Roughly two weeks ago, we had our third Funkwhale sync. In case you don’t know, Funkwhale Sync are monthly meetings that started in november 2018 (we skipped december meeting), as a way to synchronously discuss, coordinate and shape a consensus on various topics.
It also serves as a way to meet other community members which I think is really important: while I value text-based and asynchronous communication, having a time to be together and talk is priceless. As a project maintainer, it helped me several times to break the feeling of isolation that grows inevitably when you’re alone in front of your computer, all day long
The format/organization was pretty similar every time:
- at least two weeks before, I publish a forum topic to prepare the next Funkwhale sync, with a link to a framadate (=doodle), to pick the best date, and a link to the meeting agenda. Both links are available to everyone, and the agenda is built collaboratively by participants
- a week before the sync, I close the framadate poll, pick the date with the most votes, and announce the date
- the meeting happens on the given date, on our mumble server (audio server with a text chat). During the meeting, we go through the various points of the agenda, take notes, discuss, and make decisions, when necessary. The whole meeting is usually scheduled to last 1 hour, but we did not always respect that (especially during sync #3)
- after the meeting, I publish the meeting notes in the forum topic. I also publish audio recordings of the meeting at https://open.audio/library/albums/6133
What’s good/bad with this format
I think this format works pretty well. It gives us a moment to talk, the organization overhead is not too high, and the resulting discussions and ideas are interesting. It also gives us some transparency/accountability about the decision process, as meeting notes and recordings are shared publicly.
There are a few things that proved to be a bit problematic with this format though:
- It’s audio-based, and as such, not accessible by everyone. For Sync #3, we agreed on allowing text-based discussion via Mumble’s chat, and it kinda worked, so it may be a non issue
- All three meetings happened in french, because participants are french speaker. There is an accessibility issue here, because our community isn’t french-only, and non-french speakers are de facto excluded from this meetings
- We don’t appoint an explicit moderator, or keep track of talking time, which can lead to akward moments (do we continue to discuss this point? Do we switch to the next one?)
- I don’t think it can scale really well if we have more than 10-15 participants
- It probably need to adapt to the organization we’re designing
For all those reasons, I’d like to discuss with you about Funkwhale Sync. What’s your opinion on this topic? What could we do better? Should we keep it at all or switch to a completely different thing?
@ginnymcqueen You probably have some experience from your other communities. How were you coordinating discussing things?