The Guerrilla Translation Handbook (Wiki version)

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This page is a TEST for converting google docs or html into wikitext. This IS NOT the final version of the handbook

The procedure is [#Additional_MediaWiki_Questions | explained here]] (under "Conversion")


The Guerrilla Translation Handbook

Table of Contents

Hello and welcome to Guerrilla Translation

Welcome! This is version 1.0 of our Handbook. Our friends in Loomio suggested that we write one during our Guerrilla Translation Reloaded workshop (see Loomio's handbook here).

In this handbook you can read about our history, goals, values and ideals. We will share how you can become a part of Guerrilla Translation and our criteria for evaluating new members, how we mentor each other, and how we communicate as an online collective. We will also explain our Governance Model, a set of bottom-up rules that allows our organization to function as a Commons.

The handbook explains how we organize our work. We perform two types: productive, which includes our pro-bono and paid translations, and also general language work, and reproductive, which is the effort that goes into creating the productive work and supporting the people in the team.

Finally, we will describe the suite of online tools used to organize the digital collective. For completists, we have an FAQ and plenty of links for further reading.

About this handbook

Our intention for the handbook is to help members (and other readers) understand the GT as an organization and why it was designed this way. The handbook assumes that you either a) have joined or are interested in joining the collective, b) are researching our model, or c) have an interest in understanding some practical experiences and examples of Open Cooperativism and/or Distributed Cooperative Organizations. We have repurposed a lot of material originally written for our wiki but the handbook follows a more linear, narrative format. Many entries have a "more resources" section at the bottom, with links to wiki articles and outside websites.

Some of us have been in workplaces that treat you like an adolescent, and reward you accordingly. We’re a team that assumes you’re an adult capable of understanding and, if applicable, performing most of the tasks required to keep the organization running efficiently. With that in mind, we’ve tried to be explicit, but hopefully not too pedantic.

There’s another important reason why we've chosen to be so detailed. It’s because we simply don't have the luxury of working or meeting in person as often as we'd like. In a traditional workplace, you can learn through observation and repetition. Sometimes just hanging out is all it takes! That’s great, but not so easily managed in digital workspaces. We try to compensate by providing a) a convivial atmosphere, b) mindful mentoring and c) thorough resources.

Anyway, you can use the handbook however you like. It’s a reference, not a blueprint. If you join the collective, you will have a mentor to walk you through everything and attend to your needs, while the handbook is here to give you the "big picture". To help you summarize and retain the information, some sections include a TL;DR at the end (despite our thoroughness, we’re big fans of TL;DR). For more specific references, please get to know our wiki, which contains a lot of this information in clearly organized sections.

What you will learn in GT

If you join GT and complete our nine-month training program, you will become proficient, and capable of mentoring others, in:

  • Translating and editing in our style (artisanal and human-centered)
  • The values and practices of Open Cooperativism
  • How to work and relate to others within a Commons
  • How to prototype a new form of cooperative infrastructure for the digital age
  • How to organise effectively online through a variety of tools and practices
  • How to format, publish and publicize translations for our knowledge commons
  • How to practice the working rhythms of a non-hierarchical, distributed and online collective
  • How to strike a balance between autonomy and group work
  • How to care for others and be cared for yourself within a supportive digital space

About GT

Guerrilla Translation (GT) is a P2P and commons-oriented translation collective founded in Madrid in 2013, inspired by the 15M and Occupy movements. It was conceived as a new kind of livelihood vehicle for activist translators that combines two compatible functions: a voluntary translation collective working for activist causes (eg. social, environmental, etc.) and an agency providing translation and general communication services on a paid basis. The proceeds from this paid work go in part toward financing the social mission by retroactively paying translators for their voluntary (pro-bono) work.

In the following sections you will find out more about our history, our goals and values, and about some of the radically progressive economic forms that inform our practices: Open Cooperativism and Distributed Cooperative Organizations.

More Resources


As described above, Guerrilla Translation was designed to have two complementary functions: a translation collective working voluntarily for social and environmental causes, and a full-service translation agency for hire.

