Wed 25 Feb 2015 8:57PM

how can we make it easy for people to keep up to date with Loomio progress

CT Chris Taklis Public Seen by 331

It seems it's not very easy to keep up with Loomio's progress for non-technical users. Let's talk about it.

I see many things said that will be available soon, but it has passed over 1 year. Seen yet we don't see loomio 1.0 full available. No new major changes or add features... Seriously. What's happening there? I think you must change the core, and let the developers from around the world to upload their widgets/features and each group or user activates what they want from those widgets/features.

List of useful places to check progress that already exist:


elaineX Wed 25 Feb 2015 9:09PM

Creating an open core? Hmmmm


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 25 Feb 2015 9:16PM

Hey @christaklis the Loomio core has always been and will always be open. Anyone can take it and fork it and do whatever they like with it: https://github.com/loomio/loomio

There has been little visible development on the Loomio Beta version lately, as all the development efforts for the past few months have been focussed on the new version. Loomio 1.0 isn't available yet but we're pushing it forward as fast as we can. You can see progress by visiting https://loomio.org/angular

Part of what we've been working on is an API, which will make it much easier for other developers to build cool features and make them available to anyone that wants to use them.

If you know of any developers that want to contribute so we can get this out faster, send them to https://github.com/loomio/loomio/issues and invite them to pitch in :)


Chris Taklis Wed 25 Feb 2015 9:21PM

ok. Thanks @richarddbartlett ... I am waiting to see the final version of Loomio 1.0.

But you should make some announcements what's happening. It looks like all the loomio changes are dead.


Rob Guthrie Wed 25 Feb 2015 9:48PM

@christaklis it's just you.

The activity is happening on github. If you want to see it, star the loomio repo.

Loomio beta is intentionally stable, and getting good usage and user growth.

Things in development land have been moving really fast and we're expecting to be able to release something really great in the next month or 2.


James Kiesel Wed 25 Feb 2015 9:56PM

There have been plenty of activity. Check out our roadmap, or the (markedly active) codebase, or see the progress on the prerelease at http://www.loomio.org/angular

Suggesting that we 'change the core' is a really good way to end up with no one working on this thing. I appreciate your concern, but frankly I'm a little put off at the idea that you think we're not working on this thing as hard as we can, with all of the resources that we have available to us.


Alanna Irving Wed 25 Feb 2015 11:44PM

As has already been stated, the team is working really hard and progress is excellent. We put a lot of effort into making our work transparent (roadmap) and making it accessible to contribute as a developer and user (github and this community group). Additionally, if you don't like the way it's organised, feel free to fork the code base and start your own project.

Maybe a better approach would be asking "how can I help?"


elaineX Thu 26 Feb 2015 12:21AM

Oh, my. I just really don't like when open minded thoughts and conversations can go closed minded so fast. Sigh.


naught101 Thu 26 Feb 2015 12:23AM

Seems like the problem isn't the speed of development, but that users aren't aware of the speed of development.

Maybe it would be useful to have an announcements group that everyone is automatically signed up to when they join, and that only admins can post to (maybe Loomio community > "Loomio news" or similar). I think diaspora had something like this (been a while since I signed up). If users don't want the announcements, then they can just leave the group. Ideally the announcements would be kept low-volume (1-2/month), so no one feels the need to leave.


naught101 Thu 26 Feb 2015 12:26AM

@elaineclermont When you pour your volunteer energy into something for a year, and someone comes along and says "you're not doing a very good job, do it better", it's kind of understandable that you might get a bit defensive...


Alanna Irving Thu 26 Feb 2015 1:17AM

I used to post weekly reports but no one engaged with them really so I stopped.


Alanna Irving Thu 26 Feb 2015 1:18AM

Right now, doing a lot of reporting is something that seems too expensive for us in terms of time commitment.

I would really like us to be doing monthly update blog posts at least, but I personally don't have capacity and I don't see anyone else on the core team with capacity either....

@richarddbartlett any thoughts on that?


Rob Guthrie Thu 26 Feb 2015 1:41AM

Hrrmm. It's cool. Chris just wasn't looking in the right places.

We're getting more contributors than ever via github, and our roadmap is more detailed and regularly updated than ever.

The roadmap and github links have been out there in crowdfunder updates, and on the site for a long time. This conversation will just serve to help others who may have missed them.

