talk.kiezburn.org
Wed 17 Nov 2021 2:49PM

(CLOSED) Advice process for the Advice process

VRS Veroca R. Sala Public Seen by 48

UPDATE 30.01.2022: the decision has been made and changes will be done in the Advice Process protocol in the coming days.

🤓18.01.2021 Adding a proposal after having shared my ideas and read comments on this thread. If you wish to see how I did that, then see the edited changes on the thread.

Apologies if this AP doesnt have the best wording or in-depth explanation and context.


Proposer

Proposer (name, handle, etc.):

@Veroca R. Sala

Proposer’s role:

I've been involved in Kiez Burn for the past 3 years, I've been in the Korg, currently running my 2nd year as Board member of the eV.

The advice process

Information gathered before posting

I have requested input during the phase Idea on this very thread, some ideas in the comments seem to go towards a whole change of the current Advice process linked above which I find very interesting but Im not pursuing a whole change at the moment but rather polish up the system that is already in place.

People/roles most affected by this proposal

  • all those who wish to make decisions at Kiez Burn

People/roles with the most knowledge and experience relevant to this proposal:

  • I do not know

The proposal

Background

The current AP is lacking some clarity in terms of proposal overlapping/ counterproposal after decisions have been made, deadlines, and how long are our decisions in place . I've listed a few questions we have unanswered:

  1. How long before the event can one start an advice process? (as min/max)

  2. What is the minimum of days an AP should be running before closing/making the decision?

  3. Can an advice process be closed if some names are tagged but the people tagged haven't placed a comment on the proposal thread?

  4. What if there aren't experts? ( like what happened with the talk moderation thread or Nettiquette thread).

  5. Once the advice process is closed/approved should it stay in the advice process group or should it be moved to the "corresponding" group? (if there were any).We currently don't have moderators for this group.

  6. The usage of the word Realizers is strongly linked (IMO) to all related to the burn itself or Burn night, however there are other topics that are not really part of the organization of the event that could need and AP, should we address this difference better in the current description of the AP?

  7. Once an AP is approved how long is this decision in place? a year? infinite?

  8. Could someone make an advice process to change the decision made on a recently made decision? Isn't this super frustrating? ( like what happened with the dogs at Kiez Burn

The proposal

My proposal is to answer the questions above and add these ( limitations to the AP) into its own description on the original AP thread. Here are the proposed answers:

  1. How long before the event can one start an advice process? (as min/max)

    • Min: 3 weeks before the event that is affected by the proposal ( say main event, or precom, decom...)

    • Max: within the 12 months prior to the event affected by the proposal.

    • For smaller events like workshops etc (min of 2 weeks - max unlimited)

  2. What is the minimum of days an AP should be running before closing/making the decision?

    • The AP should be running for 7 days and, could be closed if the proposal has been seen (not commented) for at least 50% of the members of the group (currently we have 38 members in the AP group), if this number hasn't been reached then the person proposing or anyone else, could reach out to comms or reach out to people to at least get them to see/read their proposed idea. The number of people who have seen the thread is visible to everyone in each thread.

  3. Can an advice process be closed if some names are tagged but the people tagged haven't placed a comment on the proposal thread?

    • Advice processes can be closed if the "experts" mentioned/tagged haven't opined, since we cant block our decisions because our "expert" is unavailable or not interested in participating.

  4. What if there aren't experts? ( like what happened with the talk moderation thread)

    • If there aren't any experts, then the person who is carrying out the AP is now the expert.

  5. Once the advice process is closed/approved should it stay in the advice process group or should it be moved to the "corresponding" group? (if there were any). We currently don't have moderators for this group.

    • AP remains in the AP group (until someone decides and proposes otherwise). AP thread shouldn't be moved to the planning group. A new thread in Planning Group could be opened announcing the idea has been approved and moving forward with planning from there. Leaving the AP thread where it was. As opposed to what has been done with "dogs at Kiez Burn" which is now in the 2021 planning group.

  6. The usage of the word Realizers is strongly linked (IMO) to all related to the burn itself or Burn night, however, there are other topics that are not really part of the organization of the event that could need and AP, should we address this difference better in the current description of the AP?