Following our creation of a two blogs (English and Spanish), GT began to attract attention from sympathetic authors and readers. In our first year, this reputation capital led to the commissioned translation of Charles Eisenstein’s book Sacred Economics; a OuiShare Award in the Open Knowledge Category; and a growing community of readers, authors and translators, among other encouraging endorsements.

With no set coordination structure, and with pro-bono (voluntary) and agency (paid) work being performed at different rates, the co-founders proposed an initial governance model based on the Better Means Open Enterprise Governance model in the Summer of 2014. The goal was to reach an optimum balance between production of pro-bono and paid work while using part of the income from agency work as motivation for the care and feeding of GT’s translation Commons. Drawing inspiration from Sensorica’s Open Value Network model and other forms of P2P contributive accounting, we analysed the original Better Means model using a series of “Obstructions”, meant to lead to a final governance and economic model suited for GT (yes, we got the idea from this gleefully sadistic Lars Von Trier film).

Around this time, Guerrilla Translation became a project of the P2P Foundation.

Although discussions about the model continued during 2014-2015, due to lack of engagement at that time no finished model was proposed or implemented. Both pro-bono and paid work continued; however, there was a marked imbalance between different types of labour. There were those performing non-productive or “invisible” labour for the collective (ie. networking, invoicing, social media, training, blog formatting, etc.), those focused on paid work, and those keeping the pro-bono side thriving.

Frustrated with this imbalance between ideological commitment to GT’s principles and material benefit without (carework) reciprocity, co-founders Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel decided to take an extended sabbatical from the project. During that time off, the co-founders also began to recognize their own shortcomings and lack of knowledge about effective team-building and how to implement horizontal working methods, and sought ways to actively learn from and transform this experience.

During 2016-2017, some pro-bono and agency work continued, but at a much lower rate than during the years 2013-2015. A notable exception was a successful crowdfund campaign through to translate and publish David Bollier’s Think Like a Commoner, a Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons. The campaign was important in several aspects, including its use of the Peer Production License and an innovative distributed publishing model dubbed “Think Global, Print Local”. The lead-up to the campaign saw renewed activity on the pro-bono side, and the crowdfund succeeded in its objectives, leading to a book launch in the fall of 2016. After the crowdfund, however, GT still suffered from the same mixed condition: Solid social capital, continued offers of lucrative work, but no clear governance structures to ensure a fair distribution of work and rewards whilst being true to its social mission.

By this time, the remaining team (Susa Oñate, Georgina Reparado, Lara San Mamés and co-founders Troncoso and Utratel) had achieved a very high level of mutual trust. Mercè Moreno Tarrés, formerly the advisor for the Think Like a Commoner crowdfund campaign run by, joined the team to assist with organizational development. It seemed that now was the right time to revisit the unfinished governance model and “relaunch” GT in an organised and sustainable way.

We determined that GT needed seed funding in order to develop its full potential as livelihood provider which also generates commons (what is known as “Open Cooperativism”). As a precondition, GT would need to reexamine and clarify its goals, values and governance/economic model. Clearly, an in-person meeting was needed, and the best solution we found was to have GT’s team interact with friendly experts in tech, decentralised, non-hierarchical organizations, facilitation and governance in order to develop the governance model together and strategize GT’s future survival.

For the financial support we needed to host the meeting, we turned to Fundaction, a Europe-wide participatory grantmaking platform focused on social transformation. Fundaction offers several types of grants, among them Rethink, directed at exchange — and capacity building — activities and networking. We applied for the Renew grant in November of 2017. In late December 2017, the first round of voting for Rethink proposals was closed, and in January 2018, there was an official announcement of the Rethink grant awardees, with Guerrilla Translation as one of the 8 winning applications. We felt humble and grateful to have received this support and validation (highest number of votes received!), and remain thankful to Fundaction.