It can feel like progress is slow if you're just looking at the app..I understand that. Expect a super big app update in the next weeks and months.


Alanna Irving Thu 26 Feb 2015 2:27AM

@christaklis if you want to facilitate this being possible...

let the developers from around the world to upload their widgets/features and each group or user activates what they want from those widgets/features

We would support it! Unfortunately that's a lot harder than you seem to think...


naught101 Thu 26 Feb 2015 2:28AM


Denjello Thu 26 Feb 2015 8:08AM

Hey @christaklis - I did fork the "core" and have added features and removed some for my organizations private installation of loomio. By doing that, I was able to find out a lot about the system as a whole and contributed a few bugfixes.

I understand your frustration - I faced it too. This is why I tried to document the process as well as I could.

It sounds to me like you are asking for a type of plugin system, and from what I understand, the way things seem to be moving are in interoperability and data federation. Compare: https://www.loomio.org/g/exAKrBUp/open-app-ecosystem

In this sense, loomio might evolve into something that is more like a plugin for other systems. I think this makes more sense than modularizing every aspect of loomio because after several years of development there is quite a high degree of complexity...


Chris Taklis Thu 26 Feb 2015 8:23AM

@alanna of course it will be the hardest thing that loomio developers will have to deal with.

@denjello yes something like a plugin system. I think Loomio will evolve quicker if developers create their styles/themes/plugins/features and each user or group can activate which of them they want. But that means also that must be a UI, because not all users know of programming and activating the style. So it must be like a plugin system which they are installed in Loomio servers and users/groups activate them through the loomio interface with 1-click.

Otherwise we always we will wait if the Loomio developers have imagination to move Loomio forward and to be more complex in the future.

@naught101 i understand that my post was little offensive, but there are no news so long. I am not developer and i am not every-day at the github. At least put one note-news on the top of the loomio that the development continues.

I am covered with the answer of @richarddbartlett

Part of what we’ve been working on is an API, which will make it much easier for other developers to build cool features and make them available to anyone that wants to use them.

But i insist on put some times a note. A pin note to loomio interface what it is happening. Not all users use the github, or other platforms but just Loomio.


naught101 Thu 26 Feb 2015 9:26AM

Dude, these people are not getting paid for this, they are just doing it for the love of it. You don't have the right to insist on anything from them - they don't owe you anything.


Denjello Thu 26 Feb 2015 9:53AM

You misunderstood me @christaklis - Although I do not work for the non-profit company that created Loomio known as Loomio Co-operative Limited, I am involved in its development because I participate in discussions like this and contribute (a little bit of) code.

That said, I think it is unlikely (if not impossible) that Loomio will turn into the system of core and plugins that you envision. Although setting up and managing a system that only involves installing core and activating a few plugins is well-known and well-loved (wordpress, drupal, joomla, typo3, etc.), those systems exist to serve MANY different needs of many different types of users.

That said, it will probably be possible sooner or later to integrate Loomio as a service into your content management system. If you don't know what I mean, then it is very likely that we are speaking about the same thing without using the same words.

According to the license attached to the codebase, Loomio is GPL3, which means it is free software, as in you have the liberty to do with it as you like. As @naught101 implied, it is not necessarily free as in price.

The fact that the team behind Loomio at Enspiral is actually offering a free service based on their software is by no means a justification for strong-arming them into changing their software in ways that you seem to feel are important. That is not what open source contributions are about.

Don't take this personally, but seeing as you are not a developer, I suggest you find one to help you understand what you are asking for.


Chris Taklis Thu 26 Feb 2015 10:00AM

@denjello we try to say the same thing but with different words.

That what i am asking is what you said that it's my envision.
I stongly agree that we are all different users with different types of what we need especially in the groups we participate. That's why i want Loomio to improve these plugins.


Denjello Thu 26 Feb 2015 10:02AM

Loomio might become a plugin for other software. That's my point. :)


Poll Created Thu 26 Feb 2015 1:09PM

what's happening there ? Closed Thu 26 Feb 2015 8:31PM

Github is not easy for non developper.
Basic user (as me and thanks to chris) don't see change on loomio.
We need the delegation and i don't know what happen on this demand ?

Can't loomio team use redmine or similar to give superuser information on their spec. demand ?