    We expand the concept of realizer to: lead/person moving forward with ideas related to Kiez Burn main event and community.

  7. Once an AP is approved how long is this decision in place? a year? infinite?

    • AP decisions of areas like Ticketing processes, or specific to the event, will expire once the event is over.

    • Decisions related to our structural processes, platforms etc, will be in place for an indefinite time or until someone runs a new AP to change it.

    • If someone wants to propose a specific decision to be in place for an indefinite of time, then they could add that to the proposal, but as default, it will not.

  8. could someone make an advice process to change the decision made on a recently made decision? Isn't this super frustrating? ( like what happened with the dogs at Kiez Burn)

    • Once a decision has been made around a topic, a counter AP is not desired. If someone has a counterproposal to an already made decision they will have to wait for the next event. This is because if we allowed a counterproposal to go forward it would mean the initial approved proposal will face a blockage, in terms of money, setting up structures, and starting off implementing it which will result in frustration.

How would the proposal be implemented?

I'll modify the current written statement of the process on this thread

Who would implement this proposal

myself

When would this proposal be implemented

Right after is approved

What would be the cost (time, money, effort, etc.) of this proposal

only my time invested.

What are the advantages of this proposal (relative to the current situation and/or counter-proposals)

By making the limitations clear we will be giving people more clarity on how to "own" a decision-making process and hopefully avoid frustrations.

What are the disadvantages of this proposal (relative to the current situation and/or counter-proposals)

The AP is not ideal in general, and there are people wishing we had a different one. This proposal seems to not solve all the problems but rather make the current one a tiny bit better. This is all I can gift to Kiez Burn atm.

Decision

I'd like to give this AP a week (until the 25.01.22) and see if there are adjustments to be made before I close it.


👉I leave this here until the 25th of January ( a week from now) to gather input.

K

Kris Wed 17 Nov 2021 4:13PM

I’m more and more convinced advice processes in its current form are not a good tool for a lot of what we do.

They’re great for when it’s something you do (e.g. “I’m about to paint the bike shed blue, the reason is that it’s flaking off - any objections?”), but fall apart when it’s something we do (e.g. dogs, moderation, pretty much everything we need to decide pre event).

A Hackerspace I know used to delegate all power to an almighty robot known as Consenso. When something was decided at a monthly meeting, Consenso would decree it and so it would be. This illustrates a way to deal with the fragmentation of power that seemingly happens with an AP, there’s a hefty discussion and then it falls to the originator of the proposal to make a decision.

Often there’s been miscommunication and arguments, and the reasonableness of the originator is drawn into question. It ends up being the worst of two worlds - the discussions of consensus process with the legitimacy of an unpopular ruler.

There’s so many other cool and tested ways to make decentralized decisions (all without the use of blockchain) that we should explore.

S

Saskia Thu 18 Nov 2021 7:08AM

I liked the AP in theory and I hate it in practice. It is creating a huge hurdle to actual change and movement and it accentuates & enhances the ever-present and unavoidable bias towards people with a certain preset (i.e. time spent at the laptop, language skills, rhetorical skills, etc.).

It feels super german in a way that it is a lot of work where one can do a lot of things wrong and that is necessary for even the slightest change. People disagree. The person who puts up the AP thinks they have gathered all relevant information and asked everyone involved, when other people think they should have been asked because they are affected by the decision. That's related to the question of "what if the experts asked are not the experts". It's a huge thing for anybody, even us who have been "in it" for years, to remember who is an expert on what. Realities is an objective failure and not a useful ressource for that.

As Kris says, things get and got personal and we have lots of interpersonal conflicts which revolve around the AP since it's installment. Conflicts that exploded mostly around the question of "You did the thing but there should have been an AP and you did not follow protocol" or "I did an AP and now you say I cannot do what you told me I have the freedom to do" or "I did an AP but now you say I did not do it correctly/too fast/asked the wrong people." or (from the other perspective) "I did the AP, gathered the expert info and still decided to do whatever the fuck I want, because that's what it is about".

