About the IT Network category

(Replace this first paragraph with a brief description of your new category. This guidance will appear in the category selection area, so try to keep it below 200 characters. Until you edit this description or create topics, this category won’t appear on the categories page.)

Use the following paragraphs for a longer description, or to establish category guidelines or rules:

  • Why should people use this category? What is it for?

  • How exactly is this different than the other categories we already have?

  • What should topics in this category generally contain?

  • Do we need this category? Can we merge with another category, or subcategory?

I think the charter of this category could use a bit of work; since I’m a splitter (and not a lumper)… I believe broken into interest-area subordinate categories. In particular, technologies are orthogonal to and inseparable from cooperative topics. Hence, viewing technology itself as its own category simply won’t work, it fosters unnecessary divide . These days technology is intertwined with business process, and, frankly often subjugates business process to what developers implement.

  1. I’d drop “IT Technologies” since it’s too broad… and at the same time, too narrow. Philosophically, I’d focus on the end goals, not the technologies used to get there.

  2. I’d create a topic for “Opportunities”. This would be a place for people to announce the projects, get help and recruit, etc. It wouldn’t matter what kind of cooperative it is, so long as it’s a cooperative.

  3. I’d create a topic for “Operations”. This would include the use of existing business practices and technologies that are not specific to cooperatives, but yet, whose use in a cooperative setting may require special thought and consideration. This could include hosting, document management, accounting (which is often specific to an industry), and other broad based processes & technologies.

  4. I’d create a topic for “Membership Engagement & Democracy”. This topic would include much more cooperative specific items such as how to operate a membership management system (including processes, procedures and software automation). How to support stakeholder democratic decision making. This is a very important topic and since it’s unique to cooperatives, really deserves its own attention and category.

  5. I’d create a category for peer-to-peer, aka “Protocol Cooperation”. There is significant demand for discussion of such technologies, and quite a few people believe that anarchist approaches are necessarily the new frontier for cooperatives. Birds of a feather who have such a strong believe in this world-view should have a place to discuss their ideology and how it could be brought into cooperative mainstream (without injecting their world view into other discussion topics).

  6. As mentioned earlier, I think Platform Cooperatives need their own discussion category. However, it’s important to note that this has very little to do with technology. It has to do with users collectively owning the means of the software platforms to which they are subject via democratic control in a cooperative form. The principle challenges here have to do with financing and control, bootstrapping in a high-risk environment where return on speculation is necessarily quite limited.

Importantly, you don’t need to create these categories from the top-down, you could just look at posts in the general section to figure out what interests your community. Many of the posts in this forum already are about Operations (e.g. Google Cloud Platform alternative) and Opportunity (job posts, etc.).

Anyway, I have high hopes for this discussion board, but seeing Hyungsik reply, I fear that this discussion forum will be stifled with cautious, organizational decision making that first start with the notion that things should be private. That’s a recipe for failure. Put a disclaimer up top. Kick uncivil people off the platform. However, please keep it open and flexible. You don’t have to know what works and what doesn’t… just give it a roll. The alternative is that this forum will simply not gather steam and will be a check-box on some organizational objective, but, really, completely fail to perform it’s main objective: engaging the community. Thanks for listening.