The unMonastery: On shared ownership in open collaboration

Not my idea

I can’t take credit for the idea, @katalin. Ben suggested it. I am happy to play along, though my facilitation skills are not especially developed.

@katalin - I apologise for

@katalin - I apologise for the use of words such a “hypocrisy” and “king of the mountain”. And yes, I propose myself as a completely neutral facilitator willing to put my time into this issue. I am completely neutral towards Edgeryders and unMonastery group - I could see it coming. I see it as a structutral problem

Let me explain the the word usage:

Hypocrisy happens in both camps. I am not interested in counting how any times it occurs. I am sensitive to it and would like both parties to limit it. I saw that the conflict resolution is often replaced by sugar coating and hypocrisy, I can talk about it as a structural issue for a long time, in this context and in small and medium networked organisations in general - you can ping me a DM is you like.

“King of the Mountain” is a game. You can read about it here King of the Mountain - Wikipedia And I pointed out that if someone on a forum starts talking about who is the leader of what - I call it “King of The Mountain” because that what it is.

I think Alberto suggestion is great - moderated group. My concern is, knowing the dynamics of flaming in forums which, I believe, is largely affected by the layout of the page and UX rather by the subject matter - I suggest we use additional ways to let people and groups to voice their concerns and structure the conversation. I am very interested in that - mainy because I think it is largely a question of UX. For example, the amount of text you had to skip through to get an overview of the conversation, clearly resulted in a misinterpretation of what I written,most likely influenced by the perception you had of me once we spoke in Matera. My point here is - conflic resolution in a treadlike structured forum is a suicide. I have better suggestions, and I would really like to work on it with others. Provided, my offer as one of the facilitators is accepted by all parties, I will be happy to discuss it further.


In my opinion this situation is NOT acceptable.

Edgeryders, as was originally presented to me, is supposed to be about open collaboration. That means that all the decisions and discussions should be explicitly open to all members of Edgeryders.

I didn’t even know that closed groups, that were not available to the public existed. I only found out when i tried to refer someone to one of my posts, and they couldn’t access it.

This is NOT what i was led to believe would happen, and is NOT what i want for any project that i am involved in.

If this continues, then i will be closing my account, and i will actively go out of my way to make sure that everyone i work with knows why this is, and that Edgeryders, as an organisation, cannot be trusted.

Being told the full story will go some way towards ameliorating this situation, but without complete, open access, we’re not building something new, we’re just re-creating the same old same old.

Like i said here, “Do you want real change, or do you want business-as-usual with a different set of faces in charge?”


The main reason why things that should be done aren’t, is that this requires someone to step up and take responsibility for making them happen. Most of the time spent working on the platform is done on volunteer basis. When client projects started to come in last year, there was a surplus after costs associated with producing deliverables were paid for. This surplus has so far gone into 1) paying for travel grants for lote4 participants and 2) some bugfixing work. E.g. we are waiting for Arthur and Alberto to find a little spare time to set up a financial dashboard so we can be totally transparent about money etc.

I have never felt comfortable with there being closed groups on the platform. It was a compromise made based on a number of conversations in which the consensus was that we needed to have something semi-private but accountable, lest everyone just default into email or google docs etc which are far less transparent and or manageable (too many docs and hackpads spread all over the place). The reasoning was that once all the issues and concerns about privacy were ironed out it would be possible to just open groups to everyone in the community.

Ideally this would be resolved so we can get rid of them, but this requires more people to step up and help with solutions which do not make admins and content managers entirely dependent on developers for changes to the platform. For example, the platform really does not work well for making decisions where a lot of people are concerned, imho loomio is much better. But it’s a mess when communication around projects is spread across platforms so we need some integration between them. So far the only person consistently handling the tech development and development has been Matthias, with some support sometimes from others, and he is already overstretched. So if you or anyone else can help, this would edge us closer towards a better setup.

I wasn’t able to take part in Unmonastery last year, due to the state of my health, so i can’t comment on how things went as i wasn’t there.

In the same way i didn’t get to Transmediale for similar reasons.

All i know about the situations and the conversations has been second-hand and hearsay.

However, as far as the Edgeryder’s website is concerned, i am reminded of a cartoon i saw of someone shearing a sheep, where the shearer was labelled “Social media”, the sheep was labelled “Users” and the wool that was being harvested was labelled “user provided content”. This was the reason that i stopped using social media, when it started to become heavily “monetised”.