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 0% 0  
Abstain 0% 0  
Disagree 0% 0  
Block 0% 0  

0 of 899 people have voted (0%)


Presley Thu 26 Feb 2015 1:37PM

Anyone who makes a good faith effort to find out if Loomio is still under development will find out that it is in minutes. And if that fails, you can just ask. Chris got four informative answers within about three hours.


Larose75 Thu 26 Feb 2015 1:42PM

ok you're right cool
so don't change a thing


peteruithoven Thu 26 Feb 2015 4:54PM

This sounds like a problem that goes for all decentralized projects, it's hard for the outside world to see what is happening inside.

It's always a understandable problem for the people "inside" the group to write updates that are suitable for the outside. I agree with Chris that github commits aren't really accessible for non developers.
(I am a developer and watch multiple repositories, but that basically means I get updates on issues, which isn't that insightful)

Let's think about this constructively.
There is a blog, there is also the more frequently updated roadmap and twitter account. I feel those are all more accessible for non-developers.
Could we make those more visible on the loomio website?
When you visit www.loomio.org there is a small link, on the bottom to the blog.
There are no links to the roadmap or twitter account.
Maybe these could be added?
Maybe a recent twitter posts widget could be added to the blog?
I don't really understand why the posts in "updates-from-loomio-hq" aren't posted on the blog?

Maybe there are widgets from Github and Trello that could make the activity visible for a broader audience?
Github's pulse and graphs pages for example seem to be made to show activity.

Actually, weirdly enough I couldn't find any github or Trello activity widgets... Please help me find them.


Denjello Thu 26 Feb 2015 6:39PM

@peteruithoven Here are some Github thingamajigs


Ryan Thu 26 Feb 2015 6:49PM

This is something we see quite often at Chakra too. We are always working hard behind the scenes, and talking on Loomio, mailing lists, IRC, etc - but the users don't see this, get antsy, and start asking if anything is happening. As a dev, imo it's much more important to get work done than to spend valuable time reporting what's already been accomplished, and it's sometimes frustrating to reply to... "indelicately" worded user posts. :)

All that said, I would be interested in hearing ways to make the existing information on development progress more accessible to non-technical users, because this seems like a common problem.


Denjello Thu 26 Feb 2015 6:50PM


Denjello Thu 26 Feb 2015 6:54PM

But this is probably more @robertguthrie style... ;)


elaineX Thu 26 Feb 2015 7:39PM

For what it's worth, i didn't find your initial post offensive at all @chris, yet i have nothing invested in it other than holding space if Occupy is going to use loomio again. I just jump in and check the temperature here every now and again. Cheers everyone.


Richard D. Bartlett Thu 26 Feb 2015 8:33PM

Hey I closed the proposal because it wasn't proposing anything.

I'm glad this conversation has moved onto "how can we make it easy for people to keep up to date with Loomio progress".

It's a problem I'm really interested in solving.


Benjamin Knight Thu 26 Feb 2015 8:43PM

It makes me feel so good to see how quickly this turned from a misunderstanding into a genuinely constructive discussion about how to communicate our development progress more effectively. I have deep appreciation that this is such a constructive and supportive community :)


Benjamin Knight Thu 26 Feb 2015 8:45PM

Glad to hear we're not alone in finding this challenging @george2! Have you found any easy wins with Chakra, in terms of communicating updates well without a heavy time overhead?


Ryan Thu 26 Feb 2015 9:01PM

@benjaminknight Not sure, lately I've just been replying with links to the relevant mailing list and/or Loomio threads. @neophytoskolokotro might have some better insight.


Greg Cassel Thu 26 Feb 2015 9:15PM

In my personal experience, unsolicited updates are the first thing to go when people are superbusy. Thanks guys for making lemonade out of lemons here! When it comes to that, I'm one serious social drinker.

(If there are any ruffled feathers left here, I hope everyone just hurls a cathartic groan at my horribly corny metaphor.)

I really liked your suggestions @peteruithoven regarding twitter and the Trello roadmap. On a related note, I see that twitter and facebook are linked at the bottom of loomio.org for visitors, but apparently not for logged-in people. I guess that twitter, fb and the roadmap should all ultimately be linked prominently up top, either directly or indirectly. There could be a "Follow Us" menu, if it seems a bit much to link the blog, twitter, trello and fb separately.


