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posted by requerdanos on Friday September 29 2023, @05:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-work-continues dept.

Meeting Announcement: The next meeting of the SoylentNews governance committee is scheduled for Today: Friday, September 29th, 2023 at 20:30 UTC (1:30pm PDT, 4:30pm EDT) in #governance on SoylentNews IRC. Logs of the meeting will be available afterwards for review, and minutes will be published when complete.

The agenda for the upcoming meeting will also be published when available. Minutes and agenda, and other governance committee information are to be found on the SoylentNews Wiki at: https://wiki.staging.soylentnews.org/wiki/Governance

The community is always welcome to observe and participate, and is warmly invited to the meeting.

posted by requerdanos on Thursday September 21 2023, @04:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the how-organizations-are-forged dept.

Meeting Announcement: The next meeting of the SoylentNews governance committee is scheduled for Friday, September 22nd, 2023 at 20:30 UTC (1:30pm PDT, 4:30pm EDT) in #governance on SoylentNews IRC. Logs of the meeting will be available afterwards for review, and minutes will be published when available.

The agenda for the upcoming meeting will also be published when available. Minutes and agenda, and other governance committee information are to be found on the SoylentNews Wiki at: https://wiki.staging.soylentnews.org/wiki/Governance

You, the community, are always welcome to observe and participate, and you're invited to the meeting.

posted by requerdanos on Thursday August 31 2023, @10:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the your-governance-at-work dept.

Meeting Announcement: The next meeting of the SoylentNews governance committee will be Friday, September 1st, 2023 at 20:30 UTC (1:30pm PDT, 4:30pm EDT) in #governance on SoylentNews IRC. Logs of the meeting will be available afterwards for review, and minutes will be published when available.

The agenda for the upcoming meeting will also be published when available. Minutes and agenda, and other governance committee information are to be found on the SoylentNews Wiki at: https://wiki.staging.soylentnews.org/wiki/Governance

Our community is always encouraged to observe and participate, and is invited to the meeting. Hope to see you then!

posted by requerdanos on Thursday August 24 2023, @07:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the governance-in-action dept.

Meeting Announcement: The next meeting of the SoylentNews governance committee will be Friday, August 25th, 2023 at 20:30 UTC (1:30pm PDT, 4:30pm EDT) in #governance on SoylentNews IRC. Logs of the meeting will be available afterwards for review, and minutes will be published when available.

The agenda for the upcoming meeting will be published when available. In the meeting we plan to discuss mechanicjay's report on different entity types and the first draft of the bylaws, which was posted to janrinok's journal previously.

Minutes and agenda, and other governance committee information are to be found on the SoylentNews Wiki at: https://wiki.staging.soylentnews.org/wiki/Governance

Our community is encouraged to observe and participate, and is therefore invited to the meeting. SoylentNews is, after all, People!

posted by requerdanos on Thursday August 17 2023, @05:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the you-are-your-future-overlords dept.

Meeting Announcement: The next meeting of the SoylentNews governance committee will be Friday, August 18th, 2023 at 20:30 UTC (1:30pm PDT, 4:30pm EDT) in #governance on SoylentNews IRC. Logs of the meeting will be available afterwards for review, and minutes will be published when available.

The agenda for the upcoming meeting will be confirmed pending confirmation of who will be attending. The SoylentNews PBC board has been invited to attend and clarify some things about the transition in structure. We also plan to work on the future bylaws of SoylentNews.

Minutes and agenda, and other governance committee information can be found on the SoylentNews Wiki at: https://wiki.staging.soylentnews.org/wiki/Governance

Per usual, the community is encouraged to observe and participate and is hereby invited to the meeting. SoylentNews is People!

posted by hubie on Wednesday August 16 2023, @03:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-asking dept.

"Everywhere I came I got the impression that I was surrounded by people who were emitting, but not receiving. Narcissism, I thought, is a corruption of focus, a version of attention which is only directed towards yourself and your own ego."

(Stolen Focus, Johann Hari, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London, 2022.)

How many subs should we publish on this site?

If we'd put on just a single story for each topic (software, hardware, news, science, security, politics and so on), and keep it on the frontpage for a week, would that work for you? If we'd publish hundred stories each day, would you start or continue commenting?

