Hey everybody! We had an incredibly productive meeting today. We will have orientation meetings in several weeks as the site goes online, but for now we have a lot of work to do laying a foundation, creating content and designing the functionality of the system, and planning outreach and publicity efforts.
1. Content creation We decided that though some business card or quarter sheet size lit might be helpful, conservation of paper plus a plethora of other reasons led us to move towards providing as much online explanatory and introductory information as possible. We will have FAQs, textual and visual examples, orientation materials, processural explanations, resources and links, all up in your grill before you even join the exchange. It'll be INTENSE!
(BTW if you want to collaborate on textual or visual content, let me know or go to http://dev.comoexchange.org, sign up, and check out the forum, and collaborate on all of this stuff on there. It wont work perfectly, as it is in development, however the debugging software will automatically submit problems to vince so he can fix them and tweak the site functions. We will be killing two or three birds with one stone, so to speak.
2. Unit name We have a running poll for the unit name (i.e. what the LETS credits will be called, instead of just credits)! http://doodle.com/participation.html?pollId=rnu37hu82hra55rp will take you to a simple polling mechanism where you can vote on either 'marbles', 'seeds' or 'shares'. My idea for 'opposums' fell on flat ears, I wonder why!
3. Membership Rules This is still being decided on somewhat. We might model Freecycle by having people submit membership requests, and then, unless someone can vouch for them, contact them to detect a sign of life and local residence. Other ideas are member invites (like Gmail), or, if it gets real out of hand and/or we run to legitmacy problems, paper applications may be in order (like job applications). This is something that will necessitate adaptivity down the road.
4. Ratios We will be suggesting a ratio of exchange at 10 USDollars = 1 Hour = 10 LETS Units . This is not officially tied by any means, and may have a bit more sway once (and IF) we integrate businesses down the road (several months). Because of the way a mutual credit system works, the REAL value is in the activity of the system, and more importanly, the skills, time and knowledge that people put into their daily lives.
5. Abuse Prevention We will be setting guidelines for many reasons. If people are using this system for tax evasion (exchanges that must be taxed will be for businesses, professional services, or $1000 of regularized economic activity annually) they WILL be banned temporarily (with a three strike rule) because of reasons of liability, legitimacy and fairness. ALSO, we will situationally advise and/or take action over people who are too far in commitment (below zero, NOT debt. 0 = stasis point) or who have way too much overaccumulation. If they have a lot of activity and can guarantee future balanced activity (e.g. market gardeners), it will be passable, however consistent abusive behavior will not be tolerated for the good of other system memebers. We will explain this in greater detail on the website.
6. Knowledge Exchange and Skillbase We will be engineering the site to provide not only a system of exchange, but a powerful community software tool for sharing knowledge, creating databases of community skills, organizing workshops, markets and potlucks, and even more. This will be a very unique strength of the CEC among comparable systems and could allow us to emerge as a very legitmate force in our nations transition into a community of sustainability, justice and community.
Again, let us know if you are interested in creating content, doing community outreach or publicity, and managing the site. We got a lot of fun work to do and every bit of help will push us further towards our goals. A key aspect is ensuring that not just the campus community but the community as a whole is involved and active and cooperatively leading this project, to ensure its life and livelihood well into uncertain but bold futures. Godspeed.
Richard Schulte Richard.J.Schulte@gmail.com