DisCO Mothership Governance Model

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Welcome to the DisCO Mothership Governance Model

Hello and welcome!

To get the full picture, keep reading.


About the DisCO Mothership Governance Model

The DisCO MOTHERSHIP refers to the group of people currently carrying out the DisCO Project and the developers of this Governance Model [1].

As such, you are reading the exact governance model by which our organization functions as a living DisCO LAB. It is, however, designed to be adapted for other Non Profits seeking to extend internal democracy, accountability and Care Work, as well as ensuring socio-environmental outcomes.

This DisCO MOTHERSHIP Governance Model is a substantial fork of Guerrilla Media Collective's version of the DisCO Governance Model. Guerrilla Media Collective (henceforth GMC) is the original DisCO LAB from which DisCO.coop arose.[2] GMC's Governance Model is the base DisCO Governance Model for worker-owned coops , Social Solidarity Enterprises and SMEs.

This version of the DisCO Governance Model (3.5) is not aimed at working collectives offering goods and services in the marketplace, but non-profits, such as the DisCO Foundation.[3]. These are considered DisCO Non-Profits, or DisCO.NPs for short.[4]

While there are other types of DisCOs, this Governance model is specifically aimed at Non-profits.

The DisCO MOTHERSHIP Governance Model is being further developed as part of the Distributed Cooperative Organization (DisCO) Governance/Economic Model V 4.0 for eventual inclusion in the DisCO BALL, which is DisCO.coop's overall knowledge base. Version 4.0 is a non-DisCO specific version highlighting the main DisCO governance templates, of the DisCO Applications Program or DAP. [5]

All changes between version 3.0 (The Guerrilla Media Collective Model) and version 3.5 (The DisCO MOTHERSHIP/DisCO.NP Model) are tracked in the DIsCO Governance Model Version Changes entry. If you wish to comment or give feedback on any part of this governance model, please go to this wiki entry's Talk Page and follow the instructions there.


This document describes a governance/economic model for self-sustaining, mission-oriented, distributed organizations.

It values three types of work:

  1. Pro-bono Lovework (Voluntary, unfunded work)
  2. Funded Livelihood work (project-specific funded work), and
  3. Care Work (which includes well-being, as well as admin and maintenance tasks)

The three types of work, or "value streams", are tracked with complementary metrics and rewards are dispensed accordingly. We will fully explore what this means in the Value Tracking section below.

The purpose of the DisCO.NP model is to extract people from the capitalist marketplace so they can use their unique talents to do fulfilling, and socially and environmentally meaningful work. The document prototypes a governance model fit for digital labor.

This model mixes theory with proven on-the-ground practice: it originated in an existing organization: Guerrilla Media Collective or "GMC", also known through the P2P Translation collective Guerrilla Translation [6]

As explained in the Introduction above, this version of the DisCO Governance Model (3.5), is a fork of the GMC model. The version you are currently reading serves two complementary purposes:

  • It functions as the template governance model for DisCO Non-Profits (AKA DisCO NP)
  • By using the DisCO Mothership to illustrate the DisCO NP Governance model this document is the de-facto governance model for the DisCO Mothership

How to read this governance model

This Governance Model has been organized into six top-level sections covering the main aspects of a DisCO.NP's, which can then be adapted to the need of specific DisCOs. Through these six top-level (or "trunk") sections we'll examine:

  1. Distributed Cooperative Organizations: a brief introduction to DisCO.
  2. Roles and responsibilities: within the organization and the types of work we do.
  3. The DisCO Dating Phase: is the mutual learning program used for incorporating new members to the DisCO.NP
  4. Working in a DisCO Non-Profit: Some of the specific day to day, mid and long term practices and processes utilized in DisCOs.
  5. Value tracking: The ways that value is tracked and rewarded.
  6. Decision making processes: How stewardship is held by all who have demonstrated willingness and invested personal effort participating in the collective's goals.

Areas 2-6 are fully interdependent:

Roles and Responsibilities reflect a member's investment in the DisCO.NP and their level of participation. The DisCO Dating Phase clearly details how to become a full-committed member in a DisCO.NP. Working in a DisCO Non-Profit details the types of work members undertake and the ongoing functions and cultural and structural practices of a DisCO.NP.

This investment/stake is measured through Value Tracking and it also affects the Decision making process.

It is important to highlight that Member's investment in the DisCO.NP is not monetary, but contribution-based — the more a member puts into building the DisCO.NP, whether through pro-bono, funded or reproductive work [7], the more their investment is weighted in the DisCO.NP's ownership and decision making mechanisms.

For a brief overview of how this investment is measured and rewarded, you can read this introductory article before diving in: Take Your Time, Do It Right: Commons Governance.

The full mechanism is explained throughout the governance model you are about to read.

While we have presented the three sections sequentially, the document doesn't necessarily follow a linear narrative.

Each section refers to the others and the document features many page-jump links to different relevant sections[8] and related entries in the DisCO MOTHERSHIP Wiki.[9] Whenever you come across a new term, or want to be reminded of a particular context, simply click on the hyperlink.

Important: We recommend reading it at your own pace, taking notes and jumping from section to section until you have a clear picture. If you're already conversant in DisCONomics, you may want to skip large tracts of this Overview section and skip directly to Roles and Responsibilities section. If you're not familiar, read on or check the Introductory Materials section below.

Before continuing, we will say this again:

Please skip any sections that may not seem immediately relevant and/or applicable to your interests. The document loops back upon itself through in-document links, so don't worry about missing anything.[10]

Speaking about the big picture, this section features an infographic summary of the model, links to introductory articles and other resources to make the model more digestible. If you're not already familiar with DisCO, start by familiarizing yourself with these materials, or the model may be very hard to comprehend.

What we offer here is an equipotential and opt-in engagement governance model. This means that everyone who participates in a collective (and, in this case, a DisCO Non-Profit) will have their work valued, and will be expected to participate in the decision making process. Decisions and control are shared, based on contributions and peer review.

To see how we envision the model in practice, The DisCO Mothership (i.e., the organization who has developed and tested this model) is used as a showcase example, but it’s important to note that the model is designed to be picked up and adapted by other Distributed Cooperative Organizations whether they’re other Non-Profits, coops or other types of entities (see The DisCO Applications Program section below).

To ease the narrative, the term "DisCO MOTHERSHIP" (our organization) is used for concrete examples, while the term "DisCO.NP" is used for general ones. Next, we will go over the terminology used in DisCOs most often.

Introductory Articles, Infographics and Other DisCO Governance Resources

If you're not already familiar with DisCO we recommend taking some time to get the picture overview of what we offer before diving deep into the minutiae of this Governance Model.

DisCO intro articles and short videos

For a brief introduction to DisCOs we recommend these two introductory articles, with their corresponding video trailers:


Last nite.jpeg


1: Last Night A Distributed Cooperative Organization Saved My Life: A brief introduction to DisCOs  

"DisCO stands for Distributed Cooperative Organizations, and it’s a set of organizational tools and practices for groups of people who want to work together in a cooperative, commons-oriented, and feminist economic form. DisCO is also an alternative to another form called the Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAO".


DisCO in a Nutshell.jpeg


2: DisCO in a Nutshell (Covid Edition)  

"Distributed Cooperative Organizations or DisCOs explained in a nutshell and what they mean in the context of the Covid-19 crisis."


DisCO Economics and Commons Governance.jpeg


3: Take Your Time, Do It Right: Commons Governance  

"A guide to how DisCO governance specifically articulates the 7 DisCO Principles and Eleven Values. Includes infographic illustrations about the DisCO Governance and economic model"

DisCO Gov Infographic.png


DisCO Governance Model Infographic

The DisCO Governance Infographic features a simplified visual explanation of the Basic DisCO Governance Model.

The DisCO Trilogy

The DisCO Trilogy comprises three downloadable multi-format publications covering various aspects of DisCO. Also to be published as Audiobooks (see section below)  

DisCO Manifesto Cover.png


If I Only Had a Heart: The DisCO Manifesto

  The DisCO Manifesto is a deep dive into the world of Distributed Cooperative Organizations. Over its 80 colorful pages, you will read about how DisCOs are a P2P/Commons, cooperative and Feminist Economic alternative to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (or DAOs). The DisCO Manifesto also includes some background on topics like blockchain, AI, the commons, feminism, cooperatives, cyberpunk, and more.  



Groove is in the Heart: The DisCO Elements

  The DisCO Elements is a compilation of several articles on DisCO, including dedicated sections on DisCO in our current historical and Pandemic context, the Seven Principles, DisCO Governance, DisCO Care Work and DisCO policies. The DisCO Elements is a "director's cut", expanded from a publication commissioned by Autonomy.work. You can also find the DisCO Elements serialized as standalone articles in Hackernoon.

The DisCO PinkPaper

(Forthcoming, late 2022) The White paper for the DisCO project (or as we like to call it, the PinkPaper), will not only describe the technological aspects but will also highlight the cultural and ethical considerations underlying our design choices. The DisCO PinkPaper will include sections on the DisCO FLOOR, the DisCO DECK and their co-dependencies, as well as a sections on the DisCO STACK and how it relates to FLOOR and DECK.

Other DisCO Links and Resources

Your main resources for all things DisCO is our website DisCO.coop and this wiki.

For a regularly updated compilation of all resources on DisCO that have been published up to date, visit the List of DisCO Resources entry.

Basic DisCO Terminology

This document uses some DisCO-specific terms you'll want to get a handle on. Feel free to bookmark this section for reference.

The DisCO Glossary

This wiki contains an evolving DisCO Glossary. Many of the terms referred in-document, link to Glossary entries, but feel free to look at it on its own.

Why so many funny words? Why can't we just talk like normal people?

After 40 years of bullshit neoliberal language (risk premium, derivatives, there is no alternative, there is no society!) it's time to rebel and revel in terminology more suited to changing this dystopian reality we inhabit. If the current language of economics is equivocal and, arguably, specifically designed to keep normal people out of self-determining their economies, we can co-create a new one to describe the much-needed alternatives. We don't expect you to know these terms, this is why we've created the DisCO Glossary.

To better explain our position on language and terminology, here is the introduction to the Glossary, written by DisCONaut Timothy McKeon:

It’s shocking that our mainstream societies have been so removed from the concepts of cooperation, collectivity and caring for each other that as soon as we begin to talk about these ideas in any depth, we enter into the often alienating and exclusive realm of jargon. We live in a world in which terms such as “value sovereignty” and “care work” are used and understood by relatively few people, even though they describe concepts that are very basic and human.

This is why education is such an important part of the DisCO Project. We realize that everyone is entering the DisCO with different levels and manifestations of experience and knowledge. However, if we all want to share in the same discussion, it helps to speak the same language. To this end, we’ve put together this glossary to help navigate the sometimes intimidating language used to describe our specific approach to feminist, commons-oriented cooperativism.

Don’t let this new vocabulary scare you – it just describes concepts that you already feel deep inside, concepts that maybe you haven’t found the words for yet. We have coined some of these terms ourselves, but many will be recognized outside of DisCO as well. Take this language and use it well – it will open up new worlds for you.


You can find the full glossary here. It is continually being added to and reimagined. Because language, like value (and values), is a living thing, never static, never dead.

The DisCO.coop Terminology Lowdown

Beyond the glossary, we also want to clarify some of the nomenclature used around DisCO (the project) DisCO.coop (the "brand") and the DisCO Mothership (a DisCO carrying out the DisCO project).


DisCO stands for "Distributed Cooperative Organizations", and is the name of the overall project.

If we say "a DisCO", we are talking about a single DisCO LAB (see below). We use DisCOs (plural) when we refer to various separate DisCOs.


DisCO.coop is the "brand" name, hashtag and what we use in social media to distinguish us from platforms and mirror balls (although we love those too). It's also our main website domain. We also use DisCO.coop to refer to the DisCO Mothership, although DisCO.coop encompasses more than the Mothership.

DisCO Mothership

The DisCO Mothership is the organization that stewards the development and implementation of DisCO methodology and tools. The DisCO Mothership is a DisCO Non-Profit (or DisCO.NP) and the organization stewarding development and implementation of DisCO methodology and tools. We are in the process of creating the DisCO Foundation. Unlike our cousins in the DAO-space, we think that organizations are built around people not code, which brings us to…


The DisCONauts, who are the crew of the DisCO Mothership. Meet us here! We are working to develop this unique system of governance, related documentation and other educational materials, and DisCO-related projects. DisCO has a federation protocol, where we recommend that any particular DisCO should not exceed 20 members. At present we are 16, and will soon be adding several team members. We're cautious and selective because joining this crew is a commitment that needs to be well understood. In the meantime, we collaborate with people in our close orbit, whom we call the DisCO Satellites of Love. These include past or current collaborators, board members, etc., and can be found here.


DisCO LABS are the individual DisCOs. Every single DisCO is a DisCO LAB, including the DisCO Mothership. There are no hierarchical relations between the Mothership and the other DisCO LABs, we operate heterarchically. The main difference is that the DisCO Mothership is a DisCO Non-Profit that spends 100% of its time creating resources for DisCO generally. Currently active DisCO LABs are showcased here. Other organizations wanting to become a LAB are listed here. The other Labs are DisCO Cooperatives and spend most of their time creating goods and services for their communities, and DisCO is just one part of their mission and/or development plan. TLDR, it's part of who the LABs are, but not what they mainly do.

DisCO Nodes

DisCO Nodes are individual, but related "sub-DisCOs" that operate under a shared umbrella, or "Mother" DisCO. Nodes may overlap in terms of members, value accounting, mutual support, etc. For example, in Guerrilla Media Collective, there is a translation and copyediting node, a graphic design node and an “agitprop” node (a historical political term which we use lightly to encompass various forms of outreach); Cooperation Jackson has nodes for Economic Democracy and Development, Sustainable Communities and Community Production.

The DisCO Project

The DisCO Project is the journey the DisCONauts have embarked on, going boldly beyond and all that jazz. The project entails many relationships and partnerships and has been conceived as a series of modular DisCO Blocks. You can read about the project and its many components on the DisCO Project Matrix page. The project was initially plotted as an initial 4-5 year development phase. If you want to help us achieve this, please support us.


The DisCO CAT stands for Community Algorithmic Trust. It is also DisCO's mascot and the enigmatic author of the DisCO Beat Newsletter and the voice behind DisCO's social media channel. In its algorithmic existence, DisCO CAT refers to all the cultural and structural components of the DisCO Project. All components are modular, concurrent and in Perpetual Beta.

Trust is used in two senses here: first in the sense of the ability for team members to operate with a specific relationship to one another, according to defined principles and common goals. Secondly, “trust” is used as a description of a legal entity that holds the ability to maintain tangible functions like contracts and agreements, and more intangible ones like commonly held values. To build this trust, in both senses, we need to develop and test systems, platforms, software, research and experiments. Our related mission is to spread the word and teach people the magic of DisCO. We’ve organized all of this work into four pun-filled CATegories:

  1. The DisCO FLOOR: Our educational web platform. The DisCO FLOOR houses educational resources for cooperators to set up DisCOs anywhere. On the DisCO FLOOR you will find MOOC courses, a reference handbook and wiki, articles, audio and video content, and much more.
  2. The DisCO DECK: Our value tracking platform. The DisCO DECK is the interface and back end of the DisCO CAT. This will be a user-friendly, accessible online tool featuring value tracking, accounting, and other tools to support DisCO operations.
  3. The DisCO STACK: Our collaborative online tools. The DisCO STACK will be a toolkit of Free/Libre Open Source Software platforms to help people work together using the DisCO Methodology and resources.
  4. The DisCO EXPERIENCE: Our research and pilot program. The DisCO FLOOR and DisCO DECK will be developed based on the experiences, data and input of real cooperatives. The resulting case studies plus the mentorship that these pilots will receive make up the immersive DisCO EXPERIENCE.

The DisCO CAT's legs are starting to grow; development in all four of the components is underway. Some components (such as the DisCO Floor and Experience) are further along. As above, a fuller description of each of these can be found in the DisCO Project Matrix page.

Precedents to the DisCO Governance Model

Like anything else in life, this model didn't arise out of nowhere but is the result of many influences, distilled down to the current DisCO Governance Model.

The Open Enterprise Governance Model

The DisCO Governance Model and its various applications are a substantially developed fork of the Better Means Open Enterprise Governance Model (OEGM). The adaptations have been made to:

  1. Bypass the original model’s start-up/for-profit orientation
  2. Address the needs and ideals of
    1. The Commons and P2P;
    2. Open Cooperativism;
    3. Open Value Networks; and
    4. Feminist Economics
  3. Benefit a variety of entities self-sustain their social vision while addressing their specific requirements and allow for future modifications.
  4. Shift the focus from technical, protocol-based solutions to relations, trust and care work.

For more influences, see the next section.

From Platform to Open Cooperativism to DisCO

Apart from the Better Means Governance Model, explained above, DisCO has a rich lineage, going from traditional cooperatives, Platform Cooperatives, Open Cooperatives and, with the addition of Feminist Economics, Open Value Accounting and Distributed Ledger Technologies.

DisCO Genealogy 1.png

Here is a brief explanation of each of these cooperative movements, with links to additional resources:


A cooperative (or coop/co-op) is any self-governed organization or business in which members focus on mutual assistance while working towards a common goal in everyone’s best interest. Read What is a Cooperative? on the International Cooperative Alliance's (ICA) website for a short introduction.

Platform Cooperatives

Platform Cooperatives seek to democratize the ownership and governance of the digital platforms that increasingly mediate our daily lives. Check out the Platform Cooperativism Consortium's website for abundant resources on Platform Cooperativism.

Open Cooperativism

Open Cooperativism, or "Open Coops" is an approach towards working together that aims for the democratization of ownership and governance, while focusing on the production of commons. Open Coops arose simultaneously with Platform Cooperativism in 2014. Read From Platform to Open Cooperativism to check out the differences and commonalities between Platform and Open Coops or this shorter explanation, which includes infographics and a TLDR.

Open Coops are the precursor to DisCO. DisCO evolves on the initial premises of Open Cooperativism by re-conceptualizing Open Coop's four original principles and adding new, explicit principles on Feminist Economics, Open Value and Federation.