Denjello Thu 26 Feb 2015 9:17PM

It might also be good if the "Contact Us" button in the user dropdown were working...


Alanna Irving Thu 26 Feb 2015 9:49PM

@hannahsalmon are you aware of this "contact us" not working issue?


[deactivated account] Thu 26 Feb 2015 10:13PM

Yep, @alanna, @mixirving and I are looking into it this afternoon.


Presley Thu 26 Feb 2015 10:18PM

I think it makes a lot of sense to have links somewhere obvious like @gregorycassel suggested. But there might be a secondary problem - the expectation among some users that information will come to us rather than us having to click a link or search to see it. For instance, the blog is already linked that way, and on it you can easily see the post about Loomio 1.0, and that would have answered at least part of this question (correct me if I'm wrong).

Should information come to us? That doesn't seem like a reasonable expectation to me. First, it's more work for the already hard-working team, as @george2 and @alanna have discussed. Second, it's not typical or really desirable. I would expect a heads up on the day Loomio 1.0 officially rolls out, but not in the meantime telling me that they're still working, fixed a few bugs today, new expected date of arrival is such-and-such.

So I think we have an issue of expectation management, and maybe a discussion - or an addition to that discussion on how the Loomio Community works - could explain how to interact effectively with the team and the information. Maybe things that seem obvious to people who have worked in/around software aren't obvious to everyone.


Olover Thu 26 Feb 2015 10:41PM

Maybe a little off-the-wall, but what about a simple running text / ticker at the bottom or top of the screen that shows recent tweets about Loomio development? So people have a sense of movement and have bits of information about what things are being worked on to fill their imaginations and feel that stuff is happening.


Jacob Gadikian Fri 27 Feb 2015 3:01AM

Github is not sooooo tough. Let me know if you'd like a tutorial (I'd teach it to you personally if you want)



Alanna Irving Fri 27 Feb 2015 4:15AM

@olover that might be nice, but my sense that if people want to keep up with our tweets, they should just go look at our twitter....


naught101 Fri 27 Feb 2015 5:48AM

@olover http://www.w3.org/wiki/HTML/Elements/marquee

(the reason this was never accepted is because it's crap UI in the first place)


Olover Fri 27 Feb 2015 10:29AM

@alanna I agree - but I think we are talking about the very fact that people might not think or want to do that before they complain that they feel no development is happening. So it's a thought to give them some sense of movement even if they don't go look at Loomio's twitter.

Maybe it could be something even simpler, like a Twitter link at the bottom of each page that displays next to it, "last tweet 42 minutes ago" or something similar. Just an idea.

Think of it as an investment to avoid having to respond to discussions asking about whether anything is happening.


peteruithoven Fri 27 Feb 2015 11:01AM

@jacobgadikian, please understand that normal folks (non techies) don't understand concepts like commits, issues, branches, pull requests etc.
I really am amazed at how much more simple Github has made most of this (especially since svn), but you still need to understand some git basics.
That's why I was hoping for some kind of basic Github activity widget.


Alanna Irving Fri 27 Feb 2015 9:57PM

Who here is volunteering to do all this work to keep the community up to date? Seriously. If anyone wants to step forward, I'd be happy to help you devise systems and tools and feed you information weekly, and you can make sure that non-technical users have ways to stay in the loop. You could write blog posts, create twitter and github widgets, whatever you think will work best.

But if none of you are willing to put in the time, then sorry. There just is not any extra capacity because we're too busy doing the stuff you're complaining about not updating you about. I understand that it would be nice to have more accessible information. Believe me, I hope we get to the point where that's more possible soon. Meanwhile, we update the blog, twitter, roadmap, timeline, github, and this community group as capacity allows.


elaineX Fri 27 Feb 2015 10:09PM

Deep breathe, i really do not think anyone is asking anyone to do anything more than they can handle. People will step up if it's important to them.

I'm just grateful to you Alanna for covering sooo many aspects of communicating and coordinating. I think the dialogue though will connect the available dooers with the ideas that need to happen next. Just don't get overwhelmed or think others are asking you to do that at all. They are not.


Presley Fri 27 Feb 2015 10:24PM

I'd be happy to work on some guidance by users for users if others want to help/people think it's an appropriate thing to do.