It’s the reason that i use a self-owned and self-run non-profit workshop, that i share with a bunch of other people, rather than pay membership fees for a privately-owned co-working space.

@nadia, what is the full story with the organisation being set up? Who is going to end up owning it? Where will the profit go?

Am i seeing a repeat of the same behaviour that i met in the past?

Not sure which organisation, replies regarding both.

Not sure which org you are asking about

  1. Re: Edgeryders organisation ( link accessible from main menu all over the site) I tried to summarise the backstory in this post. Regarding how things should be run, this wiki is one @dorotea has helped draft for helping us move forward.

  2. With the new organisation being discussed in this thread I do believe there is the intention to have an open and inclusive setup, but it takes time and a lot of different kinds of input to set the foundations. Whether or not this is the case, it is a move that makes complete sense to me on all levels and I fully support it. More organisations allow for more experimentation, diversity and resilience without adding to the already high workload involved in maintaining the shared infrastructures that enable new collectively driven projects to emerge. The issues I raised above have to do with more general practical rules about shared ownership of what comes out of the collectivity, regardless of how individual relationships and or inter-personal conflicts develop over time. I had a conversation yesterday with Lars Zimmermann from OSCE Days about how to both enable and clearly signal that it is fine for a subset of people to take a community powered project in whatever direction they choose, while not getting in the way of others wishing to do the same. His suggestion was to establish consensus on how forking can be done and part of this was figuring out a naming convention for the new projects/constellations/organisations.

After following a number of FLOSS projects, i’ve seen how forking has its good points and bad points.

Have you come across One Click Orgs? It was a project started by some members of the London Hackspace, in an effort to streamline the bureaucracy towards running the hackspace. I’m glad to say that some of the work that they did on co-operatives was helped by me. :smiley:

@alberto, you mentioned the problems that you came across with co-ops in Italy. Possibly you could point your colleagues there at the One Click Orgs website. NB. The set-up that they use is specific to the UK’s legal system. You could probably help them with translating their idea’s to the Italian legal system. A good person to contact about this is Martin Dittus.

I don’t think that would help

Those coops are led by people who tend to be on the wrong side of the digital divide, and proud of it. They barely use email, let alone one click orgs. Also, these guys are most definitely NOT my war buddies. smiley

NP. Sorry if i got the wrong end of the stick.

Maybe you could point the next generation towards this approach.

It gives a more equitable way of doing things than the current start-up-equity lottery-tickets…

A person who cares

@rhithinkRhiannon here on Edgeryders is a young British lady who deeply cares about coop reform, and believes it is possible. Maybe you could talk to her?

Community Healing

Hello :slight_smile:

As some of you know , I’m a lot into Community Healing and peaceful and respectful resolutions of “conflicts”

I would like to help :slight_smile:

First thing, there were some questions asked,

Nadia asked them in the post

let’s answer them ? :slight_smile:

here they are again :

  1. Does it matter that everyone who feels they have contributed towards the building of the unMonastery (or any community born project) is consulted about this move, and or feels invited to be part of the new organisation? If so, how to ensure this happens? (Bear in mind that everyone has limited time and resources, so it needs to be practically actionable under those conditions).

  2. Is a version of a community project run by a new organisation or using new processes a fork? If so does it make sense for the new projects and or organisation to be named in a way that indicates this is the case?

for me both answers seem to be “YES”

and I think an open discussion about collaborative projects is very healthy

I’m also happy to facilitate anything I can help with,

within this “conflict” resolution,

and building meaningful projects together.

Many Hugs and Love <3

I’ll try and keep it brief, digestible, for your sanity and for mine.

I can and will elaborate if asked. Just talk to me.

UnMonastery is personally significant & the same is true for many who are reading this & written on this page.

I put its survival, stability & integrity first and foremost when entering any discussion & conversation about it.

I expect the same from everyone else who identifies with it.

UnMonastery is a unique opportunity for its time, scope, precedent, approach & approachability

In short it represents urgent, imperative social value, which reaches far beyond those it directly interfaces with.

A lot of that value is translated and built directly from ‘process’; which is this.

The hashing out of the exact ethics, methods, objectives, values; all enacted and discussed in vivo, whilst the work is happening, whilst we’re ‘doing’ it.