You can read more on the Seven DisCO Principles in Chapter 3 of the DisCO Elements or this wiki's entry on DisCO in 7 Principles and 11 Values. You can also jump to an abbreviated summary of the Principles in this section of the Mothership Governance Model.

DisCOs are not necessarily better than their precursors. They, more specifically, focus on social and environmental outcomes from a feminist, decolonial and post-capitalist point of view. On the one hand, DisCO gathers the best of the three preceding movements. On the downside, DisCOs are also more complex in the initial stages, although once their learning curve has been overcome, we'd argue that they function more smoothly and are more resilient organizations. Here are the main differences:

DisCO Genealogy 2.png

In summary all DisCOs are "classic" cooperatives, Platform Cooperatives and Open Cooperatives, but not all classic, platform or open coops are DisCOs. (Come join us!PLACEHOLDER FOR LINK IN DISCO.COOP). The DisCO model has very specific design features and constraints to favor certain (feminist, commons-oriented) outcomes. We will delve into these features in the following sections.

From Guerrilla Translation/Media Collective to DisCO

At the top of this Overview section we clarified that version 3.5 of this Governance Model is a fork of Guerrilla Media Collective's 3.0 version of the model, oriented towards Worker-Owned coops. Version 3.0 was mostly developed in 2018 based on the influences listed above. This gradually morphed into DisCO during the autumn of 2018. This transition from Open Cooperativism, to GMC's governance model, is documented in a series of articles that can be found in this section of the 3.0 Governance model: Version History and Related Resources.

For a layperson's overview of the 2018 developments on the governance model, read Punk Elegance: How Guerrilla Translation reimagined itself for Open Cooperativism, an article on Guerrilla Media Collective/Translation's 2018 workshop where versions 2 and 2.5 of the model were prototyped, leading to version 3.5.

As already mentioned, all changes between version 3.0 (The Guerrilla Media Collective Model) and version 3.5 (The DisCO MOTHERSHIP/DisCO.NP Model) are tracked in the DisCO Governance Model Version Changes entry ongoing.

Other Notable Influences in the DisCO DNA

DisCO DNA.png


DisCOs' main influences are described in Groove is in the Heart: the DisCO Elements chapter 2: DisCO in a Nutshell. From the text:

DisCOs are a cultural and structural framework that combines influences from other forms and movements into a practical toolkit. The framework is based on existing, disruptive economic alternatives normally absent from the blockchain space. They are:

  • The Commons and P2P: Self-organized systems stewarding resources to meet human needs while leveraging the power of networks. [12]
  • Open Cooperativism: Combining Open Source and Commons principles with those of the cooperative and social solidarity movements.[13]
  • Open Value Accounting: Enables value sovereignty by rewarding meaningful contributions to projects, rather than wage labor.[14]
  • Feminist Economics: Challenges normative economic abstractions while factoring reproductive and care work.[15]

These influences, together with a strong focus on accessibility and social and economic justice, provide DisCOs with vastly different affordances to other available alternatives such as Decentralized Autonomous Organisations or DAOS.

DisCO has also been strongly influenced by 15 M and Occupy, the Zapatista Movement, David Bollier and Silke Helfrich's Free Fair and Alive, Decoloniality, Decolonial and Intersectional Feminisms, our past work at the P2P Foundation [16], Telekommunisten's work on the Venture Commune; Kevin Carson's work on peer to peer post-capitalism, Silvia Federici's work on commons and feminism, the work of Donna Haraway, Parecon, Ursula Huws, and the P2P Lab Research Collective, Punk Rock and Discorniadism, among many others.

To access all these influences and more, check out the following entries:

DisCO in Seven Principles and Eleven Values

As mentioned in the section on Open Coops above, DisCO evolves on the initial premises of Open Cooperativism by re-conceptualizing Open Coop's four original principles and adding new, explicit principles on Feminist Economics, Open Value Accounting and Federation.

This evolution is codified in the 7 DisCO Principles and 11 Values. Starting with the 7 Principles, the following infographic and PDF text on the DisCO Principles are extracted from The DisCO Elements.

DisCO Principles Infographic feat image.png


Click here to download an illustrated PDF on the 7 DisCO Principles. The texts on the PDF, as well as the DisCO in 7 Principles and 11 Values wiki entry, expand on the extract below with fuller explanations and practical examples.

DisCO adds seven additional principles to the original seven cooperative principles in order to reunite cooperativism with its commons origins and better prepare it for technological futures. Apart from the OG principles, the Seven DisCO Principles also intersect with other radical patterns of organization, such as Elinor Ostrom’s 8 design principles for successful commons and the 12 Permaculture principles. The uniqueness of the DisCO Principles is that they serve as guidelines for tech-savvy (but not techno deterministic or tech-dependent), highly efficient and socially and environmentally oriented organizations.

The 7 DisCO Principles

Building on the groundwork laid by movements such as Platform and Open Cooperativism], the DisCO LABS follow these principles. The principles are guidelines and each DisCO is tasked with interpreting them through Worldmaking. This means that the principles are pattern solutions to recurring problems. DisCO LABS need to adapt them to fit their own specific circumstances. Each principle title will take you to a fuller explanation of the principle:[17]

1: Put your effort where your heart is: values-based accountability


In DisCOs, production is guided not by profit but by social and environmental priorities.


2: Building whole-community governance


DisCO extends decision making and ownership to all contributors whether present in all value chains or affected by the coop’s actions.

3: Active creators of commons


New digital (code, design, documentation and best practices) and physical (productive and deliberation spaces, machinery) commons are created through various types of work.

4: Rebalancing the scale: rethinking global/local economics


Physical production is kept local while knowledge, resources and values are shared globally with other DisCOs.

5: Care work is the core


DisCOs are living entities reflecting the values of their members who need care and attention to maintain their health and the well-being of the persons working there.

6: Reimagining the origin and flows of value


Three types of value — market value, commons-creating value, and care work value — are tracked through complementary metrics.

7: Primed for federation


DisCOs replicate through a standard federation protocol that allows critical mass without regimenting all parts.

The 11 DisCO Values

The following section is, again, extracted from chapter 3 of the DisCO Elements: Principles and Values: DisCO 7-11. For more details on the 11 Values, please visit our entry on the 11 Values.

Complementary to the 7 principles, DisCOs also introduce 11 key values which, taken together, provide the framework to tackle the present challenges posed by the Covid crisis. Based on our experience, DisCOs are:

  1. ‍Balanced in culture and structure: Striking a balance between the off-chain (human) and on-chain (technological) dimensions.
  2. ‍Inclusive, relatable and educational: Prioritizing accessibility and ongoing self-development and mutual support.
  3. ‍Non-speculative or deterministic: Creating an emergent roadmap, determined by the communities that form the federation and focused on well-being and socio-environmental priorities.
  4. ‍Multilayered/holonic: Interdependent and transparent value flows. Exchanges are geared toward consensual solidarity, network resilience and mutual support.
  5. ‍Modular — but not prescriptive: Designing for economic interoperability with complementary frameworks, such as traditional and Platform Coops or the Social Solidarity Economy.
  6. ‍DLT-enabled, but not dependent: Distributed ledger and blockchain tech facilitates human to human interactions, but never pre-determine them.
  7. ‍Online or offline? Onlife! Maximizing trust, holding space for the affective dimension and putting life at the center of our economics in both digital and corporeal spaces.
  8. ‍Copyfair-Licensed: Allowing cooperatives and solidarity-based collectives (but not shareholder-profit oriented entities) to capitalize on our commons.
  9. ‍Have viable, ethical business models: Creating frameworks for economic counterpower with a strict loyalty to our pro-social guidelines.
  10. ‍Political: Prototyping post-capitalist practice-based alternatives that challenge the patriarchy, colonialism and the status quo.
  11. Fun or bust! Offering engaging and enjoyable spaces to fulfill a social mission, but never disregarding humor.

The DisCO Applications Program

This Governance Model is part of the DisCO Applications Program.[18] This is the umbrella term for forks of the original cooperative and Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) oriented version of the DisCO Governance Model.

The DisCO Applications Program includes DisCO Governance Model templates for:

  • DisCO4Coops: This is the original DisCO Governance model developed through Guerrilla Media Collective Worker-Owned Coops, Social and Solidarity Economy enterprises and mission-oriented SMEs
  • DiSCO.NPs for Non Profits in general and Worker Self-Directed Nonprofits in particular.
  • DisCO.Phi for Philanthropic Organizations
  • DisCO.ground for Housing Cooperatives and Community Land Trusts
  • DisCO.Makes for Maker Spaces and Community Centers
  • DisCO.Unbundle for Non-cooperatives and corporations to transition to the DisCO Model.

As mentioned before, the model you are reading is version 3.5, aimed at Non-profits.


Distributed Cooperative Organization (DisCO) Governance Model V 3.5 TL - DR


This TLDR is a bare-bones version of the main characteristics of this governance model. It is also applicable to other DisCO Applications.

The only difference is the main source of capital for value distribution: When capital is mainly sourced from the provision of goods and services, we are talking about a DisCO Cooperative, Social Solidarity Economy entity or SME ( DisCO4coops). When capital is mainly sourced from philanthropic, public or crypto grants and agreements, we are talking about a DisCO NonProfit (DisCO.NP).[19]

In any case, the only divergences are limited to points 4.1 and 4.2 below. Otherwise the TLDRs for DisCO4Coops and DisCO.NPs are identical.

Here are the model's main characteristics, which can be applied as a bare-bones formula for other feminist and commons-oriented non-profits:

  1. All DisCOs exist to fulfill a well-defined social-environmental vision and care for its members and surrounding communities. A DisCO.NP has also a non-profit nature and the role of steward of their chosen mission.
  2. The DisCO.NP attracts, receives and manages Fluid Funding to perform its work and achieve its socially-oriented mission.
  3. There are four levels of participation: Casual (unpaid community contributions), DisCOlarships (partial onboarding), Dating (exhaustive onboarding, partly paid) and Committed (fully paid)
  4. In a DisCO.NP three types of work are performed to fulfill this mission
    1. Funded non-profit work and deliverables: set in collaboration with funders/donors and extended community members. AKA " Livelihood work"
    2. Unfunded non-profit work and objectives: set by the DisCO.NP members (DisCONauts). AKA " Lovework"
    3. The work of caring for the health of collective: procedures to fulfill the socio-environmental mission (including administrative work) and care for its members (including mutual support, well-being and celebration). Both facets are known as Care or "Reproductive" work
  5. The three types of work are value tracked to reward contributions accordingly. This value is paid out on a monthly basis as members' salaries, and is based on predetermined monthly liquidity [20], derived from Fluid Funding, Community Contributions and other potential sources of income. The following ratios are orientative and may vary based on member agreements:
    1. Livelihood work represents 75% of each member's monthly share.
    2. Lovework represents 25% of each member's monthly share.
    3. Care work acts as a dynamic modifier for the final monthly allocation. When members each do the same overall amount of care work, the Live and Love ratios remain unvaried. When there are imbalances they are compensated, with the members who've done the least care work compensating those who've done the most.
  6. All DisCO.NPs are living systems, shaped by their members' values and need to care for each other. Their development is based on ongoing dialogue, consent and the feminist, cooperative, peer to peer and commons-oriented ethos reflected in the Seven DisCO Principles and Eleven Values

There is a slightly longer DisCO NP Pattern Process complementary to this at the end of the document. The Pattern Process is a more thorough specification or protocol of the main adaptive patterns of a DisCO.NP. Jump to the DisCO.NP Pattern Process here.

Roles and Responsibilities

There are various levels of engagements within a DisCO Non-Profit. These correspond to the reality of our practical example for illustrating the model, the DisCO Mothership.

DisCO.NPs and DisCOs, in general, have been designed to be as porous as possible with the main distinction being "casual" and "committed" relationships (think of dating).

These terms illustrate two poles for any given person wishing to engage with a DisCO. They signify the start and endpoints on a spectrum of Relationality with casual being the least involved and committed the most. This spectrum also includes increasing levels of responsibility. Responsibility in a DisCO is understood as the inherent "Gift and Responsibility" of any mature Commons. Read more about Gift and Responsibility in DisCOs.

There are two additional "bridging states" between the Casual/Committed poles, which we will also discuss.

Below is a basic overview of what these terms mean and how they relate in a DisCO.NP. These will be outlined in more detail further on.


  • Please note that this particular section of the Governance Model (Roles and Responsibilities) is centered on available roles prior to the "Dating/Mentoring" process through which candidates become DisCOnauts.
  • The Dating Phase has its own dedicated top-level section following straight from Roles and Responsibilities: The DisCO Dating Phase
  • There is also a later section on working on a DisCO.NP focused more on day-to-day practices: Working on a DisCO NP

Casual vs Committed DisCO Relationships at a Glance

Casual Relationships

Casual Relationships function more like commons-based peer production projects, such as Wikipedia, Firefox, GIMP or the VLC video player. Contributors add value to the DisCO.NP through permissionless contributions, which are validated after the fact (post-hoc). In the case of the DisCO Mothership, those contributions involve creating accessible cultural, legal and technological resources to build more DisCOs.

Everybody is welcome to become a contributor, but contributions will only be incorporated into the DisCO.NP's knowledge base through committed team members' approval.

Additionally, paid work in the non-profit is not offered to casual contributors, and pro-bono work doesn't yield payments. The latter is always accounted for, as casual members may choose to become committed members in time.

Beyond Contributors, there is another type of casual relationship with a lesser level of responsibility: Supporters.

Committed Relationships

Committed Relationships work more like a traditional Commons, with clearly established boundaries, governance protocols and accountability mechanisms.

A committed relationship is also akin to a worker-owned cooperative: an initial investment is expected, the members look after each other, and depend on shared trust among themselves.

Committed members are de facto worker-owners and main stakeholders of a DisCO.NP (full-time) while assuming the responsibility of maintaining the pro-bono/commons-producing side. In the DisCO Mothership, the committed members are called "DisCONAUTs". [21]

DisCOlarships and DisCO Dating (moving from Casual to Committed)

There are two ways a potential DisCONaut can move from Casual to Committed:

1 DisCOlarships: Where individuals regularly "visit" the DisCO.NP to learn about DisCO culture and structure in the real world, get to know the people, etc. There are minimal responsibilities and the DisCOlar is free to start their own DisCO afterward or join the same DisCO they have trained in.

2 The DisCO Dating Phase: Where potential members make a firm commitment to go through the DisCO.NP's mentoring and training program in order to become committed members or DisCONauts. There are considerable, consented-upon responsibilities on the part of the DisCO Dating Member and the DisCO-NP itself during this process.

These are not necessarily separate processes: In general DisCOlarships are oriented towards creating separate, new and/or spinoff DisCOs, while Dating is oriented towards joining the hosting DisCO. At the same time, a DisCOLarship may evolve into a DisCO Dating Phase within the hosting DisCO. This will depend on the DisCO.NP's needs and its members' availability. [22]

Likewise, persons who haven't gone through a DisCOlarship may be invited to undertake the DisCO Dating Phase directly. Of course, someone who has been through a DisCOlarship will then find the Dating Phase easier and faster to complete successfully, but it is not a requirement.


The DisCO Journey

To recap:

  • We have distinguished two main states: Casual and Committed.
  • "Casual" means little responsibility. These are no-strings-attached relationships for mutual benefit.
    • There are two types of Casual Relationship: Supporters (Very casual interactions) and Contributors (More active interactions and actual contributions to the DisCO.NP and its mission).
  • "Committed" signifies a stated commitment of responsibility to the DisCO.NP and its members.
  • Those wanting to progress from Casual to Committed have two options:
    • DisCOlarships (practical DisCO training with no firm expectation of joining the DisCO).
    • DisCO Dating: Intense mentoring program for applicants to join the DisCO in which they are being mentored.

DisCO Journey Dark4.png

This one possible DisCO Journey. In others people may remain in one circle, or go through a DisCOlarship and start their own separate DisCO, etc.

As mentioned before, these types of membership reflect increasing stages of relationality and responsibility.

The further along the path to committed membership, the closer the relationality within, and care work towards, the DisCO and its members. Responsibilities increase, as do rewards.

Let's take a closer look at each stage in this journey.


Supporters involve casual relationships with minimal responsibilities

People who want to engage with the DisCO but are not interested or suited for its Livelihood, Love or Care work value streams are referred to as “Supporters”. A Supporter helps ensure that the DisCO succeeds in accomplishing its mission while remaining true to its values.

What do supporters do?

Supporter contributions can include, but are not limited to:

  • Evangelizing about the DisCO.NP (e.g., sharing its work on social media, word-of-mouth awareness-raising, etc.)
  • Providing feedback: informing the collective of strengths and weaknesses from a new perspective. This can help keep the DisCO.NP accountable to its mission and values.
  • Providing moral support, including simple acknowledgment (a little ‘thank you / nice work’ goes a long way).
  • Participating in open discussions: commenting on ongoing work and in forums.
  • Help the DisCO.NP secure Fluid Funding or for paid consultancy work: Supporters could identify potential funding sources coherent with the DisCO.NP's values and provide introductions.
  • Providing earned income: Any individual or entity who contracts the DisCO.NP for paid consulting work is also considered a supporter.
  • Supporting the DisCO.NP monetarily: This includes all non-funded or consultancy income which could include donations, subscriptions (eg. Open Collective, Web Monetization) material support, etc.

Supporters can, for example, engage with the DisCO Mothership through email or social media, but preferably through an open Loomio group or Community Calls for that purpose. In time, strategies can be studied to use Loomio groups for polls, etc.

This follows a general pattern of ensuring that the Committed/Commons-stewardship side has sufficient momentum and resiliency. Once achieved, more resources could be allocated to the Casual/Commons-based peer production side.

What are a Supporter's responsibilities to the DisCO.NP and vice versa?

Supporters have no real responsibilities toward the DisCO, with the exception of avoiding misattribution or misrepresentation of DisCO's materials. If you are a DisCO supporter and have any doubts about misattribution or misrepresentation, please contact us.

