The Constellation Model : A TZM Proposal

I’ve created a blog post suggesting that TZM change to the constellation model of collaborative social change and also accept money in a more organised way.

What are your thoughts?


@kees I’m not sure if this is in the correct spot.

It’s the right category! :slight_smile: I only moved it to the #train-of-thought:blogs subcategory. Thanks for sharing! I’ll read it later this week, looks interesting!

I also added your blog to the RSS feed, so new blog posts and changes to blogs will be automatically synced in #train-of-thought:blogs

TVP is by the way doing better according to Google Trends. They also have a bigger core group that’s more consistently active. And they didn’t cluster their movement all over the Internet. They use official Facebook Groups for each country and one for global communication, listed on their website.

1 Like

My vote is a big YES. We definitively should give it a try. The forum would do for a temporary secretariat. It’s well taken care of in and of itself.


Glad you had a read and like the idea Jakub :slight_smile:

1 Like

I “read” your blog (actually Google Assistent read it to me while exercising :slight_smile:). The idea sounds really well thought out. However, one of the reasons why I think the movement stagnated was because we created too many islands, which you call constellations I believe? If one of these islands doesn’t get much activity, then that brings down activity for a larger group. I’ve seen this in national chapters happening as well. Once a coordinator leaves, the energy is not spread out to the other members in a chapter and it dies out. Having a global community, reduces the risk of this happening. Because you combine all the energy, and as a result probably energize more people from passive roles into active ones. Which also triggers content creation and general activism. Because you inspire each other. If that energy is contained in clusters, then the “snowball effect” is limited.

At least, that’s why I started this forum. To bridge all these islands and create a single community again. It’s of course great to have subgroups composed out of chapters, teams and even meta chapters. Where people can act on a local level rather than on a global level here on the forum. Except for the teams, those are most likely composed out of people from different chapters, or not even a member of a chapter. It also provides this central overview and means to communicate. Want to contact a certain chapter? You can group message them here, or visit their dedicated resource (social-media or website). Communication is also more organized and not sucked into a black hole, like on Discord. On Discord, when topics move out of the screen, they also move out of mind. While here on the forum topics are persistent (and indexed by search engines), and when new topics are created with a similar title or content, they are suggested. That way you can continue the conversation and build upon what has already been created. Discord to me seems like a short attention and memory tool :slight_smile: For example the discussion about your proposal on Discord will most likely be out of out of sight and mind once other subjects are discussed. If it was seen at all, since there are too many channels to keep an eye on with overlapping discussions without a central overview of topic activities. Hence my black hole definition.

So I agree that we need islands/constellations to have the autonomy spread out and work on a local level, by e.g. also use your native language. But I think it’s very important to not cluster the groups too much, because from what I’ve seen, that makes them too vulnerable to die out. So like @Bahusson said, we could use the forum as the “The Secretariat”. If that’s the component that bridges these islands/constellations in your proposal.

One other thing. The TZM 2.0 thing has been mentioned by many people as if it’s a finalized thing and we can use it. But I haven’t heard from anyone what TZM 2.0 exactly is, or a website that explains the details and the differences between 1.0 and 2.0 (a changelog if you will). I mentioned a few times to develop the idea in Co-initiatives, to make it a community effort. And not repeat the same mistakes as with the GCA which “dictated policy” in the past. But the development of this idea seems to stay in a small group.

Also don’t forget the great resources that have been written about TZM in the past. They are linked in the footer on this forum. Sure, they could need some adjustments. But overall they have been thought out very well and shaped the movement as it still is. Creating content and capitalize on any activity within the movement is indeed key to reboot it. For that we need to bridge these islands and consolidate our voices, energy and ideas.

1 Like

The secretariat position is a person or group of people who help facilitate the meetings and work of the stewardship group.
It’s meant to be a 3rd party group so that it doesn’t get influenced by the activities of the stewardship group, e.g allocation of funds or the strategic plan.

The forum itself isn’t capable of doing that.

I think that meeting minutes (or at least links to them) and discussions can be posted to this forum so it can be a useful hub. Although voice or video meetings are likely to be run on Discord.