This takes a very human toll no matter who you are, this is exhausting work - so if you’re feeling emotional right now - you’ve probably been working really hard on this.

UnMonastery has a history; from Day 1 in Strasbourg until this moment (and for some, even before then).

There have been huge achievements, there have also been disagreements and failings. All of them are valuable, all of them are learning material.

If we’re able to resolve the disputes at present, some already expressed, some still in people’s heads, and we’re all still here - have no doubt that whatever comes next for unMonastery will be even better than any iteration to date.

UnMonastery at present contains and practices, disagreement and contradiction (in addition to all of the alignment and accord).

A root issue to highlight is that the foundations for this network are built entirely on a trust (that everyone involved has only good intentions for the project and its people).

This fundamental requires rebuilding before any other progress can take place. Expect no progress, without first taking the belief that you are all on the same team.

UnMonastery currently has the capacity to solve its problems. Expect new problems when they’re solved.

Almost entirely the only reason why UnMonastery is so irreplaceably unique and socially valuable, is its diversity of vision, methods and practices, which exist in direct contradiction, yet hold a stable identity.

If you have contributed even a simple vocalised idea to UnMonastery, know that your contribution is irreplaceable, needed and valued.

You have built this. No hyperbole, no romance.

UnMonastery could be everything you want it to be, it can fulfill on all of its ambitions. It requires your patience and participation.

But rightly so, also your opinion and agenda.

Trust In The Process.

Thank you, to every single one of you.

You’ve undoubtedly worked much harder on this than I have, you’ve had much stronger belief than me from the start -

This post is a small, inadequate gift in return. Taken in good faith, and helpful, I hope.

See you soon x

1 Like

Thanks for your offers

Thank you, @dorotea and @k11 for your generous offers. You are both more than acceptable facilitators to me. I believe I am roughly aligned with Nadia, Noemi, Arthur and Matthias (though honestly I have not had the chance to hear from Matthias about present tensions). They will correct me where I am wrong, and I will definitely not take it personally. I would also like to thank @emkay for putting things into a useful perspective.

@billy_smith, I am sorry that you feel that way. Private groups come out of the box with Drupal Commons, as with most social networking software. This is reasonable, because some activities need discretion (generally, with respect to people outside the community). That includes some of the work we do here: for example, collaboratively writing competitive funding applications. Even if we are happy to do it in the open, partnering organizations generally are not (in fact I already got in trouble once, for releasing an application, though it had already failed, into the recycling bin). It is not exactly a secret: instructions for creating invisible projects are in the user’s manual, accessible by clicking on “Help” in the main menu.

That said, Ben and other community members have full access to the ER LBG Administration group.

If and when we have this moderated conversation, I will be happy to explain the rationale for having this. If you want to access the Admin group yourself, I personally have no issue with it, though I will need to make sure everybody is comfortable with it.

@alberto, thank you for your trust. Check with the other people from the Admin group, and if they’re happy, then i’d be happy to help.

I’ve been ripped off a number of times in the music industry, so i tend to be a little twitchy when it comes to “Trust Issues”, especially in business.

I also met Trevor Bayliss when he was talking at ELIC, and he was explaining some of the ways that people tried to rip him off. This was one of the main rationales of the inventors club. Mutual self-defence and support. There’s nothing more useful than a quiet conversation where you are told, “Don’t work with those people. Here’s how they tried to rip me off…”

Whenever i see some of those initial symptoms that they mentioned, it pushes my buttons. Once burnt, twice shy.

I didn’t know about the NDA restrictions that were attached to some of the funding providers. Like i said before, i’ve not used those forms of funding before. I’ve had to sign NDA’s before, but i always make sure that they have a sunset clause, so that there will always be a definite date when i CAN talk about the work that i’ve been doing.

Re. My comment about the for-profit co-working spaces. Whenever i went to have a look at them, they always put an emphasis on the interesting mix of people that you would meet there.

Whilst nodding, smiling and continuing to listen, i always had in the back of my mind, a Billy Connolly sketch that he called “Getting in touch with your Inner Welder”, where he was polite in dealing with pretentious middle-men, gate-keepers, and rip-off merchants, at the same time as feeling the hair and muscles sprouting from his arms, while he was thinking about ripping them limb from limb.