What do Supporters get out of their relationship with the DisCO.NP?

Honestly, that is for the supporters to decide. Having been supporters of other initiatives ourselves, we'd say that these could include the sense of contributing to a cool project, passing on valuable information, intellectual and/or emotional engagement, building a community or network, etc.

What does a DisCO.NP or, in this case, the DisCO Mothership get out of this support? We don't view this as transactional, we deeply value and honor this support as gifted towards our mission. It also provides us with additional perspectives and valuable relationships.


Contributors are people who devote part of their time to create shared resources (or commons) in line with the DisCO.NP's mission.

All DisCOs are interconnected as part of THE DisCO. This is the network created by all existing DisCOs planet-wide, whether they relate economically or not. Individual DisCOs can connect directly with each other as part of DisCOVerses, which are specific DisCO Federations working together.

This level of interconnection means that anyone who's part of any individual DisCO, no matter the type of DisCO Application, is contributing to the overall DisCO mission, and these contributions may be direct or indirect. From this point on, we will discuss direct contributions to an individual DisCO.NP

What do Contributors do?

Following our example of the DisCO Mothership, a contributor assists any of the DisCO.NP's Working Circles to fulfill their mission.[23] For example, imagine an artist who decides to create some artwork for DisCO.coop's Stories section. Or, after a call for contributions, a group of persons decide to help with coding the DisCO Deck.

Another example: Someone within the DisCO Mothership writes an article for DisCO.coop. The article needs academic references and copyediting, but the Research and Storytelling and Documentation Circles are not available to carry out these tasks. Colleague researchers and copyeditors are contacted and they carry out these tasks which, again, add to DisCO.coop's commons.

All of these are considered Casual Contributions. These help fulfill the DisCO.NP's mission, but they are not undertaken by its members (whether Committed, Dating, etc) but by outside peers.

The key here is that the people in question are qualified professionals or people with demonstrable skills to contribute in any of these areas (artwork, code, research, copyediting). As care work is the core, we'd also want these individuals to have an existing, ongoing relationship with the DisCO.NP.

Using the DisCO Mothership as an example, its also possible that Contributors may not have any interest in joining the Mothership (or the Mothership cannot host them as DisCOlars or DisCO Dating Members at the time). Every relationship is not only unique, but constantly evolving.

What are a contributor's responsibilities to the DisCO.NP and vice versa?

Not many. In fact they are the same as the minimal responsibilities asked of Supporters: to avoid misattribution and misrepresentation of the DisCO.NPs and its materials.

A casual contributor doesn't really have to do anything for the DisCO.NP, in terms of building our support structure or using the DisCO's workflow tools, for instance. Contributors can get in touch whenever they feel like it and vice versa. The bulk of the care work for the collective, including all admin and project management tasks, is undertaken by the DisCONauts.

The DisCO.NP, however, is not in any way obliged to accept the contribution. Using two of the examples above, if the contributed artwork or code isn't up to standard, the DisCO.NP will not use it. Quality Control and Post-Hoc evaluation is very important in DisCO — if we are to provide viable alternatives to the mainstream economy, we need to ensure we do stuff right, according to the individual criteria of each DisCO LAB.[24]

Applying the dating metaphor, if "we’re really not made for each other", we'll move on with no hard feelings. Casual relationships are consent-based and depend on clear communication.

Contributors and Credits

Contributors must know that they don't have priority over Committed or Dating members of the DisCO.NP, and that they won't be compensated (whether immediately or ever) for any of their contributions.

This is important: contributors are not paid, they are value tracked.[25] A casual relationship is based on a respectful coincidence of wants and needs. The DisCO.NP will, however, ask the contributor to roughly value their contribution. (If you want to know why straight away, jump to this subsection).

For casual relationships, we don't expect the level of value-tracking explained in the Value Tracking section below. In a worker-owned DisCO cooperative, such as Guerrilla Translation[26] or, indeed, any DisCO coop providing goods and services, it is much easier to record contributions according to quantity and quality.[27] These factors are often determined by the DisCO Cooperative's pricing structure. In the Guerrilla Translation/Media Collective model, for example, grade and measure are determined through wordcount.

DisCO.NPs however are different animals. Non-profit work is not as easy to quantify as cooperative or SME work. With the exception of consultancy work, there are no prices or goods and services to be offered. DisCO.NPs like the DisCO Mothership use Time Tracking. This is an involved procedure necessarily requiring extensive Mentoring and a level of involvement beyond what is expected out of a casual relationship. This is why casual contributions are measured roughly in conjunction with the contributors.

Based on the four examples given above, this is what this could look like:

  • Asking the artist how much they would charge a client for such an artwork, or the time it took to produce.
  • Asking the coders how many lines of code they contributed and how long it took them
  • Similar criteria applies to researchers and copyeditors.

All these inquiries are based on simple conversations and common sense. Once we agree on the rough value, the members of the DisCO.NP track casual contributions in the DisCO DECK, our value tracking program.

Why do we track the value of casual contributions?

It has to do with DisCO Principle 5: Care work is the core. This reflects our commitment to making invisible work tangible and an integral part of our conversations about how we use our time and productive energies. This information,even in rough form, can serve several purposes:

In general, casual contributions can be seen as roughly latent value which can be articulated at a later date (or not), all individual case dependent.

How are casual contributions tracked?

It is important to highlight that all work offered by contributors, will be valued as Invested Love Credits. These terms are thoroughly explained in the Value Tracking section. For now you may directly jump to the sections on ways to account for work and types of credit for full definitions of these terms. Simply put:

  • No work is paid, although shares are accrued
  • All value-tracked contributions are considered Lovework and tallied in Love Credits by default
  • All value-tracked contributions are considered as Historical and Invested credits by default

What do Contributors get out of their relationship with the DisCO.NP?

If the contribution is up to the DisCO.NP's quality standards and keeps to the DisCO Principles it will be included as part of its commons.

Coming back to the example of the artwork contribution shared earlier,the following things could happen:

  • The art is now included in DisCO.coop's stories section and featured in its social media channels.
  • Contributors don’t have to worry about learning the DisCO's practices as a Commons or undertaking any of its ongoing requirements.
  • If a Contributor is offered a DisCOlarship, or to go through the Dating Phase to become a committed DisCONaut, both parties will be ready to take the next steps. In the case of the DisCO Mothership, the members will have already determined whether the Contributor's art and/or design work is up to standards, so no further testing will be necessary, although a call should be set up to explain what a DisCOlarship and Dating Phase entails (please jump to those specific sections for more details). Any published work is already valued for eventual Love Credit compensation, once (or if) the contributor has joined.
  • After an honest conversation about what it means to be in a DisCOlarship or committed relationship role, if there isn't an agreement, there's no relationship. As stated above, casual relationships (like any others) must be based on consent, and obviously you can’t force anyone into a relationship. Contributors clearly have the same right to tell the DisCO.NP that they’re not interested, too.

In other DisCOs, contributors can help with whatever productive work is taken by the particular DisCO. So, for example, in a worker-owned DisCO community garden, contributors could drop in to help with the gardening when convenient and that value will be tracked for future inclusion, should they want to become dating members and, eventually, committed.

In a DisCO.NP dedicated to creating mesh networks for community WiFi, the contributors can help set up the infrastructure for their own Internet connections and, having learned in the process, can apply that knowledge (and attendant credits) toward future work in that particular DisCO.NP.


DisCOlarships are a practical way to learn DisCO culture and DisCO structure by doing.

A DisCOlarship involves regular "visits" to a DisCO to learn its practices and get to know DisCONauts in the real world.

Responsibilities are very basic and DisCOlars are free to start their own DisCO afterward, join an existing DisCO or the same DisCO they have trained in.

DisCOlarships can also be an opportunity for researchers to undertake Participatory Action Research or PAR on DisCO, as well as apractical showcase of the DisCO methodology to anyone interested in community and alternative economies.

Much like Contributors, DisCOlarships are based on explicit mutual agreements and clear expectations. In many cases, the DisCOlar will finish the agreed period of the DisCOlarship taking those learnings to create other DisCOs. In other cases DisCOlarships can be used as a temperature check when there is a desire and need from both parts to work together or go through the more involved DisCO Dating Phase.

Whether the destination is the hosting DisCO or a separate DisCO altogether, the DisCOlar will already be substantially more familiar with DisCO cultures and structures, allowing them to progress through a Dating Phase much more rapidly.

Like other Casual DisCO relationships, DisCOlarships are exclusively value tracked in Invested Love credits which can then be ported over to other DisCOs. If you are reading the model sequentially, you may want to visit the sections below on Ways to Account for Work, Types of Work and Types of Credits and DisCO Ley Lines for more detailed information about each of these three aspects.

DisCOlarships are one way to advanced from a Casual to Committed DisCO relation. As such, they are considered a Casual Relationship leaning towards committed relationships with DisCOs in general (if not to the particular DisCO hosting the DisCOlarship).

The next step up in the DisCO Journey is DisCO Dating. DisCO Dating is a commitment unto itself with the explicit expectation of achieving Committed Relationships.

What happens in the DisCOlarship?

Whether it's a DisCO worker-coop, DisCO.NP or any other type of DisCO application, DisCOlarships are announced by the hosting DisCO through its social media channels, newsletters or community calls. Before entering into DisCOlarship, the hosting DisCO needs to ensure it has the human and conceptual capacity.[28]

A DisCOlarship program needs to be carefully designed by the hosting DisCO and shared with the candidate in order to reach clear agreements and a supporting Commitment Statement. This program could include:

To give a practical example: The DisCO.NP puts a call for a DisCOlarship, principally hosted by the TECH Working Circle. Given that it's a tech position, candidates will need to have demonstrable experience and skill in this area. The public call will detail many of the points described above. Several persons express interest, sending résumés and work samples. The DisCO NP will then interview and evaluate candidates before making selection(s). [29].

The participating DisCONauts and the DisCOlar then work out the details about hours, focus, credits etc., which are documented through a specific DisCOlarship Commitment Statement signed by both parties. This will serve as a informal contract to clarify shared expectations and workflow.

Once this is clarified, the DisCOlarship begins. Likely scenarios can include:

  • The DisCOlar learning the tools and methodologies of the DisCO (AKA: The DisCO Blocks)
  • Sitting in on mentoring and community calls
  • The DisCOlar helping complete an existing project, or carrying out a project of their own
  • The DisCOlar learning protocols for specific tasks and carrying them out
  • The DisCOlar developing a Proto DisCO with the help of the DisCONAuts
  • Personalized weekly calls for specific mentoring, follow through and assistance

Ultimately all of these aspects need to be agreed on by DisCOlar and DisCONauts. Note that, unlike a DisCO Dating Phase, a DisCOlarship is not an intensive educational program.

What are a DisCOlar's responsibilities to the collective and vice versa?

As noted above, the most important responsibility is clarity: of intention, expectations and commitment. Both DisCOlars and hosting DisCO need to be very clear from the beginning and continually evaluate progress.

The rest is common sense: DisCOlars are expected to show up, be punctual and follow through with whatever work has been agreed to. This also applies to the DisCONauts taking care of the DisCOlar.

As DisCOlarships are only initiated after a program has been co-developed, it is then a matter of following the program within the expected timeline. These programs are expected to evolve and diverge in the field, but all deviations from the original agreement need to be consented on and documented.

DisCOlars will be encouraged to document their progress and add to the DisCO.NP's resources and outputs[30] but, as with Contributors, if the DisCOlar's work is not up to the standards of the DisCO.NP, the latter is in no way obliged to accept it.

DisCOlars will gain an overview of the hosting DisCO.NP's tools and methodologies. DisCOlars are not expected to self-manage their work and practice mutual coordination, as DisCONauts do. Instead, they are accompanied by their DisCOlarship mentors. All DisCOlarship-related project management is managed by DisCONauts, leaving the DisCOrlars free to learn what they're interested in and carry out the work they've agreed to.

Finally, DisCOlars and mentoring DisCONauts, need to agree on a Minimum Viable Toolset, this is basically being very clear about how, where and when to communicate most effectively.

Evaluation and feedback will be shared weekly. Like all DisCO relationships, if a DisCOlarship is not going well and doesn't show rapid signs of improving, DisCOlarship credits will be accounted for and the DisCOlarship will be terminated.

DisCOlarship Credits

Like contributors, DisCOlars have their work value tracked. Similarly, this work is initially considered to be Invested Lovework. You can read more about those terms in this section. For now "invested" means "unpaid" and "Lovework" means "voluntary work".

This however does not have to be the case, as we will see below. Unlike contributors, DisCOlars will perform the bulk of their value tracking themselves, with the assistance of their mentors. While relationships with contributors are mainly no strings attached, DisCOlarships are specifically designed to lead to further DisCO work, whether in the hosting DisCO or another DisCO Application. This means that DisCOlarship value tracking will most likely have a specific "place to go" and, unlike value tracking for contributors, it's not expected to be either latent or unfulfilled.

Value tracking in DisCOlarships follows the same criteria as general DisCO Value Tracking: rules on invested/divested allocation, credit rates and amounts, as well as the love, livelihood care ratios[31] will be identical to those used by the DisCONauts in the hosting DisCO.NP.

The credits accumulated by a DisCOlar will follow whichever level of time investment and rhythms have been agreed to. For example, in a DisCOlarship with a five hour weekly commitment:

  • The DisCOlar would value track the hours weekly (always with the help of their mentor). At a rate of 30 credits per hour, five hours a week would accrue 150 credits a week.
  • Assuming the DisCOlarship lasts approximately three months, at the end of that period, the DisCOlar would have accrued a total of 1800 credits. (20 hours a month, times 3, for a total of 60 hours).
  • On the DisCO NP's side, the person or persons mentoring the DisCOlar would also accrue credits corresponding to the expected 80 hours.
    • As mentors may overlap or rotate, value tracking on the DisCO.NP side will reflect this.
    • For DisCONauts, mentoring DisCOlars can either be Love (voluntary) or Livelihood (budgeted) work, again depending on whether it's a sponsored scholarship or not.
  • The DisCOlar learns value tracking week by week. Their mentor will initially perform value tracking on behalf of the DisCOlar, with the latter taking responsibility for their own value tacking as soon as possible. The mentor will oversee the DisCOlars's weekly Value tracking reports.
  • The DisCOlarship invested credits can then stay in the hosting DisCO or be transferred through DisCO Ley Lines, as we'll see in the next section.

What happens when the DisCOlarship is finished?

Several things can happen at the end of a successfully completed DisCOlarship, which will likely reflect the agreement made at the beginning of the process.

The three scenarios are:

  1. The DisCOlar moves on from the hosting DisCO.NP to join another existing DisCO
  2. The DisCOlar moves on from the hosting DisCO.NP to create a new DisCO
  3. The DisCOlar stays in the hosting DisCO, with their relationship and commitment evolving into a DisCO Dating Phase.

In scenarios 1 and 2, the DisCOlar's credits will be transferred out of the hosting DisCO through DisCO Ley Lines. A DisCO Ley Line is, basically, an agreed-on transfer of invested credits between one DisCO and another.

Using our running example:

  • In Scenario 1 (joining an existing DisCO which is not the hosting DisCO.NP), the DisCOlar would take their 1800 invested love credits and add them as their shares in the recipient DisCO. The recipient DisCO would then discuss with them what value stream they'd like to receive these credits in (Love/Live/Care) and the rate of divestment.[32]
  • In Scenario 2 (creating a new DisCO), the DisCOlar will make explicit agreements on the use and categorization (Love/Live/Care) of those 1800 credits.[33]

Regarding the 3rd scenario (the DisCOlar starts to "Date" the hosting DisCO), the DisCOlar will already have a considerable jump start into the Dating Phase, and may wish to undertake an evaluation straight away. A post-DisCOlarship Dating Phase is generally expected to take less time than a direct Dating Phase. See the Dating Phase section below for more details. In this scenario, the accrued 1800 credits will be added a) to the person's historical credits and b) to their invested love or care value streams, to be divested in accordance to the DisCO's Dating Phase rules.

The scenarios above assume that all credits accrued during the DisCOlarship are considered to be invested. However, if the DisCOlarship is partially or fully sponsored (see next section), only the historical and invested credits will be transferred, as the divested credits have already been paid out within the hosting DisCO.

DisCOlarships may come in three forms:

  • Unsponsored: This is where the DisCO.NP decides to earmark some of its Lovework allocation towards mentoring DisCOlars. Both DisCONauts and DisCOLars track value as Lovework. In the DisCONauts' case, they will eventually be paid back for this work by divesting credits. All of the DisCOlar's credits remain fully invested.
  • Partly Sponsored: In this scenario, the host DisCO.NP has allocated part of its program budget to compensate the DisCONaut's work on planning and carrying out the DisCOlarship. DisCO.NP's may also request specific funds for DisCOlarships through state-sponsored education and work experience programs. Similarly, private entities can sponsor the work needed to design and carry out the DisCOlarship. DisCONauts will then value track their work as Livelihood credits, which can be divested as part of their payment pipeline.
  • Fully Sponsored: In this scenario, the DisCOlar and DisCO.NP's time investment are fully budgeted for. This means that both the DisCOlar and their mentor/s will have their work value tracked as Livelihood work, with both having the option to divest the credits accrued or keep them invested.[34].

Chapter Seven of the DisCO Elements, DisCO Futures: Building Tracks contains policy recommendations for DisCOs. Regarding DisCOlarships, we'll highlight the following extracts:

  • Practical workplace education on feminist economics, the commons, decentralized technology and the ethical market sectors offered by participating DisCOs.
  • DisCO-oriented work training programs with DisCOs providing practical education in their specific sectors, as well as the DisCO methodology and tools. This would include transfer and acknowledgement of credits for higher education.
  • Research and higher education support, leveraging existing DisCO open-access documentation, training programs and pedagogical materials.

The DisCO Dating Phase

Center Line art"Line art" by walmarc04 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

Beyond exploring all the possible roles and interactions described in the preceding Roles and Responsibilities top-level section we will now take a thorough look at the DisCO Dating and Mentoring Phase. As mentioned before, this is they journey a prospective DisCONaut takes to become a fully committed members.

