Fediverse/Mastodon -> Cooperative?

I notice on SocialPub they’re discussing setting up a formal structure for the Fediverse

I just posted a couple of comments of my own telling them why I think it should use a co-operative model with Sociocracy. Thought I’d share it in case we can get a little group together and start lobbying them :wink:


Interesting alright. I don’t know what kind of co-op model might be able to handle such diverse interests though? CoTech isn’t a co-op itself so I wonder are you more referring to a federation / alliance when discussing sociocracy?

Of course, you could just hit 'em with some murray bookchin and run out the door.


The Meaning of Confederalism | The Anarchist Library

:microphone: :loudspeaker:

Because (ref’d from here) in “The Fediverse as a Site for Online Agonistic Pluralism” they have a nice take:

As we have established, one of the most important traits of the Fediverse is that the different software stacks and applications that constitute it can be hosted by virtually anyone and for any purpose. This means that it is possible to create an online community that can interface with the rest of the Fediverse but that operates according to its own local rules, guidelines, modes of organization, and ideology. In this process, each community is able to define itself not only through its own memetic language, interests, and scope, but also in relation to the other, via difference. Such specificity might make the Fediverse seem like an infrastructural assemblage that follows the principles of agonistic pluralism. Agonistic pluralism, or agonism, was first articulated by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, who then further developed this political theory. In Mouffe’s view, political consensus is impossible and radical negativity cannot be avoided in a system where diversity is limited to similar competing groups within the same hegemonic order. Mouffe’s thesis addresses democratic systems where politics that fall outside of what the liberal consensus deems acceptable are systematically excluded. However, this process is also visible on corporate social media platforms, in the way they shape and control discourse in order to stay within the bounds of what is acceptable for the liberal paradigm, which is aligned with their own business interests. This has led to the radicalization of those who are excluded. The bet made by agonism is that by creating a system in which a pluralism of hegemonies is permitted, it is possible to move from an understanding of the other as an enemy, to the other as a political adversary. For this to happen, different ideologies must be allowed to materialize via different channels and platforms. An important prerequisite is that the goal of political consensus must be abandoned and replaced with conflictual consensus, in which an acknowledgement of the other becomes the foundational building block of new relationships, even if this means, for example, accepting non-Western views on democracy, secularism, communities, and the individual. Translated to the Fediverse, it is clear that it already contains a relatively diverse political landscape and that transitions from political consensus to conflictual consensus can be witnessed in the way communities relate to one another. At the base of these conflictual exchanges are various points of view on the collective design and use of the software stack and the underlying protocols that would be needed to further enable a sort of online agonistic pluralism.

So, like, some magic democractic confederalism sauce! I guess co-ops could certainly have a part to play in this sort of an organisation of a network.


There’s been some clarification since I posted, that “a formal structure for the Fediverse” means:

a funded foundation to the SocialHub community that takes care of the community empowerment , and doing the chores to encourage collaboration and cooperation , in addition to healthy growth and both internal & external advocacy (having a common voice)

I shared with them @SzczepanOfAnimorph’s work on how we manage the fund, thanks Szczepan for writing up such clear and reusable documentation <3

CoTech isn’t a co-op itself so I wonder are you more referring to a federation / alliance when discussing sociocracy?

Actually I was under the impression that CoTech was a coop and that we (formally) used sociocracy :sweat_smile: maybe something for a new thread, the gathering or the next call? That said I’m quite happy with how it works

murray bookchin

Haha actually I have a cat named after Murray Bookchin …

like Odin drinking wisdom from the fountain that nourishes the World Tree, our science has gained wisdom and Truth (exactness, predictability, manipulability). And like Odin our science has lost an eye as a result, with one-sided vision entailing domination and antagonism, not coequality and harmony. In Norse legends, this “wisdom” leads to Ragnarok, the downfall of the gods and the destruction of the tribal world. In our day, this one-sided “wisdom” is laden with the prospects of nuclear immolation and ecolog­ical catastrophe

Whilst I’m a massive fan of his book the Ecology of Freedom I don’t think that I could confer Democratic Confederalism in an eloquent way. I’m going to read the link you sent but for me it’s still “that thing being implemented in Rojava”… Jump in ! :slight_smile:

The bet made by agonism is that by creating a system in which a pluralism of hegemonies is permitted, it is possible to move from an understanding of the other as an enemy, to the other as a political adversary

I think that in general this is a very productive sentiment to develop, but I do think that fascism is an enemy (like the coronavirus), and I wouldn’t advocate platforming it beyond ex-fascists rehabilitating current fascists into ex-fascists

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Regarding Loomio, this was the message I was referring to (at the gathering)

I have some experience with Loomio (mixed feelings, but they are evolving in a good direction). This type of application would be ideal for implementation as a federated app, as hamishcampbell refers to. PS. I have personal long-term plans that are related to that.

My preference would be to keep things on this Discourse forum, which offers enough features to be equivalent if not better to Loomio. And it would save yet another tool where we need to spread our attention to.

I suppose that now that we have Discourse + Loomio, shifting to use one of them might actually be more effort for us now :sweat_smile:

EDIT 21/05/2021: the discussion about Loomio has been moved over here and is ongoing

hey @calummackervoy I think it’s worth exploring whether we need both if Discourse can handle asynchronous decisions effectively.
One idea for the monthly calls was to be a place to make decisions on new members, for example, rather than on Loomio. According to CoTech we have had about 8 proposals in the last 12 months, which isn’t much.
Enabling ourselves to make decisions in person would be really nice and make those calls more valuable, but I suspect that if a quorum of members is insisted on then this will rarely if ever be possible.