Also, without the ONGOING constant education that has been done by Waldo & the previous board, nobody really catches up about the APs when they're new in the community. The whole thing: presenting the platforms (i.e. talk, realities, dreams) and explaining the APs has not really been continued by this year's orga which simply boils down to a lack of education for new people. I have also understood from private conversations that the importance, weight and centrality of the AP was not understood by some.

We can say 'people ought to read up on that stuff, self reliability and all' but fact is they don't and if I was new to the community I would be overwhelmed. So what is a pragmatic solution here?

I am annoyed by them on a personal level and it definitely stops me from wanting to bring up any suggestions for change. Call me lazy.

Apologies for speaking up so negatively about the AP. Can we have an AP about APs in general and how we make decisions? :D

I can tell you, not a single AP has been done for the burn night.

(This post has been brought to you by burner burnout inc. and is not productive in any way and form.)


W

walto Fri 3 Dec 2021 10:08AM

The advice process is a formalized version of "please be nice & take others into account when doing something". We have had our fair share of issues with that model.

Alternative tools to unburden central org, and enable decentralized decision & action making, exist and can be explored if the current organizational format is to be continued. Of course, a re-vamping of advice processes or in general, consentual do-oacry, might also offer the right fit given adjustments. For either option, there is a wealth of resources available for those wishing to explore options.

More centralized organizational models require a more committed & nested central org + ideally someone gets paid to do some of the central org things. However, they are a great fit for smaller events like burn nights etc.

W

walto Sun 5 Dec 2021 8:20PM

btw, this advice processes group now hosts & shows the super long and bureaucratic version of the advice process, when actually, maybe, it might be wise to more promote the short version and only link & use the long version in case there is substantial objection/escalation: https://talk.kiezburn.org/d/M91bKpBo/consensual-do-ocracy-short-definition

K

Kris Thu 9 Dec 2021 10:15AM

I just had a brain-thought and since we're ideating, allow me.

I suspect the minutiae of the process don't have too much to say for how engaged people are in making decisions or not. There's something more fundamental missing here, namely the why of it.

Something that's not uncommon in not-for-profit organisations is that the incentives stop aligning with it's purpose.

If you're for-profit success is easily enough quantifiable, if your business is growing then you're succeeding - and if you're losing money you're failing. When you fail a quarter the CEO gets replaced, consultants on company culture are brought in, and so on. The company receives and reacts to external feedback.

While in non-for-profits often self-sustain, ignoring any feedback from the outside. The money is just there, you funnel it to some project, and regardless of the result you declare it a victory. Because you need to for the money to keep coming, and patting each other on the back is what makes you rise internally - nobody likes a party pooper.

If we look at Kiez Burn through this cynical (and exaggerated) lens. What is the incentives for us as a group? What are they even on an individual level?

For me, trying to find community that will accept my full unmoderated self perhaps? Definitively having a place to go where I can get away from my regular day-to-day of having brain-thoughts (for a big mean for-profit) to just haphazardly use power tools.

For others it's maybe more altruistic (building an inclusive alternative community), or narcissistic (all these hippies just plain love my personality disorder), or hedonistic. Who knows, but it sure isn't for profit.

There isn't (AFAIK) any explicit incentives engineered for Kiez Burn, it's only the amalgamation of these individual ones. Sometimes that's freaking cool, I love seeing people who're on opposite media diets come together and be so focused on building that they forget to talk about the stupid shit they would regularly hate each other for.

In my very limited time here though I've seen some signs of KB having some of these self-sustaining incentives. Two examples are really prominent for me.

With my involvement in Burn Night I was a bit surprised that having and making money was seen as a problem instead of an opportunity. I struggle with even seeing the opposing view here - I'm pretty sure we could have set the ticket price to zero for Burn Night and we'd still made money on donations. Money is (unfortunately) often the way to do shit and affect change. Having it is perhaps seen as a problem because it needs to be spent, which - exactly like with APs - that means making value judgments. And, in my little pet theory here, Kiez Burn is adverse to change because it risks upsetting this self-sustaining incentive structure.