The meeting was incredibly successful and you can read about it in this overview article, or in our full meeting report. This is how we closed the overview article:

"We are excited and ready for this journey. Guerrilla Translation has gone through many iterations, changes, disappointments and successes since its founding in 2013. We are all older, wiser, and hopefully also humbler and kinder. As we write these words, Guerrilla Translation feels reloaded and ready to dance. Please join us!"

Since then we have been developing the organization, honing our collaborative culture and meeting new challenges:

  • As a Community, we are mapping our capacities, setting our community rhythms, reclaiming GT’s social capital, stating our commitments, and mentoring and supporting each other. We are publishing this first version of the Guerrilla Translation handbook and contacting specific translators.
  • In Governance, we are researching and implementing legal structure. We have also updated the governance model with all the knowledge and decisions made after GT Reloaded. We are also beginning to gradually implement it.
  • In Sustainability, we are creating both project budgets according to our timeline and detailed funding proposals, and sharing these with prospective partners. We are also exploring new income streams.
  • In Tech, we are clarifying and training in our workflow/ communication tools, updating the websites, and collaborating closely with tech partners for future software implementation of our governance model.

This Handbook is the ongoing result of all this work and more to come.


  • Founded in Madrid in 2013 and inspired by the 15M and Occupy movements, Guerrilla Translation is a P2P and commons-oriented translation collective that combines pro-bono and agency work.
  • Soon after its creation, the collective attained a considerable reputation among authors, readers and other endorsements. However, due to the imbalance between the readily recognizable paid work and all the invisible carework, the co-founders took some time to reflect on the future of the collective.
  • After a very successful and inspiring reunion in 2018, the Governance Model, which had been developed from 2014, was culminated.
  • All the knowledge and decisions made in the meeting are mirrored in our new Governance Model and in this very Handbook.

More Resources

GT's Goals and Values

Guerrilla Translation is a space for economic resistance through the creation of translingual commons and innovative cooperative work.

We are creating shared knowledge resources about topics that matter, such as the commons, new economics, feminism and environmental restoration. Not only do we translate, write and curate around these topics, but we actively put them in practice through our governance model and cultural practices. We believe in the power of meaningful work and care-oriented relationships to pose an inspiring alternative and a challenge to current patriarchal, capitalist dominant models.

Our Values include peer to peer learning, clarity, diversity, resilience connected to systemic self-reflection, fairness, adaptability, commoning, equity, intimacy, high quality crafted work, and being prefigurative while aspiring to political transformation through relationships within and beyond the collective.

Our Goals: We see GT as a space for mentorship and peer to peer learning. This applies to mentorship in creating high quality, handcrafted translations and other communication strategies, and also to fostering collaborative culture. As a project, GT demonstrates that an alternative, post-capitalist economy is possible and can thrive on several levels. A first step is to offer translators (and other media workers) a way to do paid work apart from capitalist structures, and simultaneously create a translingual knowledge commons. GT also has the potential to encourage personal transformation towards commons-oriented futures based on concrete, daily practices (not theoretical frameworks), especially with its focus on the recognition of carework and power. As such, it is an exemplary project for Open Cooperativism, and a transnationally oriented, multi-constituent space to do socially and ecologically valuable work while also creating commons.

More Resources

  • Goals and values section of the Guerrilla Translation Reloaded Full Report.
  • Guerrilla Translation's Goals and Values in the Wiki

Open Cooperativism and Distributed Cooperative Organizations

Open Cooperativism

Guerrilla Translation is a an Open Cooperative.

Open Cooperativism explores convergences between the logics of Commons-based Peer Production and the Commons with the world of cooperatives and the Social and Solidarity Economy. Unlike Platform Cooperatives, Open Coops do not intend to create better Ubers or more ethical AirBnbs, nor necessarily digitally based. Instead, they seek to more directly address broader systemic issues.

