On the MoI frame

blog by Doug

In conversations leading up to MoI 2020, the purpose and the implementation of the Month of Introspection (herein MoI) have been regularly questioned. A specific point of unclarity is who is invited and why.

We had our first MoI (then MoC = Month of Calm) last year, largely copied from other communities who do a similar thing (e.g. Tamera). It felt like we needed it, and we enjoyed it so much we're doing it again soon :)

For me, the purpose of the MOI is the Kanthaus community: to care for it, celebrate it, 'do maintenance' on it, strengthen it, relax into it, etc.

Communities are groups of flesh-and-blood people. They are therefore never truly fixed โ€” people come, people go โ€” but they are 'fixed enough' that a critical mass of relationship(s) can build. Cohesive communities appear to be a critical feature of successful commons!

The rate of 'coming-and-going' at Kanthaus is generally high. We also have a lot of visitors that only come for short periods of time. Building relationships takes time, so, sadly, newbies dilute community.

"Who counts as a Kanthaus community member?" is, I think, the wrong question to frame the MoI. I prefer to ask: how do we create a period of minimal social turbulence? (Both questions escape scientific certainty!)

I believe the criteria for who is (not) invited to MoI is something like this:

  • Invited: current Members and Volunteers
  • Not invited: complete newbies (even if they seem cool) and groups (even if we know the people in them)
  • Conditional invitation: current Visitors and previous residents (any position)
  • 'Non-resident': continuation of existing, regular, non-residential events which involve 'external people' (i.e. FFF meeting, Open Tuesday)

Whether people in the 'Conditional invitation' category get invited or not might seem arbitrary, but when I think about it more there appears to be a fairly clear set of requirements:

  • Intent: does the person want to come for the MoI and be part of the Kanthaus community during it?
  • Period: are they able to arrive when/before it starts and stay for a decent period of time (~10 days?) OR arrive after it starts and stay an even longer period of time (~20 days?)?
  • Opinion: do current Volunteers and Members not resist/actively support the person coming?

This last requirement seems to be most unclear part. Until now people have done 'asked everyone' or posted in our internal team chat channel #kh_vol_and_mem and looked for resistance, which is our default procedure.

I don't like arbitrary process, yet I think the process is unanimous, so I would like to formalize it this MoI for next :) The only new proposal I would make is to formalize the 'opinion requirement' by modifying our evaluation process:

  • request posted in #kh_vol_and_mem
  • ๐Ÿ‘ = support, ๐Ÿ‘Œ = accept, ๐Ÿ‘Ž = oppose
  • one week/until everyone in channel has emojied
  • outcome same as evaluations: invited if 3 ๐Ÿ‘ to 1 ๐Ÿ‘Ž or greater
  • (unlike evaluations, discussion/voting will be asynchronous)

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