Credit Commons Collective

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Jem Bendell and Matthew Slater:

"Building software is the most technical work but not the only work of the Credit Commons Collective. We have seen first-hand and from a distance in how enthused non-technical volunteer users can contribute enormously to a software project. In Community Forge, an autonomous team has both fortnightly meetings and frequent informal contact to offer member communities a robust helpdesk service. They have fielded enquiries, developed training materials and a helpdesk site, customised sites, tested and tested and tested new versions, and attended and organised events. The beneficiaries of their free sites are highly satisfied. In Timebanks USA, the programmers for Community Weaver 3 (CWIII) have focused on software development, and a volunteer team of end-users meets online once a month to discuss how to spend a small budget, on new features, bug fixes, and then test the software before release. The result is a very user-friendly package, highly attuned to the needs of its users. Users in far off New Zealand reported (in a private meeting) being much happier with CWIII than with CWII which had no volunteers involved.

The Credit Commons Collective aspires to animate that kind of community, thereby building the next generation of community digital infrastructure. It will also benefit from being able to employ professionals at near market rates: not only technical professionals, but also communicators of which there are none in the above examples. By communication we mean skills in user experience, graphic design, marketing, advertising, social media, public relation strategies and conceivably even lobbying.

Our decision to share this work with wider academic audiences through this paper and others, is part of this new approach to engage a beyond the niche of complementary currency enthusiasts. Our hope is that researchers and educators will learn of the Credit Commons Collective and help us develop it further. There will be many knowledge needs, and thus much research to be done. However, we call on research to derive from practice, rather than see the efforts we describe in this paper as mere data for testing existing theories for self-interested motivations of writing publications that no one reads but help academic career progression. " (