combining, comparing, merging, developing onward our existing vocabularies
I have started collecting some of the issues to be debated with Josef tomorrow during the sprint retrospective.
Review them quickly if you are in the mood, add your own perceptions and block my probably wrong approaches already in the beginning, if neccessary.
I have to admit I am a bit biased since Silke shared her personal “tipping point” with me and turned very attentive towards all these small questions which piled up over time.
Please help me out finding a factual language.
The sketches are now formulated.
There are still some overlaps and inaccuracies in expression.
The text contains my main critique points with our cooperation with Get Active and will be my basis of argumentation for finishing this week in Berlin.
Please tell me if I’m overreacting.
SSEDAS at SOLIKON
Thanks Jon for the effort in framing a response to the crisis.
Three lines of comments:
- could you make transparent the rationale behind the choice of recipients of this message: in particular, why Josef is not in this message? Please clarify this ASAP.
- the assessment of the current situation is very much directed towards Josef collaboration style. The crisis is not only due to Josef personal traits. I think that should be reflected. I’ll try to improve that with concrete formulation proposal. A point in particular where this is problematic is the “Originally” section. This section is very much informed by our collective experience and a reaction to the current crisis. It’s hard to define what was this “originally”. Maybe “ideally”, referring to the commoning approach being this ideal.
- the framing does help to think about the current situation. However, I’d like to be able to think a bit more about that framing. Could you add an explanatory sentence to each of the sections in the outline?
Thanks for the effort. I hope that clarity can emerge from that. With clarity only, we’ll be able to rebuild the necessary trust.
This is why I think that Josef should be included early on in this effort so I don’t have the strange impression that we don’t react to that crisis through methods (semi-secret communication) that reproduce the very causes origins of the crisis.
Eventually, I am very unsure on my availability tomorrow as I will have to sort out quite a few things during the day before leaving Berlin.
What time are we supposed to meet?
Calling the governance circle to meet
slowly reappropriating my own flat and digging through the documentation and discourse which piled up since two weeks ago. Meanwhile another friend from Syria arrived last Wednesday, only after Josef’s departure, and finished two-and-a-half weeks of walking home herself. Adaptation processes have been set in progress and the apparent questions have operationally been transformed into sprint tasks and backlog entries. Therefore postponed.
It is astonishing to see how fast shared emotional spaces can fade away. Why I am returning to this thread, to reinforce them.
I am writing this text in English, meaning it takes me three times the effort to compile my thoughs. But at least Adrien and Gualter can more easily dig into it.
There is no doubt a lot of background communication taking place all the time. Then openly documented perspectives turn into the normative narratives for the outside. Breaking this divide was cause to the ongoing astonishment:
In one regard how quickly everyone went back to everyday practice and how shy we still are expressing existing mutual distrust in a meaningful manner.
You may have read about my full disclosure at INKOTA the other day, which then led into a night-long talk with Josef, following some arguments I’ve made sure to agree upon with you here. Why I will safely add him and Michael to this conversation now, knowing I only needed to share these intermediary thoughts privately above to acutely release epistemic pressure and helplessness.
In defending the position, it was ultimately the collaboration style which led to the breaking change. Why and how can we split this from our current situation? Let loose from the Commoning ideas behind TransforMap, we are now asked to transform itself. And turn it into a welcoming party again.
Don’t you remember how often I complained during the SSEDAS preparations and never knew how to react properly? Retrospectively, those questions and my elaborations regarding comparing the projects’ approaches with a common TransforMap narrative should already have led into formulating boundaries of what is and is not compatible with the original idea.
In this case I’ve just been reacting to the external force, because it seemed appropriate to defend the overall decentralisation idea also behind the curtains, lacking the strength to oppose ambiguous activity by publicly denouncing the events. Not only because I am low on resources and full of hunger most of the time.
I just cannot fight as loudly and repeatingly as Josef, prefering quiet and thoughtful consideration over a blatant battle of wills.
It is the installation of centralizing bottlenecks into our cooperation which I am opposing. This has to be socially and technically understood. This is why one the perspectives offered by me used the term coopetition earlier on.
This is resolved now. Still I believe these now ideally seen perspectives have been a central part of my original understanding of what MMM is about.
