Written by alex rodriguez on June 12, 2017
Zijis of the Zijiverse,
I’m excited to announce that our experiment in collective decision-making is taking some big steps this summer. Since November, the Ziji Collective has been playing with an online voting tool called Loomio to make decisions together. We’ve committed to abiding by any decisions that we agree to there and have some more proposals coming down the pipeline in the next few weeks. Thanks to everyone who has already jumped on to try this out!
If you haven’t signed up for our Loomio group yet, you can do so by clicking here.
Why we’re using Loomio
I’m excited about this process because it allows anyone to start a thread or put forward a proposal—there’s no “leader” who decides what we decide. So if there are any burning questions that you want feedback or insight into from your Ziji peers around the world, this will be the central place for those discussions to happen. Loomio is a simple and easy-to-use tool that lets you weigh in and vote on your own schedule—no more endless email chains!
What we’re deciding next
Right now, there are six proposals awaiting your vote on Loomio related to the formation of five Working Groups. Anyone can propose a Working Group who is willing to take responsibility for seeing that it does what it sets out to do.
- The first proposal, “How Ziji Governs Itself,” establishes some responsibilities and expectations for how the Working Groups will be run, and how others can offer feedback.
The other five proposals are for the formation of the first five working groups (click the links to vote):
- Global Connection Points and Organization, for holding the global view and keeping us connected
- Communications, for making sure that we know what one another are up to online
- Finance, for working with money
- Summit Planning, for organizing our annual Summit events
- Wakeful Forms and Group Support, for supporting development of useful forms and sharing them across groups
And that’s just the beginning! Over the next six weeks, we have some other decisions in store for the group, as well. Next up, we are finally going to put a dot on the question that has been at the heart of much of our work over the past few years, “What is the relationship between Ziji and Shambhala?” The thread is open for feedback now, and the proposal will open soon (click the link above for the thread.)
Each week after that, one Working Group at a time will post questions, ask for feedback, and invite the group to come to decisions about issues specific to that group. So please stay tuned for more in the upcoming weeks, and feel free to start your own threads and proposals as well!
Again, to sign up for our Loomio group, click here.
Join me to talk about this on Saturday
If you would like to discuss this further, or have any questions about this process, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Also, feel free to join me this Saturday, June 17 at 9 am Pacific Time for the weekly open call, “Monarchy, Democracy, Enlightened Society,” in which we will be discussing the question, “How do we organize ourselves to create the society we want to see?” This is inspired by our recent work towards non-hierarchical organizing in Ziji and the interesting ways that rubs up against the hierarchy surrounding our brilliant teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
I hope to see you on Saturday! You can join the call here: https://zoom.us/j/752713684
The Ziji Ratification Process
For those of you who are curious exactly how this works, here are some more details. In Loomio, a decision has three phases:
1) Feedback Thread
First, someone starts a conversation about a topic that will require some decision-making. Anyone can start a feedback thread! To do so, just click on the “Start a New Thread” button on the Ziji Collective loomio homepage. A good way to start a thread is to ask open questions, or explain the situation that requires a decision. It is also helpful to provide relevant background information at the start of a thread.
People can then respond to the thread by adding comments, which appear below the opening post. You can “like” any comment to state that you agree with its contents.
Once someone decides that a concrete decision is ready to be made, the next step is to start a proposal. To do this, click on the green button with the little spaceship icon on the right-hand side of the screen that states, “Start a Proposal.” Whoever starts the proposal needs to clearly state the nature of the decision to be made, and what the outcome of ratification of the proposal would be. The proposal also needs a closing date—a time at which voting on the proposal ends. The text of the proposal cannot be edited once the proposal is created; however, the closing time can be adjusted while the proposal is open.
Once a proposal is created, the process of ratifying it begins. Every person can weigh in with a vote of “agree” (green), “abstain” (amber), “disagree” (red), or “block” (dark red). Everyone is encouraged to leave a short comment explaining your position; however, this is not required. If a proposal receives the minimum threshold required for ratification, then the group accepts an obligation to enact the proposed outcome. These are the conditions for ratification:
a. The proposal meets a quorum (minimum threshold) of 50% of ZC Loomio users active in the previous three months. This includes votes of all four types. (This month, the quorum is 10.)
b. Fewer than two people cast “Block” votes. In other words, it takes two “Block” votes to block a proposal.
c. The number of “Yes” votes is at least double the number of “No” votes plus the number of “Block” votes. In other words, those in favor of the proposal need to be at least double those who oppose it.
Here are some example scenarios, based on a pool of 20 active users (quorum of 10):
6 yes, 3 no, 1 abstain, 0 block: proposal is implemented
12 yes, 1 no, 1 abstain, 1 block: proposal is implemented
4 yes, 2 no, 5 abstain, 0 block : proposal is implemented
7 yes, 3 no, 1 abstain, 1 block: proposal not implemented (those in favor not double those opposed)
7 yes, 1 no, 1 abstain: proposal not implemented (no quorum)
12 yes, 1 no, 1 abstain, 2 block: proposal not implemented (2 blocks)
If a proposal does not meet these requirements for ratification before the proposal closes, nothing happens. The person who started the proposal can make changes and submit a new proposal if they would like.
If the proposal meets the requirements for ratification, the group is responsible for ensuring that the stated outcome is implemented. When that has happened, someone will post a short paragraph to confirm the outcome in the “Outcome” section of the proposal.