As for the Co-initiatives model. I’ve found it just too complex to use. I read your proposal about it and watched the video, but that was some time ago. I thought about posting the Constellation model as a co-initiative proposal but just wasn’t sure I’d get it right, so went with what I already had.

Regrading TZM 2.0
It’s not something finalised. It’s more a statement of intent to say we want to evolve and change. We want to strip away old cruft that doesn’t work and discover what does work.
Consider it more of an internal refactoring and paying off technical debt than some external rebranding.
I would like to think that the constellation model proposal is a part of that.

In regards to keeping activity going, there’s certainly a need to have local chapters as well as global projects and a range of things in-between.
We’ve now got quite a range of places and tools people can organise with from Facebook, Telegram and Discord to Discourse.

Previously the focus was a LOT more about chapters. But especially after Covid19 has made it hard to meet up with people (and in plenty of places it’s still hard, like here in the Philippines), I think the focus will still be on Internet based connection more than local for at least a while. Obviously that depends on where people live and what the inertia is and if there’s good local projects.

The constellations are basically what’s being done now already.

1 Like

The forum uses Jitsi for meetings. It’s true that this not used much. But it’s ready to go. Open-source and runs on renewable energy :sunglasses: But if people prefer Discord, then that’s fine too. But I think we should only use it then for voice/video/brief chats. But not use it for more than that, because like I said, it’s a black hole for activity.

The co-initiatives proposal isn’t approved yet :slight_smile: So feel free to help and improve it. Once we have shaped the proposal, we can create topic templates in Proposals and the other subcategories to guide people to use a certain style and make sure the expected content is there.

Online tooling should indeed be used, also by local teams and post-COVID as well since it helps to keep the momentum going. But again, I’m not a huge fan of clustering the global movement over different platforms. It’s quite uncommon in other communities to do that, and it doesn’t make much sense either (to me of course). I think that in part played a role for the downfall of TZM.

1 Like

I wanted to point out that there had already been the US based 501c3 Non-profit.
From those who were a part of it I’ve heard that it wasn’t very effective.
It caused conflict and problems.
There was money donated, but it doesn’t sound like it was used very effectively.
For example over USD$10k (maybe more, I’m not sure), was spent on getting a developer to create a new version of
The website was meant to do everything and had lots of plugins and complexity. Within a month or so of being released the WordPress site was hacked (seems to have been a vulnerability in a plugin that an automated bot found) and the site was used to spread a crypto miner.
It could’ve been worse, it could’ve been crypto-ransomware.

The site was taken down and a few weeks later PJ and Noel put up the version we’ve got now which is a lot more stream lined.

It seems that project left a bad taste in people’s mouth.
There was also infighting. From what I’ve been able to gather people who’d been members basically since the start saw the money coming in and felt entitled to it? I’m not exactly sure. But at least one member of the board had to be removed, which cost thousands of dollars in legal fees.

As far as I’m aware there’s no transparency for any of it. I’ve not seen actual financial statements on how much the movement made, what it spent the money on, where the money came from. Nor importantly why they made those decisions, what the strategic plan was, etc…

I’ve not seen a 5 whys analysis of the problem and what could’ve been done better.
Was the wrong project manager selected? Maybe someone with more web development experience?
Was the plan for the website too ambitious?
Was that related to an incorrect idea of the strategic plan and how it could’ve been implemented in different ways but other people? e.g could making an intro pack or high value videos been more useful? Or asking the existing community for more help?

I hope that the systems of the Constellation model can provide a lot of the fixes and corrections to previous problems and that we can innovate to get ourselves out of problems.

It’s obviously not just about money. It’s about bringing a more cohesive direction to the movement.

1 Like

The Dutch chapter was a nonprofit as well for some time. It created conflict and unneeded bloat as well for the movement. We removed it as well. One of the TZM NL members pitched the nonprofit idea during a ZDay Berlin meeting (2015 I believe). From there PJ started to work on it as well. I was hesitant to voice my concerns, because already at that point I didn’t like the nonprofit. But I had faith that they probably would arrange it better. It requires professional people with sufficient time. That’s a lot to ask in general.

1 Like

I think the forum and Discord and Facebook all have their places.

The forum is great for this type of more intellectual discussion where you might reply to something days or weeks later. Likely with a smaller number of people.
Discord is great for more social interactions. You need to get to know people and trust them before you work with them well on projects. The more transient nature of communication on the platform can help with that.

