Discussion and voting

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The central platform for community governance at diaspora* is our group on Loomio. It is used for discussions on governance, process and technical topics, and it also functions as a voting tool, when decisions have to be made.

Getting in

Simply request membership. Note that you need to request membership of each sub-group you want to participate in; a request to the main diaspora* group won't get you membership to any of the sub-groups.

Using Loomio

We use Loomio to decide the directions for the project to take, in software development, in the structure of the organization running the project, in outreach, and in other matters. Loomio is particularly useful for dealing with complex matters, as they can be broken down into individual proposals, each of which can then be voted on.

Although Loomio can be useful for discussing features for the app, please don't use Loomio discussions as features wish-lists. In most cases, the reason that diaspora* doesn't have the features you want to see is because of a lack of developers to create them, or in some cases because other hurdles need to be overcome in the software before such a feature could be successfully implemented. Having a vote that 'we want feature X' won't make it happen any faster, and tends to detract from the useful discussions in Loomio.

Before starting a discussion in Loomio, please check for existing discussions on the same topic. You can use the search facility in the header bar for this, but note that this facility only returns results from sub-groups of which you are a member. So it is worth also scanning the discussions lists in any sub-groups in which discussions on the topic might appear. For example, if you want to discuss something concerning federation, it would be worth looking in Federation Discussion, Feature Proposals and Developer Proposals as well as using the search facility.

Subgroups and Teams

Our Loomio group is further divided in to subgroups and teams. This ensures that not everybody has to follow all the discussion and voting topics, as many community members are only interested on some specific area. We also have non-diaspora* folk for example discussing federated social networks as concept. Some subgroups serve as teams where the purpose of limiting membership to group is to keep decision making power to those who are members.

All groups are and should be public for transparency.

Documentation Team

The Documentation Team is dedicated to keeping our wiki updated, and at the same time, keep communication between podmins going. By sharing information and advice, we can improve the docs.

Feature Proposals

This group is specifically for proposing features, or modifying existing ones. Use this sub-group for specific proposals concerning new or existing features which will need group discussion before implementation. As stated above, please don't open discussions simply to request the features you want; Loomio is not the place for wish-lists.

Developer Proposals

This group is not for feature proposals, so much as it is intended for proposals to improve the underlying platform.

Governance Proposals

Proposals for workflow and governance go here.

Federation Discussion

Working group for those interested in improving federation.

Outreach

This is the decision hub for the new social media team. We propose campaigns, forms of user engagement, and strategies to raise awareness about the things we value collectively as a project.

Packaging Team

Group to discuss and plan packaging efforts for Linux distributions and other targets like app hosting platforms like Heroku.

GitHub repository governance

Discussions and votes regarding the governance of the GitHub organization.

Note: Membership to this group is restricted, it should only contain members who are a member of the diaspora* organization in Github. This decision was made in this proposal.

diasporafoundation.org Team

Working group for the relaunch of diasporafoundation.org as a central starting point for the complete project and community overview.

Voting

Everybody in the subgroup that the proposal takes place in has one vote. When you create a proposal please try to make sure it is in the correct subgroup. Senior community members can move the proposal to another subgroup if that subgroup is the correct place.

When voting there are four options:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
  • Block

A proposal is passed if there are more Yes votes than No and Block votes together. Abstain does not count either way. Block does not prevent the proposal from passing; it is simply a strong message that more discussion might be needed. Perhaps if your proposal is getting many block votes it would be better to discuss what are people's concerns about your proposal as worded, and consider an amended proposal after discussion has clarified these concerns.

Note that a vote being passed is not necessarily a commitment to make it happen! It may be that it is simply not possible. See below.

Proposals

Follow these guidelines;

  • Before creating a proposal it is a good idea to discuss it first by creating a discussion.
  • Make it absolutely clear what you are proposing. People cannot vote on vague proposals!
  • If the proposal includes technical details or long text, put it in the proposals category in the wiki and link that page to the Loomio proposal.
  • Do not create proposals on things that cannot be done. We don't need proposals on features that everybody wants but that need developers to do the code. Making a proposal about a feature will not get it done any faster. With this in mind, research whether your proposal is even going to be possible before creating a proposal. It's no good starting a proposal stating that 'We should have a holiday on the moon!', because it's simply never going to happen!
  • Make sure you have a sufficiently long time for voting, one week is a good generic timeslot for normal proposals. Larger issues or critical feature decisions could have longer times.