The second one, which I think is even more aggravating, is the moral panic around trash at this year's event. The amount of blame that went to new people, or partiers, or literally anyone who's individually at fault is really disheartening. If there's trash on site that's our failure organisationally, and we never owned it (publicly at least, I'm in the outer circle). All the credit and love to the people who stepped up and eventually saved our asses, but I'd love to have seen Kiez Burn declare failure. To have said "guess we'll lose our deposit and we're not coming back", dangled over the edge, and seen what have happened - because that forces us to grow.

So, what does this have to with Advice Processes? Firstly, as I guess I've already said above, I suspect they're an often a tool of enforcement in stagnation, if I can pull you in to forever-discussions (including restarting debates at any time) you'll eventually give up and do something more useful with your time. If instead of being honest and telling you that your idea sucks, I say "do an AP" - I can avoid difficult conversations, but I will waste everyone's time. Secondly though, I can't tell you how they fit into the larger organisational purpose, and what incentives needs to be built around our decision processes.

My preferred goals are reasonably idealistic, and often run contrary to popular KB sentiments (like "keep the event small", "acculturate the new people"). I want to enable as many people as possible with the capacity to uncompromisingly shape reality, and I don't mean that in a transcendental sense, I mean it in the utmost practical one. It means you can use a jigsaw to build structures even though you've only been trained to work in the Excel mines, that you can fight the amt and get away with it, that you can play drum&bass cover songs and people will dance like mad to it. I want walking between camps to feel like walking between worlds, for there not to be only one KB event because we want to try different frames for it.

For our privileged asses that means getting together and pooling our resources towards growth. To strategically get money to fund our artists (that have to eat, god damn it) to spend months building artworks that can be placed in the default - maybe gaining us more money - who knows. It means gaining influence so we can have a site where you can blow your eardrums out in one end and meditate in the other, maybe with the district fawning over us because we bring the je ne sais quoi.

Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, screw the APs. Text is dead. Let's be weirder, let's make decisions in a way where it's easier to faceplant.

First draft, lmk

VRS

Veroca R. Sala Tue 18 Jan 2022 10:33AM

hey all, thanks for all your input. I value all this information but I dont seem to be able to catch the loose end where to start to develop a whole new approach to our decision-making process. In the meantime, the "Decision-making season" is coming up and we still have these few blank questions in regards to the current AP.

Im gonna quickly propose an answer to all the points I made above, which are extremely arguable and can be changed according to the general opinion, im just trying to shape these answers to adjust the current AP:

  1. How long before the event can one start an advice process? (as min/max)

    • Min: 3 weeks before the event that is affected by the proposal ( say main event, or precom, decom...)

    • Max: within the 12 months prior to the event affected by the proposal.

    • For smaller events like workshops etc (min of 2 weeks - max unlimited)

  2. What is the minimum of days an AP should be running before closing/making the decision?

    • The AP should be running for 7 days and, could be closed if the proposal has been seen (not commented) for at least 50% of members,( currently we are 38 people on the AP group) if this number hasn't been reached then the person proposing or anyone else, could reach out to comms or reach out to people to at least get them to see/read their proposed idea. The number of people who have seen the thread is always visible on each thread.

  3. Can an advice process be closed if some names are tagged but the people tagged haven't placed a comment on the proposal thread?

    • Advice processes can be closed if the "experts" mentioned/tagged haven't opined, since we cant block our decisions because our "expert" is unavailable or not interested in participating.

  4. What if there aren't experts? ( like what happened with the talk moderation thread)

    • If there aren't any experts, then the person who is carrying out the AP is now the expert.

  5. Once the advice process is closed/approved should it stay in the advice process group or should it be moved to the "corresponding" group? (if there were any). We currently don't have moderators for this group.

    • AP remains in the AP group (until someone decides and proposes otherwise) and aren't moved to the planning group. A new thread in Planning Group could be opened announcing the idea has been approved and moving forward with planning from there. Leaving the AP thread where it was.

  6. The usage of the word Realizers is strongly linked (IMO) to all related to the burn itself or Burn night, however, there are other topics that are not really part of the organization of the event that could need and AP, should we address this difference better in the current description of the AP?

    We expand the concept of realizer to: lead/person moving forward with ideas related to Kiez Burn main event and community.

