Coho Tech Meetup Minutes
From: Tom from Gather (
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2019 10:24:25 -0700 (PDT)
   - The meeting took place from 5:15-6:00pm on Saturday June 1 2019, at
   the 2019 Cohousing National Conference in the Senate Room. It was not an
   official event on the program but it was advertised during the conference
   in guerrilla fashion :D
   - There were about 20-25 people in attendance.
   - After a brief intro by Tom Smyth, we discussed future
   communications. The group agreed not to create yet another email list for
   coho tech topics, but to use Cohousing-L instead to communicate about these
   topics in future. We noted there is a good amount of tech-related
   discussion on that list already.
   - We then went into a go-around in which folks gave their name,
   location, and community, and told of 1) a tech success story in their
   community, 2) a pain point that either results from or could perhaps be
   resolved with tech.
      - Several people mentions old documents not being updated or
      disorganized. One group said they switched to Google Drive for this.
      - One community tried Slack but too complex for some members.
      - Tom mentioned Discourse as a solution in between Slack and email.
      - One group mentioned using for email.
      - Several groups mentioned a desire to get off Yahoo Groups.
      - Several groups listed managing submission of and management of
      reimbursement requests as a common pain point. Another person noted they
      use Quickbooks and are trying to go paperless for this process.
      - One person mentioned having installed a new projector on the
      ceiling of the common house.
      - One person shared about problems with misconfigured devices taking
      down their shared network and how they switched to Google wifi
      - There was some discussion about shared networks versus each unit
      having its own ISP (e.g. Comcast) subscription. Maybe a quarter of the
      communities represented in the room said they had a shared network.
      - One group mentioned using Basecamp beginning with their efforts to
      manage the construction project. Folks wanted to know more about
      It was described as a project management system but they use it for much
      more than that.
      - One group mentioned using Team.up for reservations/calendar.
      - One person suggested recording tutorial videos for residents on how
      to use community tech. They noted Camtasia (expensive) and
Snagit (cheaper)
      as useful tools for this. (Tom's note: I know ScreenFlow is
another popular
      one. There could be an opportunity for us to share a
subscription to one of
      these things.)
      - One person said they were attempting to use Google Groups but it
      wasn't working well.
      - One woman from UC Merced and is interested in how groups use
      - One person described a custom software solution developed for
      meals, reservations, work, etc. at Swan's Market.
      - One person described a group agreement to manually tag email
      subject lines [in brackets] so that people could filter emails.
      - One person listed tracking volunteer hours as a pain point that
      could have a tech solution.
      - One person mentioned using a Google Form for new sales leads.
      Another added these can be good for surveys on community issues.
      - One group is looking for good web host for their community site.
      - One group shared that they have fiber to every building!
      - One person describe their forming senior community in which half of
      folks don't have cell phones and some don't have computers.
      - One group listed their old website as a pain point and is currently
      redoing it.
      - There was a lively discussion about agreements around email
      etiquette and moderation.
         - One group described clear boundaries between tech and conflict
         resolution. Tech just provides the tools, conflict resolution is
         responsible for etiquette guidelines and handles conflict
when it happens
         on email. Tech sets a member to temporary 'moderation status', so they
         can't post, per request of conflict resolution.
         - Another group described their guideline this way: Emotion is ok,
         aggression is not.
         - Another policy was described as: self monitored, nothing
         confrontational, controversial, business information only. If someone
         missteps, they are sent a copy of the policy.
         - Another group was considering two email lists, one for business
         and one for personal. One person warned this could lead to
fewer boundaries
         and conflict on the personal list.
         - In closing we noted that there was a lot of energy around coho
   tech in multiple areas:
      - Software
      - Hardware and networking
      - Common house audiovisual, including assistive technology for
      meetings (e.g. mics)
      - We agreed there need to be sessions around these topics at future

Tom for the Gather Team

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