Follow up from Virtual Assembly 6/25/2020

Hello! This thread will hopefully provide a space to continue the discussions from today’s virtual assembly.

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Some things I’d like to continue discussing:

  • Contacting the various degrowth nodes to have them establish an Internal & External Coordinator (or something similar to these roles) in order to facilitate communication amongst these groups. If I remember correctly, there was talk about how these positions could have an email address hosted on that could then forward messages to whoever is holding these positions within each node. Is this an endeavor worth pursuing? If so, who should initiate this?
  • Figuring out which platform would best serve as a public forum for all things degrowth related. Is it Agora? Is it Mattermost? Is it something else?

Here is the agenda with the notes from the meeting for reference.

About a forum, a place for longer debates in asynchronous communication, it could stay here.
For a conversation or to discuss operational issues, I suggest Mattermost, where we can have a team for each of our groups and divide each one into channels for specific tasks. I like this tool because it is possible to easily join or leave any of the spaces. XR uses it because of its safety and because it runs on renewable energy. It will also facilitate the connection with the XR rebels, like me.
Regarding the structure, I agree with the use of the internal and external coordinator and, if they are using Mattermost, few emails will be needed.

Hi Alcides,

I like the idea of having longer discussions being hosted on Agora, with operational and organizing matters being handled on Mattermost. I do worry that it may get confusing for people if discussions and operational issues were separated onto two separate platforms, but I suppose that so long as things were as transparent and clear as possible (eg. very clear posts on both platforms outlining the purpose of each platform), confusion would hopefully be prevented. What are your thoughts on this? And I’m glad we’re in agreement about coordinators! Here’s hoping more people join this thread to continue the conversation. :sweat_smile:

Hello! Thank you KC for the follow up.

Minutes are looking OK to me.

I think we should try to involve the .net IT experts in this conversation because they had suggestions of open-source alternatives to Mattermost (chat channels, etc.).

@yala @gandhiano @communication

The main issue is how to better communicate internally/externally

Currently, there are two overlapping groups concerned about these issues and trying to look into them:

I am a bit confused on how to proceed :sweat_smile: but I am sure we can figure it out together :slight_smile:



:bulb:IDEA :bulb:

More notifications.
Since the community is crealry hooked on emails and currently relies on email-lists, as a first step to introduce the Agroa forum maybe we should make more evident the activities here by adding more notifications.
For example: a system of notifications from the degrowth-world mailing list, where every email sent to that list creates a thread on the Agora, and every reply to the thread gets a notification to the list.

Just an idea. Maybe we can brainstorm other ideas :grimacing:

Thanks for pinging me on this @conihepp. We have indeed at the Malmö Degrowth Conference discussed concepts for the communication of the degrowth international network and the Agora Discourse Forum was only one of these elements.

I unfortunately did not found the originary notes, but maybe it is interesting to revisit some of the past articles, like this one: Degrowth Agora, its use for the Group Assembly Process and other public realities to find some of the tools that actually have been implemented (like the Nextcloud, pads or the mailing lists).

On this last point, me and @yala have been trying to convince, that Discourse has the capability of making specific categories act exactly like a mailing list: all messages get sent and anyone can reply to it and the message will arrive on the mailboxes of all subscribed to a group. In fact, I believe we do have one or another category that are already setup like this and should be relatively easy to make others also behave so.

For direct communication we (Ecobytes and on the follow-up of Malmö) have been using Matrix, which is an open-source federated communications protocol. With Riot we have a very nice Matrix Group Chat application for both desktop and smartphones, which integrates well with Jitsi for video communication. There is are at least a degrowth channel on that we have been using in the past and there used to be even an own Matrix instance for degrowth (but I think it was discontinued since there was not enough traction in the community to support an own instance back then). Mattermost is certainly a valid alternative, although technologically and politically I do find more interesting for it’s federated, decentralized stance (you can also read a comparison here.

In the end, it doesn’t matter much which tool for chatting we use - we can bridge them all if we want (even with proprietary stuff like Whatsapp, Telegram etc., even Discourse can be integrated). With Matrix we would already have an instance on allmende that we can use, without the need to further setup, or we could relatively easily setup our own degrowth instance as we scale up.

Another important aspect may be to document how users can find their ways around. @yala tried to motivate for this with the collaborative setup of a manual but it missed the traction to get filled up. Maybe we have it now.

You may want also to follow on the communication concept that you sketched in the process for the Vienna Conference (just found it the pad here).

Just as a last note, I think the integration of the tools - whatever their choice - is key for providing a good user experience and get everyone on board independently of their communication preferences. This requires effort, both organisational and technical. It may be worth to ask the Support Group for some funding, if the interesting and power for such an initiative exists here.

Apologies for the delayed response, but I’m hoping we can reinvigorate this discussion!

@conihepp, has the online retreat between .info, .net, and .org happened yet? If so, what conclusions came out of it? And I think your idea about linking the degrowth-world mailing list to Agora is interesting, but I’m not sure about the technical details when it comes to creating a thread for every email sent. Maybe someone could manually create a thread for every reoccurring theme that appears in the email discourse? For example, I know that degrowth and racism & degrowth and COVID-19 have been prevalent topics recently. Would it be useful to create an Agora thread for both of those topics, and then share the Agora threads in the respective email chains? (Though I do think you might have already tried something like this heh…)

@gandhiano, thanks for all the links and information! So would you suggest Riot/Matrix as a primary form of internal communication over Agora? I do like the idea of shifting to these open-source communication softwares, but I’m wondering if these shifts should be done with the intention to eventually phase out Agora? Or if it’s fine to have a multiplicity of platforms and channels in which degrowth discussion is happening?