As I understand, you are asking for the reasons why I had chosen those framings. By reading these more than a week after the accumulated incident, please bear in mind I felt heavily affected. I still am.
I - self-understanding
Being just one of the many points which we were able to pick up during the last months, it turns out we are talking about completely different understandings of what TransforMap is. Coming from self-organizational backgrounds and years of experience in working with diverse associations and partners, we simply overlooked to make sure each and every one has the same basic knowledge of what we’re talking about:
Alternative economies and their reason to exist.
II - main objective
For me this whole thing went totally crazy when Josef was in Graz, sitting next to Michael and in a Hangout with me. Back then we were reframing the SSEDAS deliverables to suit the Commons’ needs and align them with CHEST. Already there we had intense discussions about how decentralized our toolset should be. It turns out one cannot exchange opinions for experience, eventually leading to the sentence With me you have a small enemy against decentralization.
Which revealed to me how deep our conceptual misunderstanding is.
III - modes of cooperation
You know what is strange to me? That CHEST resources are now being used to support the SSEDAS product, despite SSEDAS is just the support funding for CHEST. And this is where we struggle: Once we are entangled in economic dependency, we are constantly reproducing the fucking narratives which lead to the destruction of our world. Namely: Hesitation, Imprecision and Corruptedness.
Isn’t it weird decisions are constantly being made without escalation to broader circles; even still, after all what happened?
IV - legitimately working with organized networks
The fundamental difference in working with organized networks is no one is in the centre of interest. No single person considers itself cruicial, a main role or stronger than anybody else. We perceive ourselves as the network and our integrative role within. But no less, networks route around errors and a network split always leads to new configurations.
Currently we are witnessing what happens if centralisation occurs and the dictator is not as benevolent as imagined. Overestimation of one’s own capabilities, unreflected reproduction of simplifying organizational schemes and rhetoric manoeuvres to downplay the causes are the seeds of malicious long-term effects to me.
V - techno-social implementation of the overall vision
Here I was getting tired. I felt repeating myself, but nevertheless had to focus and reinforce a crucial aspect of the main misunderstanding again. It is not to be taken lightly, nor to be simply operationally adapted if a culmination of single events leads to a strong catharsis like the ongoing. We really have a patient on the table who mutates in an uncontrollable manner. The selection of aspects may feel rude to some, yet we are all in the responsability to truthfully feed the discourse with respective seeds of knowledge.
VI - financial responsability
Within the professionalisation of the work, critical voices may very well sense the amplification of neoliberal work regimes we’re producing. The explicit Othering of contributors who are not part of the Scrum team, which is still a test, if you remember, leads to the instituation of power centres within a process which was conceived openly. Blindfold application of common practice in return just applies mainstream economic narratives into our environment. It is then when the alarm bells ring and we intimately understand how vulnerable the shared endeavour is.
VII - opinionated attitudes
Well, this term is indeed a bit cryptic. Opinionated is actually a term from systems engineering, where you always have to cope with assumptions all the way down. The more assumptive a component is, the more opinionated we call it. It is somehow the opposite of immutable computing, where we focus on immutable data states and functional patterns (advanced, though). In our case it stroke me when Silke and me had initially been excluded from the roadmap and vision finding process, because we are too political or too technical, in other words opinionated. The opposing paradigms then lead to pragmatism and the implementation of logical fallacies. Remember, TransforMap is critical practice, studies and thinking all around. How can you seperate its internal functioning from the idealistic world it wants to tell about?
Right now, we are encapsulated by a process called Scrum. Not does it only have specific regulations around who and what’s in and out, but also in its current design it does not allow for interaction with (constitutive!) outsides. The question: To scrum or not to scrum? is not even allowed to be asked anymore until the end of the sprint. Another term which transparently conveys neoliberal pressure in the form of velocity. Maybe in a deccelerated world, hesitation and overreaction can be overcome?
What we are witnessing is an enclosure, a definition of power structures following the status quo, a situation received by carelessly forgetting about the foundational constraints, the definitions of how we don’t want to work alike. Does anybody remember the term alternative economies; what were these about?
Therefore, we need to have the conversation about what’s going on now, not only at the end of the sprint, not only after SSEDAS and CHEST are finally contracted.
Please don’t understand me wrong here. I don’t want to go on a personal rampage against Josef as a person. It is just the KuBiZ days are fading away and I want to keep some analytical notes and perceptions for further investigation. But if any findings would have to be associated with Josef’s practice, I am not against precautious measures.
