Let’s reinvigorate Mattermost as the team chat platform for all XR rebels in Australia.
This proposal is for discussion at the XR Australia National Working Group. I’ve shared it on Base to receive initial feedback and allow rebels to seek clarification.
To reinvigorate the XR Australia Mattermost team we need to tidy up the existing structure, reset understanding and expectations around the platform and the need for team chat and then finally reactivate the space.
This proposal is for forming a project group that would pursue the following steps.
Perform tidy up of XR Australia Team. This would include
- Archiving inactive public channels
- Merge and/or archive channels with overlapping purpose
- Ensure consistent channel naming convention, header, purpose
- Review all cross posting with Base
- Review access of existing Team Admins
Understanding and Expectations
- Establish community guidelines and make them visible (includes hygiene)
- Define mandate for moderators and fill roles
- Prepare refreshed one-pager for onboarding new rebels with easy to remember link
- Bulk import rebels from various state Mattermost teams to XR Australia team
- Encourage states to close their existing Mattermost teams
- Connect with movement leaders and encourage them to support reinvigorating the space, brief them on proposal, the differences between team and group chat, how to use the platform effectively, encourage them to spread the word (get back on Mattermost), if you can’t find something post it in the Town Square, etc.
- Encourage admins of large Signal groups to (if appropriate) dissolve the group and move discussion onto Mattermost/Base
- Build up a repository of useful topics on base that address common issues
In early 2019 as XR local groups began popping up across Australia many groups adopted different communication systems including Keybase, Signal, WhatsApp, Facebook Groups and Mattermost. Due to the lack of trust networks across states/local groups and resistance to moving off established platforms, adoption of Mattermost as a team communication platform has been mixed. Even when groups adopted the platform they would often setup their own local team with some core organisers using the XR Australia team.
As participation in the movement dropped during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic these local Mattermost teams no longer housed minimum viable communities. They became inactive with communication drifting onto Signal which has historically only been intended for sensitive discussions within small groups.
As of present, communications within the movement is largely siloed within Signal groups with some national working groups making use of Mattermost and XRWA using Telegram.
At the moment conversations that are intended for the wider movement are siloed within Signal groups. This privileges rebels who are present in these groups or connected to those that are. This excludes new rebels from viewing and participating in conversation.
The existing communication model doesn’t scale. We’re not using the tools as they’re intended.
Friction with broadcasting
To share a message widely within the movement rebels frequently re-share the same message across multiple large Signal Groups. This is both time consuming for the poster but frustrates those who see the same message across many groups. This behaviour is also present on Mattermost.
To resolve issues with broadcasting some large Signal groups have been established. This exposes rebels phone number to a large group of people, many of which are unknown.
Notifications by default
By default Signal enables notifications for all messages. Rebels not experienced with both configuring notifications and understanding their personal communication thresholds can find the notifications overwhelming.
Persistent and Searchable Conversations
Chatter within Signal groups often swing between sensitive and less sensitive communications. Rightly many Signal groups are configured to dispose of messages based on the most sensitive messages that may be shared. This means that less sensitive discussions that may need to be referenced later are no longer available. Past messages are also no present to rebels who join a group.
Previously some of those discussion took place on Mattermost. The difficulty however is that Mattermost is intended as a chat platform not a discussion platform. The recommendation is for discussions to take place on the Base as the software is specifically tailored to support it and make them easily searchable and archivable. Chatter on a discussion topic can still take place but we need a culture that supports feeding back outcomes to a discussion platform.
We currently have no unified documentation on Mattermost. No simple one pagers. Onboarding people should be as simple as sending them a link which has all the info rebels need.
Imagine going to ausrebellion.earth/mattermost (page not indexed by search engines) and finding the team link along with instructions or a video.
Misuse of Mattermost as a discussion and not a chat platform
The minimal level of activity on Mattermost has lead to an internal culture that misunderstands Mattermost and doesn’t treat it as a chat platform. Mattermost should be a lively space with hundreds of messages a day and rebels chatting about recent news and actions (non-sensitive and non-arrestable chatter). Rebels shouldn’t feel compelled to write massive posts or to read every message. This mis-understanding leads to frustration.