Membership Shares in The Online Meeting Co-operative

We are no longer selling Webarchitects shares as Online Meeting Co-operative shares, see the comment below.

The Webarch Co-operative Limited Rules, which are linked from here:

Contain these clauses:

1.7. b) Within any class, shares can be issued for a special purpose and treated as separate from the main funds of the co-operative. They may have different conditions, and may attract a different rate of interest, to other shares in that class. Members may hold both special purpose and ordinary shares, with no distinction being made for the purposes of qualification, voting and limits on total shareholding.

And:

1.10. Withdrawal of shares

a) Shares carry no absolute rights of withdrawal.The board may at its sole discretion:

i. repay a fixed proportion (less than 100%, unless memberships are cancelled in accordance with 1.8 above) of all shares in a class;

ii. allow the withdrawal of shares in one or more classes on request, subject to whatever limits or period of notice the board may think prudent;

iii. permit no withdrawals (other than small sums on cancellation, as described in 1.8 c) for a fixed period of time or disallow withdrawals indefinitely.

If a member wishes to withdraw their share capital, they should notify the co-operative in writing that they would like it to purchase its shares from them, enclosing the appropriate share certificates.

And:

c) Shares may be issued with conditions that further restrict withdrawal, but may not offer terms that are not permitted under these rules.

Based on the above and the fact that The Online Meeting Co-operative is:

an informal organisation formed by the member coops that have started the project

https://wiki.meet.coop/wiki/Membership

We are offering membership shares in The Online Meeting Co-operative which will be used to build and provide service and grant organisations and individual access to the servers, these shares will not have an automatic right of withdrawal and there should be no expectation that they ever will be withdrawable.

We are contributing a significant amount of hosting infrastructure, time and money to launch this service, we are documenting this on the wiki page to track the contributions of members. We are also taking on some liability with this project, we are the legal owners of meet.coop (on the understanding that ownership would be transferred if a legal entity is established) and our name will be on the contract for the server at Koumbit.

I hope the above doesn’t sound too negative! We are very excited by this project and thing it has the potential to be a huge success and we hope all our exiting members give the demo.meet.coop server a try and consider if services from the The Online Meeting Co-operative could replace their use of corporate conferencing platforms such as Zoom.

1 Like

We have written to the co-operatives who brought shares in Webarchitects on the above basis to give them three options:

  1. A refund?
  2. Transfer shares into revenue costs for meet.coop?
  3. Switch them to Webarchitects shares?

This is because the nature of the meet.coop organisation has changed.

Earlier this month I wrote the following to someone to explain the situation:

We were selling Webarchitects shares as Online Meeting Co-operative share in May and June 2020:

But since the additions to this top of this page made on 10th July 2020:

And the edits made to the public facing org.meet.coop website recently:

That deleted text such as:

Its an open commons as social and solidarity economy organisations can
join the cooperative and individual people are able to join through
(some of) the member organisations.

The Online Meeting Cooperative is organised through a group of
cooperatives, some of which take responsibility for the memberships
and finance. We invite everyone to become a member of one of these
cooperatives and make your contribution through them. Read more about
at Memberships.

And resulted in this latest text explaining how to join:

It appears that the nature of the project has changed – so you need to go to this page to join now:

You would however be most welcome to join Webarchitects and support our co-operative directly if you wish.

Webarchitects has put a lot of resources into this project in terms of hosting (see the list on the contributions wiki page) and my time (over 175 hours has been recorded) and we can’t afford to invest in it further since the potential for the project to result in growth for Webarchitects has been removed and there appears to no longer be a committent to open source infrastructure as code and co-operatively owned hardware.

The three options for existing shareholders above might be easier to understand as follows:

  1. Refund, if the Webarchitects shares are refunded than you have the option to use this money as you wish.
  2. Revenue, if the shares are cancelled then the money could be put towards paying an outstanding invoice for the Koumbit server and for Webarchitects expenses.
  3. Shares, the shares could simply be redesignated as regular Webarchitects shares and the money would then be put towards Webarchitects capital costs — we need to invest in new server hardware.

If you want to be a member of the Online Meeting Co-operative then you need to join via Open Collective, the shares in Webarchitects no longer count as shares in The Online Meeting Co-operative.