In return, can I get access to the conversation which eventually led @Silke to the reply documented in the pad from above?
Because I am overhelmed about what we’ve done:
I decided to inform the mailing list about my plan to put distance between me and the project.
Is this even a precursor of our fear she may as well take her contacts with her?
- The external forces of CHEST and SSEDAS are rushing forward, silencing the critique, distracting from the obvious by allowing for side argumentations and creating a high number of pragmatic, at this point unreviewable contributions.
- The resulting pressure due to time and money constraints can eventually be perceived as blackmail. The commercial interest is once again infecting and overruling the Commoning process.
- Official contract papers are in both current cases reformulated and bended towards their realities. CHEST is only allowing a very short renegotiation phase (Haven’t I been asking for renegotiation for many months already?) which doesn’t really allow for including all current developments, while SSEDAS itself will have to be finished in a very time constrained, resource lacking manner. We are yet again increasing our precariousness ourselves.
- Thoughts are being prepared how we could extract products from the TransforMap infrastructure to sell them to other, possible partners. Which are eventually to be found via the extensive TransforMap network. Again, approaching them for commercial projects would reverse the idea behind a TransforMap Commons.
- When we think of our internal organizational structures, there has been more and more the use of words like leaders and strong characters. As a network, we have to reject these narrative enclosures.
- And does anybody of you retain some memories of how 15MMM came about? Do you remember the unsynchronized rush forward towards FCF? It wasn’t that SSEDAS was the first time we’ve seen this. And you all know how well 15MMM went. Because we had been pressed into something, instead of collectively designing it.
- The points above all stand for narratives and practices which we wanted to escape by proposing an alternative.
- Sometimes less is more. Or would anybody contest the sensation that we, according to our capacities, have too many parallel TransforMap projects running right now?
Needs of Change
This is my personal perspective on what needs to change to still be able to take part in some of the external TransforMap endeavours, eventually conducted by Get Active.
- New projects always have to be evaluated within the Commoning process before any agreements are being made. For example, now we’re already overloaded with FCF and CHEST, almost unable to correlate these to other seperate activities (Commoning, SSEDAS).
- Instead of individualized leadership taking over, we should step back and consider what we can really commit. We are all part of a greater whole. Which renders us equal in every aspect. There are no leaders, no masters. Comprende?
- I wish for a consensus on the acceptance of reducing the overall operative influence of Josef, esp. in terms of technical architecturing, external and internal communication.
- I want to see active commitment to an extensive skill sharing process. Foci could be something like working within the movements and useful online cooperation patterns and language.
- We also need to raise clarity and conceptual agreement (in documents, conversations, etc.) by a basic testing of our logical and language skills. Especially documents to be exchanged with partners should be in good English, if applicable.
- Smileys only if appropriate, else they seem to deceive and ease around strong points made before. A basic rule can be to use them only if someone else used them before.
Hopefully this leads to less chaos and more precision.
For myself, I feel ashamed and ridiculed about where we went. Let’s try to learn from our failures for the better.
I’m just wondering - whose words were that?
These were your words. Well, I never took them seriously, as you said a small enemy.
Ah, I feared that
I should clarify, that I only have this opinion in the databases domain, with a special focus on geo-databases:
- Data of the same type should go into the same database, especially when the possibility of duplicating and unintentionally forking of data exists.
- Different attributes of the same datasets may reside in different databases, especially I vote for different databases for mime-types.
On the organisational domain, I prefer flat structures.
@almereyda, brilliant analysis, almost nothing to add. “Almost” because I’d add one aspect at the beginning of the “need of change” list. IMHO one of the first things to do is that the remaining core team takes responsability to go back to the “core issue” - again and again: This issue is, as you correctly say: to work on a common understanding of what “alternative economies” and TransforMap as a commoning-process is all about (which would have helped to define the no-go’s.).
We had this conversation time and again in the taxonomy group, but this was never really “appropriated” by those TransforMappers who didn’t really take part in the taxonomy discussion and on top of that these discussions were eventually qualified as “too political” (uhhhh, our Potsdam meeting).