  7. Once an AP is approved how long is this decision in place? a year? infinite?

    • AP decisions of areas like Ticketing processes, or specific to the event, will expire once the event is over.

    • Decisions related to our structural processes, platforms etc, will be in place for an indefinite time or until someone runs a new AP to change it.

    • If someone wants to propose a specific decision to be in place for an indefinite of time, then they could add that to the proposal, but as default, it will not.

  8. could someone make an advice process to change the decision made on a recently made decision? Isn't this super frustrating? ( like what happened with the dogs at Kiez Burn)

    • Once a decision has been made around a topic, a counter AP is not desired. If someone has a counterproposal to an already made decision they will have to wait for the next event. This is because if we allowed a counterproposal to go forward it would mean the initial approved proposal will face a blockage, in terms of money, setting up structures, and starting off implementing it which will result in frustration.

    adding these to a proposal by updating this thread.

VRS

Veroca R. Sala Sun 30 Jan 2022 9:06PM

the proposal is closed, the decision has been made and changes will be done in the Advice Process protocol in the coming days.

A

Ancka Tue 14 Mar 2023 2:45PM

super Beispiel!

VRS

Veroca R. Sala Tue 7 Dec 2021 3:40PM

Yes! I have modified the description of the group a couple of weeks ago. All is linked and accesible but not straight away shown so as to not make it so overwhelming. Butni did not do an AP to change the description of the group 😆

JK

Jan-Christian Kaspareit Tue 18 Jan 2022 11:31AM

Pretty interested in the topic, but this seems like something to implement with a longer time horizon.

We can also maybe pilot new ideas with single specific decisions and gather feedback on the process and what was good or bad about it.

And if the community loves it we can default to it for future decisions where it makes sense.

In my opinion Veros proposal adresses some topics about the current process that caused stress in the past. E.g. starting an advice process or suggesting major changes 2 days before the event.

VRS

Veroca R. Sala Sun 5 Dec 2021 12:26PM

Thank you, this is indeed a seed advice process for the advice process. I updated now with one extra question:

"Do we want to continue with the current model of AP or do we want to implement a new one and How?"

I guess there are two main issues here:

-The AP itself which needs to be reviewed, modified, or changed

- Newbies and oldies who just dont like Talk or platforms of the kind. They are willing to put in the work but not willing to engage in platforms of discussions (name it Talk or any other I think).

I personally also find the AP somewhat blocking. I am very enthusiastic about doing things and like the radical-doocracy approach...I find it hard to understand when have we reached a consensus when we dont even know who has even read a proposal.


I also have some input not directly about the AP itself, but somewhat related as a response to a few points you mentioned in your comment:

How it was in 2021:

  • As no one checked realities we have given teams a spreadsheet that contained the most relevant links to talk threads ( incl how we work together group), names and contact of people, docu, and all they needed to move forward. E.g. the sheet I gave out to the Dreams team which has evolved over time, added a bunch of new links and materials as they moved forward. We didn't make any special focus on AP itself. That is true.

  • They have used the file as a master sheet; this worked fine-ish with teams. But not so well with individual Realizers.

  • In 2021 we had a very short prep time and we didn't have anyone committed to properly educate in our tools and processes. People were recruited at meetings, then we had a video call about the role & resp korgis did a follow-up. This could be improved if the orga team had more time.

  • Point a bit off-topic: I am a pro team and believe every role should have a team. When having more than 2 people on a role, even if ONE person signs up as "Lead"; oftentimes, the "natural" lead stands out and moves forward with the support of the rest of the team members plus, is more likely that at least ONE member is willing to check out or get more involved on Talk.

Recruitment and onboarding 2022:

  • The Korg has talked at the retrospective about having one or ( I d say a few people) focused on recruitment and Onboarding, one of the tasks is to do a more extensive onboarding about our tools and processes. So education is to be taken care of, hopefully by recruiters 2022.

  • Another idea was to require all realizers/teams to present a "plan" how would they like to do what they intend to do in the form they like, google doc or Talk thread ( maybe with the AP template). Still, this doesnt really enable a great process for decision making and the problem of how to gather input from experienced people is not really addressed if they used a google doc. But at least a way for Korgis to spot and flag things, problems, or controversial decisions which should be more open. Still, a drive doc could be shared via email, enable comments, put it out on facebook, however they like. We aim for transparency, but we cant reinforce it. At the same time, if we dont give teams an alternative to Talk then the Korg might not be able to follow up and be able to flag issues.

