Digital Zion Proposition

As I mentioned in last week’s session with Justifay, friends from DigitalZion (@zetto.plus, @replygirl and Rick) reached out to explore integrating Resonate DSP, Product and community development with the cluster of cooperative media and governance initiatives they are supporting with strategic communications, artist engagement and other resources.

I’ve invited them to attend today’s Sync Up session as an opportunity to get better acquainted with contributors to Resonate’s DSP planning and as an opportunity for Resonate planners to consider additional resources and contexts that might be available with DigitalZion/400,000,000, Open Tech Development.

The Sync Up meeting seems like a good place to introduce these opportunities into the stream of DSP work and other collaborations.

@replygirl prepared this overview to frame potential alternatives.

My hope was that there might be a few minutes to say hello and at least glance at this document together during the hour, perhaps with an eye toward how this might potentially impact the kit of resources Resonate could consider bringing to the collaboration with Justifay and/or other partners.

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@piper Captured a recording of today’s session. Look for it posted shortly.

:film_projector: Recording for November 14, 2022 Meeting

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When the overview says “5 steps to reboot Resonate,” what does reboot mean in this context?

Of course, the steps to achieve this are outlined, but I’m more curious in what parts of Resonate need rebooting and how they’ll be rebooted by enacting this plan.

I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth and I think it’s good to be both explicit and specific here.

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I admit I initially thought this was going to be presented in the Justifay call, considering where it was originally posted. I have now watched the meeting and cooled down a bit but my core frustrations around how this proposal was presented are still real.

@richjensen I know we spoke 1-1 about Digital Zion last week, but the suggestions outlined here have caught me off guard. It’s much more expansive and also frankly feels like a couple of people taking initiative on projects they see as “saving Resonate” without input from the wider community, feeling like it ignored current community efforts and decisions.

I’ve been told that this is a repeating pattern within Resonate for the past couple of years, and that it has alienated a number of volunteers and workers over time. I’ve encountered it a couple of times myself but never really to the detriment of my involvement here. This time however I feel sidelined, and the months of work I and others have put into Resonate over the past half year ignored.

The overview provided on the Miro board seems to make suggestions that volunteer devs and other community members have been saying for more than half a year, and seems to ignore the amount of work that those devs and community members have been doing to realize those suggestions. A good chunk of that information could have been gleaned from reading the last 10 posts in our community forum–we’ve been incredibly transparent about this work.

As far as I know this is the first time that working with Digital Zion has come up in a public manner here at Resonate (a quick search on the forum confirms this). I understand that there are ties with projects with folks working on Digital Zion and that one of their members is on our board, but I have not seen any conversations around this happen in any of our public spaces prior to today. I could very well be wrong and would love to be pointed to where those conversations happened.

I am not opposed to being part of a federation of cooperatives that support each other. What I am opposed to is that becoming part of a federation implies decisions being made about Resonate (or even just proposals) without the entire Resonate community being given an opportunity to pitch in to those decisions. The problem here isn’t the vision, but it is how that vision is being reached and proposed. I’m going to say that again for emphasis. I have no issue with other visions for Resonate being proposed (heck, I’m currently at odds with our current business model and am still implementing the code for it). I have no issue with people working in affinity groups to put forward ideas for Resonate. But those proposals have to be made democratically, transparently, should include talking to the community, and shouldn’t be sprung on us in meetings that were originally intended to be for talking strategy of how we relate to even another co-op (this call was intended to discuss orientation towards Justifay). I am also opposed to claims that some community members hold more sway than others in these conversations (as has been made on Mattermost), even if they have been part of backchannel conversations for a long time. I’m worried that personal relationships and a sense of urgency are setting aside the need for the long slow process of democratic community buy-in.

