Collaboration tools for Aragon Working Groups

Hey hey!

This post is to discuss and evaluate potential standards on the collaboration and communication tools used in Aragon working groups.

The tools that we use in Aragon ideally optimize for three things: efficiency, transparency and accessibility.

It is important that the tools we use enable frictionless collaboration between working group members, while being legible and open to the rest of the of the community.

The main tools I can think of at the moment are the Arachat, Keybase, Notion, the Aragon forum and the Aragon Wiki.

Arachat - is open-source and Aragon has its own server (please @light confirm). It can be used both on the browser or a desktop app. all channels there are public and accessible to all. It can probably be considered as Aragon’s public chat.

Keybase - is end-to-end encrypted chat solution. Client is open-source but it is run in a centralized way. It can map accounts to social media profiles for verification. It has a desktop, mobile and web browser extension. It is today used by most Aragon contributors for private and team discussions. It has been used as the main communication tool for the Nest program. It is now used by the Nest Working Group as its main communication channel.

Aragon Wiki - is a repo owned by the Aragon organization on Github. Github is closed source and centralized. The repo information is open to all and anyone with a Github account can ask create a Pull Request to add content there. It is accessible as a web page at wiki.aragon.org. It has broad information about the whole Aragon ecosystem.

Notion - is a flexible and powerful collaboration space that can be used for task management, collaboration on documents, async coordination, etc. It is accessible through browser or app. It is closed sourced and run on centralized servers. It is now used internally by most Aragon teams. It is also used by the Nest WG to manage its deal pipeline and workflows. Pages on Notion can be made public but in order to modify them, one has to have a paying subscription.

Aragon Forum - is relying on Discourse. It is an open-source (self-hosted?) platform for community discussions. Currently we use it for broader higher-level community discussions. Currently only the Nest Working Group has a its own tag. It seems like it is not conflicting with any other tool atm.

Keybase and Arachat have some overlap

Aragon Wiki and Notion have some overlap

All these different solutions may be used by Aragon Working Groups to collaborate. Aragon chat can be used for discussions and async coordination. Keybase has a similar role. The Aragon Wiki can host call notes and information about working groups. Notion can help for async coordination and for hosting call notes as well.

There have been discussions in the Nest Working Group around the use of these different tools. Overall it seems like Keybase.io and Notion are winners as per daily usage. It was proposed to host Working Group notes on Notion as well instead of the Aragon Wiki.

I’m inviting community members to chime in and share their preferences on best practices to adopt. What are your preferred tools and why?

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Hey Louis!

I like keybase because most of the people I collaborate with on a day to day basis are there, 1Hive and Autark community chats are there also and generally I like the UX.

I’m new to Notion but I love how flexible it is. Also, @burrrata has put quite a bit of work into making it a project wiki and CRM

I check in on the Discourse frequently, Its the main Aragon hub. We should make more use of it for working groups so important stuff surfaces more easily.

I very rarely visit the official Aragon wiki

EDIT:
How could I forget Arachat :sweat_smile:. Well most of the activity on Arachat seems to be in the dev-help channel which makes sense, (quick synchronous feedback). I guess it is the most transparent and accessable but not the most efficient for working groups to do actual work. Having all chats in the same channel is very noisy

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Hey @Aaron,

Thanks for sharing! And what about Aragon Chat :wink: ?

My quick take

Keybase: I like it for daily discussions and coordination. One thing I want to mitigate though is that it is not opt-in. If we are to use it more and more, I think we should provide clear instructions to outside on how to join (if WG bylaws say participation is opt-in) and designate a WG member who acts as the chat maintainer.

More broadly I think we have to make onboarding/offboarding procedures clear and accessible. Tooling is a key part of that.

Aragon chat: I would have loved it to be used as the main channel but people seem to be unconfortable with fully public rooms… I think it is still useful as a point of contact with newcomers but I feel it is loosing its first chat purpose as Keybase is used more. I would try to redefine/clarify its role and the practices around that. From feedback I’ve got, people may have trouble finding their way to it as well.

Aragon Wiki: I do use it to check All dev call and WG call notes. I’d love it to be more accessible and have more data explaining how the whole ecosystem and more specifically WG work. That’s where I would define WG bylaws and make them public.

Notion: This being said the Wiki now competes with Notion pages as you can make them public and put notes there as well. Notion is appealing but closed source and you have to pay to collaborate which is not great tbh. If it was me I would keep it as an internal tool and leave public stuff in the Wiki.

Aragon Forum: I love it. I also think we could put more stuff there as soon as we think they might be relevant to the rest of the community.

I’m happy with these because they work and everyone uses them and they work :slight_smile:

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While it’s nice if the working groups share common tools, I am fine with an approach where each can choose the tools that work best for them. It’s when a tool needs to be shared between groups that it becomes important to use the same tool.

Here I think the Wiki is the best place for a common location for notes. Another option is spinning up a Nextcloud server and storing notes there. In any case, somewhere that the AA (not a random third party, like Notion) hosts and owns the data is best imo.

In general, for my own use, I prefer solutions that are open source and self-hosted. This way we retain control and aren’t subject to the whims of third party companies. Rocket Chat, Discourse, Ghost, Nextcloud, all meet this criteria.

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