What is Membership?
Membership is a mutually-consented-to commitment to enter into a relationship in which the member devotes economic (and other) participation in exchange for the system (Cosmos) providing valuable benefits to the member.
New Member Process
In order to become an “activated player” in the game of Cosmos, membership is the required threshhold to cross. Becoming a member involves filling out an application, which then must be accepted by Cosmos (acceptance may be tied to “curating” for optimal members, either culturally or based on the needs/offers the petitioning member expresses to bring into Cosmos; or at least is dependent upon having adequate capacity to “open” its services/capacities to more members). This communication flow establishes a two-way conversation between prospective member and Cosmos.
More on the Member Intake Process
Membership seats are only offered in the amount and complexity that Cosmos.coop assesses it can handle in a given period. Cosmos.coop, mindful of the mix of its current members needs, aspirations, and offerings, accepts new member applications and analyzes them for “best fit” in that array. So, say Cosmos accepts the 100 most active members first. Then based on the needs/goals expressed by this cohort of 100, the next batch of members is let in with an eye toward what they bring and what they need, and how those mesh with the existing organic activities of the 100 initial members. That is, the next batch brings with them certain different or complementary skills or needs to round out the system.
So, an individual could apply for membership in Cosmos, and Cosmos upfront calculates the demand & the opportunity represented in that candidate, and then lets them in when it feels it is ready/able to accommodate. I envision rapid “uptake” and favorable pricing in onboarding a member applicant with strong skills that Cosmos (formally) and/or a large number of members immediately need, and potentially slow “uptake” if a member has unique needs and Cosmos is not mature enough of a system to provide for those needs. Additionally, as new technical and social capacities are built out that can accommodate many more users to achieve particular goals, this can “free up” the flow of new members into the system.
An applicant-member could update their pending application at any time, and Cosmos would reassess applicant fit shortly after edits were made. Member invitations could be tied to data-gaged needs, even: e.g., the system could acknowledge to its members that it is low on people of a specific skill set, and do they know of anyone in their outside networks who would be good candidates to bring that into Cosmos? If so, a member can receive vouchers to let those qualified candidates join into Cosmos for free (for an incentive period or whatever; also the work opportunity presented by Cosmos to a $$-needing member may be sufficient too).
ALL memberships go through a “responsive,” semi-curatorial process–that is, Cosmos must accept applications actively. This may be automated per Cosmos’ AI, or manually curated by human members. Membership may only be open during certain designated windows. In the process of choosing members to let in, the limited number of seats MUST be tied to specific, objective system constraints, such as “user load” on a new app, how long it is expected to take to get the new member fully up to speed and integrated with existing communities on the platform (which may include factoring in whether the individual already knows people in Cosmos who are willing to act as their “community guide,” etc.) The exact rules around the terms for accepting membership applications, for “onboarding” new members, and terms for terminating a mebership, remain to be determined by the community. Forum membership is a good “trial grounds” where people have just enough permissions to get a sense for the platform and maybe “test out” their fit in the community, before applying for full membership.
After mutual consent occurs: the exchanging of valuable consideration/vows.
The next step in becoming a member is tangibly committing to the relationship and vowing to enter & engage with the system “in good faith.” Becoming a member involves paying dues that secure a person’s equity stake in the co-op enterprise. At the point of dues-payment, the amount a member pays is divided (by rule) into two types of capital: 1) equity capital (retained by Cosmos), 2) Litcoin (a liquid “play currency” to be spent on acts, presences or good/services of perceived value in the game of Cosmos).
Litcoin is one main method of expressing/measuring what a member finds valuable in the sprawling playground of Cosmos. There are many other ways of exchanging value, too: such as contributing to deep conversations, offering “sweat equity” to a peer’s project, developing proposals to benefit the community, etc. Some of these activities may earn you LC, but as LC is a peer-to-peer currency, spent at the discretion of individuals, there is no guarantee of how much you will be gifted.
However: as a member meaningfully engages within the game, Cosmos (the meta-system) measures this and later, drips another form of coin, representing patronage and referred to as Cointribute (C>) to the member to reflect Cosmos’ assessment of how much value *the member *brings to Cosmos.
Thus is a mutually validating framework established.
Membership Validation & Valuation Flow
At the point of joining, member and Cosmos validate the mutual desire to join in relationship.
Member validates Cosmos with cash-paid dues. Dues become equity stake and Litcoin wallet amount in the user’s account, thus validating the member in Cosmos. The “dues” each member pays are the same: however, the exact amount each user chooses to spend each month in Cosmos (on taking advantage of different features or services of the platform, or to exchange cash for LC so as to spend it on the platform) is at the discretion of the member.
Members spend their Litcoin on one another, thus validating one another’s contributions in shared spaces/matters of concern.
Cosmos resources the fulfillment of its collective objectives by attaching LC or C> bounties to the completion of crucial work, then recruits people to perform the work from members on the platform (whenever possible). Members may attach LC or cash prices to the services or products they are offering on the platform as well, to show how much they themselves value those things.
Cosmos drips patronage (C>) to members (which C> is calculated in part through observing LC circulation patterns and intensity, as well as other factors), representing acknowledgment of the value a given member creates for Cosmos.
C> can only be spent on validating proposals for Cosmos’ development, thus reciprocated by members in expressing their views on how Cosmos could grow/develop.
Members receive one vote (democratic control, per co-op best practices) on all crucial (constitutional) matters and proposals affecting Cosmos-at-large. On smaller, optional, feature-development proposals, members may vote using their accumulated C>.
Continue reading about Membership Types & Functions in Cosmos.