Engaging as a DisCOnaut reveals the porous membrane between casual and committed relationships with the collective.

This is very similar to the differences between Commons-based peer production interactions[35] and those of a concrete commons or cooperative (where face to face or close relationships may prevail, while rewards and benefits are more directly related to work or shared inputs).[36]

To become a committed DisCO.NP member, with full rights and privileges, prospective members need to go through a process known as “dating”. Divided into three progressive stages, the Dating Phase is characterized by supportive mentoring and increasing levels of engagement, responsibility and reward.

Full-fledged, committed DisCONauts are entrusted with caring for the health of the collective, as well as the health of its members. The Dating Phase ensures that all these considerations are met, allowing prospective DisCOnauts to receive the best hands-on training for the hosting DisCO's areas of work and focus.

As in all DisCOs, remuneration is proportional to the work and sweat equity investment in the collective, and not based on status or unjustified income differentials.[37] Jump here for a short reminder of what we mean when we speak of Committed Relationships.

For ease of reading, the Dating Phase section has been subdivided into two main sections. They are:

  1. Dating 1 (Before the Dating Phase starts)
  2. Dating 2 (as the Dating Phase begins in earnest).

Here is an index of what is contained in each part, with direct links to each of the subsections:

We believe that, regardless of the DisCO, the Dating Phase is a vital component in forming healthy, communicative teams.

The procedure we suggest is quite thorough. Beyond the step by step description offered below (which literally describes the Dating Phase and Mentoring program used in the DisCO Mothership) you can also read this TLDR summary of all the suggested steps in the Dating/Mentoring Program.

DATING 1: What happens prior to the DisCO Dating Phase

The following sections describe the standard protocol for determining if a candidate and their hosting DisCO are ready for the Dating phase. Like everything else, these requirements will be particular to each DisCO or DisCO.NP.

The following sections detail our internal selection process in the DisCO Mothership. One fulfilled, these requirements give way to the Dating Phase proper, as explained in Part Two: DisCO Dating in Action

DisCO Dating 1a.png Pre-Dating Phase! click to enlarge and animate

Qualifying for the DisCO Dating Phase

Each DisCO.NP will have its own evaluation criteria for proespective dating members, which will vary depending on the NP's mission, values, needs, budget and team composition.

DisCO Dating members can either be:

  1. Proven contributors who have shown commitment to the continued development of the collective
  2. Individuals who have gone through a DisCOlarship
  3. Newcomers who would like to apply directly for membership without going through a "casual" or DisCOlarship phase

In each of these cases it is essential that prospective members have the necessary experience and skillset to cover an existing "gap" or need in the DisCO.NP. Those who do not possess a specific skillset should apply for a DisCOlarship first, and not go straight into a Dating Phase.[38]

In the DisCO Mothership, for example, onboarding decisions are based on the health of each Working Circle. If any of the working circles are in poor health, or if work in any of these is being outsourced rather than performed in-house, these issues can be addressed though the training and incorporation of new members: this is what the DisCOlarship and Dating Phase/Mentoring programs are all about.

The DisCO Mothership, like any DisCO.NP, will not discriminate based on gender, race, sexual orientation, age, ability status and/or neurodivergence. It is important to establish an ideological common ground and "vibe", or feeling that there is a mutually good fit, to avoid misunderstandings or friction in the workplace. DisCOs are co-dependent entities: each committed member shapes the DNA of the DisCO. This means that committed personnel criteria, while fully inclusive, is also necessarily selective, as we'll explore below.

Other considerations may include:

  • Availability
  • Timezone
  • Previous relation with THE DisCO (whether through DisCOlarships, work in other DisCO or work in value-aligned cooperatives, non-profits or activist projects).

Dating for DisCOlars

As shown in the the flowchart above, the pre-dating process will logically be much faster for who have previously completed a DisCOlarship. In this case previous evaluation materials and commitment statements can be used as templates to co-design the Dating Phase.

Discolars are assumed to be already well know and trusted by the collective. This familiarity will positively affect the Discolar's Dating/mentoring timeline options and Dating Stages and Milestones as they enter the Dating Phase.

Ultimately it is up to each DisCO or DisCO.NP to determine what its personnel needs are and convey these as unequivocally as possible to all prospective members.

Dating H3.png

Before the Dating Phase Starts

Prior to entering into a Dating Phase, the prospective members are required to:

  1. Go through the DisCO.NP's Applicant Evaluation Criteria and Procedures.
  2. Write a Statement of Intent, covering the applicant's interest in DisCO and the hosting DisCO.NP in particular. This statement can include direct references to the aforementioned evaluation criteria, and serve to signal familiarity with the Dating Phase and expectations therein. It's a bit like having some "about me" texts exchanged before meeting for coffee (and to see whether there's chemistry).
  3. Undergo initial tests to determine their capacity to meet the DisCO.NP's productive work requirements [39] as well as their suitability for care work.
  4. Have a first interview with several Committed DisCOnauts to check suitability and vibe[40]
  5. Agree to ongoing evaluation and feedback. This is the essence of DisCO dating. The Dating Phase is divided into three time-variable stages where participants need to meet basic responsibilities and achieve set milestones. Milestones occur after determining the length and duration of the Mentoring/Dating Program

All these steps are detailed in Joining the DisCO Mothership, a complete guide, detailing the Mothership's applicant evaluation process.

DisCO.NP. Applicant Evaluation Criteria and Procedures

The DisCO Mothership has very direct and explicit requirements, which have been honed through our experiences, both good and bad. We want to convey that Dating is a big investment, both for the Dating member and the DisCO.NP itself.

Like in any relationship, we recommend that you don't date time wasters. A DisCO can be a delicate endeavour and it is essential that you keep yourselves safe to ensure that care work continues apace. You can find the DisCO Motherships requirements in the following Wiki entry:

DisCOnaut Qualifications Requirements and Vibe

Here are some highlights:

  • Required reading of all introductory DisCO materials
  • Availability for Love and Care work (not just livelihood/productive-paid work) and a working grasp of this governance model
  • Signing of Commitment Statement and agreement to enter the Dating Phase
  • Explicit shared values (anti-racism, feminism, etc.)
  • The typical stuff you'd be asked for in any normal job (punctuality, accountability, quick learning skills, etc.)
  • Explicit time and availability commitments
  • Clear, conscious and non-Violent communication.
  • Clarity on payments and compensation
  • Clarity that vibe trumps all other considerations, meaning, if there's a bad fit evident from things like poor or indirect communication, or evident discomfort with the style and rhythms of the existing group, that usually signals a weird vibe. Weird vibe = no DisCO Dating [41].

All of these points — just like the requirements reflected in the Commitment Statement and the 3-Stage Milestones — are tracked, honed and evaluated through the DisCO Mentoring Matrix: a qualitative and quantitative protocol for ensuring clear goals and feedback during mentoring.

Like all of the DisCO Blocks there's no one size fits all solution. All DisCO NPs need to develop, discuss, experiment with and document their membership criteria to see what works best.

Once a DisCO.NP is clear on its applicant evaluation criteria, it can put out a call for candidates. Prior work in other DisCOs can certainly make certain candidates more attractive than others, but this shouldn't be an impediment for people who are already familiar with and sympathetic to DisCO to learn by working in one.[42]

Final Pre-Dating Phase Interview and Mentoring Matrix

Following from the preceding steps, once the candidate is deemed suitable, it is time to have a follow-up discussion on expectations, the timeline of the Dating Phase and basic, ongoing requirements.

These requirements aren't limited to the Dating Phase: in the case of the DisCO Mothership they are identical for all DisCONauts and are encoded into the organization's Commitment Statement. All members, whether Dating or fully onboarded, need to sign the Commitment Statement every quarter, as we'll see below.

We've mentioned a first interview as part of the "Before the Dating Phase Starts" section above. It is also important to have a second, more thorough interview prior to signing the Commitment Statement. This "final" interview will fully explore the shape of the dating phase in collaboration with the applicant, while addressing any outstanding questions or doubts. We also recommend that a variety of DisCONauts, especially those expected to mentor or work more directly with the candidate be on hand for this final, pre-dating interview.

The interview is a guided, practical exercise, where the applicants self-score on a number of points and are introduced to their Mentoring Matrix.

During the interview, the applicant and their Mentors would cover the following topics:

  1. Prior self-evaluation of the DisCOnaut Qualifications Requirements and Vibe. The preceding link leads to the specific requirements of the DisCO Mothership, but any DisCO.NP will have their own requirements based on their particular needs. An honest self-evaluation during the call is essential to better prepare the mentors, address the applicant's needs and, ultimately, tailor the program to their strong and weak points. Each of the requirements listed can be scored on a scale of one to ten, recorded, and used used ongoing to evaluate the progress of the Dating Phase
  2. A thorough discussion of applicants' ongoing requirements as a DisCOnaut
  3. The approximate length of each of the three stages of the dating phase, ensuring a full understanding of what each stage requires and the compensation available at each stage. Jump here for a description of the different Dating Stage options and timeline.
  4. A discussion of the Commitment Statement, including weekly hours, availability and upkeep of Community Rhythms
  5. The applicant is encouraged to do a five minute mock-presentation of DisCO. For those not comfortable with presentations, the Statement of Intent mentioned in the preceding section can be tweaked into a short article or blog post. Regardless of the format, it allows the DisCONauts to gauge comprehension of the DisCO.NP's material and the applicant's own creative take on them
  6. Questions and concerns

Introducing the Mentoring Matrix

Each of these five points is broken down and scored in the applicant's internal profile within the DisCO.NP [43]

The aim of this exercise and final interview is to clear up any doubts and ascertain that there is a mutual understanding. These initial metrics help tremendously with the adaptation of the Mentoring Program to each individual member's strengths, talents and needs. The Mentoring Matrix is used regularly during the life of the mentoring program and beyond. More details on configuring a Mentoring Matrix can be found here

As mentioned earlier, DisCO Dating is a very involved process where both incoming Disco Daters, their mentors and the DisCO.NP must ensure fair conditions for all, as well as mutually realistic expectations. Once this meeting (and any necessary follow up meeting/s) is over, it is time for the new dating member to sign the Commitment Statement.

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The Commitment Statement

All the prior steps are the building blocks of a sustainable, mutually fair Dating Phase. But the Dating Phase only begins after the signing of the DisCO Commitment Statement.

We've mentioned the Commitment State before, in the context of DisCOlarships. It is one of the essential DisCO BLOCKS.

The following is extracted from The DisCO Glossary:

The DisCO Commitment Statement is a document of goals and expectations signed by all Committed Members every three months as part of the collective's quarterly evaluations. Failing to uphold the commitment statement results in graduated sanctions. The document can also serve as a quarterly self-evaluation template members can review to evaluate whether or not they have fulfilled their commitment to the collective.

Highlights of the DisCO Mothership's Commitment Statement include:

IMPORTANT: The Commitment Statement is not limited to people going through the Dating Phase. Each DisCONaut, whether Dating or Committed, needs to sign the Commitment Statement every three months, as part of the DisCO's Quarterly evaluation and Retrospective Protocol.

As with the Applicant Evaluation Criteria described above, each DisCO or DisCO.NP will craft its own Commitment Statement based on its particular needs and circumstances. Commitment Statements are not static, rote documents, made to be signed blindly and filed away. They will organically evolve with each DisCO's experience. They are specifically designed to be revised every three months where, as noted above, they form the basis of each DisCONaut's Quarterly self-evaluation.

Once signed, the Commitment Statements are uploaded to a common folder and form the basis of work for the current quarter.

DATING 2: DisCO Dating in Action

With all the Pre-Dating requisites detailed in Part One: What happens prior to the DisCO Dating Phase fulfilled it is time to start the actual dating process. Please note that most of the options explained below will already have been decided on during the pre-dating stage.

DisCO Dating 2.png Into the Dating Phase! click to enlarge and animate

From Candidates to DisCO Daters

While we've been referring to people following the steps described in the previous section as "Candidates", we will henceforth use "DisCO Daters" as the generic name given to individuals receiving mentoring while undergoing the DisCO Dating Phase.

Once the Dating Phase is underway, DisCO Daters are considered virtual DisCONauts with practically the same rights and privileges in day to day operations as full members, but with less responsibilities and certain limitations until the Dating Phase is completed and full coop worker-owner membership is established.[44]

When the Dating/Mentoring program is successful, DisCO Daters become full fledged DisCONauts or DisCO.NP "staff". The day to day functioning in a DisCO.NP is described in the next top-level section: Working in a DisCO.NP

Some notes on DisCO Dating and Mentoring structure

What follows is a description of the various ways to approach DisCO Dating so both the DisCO Daters and the hosting DisCO can make informed choices on which options fit best.

The options are factored along two main axes:

The Dating and Mentoring Timeline Options determine the overall length of the Dating program and expected completion date. Clarity on these points is essential for all parts involved so they can better plan out their time together.

The Dating Stages are the progressive milestones that must be met within the time period and intensity/rhythm of dating determined by the Dating and Mentoring Timeline Options.

In short. Within the faster and more intense types of dating, milestones will be completed much quicker and represent a much larger investment, both for the DisCO suitor, as well as the hosting DisCO.

In longer dating processes, milestones will be met at a much slower pace. Regardless of the type of dating, the milestones remain the same and must be specified by each DisCO as the set goals for their mentoring program.

These choices will also largely depend on answers to the following questions:

  • How urgently does the DisCO.NP need to incorporate new staff?
  • What is the DisCO.NP's mentoring capacity at present (and for the near future)?
  • Which are the Working Circles expecting to receive the DisCO Dater and what help do they need?
  • Has the DisCO Dater undergone a DisCOlarship?
  • How can the DisCO Dater's skillset help the organization in the long and short term?
  • What is the DisCO Dater's availability (and that of the mentor's) for the Dating Process?
  • What is the DisCO Dater's timezone and geographical location and legal jurisdiction?

As before, the answers to these questions should be clear before both parts embark on the Dating Phase.

Dating H3d.png

Dating and Mentoring Timeline Options

As explained in the previous section, the length and intensity of the Dating Phase can vary considerably depending on each DisCO.NP's circunstances, as well as those of the DisCO Dater.

To ease preparation and planning for the mentoring program, we'd like to offer some options for types of mentoring. These go in order, from the fastest and most intense to the slowest. As mentioned, regardless of the timeframe, the program and milestones remains the same. What varies are the resources (whether time or monetary) allocated to the program, and whether that particular mentoring program falls under Love, Livelhood or Care work (see Types of Work and Types of Credits below).

Below we will look at three Dating/Mentoring Timeline options:

  1. Intensive/Fast Track Dating/Mentoring
  2. Agile Dating/Mentoring
  3. Long run Dating/Mentoring

Intensive/Fast Track Dating/Mentoring

Intensive or Fast Track Dating and Mentoring happens when the DisCO.NP has concrete team-composition shortcomings or needs. These can identified by the health of the DisCO.NP's Working Circles and other noticeable needs.

Is there no one staffing or stewarding a working circle or area of work? It's time to date! Similarly, if the DisCO.NP is about to embark on a big project that needs additional capacity, it many be time for Intensive Mentoring.[45]

However, speed and intensity are not in any way a substitute for building trust and good relations. For a DisCO Dater to be considered for Intensive/Fast Track Dating, they must:

  • Fit clearly withing the DisCO.NP's mission and Working Circles
  • Have a demostrably high of familiarity with the DisCO model
  • Have a (demonstrable) skill set in the areas of chosen work, as well as be a good fit for the culture and vibe of their host DisCO
  • Have, preferably, already worked with the DisCO under a DisCOlarship or, at the very least, as a casual member
  • Together with their mentor, have a strong mutual sense that the timeframe for Intensive Mentoring is feasible and that most, if not all, of the milestones can be met

To be clear: Intensive/Fast Track dating is reserved for exceptionally motivated and skilled individuals who are a good fit for the DisCO in question. All Dating and Mentoring processes are built on the understanding that this will be a long-term relation leading to co-ownership and a legal stake in the Non-Profit and/or Cooperative legal structure. To extend the dating metaphor: don't wait until marriage to see if you are good fit.

If the DisCO has no urgency and and if the DisCO Dater doesn't quite meet the requirements above, it's much preferable to opt for standard Agile dating and mentoring. Speed and intensity can't replace trust building, while trust building depends more on time, rather than early chemistry. (See the section on Completion of Stage 3 vs Full membership for more).

If all these conditions are met, intensive dating can commence.

In person intensive mentoring

When resources allow, the DisCO mentor (or mentors) will allocate budget towards a multi-day face to face meeting with the DisCO Dater. [46]. This serves several purposes:

  • Mentoring is always faster and easier face to face
  • It allows the Mentor/s and DisCO Dater to build trust and share non-productive time together
  • If possible, the Mentor will host a general DisCO workshop in the chosen location. It's expected that the DisCO Dater will attend and assist with the workshop

This multi day, in-person mentoring needs a clear investment of time and resources, an additional reason for Intensive/Fast Track Mentoring to being reserved for special cases. Otherwise it may be a case of "too much too soon". Another option, if resources allow, is to invite the DisCO Dater to an in-person DisCONaut SpaceCamp or DisCOThon to meet the team face to face.

Intensive Mentoring Process

If travel and meeting in person is not an option, the Intensive/Fast Track Mentoring program will be carried out online.[47] Again, the key here is intensive, so this would look like one or two weeks of various calls and exercises a day.

At the end of the first week (if the mentoring can take place in person) or two weeks online, the DisCO Dater is not expected to have reached all milestones, but to have a solid foundation in Stage one and Stage Two, with absolute clarity on what's needed for Stage 3 and the completion of the intense mentoring phase.

Beyond meeting the milestones, the scores on the DisCO Dater's Mentoring Matrix will be closely tracked by both Mentor and DisCO Dater to identify strong and weak points in order to deliver the best mentoring program possible.

The approximate time frame for this (solid foundation of Stages 1 and 2 and full clarity on Stage 3) is of one month. If successful, the DisCO Dater becomes a Committed Member, yet, given the brevity of the relation, the longer standing DisCO members hold some rights which aren't shared with the new member. The reasoning and particulars of this distinction is explained here.