Facebook is more useful for broadcasting content out to massive audiences. It can also be used for discussions but I’ve not found the discussions particularly effective. Although you sometimes need to have such discussions to keep the algorithm gods happy.

Telegram is mostly useful as an onboarding tool and for people who have a worry about privacy.

I don’t think the movement fell apart because it was in a few different online spaces. Most people can be a part of most of those spaces. It fell apart because we weren’t showing anything tangible.
Most people ask “The movement has been around for over a decade and what does it have to show for all that time?”
You can point to lots of content, the fact that millions of people have watched the movies and that there’s hundreds of hours of Podcast and other materials. But in the end Koto Coop has done more tangible work by buying land than what TZM has done.
Obviously TZM’s previous MO was to get the word out to people. To educate others.
But I think we should be changing our Modus Operandi to be about bringing about a transition to a Post-Scarcity Society.

That broadens our options. We should certainly still be creating content, but we can also be doing research, developing new systems, working out the cultural and technical changes needed. Getting automated production facilities created, etc…

There’s a whole lot more that we should be doing.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?


Telegram would be an odd choice for privacy. Group chats are not end-to-end encrypted. Element would be a better choice, it allows to automate chat flows as well and allows to setup many bridges. It’s open-source, but the main benefit is that it’s also an open standard, like email. So you can use different clients and simply connect to the Matrix network it uses. Signal would be another privacy friendly alternative, but it’s even worse than Discord since it only allows one channel. Element can create a community, with multiple channels. Basically like Discord. It can be linked up with things like Jitsi to create video/voice calls, just like the forum. At work we use this combination as well. Easy to linkup with Gitlab as well and other tools (including Discourse).

But i’m getting off topic here :slight_smile:

I do think the movement stagnated because of the islands we created. Also this proposal of yours. Will you post it in the dozens of Facebook groups and whatnot? And then keep track of all those discussions in multiple places? Where some ideas are not shared with other people that are interested? An effective community utilizes a group mind. TZM has a split brain :slight_smile:

Of course content creation is needed. But where are you going to post it for the maximum momentum? The TZM Global Facebook page is I think the #1 place for that. But it’s only controlled by a few people. And things are not always posted when requested. In effect handicapping the group mind. I think the clustering makes most sense for chapters, which operate locally anyway. But the main discourse should I think take place on Discourse :nerd_face: It also has a builtin digest option that people receive if they don’t login. In effect proactively keeping people informed and perhaps also engaged.

Well, what do you know about what other chapters did? Perhaps it’s because we’re not communicating? :wink: The activism in Australia you listed in your proposal for example are really great! But I’ve never heard of it before… It could’ve inspired other chapters :wink:

But let’s see how it goes. Once I’ve freed up more personal time, I’ll finally be able to work on my content creation projects. Then the challenge becomes, how to reach the critical mass effectively…

1 Like

The International meetings (now called Global Assemblies) are where we’ve been sharing our activities and reports. There’s 2 a month at different times and different days of the week to help make it easier for people to make it. I can only make the Saturday evening ones (although they are in the morning for people in Europe).

That’s been happening for the last few years now. Mostly spearheaded by Mark Enoch.
The meetings are run on Discord.

Check the #news-and-updates channel for information and links.

Regarding the split brain part of the movement.
The movement has had something like 6 different versions of the main website. It used to have a forum but that was closed down after a few years. There was a Team Speak but that was expensive to run and people weren’t using it as much.
The Facebook page is still popular. But lots of TZM FB groups were created by whoever wanted to.

So if the movement splintered, the first parts of that splintering happened when the forum was closed and then an iteration or two of the main site happened. That’s before my time in dealing with TZM IT support so I don’t know why any of that was done.
But I do also know that there was both spill over into other social media areas because the movement was MUCH bigger at the time and because you should be meeting people where they are if you want to talk with them.
You don’t try to talk to people by standing in the middle of the desert. You stand by the train station, park, or mall and try to find people who have the time to talk and learn.
So there’s groups in other places because that where you talk to people who could potentially be members.

Discord and this forum are great places for talking to existing members.