In short, can you think of a magic cast, in terms of number and frequency of stories, to lure an optimum number of people into posting here? If so, which would be the factors in your mathematical formula?

(Audio interviews for the quoted book, here).


Original Submission

posted by requerdanos on Monday August 07 2023, @08:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the soylentnews-is-people dept.

Meeting Announcement: The next meeting of the SoylentNews governance committee will be this coming Friday, August 11th, 2023 at 20:30 UTC (1:30pm PDT, 4:30pm EDT) in #governance on SoylentNews IRC. Logs of the meeting will be available afterwards for review, and minutes will be published when available.

The agenda for the upcoming meeting will come out within the next few days, 24 hours or more before the meeting. The agenda is expected to cover, at a minimum, actions arising from the previous meeting, such as exploring the formation of a new entity, and janrinok's report on management structure.

Minutes and agenda, and other governance committee information can be found on the SoylentNews Wiki at: https://wiki.staging.soylentnews.org/wiki/Governance

Call for experts: The committee is calling for experts with relevant knowledge of entity formation to attend the meeting. Their advice may be helpful to the committee and the greater community going forward and would be greatly appreciated.

As always, the community is welcome to observe and participate and is hereby invited to come and do both. SoylentNews is People!

posted by requerdanos on Tuesday August 01 2023, @02:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the public-benefit-corporation dept.

This is a summary report from the SoylentNews PBC meeting of Monday, July 31, 2023. An IRC log of the full text of the meeting (from channel #meeting) is available, as well as a log of the related discussion (IRC log of #meeting-discuss channel).

[Ed. note: the # sign gives problems so here they are in plain text, feel free to left click and open in a new window]

#Meeting:
https://logs.sylnt.us/%23meeting/2023-07-31.html
#Meeting-discuss:
https://logs.sylnt.us/%23meeting-discuss/2023-07-31.html

The Meeting

The significant events of the meeting were as follows:

  • matt_ called the meeting to order at 4:34pm EDT with all members (matt_ and NCommander) present. The community was invited to sit in on the meeting and participate in a Q&A session afterwards.
  • matt_ moved that minutes from the previous meeting be accepted; NCommander seconded; motion passed.
  • NCommander nominated kolie to be added to the board of directors of SoylentNews PBC as the third member (after matt_ and NCommander). matt_ moved that the board be expanded to three and kolie added; NCommander seconded; motion carried unanimously.
  • kolie put forth a detailed proposal for the establishment of a governance committee to replace the existing governing structure. There was general agreement, and discussion about the legality of such a move.
  • It was decided that such a governance committee should decide on a new governing structure going forward, which the PBC would then transfer its assets to (all ip, including the domain, trademarks, data, etc.).
  • The proposal was restated by matt_ as a motion, "Motion to approve the formation of a committee of volunteers to explore the formation of a new entity for the purpose of acquiring the PBC's assets, including all internet domains, data, and intellectual property, which committee shall present a proposal to the Board within 14 days of today's date, which may be extended to a maximum of 90 days at the committee's discretion."
  • Both kolie and NCommander seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
  • There being no further official business, matt_ moved to adjourn, kolie seconded, and the meeting was adjourned at 5:28pm EDT.

After the meeting there was a Q&A time, and some steps were taken towards the formation of the governance committee.