Open Coops are characterized by four non-prescriptive, ethical guidelines or patterns:

    1. Statutorily oriented toward the common good: In Open Coops, production is guided not by profit but by social and environmental priorities. Individual organizations’ legal statutes embed these values in all productive and organizational processes.
    2. Multi-constituent in nature: Open Coops extend decision making and ownership beyond the company structure to enfranchise all contributors present in all value chain or affected by the coop’s actions. Beyond workers, this may include neighbouring communities, suppliers, clients, reproductive and affective labour, financial backers, etc.
    3. Actively creating Commons: Open Coops do not just take from the Commons (as market entreprises do), they reciprocate by stewarding existing commons or creating new ones in the process. These may be digital (code, design, documentation, legal protocols and best practices, etc) or physical (productive infrastructure, deliberation spaces, machinery, etc.).
    4. Transnationally oriented: Although physical production is kept local and needs-based (following the “Design Global, Manufacture Local” logic), Open Coops share knowledge and resources at the global level with like-minded enterprises to create political and cultural counterpower to today’s prevailing corporate economy.

These guidelines must be evaluated against the real material conditions of communities and cooperators to assess the extent of their viability.

In Guerrilla Translation we are oriented toward the common good in through our values, curation criteria and founding principles, as well as our care and commons oriented Economic/Governance model. We are multi constituent in nature by enfranchising several layers of membership with a focus on fairness and flexibility in contribution. We actively create commons through our pro-bono translation work, published through our language specific blogs and by documenting, open sourcing and sharing our cooperative practices. Finally, we are transnationally oriented through a federated strategy, the search for low-transaction, transnational cooperative structures and our commitment to creating a translingual knowledge commons to inspire and enable systems change.

Distributed Cooperative Organizations

To understand Distributed Cooperative Organizations (DisCOs), you first need to know about Decentralised Autonomous Organizations (or DAOs). The latter are blockchain-based entities capable of executing payments, levying penalties, and enforcing terms and contracts without human interaction. By encoding their governance on the blockchain (or other distributed ledger technologies) they bypass the traditional legal requirements for third-party validation (normally provided by institutions). This makes them specially resilient to attacks, as they don't exist in a specific server but are executed in a decentralised way by every node on the network.

A Distributed Cooperative Organization, in contrast exists in service to the humans in the organization and doesn't simply outsource the role of "bad cop" to the code. Similar to how a Community Land Trust perpetuates specific social values to a shared ownership structures, a DisCO represents the collective’s consent to a set of voluntary self-organised rules, while also being responsible for overseeing and carrying out those agreements and rules. As a program, it is important to stress that it is regularly programmed by the humans affected by its actions.

Despite the popular adage, technology is not neutral. By and large, DAO's follow an individualistic, (and, in the worst cases, right-libertarian) philosophy in a field mostly populated by males with a technical background and technocratic values. They are also exclusively centered on quantifiable or "tokenized" aspects. A DisCO, in contrast, is designed to be federated after reaching a certain scale and stresses human mutual support, cooperativism and care work. Its onchain dimension is considered to be a perpetual prototype and is influenced by the offchain lived experience of the collective. The encoded dimension of the DisCO follows the collective's governance model and is dynamically re-assessed every three months to account for real-life experience. In other aspects such as invoicing, payments, value tracking, as well as their structural resilience, the DisCO is similar to DAOs but, rather than creating a great DAO to rule them all, the DisCO wants to federate and distribute power among nodes.

We are currently developing Guerrilla Translation and the Guerrilla Media Collective as a DisCO. Watch this space for more updates.


  • Guerrilla Translation is an Open Cooperative.
  • We are oriented towards the common good through our values, curation criteria, founding principles and Economic/Governance model, .
  • The multiple layers of membership in Guerrilla Translation allow for all contributors affected by the Coop’s actions to share ownership and have a part in decision-making.
  • Guerrilla Translation is committed to create a translingual knowledge commons to inspire and enable systems change.
  • We actively create knowledge commons through our pro-bono translation work and by documenting, open sourcing and sharing our cooperative practices.
  • We are currently developing Guerrilla Translation and the Guerrilla Media Collective as a Distributed Cooperative Organization.
  • DisCO’s represent the collective’s consent to a set of voluntary self-organized rules and it is regularly programmed by the humans affected by its actions. It is designed to be federated when reaching a certain scale and stresses human mutual support, cooperativism and carework.

