How to Organise on the New Communication Services
If you are a Circle, major Working Group, Regional Group, Affinity Group or Local Group, you will be invited onto the new tools as an Organisation. The first thing you have to do is to fill in a form explaining what facilities you need. This document hopes to help you make those decisions.
In XR, we have Circles (Anchor Circle), Working Groups, Regional Groups, Local Groups, Affinity Groups, Teams and maybe some other names for groups of people who work together.
Our chat platform, Mattermost, has Teams which are like a whole section devoted to one set of discussions - e.g. xrGlobal Team, UK Team, East of England Team.
Our UK Forum and UK Cloud platforms have Forum Groups - for security; a list of people who have access to things -- forums and folders.
All these different terms, with the same term meaning different things, and different terms meaning much the same thing, confuses me, and makes it very difficult to write a comprehensible document!
So I have devised the term "Organisation", defined to mean a circle, working group, or whatever that works together and uses the same areas on our new communication tools.
An organisation will have Channels to chat in on Mattermost. They may have a whole Team, giving them more control over who can see their public chats, at the expense of dividing the chat up into separate silos, or they may simply have channels within the UK Team. Each nation and region in the UK has a Team, for example, to help cooperation between their local groups.
They will have two forum groups on UK Forums - one public, that anyone can join, and one private that only people in the organisation can see. They will have at least one public Reception forum linked to their public group, and may have one or more private forums.
They will have a security group and (optionally) a folder on UK Cloud - only members of the organisation can upload files and create folders in their folder.
All the members of an Organisation have the same access to everything. When someone is invited into the organisation on the UK Hub, they automatically get access to everything belonging to the organisation.
To create a new Organisation, you either have to be invited by the admins at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you have to create a Child XR Group of your existing organisation on the Hub, using the New Child XR Group button.
A Child XR Group is an organisation like any other, except that the organisation type and parent organisation are ready filled in (and can't be changed). If you are a UK Working group, they will be UK working groups. For Regional group, they will be Regional Working groups, District Groups or Local Groups. For Local groups, they are Local Working groups, and so on.
Dividing yourself up into organisations
We are a self organising system, so you can organise how you want.
This document is just trying to give you good examples so everyone doesn't have to reinvent the wheel, and think it all out for themselves.
But, if you go your own way, the Digital Discussions Applications Team would really like to know what you are doing before you do it - we may be able to help, we may be able to point out advantages or drawbacks you haven't thought of, and we may ask to use your ideas to help and inspire others.
Do post in Digital Discussions Applications Team Reception public channel or Tech Champions & Group Admins private channel (in UK Team on Mattermost) if you have a good idea, or need advice on the best way to achieve what you want.
Most local groups consist of a few hundred people, of which a few tens of people are active members of working groups. And those active people are often in more than one working group, and often want to communicate with the whole membership, and with other working groups.
Therefore the default we devised consists of a single organisation, with a number of forums - one for each working group, plus probably some more for other long term groups of people working together,
Everybody in the organisation is able to see all the forums, and can dip in and out of them as they wish. If someone is really not interested in one or more forums or channels, they can mute them, thus avoiding notifications when new topics and replies are posted. This should be fine for most local groups.
Sometimes there is a privacy issue, when a working group has data that should not be visible to the whole organisation. Our solution to this is for the working group in question to set themselves up as a separate organisation (the Group Admin for the organisation uses New Child XR Group on the Hub to create a new form to fill in). The working group will then get their own private area away from the gaze of the rest of the local or regional group.
There is a checkbox in the New organisation screen (and, after the organisation has been created, in the Edit Organisation screen) "Join All Members Of Child Organisations". This automatically invites all members of child XR groups to the organisation -- we recommend this is ticked for Local Groups, so everyone is in the Local Group.
Each Regional group is an organisation. If someone is invited to the region, they automatically see all the public and private areas belonging to the region.
Most regions would like all their local (and district) group members to have access to the common regional spaces, so tick the "Join All Members Of Child Organisations" box to invite all the members of their local and district groups to the region organisation. They create separate regional working group child organisations for working group private discussions.
Each region has chosen to have its own Mattermost Team, and child organisations will use the regional team by default (though they may have choosen to have their own team, if they wish -- if they do that, and the "Join All Members Of Child Organisations" box is not ticked, they will not be in the regional team as well).
A region could only invite people active in regional working groups to the region, and organise themselves much as a local group does above - all their regional working groups are just channels and forums in the region organisation, and everyone in the region organisation has access to them all. Ordinary local (and district) group members are not invited to the region organisation (unless they are also in regional working groups).
UK Working Groups
UK Working Groups provide services to the rest of XR. They should be visible to the whole of XR, by having a Reception Channel in the UK Team on Mattermost, and a public Reception Forum in the appropriate category on Forums. The easiest way to achieve this is for them to be a separate Organisation (Organisations get both of these automatically).
Do I need File Storage on UK Cloud?
If you have a need to store files and documents private to your organisation, you need to ask for a file storage area on UK Cloud. This storage area is private to your organisation, although you can share files or folders in your private area with others (individuals, organisations, or the general public) if you wish.
Everyone on the new services has access to a public Library of documents. The Library is divided up into areas, and each area is maintained by a working group. So, if you don't have files that you need to keep private to your organisation, you don't need to bother with a private file area - just ask the Librarians working group (via their Reception on Mattermost chat UK Team, or on UK Forums) for a public area you can maintain.
It is possible for a region (say) to create a child organisation (like a local group) with no file storage, but then to share part of the region's file storage with the child organisation - much like a regional library. The child organisation gets read-write access to that folder only.
How to organise Mattermost chat
Mattermost chat is very open. Anyone can create new channels - but please do so sparingly, and with the agreement of people in the team. You can delete channels on the Hub, but this actually only archives them under an obscure name, so they still take up space on the server.
Mattermost chat is divided up into Teams. Only people invited into a Team can see the Channels in that team, or see other people in that Team. Each region and nation has its own Team, divided up into chat channels for working groups, local groups, and cross-group discussion. Local groups will usually just be part of their regional team.
You will be given a public Reception channel in the UK Team (unless you have a particular reason why you don't want anyone else in XR to be able to contact you through Mattermost - if so, add a note in your form explaining why you think this is justified).
You will be given a private chat channel in your Team (unless you really don't want one - again, ask in the notes if so).
East of England Region
Here is how East of England have organised their Mattermost chat:
They have channels for each local group, plus general EoE channels for region wide chat. They devised this scheme all by themselves, but it's a shining example of how to organise.
Arrestee Support work during the rebellions to record and track arrestees as they are arrested, get support outside police stations as people are released, and follow up through the whole legal process as people go to trial (and are acquitted, hopefully). They are a normal working group, and have an organisation on the Hub, with chat channels on Mattermost, forums on UK Forums, and a private file area on UK Cloud.
But they have a smaller group of people who manage the actual data about the arrestees. This data is extremely sensitive, and not everyone in the working group has full access to it. They created a subgroup organisation with its own data area on the UK Cloud, and its own private forum and chat areas to discuss the data. All the members of the subgroup organisation are also members of the Arrestee Support organisation, and can join in the discussions with the whole working group.
Communities is a high level working group in XR UK. Here is their GlassFrog picture:
Communities is an Organisation with its own team on Mattermost chat. All the working groups within the diagram above have been created as subgroups - each is an organisation, but they all share the Communities team. The External Coordinators of each working group are members of the Communities organisation too, and get access to the Communities private channels, forums and file area.
Many of those working groups have their own private file storage area on UK Cloud, too, because they have private data not shared with the whole of Communities (e.g. Integration will have personal information about potential members).