Anyway, as for the future:
I certainly don’t take my contacts with me (at least I hope so), but I feel the need to inform the mailing list of my current position, simply because for more than 18 month I’ve been trying to motivate so many people via mail, events, networking meetings and countless individual conversations (ja, even Paul Mason refers to TransforMap after such a “briefing”). So, it’s a matter of responsability. Right?
Pd. the only thing I can offer or suggest, say in early 2016, is to do a patterns workshop (“patterns” according to Christopher Alexander) with those who are interested in; meant to collectively elaborate patterns of commoning as a kind of toolkit for creatively dealing with recurrent problems in this kind of projects. This will certainly not help dealing with the - IMHO unacceptable - pressures and conditions in the context of SSEDAS and CHEST.
I would say that TransforMap is a big wobbly thing, that tries to go in a lot of directions its currently supporting actors want to. It should be a sum of the wishes of all members.
As there are a lot of members pulling in different directions, it moves slowly as some forces are seem to be directed in (partly) opposite directions.
That is partly the fault of all our monkeys, that without pressure we have never clarified the technical goals in our team.
For my opinion, SSEDAS and CHEST are great in supporting each other - one can barely happen without the other - we should use the synergy! And I am not talking about the financial stuff, but the work packages created within each project - each one is creating a commons, that the other one can build upon.
But I strongly urge for more transparency inside the TransforMap community - when a possible partner approaches, he should be made aware that TransforMap is a collective and he is not dealing with single entities:
- There should be a public invitation in Discourse to all TransforMap members to join the project.
- meetings should be announced and open for TransforMap members
- each TransforMap member should state in which projects he is involved, and vice versa.
I do not understand this
Every person has his strengths, in different domains. And every person focuses on his field of interest - As I support to reduce our truck-factor, I think we are not interchangeable working ants. Each of the circles should be strong enough to bolster a loss (I fear we are not in this state yet, but we have to live with the risk atm).
What we should do is to document our current working state in each circle publicy, so that others (even from other domains) will have a chance to continue, even if they have to read huge piles of documents before catching up.
There I am with you that there has to be more transparency about Scrum:
- There should be a thread in Discouse about how we do Scrum.
- Why Scrum? → Discourse Thread with explanation
- Where and when are the meetings - they must be open to everyone!
- Everyone has to be aware of Taiga and should be able to at least give suggestions for new items in the Backlog.
I for myself am open to Scrum - It is at least helps us to meet regularly!
As we discussed privately on Jabber today, I want to add our conclusion for a possible change of handling projects:
- We both agreed that the person handling the finances should not also be involved in the project management (and more important, technical decisions) itself.
This though is open for discussion.
I want to share my own point of view here:
Without funding, the TransforMap behemoth will develop very slow, as we are only working in our spare time on it.
I would love to invest all my time in creating a commons, without having to fear that the money ends before the month. Therefore, I think my skills are better invested in creating a (paid for) commons, than on purely commercial projects!
I’m agreeing with all other points, I just want to emphasise that if anyone is not using the common English language, he is excluding most of the planet’s residents and making it very hard for others to follow.
I hope that we can soon start a public discussion in Discourse about some key points!
hugs to all,
This process is rather already happening.https://discourse.transformap.co/t/separate-commons-and-commerce-to-make-it-work-for-the-commons/625/3?u=almereyda&source_topic_id=671
A physical patterning process would indeed quickly expunge some illusions.
PPP != MMM
Also we had the same issue last year (german), remember?
Wer noch keinen Zugang hat, bitte Username auf meta.allmende.io mitteilen. Würd’ den Text von damals mit eurem Gutheißen auch gerne ins Englische übersetzen.
May I add Simon and Kei to this thread?
please do so, as you find reasonable.
That now is a public discourse. (having a little nip in my stomach about it [just notices as writing the sentence] : ) but, that´s how it is now : )
I wonder, if editing the beginning of that conversation would be suitable for what could and should be achieved by that conversation, meaning structural development and clarity.
The initial first post, that was crafted for an audience, that is active part of the situation and also has personal relations, reads like an invitiaiton to a whitch-hunt as it is now open to the public.
In that case myself being the whitch does not feel so pretty.
If someone would take the effort of finding some invitation to enter that stream of conversation, that is more open and less personal, that would be … nice. @almereyda did an excellent Job in the main content of that analysis, disecting the topics to be clarified from a depersonalized and very solution-oriented standpoint.