More Resources

Becoming a Guerrilla Translator

If after reading about our history, values and goals you like what you see and are inspired to join the collective, this section is for you.

Guerrilla Translation has various layers of participation, from purely voluntary contributors who translate for our blogs to fully committed co-op members for whom GT is their main activity. To go from the former to the latter there is a nine-month onboarding phase where we mentor new translators in the ways of the collective and our shared practices. These include community rhythms, shared responsibilities and commitments and what to do when we decide to take a break or when someone is not upholding their end.

To begin with, you should be fully aware of what being a Guerrilla Translator entails, what is expected of you and what you can expect from us. The next article — To be or not to be a Guerrilla Translator, will give you a general idea, while the sections following go into more detail about our selection criteria and onboarding process.

To be or not to be a Guerrilla Translator

Let's speak clearly…

We have specifically written this section of the handbook to inform potential applicants about what they can expect out of their relationship with the collective, and to help them make informed choices when applying for membership. Membership in Guerrilla Translation and the Guerrilla Media Collective is an ongoing process informed and refined by our experiences in the last few years, both good and bad!

The main lesson we have learned is the importance of articulating precisely what the collective expects from members, while at the same time being attentive to what potential candidates expect from the collective.

Usually when someone contacts us asking to join, we tell them to have a good look through our websites, see the kind of material we feature and then read our Founding Principles and FAQ. If you haven't done so already, please read these documents as you proceed with the rest of this text.

Before we get into specifics, it is important to understand what Guerrilla Translation and the Commons Media Collective are and are not:

What we are

We are a self-sustaining collective building a commons comprised of the material we translate, edit, subtitle or transcribe. A commons, as defined by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, is:

  • A social system for the long-term stewardship of resources that preserves shared values and community identity.
  • A self-organized system by which communities manage resources (both depletable and replenishable) with minimal or no reliance on the Market or State.
  • The wealth that we inherit or create together and must pass on, undiminished or enhanced, to our children. Our collective wealth includes the gifts of nature, civic infrastructure, cultural works and traditions, and knowledge.
  • A sector of the economy (and life!) that generates value in ways that are often taken for granted – and often jeopardized by the Market-State.

What this means in practical terms is that we are a working community with a set of agreed-upon practices to manage these commons. Therefore, it is essential for any member of our commons to learn these practices. We are also:

What we are not

  • A crowd sourced platform to publish collective translations.
  • A traditional, top-down, translation agency.
  • A volunteer organisation dedicated to a single-issue cause.
  • A place for amateur translators to hone their skills.
  • A clearinghouse for no-strings-attached translation work.

As a commons-oriented collective, we value commitment and clear communication very highly. These are the qualities that, for us, define a successful, constructive relationship both within the collective and in relation to the P2P/Commons community in general. There is, however, space for other types of relationships. We would like to distinguish between these in the following section.

Types of relationships

We thought that it would be fun to describe anyone’s potential interaction with the collective by using traditional relationship terms. These are normally very well understood, and hopefully they will help us gain a clearer understanding with a little light humor.

As far as GT is concerned, you can either have a casual, FWB type of relationship, or a more committed, supportive bond (although not necessarily exclusive). The former has no strings attached whatsoever, while the latter will benefit you and the relationship itself very much, though you will have to uphold certain commitments and show that you care. The way to go from casual to committed is through dating. Let's take a look at each of these:


We have some successful casual relationships in GT. One example of a casual relationship is someone who does translation work on their own and then shares it with us so we can edit it and publish it on our web magazine. Another example is when we contact a close associate outside the collective to see if they’d be willing to edit a translation at their own pace, if we haven’t any other members free to take it on. The key here is that the people in question are qualified professionals with whom we have friendly, ongoing relationships, and who currently do not have any interest in joining the collective.