Agile Dating/Mentoring

Agile Dating, which can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months, is the more regular, or default, Dating/Mentoring Timeline option.

We've established that Intensive/Fast Track Dating-Mentoring is only used in select occasions, when there is an urgent need and enough resources to address it. Conversely, Agile Dating offers a more relaxed and time efficient approach for bringing DisCO Daters up to speed in a way that won't stress the Dater or their mentors.

Agile Dating/Mentoring is predicated on the following factors:

  • A clear time commitment on part of the Dater, their mentor/s and the hosting DisCO to fulfill the program Milestones in 3 to 6 months
  • A realistic evaluation and expectations of the Dater meeting all Milestones at any point between 3 and 6 months
  • Agile Daters must have a good grasp of the DisCO Model
  • Agile Daters must have a (demonstrable) skill set in the areas of chosen work, as well as be a good fit for the culture and vibe of their host DisCO

The following considerations are not as essential as in Intensive/Fast Track Dating, but would be highly valued and prioritized:

  • Daters may already worked with the DisCO under a DisCOlarship or, at the very least, as a casual member
  • Daters, together with their mentor, have a strong mutual sense that the timeframe for Agile Mentoring is feasible and that most, if not all, of the milestones can be met

The 3 to 6 month figure is purposefully indeterminate.

Initial enthusiasm may point toward 3 months, but then life (and work!) get in the way and expectations can fall short. The presence of two Quarterly Evaluations (at the 3 and 6 month mark) mean that the Dater and Mentor have two dedicated evaluation spaces to asses and adapt the mentoring program to the Dater's needs in real time and in concert with the rest of the collective.

6 months is the limit. If a Dater completes their milestone in month two, great! They can use the rest of the time period at an easier pace to hone certain skills, document practices or propose new patterns. Similarly, if not all milestones are met by month 3, the program can take a special focus to ensure these are fully met by the six month mark.

If milestones are not met due to justifiable external factors or force majeure, but the relationship has been good, there is the option of repurposing the Agile Dating/Mentoring Timeline into Long Run Dating Mentoring although the Dater will be de-prioritised in compensation and priority according to the Dating Stage Milestones from the agreements valid in Agile Dating/Mentoring.[48]

Earlier we mentioned the possibility of in-person mentoring within Intensive/Fast Track Dating/Mentoring. Although this isn't readily contemplated in Agile Dating/Mentoring, if there is an in-person SpaceCamp in any of the two Quarterly Evaluations set within the Agile Timeline it's always beneficial to meet face to face.

Depending on the DisCO NP's resources and SpaceCamp agenda, as well as the Dater's progress and Milestones met, the Dater could be invited to the SpaceCamp at the 3 or 6 month mark. [49]

Agile Mentoring Process

The Agile Mentoring Process follows the same overall structure as Intensive/Fast Track Dating, but a much more relaxed pace.

This is for each DisCO and DisCO.NP to determine but, generally speaking, we would recommend that Dater and Mentor have a call at least once a week. In this call they can review:

  • The Dater's Mentoring Matrix and ongoing evaluation reflected therein
  • The expected timeline of the Agile Process (vis a vis initial estimates)
  • Specific questions or requests for tutorials (on tools, procedures, communication etc)

Aside from the weekly call, Daters are encouraged to try things out, make mistakes and ask lots of questions.[50] Questions are either asked directly to the Mentor or, preferably, in public channels, so any DisCONaut can answer — and other Daters benefit from the safe info.

Once all the Milestones are met, the Agile DisCO Dater becomes a DisCONaut with the same rights and privileges as long standing DisCONauts concerning payment and the majority of decision-making. However, full legal incorporation into the coop or DisCO.NP legal structure is not recommended until 9 months have passed (since the start of the Dating Phase). Read Completion of Stage 3 vs Full membership for more details.

Long Run Dating/Mentoring

If an Agile Dating/Mentoring phase of 3 to 6 months is the standard — while Intensive/Fast Track Dating is reserved for exceptional occasions and needs — Long Run Dating presents a third and more low-intensity option.

Depending on the composition, rhythms and workload of a DisCO.NP this may be the least preferred option. Long Run Mentoring establishes a hard limit of 9 months for all Milestones to be completed. It also places the onus more on the Dater self pacing their mentoring with the assistance of a mentor, rather than the more dedicated time and resource investment of the two preceding Dating Timeline options. These factors increase the likelihood of losses of rhythm and kinship between Dater and hosting DisCO.NP which would need to be identified and addressed straight away.

With those caveats out of the way, Long Run Dating/Mentoring can be an option in the following circumstances.

  • There are persons interested in being a DisCONaut, or who have completed a DisCOlarship and/or have a previous casual relation with the DisCO.NP and would like to be considered for eventual Full Membership
  • Neither these persons or the hosting DisCO:NP have any specific needs or expectations to be fulfilled in the short term
  • The hosting DisCO or DisCO.NP doesn't have the resources for a dedicated mentor for Agile Dating/Mentoring
  • Prospective Daters are skilled at self-paced learning and evaluation and have no urgent expectations of becoming DisCONauts
  • This is key: a Minimum Viable Community Rhythm of a brief check in every fifteen days, and a fuller check in once a month must be established. No matter how spaced, there must be a rhythm to Long Run mentoring. If this Minimum Viable Rhythm can't be met (on either part) the program will either be delayed or cancelled.

It's understood that most Dating and Mentoring resources will be focused on the Fast Track/Intensive and Agile timeline options. This means that Long Run Dating, although more relaxed, doesn't enjoy the same perks. Here are some distinguishing characteristics:

  • There may not be a dedicated Mentor assigned to the long run dater. Their contact person may be a combination of DisCONauts
  • Also, new DisCONauts who have recently completed their own Dating Phase Milestones may be offered the role of mentor for Long Run Daters
  • Long Run Daters will be expected to read the documentation and implement the majority of the program on their own, with minimal accompaniment.
  • Enfranchisement as a legal DisCO.NP worker-owner, as well as budget and work allocations are deprioritized over New DisCONauts coming from Intensive/Fast Track and Agile Dating
  • As mentioned above a Minimum Viable Rhythm must be met. If it isn't the Long Run Program needs to be cancelled (or diverted towards a DisCOlarship or another sort of relation)
  • In person meeting/mentoring will not be prioritized
  • It is understood that resources will be prioritised towards more focused programs, such as DisCOlarships or Fast Track/Intensive and Agile Mentoring

Long Run Mentoring Process

Despite the looser focus and rhythm, once a Long Run Dating process has been agreed to, the Dater is subject the same "stack" of mentoring materials, the Mentoring Matrix, Commitment Statement etc as the two other Timelines.

In practice, the Long Run daters will have check in calls with a possibly rotating cast of mentors. The DisCO.NP needs also to determine what level of access to tools and inclusion in rhythms is to be granted to the Long Run Dater.

With the mutual understanding that Long Run Dating is more an option to build capacity and back/up team members, once the program is successful, daters become New DisCONauts. However, at that point a conversation will be had with the DisCO about their specific rights.

Unlike Intense/Fast Track and Agile Daters, the nine-month mark since the beginning of Dating does not automatically grant full rights and privileges, as well as incorporation as a worker owner in the DisCO.NP. This is because, due to the self-paced nature and lessened rhythms of Long Run Mentoring, proper, trusting relationships may not have been fully built during the Long Run Dating Phase. It's essential to be honest and clear on these assessments.

Persons completing the Long Run Dating program have been made aware that they are conceived as "back-up" staff and not prioritized over other DisCONauts who've committed to more regular rhythms and that, while demonstrably possessing the necessary skillset to work in a DisCO.NP, they may very well not be offered a set budget allocation.

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DisCO Dating Stages

As explained on Dating and Mentoring Timeline Options the DisCO Dating Stages are set milestones that can be met within different, agreed-on timelines and rhythms. Regardless of the chosen rhythm, milestones remain the same.

These milestones are for each DisCO.NP to determine, as they will largely be dependent on their workflow rhythms, practices and tools.

In general, the milestones and their evaluation have to placed within each DisCO.NP's Community Rhythms, so progress, results and next steps can be presented by Mentor and DisCO Dater alike to the rest of the DisCO.NP staff. The Quarterly Evaluations and SpaceCamps are where informal decisions and progress milestones can be ratified (with the exception of Intensive/Fast Track Dating and Mentoring).

The Three Stages also determine how credits can be divested during the Dating Phase. To understand this, you will need to be familiar with the two following DisCO governance sections:

Both are extensively detailed in the top-level Value Tracking Section below.

Finally, the same dating Stages also affect decision making power in the DisCO.NP, as explained below.

DisCO Daters Rights and Progressive Compensation

Dating members have increasing levels of payment and decision making vis a vis fully committed, long term DisCONauts. These need to be progressively and demonstrably earned in order to reach ownership, decision making and payment parity with longer team members.[51]

In most companies and organizations, changes in salary and power either never occur or are subject to clearly unspecified company culture, biases, and profit margins. None of these widely accepted mainstream practices are present in DisCOs. Ultimately the pay ration among all staff is 1:1. However, the rhythm at which this pay ratio is divested depends very much on meeting clear goals, good communication and building trust.

These common-sense consideration around mutual trust-building and support also apply to decision-making. Daters, even when completing all the Stage Milestones early on, do not have instant access to the same rights and privileges as more established members.

This is not exclusionary, but a transparent way to ensure coherency with each DisCO.NP's pre-existing values, principles and culture prior to the arrival of new members. Clear communication and mutual trust are once again key and, despite early quantitative results, these qualities can only be built over time. As mentioned several times, this is why we recommend a minimum nine-month period before full enfranchisement, legal ownership and incorporation are granted, even if all milestones have been met much earlier.

As with the credit ratios, voting and veto rights for Daters reflects the governance agreements described in the top-level Decision Making section below.

Rights Privileges and Milestones of the 3 Dating Stages

For now, and without delving into the particulars of Value Tracking and Decision Making, we will detail how the Dating Stages affect the Dater's Invested/Divested credit ratio as part of the Milestones and within the general Dating/Mentoring Program. We will also see how their decision-making power increases as stages are completed and trust is built through time.

Each of the Dating Stages section below is broken down into two parts:

  1. The DisCO Dater's expected Milestone for that Stage. These will vary greatly from DisCO.NP to DisCO.NP, we have include some general patterns adapted from the DisCO Mothership's specific per-stage Milestones.
  2. The DisCO Dater's Rights and Privileges for that Stage. (How much the get paid and what for, what is their decision making power vis vis longer term DisCONauts)

Important considerations:

  • If any of these requirements or Milestones represent a challenge due to learning disabilities or emotional blocks, the Dater should notify their mentor immediately to receive help in these areas, or delegate them all together.
  • Specific milestones will, of course, greatly vary depending on the DisCO.NP.

Dating H3e.png


Stage one is the welcoming and general orientation stage, with a heavy focus on Community Rhythms and collaborative tools and practices.


During Stage One, Daters are required to:

  • Follow through of the agreed Mentoring Program and Timeline with Mentor/s.
  • Familiarize themselves with the Ongoing Responsibilities required of all DisCONauts, independent of their longevity.
  • Undertake care work following the procedures of the DisCO.NP. Daters receive ongoing mentoring and support while beginning to take on care work tasks autonomously. This care work will be time tracked, but not divested. It will however, tally up the Daters' Total/Historical Credits.
  • Take part and vote on DisCO.NP discussions and proposals. Stage 1 Dater votes will be carefully taken into account, but are not binding.
  • Ask questions of their mentor or through the DisCO NP's public channels.[52]
  • Have a basic understanding of the DisCO NP's Collaborative Tools: What they are, why they are used and how they relate.
  • Have a good working understanding of the DisCO.NP's Working Circles and subgroups and how to navigate them. This also means compliance with all established rhythms without needing outside reminders.
    • As part of the Working Circles. Stage One Daters are expected to join one or two of the most relevant Working Circles for their skillset and becoming fully familiar with those work areas and their needs.
  • Having a basic understanding of the DisCO.NP's governance model: the logic behind it, how credits work and where to find more info when needed.
  • Being fully familiar with the DisCO.NP's daily, weekly and bi weekly Community Rhythms.
  • Having a clear understanding how to Time Track their contributions in all value streams.[53]
    • In the DisCO Mothership's Workflow System this means that the Daters know how to BackBeat their time entries with some assistance and occasional corrections.
  • Knowing how to perform the DisCO.NP's chosen Lovework projects and tasks and meeting its minimal quotas.[54]
  • Being familiar with the development goals of the DisCO.NP and its current health
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with their Mentor, Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the DisCO.NP.
  • Feeling integrated within the DisCO.NP through meaningful relations.

If Daters feel that they are falling behind or having unexpected difficulties with any of these requirements, they are expected to ask for help ASAP. Their mentor/s and the rest of the DisCONauts will take the time to ensure that Daters are comfortably able to meet all the milestones.


  • During Stage One, Daters will be proportionally compensated for any Lovework done at the same rate as DisCONauts. In the Guerrilla Media Collective and DisCO.coop governance models this amounts to 25% of all net income (after expenses and company taxes) of any given month.
    • If there is any previous pro-bono work undertaken during a previous Casual Relationship or DisCOlarship, those credits may be used towards Quarterly Love Credit quotas. Note, these “casual stage” credits would only begin to be paid down on a monthly basis during Stage Two. In Stage only credits created during the Stage 1 timeline will be divested.
  • Stage 1 Daters can be listed as special "Additional Team Members" page on the DisCO.NP's website with their bio, images and links.[55]
  • No livelihood (paid) work is assigned at this stage. Stage One DisCO Daters are not expected to take responsibility for budgeted tasks with clear goals and deadlines. They can help toward this as part of their program, but all contributions will be tracked in Love Credits.
  • In the eventuality that livelihood work lining up with the Dater's skillset needs to be assigned at this time, due to emergency or undercapacity, Daters can be hired as freelancers and paid freelance rates.
    • Any work performed in this capacity will not be tallied towards Historical or any kinds of credits.
    • Quality of work and expediency on its execution can also be factored into the Mentoring Matrix scoring system.
    • We however think that it's best to avoid this scenario and assign Livelihood budgets to more established DisCONauts or outside professionals until the Daters are judged ready to perform Livelihood work while fully following the DisCO's NP Governance agreements, as we will see in the next two Stages.
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By Stage Two Daters should already feel integrated and able to perform many tasks autonomously. The Milestones and Rights and Privileges listed below are mostly identical to those in Stage One, but with a focus on more autonomy and self-reliance.

Stage One is principally about "basic understanding" and "familiarity" with the DisCO.NP's Community Rhythms, collaborative tools and general practices. In Stage Two Daters are expected to have a more competent understanding and good working knowledge of these same practices. The main changes between one stage are the next are marked in bold text.


During Stage Two, Daters are required to:

  • Follow through of the agreed Mentoring Program and Timeline with Mentor/s.
  • Keep up with the agreed on Ongoing Responsibilities required of all DisCONauts, independent of their longevity with minimal assistance
  • Undertake care work following the procedures of the DisCO.NP. Daters receive ongoing mentoring and support while continuing to take on care work tasks autonomously. This care work is still time tracked, but not divested. It will however, tally up the Daters' Total/Historical Credits.
  • Take part and vote on DisCO.NP discussions and proposals. As with Stage 1, Stage 2 Dater votes will be carefully taken into account, but are not binding.
  • Ask questions of their mentor or through the DisCO NP's public channels.[56]
  • Have a full understanding of the DisCO NP's Collaborative Tools: What they are, why they are used and how they relate and having the ability to mentor others in their usage.[57]
  • Being an active member of two or more Working Circles and being fully familiar with those work areas and their needs (even in Circles where the Dater doesn't take part in) while being able to explain them to others.
  • Having a thorough understanding of the DisCO.NP's governance model: the logic behind it, how credits work and taking an active part in its development
  • Being fully familiar with the DisCO.NP's daily, weekly and bi weekly Community Rhythms and compliance/attendance in concert with these rhythms.
  • Having a clear understanding how to Time Track their contributions in all value streams.
    • In the DisCO Mothership's Workflow System this means that the Daters know how to BackBeat their time entries with with no assistance and only occasional corrections.
  • Actively taking part in the DisCO.NP's chosen Lovework projects and tasks and meeting its minimal quotas.
  • Being fully familiar with the current health of the DisCO.NP, while taking an active part in the development goals of the DisCO.NP. Within Stage 2, Daters should be able to discuss these goals to the DisCO.NP's partners and colleagues.
  • Being able to host interviews for those who want to join the collective after passing the initial test.
  • Being able to host the DisCO.NP's bi-weekly sprints, with a clear sense of each of the tasks in the interactive timeline and their current status.
  • Being familiar with the structure of the Quarterly Evaluations and Retrospectives, while being able to assist in some of the sessions.
  • Being able to and confident in representing the collective online through Social Media and other channels.
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with their Mentor, Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the DisCO.NP.
  • Feeling integrated within the DisCO.NP through meaningful relations.

As before: If Daters feel that they are falling behind or having unexpected difficulties with any of these requirements, they are expected to ask for help ASAP. Their mentor/s and the rest of the DisCONauts will take the time to ensure that Daters are comfortably able to meet all the milestones.


  • During Stage Two Daters are proportionally compensated for any Lovework done on a monthly basis at the same rate as established DisCONauts.
    • Any previous pro-bono work undertaken during a Casual Relationship or DisCOlarship begins to be paid down on a monthly basis at a 50% rate, those credits may still be used towards Quarterly Love Credit quotas.
  • Stage 2 Daters can still be listed as special "Additional Team Members" page on the DisCO.NP's website with their bio, images and links.
  • Any Livelihood (paid) work assigned at this Stage is paid monthly at a 50% rate. Note that the other 50% will be redeemable upon succesfully completing Stage 3.[58]
  • Carework continues as above with a stronger emphasis on autonomy. This carework will be time tracked toward Total/Historical credits, but will not be divested.
  • Daters are expected to contribute and vote on the DisCO NP's discussion and decision making processes.[59]- Dater's votes will be considered but not be binding.