As for the Global TZM FB page The Zeitgeist Movement Global I’m still an editor on it.
I’m trying to use FB a lot less these days, but if you need something posted there then provide the text so it can be copy->pasted into a post, or post as an existing chapter and send the link so the global page can repost it.
Often what you send is just a message of “Can you send a post about the forum”. But there’s many different ways that can be written and you could have better links and you force us to have to investigate in great detail how to write something up. But usually people like myself and Cliff are busy trying to keep the movement afloat. Sometimes dealing with technical issues, sometimes with what feels more like politics.

Going back to the falling apart though.
I’d love to see more solid evidence that it fell apart because of splintering online.

I know some great ex TZM activists who were burnt out by the movement. Most because they clashed with the GCA.
Juuso is leaving because he’s got to deal with Koto Coop and that should very much be his primary focus. But it’s also because he can’t deal with the way too high levels of conspiracy theory thinking from some of the members.

What we need is exit interviews from old members to actually know why they’ve left.

That’s something the TZM Informatics / survey team would be great for, but we don’t have the man power for that right now.
Until we’ve got some good data, it’s hard to say.

But it’s important to learn why.

1 Like

Meetings are indeed great to transfer information. But you have to be there and they have to be synchronous. With a global movement, with different time zones and people sometimes not able to attend it’s important to keep the asynchronous aspect as well.

A Discord channel is great for quick updates. But it doesn’t provide an overview. It’s hard to keep track of. Reports is something that’s partly automated. It pulls in RSS feeds from chapter websites, but people can also write an update manually of course.

So instead of asking people (only on Discord) to fill in a random one-time cryptpad that’s not indexed by search engines, it would be better to use Reports to post things and then discuss those in a meeting. The digest feature of the forum will make sure that the most popular updates will also be send to people that don’t have time to check the forum. Also with tags like au there could be an all time overview of Australia’s activities. So people can see what that country was up to. Scrolling through a Discord channel only makes sense if updates don’t need to be read long after writing.

It’s hard to prove that the island creation was one of the reasons why TZM collapsed. But I respect that the burden of proof is mine of course :slight_smile: To me it makes a lot of sense that a community fragmented over multiple islands isn’t a recipe of maintaining momentum. A group mind is what makes a community great. And having the right tools to make the flow of information and communication effortless keeps things fun. Of course that mainly applies to the core operations of a community. Having Facebook groups and subreddits is fine, as long as there is an overview and the means to communicate as one.

But I’ve been pitching this for more than 6 months now :stuck_out_tongue: The forum is practically dead. So I guess people don’t see or feel the need for it.

1 Like

The co-initiative method is not approved yet, but for what has been described I created a topic template in Proposals. When someone creates a new topic there the following template will be shown to guide people.

This subcategory is for co-initiatives only, please learn about what they are before using this subcategory:

Please describe your proposal in between 200 to 500 words.
**Define the problem:** 
**Define the proposed solution:** 
**What are the resource requirements (time, money, skills):** 
**What is the expected outcome:** 

Hope that helps. But of course, the co-initiative proposal itself first needs to get some attention. That thread has been dead for a while: Co-initiative method


_ will place forth some initial, (very brief) marks made on @kublermdk 's very fine grain scribe on The Constellation Model : A TZM Proposal

brief marks on kubler-proposal

Going to have a look over @Kees proposal next, very briefly! No promises!

Revolution Now!,

_ do all these to show others that you don’t have to be an “intellect” etc etc to progress a discussion. Don’t worry about the moderation, it’s there to steer it in the right direction! :zipper_mouth_face:

1 Like

Thanks @sabtu

FSF Financial Information — Free Software Foundation — Working together for free software was a good link. But I find it hard to get useful information from that.
Even better would be some sort of financial dashboard so it’s easy at a glance to see where things are. Some charts and flows, on top of the more detailed data you’d get from an audit report.

1 Like
:warning: Cringy!

brother @kublermdk , from my local ground sensing, this is what keeps the hamsters on the wheel… may it be for the movement’s benefit instead?

Hi @kublermdk, here is some text that Teemu wrote a while back. Who knows, maybe you can borrow some stuff from it, or someone else.


That was really good, thank you.
I’ve updated my post to include it.