At times, we’ve heard from people offering to hook up with us – sending us a translation they’ve done, or similar – who we have no history with. We might find that the work is excellent, but maybe not. If the translation (or editing) work in a proposed casual relationship isn’t up to scratch, we’re sorry but we probably won’t be dating. Conversely, if we reach a clear, mutually respectful understanding, we will probably keep collaborating in some form or other. Again, extending the metaphor, these casual relationships can only happen when time and circumstances allow, and won’t take precedence over our committed relationships with established team members.

Your responsibilities, our responsibilities

None! To be clear: if you send us a translation and it causes the editor a headache, then we’re really not made for each other. Yes, taste is a subjective matter, but we’re all grown-ups here. We know what we like, what we don’t like, how to express that, and when and if to say no.

In a casual relationship, you don’t have to do anything for the collective – in terms of building our support structure and using our workflow tools, for instance. Just get in touch whenever you feel like it and we’ll do the same. But this is important: you shouldn’t imagine you’ll have any priority over members of the collective, or that you’ll be compensated for any of your contributions. A casual relationship is based on a respectful coincidence of wants and needs.

What you get out of a casual relationship with GT

If your translation or editing work is of sufficient quality and our mutual experience is a happy one:

  • We will publish and promote it in GT’s web magazine.
  • You don’t have to worry about learning our practices as a Commons or undertaking any of our basic responsibilities.
  • If you’d like to test out as a member and join the collective “for real”, we’ll both be ready to take the next steps. We will already have determined whether you can translate and/or edit in accordance with our standards, so no further testing will be necessary, although you will follow the rest of our test procedure. Any published translation work will be valued for eventual compensation, once you have joined.
  • If we find that in the end we don’t want to get involved with you for whatever reason, sorry, we’ll have to part ways. To us, casual relationships (like any others) must be based on consent, and obviously you can’t force anyone into a relationship. You have the same right to tell us that you’re not interested, too.


Ideally, though, we are looking for more committed relationships. Like most people, over time we have learned what we like and we don’t like. There can be many benefits, but they must be built through reciprocity and caretaking. Think of it as moving in with someone or sharing a flat (our “relationship” metaphor doesn’t necessarily have to mean “romantic” for our examples to work). You can save money, have more support, build stronger futures, but it’s all dependent on what you put into it.

A committed relationship with GT means that we will have to take some time to see if we truly are a good fit. This is detailed in the section and related links below.

Test procedure

To become a member of the collective, we will take the following steps:

  • First, we want to hear from you. What do you expect from the collective and what attracted you to it? This first contact is usually done over email.
  • Next, we will send you two translation and/or editing tests in the target language(s) you’d like to work in. The material chosen for the test will match whatever preferences you’ve shared on our initial correspondence. We’re trying to pick original texts that aren’t especially academic and dry, but written with a definable style. Pro tip: overly literal translations won’t get you very far. We’re more interested in sensitive and skilled translations that show some confidence and “executive decisions” taken, than a word-for-word but deadly boring version.
  • Last, someone from the collective will schedule a VOIP (or, if we're lucky and in the same city, a face to face) interview to determine things like your collaborative ability, whether we share similar values and goals, your commitment level, and your expectations.

This is the first stage leading to a more established, reciprocal relationship with the collective. You can read more (and with less flowery language) in the following section: Joining Guerrilla Translation, a complete guide. It will give you a good overview about the testing process.

Dating and becoming committed

If we’re both happy about going forward and investing our time in the relationship (ie, “going steady”) we’ll still be, in the words of Sly Stone, “checking each other out”. First impressions can be great, yes, but it’s the months following that will make or break the relationship. Again, it’s all about clear communication and consent.

We like to give ourselves a full nine months to see how we work together before inviting anyone to be a full member. This "Dating Phase" is divided into three quarterly sections where we will teach you all there is to know about the collective, our values, the way we use tools and our governance model. During these nine months, you will be expected to assume progressively higher levels of responsibility which are extremely important to us. These, in turn, correspond to higher levels of rights and privileges which, at the end of the process, will be identical to those of a full fledged member. You can read all about this process in detail in the section on the Dating Phase.

