posted on Mon, Sep 04 '23 under tags: freedom, commons

I just came to know about Social.Coop and got some useful insights into organizing commons/cooperatives/anarchic/decentralized groups

Raghu posted in a group related to Prav a link to As I’ve been experimenting within decentralized/self-organized/anarchic/cooperative/commons groups in the past year, it was nice to see one that had evolved a certain level of structure.


The governance is documented on a dedicated page.

The bylaws talk about vision, mission, and decision making structure. It follows a “working group”, “full group” model. Like this:

Members may operate on their own initiative based on pre-established policy (areas of activity, scope of working groups, terms of service, codes of conduct, moderation policies, etc.), but any new issue that affects other members should be brought before the appropriate working group, and any policy changes must be brought before the full group before implementation. Working groups are encouraged to make proposals among themselves to determine consensus and operate within their scope of responsibility, but only proposals passed by the full group may be considered binding for Any member may make a proposal to the full group, though it is encouraged to first discuss matters within the appropriate working group.

The working groups are:

  • Community Working Group - moderation, and anything concerning members and outreach.
  • Finance Working Group - payments, budgeting, fundraising, and related planning.
  • Legal Working Group - oversight on legal matters
  • Tech Working Group - all things hosting, site maintenance, and development.

This is fewer working groups than what I was imagining.

There is a nice paragraph on working group operations:

As a general principle rather than a strict rule: in order to mitigate either burnout, or power accruing through the development of specialized knowledge, the rotation of team members is sought, along with a mutual education approach in which people who have the skills needed for the operations train their replacements.

There is also a very clear way to move to decisions from proposals:

The criteria for passing a proposal (within a working group, or in the full group) is as follows:

  • At least 6 days allowed for members to participate
  • A shorter period is permitted for proposals labeled URGENT in the Title, along with a justification in the Details
  • More Agree votes than Disagree votes

Abstain votes allow members to register opinions or concerns without being counted.

A Block vote represents a fundamental disagreement—a belief that the proposal violates’s core principles. Proposals with Block require at least 9 times more Agree votes than Disagree and Block votes in order to pass.

Then it goes on to talk about membership, expenses, etc.

They also have a code of conduct.

Conflict Resolution

They have an excellent conflict resolution guide. It starts with values:

Social.Coop is based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Our top priority is the safety of each of our members and our community as a whole. We will not tolerate bigotry, including fascist, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or transphobic content and will act swiftly and decisively to protect our members from abuse. We embrace the principles of restorative justice. We want to give people a chance to correct mistakes and learn from them.

And then they go on to describe a simple process of initiating conflict resolution which seems very healing.

  • Bring the concern to the other member directly via Direct Message.
  • Enlist more support from Social.Coop member(s).
  • File a formal report to the Community Working Group Operations Team (CWG Ops Team).

It is the first option (bring the concern to the other member directly via direct message) that’s the most interesting. It gives a template on how to do that. (How to have difficult conversations?)

Use your best judgment to decide whether to discuss the issue publicly or privately.

For addressing a particular problem post, consider the following template: “I noticed your [post]. Although you may not have intended it, one interpretation is ______, and I feel that is not reflective of [list specific relevant portion(s) of CoC]. Would you please (edit your post | take down your post | put a CW on your post)?” When engaging in dialogue to resolve concerns, consider the following:

  • Foster inclusive dialogue by sharing ideas, asking clarifying questions, and responding to others’ ideas.
  • Identify personal wants and needs.
  • Make offers or requests.
  • Propose plans to help resolve in a mutually satisfactory way.


It has literally been only an hour since I discovered I don’t even know if it is a live project. I went to their discussion and decision making forum. And the latest thread is about whether the cooperative had grown too large.

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