Here’s some thoughts I have from the video specifically:

  • A proposal to have Resonate be closed to new uploads and focus on exclusive content while we get things in order. Which content? For whom?
  • Why doesn’t Digital Zion’s spex use Peertube? It seems like it would be valuable to talk to both them and Means TV (as proposed on the call)
  • I appreciate some members on the call pointing out how caught off guard an unprepared they felt about this presentation, considering it was only announced 15 minutes before the call that was intended to be about our relationship with Justifay
  • There is a lot of platform co-op prior art out there. Have those folks been talked to? If yes, would love to read notes from those meetings. If no, curious why not.
  • There’s a call for people of all dreams to be called in to account and making sure they’re in alignment with the community. I’m not sure what this means?
  • There seems to be an implication in the call that this would be taken to Justifay to see what they think. I’d like to see much more conversation on this before we do such a thing.
  • I find the tangent on land trusts and ecovillages noteworthy

Resonate has, as far as I know a €20k debt to the Irish government (but this isn’t transparent), and (I think?) a €240k debt to a crypto company (which still has a seat on our (approved but unelected) board) that never materialized the technology they were supposedly contracted for ([citation needed] the details are unclear to me, and I would love to read more about this, I could be wrong). As far as I know we’re still in arrears with the Irish government audit-wise and I have not seen any movement on this despite board members being elected to handle specifically that (I’m sure that Digital Zion is aware of these issues?). Resonate’s board meetings are meant to have public minutes and I haven’t seen any of that either. When was the last board meeting? In August I asked for a financial statement on our finances (via Mattermost) and I haven’t seen it. We are owed an Annual General Meeting some time in the next month and a half. These tasks are not glamorous but they are critical of a functioning democratic co-op. Unfortunately the community has not been brought in to help with them, though I think they would if given the opportunity to do so.

We are experiencing real capacity issues with our leadership, and I can’t make decisions for how those people spend their time, but I’m worried this will stretch our team thinner than it already is. There is a tendency for Resonate to get drawn into sidequests that seem really good and world saving and important, but ultimately spread our resources much thinner than we have capacity for. I believe that a federation would be cool and I think it should be a collective decision after long and thoughtful debate, where members get invited in, rather then get presented with a plan that was fleshed out somewhere else.

The Digital Zion folks are working on many cool projects, and I hope to see them materialize and will be happy to lend a hand once I feel like Resonate is in a better position as a democratic, fair, sustained, and transparent platform co-op, which is a project I know most people here are actively working on and want to see succeed.

I hope that we’ll have a meeting about this that the community will be a) given all the necessary information to make informed decisions b) will be announced with plenty of notice c) will be the first in several meetings to talk about working and collaborating with other projects.

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A couple of thoughts:

  1. Building together and federating and seeing where these atomized lefty media orgs align and consolidating already limited dev resources behind focused projects and building a coalition is a great idea! That being said, it’s not clear to me which aspects of this proposal are a requirement to federating and which aspects are merely suggestions? I’ll delve into that side of things now…

  1. As @psi mentions above, from the tech side of this proposal (which I mention in the recording), many of these decisions to address technical debt and move away from unmaintainable assets were made months ago (see The Consolidated API: Progress and Updates, Dev Decisions Log). So much of what is listed in the Miro board is work that’s currently in progress and nearing completion! To properly evaluate this, we’ll need to parse that out to understand what’s being proposed here.

Step 1: Put Resonate v.current in maintenance mode

  • Option A: Assign some labor to maintaining Go
  • :heavy_check_mark: Option B: Rebuild backend in TS or Python with reduced feature scope (temporary replacement)
  • :heavy_check_mark: Consolidate mobile efforts to beam
  • :heavy_check_mark: Retire web player
  • Restrict uploads
  • Replace artist signup with waitlist

When @auggod stepped back, we discussed this possibility of shutting down the live assets while a rewrite took place. Consensus back then that instead of a total rewrite we would start with the tracks-api repository and consolidate login and all other APIs into that (it’s in JavaScript, eventual goal is certainly TypeScript (see here and here). Consensus was also to consolidate around beam as a front-end, not really worry about mobile, and once beam is ready, turn off the current web player and put beam in its place after the transition to the consolidated api on live. Just for a visual, I’ve put a :heavy_check_mark: in front of the points that are currently being actively pursued. Even the card in Step 4: “Identity + auth” is already being done by the consolidated api.

So, given that there’s been nine months’ work already put into Option B and its nearing completion by the new year, it begs the question, what is the justification for restricting uploads and replacing artist signup with a waitlist? It feels like some of this feedback here is an evaluation of Resonate’s tech stack as it existed some time ago, because option B has been pursued as a spike since the Spring and was leaned into in June.