Benjamin Knight Fri 27 Feb 2015 10:25PM

I personally think it's really important for us to know that some people have found it hard to see the progress, so I'm thankful this has come up. At the same time I think it's important for us to be totally up front about the capacity limitations we're working with and ask for understanding. The challenge now is to work together to keep finding ways of communicating that work for people and don't add a big time-burden. I've really appreciated all the useful suggestions coming out so far, and think we're on the same page. We'll be making incremental changes (like the 'Fork me on Github banner added to the logged-out front page two days ago to make the github repo more accessible - woo!). Thanks for the understanding and productive contributions y'all.


Benjamin Knight Fri 27 Feb 2015 10:36PM

Thanks heaps for the offer @presley! @jameskiesel is coordinating open source contributions so he's the champ to talk to. James, can you let Presley know the best way to be in touch?


peteruithoven Fri 27 Feb 2015 10:43PM

Yes, again I was also proposing making the existing content (blog, twitter, trello, github) more prominent and accessible.

I'll admit I find it very hard to find widgets to display github activity, but I'd like to show you an example of what ElementaryOS is doing on their beta site:
They display a chart that displays how they are handling issues. It's still not accessible enough for most folks, but it's a start.

A few sentences, generated from the github API could be interesting, something like:
"In the last month 5 people have made 60 changes. 350 files have changed. There where 22 outside contributions of which 19 are already incorporated".
(And yes I'm not using words like "commits" or "pull requests" for a reason.)


Benjamin Knight Fri 27 Feb 2015 10:50PM

ElementaryOS looks really interesting, thanks for that @peteruithoven. Stoked to see they're also using Transifex for translation. Are you a developer yourself Peter?


Greg Cassel Fri 27 Feb 2015 11:05PM

I think that most of these ideas and concerns may end up resolving rather simply and efficiently. With that said, I'd be happy to assist any efforts to enhance communications, community engagement and/or outreach. Loomio changed my life, and it means a great deal to me. I want to give as much as I can to the continued development of its culturally transformative potential.


peteruithoven Fri 27 Feb 2015 11:37PM

@benjaminknight, I am, but I'm also a Interation designer.


Rob Guthrie Sat 28 Feb 2015 1:02AM

Would anyone object to copying the links in the context of the discussion into the description of the Features group?


James Kiesel Sat 28 Feb 2015 3:05AM

Hey @presley feel free to contact me at james at loomio dot org; happy to hear you're interested in helping out!


Joum Sun 1 Mar 2015 2:57AM

@jameskiesel, @gregorycassel also put his hand up. Just saying - in case you both missed the other's post.

Big appreciation to all volunteers.


[deactivated account] Sun 1 Mar 2015 8:58PM

As @gregorycassel said in this thread the help docs could be a good place to inform users of how they can keep up with Loomio development and/or become contributing members of the community. We may need other ways to inform people, but maybe an interim step could just be finding appropriate places to link to a section in the help docs..?

Currently there are two questions in the FAQ section of the help docs that relate to engaging with Loomio development:

“What if I have a feature to suggest?” and “What’s coming up in the Loomio development pipeline?”

…but I’m aware that doesn’t come close to covering everything that has been discussed in this thread, and obviously this is not visible enough. Maybe there should be a whole section called something like “Contributing to Loomio” or "Keeping up with Loomio" or even just “The Loomio Community” (working title) which could include explanations of the various aspects to the community - open source contributions, the roadmap, the blog, social media, this here group etc..?


elaineX Sun 1 Mar 2015 9:43PM

I also think that where ever thoughts and ideas come in, especially from new people, they are received with openness on every level. I love how this group jumps in to adjust, solve, integrate and implement. Even if initially it seems like "we're so past that point" ....


peteruithoven Sun 1 Mar 2015 11:40PM

I've checked whether there are Trello activity widgets but couldn't find any, I also checked whether their API gives access to this info, but I couldn't find it. I send them an E-mail, maybe I'll hear back.


Denjello Mon 2 Mar 2015 1:43PM

@peteruithoven > I think that the best bet would be to roll up a ruby gem / node app for polling trello. Probably even as a microservice running in a tiny VM that provides an hourly update as an image (with links) or some such thing. It is surprising that there doesn't seem to be any solution out there.


