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Prototyping and collaborating

Here we describe the collaborative work we'll undertake within the programme, with a stack of spaces that will be evolved into a working ecology of practices and means.
In the course of the commons.hour programme we’re setting out to prototype a number of spaces. Actually, it's an ecology of spaces, which will become part meet.coop working practice. The field of prototypes is outlined in this schema -
Collaborating in commons.hour - Prototypes of collaboration spaces

Venue spaces

The monthly BigBlueButton gathering, commons.hour itself, is a prototype of a venue space for mutual live engagement across all kinds of members. Particularly it's a space for user-members and operational members to engage and exchange. But in addition to this, the programme needs to design and prototype other live venues: a General Assembly, and a Community Circle. All these venues will be elements in the ongoing governance/stewarding of meet.coop, as a multistakeholder coop.

Media spaces

By no means all of what we need to identify, explore and capture in protocols can be handled in a monthly live gathering. So media spaces are fundamental. Obviously, the handbook is central: this is where the protocols are to be assembled and refined. Less obviously, there will need to be active exchange in threads on the meet.coop forum, between sessions. Both of these media spaces will need their protocols to be refined, and described in the handbook. We’ll record the sessions, and this evolving library of recordings is a media space too.
By no means all of what we need to identify, explore and capture in protocols can be handled in a monthly live gathering. So interaction via (asynchronous) media spaces is fundamental. Obviously, the handbook is central: this is where the protocols are to be assembled and refined. Less obviously, there will need to be active exchange between sessions, in discussion threads in the meet.coop forum. Both of these media spaces will need their protocols to be refined, and described in the handbook. We’ll record the commons.hour sessions, and this evolving library of recordings is a media space too.

Platform spaces

Thirdly, in order to collaborate in these ways we’ll need to use an appropriate set of tools, in addition to BigBlueButton. Above we tacitly referred to gitBook and Discourse - our chosen means (for now) of implementing the handbook and discussion threads.
But we may find we need other tools - for example, for cloud sharing of documents or for instant-messaging chat. Already, we have started using the OpenCollective platform for general communication (about commons.hour) with the entire membership.
But we may find we need other tools - for example, for cloud sharing of documents or direct-messaging chat. Already, we have started using the OpenCollective platform for general communication (about commons.hour) with the entire membership.
It’s very easy for such a combination of platform spaces to get over-complex and confusing to use. At the same time, having well-defined tools, designed to do a specific job of work, is helpful. Figuring out this matter of toolstacks is a third dimension of prototyping in commons.hour. On one hand, there will be folks becoming operationally involved in the Community circle (but not in the same way as operational members?) and, on the other, user members and their associates will be participating in commons.hour, perhaps in a more ad hoc way.
When we’ve got protocols in these three domains figured, and documented in the handbook, we’ll have a resource that we mean to share, open source, as a design for a distributed coop-commons community (and a design methodology). So the handbook is part of a wider media commons too.