Step 2: Temporarily reorient Resonate as a curated “preview” offering

What is the justification for this suggestion? Is this a requirement to federate? Again, is this being suggested because the progress around Option B having already been taken, worked on, and nearing completion was not widely known? Or is it more of a mutualistic, Digital Zion sending resources this way contingent upon these curated “preview” placements, and Option B’s status is not relevant to this aspect of the proposal? Or a mixture of the two?


  1. It was mentioned on the call that there is the prospect of money/funding/resources (I highly recommend checking out the recording if you can!). If some of these aspects of the proposal are a requirement to receive said support, it would probably help to know which, so that the community can evaluate the stakes, and collectively discuss further!
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A post was split to a new topic: Status Update Regarding Financials

While I enthusiastically embrace and celebrate @psi’s call outs about for transparency and collective intelligence in preparation for the 2022 AGM and feel enormous gratitude and respect for how he has consistently channeled this energy into the work and transformation of the spaces he has engaged here, I also have some differences from his views about the community’s formal and informal relations with the artists, developers and community organizers associated with the Black Socialists in America/ Digital Zion cluster and what the session yesterday represented in the stream of those relations over the last three years.

I don’t have time to relate a full account here and now, much of the history is recorded in our Basecamp work environment that predates this Forum.

I’ll just relate that in my view, yesterday’s session was a check-in. There has been no proposition made. I think the header of this Topic is misleading.

I think there is a friendly invitation to get to know the development paths of each community better.

This is consequential because of the pattern of ‘our’ interactions since 2019. For example, other than the very successful start-up period managed by Peter in 2017, and the crypto fiasco of 2018, the greatest surges of resources to Resonate including donations, purchases, volunteers, and outreach have come from Resonate’s relations with BSA/DZ artists and organizers. Beyond quantifiable artifacts, the quality of these relations has also been exceptional as a consequence of these communities’ foundations in cooperative and dual power practice and political education.

Also relevant from this history is the persistent inadequacy of our platform to cope with the surges of popular movement effective outreach provokes. This has been demonstrated again and again in attempts to generate public support and outreach from artists and organizers from the BSA/DZ communities from 2020 through this year.

Largely through the labor and coordination of the dev/workers who have contributed to this thread above, significant changes have been realized in the Resonate platform and open work culture this year. It feels like a new beginning.

Z @zetto.plus (Resonate Board member and BSA Coordinator) checked in with me last Saturday, basically to say that aspects of the BSA/DZ networks are well-resourced and looking to build components that may have ecosystemic relevance to Resonate. Perhaps, in fact, Resonate’s interest in developing a community governed DSP could be harmonious to BSA/DZ’s designs. That led to the session Monday which seemed aligned with that meeting’s stated purpose as the site for considering Resonate’s DSP work. Imogen’s overview sketch was just meant to map out a fairly complex field of relations in a manner which could bring folks up to a discussion point quickly. (I guess it accomplished that.) As @piper points out above, the concept of shifting the service to ‘maintenance mode’ during a period of DSP development did not originate in Imogen’s sketch. If the sketch does not accurately reflect the intentions or understanding of dev contributors then it needs to be fix before it can be useful as a tool for discussion.

There is no proposition on the table. There is the hope that a conversation and vision that has been shared by comrades across communities for years might be able to proceed without the blockages that have appeared before. (Blockages removed, again, thanks particularly to the dedication of the current Dev/Maintainer circle.)

Might there be a proposition? Persynally, I hope so. I think the relationship with the BSA/DZ networks has demonstrated its capacity to help our coop reach its formidable goals as expressed in its Manifesto.

I hope there are further conversations to explore what kind of mutual effort and/or resource provisioning could work for members of these communities.

It is heart-breaking to me that some people felt their work was not valued in the course of considerations leading to yesterday’s session. To be 100%, I’m still not sure what caused these feelings to be felt so it’s kind of scary not knowing what further insensitive actions and what further harm I may cause.