I would end up thinking “You want to use me as product to sell your space, and you want me to pay you for the priviledge…” Though it always sounds better when you’re roaring it loudly in a broad Glaswegian accent… :))

The thing is when i worked in the corporate environment, the rip-off’s had a different flavour, but the underlying taste was the same shit with a shinier spoon.

The current start-up craze is another example of the same thing. Yes, there are a lot of sincere people trying to start businesses and make the world a better place, but because i’m seeing it here in London, i’m running into a lot of money laundering schemes, ponzi scams, pump’n’dump schemes, and graft!

One horrifying but excellent example can be found on the Ribbon Farm website,, where the writer,Venkat, manages to tie together the MacLeod Company hierarchy with the Five Stages of Chaos that every organisation goes through from genesis to decay. Something too think about when we’re organising how we do things.

This also acts a reatively good description of the parasites that haunt funding pots, and act as shovel-salesmen to wannabe’s.

Though you’ve also got to watch out for the Feral Ballerina’s:wink:

Billy: welcome to the Admin group

@billy_smith, we will be pleased to welcome you to the Edgeryders LBG Administration group, where you will be treated to the joys of updating Terms of References, drafting reports and generally hustling for Edgeryders. cheeky

I will get in touch with you on private email for more detailed instructions.

access to Admin board

Hi @alberto, I wonder if I can also have access to the admin board. It may make it easier for me to understand the background of some of the topics that I contribute on the platform.

Many thanks!


Same thing as Billy

Hello @katalin, the same applies to you as to Billy: ask around if people are comfortable with you in the group.

Please guys, don’t do this one at a time. This is all unpaid overhead for me – on top of trying to make my own living and creating paid opportunities to do meaningful work for me, which is not easy at all.


Katalin, if you are still interested we will admit you. I will write to you the instructions in a separate message but they boil down to understanding and accepting the terms of use of a non-public group.

Stop this bickering, now!

On one hand I don’t know who these alleged excluded unMonasterian souls can be but since the process of forming the ‘unMon’ entity is neither final nor complete then the adult thing to do is to tell them to come forward and ask/demand to be included and, by so doing, put the vaunted principles of the unMonastery to the test. If, and only if, they are then excluded do they have any right to complain. In the meantime those claiming leadership roles should not be carrying gossip.

On the other hand one of the reasons for standing up the unMonastery as a separate entity was to allow and oblige those who were unhappy about the evolution of the edgeryders platform to show that they could do a better job of developing an online community. Consequently, those people should not be indulging in rehearsing a litany of petty or imagined slights on the old forum. They should be building their new ‘Jerusalem’.

A pox on both your houses if you cannot conduct yourselves more maturely.

Keeping it short

  1. Please let’s keep discussion constructive, for healing personal hurts I recommend meeting IRL!

  2. @k11, I respect you and <3 you but I can NOT +1 on you as completely neutral facilitator between ER and unMon. Let’s please consider asking for help for example great folks from Emerging Leader Labs. Why inbreed and cook in our own sweat?

  3. @nadia, if we talk in public lets all talk in public! When someone contacts you on private with concerns, maybe you could encourage those people to have courage to express themselves openly? C’mon, we don’t have vicious monsters on this platform which will e-chew someone. Even if someone will loose one’s calmness, others will step in and offer support on comforting to other one feeling offended. I think people need encouragement and not mom who keeps ‘helping’ them to clean their noses.

  4. Talking online in open doesn’t = keeping everything on ER platform. If unMonastery currently doesn’t provide any open forum - PLEASE OFFER ONE! If you need technical help, let’s ask @almereyda for help! unMonastery already has VM on Ecobytes to run whatever needed.

  5. @nadia, if you didn’t come to Berlin for unMonastery Gathering, please consider to consider yourself simply less involved and don’t try to “call the shots”

  6. If anyone here feels that people currently working on unMonastery have some debt towards you. Please state it loud and clear, including your precise demands and proof of your past contributions. IMO staying vague obligations/expectations doesn’t help anyone.

  7. Online tools need integration? Of course! Who actively works on it? I only know that @almereyda does, myself and maybe @jamesl still does. Anyone else here? Until we sort out various technical obstacles, let’s acknowledge current limitations and learn how to leave with them. We don’t need all to use the same channels. If will to communicate exist then people will bridge conversations . And if you want to have nice online integrations available sooner - CONTRIBUTE to developing them! (now I juts go back to exactly do that)

Last but not least

1 Like