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Stage Three can be seen as the "polishing stage" of the DisCO Dating Phase. This means that Daters are already well familiar and competent on the DisCO.NP's tools and practices and able to perform most tasks autonomously.

Stage Three is more bespoke than the two preceding stages. Mentor and Dater alike will carefully go through the Mentoring Matrix to identify weak areas and work on improving their scores before the final Dating Stages evaluation.

The Milestones and Rights and Privileges listed below follow the same structure as Stages One and Two, this time focused on full autonomy and identifying red lines (areas and Working Circles where the Dater may feel inadequate or incapable).

Stage Three is designed to improve weaker areas where the Dater and Mentor feel improvement can be achieved.

The Feynman Technique

We are making a special note here to explain the importance of being fully familiar with the host DisCO.NP's Governance Model and Methods and how this is tied to the Feynman Technique.

Named after Nobel prize physicist and all around quirky character Richard Feynman the technique consists of four simple steps:

Feynman-technique graphic-1 resize-1-1000x618.png
  1. Choose a concept to learn: Select a topic you’re interested in learning about and write it at the top of a blank page in a notebook.
  2. Teach it to yourself or someone else: Write everything you know about a topic out as if you were explaining it to yourself. Alternately, actually teach it to someone else.
  3. Return to the source material if you get stuck: Go back to whatever you’re learning from – a book, lecture notes, podcast – and fill the gaps in your knowledge.
  4. Simplify your explanations and create analogies: Streamline your notes and explanation, further clarifying the topic until it seems obvious. Additionally, think of analogies that feel intuitive.

By Stage Three Daters are expected to be able to present the governance model publicly, and/or teach it to DisCOlars, new Daters or anyone interested.

For those anxious about public speaking it can be as simple as explaining it to other DisCONauts or trusted persons. They key takeaway is that complex systems are always best understood when, first, internally conceptualized and, then, made legible to others.

Failure to understand or being able to explain the model breaks the delicate balance between self and mutual coordination that's is at the heart of each DisCO and will likely result in serious Care work Imbalances.

In plain English: Not internalizing the model means that someone else has to clean up after you, whether they've chosen to or not. Barring learning disabilities and justifiable time and life constrains, knowing, caring for and co-creating your DisCO's Governance model, together with other DisCONauts is the (codified, evolving) soul of each DisCO. Don't skimp here: No governance and carework = No DisCO.

We understand that DisCO Governance can seem complex or overwhelming at first. As long as there is good mentoring and inclusive resources, experience as has shown us that it's not. Like most worthwhile things it takes time, attention and care, both from Daters and Mentors alike.[60]


During Stage Three, Daters are required to:

  • Have a full understanding of the DisCO.NP's governance model: the logic behind it, how credits work and taking an active part in its development.
    • This means having internalized it to the point where Daters can identify blindspots to the governance model and suggest improvements as well as being able to teach it to others through the Feynman Technique, as explained above.
    • All of the Milestones below are based on patterns derived from this governance model. It is up to each DisCO, or DIsCO.NP to create its own Governance Model and develop it according to their real life circunstances. What we offer here are Pattern Templates for DisCOs to discuss, adapt and modify for their purposes.

  • Complete the agreed Mentoring Program and Timeline with Mentor/s.
  • Keep up with the agreed on Ongoing Responsibilities required of all DisCONauts, independent of their longevity with no assistance[61]
  • Undertake care work following the procedures of the DisCO.NP. As with the previous two stages, Daters receive ongoing mentoring and support while continuing to take on care work tasks autonomously. This care work is still time tracked, but not divested: It is automatically converted to non-divestable Total/Historical Credits.
  • Take part and vote on DisCO.NP discussions and proposals.
    • Unlike Stages 1 and 2, Daters votes are now binding, but they are not allowed to block voting processes. If they feel a process should be blocked, they will expected to make their case, but will not be able to block.
    • Daters can add blocking to their voting options after completion of Stage 3.
  • Ask questions of their mentor or through the DisCO NP's public channels and, also be able to provide answers to other members' questions.[62]
  • Progressing from Stage Two: Have a thorough understanding of the DisCO NP's Collaborative Tools: What they are, why they are used, how they relate and, in Stage Three having the ability to mentor others in their usage.
    • In the DisCO Mothership, this means having Full Autonomy in the usage of our tool set and workflow system.
  • Stewarding at least one Working Circle and being a member of another.
    • Stewarding implies overseeing the Community Rhythms and Commitments of that particular circle.
    • By this Stage it's required that Daters be fully familiar with each circle's purpose.
      • This means full knowledge of each Circle's function, rhythm and needs, including those Circles where the Dater doesn't take part in.[63]
      • When we speak about "full knowledge" of each Circle's purpose and rhythm of each Circle describes a top level view. For example, one member may define a Circle as a "Red line area". This means that they are not willing or able to do that Circle's work, even in an emergency: they know what the Circle does, but they may be unfamiliar with its specific workflow. The latter is only required if Circle members and Stewards.
  • Being fully familiar with and able to mentor others in the DisCO.NP's daily, weekly and bi weekly Community Rhythms and full compliance/attendance with these rhythms.
  • Having a full understanding how to Time Track their contributions in all value streams. This includes performing regular Time Tracking Audits and mentoring others on Time Tracking.
    • In the DisCO Mothership's Workflow System this means that the Daters know how to BackBeat their time entries with with no assistance and only occasional corrections.
  • Having a full understanding of any Tokenization present within any of the DisCO.NP's 3 Value Streams.
  • Actively taking part in the DisCO.NP's chosen Lovework projects and tasks, meeting its minimal quotas and mentoring others in the Lovework procedures.
  • Being fully familiar with the current health of the DisCO.NP and taking active part in its development goals. Within Stage 3, Daters should be able to discuss these goals to the DisCO.NP's partners and colleagues.
  • Being able to host interviews for those who want to join the DisCO.NP after passing the initial test.
  • Being able to host the DisCO.NP's bi-weekly sprints or any Community Rhythm involving hosting and moderation with a clear sense of each of any tasks in the DisCO N.P's chosen Workflow system
  • Being fully familiar with the structure of the Quarterly Evaluations and Retrospectives, and being able to host or co-host one or more of the sessions.
  • Feeling confident in representing the DisCO.NP online and in public, whether through interviews, public appearances, at events, etc
  • Being able to answer incoming correspondence or requests toward the DisCO.NP, whether for collaborations, funded work or possible membership.
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with their Mentor, Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the DisCO.NP.
  • Feeling integrated within the DisCO.NP through meaningful relations.

As always: If Daters feel that they are falling behind or having unexpected difficulties with any of these requirements, they are expected to ask for help ASAP. As mentioned above, Stage Three is the "polishing stage". Mentor/s and other DisCONauts will take the time to ensure that Daters can meet all the milestones.


  • During Stage Three Daters are proportionally compensated for any Lovework done on a monthly basis at the same rate as established DisCONauts.
    • Any previous pro-bono work undertaken during a Casual Relationship or DisCOlarship can continue to be paid down on a monthly basis at a 75% rate, those credits may still be used towards Quarterly Love Credit quotas.
  • Stage 3 Daters can still be listed as special "Additional Team Members" page on the DisCO.NP's website with their bio, images and links.
    • Once Stage 3 is surpassed, they can be added to the DisCO.NP's team page and receive an email address with the DisCO.NP's website domain
  • Any Livelihood (paid) work assigned at this Stage is paid monthly at a 75% rate with the remaining 25% redeemable upon surpassing Stage 3[64]
  • Carework continues as above with the expectation of full autonomy in regular tasks and established rhythms. As before, carework will be time tracked toward Total/Historical credits, but will not be divested.
    • Carework begins to be divested after Stage 3, but Dating Stage Carework is locked as non-divestable historical credits.
  • Daters are expected to contribute and vote on the DisCO NP's discussion and decision making processes. Dater's votes are now binding, with the exception of blocked votes.

The Mentoring Matrix

The Mentoring Matrix is our suggested method for Mentors and Daters to evaluate the latter's progress through each of the Milestones. Conceived as an integrated module of the DisCO DECK (DisCO's proposed Value-tracking and work organization program) it can also be implemented on paper, spreadsheets etc.[65]

Mentoring Matrix Structure

Here is a visual representations of what a Mentoring Matrix can look like, based on the Matrix currently used for the DisCO Mothership. As you will see, each section corresponds to previously described DisCO Dating criteria.

From left to right, the Matrix Displays sections for evaluating different sections of the Dating Phase and the DisCO.NP's Governance Model:

Starting Requirements 3 Stage Timeline Ongoing Responsibilities Commitment Statement

There are also two additional, more personal spaces:

Questions or concerns Dater feedback for their mentor

These last two are more general in intent. The main sections of the Mentoring Matrix also include spaces for comments and feedback on specific aspects. Each section is, basically, a separate tab on a spreadsheet with template cells describing and scoring the main aspects of the Dating Phase process.

The Mentoring Matrix in Action

To illustrate the different sections of the Mentoring Matrix, we will use anonymized screenshots of the DisCO Mothership's Template Matrix, one category at a time. Each section contains direct links to the Governance Model sections the Mentoring Matrix refers to.

Scoring is done from 1-10 in conversation between Dater and Mentor. TBoth need to agree on the current score for all of the items listed, identify strengths and weak points and, together, develop and overall vision of where the Dater is at with the hosting DisCO or DisCO.NP.

In the DisCO Mothership we use a color convention where:

  • Green is optimal, or "done" (7.5 and above)
  • Blue is In-progress or "good" (5.5 to 7.5)
  • Yellow is "Started but missing major elements" (3 to 5.5)
  • Red is not started, pending. (Below 3)


The first view assesses comprehension and progress in the Starting Requirements needed before dating at the DisCO Mothership. These are listed in the leftmost column, with Daters' averaged scores for each of the current or completed stages:

Starting Requirements v2.png

Starting Requirements view of the DisCO Mothership's Mentoring Matrix. Click to enlarge

Although these are prerequisite to dating, we don't expect anyone entering the Dating Phase to excel in all aspects. We do however require a firm commitment towards learning and meeting these requirements. The Staged approach allows us to discern progress. By Stage 3 all the Starting Requirements should be marked green (Score of 7.5 or above)


The second view scores the Dater's progress through the 3 DisCO Dating Stages. The leftmost column describes each of the milestones and includes hyperlinks to this governance model and other materials. The second column shows the average for each of the milestones. The third column color codes their status while the fourth is used for feedback and comments.

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The 3 Stage Timeline Milestones in the DisCO Mothership's Mentoring Matrix. Click to enlarge

The color coding allow Dater and Mentor alike to identify which areas need the most work. In this case the dater needed extra help understanding our Community Rhythms and some of the Mothership's tools — in this case Loomio and Trello, as well as email management (all marked as yellow). They showed good starting progress in all other areas.

As stated before the ultimate goal of the Mentoring Matrix is to have as many Milestones marked green as possible. By Stage Two we can see that they dater has improved in most of the areas: most milestones are either Blue (in progress) or Green (Optimal/Done). New milestones are introduced at each stage, so it's not surprising that Dater may feel less comfortable or familiar with some of these, which are marked yellow (started but missing major elements)


DisCO's Ongoing Responsibilities are not limited to Daters, but applied to all active (or "Core Crew") DisCOnauts.


The Mentoring Matrix doesn't expire once the Dating Phase is completed. It is instead used ongoing by the DisCONauts to monitor the upkeep of their Ongoing Responsibilities and Commitment Statement. Of these two "Ongoing Responsibilities" are more granular and may reflect current projects and goals, while the Commitment Statement is more generally applied to the overall values of the DisCO.NP.

IN PROGRESS: go to corresponding section in Talk Page for notes and comments.


The Commitment Statement is both a mark of solidarity as a well as an invaluable self-assessment tool for all DisCOs and their DisCOnauts. Daters, DIsCOlars and DisCONauts alike need to sign, reflect, and follow through on their commitments. It is an explicit agreement to the foundational goals and values of any DisCO or DisCO.NP:

Matrix Commitment Statement View.png

The Commitment Statement in the DisCO Mothership's Mentoring Matrix. Click to enlarge

As mentioned, the Commitment Statement is not limited to Daters: all DisCONauts reflect on it during group Quarterly Evaluations and SpaceCamps and need to sign it anew in order to be considered Core Crew (main, everyday "staff") or DisCO Regulars (peripheral "staff" with agreed-on constancy).

In the case of DisCONauts, the Stages Columns is extended into quarters (Q1, Q2, etc). This provides a historical overview of DisCOnaut follow through on commitments while also serving to identify problematic areas.

The scores do not reflect intention of fulfillment or sympathy with the commitment, but actual follow through since the last check in. During the dating phase these check-ins follow the agreed-on Dating/Mentoring Timeline, usually every time the Dater has a call with their mentor.[66]

Mentoring Matrix Final Overview

The score from all the previously explained sections of the Matrix are then tallied up into a General DisCONaut Score. This score is not to be taken literally: Quantitative analysis can only go so far, much like the Value Flows we will analyze in the [| Value Tracking] section, clear data is necessary for clear conversation. Negative scores should not be seen as an automatic justification for graduated sanctions but as "live feedback" on the health, and the health of its members.

That being said, by the end of the Dating Phase, it is expected that most, if not all, of the areas examined in the Mentoring Matrix are coded as green. The exceptions can serve to clearly identify Red Lines (areas and Working Circles where the Dater may feel inadequate or incapable). Not all people can or should excel at all things. Knowing this and skillfully complementing each others' skills, strong areas and weaknesses leads to resilient thriving and diverse teams.

The key is finding the balance between understanding the logic behind the requirements and values reflected in the Matrix while being able to perform those tasks more closely aligned with the Dater's skillset. This also means ensuring that more difficult asks are in the care of other DisCONauts: No DisCO commitment left behind!

Finally, as we've mentioned, once Dating has been successfully completed the Mentoring Matrix continues to be used by all DisCONauts as a way to self-evaluate their progress and commitment to the DisCO.NP.

DisCO Dating/Mentoring day to day

We've looked at the various Dating and Mentoring Timeline Options, Stages, and how the Mentoring Matrix helps guiding the Dater's progress. What Dating and Mentoring looks like in action will be highly dependent on chosen Timeline Options, especially if any In-person dating takes place.

In our experience through Guerrilla Media Collective and DisCO most Dating phases begun online and then, when we had the chance to meet face to face, we'd use the occasion to teach each other topics of interest or help with challenges.

Dating with the Mentor

Taking a somewhat typical online Agile Mentoring option of 3-6 months as an example, Mentor and Dater would have dedicated weekly meetings. The Mentoring Matrix serves as a guide for the conversation: the Dater will have advanced on whatever areas they've agreed to cover during the week and these are conjointly assessed. Special attention is paid to difficult, confusing or "stuck" areas, where the dater has a lower score. If the DisCO.NP's learning materials and documentation are not enough to successfully cover the subject at hand, the Mentor is tasked with finding alternate explanations.

Another typical situation is the "DisCO Driving School" where the Dater (apprentice driver) screencasts whatever they are interested in or tasked with learning. Meanwhile, the Mentor (driving instructor) watches carefully and instructs. This hands-on approach allows Daters to engage with procedures in a tactile, direct way while being supported. If they get stuck, the Mentor can take over to screencast the procedure themselves.

The Mentoring Calls are a place where Dater and Mentor get to know each other and build trust. Likewise, if the Dater improves a process or comes up with a better idea, it's the Mentor's task to relay this to the group and, if approved via vote, to encourage the Dater to add the improved procedure to the DisCO.NP's teaching materials.

Dating with the Circles

As a general rule, Dating members will be included in the Working Circles that correspond to their skillset and it's in these where they will feel most comfortable and, predictably, be able to offer new angles and knowledge. However, it's important that every DisCO.NP member is fully aware of the types of work taking place in each circle - and of the people within. This doesn't mean that everybody has to know to perform Circle-specific tasks and procedures, but basic working knowledge of each Circle will provide a holistic overview of how the DisCO "ticks". To that end, and complementary to the regular Mentor/Dater calls, additional "thematic" calls and practical workshops can be had to familiarize Daters with the Circles relevant to their skillset and interest.

Dating with the DisCO.NP as a whole

Between Mentor/Dater and Working Circle calls, whatever their regularity, Daters are encouraged to take full advantage of the DisCO's communication channels and spaces to ask questions. This, apart from lessening the burden on the Mentor, means that answers and suggestions can be had immediately and,during the process,the Dater gets to interact with other people in the DisCO.NP.

It's important to note that, from the first day of Dating, Daters aren't only learning how to work in the DisCO.NP, but actually work there to the extend of their capacity and availability. They are included in all the regular practices of the DisCO, which are covered below in the Working in a DisCO.NP Section. It's like being invited to a party where everybody knows each other and special attention is paid to the new guests being included in the party games. Daters have access to all general communication channels and tools and can attend all meetings, take part in decisions etc. They are new members of the team starting a journey towards full integration and community-built trust.

Completion of Stage 3 vs Full membership

If you are a Dater who has completed all 3 Stages successfully, congratulations! You are now a DisCONaut!

This means that you will enjoy the same rights and privileges as other longer-term DisCONauts. Your work will be Value Tracked and rewarded by the same metrics as other members and you can exercise your voting making power in day to day decisions and relevant votes. Welcome to the dance floor!

Depending on the Dating Timeline Options the process from Dater to DisCONaut can take as little as one month (see Intensive/Fast Track Dating). This is great for incorporating people quickly and can greatly expedite the cognitive and informational aspects of joining a DisCO.

However, care work is the heart of DisCONomics and while faster Dating options may result in successful completion of the Dating Phase, we believe that for real trust building and camaraderie, there is no substitute for time.

In DisCO.coop we recommend that full membership is only awarded after nine continued months of working and being in the collective. This means nine months from the moment the new DisCONaut started dating, independent of their timeline options.

What does full membership entail?

You've done all the hard dating work and there's still an extra? What's the deal?