Other possible changes that might (or not) impact the current AP:

  • Reading what @walto wrote down in the comments, maybe the AP is also missing those exact words 😆 : "please be nice & take others into account when doing something" lol

  • I recognize all the weak points @Saskia and think that we could at least try to make clearer some points especially regarding times for decision making.

  • Talk Guides: For the experts part, we could rely on Talk Guides and moderators and Korgis to tag relevant people`s names. The Korg has a list of realizers of each role from 2021 (at least). We need more guides though.

  • As the Korg is a touchpoint with all and different teams/realizers, there should be a Korgi touchpoint with Talk Guides. Decentralized yes, but working closely together will help keep things more in line.

  • Realities: Im also keen to ditch realities. It is proved that people engaged more with a regular master sheet than with the Realities platform, it is easier to share, update, and pass on to future realizers.

  • Realizers: I dont resonate with the Realizer definition. As I said, there could be teams, and the lead/realizer could be called by the team itself at the end of the term as a recognition and appreciation of the efforts taken hohoho ( this can be controversial, though), its just an idea that This could make things easier for recruitment. To let people navigate and do things without trying to fit in their own understanding of the concept of leadership.

About a whole new process/methodology: Would you @Kris share here other ways to make decentralized decisions if you know any? im curious.

Disclaimer:

I am aware im touching on a lot of different points, apologies. I believe that because of the nature of Kiez Burn many implemented systems/platforms and processes, requires time, testing, trial, and error, and a lot of work in adapting and adjusting them and ourselves to them, again because of the way we work, these changes dont come quickly as they would in other organizations. So far, since the current AP was implemented, back in 2020 we haven't done a single change to it, we only spotted weak points in it, the same with talk, since 2019 Talk has been practically the same until now that we have at least a Netiquette and a couple of moderators. Maybe it is worth making some changes and seeing how it goes.

I recognize I am a bit more conservative about this in the sense that, I believe we could try to improve these instead of directly jumping to another one which more likely will also need adaptation, education, and all. Still Im okay to jump to another system, or a different Talk if that is the general opinion. I dont have a strong opinion against it, Im just not motivated enough to carry out a whole change myself. But maybe someone else does!

K

Kris Wed 8 Dec 2021 1:45PM

Just FYI it doesn’t work over at borderland either 😝

K

Kris Mon 6 Dec 2021 7:24AM

About a whole new process/methodology: Would you @Kris share here other ways to make decentralized decisions if you know any? im curious.

As I said I don't have the answers, and it would take some research to find.

Off the top of my head I'd probably start by finding ways where smaller self-organising groups (camps, or groups like the robot ministry) can come together to make decisions on a higher level, e.g. forming temporary groups for a specific event by appointing representatives.

If I was researching by myself I'd start by reading The Tyranny of Structurelessness and then look at the responses to that essay in the later years. Probably specifically from anarcha-feminist writers, interspersed with reports on what tech companies like Valve are up to.

There's also a bunch of people to reach out to. For example the burners over at Aalto University that study these kinds of organizations academically (they've got strong ties to the BM Philosophical Center). I also have anarchist family that spend time supporting dock workers and similar, that have hands on experience striking a balance between ideal organisations and real world practical effectiveness.

So no easy answers, but lots of good ideas.

K

Kris Thu 18 Nov 2021 2:03PM

(I'm really here in your comments going "read theory!" aren't I? To be more constructive, if anyone shares my interpretation of the situation and wants to go hunt for some experts and read some texts, I'm down! (Those experts will not be named Gustaf or Alexander though))

W

walto Sun 5 Dec 2021 8:17PM

@Veroca R. Sala we used to have a simpler version of the advice process - similar to Borderlands, worth reading up on their processes btw: https://talk.theborderland.se/advice/

That weakness: it can be tested and failed ("I was nice", "I did take people into account",...), and we had to adjust the process after the ticketing proposal blowup.