To the end of the year, I’ll focus on the Board transparency and compliance issues, my family, my own precarity. I’ll support where invited. I have faith in ys’alls capacities to fulfill the vision of the Manifesto.

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Hey friends, seconding Rich that this was intended to be casual and tentative, and that rather than a concrete proposal we were hoping to offer a starting point for a discussion

Responding to some points:

The notes reflect four topics @richjensen, @zetto.plus, and I talked about:

  • Devs are working on clearing away technical debt on the back end and consolidating to beam on the front end
  • Resonate as a product has been incomplete for a lot of artists and listeners
  • Becoming a grown-up DSP and the possibility of 2+ years of build to become “complete”
  • Digital Zion / developing Resonate and Spex in parallel with common elements

The Digital Zion part isn’t necessary for us to help on the other three fronts. The best case for us is you love our ideas, become part of Digital Zion in some formal + active capacity, and Spex + Resonate tangibly benefit from deduplication of labor and resources (e.g. residuals on Spex can have a lot in common with royalties on Resonate) and integrations (e.g. multimedia releases or cross-platform playlists)—but there are a lot of different ways to collaborate that can still be mutually beneficial

For context, I’m a volunteer dev who has been suggesting a lot of this stuff for over 2 years. I worked a bit on website modernization / GitHub transition in 2020, scoped a cross-platform mobile app build for Nick last year that never got picked up, and most recently did that latest landing page design (was going to build it but stepped out because the stack was making it take about 10x as long as I expected). It was frustrating to see the same issues come up cyclically and for people to be unheard for so long, and I’m really happy the work is finally being done with both the tech and the governance. Sorry my notes came out in a way that didn’t acknowledge it.

Doesn’t feel like 400M’s place to suggest what that would look like. We’d probably just suggest our own shows lol

We want to, we might, the more ActivityPub, ATP, etc. interoperability the better, but we’re on the fence because we think the code is trash and the offering isn’t special. So it’s like, is it good enough for us to use at least in the short term, or is it going to preclude us building in some differentiating component that helps the art flourish? My crystal ball says we’ll at least give PeerTube a shot for a tech demo

Means TV idk, they’re a potential user more than anything

400M Design + Development is in early days as an organization, and we feel comfortable reaching out specifically to Resonate before we have everything in place, because a few of us at 400M have been involved with Resonate. We’re keeping it friends + family for the moment

This is not necessarily a proposal to form a federation. The seed of these notes was that we each have a platform to build, and both need to address analogous/parallel sets of concerns, one for audio and one for video

This is all just notes, I don’t even know if I can call them suggestions. We just wanted to get thoughts down so we could present something to you all

If there is a justification it would be related either to policy or to an expectation that, while a proper DSP build is underway and the existing platform is in LTS, artist attrition would be high and permanent. So not really a technical decision and I don’t have a stake in it unless 400M would be asked to maintain beam or the consolidated api

It’s definitely colored by two years of waiting for the newer initiatives to happen, and tentative in taking those initiatives for granted while everything is at 80%

it’s a way to keep the platform exciting and is not exclusive to a scenario where artist signups are restricted

If this is referring to something I said, we don’t have a fund or anything like that

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Thanks so much for this thoughtful and detailed response @replygirl.

Totally feel this frustration to my core. I definitely noticed these same things. Can attest that this, along with just general transparency around development work, are exactly the reasons we pushed to make the Maintainer Collective a thing, alongside establishing regular meetings, clear communication channels, and regular reports on what we’re doing. And to repeat what I said in the meeting Monday for those who didn’t get to watch the recording, it’s great to see such high alignment here about TypeScript (Justifay is into the TypeScript move as well).

That one was my mistake, I was probably conflating resources (monetary) when the word was used within the context of dev resources and devs helping out. Thank you for helping me understand!

Also, (we touched on this in the Monday meeting) regarding primarily focusing on beam web player / desktop app vs. mobile to start, we had a meeting with Justifay where this came up - Bandcamp actually precludes users from making purchases on mobile to avoid exorbitant Google Play / Apple Store transaction fees. So that might be a decent reason to pursue the web player / desktop app beam first (in addition to the fact that it has more features than the current web player that’s on live).

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