If you think the current introduction is fine, as it is, then I can also accept that. I just noticed, as I shared the link with someone, that I feel (… searching for what the word actually means, when thinking of it) … humiliated.
I am perfectly fine being named in person several times in the convesation, because if not, it would be another conversation. At the same time, I would wish to start with a more appropriate invitation, opening the conversation.
As where we currently are, I think quite similar problems would show up with any organization currently taking a role as Get Active, so the question is, how to deal with a role as such.
I somehow see a paralell to the conversations with PNO that is responsible for contracting CHEST with us. Honestly, I think they do a pretty good job (not excellent, not bad, but solid), talking to people around, that have experience with EU-Grants. If the stream of conversation of the last month would be shared without the understanding of what is actually going on in the practicalities of their work, people could simply think, they do a shitty job, which (talking about PNO) I personally do not think. So I would also be happy not to have that impression produced about me as a person and Get Active, given the fact, that … honestly, … apart form “holy…f*** we are in a serous crisis…, … see analyzed above” we are doing pretty good!
shortly: I guess the tone I’ve choosen for my e-mail to the mailing list
indicated the the policy I’d prefer for ongoing conversations.
Nobody should feel humiliated in the commons, that’s for sure.
As you know, I can be very direct and clear without fearing to produce
any “damage” to the project (as you have witnessed during our "session"
with Jason and Simon. But once we’ve put the things on the table (that
has been done) and we see people reacting to it (happened as well), we
can move forward to analyse the underlying structural problems, as
@almereyda wonderfully did.
Are there any documented references of these conversations available for the Documentation Project?
As recent conversations have helped a lot in finding the long searched common understanding, measures are taken into execution of an offboarding process for the #projects:chest and #projects:ssedas communication streams from this Discourse. This happens in alignment with earlier commerce separation attempts and the last point of The Fab Charter:
How can businesses use a fab lab?
Commercial activities can be prototyped and incubated in a fab lab, but they must not conflict with other uses, they should grow beyond rather than within the lab, and they are expected to benefit the inventors, labs, and networks that contribute to their success
To underpin the remaining urgent need, we can arguably keep in mind contracting was not fully started until end of January, while visible accounting began last week and rebudgeting the projects out of the Commons, while providing into the Commons, seems to be in constant progress. For later research, we can remember certain email conversations of that time for exhilarating detail.
At the end of this (pro)long(ed) double-ride we are keen to explore repeating, viable patterns encountered along the way.
As Michael, also have to apologize for not participating in the call yesterday. @almereyda @gandhiano I am still not fully in the european timescape, but will manage during the week. Currently I am on the train to Berlin to work together with @almereyda, and also hopefully meet @toka tomorrow.
I read the pad and am very thankful about some of the insights and ideas.
The pad for now is the etherpad: https://text.allmende.io/p/transformap-sitins
some insights from the pad, that I find particularly interesting:
I am very thankful for that link / remark / observation. Preparing my journey to Berlin, I also thought about how the process is going, and in particular I see us communicating a lot enacting 2 patterns in particular:
- communicating without resolving, or involving people with high capacities without clear aim / concept / strategy / idea where to go and what to achive next with their involvement.
- communicating with people, that randomly pop up and following streams, that are very likely not relevant for the current core developments/deliverables to be met by mid of this year. We say yes to everybody and therefor no to clarity.
- it looks like: …
- we are working “into the blue”
I share that impression, being aware, that it is my co-responsibility.
- a description of what we want and how this is going to be achieved should be a basic requirement- currently there’s no red string visible, …
Same as above, and that is also one of the mayor reasons for my visit to Berlin.
obviously need to work throughout the epistemological differences that again (with the report) were unveiled. We are talking about these things since 6 months, but now we are just working for delivering, not for having the conversations we agreed to have
@almereyda appointed a lot of topics to develop in his feedback to the current report. It currently seems really important to work out those differences and prepare decisions on how to take them in order to proceed and actually agree and also make public, where we are heading, and what we want to deliver in this current near future.
- get rid of Friday sitin, but turn it into a community call
would definitely not get rid of it, but try to make it a community call. We could start this friday.
