What does “Community-led” mean, anyway?

On our “About”(1) page, our founder (Scott Bowler) explains it best: “ClassicPress styles itself as a community-led fork of the WordPress content management system. We want to get back to basics and focus on open dialogue and democratic decisions.”

There’s been some great conversations in the forum community over the past few weeks, including some sensitive discussions. It seems like now is a good time to explore more specifically what “community-led” means to ClassicPress and how it works.

Community-led means just that

Our mission statement(2) says this:

We facilitate democratic discussion and decision making

In order for community members to participate in decisions about ClassicPress, it is essential that we provide a platform that makes it easy for every member to share ideas, debate, vote, and give feedback without censorship.

To make this a reality, we facilitate these discussions via our forum and other digital communication platforms. Our organizational structure allows us to adapt to meet the expressed needs of the ClassicPress community, and we make decisions collaboratively with the overall mission of ClassicPress in mind.

So… what is our overall mission? Again, going back to our mission statement:

ClassicPress serves businesses worldwide that will benefit greatly from a more robust, business-focused CMS. As ClassicPress evolves, the features and functionalities we implement will align with our three core ideals:

Powerful. Versatile. Predictable.

And this:

We will make people’s lives better

We are sensitive to the wide variety of needs that are presented by ClassicPress users. Programmers, designers, marketers, businesses, and individual website visitors each have unique challenges that must be addressed. Stability, efficiency, security, and usability are some of the considerations we seek to address in the coming weeks and months. Ultimately, we want to ensure that those who use ClassicPress find it to be a positive experience that supports them as they focus on their own personal and business goals.

What does “Community-led” look like?

As a democratic community, we seek to ensure that power doesn’t become centralized and that every voice can be heard. We do that through conversations that take place in the forums, but ultimately it takes you — the community — to feel strongly enough about a topic to suggest a change via our Petitions website(3).

Once the Suggestion has been made, it is then open to comment and voting by ClassicPress Community members. If your Suggestion garners the minimum needed votes, it will be converted to a Topic and opened to a vote by our Voting Members. Anyone who is a part of the community can become a Voting Member, subject to the guidelines outlined on our Democracy(4) page.

If the majority of voting members vote in favor of the Topic, it will be scheduled for implementation.

There is a second way for a vote to be implemented, and that is by Referendum. There are special rules around this on the Democracy page; the most important one being that a super majority (75%) of Voting Members must vote positively in order for a Referendum to pass.

To be clear: no matter who is involved, a conversation in the forums is just that — a conversation in the forums. No changes can or will take place without the proper procedure being followed:

  1. A suggestion is made via Petition or Referendum
  2. The suggestion achieves the required Support Threshold
  3. The suggestion is then converted to a Topic and made public by the Committee
  4. The Topic is put to a vote
  5. Only with a majority vote in favor, the Topic will be scheduled for action

There are some exceptions (also outlined on the Democracy page), however it is also noted in the second paragraph of the “Exceptions” section the following:

It’s important to note that the community still has full control over all of the areas mentioned in the following list via Petitions and Referendums to address any issues with the decisions being made.

  • Infrastructure and system administration (e.g. servers and databases)
  • Accounts / finance
  • Purchasing
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Support
  • Sales & Fundraising

Our organizational structure is such that it enables all stakeholders an opportunity to shape the direction that ClassicPress takes. The ClassicPress Community leads the way forward — and if you’re part of our community, that means you have a voice, and you have a vote. How will you contribute to the future success of ClassicPress this week?

(1): About ClassicPress
(2): Our Mission Statement
(3): Our Petitions Website
(4): Our Democracy

About Michelle Coe

Design Team Lead and Marketing Co-Lead at ClassicPress. Entrepreneur, strategist, and artist devoted to small businesses, big dogs and Volkswagens.

Start the discussion at forums.classicpress.net