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@chris replying here from your comment on the other thread

What is wrong with the existing systems like Requests for Comments ? Why does the fediverse need governance and not just standards in the manner that email has?

In another thread on SocialHub I included reference some research showing centralisation tendencies within Mastodon. I think it’s an example of what an organised body could work to study & resolve, without relying on spontaneous efforts

I read an interesting paper about centralisation on Mastodon: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081553/1/arxiv.pdf . I think it’s relevant because it shows how central power can develop for instances (e.g. because they’re popular) or for groups of people (e.g. if the most powerful instances are in the West). In co-ops power normally resides with the people that founded it, and with the people who contribute most. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it can be - for example I think this is one of the things which worries people about Twitter threatening to get involved on Mastodon (“embrace, extend, extinguish”)

Hi @Hamishcampbell and welcome :slight_smile:

I find it interesting, and revealing, that nobody here actually talked about what the thried was about Online governance - openwebgovernancebody - Gitea: Open Media Network

If you can look outside your world view… We are doing a funding proposal to do the simple well tested project/workflow (which we know dues not scale) and roll it out trying federation to scale. We know this works to extent , look at the “Fediverse ” as a living example of this approach working to scale small to bigger.

Yes there will be lots of “smoke” and we could do with some help keeping the project clear of this.

I think that our worldview probably crosses over more than you might think and that the worldview within CoTech is less standardised than you might think :sweat_smile:

I think that @Graham has expertise on this from platform 6 but to me your post seems to be roundabout describing a multi-stakeholder co-op

Using instances as stakeholders makes sense on the surface, I’d like to highlight to you though that (on Mastodon) >99% of the instances are hosted in 5 countries, and some instances hold many more users than others (see comment above on centralisation in Mastodon)

I liked parts of your post on the tyranny of structurelessness e.g. rotating roles, but I do feel that you’ve missed out on many of the things I read here. One of my favourite things about the 11 steps is “break the power taboo”. I think you could consider Sociocracy as an alternative to the lottery system you outlined in your original post, I think it’s simpler, and via scalable circles it’s more direct/grassroots which seems to be what you’re aiming for when you talk about “getting out of the way of the humans”

I’m not sure I understand the labels “federation to scale” and “project smoke” concretely

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Remember the project comes from the lived expirence of a culture, as all the best one do. In this coulture Sociocracy would be the hippy siting round the fire saying why don’t we all just get on love is the answer as the crusty pisses on the garden he planted and the party people ignore the washing up rotor he put up and everyone else just gets on with the jobs they are interested in.

Life is messy, life should be messy, these “hippies” are of limited utility in the culture am modelling “governance” on the ground should be ruff and ready, built of doing and trust from this doing., people have to work out how to get on with others and make tools work for a useful outcome, we don’t hand them “solutions” we DON’T do tech fixes.

Yes maybe, but it does not come from this, you can look at it as a co-operative anarchist idea of human nature put into code - coops can kinda be this in a much more burocracy focused way than am outlining, but very realy come close.

Making a edge to a community means you need legalistic policing to enforce this edge. We recognize that as a problem and like the fediverse we ignore this as incompatible with our world view - in the setup we outline its simply not needed, this is “native” to the fediverse.

We ignore this issue in a creative and usefully way, if you won’t a voice setup and run an instance, then you should have a voice as you are running and caring for a part of the fediverse. You will maybe notice the is a positive feedback loop here.

We already tick all those boxes.

#KISS and human has MUCH MORE POWER than complexity, if people can’t understand the tools they cannot use them in creative and human ways - mess is good.

The project is more IMPORTANT for what it does not do than for what it does.

The is a FAQ for more issues answered FAQ - openwebgovernancebody - Gitea: Open Media Network

I find it interesting, but also find it VERY blocking the “gamification” in discourses - it keeps blocking me from basic linking. Yes I understand why, but it’s a bad expirence to have to fight your way though this on every instance

Hmm to be honest I think the hippy analogy is a bit ad-hominenum, what’s wrong with the processes outlined in sociocratic governance? I think that they accommodate conflict very well

coops can kinda be this in a much more burocracy focused way than am outlining

I’m an anarchist, I don’t personally view co-ops as utopian (I think they’re completely compatible with capitalism and the state) but I think that they don’t need be bureaucratic either. Personally I view them as a “hack” of the natural (co-operative) way workers want to organise, in a form that the state will accept. Like how I view open-source and “copyleft” as hacks around private property, rather than the proper abolition of it for something more like usufruct

If the co-operative model is too heavy and you’re looking for something more informal, I think that’s totally fine, but that’s not to say that methods and experiences of people in the co-operative movement (and the generally libertarian context it fits within) can’t be useful to you as well

I have only about 5 years of experience in various forms of decentralised organising but some of the people and co-ops on this forum have a lot more

We already tick all those boxes.

Okay awesome!

The is a long history of this kind of organising NOT working on the ground in the protest movements. its the butt of meany jokes, you know the one about the yogurt weavers, old affectionate abuse for the hippy way of thinking/working.

On the other side the is a deeply bureaucratic, in human, side to the establishment coop movement. Have you tried to set up a coop bank account or organise a event at co-op collage or do activist funding from the coop supermarket… all are train reacks of burocracey.

The model am basing the “governance” project on runs from the late 1970’s to the turn of the century, Occupy is the death of this tradition in activism, so I stop the clock when the #dotcons took over the #openweb

After that it’s all post-modernist wanking in my book, but I do live on a lifeboat, that give you a idea of my view of the world https://www.youtube.com/c/boatingeurope