… we have in total 100.000 (correction 90.000) € available, but I don’t see this value working> plan how and when to spend the rest of the budgets?- high demands to deliver, but not even food in the stomach, thus pressed
- clear up and settle personal costs investments
I can see, that some of the core contributors severely struggle with money. Alessa took the unexpected call from @almereyda with a request for money quite lightly… It is important, that all contributors feel safe and can follow their dedication. What they dedicate their time to, and what we promised to do for that money is a highly relevant topic.
There is already about 8.000€ of that money out without tangible progress. How we deal about making projections and plan? So that something does not happen, which would give us, espeically me as (co-) responsible for delivering to the 90.000€ a lot of trouble? It would be the horrific scenario of spending the money and comming to the conclusion, that nothing substantial is achieved. When I have security, that this is very unlikely going to happen, I am very happy to do whatever spending within the possibilities. Currently I share the percpetion, @toka shared with Jon / in the sitin board shared above.
There is no red thread, and we are working into the blue.
Questions I would like to bring to Berlin (musing transformap):
was können wir weglassen?
was ist das nächste, das wir liefern, das begeistert?
warum performen wir schlecht?
was überfordert uns?
wo verlieren, vergeben oder vergeuden wir unsere energie?
wo, wie und wieso blockieren wir uns gegenseitig?
was können wir tun, um einander zu unterstützen und die Blockaden zu lösen?
was können wir gut?
ursprüngliche idee von transformap
beautiful, dedicated individuals
Was haben wir vernachlässigt?
- ExpertInnen gezielt und ergebnisorientiert nutzen
Unified statement vs. crowd chatter
rhytms of collaboration
diversification of domains and responsibilities
strategy and tactics
Despite being called a calm evening,
I have been questionned the whole time about TransforMap issues.
Main questions that were deferred are:
- What is the epistemological difference between the SSEDAS Taxonomy approach and the CHEST vocabulary approach?
- Is a workshop in Vienna really neccessary and what do we expect out of it?
- How do we handle user identities?
- Which are technological questions that are constantly being deferred (like the above)?
- To be understood in conjunction with the social, organizational questions that are constantly being deferred.
Additionally we’ve circled numerous other sociotechnical areas of interest:
- How is money being used, misused or unused?
- How do the different work packages integrate?
- Which discoursive forms in collaborative practice are known to us? How do these relate to values as mutual respect, conversational clarity and shared responsability?
- Why are amusement, humor and downplaying of concerns, issues and perceptions perceived as passive aggressions and how do we exit the visious circle of counterblocking?
We see general points to be understood around our implementation of collective forms of economy and the general distribution of power within the team.
As I have made my personal living situation in dependency of the CHEST and SSEDAS projects a topic few times already, I want to use this chance to reflect on it a little further.
It is very saddening for me to read this line, as we were continuously trying to find out about the current state of this project and couldn’t get any deeper insights since months.
We also have to keep in mind here that there are several more installments to be made by the project partners in the near future.
This sentence is a result of a strong hierarchical, organizational pattern. As we are actually partnering with two very small associations, where both don’t seem to manage to distribute responsability a lot from their chairpersons, as there are just not many others, we have to understand the lack of capacity to cope with administrative issues.
These are twofold here: (1) time, calmness and security about the progress of the process and (2) the culture of distributing responsability within a given team according to the needs and capabilites of the participating individuals.
This is the same misconception applied as within the SSEDAS Taxonomy process: Centralization-first and only then distributing responsabilities does not aid in creating a hierarchy-free distribution of (normative) power.
The project’s money buckets were not given singularily to Get Active for its reknown work on building software platforms and organizing community processes, but for the promise of integrating the TransforMap community into an open process and using the financial capacity for work related to its issues, not for holding it back and using it as a pressure mechanism.
From working with small and medium enterprises we know that good entrepreneurship hides external forces from a team and makes sure it has all the resources needed to work concentratedly. In our case apparently the opposite is the case: Passing on external pressure into the team and denying the available resources until acknowledgements to centrally imposed decisions are being made.
basically, when writing about the perceptions of hirarchies, liabilities and trust, there might be a misunderstanding of how the both of us handle difficult topics in perspective of resoving them.
For example I do perceive a slight upset in myself, that I get that public facing message in my notifications, while quietly sitting about 3 meters from you in the next room. Anyway, I guess you do on that what you see reasonable.