Larose75 Mon 2 Mar 2015 2:04PM

trello is much more closed than redmine (www.redmine.org). For instance, i'm a simple user of loomio (and love it) i've asked more than one year ago if it's possible to add a delegation of vote. You (loomio) ansewered "yes why not" and since that i have no possibility to know if this is under devlopment or not. If you were using redmine you could have tell me : number xxxxxx of redmine to have information on this. (I'm nothing on redmine but love this as this is open). Sorry if my proposition are not useful (and you have to close or delete it...).


Alanna Irving Tue 3 Mar 2015 4:21AM

@partipirate you can easily see what's under development on the roadmap. Thigns like vote delegation are in the backlog because we haven't had capacity to work on them. The only things that are being worked on are "in progress" or "next up".


mix irving Tue 3 Mar 2015 9:08AM

I wrote a small node server recently which hits the github API so people can see who has written code on Loomio in the last month :


Trello has an API we could hit for info. If someone is interested in having a look at what info you can extract and have a think displaying it in a way that's more informative that just looking at the board, I'd be happy to talk


mix irving Tue 3 Mar 2015 9:21AM

I've often wondered whether a some quick photos / vines might help give a view and sense of how Loomio is working.

What can't you see?
You can't see how fierce and resilient and vulnerable this team is. We laugh a lot, and argue a lot, and many of us pour more of our soul and health into this project than might be wise.
Most of us can barely afford to do this work. Thankfully we're mostly in good health and the community at Enspiral is the most supportive community I can imagine working in.


Larose75 Tue 3 Mar 2015 2:00PM

@alanna thanks
trello is usefull for the work team but not for public communication
for instance, you know that vote delegation is in the backlog but when i write "vote delegation" on trello this does not give me nothing in result. In fact it might give me "backlog" as result...


Alanna Irving Wed 4 Mar 2015 5:19AM

@partipirate I agree that the Trello board is not super accessible to people outside the team. I'd like to improve that soon. Once we complete the Angular transition it will be a lot simpler to communicate feature development.

However when I searched "vote delegation" int he backlog it did come up: https://trello.com/c/jODlmj2X


[deactivated account] Tue 10 Mar 2015 4:18AM

Hey everyone! We've just deployed an update to the help docs which includes additional sections on contributing to Loomio, this here Loomio Community and ways to keep up with Loomio development. We'll be iterating on these sections, along with everything else.


GasparI Tue 9 Aug 2016 11:57AM

Waffle looks useful indeed:


Alanna Irving Tue 9 Aug 2016 9:57PM

Looks like that Waffle is out of date...

We have really let transparency into our roadmap fall by the wayside. I would love to invest in that again. We just struggle with capacity to communicate about it effectively. I wish we could just open up our internal Trello where we track our work internally... 98% of the info would be fine to share publicly. However, there are occassional confidential tickets relating to specific customers, and also we track our non-technical work (like coordinating investment and partnerships) on there and it's not always stuff we can share.

Not sure what to do about this but wanted to note I really care about this issue.


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 10 Aug 2016 9:41PM

fyi that Waffle isn't out of date, it's just a kanban view of our github issues list


Neofytos Kolokotronis Wed 7 Sep 2016 4:50PM

How about creating a separate trello board for confidential issues?

A monthly blog post summarizing what has been done, the important milestones reached and those that follow could also help communicate better what is done behind the scenes.


Alanna Irving Wed 7 Sep 2016 9:57PM

We've discussed a blog post per sprint demo (every two weeks), which I think would be awesome if we can spare the capacity


Rudolf Olah Thu 8 Sep 2016 3:28PM

just a thought, sparing capacity is easy if someone can be convinced outside of the Loomio dev group just to report on the release notes and explore new features/bug fixes.

I've done it before for a set of GNU/FSF releases. The FSF announced GNU project releases and I went through each one and highlighted a feature in a blog post.


mix irving Tue 9 Aug 2016 10:49PM

Request trello makes 'private tickets'


Neofytos Kolokotronis Thu 15 Sep 2016 10:41AM

I would be happy to get involved and give a helping hand. @alanna do you have an email where I can reach you to introduce myself? Or perhaps it would be better to contact loomio directly?


Alanna Irving Thu 15 Sep 2016 9:22PM

Thank you! Please reach me at alanna@loomio.org and let me know what you have in mind :)