In our experience we find that early energy and intentions are great, but valuable long-term relations need to be fostered through real-life circumstances, good and bad. Make no mistake, at this early stage DisCO-building can be very challenging. We welcome these challenges, as they stress-test and improve the model through myriad circumstances. During the nine month total any stresses, frictions and incompatibilities will be highlighted and discussed in a convivial caring atmosphere.

To be clear, longer-term DisCONauts want new members to become full members. Dating is an investment on all sides and the purpose is having a team that works and stays together in the long run.[67]

DisCOs are not disagregated DAOs where membership can be anonymous/pseudonymous and not subject to legal incorporation. In practice DisCOs operate as legally compliant non-profits, cooperatives and similar structures. They are small-scale Commons practicing Value Sovereignty through the best available present-day legal interfaces. This allows them to critically interface with the regular Market/State system to ensure the sustainability of their members.[68]

Full membership in a DisCO means becoming a legal worker-owner or having an equivalent (and legally ratified) stake in the DisCO.

This means that, beyond the statutes codified on a any given DisCO Governance/Economic model, you'll enjoy the additional labor protections (hopefully) guaranteed within the DisCO.NP's legislation. The challenges of building trust and camaraderie before legal incorporation is well known in regular cooperatives. This challenges are further highlighted within DisCOs, due to their more intense interrelational nature.

To put another spin on our ongoing dating metaphor: In the Dating Phase you check each other out, go out, sleep over from time to time. Once both parts are satisfied, you move in together. Great! Co-habitation, your attitude to housework, following house rules and the general vibe will make or break the relation. A full nine-months since you started dating, you draw some papers to legally cement the relation and offer mutual guarantees (we hesitate to use the word "marriage", although the metaphor is often used in coops). This is an important step for all parts involved and everybody must be 100% sure and committed before getting into something that may feel forced or unnatural.

During the time between becoming a DisCONaut and full (legal) membership, it's assumed that the DisCONaut is there for the long run. The new DisCOnaut has become part of an established collective with its unique group culture and, while new members will change that culture, all changes have to fit in well with what has already been built. If no major or unsolved issues arise, the nine-month mark means that the new DisCONaut becomes a full member and the appropriate legal and/or contractual procedures are undertaken.

Until then, the new DisCONauts will work with the DisCO.NP as freelancers or in a temp-contract basis. This shouldn't affect their economic benefits and decision making power within the DisCO: these are the same as a more established DisCONaut.

If any issues arise and there is a palpable problem, the group will quickly encourage a Conflict Resolution process. This isn't something to be avoided, much less ashamed of. Conflict may well be unavoidable, specially when there are external aggravating factors and conflict resolution can be extremely beneficial for the health of the DisCO. Remember that Clear, direct communication and respect for explicit boundaries are essential parts of the DisCO Framework.

Possible problems that may arise can be identified through follow through on the Mentoring Matrix. Is the new DisCONaut keeping up with the agreements of their Commitment Statement? Are they respecting established group boundaries and ways of communicating? Again, this isn't something that needs to be policed. Problems in a DisCO become quickly apparent through vibe and Community Rhythms, but this subjective measure isn't sufficient, the Mentoring Matrix and follow-through of rhythms can clearly point out recurring difficulties and friction points.

Any breakup in a DisCO needs to be accomplished through compassionate communication and there are several healthy ways to go about it (including forking and federating). To be clear, any DisCONaut, including full members may be asked to leave the collective if major conflicts or sidestepping of established governance and commitments arise. With Full members this procedure is more involved and complicated due to the additional legal layers of legal structure membership which, depending on the legislation, may be at odds with intra-DisCO governance. The 9-month maturation period tries to identify any possible incopatibilies before these legal considerations become an issue.

Being a DisCONaut

The DisCONauts are persons who have successfully completed all stages of the DisCO Dating Phase and have been voted in by all existing Committed Members.

A fully committed relationship with the DisCO.NP balances commons-based responsibilities towards the organization with abundant personal flexibility. We will give an overview of a DisCO.NP's day to day work using examples from the DisCO Mothership and others in the Working in a DisCO.NP Top-level section below.

For now we will explain the main differences between being a Dater and a new DisCONaut using the same structure employed in the Supporter, Contributor and DisCOlarship sections above. Ie: What do DisCONauts do? What are their responsabilities, their rights, etc, as well as some additional considerations for the post-dating Stage regarding time involvement and commitment, which are applicable to all DisCONauts. We will also discuss their Rights and Privileges, vis a vis those of the Dating Phase.

What do DisCONauts do?

What DisCONauts do will, of course, depend on the DisCO's chosen activity, its team vibe and specific agreements etc. In general, the day to day operation will be the same as during the Dating Phase. The key difference is that the new DisCONaut can now undertake most tasks autonomously, especially within their working circles and are now able to mentor new Daters, represent the DisCO publicly etc. We will discuss general day to day DisCO operations, based on our own experience in the Working on a DisCO.NP section. For now, here are some highlights:


DisCONaut Rhythms and Budget Allocation

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.







DisCONaut Rights and Privileges

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

What are a DisCONaut's responsibilities to the DisCO.NP and vice versa?

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

DisCONaut Ongoing Requirements

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

What do DisCONauts get out of a committed relationship?

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Dating Phase TLDR

This TLDR[69] follows the structure we offered at the beginning of the Dating/Mentoring section, summarizing the process with direct links to all the relevant steps.

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Working in a DisCO.NP

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Community Algorithmic Trust

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Care Work

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Caring for the health of the DisCO.NP

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Caring for the health of the DisCO.NP's members

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Identifying and Avoiding Care Work Imbalances

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Clear Communication and Boundaries

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Styles and Communication and Diversity

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Clarity, Boundaries and Consent

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Non Violent Communication

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Giving Feedback

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Conflict Resolution

IN PROGRESS: search for corresponding section in the Talk Page for notes and comments.

Community Rhythms

Community Rhythms are agreed-upon, regularly occurring events (tasks, check-ins, meetings, etc.) that encourage and facilitate the smooth functioning of a collective. Examples include a brief Daily Check-in on a messaging platform by all coop members, distinct Weekly Team Meetings on To-dos and Vibe, Quarterly Retrospectives (aka "SpaceCAMPS") or assemblies to address larger issues, etc.

The following Community Rhythms are the ones used in the DisCO Mothership. These, however can vary in intensity depending on workload and availability. Read the Community Rhythms entry for more details on how these are used in the DisCO Mothership.

Daily Rhythms

Synchronous summary of work done the previous day, emotional state, etc.

Daily Check-in

  • The Daily Check-in answers five basic questions via Synchronous Communication:
    • What did you do yesterday?
    • How are you feeling today?
    • Do you have any blocks or problems?
    • What are you doing for your well-being?
    • What are you grateful for?

Checking all Communication Tools

  • Touching base with our tools. Basically being up to date with any messages shared on whatever communication tools the DisCO chooses to use in their day to day.

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Weekly Rhythms

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Biweekly Rhythms

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Monthly Rhythms

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Quarterly Rhythms

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SpaceCAMP Retrospective Protocol

  • A DisCO SpaceCAMP is the DisCO version of a Quarterly Meeting. These can be online or, if possible, in person- A retrospective and self-evaluation protocol is followed by all members which includes:
    • Big picture analysis if the DisCO.NP's mission and objectives.
    • Discussions on near term focus, power balances and workflow
    • Review and renewal of Commitment Statements
    • Evaluation of Disco Daters progress
    • Credit and hours retrospective
    • Updates on roles/availability, governance model and documentation

As with the other rhythms, you can read about the DisCO's Motherships evolving Quarterly protocols in the SpaceCamp Restrospective Protocol entry.

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Annual Rhythms



In DisCOSpeak, when we refer to "Mentoring" we are describing a pedagogical process among peers. This is the way people learn how to DisCO: by doing with others[70].

Taking its cue from the Zapatista practice of learning by listening, Mentoring doesn't assume that more experienced DisCONauts have more or better knowledge than new members. Instead they have more specific knowledge and experience about DisCOs in general (as well as the mentor's own DisCO in particular) to share.

The ultimate goal mentoring is to learn and grow together by including the mentee's observations and feedback. This method of peer learning serves to make each DisCO's culture more varied and robust, as well as truly inclusive of new members ideas and reflection.

The Mentoring technique we use in the DisCO Mothership and recommend is the Feynman Technique: Teach yourself in ways that make sense of you and then teach others.

Learn more about mentoring here.

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Mutual Support

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Working Circles

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Working Circles in the DisCO Mothership

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Circle Members and Circle Stewards

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Circle Members

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Circle Stewards

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Working Circles Rhythms

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Convivial Tools

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The DisCO Stack

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Conscious Growth vs. Rapid Scaling

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Sabbaticals, Holidays. Sick Leave and Strikes

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Non Competition Clause

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Graduated Sanctions

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Leaving the DisCO.NP

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Undercapacity and contracting outside the DisCO.NP

When possible, DisCO.NP's can seek to be self sufficient in with the 20 or less person team in attaining their specific missions. When certain tasks, goods or services fall outside the scope of what a particular DisCO.NP is able to do, several options are made available.

In order of preference:

  • The DisCO.NP will value exchange with another DisCO (in this case most likely a DisCO4Coops) to provide the service. See DisCOverses and Intra-DisCO Value Flows for more
  • The DisCO.NP may incorporate a DisCOlar who is willing to learn DisCO practices and, at the same time, has the necessary skills to provide that service
  • The DisCO.NP may put out a call through its community channels for contributors to step forward and offer the service
  • The DisCO.NP may subcontract the service from: (in order of preference)
    • Non DisCO cooperatives and/or Platform Coops or Social Solidarity Economy entities with a social mission similar to that of the DisCO.NP's
    • Value aligned freelancers.

In these last two cases, the rates and rewards will not include the "perks" available in Intra-DisCO Value Flows . This will be a simple service provision. In any case, DisCO.NP's ought to direct their budgets toward freelancers doing good work elsewhere and, of course, encourage them to start their own DisCO or network with existing ones.[71] Hiring freelance labour perpetuates some of the problems DisCO was created to address, so we feel it's important to contact freelancers who are as close to the DisCO spirit as possible.

There are also important "freelancer labour mutuals" which are de-facto cooperatives, such as Smart.coop, whose mission includes upholding the rights of the precariat to attain dignified livelihoods and social protections. Whenever possible, DisCO.NP's should draw services from such mutuals, rather than "solo agents". Arguments against hiring freelancers are also listed in the prior version of this Governance Model in the context of Guerrilla Media Collective.

One way to determine which regular coops or freelancers to work with is by evaluating or directly asking how many of the DisCO principles they fulfill, even if only partly. You'll be surprised how commonplace some of the principles are.

If there are ongoing relationships with freelancers, the DisCO.NP may choose to highlight their work. In the DisCO Mothership we feature some of the people we've worked with but aren't part of the Mothership Crew in the DisCO Satellites of Love Page. More info about the Satellites of Love in the section below.

DisCO.NP Legal and/or Advisory Board

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DisCO Satellites of Love

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DisCOverses Intra-DisCO Value Flows

"DisCOverses" are specific DisCO Federations working together. From our glossary definition of DisCOVerses:

Within the overarching concept of THE DisCO, individual DisCOs can network together into DisCO Federations. We call these "DisCOverses", following from the concept of "Pluriverses" - see here for the origin of the term.

DisCOverses can be stable (long-established interactions and alliances) or more punctual and transactional. The former will require more care work and real-world trust-building, the latter will rely more heavily on DisCO Decks and value-tracking tools. Click here for our thoughts on Federation.

Valueflows is...

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Creating a DisCOverse

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DisCOverse Commitment Statement

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DisCOverse Rhythms

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DisCOverse Value Tracking and Value Flow Equations

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Minimum Viable Toolset

All DisCOs use convivial tools and agreed on methodologies, whether these are physical or communication tools (especially important for online DisCOs). To this end, the DisCO Mothership is developing the DisCO Stack: a suite of Open Source collaborative tools especially designed and adapted to DisCO needs.

The DisCO Stack is a work in progress. It will prioritize access and ease of use, but at present, working in a DisCO may involve a steep learning curve. While we will encourage DisCOs to use existing DisCO concepts and tools, as long as they follow the Seven DisCO Principles, each DisCO is free to use whichever tools works best for them.

For this reason, the creation of a DisCOverse Federation must include explicit agreements on:

  • How and when to communicate, and with what frequency
  • Boundaries and red lines
  • Preferred communication and collaboration tools
  • Mutual evaluation

These "DisCOversal collaborations" can help highlight shortcoming on existing DisCO methodologies and tools while pointing the way to better solutions. Ultimately creating a DisCOverse is about learning together and making DisCO more resilient through peer learning and shared experiences.

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Federation Protocol

While networks may or may not share common goals, federations are imbued with a shared direction. Scaling replicates the dynamics of colonialism, extending a worldview from a center and razing everything in its path. DisCOs are replicated/altered through a federation protocol capable of achieving critical mass. Each primary node focuses on small group trust, intimacy and mutual support.

For this example, we will follow look at Guerrilla Translation and Guerrilla Graphic Collective [72] are nodes of an umbrella structure: the Guerrilla Media Collective. Within the main DisCO (Media Collective) lie various nodes: Translation, Graphics, Web-promo with future proposed iterations such as coding, facilitation and more. Each node has its own adaptation of the base DisCO governance model, as translation is quite different from design or illustration work, for example, but the value redistribution logic of livelihood, pro-bono and care work remains the same. Other points in common include the legal structure, some of the working circles [73] and the tools used to coordinate distributed work.[74]

These are the bare essentials needed to become a node within the Guerrilla Media Collective [75]. GMC’s federation protocol further states that nodes cannot be larger than 15-20 people. What happens as the collective scales? Within translation, the target Spanish, English and French nodes can become independent. In the graphic collective, design and illustration can form their own nodes. Other DisCOs can choose to federate into geographic, productive or even aesthetic membranes once they surpass a certain scale; this is totally up to them.

To be clear, in the Guerrilla Media Collective all nodes exist within the same distributed, cooperative organization and prioritise inter-node collaboration and support. Much of the same can be applied to a DisCO.NP. The teams here need to determine which nodes are best hosted and value tracked in common, and which need their own spaces, including other legal entities working under the same general mission and values. On the latter point, the same DisCO.NP may have legal "branches" in different legislation/geographies, with specific specialties and areas of work. In any case, the DisCO.NP's web resources (website, semantic wiki, tools and apps) would reside under the same web domain and conceptual brand.

In general terms, am individual’s "base node" is their home. This is where regular check-ins happen, where colleagues build trust. An individual may belong to two or more nodes simultaneously but the intensity of their engagement will vary depending on the work at hand. Some members will stay in the same "home node" while others will act more as digital nomads, adding or subtracting their time to one node or another. Wherever members may be, they will be supported.

DisCO Ley Lines


Value Tracking

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Ways to Account for Work

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Total/Historical Credits

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Invested Credits

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Divested Credits

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Types of Work and Types of Credits

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Lovework and Love Credits

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Love Work

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Love Credits

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Accelerating Love Credit Payment

Love credit payment can be accelerated by:

  • Consultancy work sliding scale surpluses (see section below)
  • Funds not obtained through grants or consultancy work. These can include:
    • Crowdfunding for specific projects or for the DisCO.NP itself
    • Non-specific Philanthropic or project funding overflows[76]
    • Project specific microdonations, until these projects are “value fulfilled”
    • Regular subscription-type donations. We recommend:
    • Value may be fulfilled through means other than money, such as barter, time banking, alternative currencies or gifts.
    • Gifting Love credits: All DisCONauts have the option of gifting their work away. They can also "burn" accumulated Love credits, considering the value as already fulfilled.
    • Additionally, in case any love work later resulting from republishing in paying media, any funds received will be used to pay Love credits.
    • DisCOnsulting work.
    • Another source of income could be book format compilations (paper or electronic) of previously published material on a particular theme and including new, exclusive introductory text. Exclusive videos, etc

Whenever any income (or gift) is derived from these possibilities, it can be paid off 100% according to each DisCONauts's invested Love shares as a lump, or staggered over several months and considered a bonus.

As these extra funds are exclusively directed towards Love Credit fulfillment, these bonus payments effectively alter the standard 75/25% Livelihood/Love ratio, with the Love ratio increasing proportionally in function of the extra funds. [77]

Livelihood Work and Livelihood Credits

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Livelihood Work

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Livelihood Credits

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Care Work and Care Credits

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Care Work

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Care Credits

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Time Tracking vs. Tokenization

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Time Tracking

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Time Tracking Audits

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Fluid Funding

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DisCOnsulting, NP goods and services and the Sliding Scale

DisCOnsulting and the Sliding Scale

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The Sliding Scale

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Other DisCO.NP Goods and Services

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Determining Net Available Liquidity

"Available Liquidity" means whatever the DisCO.NP has determined as a monthly allocation based on its fungible budget.

Structural Expenses

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Credit retrospectives

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Credits Interface and Credits Queue

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Volunteer Credits

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Gifting Credits

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The Monthly Payment Pipeline

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Monthly Income Distribution System

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Simplified Example

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Decision Making

Discussion and text in progress

Group Deliberation and Decision Making Process

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The difference between votes and types of approval

Lazy Majority

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When are votes required?

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The Four Voting Options

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Type of approval

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Lazy majority: 72 hours

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Unanimous consensus: 120 hours

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Credit majority

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Stakeholder board

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Multi Constituent vote

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Voting summary:

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Pattern Process and Conclusion

Thanks for bearing with us! To close out the governance model, we present a more thorough version of the TLDR, as well as a conclusion. If you have any questions or are inspired to create your own DisCO, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you!

DisCO.NP Pattern Process

This list complements and expands on the TLDR in the Overview section. We use the name "Pattern Process" because:

  • Each individual DisCO is a Commons, defined as "Living Systems to Meet Shared Needs" [78]
  • Specific federations of DisCOs and all DisCOs worldwide are extended, complex living systems. They are Commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP) processes made up of individual commons (the individual DisCOs) in collaboration with each other.
  • Both dimensions (Individual "DisCO Commons" and CBPP-BASED DisCO Federations use patterns, not blueprints. For a deeper overview into this differentiation, read the following footnote: [79].
  • As with the TLDR, these patterns will vary among individual DisCOs and DisCO Federations. What they'll have in common lies in each DisCO's fulfillment of the Seven DisCO Principles. The more the merrier, we say!

