Mon 5 Oct 2020 2:32AM

Initial Proposal on Social.Coop and Meet.Coop

MN Matt Noyes Public Seen by 94

Based on our discussion with @Oli SB and @Graham of Meet.Coop and the two strategy summits last month. I propose that Social.Coop join Meet.Coop as a multi-user member, for a trial period of 3 months, at a cost of 90GBP per month.

Social.Coop members who contribute the equivalent of 3GBP/mo. or more to Social.Coop will be able to use Meet.Coop's Big Blue Button video meeting service (subject to reasonable bandwidth/resource controls).

Social.Coop empowers the Community Working Group Operations Team to create a circle of members to implement this new service in collaboration with Meet.Coop.

At the end of the three months, the circle will facilitate a retrospective and make a proposal to continue (or discontinue) the service.

Note: we also discussed other roles that Social.Coop might offer to play in Meet.Coop, but I would like to focus on this issue first.

As proposer, I would like to follow the integrative consent process we have used before. So this first round of discussion is for questions and answers about the proposal. I will then integrate the comments and make a formal proposal. - Matt Noyes

Notes from the SC and MC meeting are here: https://cloud.owncube.com/s/GBPZYYDssykKJtn


caseyg Thu 8 Oct 2020 12:36AM

I support this proposal! I've been contributing $1/mo to social.coop and $10/mo to meet.coop — but I would gladly integrate my memberships via social.coop at $3/mo.

Just for clarity, I'd consider defining reasonable bandwidth/resources or specifying who decides what is and isn't reasonable.


Nathan Schneider Thu 8 Oct 2020 2:45PM

I'm very concerned about this. In the guise of a partnership, the result is it would introduce a tiered payment system to S.c. We specifically created the membership pricing structure as a solidarity measure.

Of course, cooperatives often have paid-for extras—at your food co-op, some people might buy the fancy butter, while others might get the regular stuff. But since this is at the level of the membership fee, it's a bit different. A couple options:

  • Find a way to make this service a commons available to all members

  • We can create a separate contribution structure in Open Collective for access to Meet that is not presented as a membership fee, but is instead an add-on purchase

I strongly prefer the first option if we can make it work.


Graham Thu 8 Oct 2020 2:55PM

Wearing multiple hats here, so won't say much, but just to feed back on Nathan's point: according to https://opencollective.com/socialcoop social.coop already presents a tiered pricing structure. While that may be designed for a given purpose, I personally don't see an issue with offering access to meet.coop as a member benefit to anyone paying in at all but the lowest level. It still makes access to social.coop as broad as possible without giving it away, and recognises that there is a cost for the meet.coop service.


Nathan Schneider Fri 9 Oct 2020 4:59PM

It is not a tiered membership structure, it is a solidarity membership structure. The different levels of contribution do not equate to different levels of services.


Derek Caelin Thu 15 Oct 2020 4:30PM

I like that language.


Matt Noyes Fri 9 Oct 2020 6:13PM

I think Nathan raises a good point. The ideal is to offer BBB as a service for all Social.Coop members. Which would mean offering the service to everyone who donates at least 1GBP/mo. Which raises a different question: is 1gbp/mo. a reasonable membership contribution if we offer more than just a cooperatively governed/managed Mastodon instance? Taking into account the additional admin involved in managing BBB and member accounts, and participating in Meet.Coop.


Simon Carter Sat 10 Oct 2020 8:38AM

As someone looking for a communication platform, could you please decide something?.


Nathan Schneider Sat 10 Oct 2020 8:12PM

Why don't you decide something—it's your co-op too:)


KC Terry Sat 10 Oct 2020 7:32PM

I would be ok seeing this happen in either form, but if possible I much prefer Nathan's suggestion that the Meet.coop/BBB features become a commons/basic feature of Social.coop membership at all contribution levels, instead of a premium feature offered only to those who pay a particular amount. I don't anticipate myself using the Meet.coop features very often at all, but I would be willing to increase my Social.coop contribution somewhat so that this feature is available to me if/when I need it.

That being said, I recognize that Social.coop needs to make ends meet one way or another, and I'm aware that we benefit from the work of unpaid/minimally paid volunteers currently. Perhaps there is a way to present a guideline of suggested contribution levels based on feature usage, yet not actually block those features, and not place guilt or blame on those people who need to use specific features yet cannot meet those contribution targets?


Buddy Tue 13 Oct 2020 12:14AM

Likewise, I would prefer the co-op try integrate Nathan's suggestion that meet.coop/BBB become a commons feature if at all possible.


Derek Caelin Thu 15 Oct 2020 4:30PM

Full support for this motion.


Matt Noyes Fri 16 Oct 2020 3:56PM

@Nathan Schneider So the proposal is that we join Meet.Coop and offer BBB to all Social.Coop members (people who contribute 12GBP or more/year)?


Nathan Schneider Sun 18 Oct 2020 4:01AM

How many people are not contributing financially at all? Would it be such a danger to just include all members?


Matt Noyes Sun 18 Oct 2020 4:07PM

That's not easy to know. We have 1,280 users on the Mastodon instance (average 140ish active users per week). 327 people and 9 organizations have contributed (ever). Many people (like me) make a recurring donation instead of using the member fee. And, we have 252 members on Loomio, some of whom may not be on Mastodon. It seems safe to assume that many users of a Social.Coop-Meet.Coop BBB service would not be active on the instance or in Loomio or contributing on Open Collective.


Nathan Schneider Mon 19 Oct 2020 4:06PM

Wow, that's a big issue.

I know early on I registered the @internetowners and @platformcoop accounts without paying for them, just because I figured they were mission-aligned. But I wonder how much those users are duplicates of paying members as opposed to non-paying members.

I see three options in order of preference:

  • Seriously cull the membership rolls (which seems to be underway already) to make sure anyone who is not paying is doing it for need-based reasons

  • Simply require that even a small payment is required for all members, perhaps after a brief trial period

  • Implement your proposal of only granting access to dues-paying members

We just need to be aware that if we opt for the third option, we are establishing a tiered status structure in the co-op that can be a precedent for further entrenching a difference between paying and non-paying members. In that case, paying and non-paying members could begin drifting away from each other in terms of their experience as members, which could have troubling consequences down the road.


Matt Noyes Mon 19 Oct 2020 6:11PM

Right, I think this goes back to the original conception of Social.Coop as more of a common pool resource than a cooperative, to borrow an idea from @mike_hales, with paying and non-paying users. We have come to operate more as a cooperative and may want to do more than run a Mastodon instance so maybe we need to adopt a clearer membership model that is more clearly sustainable.