Loomio and Sociocracy

A member of our local chapter of Food Not Bombs, which is taking steps to organize using Sociocracy, suggested that we look at Loomio as a tool for organizing our communication. I’m curious if others here might be willing to share their experience using Loomio with organizations that also use Sociocracy. I see that Loomio has functionality around making proposals and voting on those proposals, and so I wonder to what degree Loomio supports or detracts from efforts to use consent in real time meetings. I am concerned that the Loomio voting functionality may be a distraction and hindrance from using Sociocratic strategies. Have others found that to be the case, or have you found them to be useful alongside Sociocracy principles? If they are distracting, are the other features of Loomio still useful?

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I haven’t use Loomio personally but I’ve looked into it - one thing is that it’s not exactly designed for in-person decision making. Asynchronous decision online making has a very different feel. As much as it’s an awesome tool, this would be my primary concern about the platform. In my experience Sociocratic Organizations - at least largely volunteer ones - struggle with written/online/asynchronous decision making for social and communication reasons.

When I looked into it, we did use it for one test, and I thought it looked pretty useful, but I chose not to push using what I otherwise thought was a pretty cool tool with our organization because of the challenge folks have with working online - so I don’t have first hand experience with it!

I’m curious to hear what folks who have tried using it have to say.

There’s another tool that is similar and already kinda integrates sociocratic practices is Murmer: https://www.murmur.com/

Check it out:

You’ll notice the sociocratic language!

We haven’t had a chance to try it out in SoFA yet, but we might give it a whirl in Web Content Publishing.

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I’ve used Loomio quite a bit, including with a group using Sociocracy, and have found it very helpful—especially for making decisions in-between meetings. Basically, if your group can come to agreements around process for using it, it can be a huge time-saver as a replacement for email/signal/chat/whatever threads. I’d be happy to share more about my specific experiences with it if that would be helpful.

@cj.oreilly thanks for the tip on Murmur! That looks pretty interesting, too.

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Loomio has a voting mode that is only consent/object, which would be more appropriate as the default voting option for a group using sociocracy in my opinion. I’ve included a screenshot of where the relevant setting is. That being said, I’m in a similar boat of not having much experience with Loomio, but I would agree with others that it seems like it is primarily geared towards making decisions asynchronously.