Pattern Process


  1. The DisCO Non-Profit (or DisCO.NP) receives Fluid Funding to perform socially-oriented, pro-bono and paid work.
  2. Pro-bono work (aka "Lovework") creates relationships and social capital which (can) lead to funded work.
  3. Funded work (aka "Livelihood Work") allows the DisCO.NP to fulfill its social mission, which is specified in DisCO Principle 1: Values-based Accountability and carried out according to the full 7 DisCO Principles. [80].
  4. Both forms of work are tallied into credits.
  5. Net Available Liquidity is distributed to fulfill members' shares, allocated as: Paid (75%) and Pro-bono (25%), which can be adapted to a specific DisCO's needs and idiosyncrasies.
  6. Care and reproductive work is valued as highly as productive work and, in case of imbalance, even more highly. "Care" means caring for the health of the collective and also caring for its individual members.
  7. Liquidity derived from Fluid Funding may vary greatly according to consented Fluid Funding Relationships but members’ credits accrued are stable.
  8. Donations and additional liquidity beyond Fluid Funding economic predictions are used to accelerate pro-bono credit payment.
  9. There are four levels of participation:
    1. Casual/unpaid (commons-based peer production);
    2. DisCOlarships (Partial onboarding process with very few strings attached);
    3. Dating/partly paid (Commons/DisCO.NP onboarding process); and
    4. Committed/paid (Commons and DisCO.NP full membership and rights).
  10. Casual members have no responsibilities and Committed members review their work for inclusion, or not.
  11. DisCOlarship members have very basic responsibilities and Committed members review their work for inclusion, or not.
  12. Dating members have Ongoing Responsibilities (Live and care work) during a flexible trial period before mutual decisions are made about becoming Committed. They are peer mentored by the collective and continually evaluated.
  13. Committed members have ongoing responsibilities (pro-bono and care work), evaluated quarterly. Members unable to maintain these are downgraded from the DisCO.NP.
  14. All 3 types of value are valued in time and entrusted selectively by committed members.
  15. Decision making is made by consent. Committed members' votes are binding.
  16. Reproductive care work and productive pro-bono and paid work affect each member's standing and payout in the DisCO.NP as seen in their total credits over time.



Links and Resources

Discussion and text in progress

  1. Click here to meet the humans involved.
  2. You can read more about Guerrilla Media Collective's History and how it morphed into DisCO in chapter 4 of the DisCO Manifesto: Punk Elegance: The Story of Guerrilla Translation and the Guerrilla Media Collective. The DisCO Manifesto is currently only available as a PDF download but, in due time, each chapter will be presented as stand-alone blog posts. GMC's version of the model (3.0).
  3. The DisCO Foundation is currently being created in collaboration with Mondragon University and the Platform Cooperativism Consortium.
  4. We consider DisCO Non-Profits to be Worker Self-Directed Non-Profits applying the DisCO Principles.
  5. Suffering from acronym exhaustion already? Check out NASA's!. This link is limited to the ones beginning with "a". Seriously though, the DAP contains DisCO Governance solutions for all types of organizations.
  6. Guerrilla Translation is a DisCO Node of Guerrilla Media Collective.
  7. These three terms are further explained below.
  8. If, after clicking on a page-jump link, you want to return to the previous section, simply press the back key in your browser.
  9. This wiki is constantly being updated, so all of the content of these links will evolve over time.
  10. The next version of the Governance model 4.0 will be organized with drop-down sections, making it much easier to enjoy your reading experience and eliminate unnecessary sections for your group's own DisCO Experience.
  11. The DisCO glossary both complements and expands upon David Bollier and Silke Helfrich's excellent chapter on "Language and the Creation of Commons" from their 2019 book Free, Fair and Alive: the insurgent Power of the Commons". You can read the full chapter online here
  12. Read What are P2P and the Commons, and how do they relate? For more info.
  13. More information in [More information in What is Open Cooperativism?. What is Open Cooperativism?].
  14. More information in the P2P Foundation Wiki’s entry on P2P Accounting.
  15. For a layperson’s introduction to Feminist Economics, see the Women’s Budget Group’s excellent resources.
  16. DisCO is not currently affiliated in any way with the current P2P Foundation.
  17. For a fuller breakdown of these principles, either download the PDF, read the DisCO Elements or visit the DisCO in 7 Principles and 11 Values entry.
  18. The name is based on the Apollo Applications Program. Nixon decided to cancel the last three moon missions to divert funds to the Vietnam War but the hardware was used for Low Earth Orbit science and Skylab, the US's colossal first space station.
  19. We use "mainly" here, as DisCO Coops may also receive philanthropic grants. Similarly, DisCOs.NPs can also offer consultancy services to accrue additional capital for the DisCO.NP social mission and its contributors.
  20. "Liquidity" refers to the income at the DisCO.NP's disposal at any given time
  21. In fact, any committed member of any type of DisCO (whether 4coops, NP, Earth etc.) can refer to themselves as DisCONauts. The name is currently being used by the DisCO.NP committed members, but anyone in a DisCO is welcome to use it.
  22. As described below, DisCOLarships shouldn't carry an expectation of joining the DisCO hosting the DisCOLar, instead they're designed so people can familiarize themselves with the model and go on to create their own separate DisCOs. (remember that committed membership is always determined by committed members and the Federation Protocol).
  23. Working Circles are DisCO’s way of dividing up tasks and focusing efforts on thematic areas, each with its own membership and team stewards. You can read more about Working Circles here or in the sections below.
  24. Both QC and Post-Hoc validation are essential features of Commons Based Peer Production or CBPP. For more on CBPP read this introductory article: What does a P2P Economy look like?.
  25. Other, non-committed DisCO working relationships can include the contracting of services when lacking in-DisCO/Committed capacity - See Undercapacity and contracting outside the DisCO.NP. The DisCO.NP may also choose to engage with other DisCOs in work relationships and value transactions - see DisCOverses and Intra-DisCO Value Flows.
  26. Guerrilla Translation is a node of Guerrilla Media Collective
  27. In economic terminology "measure and grade".
  28. This basically means a) having enough people committed to attend to the DisCOlar and b) having a clear program of the DisCOlarship's general characteristics. This capacity assessment is essential, otherwise the process will be unsatisfactory for both the DisCOlar and the DisCO itself.
  29. DisCOlarship may involve one or more candidates. This is for each DisCO to determine
  30. As all DisCOs document and share their progress, any contribution to any particular DisCO's commons are effectively contributions to all DisCO Commons. See The DisCO Floor for more
  31. For references on these terms, jump to this section or search in the DisCO Glossary
  32. Each DisCO, no matter the application, may have radically different Love/Live/Care ratios and rates of divestment. This is the reason each DisCO Ley Line needs to be clearly agreed on before any transfers are made
  33. More often than not, these will be considered as Care-credits, as the DisCOlarship is basically training, but this depends on each DisCO.
  34. While DisCOlarships credit can be tracked the same way as a Dating or Committed relationships, fully sponsored DisCOlarships may only earmark a fraction of the budgeted credits to be paid out to the DisCOlar. I.e., in our earlier scenario of a total budget of 1800 credits to be accrued by the DisCOlar during their three months apprenticeship, the sponsor may only allocate 800 EU/USD etc (usually one DisCO credit, equals an easily understandable unit of fiat currency). In this case, 800 credits would be divested/paid out to the DisCOlar from this budget, with the remaining 1000 credits remaining invested and subject to transfer via DisCO Ley Line
  35. Commons-based Peer Production (CBPP) is the proto-mode of production found in Wikipedia and Free Software projects, characterized by permissionless contributions and lack of direct compensation)
  36. For a worker-coop DisCO based example of casual vs. committed relationships, read Guerrilla Translation's article To be or not be a Guerrilla Translator.
  37. In the Mondragón Cooperative Group for example, the pay ratio between lowest salary worker and a director is 1:6, which is substantially better than the standard. In DisCO the pay ratio for all members who have completed the Dating Phase is 1:1.
  38. In some occasions, we've taken on team members in the DisCO Mothership without an initial clear "job description" or working circle placement. With time and conversation, their preferences and strong points have emerged. In this cases it has always been based on very clear communication, recommendation from peers and vibe.
  39. In the case of the DisCO Mothership this would be developing the needs of the DisCO Project
  40. It is preferable to have more than one DisCOnaut engage with prospective Dating Members to get as much of the team present in these initial conversations. This is healthy for both DisCONauts and prospective Dating members.
  41. This not exclusionary from a systemic point of view. There are plenty of workplaces catering to other, perhaps more traditional or, in our view, truly exclusionary or damaging values. What we cannot have is forced relationships which can be damaging to either part
  42. Given the complex, self-organized nature of DisCO, people who "get" DisCO will always be easier to onboard than people who haven't had the chance. As the DisCO Project progresses a greater abundance of inclusive materials will be available, facilitating familiarity with the model and its possibilities.
  43. As of writing (summer 2021), in the DisCO Mothership this process takes place through a series of spreadsheets. In due time it will be incorporated into the DisCO DECK
  44. Note that depending on the time-frame of the dating process, invitations to worker-ownership may well require additional months of integration. The logic behind this is explained here
  45. In our experience, this is best done in the months leading up to a project or necessity for expansion, not during the actual life of the project. Every time the DisCO Mothership and Guerrilla Media Collective has made exceptions to this rule we've come to regret it.
  46. Here there is obviously a notable difference between DisCOs or DisCO.NP's working primarily online, like the DisCO Mothership, or DisCOs centered around one or various physical locations. In the case of the latter it is assumed that the DisCO Dater would be located (or ready to relocate) to the hosting DisCO's vicinity
  47. As mentioned before, if the DisCO.NP is more of an in-person/face to face operation, Daters would be expected to reside in or be ready to move to the hosting DisCO's location. In that case the mentoring would be mainly in person.
  48. We stress that this option should only be used in justifiable occasions and not offered as a substitute for unrealistic expectations at the beginning of Agile Dating.
  49. Like everything else, this depends on an immeasurable number of factors and is for each DisCO to determine more as a matter of circumstance than general policy
  50. This presupposes that Daters have adequate technical access to the DisCO.NP's tools and/or physical spaces, without the capacity of "breaking them".
  51. This mechanism, we feel, is simple common sense and offers a clear way to upskill oneself to the level of longer, more established staff.
  52. If the answer to these questions is unclear or undocumented, mentors will encourage Dater's collaboration on exploring answers and new patterns.
  53. Different DisCOs can use varying amounts of time tracking vs tokenization.
  54. In most DisCO's Lovework will consist of the same good and services offered as Livelihood (DisCO4Coops) or the same type of work performed as livelihood and compensated from grants, projects and donations (DisCO.NP). The mechanics of the work and attendant tasks are the same, but the target beneficiaries and retribution vary due to its status as Lovework.
  55. This depends on whether the DisCO.NP likes to share their team composition on the web, some teams will either be more focused on in-person, rather than online relations. In the DisCO Mothership, the additional team page also includes advisory board members and trusted/regular contractors, all under the heading [| "DisCO Satellites of Love"].
  56. If the answer to these questions is unclear or undocumented, mentors will encourage Dater's collaboration on exploring answers and new patterns.
  57. This requirement is based on the Feynman Technique. If there are no new daters to mentor directly, Stage 2 Daters can assist in the DisCOlarship program or take part in Pre-Dating Evaluations.
  58. As before, if the Daters are expected to perform any urgent livelihood work at this stage, there is always the option of hiring Daters as freelancers and paid freelance rates. Any work performed in this capacity will not be tallied towards Historical or any kinds of credits. We generally advise against this for reasons explained in Stage 1 and it is much preferable to perform the work under the governance model with the conditions described herein.
  59. As a reminder, in DisCO.coop and Guerrilla Media Collective we use Loomio as the default tool for this, given that we are mainly online DisCOs. F2F DisCO's can center on in-person discussion using many of the same practices.
  60. The DisCO Mothership is dedicated to creating diverse learning resources for all publics. These outputs are contingent on our group's human capabilities and funding. You can support us in a number of ways, as explained here: Support DisCO
  61. Barring illness or emotional discomfort. In these cases help is available as long as all parts are aware of what's going on and not creating possibly damaging co-dependencies.
  62. If the answer to these questions is unclear or undocumented, Daters are expected to take on development of any new patterns that may arise.
  63. In both DisCO.coop and Guerrilla Media Collective most members steward or co-steward one or more circle and usually are members of three Circles on Average, with differing responsibilities and commitments to each.
  64. Unlike Stages 1 or 2 in Stage 3 we feel it's feasible to have Daters perform Livelihood work as per the governance model rather than through freelance contracts.
  65. At the time of writing (September 2021) and absent a DECK prototype we are simply using spreadsheets in the DisCO Mothership. The overall logic once it is integrated on the DECK will remain the same.
  66. This doesn't apply during an initial in-person intensive mentoring, where Dater and Mentor will spend a lot of working time together, but it will be looked at regularly once the in-person meeting is over or, if we are talking about a DisCO with a concrete physical location, whenever the Dater and Mentor hold a session.
  67. As we will see, DisCOs can be very flexible with time commitment, but it's always preferable to have a well known and reliable team
  68. There is a longer discussion to be had on DisCO's operating beyond and in absence of the Market/State. As autonomous and purpose-oriented human-structures we believe that they better prepared to make the leap from legally compliant to fully autonomous collectives. For now it's important to note that DisCOs are small-scale commons acting as equipotential nodes within a large-scale Commons-Based Peer Production Framework ( THE DisCO). This means that they are "tighter" and a lot more personal than any CBPP Project or DAO. Here is a passage from The DisCO Manifesto speaking about these differences:

    DisCO's cultural and structural frameworks can help solidarity movements learn to cooperate at the large scale while maintaining small-group trusted dynamics. What we are describing here is a continuum from trustless as the default norm at the large scale to trustworthy as highly feasible at the small.

    This distinction between small-scale, inherently trustworthy groups and large-scale trustless systems bound by common goals reflects an often misunderstood dichotomy in the Commons movement: that between commons and large-scale P2P systems.

    Commons such as community gardens, local forests or neighbourhood spaces thrive on specificity: their sense of place, and the human relations among those maintaining the commons. These interactions don't always translate well to large-scale, internet-based projects like Wikipedia or the Linux operating system, because there are simply too many people for anyone to interact with and get to know well enough to trust. Wikipedia and Linux are examples of Commons-Based Peer Production, P2P infrastructures that allow people to communicate, self-organize and, ultimately, co-create value through digital commons of knowledge, software, and design.

  69. Internat acronym/slang for "Too long; didn't read", often used as a summary. Read more about TLDR usage here
  70. Also known as DIWO
  71. Given the small number of current DisCOs, the last two scenarios will be more prevalent in the short term, with the first, more preferred option becoming more commonplace as more DisCOs emerge and stabilize
  72. The Federation Protocol and nodes of the Mothership are currently in discussion. This section of the governance model will be updated accordingly once this deliberative process is done
  73. Mutual Work Circles within Guerrilla Media Collective include Development, Media, Sustainability, Websites and Legal/Financial. Each node maintains its own independent Work Circles for onboarding, pro-bono (Love) and paid (Livelihood) work
  74. Some flexibility in legal structure and tools is foreseen, depending on the node.
  75. This is a more involved process than this may lead to believe, as adoption of the model conveys a host of ideological and practical requirements.
  76. Of course, when project funding is matched to specific deliverables these are considered Livelihood work and must be met. This scenario needs to be discussed on a per case basis.
  77. For example: in a given month, the DisCO Mothership has accumulated 10,000 eu from grants and projects and an additional 2,500 euros through a combination of donations, external funding for the pro-bono side and the publication of an DisCO paper book (accelerating Love Credit payment). In this case, instead of the standard 75% Livelihood/25% Love redistribution of the 10,000, the monthly distribution would be xxxx% (750 eu) for Livelihood and xxxx% for Love (500 eu)
  78. There are many complementary and non-excuslive definitions of the commons. This one was inspired by Chapter One of David Bollier and Silke Helfrich's Free Fair and Alive.
  79. The following text is extracted from chapter One of David Bollier and Silke Helfrich's Free Fair and Alive:

    Explaining the commons with the vocabulary of capital, business, and standard economics cannot work. It is like using the metaphors of clockworks and machines to explain complex living systems. To learn how commons actually work, we need to escape deeply rooted habits of thought and cultivate some fresh perspectives.

    This task becomes easier once we realize that there is no single, universal template for assessing a commons. Each bears the distinctive marks of its own special origins, culture, people, and context. Yet there are also many deep, recurrent patterns of commoning that allow us to make some careful generalizations. Commons that superficially appear quite different often have remarkable similarities in how they govern themselves, divide up resources, protect themselves against enclosure, and cultivate shared intentionality. In other words, commons are not standardized machines that can be built from the same blueprint. They are living systems that evolve, adapt over time, and surprise us with their creativity and scope.

    The word “patterns” as we use it here deserves a bit of explanation. Our usage derives from the ideas developed by architect and philosopher Christopher Alexander in his celebrated 1977 book A Pattern Language — ideas that are further elaborated on in his four-volume masterwork, The Nature of Order, the result of twenty-seven years of research and original thinking. Alexander and his co-authors brilliantly blend an empirical scientific perspective with ideas about the formative role of beauty and grace in everyday life and design, resulting in what we would call “enlivenment.”17

    In Alexander’s view, a pattern describes “a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”18 In other words, patterns-thinking and solutions based on it are never decontextualized, nor disconnected from what we think and feel. We suggest looking closely at the underlying patterns of thriving social processes for inspiration while keeping in mind that a successful commons cannot be copied and pasted. Each must develop its own appropriate localized, context-specific solutions. Each must satisfy practical needs and deeper human aspirations and interests.

  80. Although highly recommended, the 11 DisCO Values are more subjective and less critical to the basic DisCO Framework