Cover of Community Rules: Simple Templates for Great Communities

Get Our New Pamphlet: "Community Rules: Simple Templates for Great Communities"

June 14, 2021

Request a free print copy Creating communities has never been easier, at least in some ways. Online social networks enable groups to form among people who might never otherwise meet—across borders, even within neighborhoods, and around common causes that might otherwise remain isolated and underground. Getting involved in a community...

Open Call: Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet

Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet

A multimodal conversation Image source: Questions and Answers - Audel’s New Electric Library (1938). Scan is courtesy of the Media Archaeology Lab . After a full year of almost every facet of life porting online, the stakes of governing online communities and infrastructures have never been higher. As a contribution...

Castle emerging from a smartphone screen, via

Implicit Feudalism: Why Online Communities Still Haven’t Caught Up with My Mother’s Garden Club

Jan. 8, 2021

Alongside whatever else mothers and sons talk about, I have begun receiving regular updates on the governance of my mother’s neighborhood garden club. They make me jealous. The club has survived from the heyday of suburban housewives—which my mother, as a retired government employee, never was. She is currently her...

Rocky Mountain Mutual Aid Network (RMMAN) logo

Explorations in Governance for Mutual Aid

Dec. 18, 2020

On December 5, 2020, we met with key stakeholders from the Rocky Mountain Mutual Aid Network (RMMAN) to discuss the organizational structure and potential future impact of RMMAN. The stakeholders at RMMAN worked to answer questions about RMMAN’s organizational design: How are decisions made? Who makes the decisions? Who gets...

Vision, Asks, Process, Connections

Meet the Exit to Community Cohort

Dec. 8, 2020

During the fall of 2020, MEDLab and Zebras Unite organized a cohort of more than two dozen startup founders working toward an " exit to community ." It was led by Sheeza Shah of Zebras Unite and MEDLab Community Fellow Danny Spitzberg. At today's public, online showcase, we heard from...

Drawing by Sita Magnuson

Exit to Community: Peer Learning Cohort

Sept. 2, 2020

Our next initiative is a peer learning cohort—but first, we need to hear your story so we can serve you and your community! Fill out this survey We're doing research because we don't know yet what people need in practice to successfully Exit to Community. Why a cohort? People told...

Exit to Community: A Community Primer

Exit to Community: A Community Primer

Aug. 31, 2020

DOWNLOAD: SCREEN / BOOKLET What is a startup for? Who are startups for? The usual answers begin sounding strange the more you think about them. A startup is kind of like a child, some say. Founders pour themselves and their resources and energy into the thing—but then, unlike a child,...

Illustration by Sita Magnuson

Cooperative Design: How Co-ops Center Their Members to Build Better Products, Faster

July 15, 2020

In 1948, ten workers at an Iowa meatpacking plant began Dupaco Credit Union by putting their mutual trust and around $150 in a shoebox. In 2017, I attended a credit union conference where Dupaco’s head of marketing David Klavitter said his key metric is still just as simple: 0% stock...

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We're Working with COVID-19 Mutual Aid Groups on Governance Design—Want to Work with Us?

June 5, 2020

One of the most inspiring outgrowths of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rise of local relief efforts under the banner of "mutual aid" and a commitment to "solidarity, not charity." These groups seek to address the impacts of the pandemic while also working for transformative social change. Their work...

Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator (public domain).

How’s That Open Source Governance Working for You?

April 29, 2020

Isn’t it weird that the radically democratic miracle of open-source collaboration is so full of monarchical dictatorships? Take your pick of projects; “benevolent dictators” are everywhere. Linux has Linus Torvalds, WordPress has Matt Mullenweg, and Ethereum has Vitalik Buterin—all of them founders poised to enjoy (or not) lifelong, absolute authority...