Suggestion to consider loomio for decision making

It’s early days, so I don’t expect any action to be taken on this

TL;DR consider software explicitly made for decision making to make decisions. Loomio exists for this and could be self-hosted. Alternatives are of course welcome to be discussed / proposed.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Loomio whatsoever.


The decision making process of the nixos community has felt quite opaque and top-down. Partially because there were so many channels where decisions impacting the project were made , where they were documented/archived, and who made them.

  • where they were made: sync in calls, chats, physical talks, async in forums
  • how they were archived: RFCs in github, meeting notes in forums, others in chat just existed
  • who made decisions:
    • sometimes a high-level maintainer with write access would suddenly make a change (a new repo, a new github workflow, commit rights granted, a private message to user to stop an action, etc.)
    • sometimes a group of high-level maintainers decided to introduce something (a new bot, a new team, removal of a maintained package, …)

Given the existing problems, yes, the nixos foundation agreed upon being more democratic but the issue of keeping track of everything still hasn’t been resolved. This could be improved.

How to improve

Make decisions that impact the public:

  • in public
  • in one place
  • in a manner that allows easily tracing: what, when, where, why and by whom


Use software that is made for decision making. The one that I know best is Loomio.

It allows making proposals, going through a debate period, summarizing the different viewpoints, and putting the proposal up for a vote.

There are different kinds of proposals:

  • sense check: what people feel about a topic
  • consent proposal: a fast-track to make smaller decisions and ask consent of the affected community
  • consensus proposal: used to reach a collective agreement with input from as many people as possible

Moderators can summarize proposals, large debate points, and outcomes for quick overviews of proposals in order not to have to wade through all the responses.

There’s a lot more possible like providing a reason for a vote, changing how votes are counted, deciding on thresholds for consensus (e.g at least 70% must agree), there are chatbots for notifications about new proposals, there’s obviously an archive, Special Interest Groups can drive certain proposals, and more.


I’ll look into loomio!

For the most part I am looking to emulate how Kubernetes has handled governance. The makeup of Committees, Special Interest Groups, and Working Groups are all pulled directly from there. In addition to that, the proposals part necessary would be handled like Kubernetes Enhancement Proposals. I feel that this gets us the rest of the way there. We have authoritative structures that own the different parts of the project and can make their own decisions. Then a proposal set which SIGs can drive. And of course the committees providing foundational support such as direction from the steering committee.


+1 on loomio

From what I understood it was actually created with the intention to better support group governance decision making like the ones I have pointed to in



I can’t seem to edit my post, so for those who would like to explore options to loomio, has a page for that (link is filtered by opensource license).

However, after browsing through the alternatives, it doesn’t seem like there is much :confused:

Still active

  • Citizens Foundation: In active development, supposedly used by the city of Reykjavík, has docker setup, and demos. Seems to be directed at governments, but could work for groups such as ours

Various issues:

  • VoteIT: can’t find how to host it nor can I find a demo instance
  • LiquidFeedback: was used by some Pirate Parties, but source is on read-only mercurial host with no self-hosting guide
  • Ukuvota: Seems to be an anonymous voting platform?
  • DemocracyOS: entire github is in spanish and I can’t figure out how to spin up a quick instance for testing.
  • OpenDCN: Link is HTTP and can’t find sourcecode repository

Okay so, looks like loomio would be a good fit, and there seems to be only positive or neutral feelings on it, no objections that I saw. I also see a desire to start a bit of voting sooner than later.

Sounds like next step is getting a loomio instance set up. Doesn’t have to be permanent or perfect right now, just something where we can log in, do some light consensus recording, and have database backups and so on.

@jakehamilton @isabel I can spend a couple hours/day on that, starting ~now. I can eat the hosting cost myself for at least a few months. Would you like me to set up a loomio instance for Aux, or will I be getting in the way?

(apologies if this seems pushy, I’m just itching to help and this seems like a separable unit of stuff to do! Also happy to fade into the background and be patient!)


I have no problems with you hosting the instance. But if we are going to continue this talk it might be better to have jake speak since I believe we have a digital ocean host.


This is partially true, we do but while stuff is being set up we are also happy to direct domains to someone else’s infra. If @danderson is happy to host it, I’m certain @jakehamilton would be alright pointing / / both to it

This, by the way, is how the wiki is hosted - it’s on mine and @coded’s server