Wed 27 Jan 2016 7:05PM

Better oversight of threads in Groups

JL Jelle Langbroek Public Seen by 256


I'm actively using Loomio for a couple of months now with a small group of 8 people. Works great!

I'd like to add a feature request.

When viewing one of the groups I created it has 15 Discussions in it. Some of them in progress, some are already voted on, some already executed and done. I'd really like to have the ability to oversee that progress in the titles (in the blink of an eye).

First proposal:
Be able to turn the discussion title (or background of title) green when it's executed.

Together we can find some good visual representation of the discussions(list) when there is voting in progress or voting is already done on one or more proposals.

-> When discussions turn into proposals and proposals are being executed, the discussions list becomes a mixture of discussions and a todo list. We might be able to visually represent this better.


Matthew Bartlett Wed 27 Jan 2016 7:21PM

Cool idea, Jelle!

If I was going to try that with the current feature set, I'd cooy and paste emoji (from getemoji.com) into the thread title, to indicate different states, e.g. ☑️ for voted on, ✅ for executed.

Just a thought!


Jelle Langbroek Wed 27 Jan 2016 10:02PM

That's a great idea for now indeed! Thanks


Matthew Bartlett Wed 27 Jan 2016 10:11PM

… although a bit of experimenting with which emojis have broad support would be a good idea — I wrote the above comment on Safari browser on an iPad — now that I'm on Chrome on a MacBook the first symbol isn't available (see attached image below).

Mind you… proper emoji support in Loomio is on the cards


Greg Cassel Thu 28 Jan 2016 12:36AM

Emoji support in Loomio is huge ; thanks for sharing here :)


James Kiesel Wed 27 Jan 2016 9:24PM

I've also been having a think recently about letting folks put custom css specific to their group somewhere, which I think would allow for a whole world of customization possibilities.


Jelle Langbroek Tue 2 Feb 2016 6:07PM

Thanks. I can work with that for now.
How should I go further from here? I'd really love to have the option available to all users to 'close' threads when they're done. Maybe even transform the item to a small ToDo list that's attached to the thread.
So, where should I ask devs for there features?


Matthew Bartlett Wed 3 Feb 2016 12:19AM

Yes it would be great to be able to close threads. I'll feed this feedback into the product discussions.

Meantime, one workaround I've seen is for a coordinator to create an 'Archive' subgroup, with the settings Privacy:Closed + Advanced: "Members of Parent Group can see threads." Then when a conversation is ready to be closed, anyone who's a coordinator of both the group and subgroup can move the discussion into the Archive.

I'd love to hear more about how you'd imagine the ToDo list working…


Greg Cassel Wed 3 Feb 2016 1:10AM

Great workaround suggestion! I want to talk a bit about thread-closing alternatives, because in my community experience, people may often disable new commentary for constructive or destructive purposes.

I think that a dedicated archiving location is preferable to 'thread-closing' per se.

Perhaps for some communities, it should be possible to reopen an archived thread simply by commenting upon it. However, it could be helpful to require an extra click or two, with something such as: "Commenting here will reopen this topic. Are you sure?" Also, some large communities may want to require someone to 'second' or 'third' efforts to reopen a topic. For instance, maybe allow anyone to comment directly in an archived topic, but without creating notifications to others-- and maybe require the commentator to get one or more others to 'like' or upvote the new comment, in the archived topic, in order to reopen the topic. (This may require some personal outreach on their part.)

On a related note, I think that the ideal for a radically distributed, 'flat' community would be for thread archiving and/or closing to be determined by a poll or (better) a community ratings tool... For instance, allow anyone to suggest closing a topic; and let others 'upvote' or 'downvote' that suggestion, until some community-defined threshold for administrative action.

I know the Loomio dev team is already working hard on lots of stuff, and I don't expect anyone to necessarily agree with these ideas; but do they make sense?


Jelle Langbroek Wed 10 Feb 2016 1:01PM

Archiving is indeed a nice workaround.

About the ToDo list; many proposals close with something to do for someone. It would be great if you could turn a 'voted' proposal to a todo-item in a list on the page. People should be able to subscribe themselves to a todo-item to take responsibilty for that.
Then you can turn democratic decisions into direct action with people attached to parts of the todo list. When nobody subscribes to a todo-item, the item can be reopened to discuss again maybe.

Maybe turn the 'previous proposals' section (right side of thread view) into something where people can see which proposals are todo-items and if there are people already subscribed to it.