The Q&A

  • cmn32480 asked: Why have there been no responses to any of the buyout offers that were sent to the shareholders?
    • NCommander responded "Ultimately, the proposal was sent to matt_ and I, and discussed breaking up the shares. As I discussed with you in DM, that ultimately didn't solve the issue in regards to the general ownership problem, but I was agreed to at least using it as a starting point point. I did send it to matt, and got no response, which I did tell you on Discord, there was no follow-up over it, and I didn't talk with matt_ from [before] that discussion until now... communication on the backend has ... well let's just say its a known problem, and one that def. needs a better solution."
  • Veyrdite asked, There are lots of opinions about which parts of the org structure are problematic (and I suspect this will get brought up in the meeting), so instead I am curious as to which parts of the org structure work well? What should new aspiring communities potentially copy?
    • NCommander responded in part, "Ultimately, while I was in the role in project manager, I also held the role of president. And I acted as executioner of the communities wishes. There's *a lot of very long posts to that*. However, after I stepped down in 2021 from that role, there essentially became a large disconnect to this. The problems had been building well before that, but the wheels essentially fell off when the business/legal side became detached from the operations/community side of things."
  • Veyrdite asked, It sounds like having the org worked at first. Would you suggest other (new) projects do an org the same way, or something different?
    • NCommander answered in part, "For the new org? It needs to be specifically defined who is responsible for who does what. And there needs to be a clear way to change the guard. No one should be stuck in a position they don't want to be, and people need to be replaceable; any of us can be hit by a car tomorrow."
  • Veyrdite asked, I have heard "NDA" been mentioned. This seems dissonant for a public site with volunteers. Can you explain what is going on here?
    • Kolie answered, "I approached NC when the shutdown happened. We were discussing the site, its data, etc. I agreed to an NDA to not disclose anything. As an outsider - I was given access to the internals of the data, pbc, etc. The purpose of the NDA was to safeguard the PBC from liability given access to someone outside of everything. It was overly broad, generic NDA. It has since been removed and is not in effect. It was from legal zoom - it's purpose literally for liability and there was no nefarious background being discussed behind it. Everything discussed at that time has since become public."
  • Another question from Veyrdite, Are there any other NDAs currently in force in this organisation?
    • Kolie and NCommander both said that they knew of no other NDAs.
  • For the final question of the Q&A session, Deucalion asked, What are the next steps? Proposed first step is to contact the suggested committee members to see if a committee can indeed be formed as suggested.
    • The result of the question was discussion among the potential governance committee members about forming the committee.

The governance committee

As of this writing, the governance committee consists of kolie, audioguy, mechanicjay, requerdanos, Deucalion, and Fnord666, with possible other new members added from among staff/editors within the next few days.

Of the committee, kolie says "The committee is to self govern and determine its own fate. I want a call to those who haven't accepted yet to answer - and to those interested to come around. [For] the community to participate in #governance and to work with myself as the chair or committee members to include their input and set up whatever's coming next."

The business of the governance committee will happen in the #governance channel on SoylentNews IRC and in their expected upcoming meta and/or journal posts.

posted by AudioGuy on Sunday July 30 2023, @06:30PM   Printer-friendly

Greetings, Soylentils!

I am told by those who know, that 75% of the posters here are still from the original group of people that formed the community when we left Slashdot and created Soylent News. So some of you may remember me (Audioguy, #25) from that time.

Newer people may not know me, as I tend to be pretty quiet most of the time. Mostly I just read the news articles, and quietly do bits of sysadmin work in the background to keep the site up.

Only when I feel the core values of our community project are in danger, or its very existence is threatened, do I come out very publicly, and at such times I can be QUITE vocal.

Now is such a time.

I am about to do something which would not only have been uncontroversial, but normal here until the last six months. In the present climate it will probably piss a few people off.

I am going to update the community on exactly what has been going on behind the scenes here.

You may have noticed that Soylent News has no ads. How is that possible? It is possible because Soylent News was founded as a community, not a business. Our 'staff' is actually just unpaid members of the larger community, who step up and volunteer their time, because they support the idea of a purely user run news and discussion site. And that staff changes over time, sometimes people just burn out and decide to just go back to being normal members, some find themselves with increasing commitments or medical problems, or any number of other reasons. And its all fine, because others step up from the larger community and take up the tasks. Some later come back as well, when circumstances permit.

Since we have no paid staff, our expenses are pretty low. So others, perhaps without the time to contribute, help provide funds so we can continue to operate. These are members of the community who strongly support the idea of a community run site, free from the kind of corporate influence that has destroyed so many communities over the years.

And for years, this amazing community approach has worked, it has kept the site going. The group has fended off two and a half attempts by corporations or monied interests to destroy it. The first was Dice, for Slashdot. The second was a person who held the name the community had selected hostage for money.

The third...well, we THOUGHT we had fended that one off. It turned out to be a ticking time bomb, as some, including me, had warned about.

Six months ago, that time bomb went off.

At this point in time, all access by admins to our servers has been cut off. ONE person is making all admin decisions.

The editors have just enough access to edit stories.

All decisions are handed down from the top, the two -only- stockholders, and board members, who are the same people as the stockholders.

