For each question, rate a community you’re in a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is very much, 1 is not at all, and 3 is somewhat.

  1. We are a self-governing group where people ask for or make happen what they very much want, while being considerate of what other people very much want. ___
  2. Each individual holds themself and each other accountable and, if needed, confronts with respect (how they’d like to be confronted). ___
  3. No individual has the right to inflict harm upon others or to destroy or lessen that which should be available to all. ___
  4. Individuals have freedom of speech and association, freedom of travel and choice of residence, employment, and education. ___
  5. There is transparency including regular check-ins (that people view as quality) on things that anyone in the group likely very much cares about, and on democracy. ___
  6. People in the group have all the same options and are all treated the same by the group’s terms, and by the people representing the group. ___

And then average the ratings to find how much of a healthy democracy your community is.

There are many ways to make each of these principles come alive.

They were developed as an update from the Community Guidelines, which are the core of our Terms of Service, but haven’t formally replaced them.

These are six guidelines for healthy democracy which I developed through many conversations and revisions, and they’ve been the core of Collective Agency governance for the past six months. They led to our restarting the Community Council meetings and getting a second membership location, among other things.

#5 is why we have the weekly open Coordinating Council meetings at each location, and #1 is the focus of those meetings.

#1 is a clarification of ‘be an active participant in your membership’ from the Community Guidelines. I would say it’s the main reason for democracy. #2 and #3 are from the Community Guidelines. #4 is from Freedom House. #6 was strongly emphasized by some members when we updated our Membership page earlier this year, and is near the top of that page.

Written by Alex Linsker