Jelle Langbroek Wed 10 Feb 2016 1:05PM

Maybe allow everyone to re-open discussions when they want to. Same thing as everyone being able to edit the context of a thread.
I wouldn't make it too complex with more voting systems in place to vote about every step in the various processes within Loomio. Keep it simple and give everybody enough 'power' to influence the processes as they are.


Greg Cassel Wed 10 Feb 2016 4:55PM

I agree that it can be quite helpful for groups to allow members to re-open discussions whenever they want to. I would not agree that that would be desirable for all groups, especially in the case of very large groups which Loomio may see in the future.

I could have been clearer with this bit from my last comment:

Perhaps for some communities, it should be possible to reopen an archived thread simply by commenting upon it. However, it could be helpful to require an extra click or two, with something such as: "Commenting here will reopen this topic. Are you sure?" Also, some large communities may want to require someone to 'second' or 'third' efforts to reopen a topic.

At that time, I was just trying to get those ideas out there for others to consider. However, my specific personal recommendation would be to create such options in "Advanced Settings" for each Loomio group. (Probably, with a default setting of "Let anyone re-open an Archived topic by commenting upon it.) Providing options would enable each group's admins to select whatever worked best for them: hopefully, in accord with feedback from group members.


Māmari Tue 1 Nov 2016 10:03AM

Hi Matt...just looking at the Children's ministry thread, we have heaps of threads that are dormant, would really like to shift them into an archive subfolder...could we do that? Might need to consult, one person's 'long dormant thread' is another person's 'burning issue that must be reignited immediately!'


Alanna Irving Tue 1 Nov 2016 11:54PM

Check out this blog post about organising your Loomio group, especially the section about creating a thread archive. I think it might help.



Matthew Bartlett Wed 10 Feb 2016 6:30PM

I recall a few months ago seeing a Loomio instance 'in the wild' (i.e. not hosted here) being used by one of the Pirate Parties. They had added a fifth, purple, voting option, which meant something like "I commit to making this happen". Seemed like a really cool idea and I wonder how it works in practice there.


Richard D. Bartlett Thu 11 Feb 2016 4:04AM

Heaps of people I've been talking to lately use a combo of Loomio, Trello, and Slack to do deliberation, project management, and instant messaging respectively. Trello does such a brilliant job of tracking tasks, due dates, responsibilities, checklists etc, I wouldn't want to try to build Loomio out to compete with that awesome functionality.

I would love to see what a Loomio <-> Trello integration would look like. Hopefully my brain will get some space to think about that soon. Or maybe someone else can imagine it for us :)


John Rhoads Tue 1 Nov 2016 12:48AM

Ok thanks, you've answered my question which is how to make the never-ending list of threads on the main page shorter and less scrolling through stale threads. You state to create an "archive" sub-group and move them there. Is this still the preferred method? I searched Loomio community for "archive threads" and landed on this thread.


Matthew Bartlett Sun 14 Feb 2016 10:41PM

Here's that extra voting option, used by Pirate Party Argentina (thanks for finding it, @jameskiesel). @gregorycassel @renato @josircardosogomes


James Kiesel Sun 14 Feb 2016 11:08PM

I've reached out to the author to see if we can't get a diff to recreate in a plugin somehow, as this seems like a nice bit of extensiblility to have in the vault.


Richard D. Bartlett Tue 1 Nov 2016 10:54PM

@johnrhoads that's still the best option, to my knowledge. We have an experimental new feature in testing at the moment that lets you add tags to threads. It may not be perfect for archiving purposes, but generally it could be useful for helping to organise threads. Want to try it out?

@mamari some options:

  • If you've got a lot of people in the group, perhaps you could use a Loomio proposal to give a couple of people the mandate to make judgement calls about which threads to archive
  • You could have a policy like 'threads are archived after 30 days of inactivity'
  • Perhaps a nominated group facilitator could go through and leave a warning comment like 'this thread will be archived next week if there's no activity...'

John Rhoads Tue 1 Nov 2016 11:32PM

Sure, I'm hip to trying it out. Is the tag manually attached to the thread or is it automated in any way? Tagging a thread automatically based on age would be cool while yet another tag to mark it as being involved in a closed decision might work as well. At the moment I'm using your emoji trick to contextualize threads. Thanks for the help.


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 2 Nov 2016 6:50PM

Email Rich at Loomio dot org with your group url and I'll set you up :)