16/05/2023 Model Proposal - Tooling that might support this proposal

See parent thread with all sections of the proposed governance model here.

See original text with explanatory comments here.

The below is copied from this thread on Slack.

I have been looking into tooling that would allow us to practically implement the model that I have proposed - here is a video (26 mins but I have provided chapters to jump to the parts that you might be most interested in).

Happy to invite folks to have a poke around if you would like to - I have given a couple of examples of use cases that could be considered - does not mean that they have to be used, just needed some ways to demo the functionality and took some inspiration from how Decidim have things working in their own community.

Note that I have not covered at all the following areas:

  • Participatory budgeting (available for all aspects eg participatory process, assemblies etc)
  • Pages - basically allowing you to create static pages within a space
  • Surveys - allows you to capture and gather information
  • Badges - allows users to get badges for doing things within the platform
  • Newsletters (we would do this via Mautic)
  • Initiatives - a way of collecting signatures for a specific action (could be used for example to call a general assembly by getting sufficient signatures)


Learn more about Decidim: https://decidim.org
Decidim’s instance: https://meta.decidim.org
Decidim’s docs: https://docs.decidim.org

Video chapters:

00:00 Introduction
00:31 About Decidim
01:17 Overview of Decidim
02:21 Community Hub landing page
03:51 Participatory processes
04:45 Use case: voting on feature requests
10:17 Use case: voting on governance model
16:56 Use case: centralising all community meetings and activities in one place
17:57: Use case: one place to find and subscribe to updates from all teams, working groups and other ‘assemblies’
22:03: Use case: Conferences (weakest part IMO but demo’d for completeness)
23:31 Summary
23:59 How Decidim uses its own tool within its community

It would be very interesting indeed, to know the pricing of this tool.

How can someone learn so much about a tool, dedicate so much time to understand it, personalize it, and create a video about it and “not remember” what the pricing of the tool is? And then neglect to ask this information for the following week, I do wonder…

Might we be overcommitting to something we cannot afford?
I wonder who oversees what the hired staff of this community dedicates time and resources to, cause at around USD $8000/month, your time is not precisely cheap, one would expect it to be productive and your actions assertive, like finding out the cost and sharing that information back to us all.

Hello @rcheesley,

Why did you choose this tool?
Are there other tools on the market that do the same thing? If so, have you made a comparison?
How much does this tool cost?

Is there an open source tool that does this?


Hi folks!

As I mentioned, I was waiting to hear back from the provider with a formal quote.

When we first started to discuss this back in November I think it was, we talked very rough numbers which were aligned with what I felt was a reasonable cost, but given the off-the-cuff nature of the discussion it was certainly not something that I felt I could state in a public forum.

I requested a formal quote on 20th May and between then and now have passed 7 working days (taking into account bank holidays etc).

I appreciate your patience while they prepared the necessary scoping and documentation to provide us with an accurate quote.

The cost would be as follows:

One time

  • One-time setup fee to transfer infrastructure from the demo environment onto the live production environment and ensure this is functioning as expected: 800CHF (approx 736 EUR / $880 USD)

  • One-time setup fee to configure outbound email, custom domain and backups: 800CHF (approx 736 EUR / $880 USD)

Total one-time: 1600 CHF / 1462 EUR / $1760


This would be on a pre-paid support hours basis to cover updates, maintenance and any tasks that we might need (eg help with configuring the instance, adding new features and the likes).

They prefer to work in pre-paid support packs so that they can guarantee response time and development resources as they are a small team - I feel that this is a reasonable way of working.

We would need to access some support time to get up and running for:

  • Auth0 integration - 2 hours
  • Etherpad setup (which allows you to embed collaborative note taking within meetings and for historical reference in read-only mode after meetings) using the open source tool Etherpad) - 1 hour

Typical work we would need to budget for might include things like a major update to Decidim (approx 8 hours), installation of new modules (around 1-3 hours but depends on the complexity) for example.

The packages are as follows:

Basic hourly rate of 170 CHF / 159 EUR / $187

  • 16 hours - 2560 CHF (160 CHF/hour)
  • 32 hours - 4960 CHF (155 CHF/hour)
  • 64 hours - 9920 CHF (155 CHF/hour)
  • 128 hours - 19200 CHF (150 CHF/hour)

The prices indicated do not include VAT (7.7%).

I investigated several options which included:

  • The forums using the existing voting system - very simplistic voting process and allows for debating in a thread. Already widely used. We would have to figure out how to determine allowing voting in certain categories only by certain groups and we are somewhat limited as to the customisation that we can make as we are on a hosted platform.

  • Loomio - while it has some basic functionality for threads and polls it is very simplistic and I did not feel that this would grow and scale with what we need as a community. For example it does not have any concept of participatory processes, meetings and the like.

  • Polis - Also very simplistic and seems to be focused on just isolated conversations - no way to for example to group them by context (that I could tell) so I did not consider this to be fit for purpose

  • Metagov and PolicyKit - These are really promising projects but does not have any usable front-end yet. I have been in discussions with their team about this, and have enrolled us (Mautic) for a beta where they are developing this for one specific element (having a way to enable your community to collaboratively approve / reject expenses in Open Collective in a Slack channel) to help them with user experience testing, but I do not feel with our lack of developer resources that this is anywhere near ready for us to consider using. It would be way too steep a curve for us to get this to being usable.

Out of all the tools and options that I looked into, Decidim was the one that I see as being most promising. I feel it would bring the community together in many areas of the project to a central place where we can have all team meetings happening transparently, community meetings, projects and more. It has tried and tested governance processes that are used by large cities around the world.

I feel this is the tool that best helps us to meet our needs right now, and that will enable us to grow.

I have also contributed in their community several times and found them to be a welcoming and supportive open source project.

Decidim is open source - https://decidim.org.

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Looks like it’s a lot of money for a community that urgently needs to start cutting off costs.
And there are much cheaper alternatives.

There’s many other much cheaper or open source alternatives that are very mature.

Here’s a good directory to research from: https://www.g2.com/categories/online-community-management

Also, ask ChatGPT/Perplexity for other options.

Hi John,

Thanks for the suggestion! Actually we’re not really looking for a community management platform. We already have those, and they’re working pretty smoothly.

We’re looking for something that enables us to establish clear ways for people to engage in participatory decision making, which can scale to accommodate every decision making body from a community-wide General Assembly to a Council, Teams and individual working groups.

The products listed in your link are mostly closed source and proprietary, and in most cases exceedingly expensive. Some we already use, for example Common Room and Discourse in our community, but they don’t offer anything in the way of democratic processes.

So in this case, that’s not an especially helpful list of products because it doesn’t meet our needs.

Thank you for being willing to make a suggestion, though!

I’d give these a look to see if they’d work for you.

Lime Survey (Free Opensource)

Log Chimp


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I watched the video, and I like it. If we can ensure proposal submission, transparent voting and debates, that would be a huge step towards being a productive community.

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