Successful co-ops work in a variety of ways; some are more centralized and others like us are more focused on distributed democracy. Comradery’s structure is inspired by the democratic organization of rank-and-file led unions. Our goal is to be a resource and leadership opportunity to any creators, activists, and cooperative organizations who share our mission.
Comradery rejects the “hypergrowth” paradigm of the tech industry. Instead, we focus on sustainable growth that is guided by our community principles. Below are details on how our organization works. These details explore how you can be a part of Comradery as a creator, a voting member-owner, and as a volunteer moderator or committee member.
Anyone can be a supporter to any project on comradery. It’s fast and easy to make an account and supporters can pledge monthly subscriptions of amounts more than $1. Supporters are an important part of Comradery, but supporters are not member-owners of the co-op and cannot vote until they apply to become Creator members.
Comradery has a basic application and approval process that also acts as your orientation. The goal is not to be exclusive or judge the credentials of applicants, it is to make sure your goals are right for the platform, and to make sure you get the resources you need to get started. It’s a little different than you might be used to, but it’s quick and useful.
There are three phases that each serve an important purpose and help you better understand the community and how you can contribute, and how the platform can work for you:
Step 1 - Create a Supporter account
Create a Supporter account and submit an application to become a Creator. This lets us know your basic info, what your goals for the platform are, and a few accessibility questions that help us connect you with another member for the next step. Volunteer Moderators will verify your contact information and confirm that your organization and goals fit with our platform rules.
Step 2 - The One-on-One
This is the best part! You as an applicant will have a 15-minute conversation called a ‘One-on-One’ with a trained Creator who already knows the ropes. This usually means a voice call over Discord, though other accessible options are available
The Creator can answer your questions, suggest ideas, and help guide you into the voting and community processes that will help you be a part of the community. The purpose of this is not to test you, but to introduce you into the community and guide you.
Step 3 - Become a Creator
After the One-on-One, a Moderator will finish verifying everything is cool and upgrade your account to Creator status, bring you into the Discord Creator chat server, and answer any final questions you have as you get your account set up for first-time use. Once that’s done, you’re good to go!
Creators build their project pages, write posts, create tiers, and communicate directly with supporters all on Comradery. For payments, you will create an account through Stripe to securely connect your bank details and cash out your earnings.
On Comradery, Supporters pledge money and see posts on creator-run pages we call ‘Projects’. Creators can work on many projects, and many Creators can work together on one project, and any combination of those.
At launch, Comradery will allow you to create a dedicated project page with a domain extension (ex: comradery.co/yourproject), which you can share with your followers and gain supporters.
One creator can run a project independently
One creator can join and manage multiple projects
Multiple creators can manage the same project
As a Creator, you can create paid tiers for supporters so they can only see certain content if they pledge at a specific level. Your Supporters are primarily here to support you and your work. If your work takes place outside of Comradery, great!
There is no obligation to offer rewards to supporters or make your page in any way transactional. If you want to offer perks and bonuses to your supporters to thank them for subscribing, that’s ok too! Our goal at Comradery is to support all accounts, whether they are large or small, or if they offer perks or are donation-based.
Supporters complete payment on Comradery, and your payment details, bank information, and bank transfers are handled through Stripe.
You create a merchant account on Stripe’s website to handle your financial details and transfer funds to your bank. Supporters will have their accounts charged on the 1st of each month for all of their subscriptions. Minimum subscriptions are $1/month, and new supporters are offered pro-rated subscriptions where they will have a reduced rate for their second month if they didn’t subscribe on the first of the month.
As a Creator, you will be a voting member and co-owner of Comradery. This is the most important and exciting part of the platform! As a co-op, we are drafting an official charter that will outline all the specifics on how the co-op works. We will be working with Creators to democratically determine the details of the charter, but, for now, here are some broad strokes on what participation in the co-op looks like.
What you vote on
Members vote on proposals, amendments, and elections that affect everything from site roadmap to day-to-day operations. For example: Members may decide that Comradery should offer a new feature, like file hosting. The Tech and Design Committee might advise that this will require an increase in operation funds. Members could propose a motion to increase operation funds by changing the amount of dues or using surplus, and the general membership would decide if the feature is worth the change, discuss it, and vote on the proposal over a window of time.
Workers are the best people to decide what features and operations the site should perform, so Creators propose and vote on how Comradery will work. In the above example, the Tech and Design Committee would be responsible for implementing the feature change and would advise and help pass such a change, so expertise is always heavily considered along with popular demand.
General and Committee meetings are open to all member-owners (meaning Creators) and are held over voice chat in the Comradery Discord server. Day-to-day votes are also held in Discord, major votes are held over Google Forms over a longer timespan to allow all members to participate. The meetings are structured using Rusty’s Rules of Order, a simplified parliamentary procedure with a focus on making sure every member’s ideas are heard and listened to. The Good and Welfare Committee is responsible for ensuring members adhere to good conduct during meetings and that they are held equitably.
Committees are made up of volunteer members to help with specific areas of focus. Anyone can volunteer to be on a committee, and the committee chair is elected to help with facilitation and leadership of tasks. Committees can have as few as two Members, and joining one or more is highly encouraged. It is important to actively give everyone leadership practice so members can take on more leadership roles autonomously and proactively.
At launch, there are five committees at Comradery:
The Good and Welfare Committee - this committee is in charge of developing the code and conduct and to promote
inclusion and a positive environment.
The Steering Committee - this committee helps develop a future vision for Comradery by planning the roadmap and making proposals for community goals.
The Outreach Committee - this committee handles press interaction, messaging for new members, and developing the wording, copy and documentation on Comradery
The Tech and Design Committee - this committee is responsible for developing, implementing and deploying all the technology for the site
The Treasury Committee - this committee handles finances, addresses any issues with site funding and longevity, and works with tax professionals for managing the taxes for the site
Moderation is an important part of helping new users with the application process. Moderators will also help in fielding questions and complaints to be sure that all Creators and Supporters are following the code of conduct. Moderation is a volunteer position, but it’s one of our funding goals to finance a stipend for the work moderators do.
We’re a group of activists and workers spread out all over the USA. The founding member team’s goal is to lend our skills to jump-start Comradery as an organization and hand off duties to new members as we grow and improve.