An outside 'fixer' was called in with no consultation with staff under an agreement we have not seen and which was kept secret, when staff protested.

From the top, there has been talk of adding advertising. Of looking for outside investors.

It needs to be understood that much of what is being presented now is a sham. Elections for 'a' board seat or 'maybe' more? What good is that going to do?

The simple truth is that Soylent PBC is a corporation. The ultimate power resides in the stockholders, not the board. The current two stockholders are there because promises were made that power would -never- be used. The present bylaws actually make it trivial for the stockholders to do that. But now it has been used, and abused.

Until the bylaws are fixed the community is not in ultimate control of Soylent.

Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:37:45 -0400
From: Michael(NCommander)
To: The List for SoylentNews Staff Members
Subject: [Soylent-staff] On the topic of incorporation ...
The first, and perhaps most important bit is the topic of ownership, who owns the site. Well, the official position is that SN is owned jointly by the staff, and despite Jon's statements, he never legally owned what he sold, and essentially held us hostage. At no time did Jon have any legal basis to what he did, and this view is further compounded by the fact that he willingly stepped down, and then gave (followed by revoking) access to the DNS registrar and other services. What Matt bought from Jon was essentially a lot of hot air, and grounds for him to go off and stop bothering us; this act was neither endorsed by the staff, nor associated with us; it was an action he made of his own free will.

They are acting as if we have a vote for the board of directors. We don't. Here is the what the current bylaws say about this:

"2. Election and Qualification. Unless otherwise provided in the Certificate of Incorporation or in these Bylaws the number of Directors which shall constitute the whole Board of Directors shall be determined by vote of the stockholders at the annual meeting. Directors need not be stockholders."

There is more, but it all goes the same way - either the stockholders elect the board, or the board itself.

Only stockholders get a vote. In fact, any votes taken with anyone else are, at best, purely advisory. And current actions may be in direct conflict with the actual bylaws.

Show me where they advised everyone of that fact in the current metas?

The original plan in 2014 was that the bylaws would be re-written by the community.

That promise has never been fulfilled.

From: "Matt"
To:
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:03:23 -0400
Subject: [Soylent-staff] FW: Plan for setting up a nonprofit for SN - Final
...
Step 4. NCommander coordinates the drafting of bylaws.
Step 5. The foundation's lawyer looks over the draft bylaws.
Step 6. Lawyer-approved draft bylaws are sent to Staff for their consideration.
Step 7. Staff sends lawyer-approved draft bylaws to their own horde of stealth lawyers for approval.
Step 8. Staff-approved draft bylaws go up for a community-wide up/down vote using new incorruptible voting system (coming soon!).
if(vote == fail){goto Step_4;}

It never happened, which is why we are where we are at now.

Until the bylaws are rewritten this is all nonsense, smoke and mirrors.

If you wish to have a say now in how Soylent is run, you must buy your way in.

I and another are trying to do exactly that, with full support of the admin and editorial staff. To restore control of this community back to its original and -rightful- owners, the community itself. You.

The whole sordid story can be read in my proffer, which is exactly as I have submitted it to the Secretary of the Board for consideration in their next meeting, July 31.

Proffer: A Proffer For Soylentnews PBC

With the single exception to this being I have changed the real names to the screen names most are more familiar with here, and in the interest of peoples privacy.

It's all there, folks:

  • Greed
  • Betrayal
  • Broken Promises
  • Authoritarian Control
  • Secret Meetings
  • Secret Contracts
  • Lies
  • Misrepresentations
  • Utter Destruction

Everything we love to hate about the very worst of human nature.

Everyone should read at least the history section of that document. Read the rest to learn my plan. It the ONLY one that guarantees, with a legal and binding contract between all parties, that Soylent is restored FULLY and NOW to community control.

We have only two choices now, if we wish to keep our community together.

1. Somehow convince the board that they are WAY out of line, get them to change course, and restore power back to the community.

It's a small chance, but it IS a chance.

2. We once again start over. With a new domain. Which we CAN do, with your support.

What we badly need right now is for the community's voice to be heard. And loudly. Leave not a shred of doubt that the community wishes to regain control of its own site, and destiny.

Under the present circumstances, I cannot even guarantee this post will remain up. So speak up early.

