Hello and welcome as a Crowdpol Testpilot. Your mission is to assist in testing the platform for functionality and design and to populate the platform by adding various proposals and communities.
As we have not fully integrated the basic functionality of Crowdpol this is a brief primer to let you know what works and what will be working in the next few weeks. Functions that are not yet fully operational have disclaimer box (like this one) but there will be lots of small bugs in the system as modifying one part will invariably cause minor glitches in other parts. If anything does not seem to work send me a direct message with a description of the problem and a screenshot or two if possible.
Crowdpol is based on the WP plugin BuddyBoss. The reason we took this route is that BuddyBoss provides a number of the basic community features we had not yet built as part of our own platform, plus a fairly practical and adaptable user interface. Using the plugin as a base allowed us a huge leap forward as we can now focus our resources on the specific features that Crowdpol is bringing to the table. The trade-off is that BuddyBoss is not open source even if it is built on WordPress, but as it is merely a stepping stone on the path towards a fully distributed platform in the future, it will serve as a very practical prototype for the time being.
What you are currently experiencing is thus mainly the generic BuddyBoss setup with some tweaks from our side. Once we have made sure that all the functionality we are busy adding actually works, we will upgrade the interface. Designs of how this will look you can find here.
What you can and cannot do at present (September 5, 2020)
At this point, you can create a profile and add some information about yourself that can later be used to match you with projects that are created on the platform. You can also message other users, start discussion threads and communities. The proposals section allows you to create Posts, Petitions, Polls and Propositions. We are still working on the Projects module. The delegating function, i.e. allowing a person or organisation to represent you in a specific community by giving them the right to vote for you, should be working before the end of Q3. At this point, you will also be able to become a delegate yourself.
To manage the flow of funds in a transparent way, and to put a price tag on the myriad of minor actions the platform needs to fund in order to support, we are using a system of tokens. Once this is fully tested, every action* taken on Crowdpol will require a corresponding amount of tokens. In most cases, these will be covered by the one USD monthly fee, but for users that want to make use of more costly data in storage and bandwidth terms, an additional purchase of tokens might need to be made.
We have yet to calculate the actual costs, so for the next month or so, new members will receive sufficient tokens for free in order to help us calibrate the system. However, at this point the bandwidth costs are quite minor, and any funds we raise will be used to pay developers and other crucial services to maintain and develop the infrastructure. Also, please note that all basic democratic functions, such as creating a profile and voting on proposals, will remain free of charge.
Some notes on the interface
Towards the top left corner, you’ll find a plus sign. This will allow you to add various types of proposals. This will be one of the key features of Crowdpol. Using it you can write articles or blog posts, create petitions that people can sign, write traditional political propositions or motions as well as polls that people can vote on and soon you will be able to create projects here. All of these options will be nestled within the appropriate community, linked to the various categories Crowdpol uses and #hashtagged. Whenever possible these proposals will be coupled with a physical location so as to be searchable on the map. You can also add a cover image. If you save a draft you will find them on your profile page under Blog > Drafts.
When commenting on content you will be asked to select if you are for, against or neutral. This is an early version of a more complex system we are devising to share appreciation. The idea is that positive reactions will result in tokens being transferred from your Altruistic Wallet (AW) to the AW of the content creator. This is one of the methods we are currently testing in an attempt to support future content creators on the platform, or at least support their chosen projects as the AW cannot be used directly on oneself.
There are a number of areas where your testing and feedback would be most appreciated.
Profile page – What would you like to add to the profile page and process to make it more useful? What kind of information would you want to have if you were looking for people to connect with over a project? Are there profile pages out there that you really appreciate, and if so, what is it you like about them?
Communities – You are most welcome to start a community. In fact, you are encouraged to do so. Communities will be the practical, operational part of Crowdpol, where the magic happens, so we want to design them with the greatest of care. By creating communities and inviting people to join them, you’ll be able to make practical suggestions on how to design them in the most useful way possible. Secondly, you’ll be populating Crowdpol, preparing it so it is not completely empty when we officially open up on September 15th.
Ideally, communities should be designed around an actual physical space or virtual community (such as a network) but can also be created around a single mission (such as a community for people who are interested in Basic Income, where the topic can be discussed, proposals can be written and commented on, projects can be designed and crowdfunded etc).
If you have practical experience in community work, please bring this with you and suggest how we could create this feature in more useful ways. This feature is currently very much an embryo of what it could be.
Note that once we have our financial backend up and running, the cost to host a community will be one USD (or corresponding) per community. Our NGO in Sweden Syntropi is in the process of setting up a business that will handle all transactions by the book, which will be fully transparent.
Proposals – As noted above, we are testing out the various proposal functions. If you have ideas for how to improve these functions we want to hear them. We’d also love to see various proposals popping up across the globe. Once Crowdpol goes live, you will be able to share a link to your proposals in social media and followers will be able to see and vote on them. However, these votes will be listed as “unregistered” votes until the user becomes an actual member, at which point they will also be allowed to comment, add pro and con arguments etc etc.
The Altruistic Wallet – One of the key features we are still designing. You can currently send tokens, Creds, between user wallets and most actions you can take on Crowdpol are attached to a micropayment. As we iron out the kinks of the system and decide on clear parameters you will be able to fund projects and changemakers via your Altruistic Wallet. We have a lot of ground to cover before that happens though, legal, technical and philosophical. Your input on all of these will be most appreciated.
Where to next?
There are a number of other features we’d like to build and presumable a factor of that we’ll want to build together once we receive all your feedback. There are very early days and as a Testpilot you will have a lot of opportunities to influence the trajectory of this project. Personally, I’d be thrilled to not only hear you out but see the platform evolve in beneficial ways I could never have come up with on my own. This is a community platform, after all, and thus must be a community effort. My role at this point is merely that of the midwife, the person in charge of coordinating various voluntary efforts so we can attain our common goal. It might still be a fuzzy, intuitive goal, but it will evolve and become clearer as we test different tools in different communities until we find what will work for most. And for those that are not sufficiently served by the basic tools we can provide, we will provide the option of add-ons and plug-ins. But let us focus on the task at hand: getting Crowdpol ready for people and communities across the globe by mid-september!
If you have any issues or suggestions or just want to offer general feedback, don’t hesitate to contact me directly.
And thanks for being a part of the team!
All the best,
Project Manager and Steward of Crowdpol
|Group: Building Crowdpol|