is organised (or not…). When reading this, bearing in mind that I am only an intermittent participant in the community with incomplete information.

I am fascinated by the question of community building, particularly the sort of powerful activist online/off-line committees that are seeking to affect change these days.  It seems to me that the key to building and maintaining community is  trust,  enabled and supported by mutual commitments.  When you see someone committing their time and energy to something that is inspiring, you feel moved to commit your own time and energy. As people do this over time, people start trusting the new thing which is emerging. You start to trust that your contribution will not be wasted or abused.

It seems to me that Edgeryders is going through a transition from a pure gift economy (where no money is distributed) to a more mixed one where some money will come in and will be paid to some people. Transitions, as discussed in one of the sessions, are exciting and often unpredictable and turbulent times.  They are times when transparency in decision-making, not just what decisions are made but how decisions are made and how people can participate in them, become really important.

Nadia and others talked about the difficulty of finding your way about the site or knowing how to engage with it (one simple example - I just lost the first draft of this message because I forgot to login before writing it and when I did login, it disappeared).  This may be useful as a barrier to prevent unwanted outsiders from finding out what is going on, but it doesn’t help internal transparency.

It’s not easy to make collaborative decisions online. I predict that one of the breakthroughs we will see in the next few years is in online tools for collaborative decision-making. See Loomio as one recently emerged example. I think this is something that Edgeryders needs to address. I also note that the Apache software community are very good at clarifying how decisions are made and what role different people take in decision-making. See here in particular. I think it would be really valuable for Edgeryders to do something similar. It doesn’t need to be nearly so detailed or complex since Apache is a much more developed community.

From what I can gather, some people feel intimidated by the technology, and also sometimes by the nature of the discussions online, and don’t feel that their voices heard. This will tend to destroy trust over time.

From what I have seen in my experience in business and elsewhere, the way decisions are made is generally far more important than the actual decision. A decision can be changed if it turns out to be unhelpful, but the feeling people are left with when they have been engaged in, or perhaps excluded from, a decision tends to last.

That’s it for now. I hope to stay involved with the ongoing edge ride,  and look forward to more rewarding encounters along the way.

Love to you all!

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thank you!

for this incredibly insightful and important post and your many contributions to LOTE4.

Much appreciated

Patrick, thank you for taking the time and for nicely following up on your sessions with something that is of interest to many, like myself, who couldn’t attend both of them (I attended the Stewarding the stewards, but not Transitions though… damn :))

On collective decision making: the Edgeryders enterprise is not a cooperative, so Loomio is less informative, but I like the way Apache keeps it short and clear, so something like that might be useful. I think one step towards it is making clearer the distinction between our company and our community to manage both expectations and demands. That’s a suggestion I heard often at Lote4…