A Community of Members, Not Users

OpenFarm is all about community. It is a place where individuals and groups of people come together to share their knowledge in the commons, learn, and connect. When thinking about the people of OpenFarm and how they interact with the website and the rest of the community, we found that the traditional web terminology of users didn’t quite capture everything that these people are. Sure, people are users of OpenFarm the website, but they’re so much more than that. They’re also sharers of wisdom, learners, editors of Crops, creators of Guides, friends of others, and at the core of it all: members of the OpenFarm community. So today we’re announcing that OpenFarm is now a community of Members, not users. Here a few specific reasons why we like the change:

  • It makes signing up for OpenFarm cooler, more special, and feel more purposeful
  • It reinforces OpenFarm’s community focus. We’re like a social club, where people interact and share and have fun, and everyone is invited to join
  • It opens us up to a cool revenue stream idea: membership dues. We could have an annual ‘membership drive’ where we ask for a sliding scale donation to help keep the lights on
  • Membership promotes a sense of ownership in OpenFarm and the commons
  • User doesn’t imply giver in any capacity. And we definitely want to foster both the giving and using of knowledge

What do you think of the change? Let us know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “A Community of Members, Not Users

  1. I think this is a very good move in the direction of the mission and purpose of OpenFarm, which is to develop a community of growers who are collaborating together and learning. We are all members of this community, and sure, given the non-profit status of the organization now, I am open to paying membership dues.


  2. I am neutral to conflicted to the idea of membership dues, but if you can still access the information freely I would be less opposed to it.

    But having dues on the site makes me feel less happy… to spend my time building something that costs money to be part of. I don’t know what to think.


  3. To clarify the membership dues idea: We see the dues as being optional (“sliding scale donation”) such that those who can and want to financially support OpenFarm can do so, while at the same time we maintain zero cost access to the knowledge and community for those who cannot or do not want to support us in that way. Think of it as similar to a hat being passed around a church. Nobody will be turned away for not throwing in some change!


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