Re: cohousing documents / wiki
From: Dirk Herr-Hoyman (
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2007 05:51:50 -0800 (PST)
Let me jump in here, with at least some background in these
membership organization sorts of matters.

It would be great if could provide services, even
if there's a cost involved.   How that comes about does need
some consideration.  I think the natural way to do this would
be with an "organizational membership", where access to additional
content and the opportunity to contribute would be part of the package.
This is what happens with at least some of the membership organizations
I'm involved with, some of which are work related and some are religious.

Here's a fundamental challenge I see.  The folks who are most willing to
pay for this service are new cohousing groups.  The folks who have the
expertise to share are existing cohousing groups, who don't have much
incentive to pay for this service.  How can you harness the energy,
on a volunteer basis, that's the key.

What Fred is offering on the is a great way to get this
started.  To keep it going, I do feel that needs to be the
"owner", there should be an "institutional home" for this to be sustainable.

Of course, I'm also all for "free content", as in free beer :-)
The value of content goes up as it's made available to the many.
Wikipedia does provide a good model there, this is the same content
that used to be available only in Encyclopedia's, this is all "public
stuff.  Now it's unleashed for the greater good.  Can you say

Perhaps there is a way to do this such that it's freely available and
sustained by membership dues.  You might even get some contributions or
gifts to get it going, this would be a clear deliverable that someone could


On 2/16/07, Fred H Olson <fholson [at]> wrote:

On Fri, 16 Feb 2007, John Parsons wrote:

> Hi, Fred.
> I have been travelling extensively for the past two weeks, so this is
> the first time I've been able to write you on the issue of a cohousing
> document repository.

You're not too late to the discussion, the wiki idea really only evolved
since Tuesday 2/13 starting with the message
but has generated a surprizing amount of discussion.
On the other hand the document repository has been recogised since neary
the first cohousing-L messages in 1992. See

There have been a number of attempts that have not gotten very far.  It's
a big task which is one reason to spread around the effort using a
collaborative approach of a wiki which seems to me ideally suited to the
cohousing community.  Of course the idea of wiki's has been gaining
prominence for some time.

> As you may remember from our last phone
> conversation, Coho/US is developing and refining this type of material,
> which we are planning to offer as "premium content" on the web site --
> at a fair price, but not for free.

No I dont remember that but I guess it depends on what "this type of
material" refers to.  What are your plans?

> While I am not opposed to the wiki
> approach, I believe it has very practical limitations.

What limitations do you refer to?  It depends on mustering enough
particpation from enough people with enough expertise and the only way to
see if we can do that is to try.  By now there is a vast amount of
experience in held by many people so I am hopeful.  Some individual
communities have found this approach useful.  Previous centralized
approaches have failed.

> The aim of the
> Coho/US project is not to stifle the exchange of ideas, but to "vet" and
> organize useful material for both forming groups and existing
> communities. This does not exclude wikis -- nor should it -- but I
> believe we need to be clear with our constituents on the pros and cons
> of each model.
> I would love to be able to discuss this with you. If you have the time
> to call, please do -- or let me know a good time I can call you.

Sure give me a call, this weekend is a bit busy tho I expect to be around
between times.  It's hard to say exact times tho.  You might catch me
between 11:00 and 11:30 am cst tomorrow - Sat 2/17.  Times after that are
harder to predict.

Maybe Monday morning would be easier. 11 am cst ?

> In community,
>  John
> John Parsons, Publisher
> Cohousing (
> Email: john [at]
> Telephone: (206) 780 3840


Fred H. Olson  Minneapolis,MN 55411  USA        (near north Mpls)
Communications for Justice - My listserv org.           UU, Linux
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Dirk Herr-Hoyman

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