I still have one of the domains from our original name vote - techmatter.org. If we are completely cut off, I will put some info there about where we are. There is nothing at all there now, the domain is dormant. It's just for emergency use.

-Audioguy

posted by requerdanos on Friday July 28 2023, @08:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the be-the-change dept.

The date, time, and place for the upcoming SoylentNews PBC meeting mentioned in a previous meta post from Tuesday, July 25th were announced today:

  • Date and Time: Monday, July 31 at 1:30pm PDT (4:30pm EDT / 8:30pm UTC)
  • Place: #meeting on irc.soylentnews.org (SoylentNews IRC)

More details:

The upcoming meeting will be to nominate one or more qualified candidates to serve on the Board. The PBC exists to define what and how SoylentNews will be and to enforce that vision. Ultimately the Board is responsible for the high-level oversight that ensures the bylaws are fulfilled. The purpose of the expansion is to include more voices from the community so they will be directly represented in the decision making [affecting] the community. The next meeting will be held over IRC and will be answering and addressing your questions and concerns from any of the comments posted in this article.

For further information, see the previous meta post.

Community participation is essential, so I hope we'll see as many of you there as possible.

posted by on Tuesday July 25 2023, @07:31PM   Printer-friendly

I wanted to post a reminder to the community that the SoylentNews PBC has it’s upcoming meeting at the end of July on the 31st ( #meeting on irc.sylnt.us @ 1:30 PDT - web access via https://irc.staging.soylentnews.org/ ). I believe that this event is the continuation and result of a very hard push by myself and others to bring about necessary changes to the management and structure of SoylentNews.

The upcoming meeting will be to nominate one or more qualified candidates to serve on the Board. The PBC exists to define what and how SoylentNews will be and to enforce that vision. Ultimately the Board is responsible for the high-level oversight that ensures the bylaws are fulfilled. The purpose of the expansion is to include more voices from the community so they will be directly represented in the decision making effecting the community. The next meeting will be held over IRC and will be answering and addressing your questions and concerns from any of the comments posted in this article.

I highly encourage anyone who wants to participate and improve SoylentNews now and in the future to seriously consider pursuing involvement in the PBC as an officer, board member, or committee leader/member. At the very least get in touch with someone who is in such a position and offer them your suggestions.

I believe it is very important for the PBC and Community to discuss and begin to draft items for consideration by the PBC which will formalize the process and delegation of the community involvement and decision-making process. In my mind this takes the form of setting up a community governance committee which I volunteer to chair. This community should be tasked with exploring and proposing the very changes necessary to empower community involvement again.

As I am a member of the PBC I always am acutely aware that ultimately the PBC is beholden to the community of which we serve. To that end rather than I or PBC dictate solutions to the numerous problems we face let’s find a way that we can do so together.

~kolie

posted by NCommander on Wednesday July 05 2023, @02:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the ssl-negotations-are-complex dept.

So, I know its been a bit quiet here, but we're working through getting through the last few items relating to cutting over to newer infrastructure. As such, its been working through the bug list, and there's one issue I want to get some feedback on.

Back in November when the infrastructure was upgraded to Ubuntu 22.04, a few users with older devices stopped being able to connect to SoylentNews. This confused me, since we've been using the same NGINX SSL termination setup that has been in use since at least 2016. Well, I finally found the root cause, and as it turns out, Canonical bumped up the minimum OpenSSL security level, which disabled several ciphers, and broke devices not supporting TLS 1.2 or later.

By testing the site with the SSL Labs site checker, it appears anything older than Android 4.0, or iOS 5 is broken. This mostly seems to be devices that are over a decade old at this point, and won't be able to browse the vast majority of sites on the Internet as is. We discussed this internally a bit, and I'm of the opinion that its not worth re-enabling the older ciphers to allow these devices to reconnect, especially since we're working to modernize the stack, and get it as up to date as we can get it. I also believe we had very few users who were actually affected by this, however, as the editors did get a few emails about SN breaking after the site upgrade, I wanted to poll the community, and make sure this is not a more widespread issue than initially believed.

Ultimately, this is going to be part of a broader discussion on what we will and won't support on SoylentNews going forward, and this seems as good of place as any to get the ball rolling.

~ NCommander