This is the kind of commitment we are talking about, and you should ask yourself whether you are ready for it or not. At their most basic, these responsibilities basically amount to keeping in touch with the team and translating some material for the web magazine. It amounts to approximately two full days of work out of those three months. It makes the most sense to spread it out, so we think it’s pretty easy.

Probono work is, however, only half of the story. If you are serious about joining the collective, we fully expect you learn all about the ways we care for the collective and its members. This is non-negotiable: If you want to become a Guerrilla Translator you have to be a Guerrilla Cooperator and learn our unique way of doing things. This isn't an agency where a management class takes care of the administrative layer, here we do things fully ourselves and we need you to learn how to do them.

The good news is that, if you pass the test and interview and are invited to go through the Dating Phase, we will be there with you all the way. During the Dating Phase you will not only learn to translate in a more human centered style, but you will also be familiarizing yourself with some of the most cutting edge digital cooperative practices in existence (and joining a community centered on care work and mutual support).

If, after you read the requirements, you really don’t see yourself following through with them… fine, but we can’t go forward with the relationship. Better to know that before making a commitment on either side. Nor should you pressure or test yourself to carry them out if you’re not really feeling it (in our experience, that turns into a wasting-time exercise with some bad feelings as an added bonus – hot!) We are a self-organized collective and self-organization and management is something you need to have a knack for, not something we – or anyone – should try to impose on you.

What we both get out of a committed relationship

We will create shared value together, and the result of this value will revert back to you. As a member of the collective, you will be assisting with its development and co-creating and facilitating commons, and we will reward you for your work. All pro-bono translation or editing work that we publish has a value attached to it, the same as paying or managerial work, and we will fulfil this value on a regular basis as we continue to build an income stream.

We will share work and income proportionate to your own investment and commitment to the collective. The more you sow, the more you reap.

The minimum requirements are the bare minimum, and while it’s ok to stay at that level, if you decide to put more time and effort into the collective you will be adequately rewarded for it. Furthermore, your work will have a tangible use value, not just for yourself or the collective but for the larger community it provides for. Now listen, this is important – together, we will search for paying work and funds to help us sustain ourselves (including our pro-bono work), take on new projects and, ultimately, we will defend and support each other as we grow.


We hope to have made ourselves clear with our chosen metaphor. Any collaboration will result in one type of relationship or another. We wanted to express very openly the kinds of committed relationships we favour. If what we expect and what we offer resonates with you, and you see yourself being happy in such a context, we encourage you to test out with us.

If you are doubtful and all of this seems like too much responsibility, that’s perfectly ok, but we probably shouldn’t try and force a relationship that ultimately isn’t meant to be. This doesn’t mean that we can’t relate to each other in a more casual way, as explained above.

In the end, it’s about being honest about what we want with each other and with ourselves. A committed relationship takes time and effort for both parts. We don’t want to waste anyone’s time, nor do we want to have our own time wasted… we want to have good, fruitful times in good company and be able to work on what we really love and care for: the material we curate, translate and share with our peers.

If all this resonates with you and you are ready for a commitment with us, please proceed to Joining Guerrilla Translation, to find out more.


  • Guerrilla Translation is a self-sustained collective that creates knowledge commons through translation, edition, subtitling and transcription.
  • We are also a DisCO, an Open Value Network and two language-specific magazines featuring high quality translated/edited content on socially and environmentally relevant subjects.
  • This is not your traditional top-down translation agency or a place for amateur translators to hone their skills.
  • There are three levels of participation: Casual/unpaid (commons-based peer production); Dating/partly paid (Commons/coop onboarding process); and Committed/paid (Commons and Coop full membership).
  • Casual members have no responsibilities and Committed members review their work for inclusion. A successful casual relationship results from a friendly collaboration and a respectful coincidence of wants and needs.
  • Dating members have ongoing responsibilities (pro-bono and care work) during a nine-month trial period before becoming Committed. They are peer mentored by the collective and continually evaluated. During this period, the Transition Translators are expected to fulfil the Basic Responsibilities while they acquire increasing rights and privileges.
  • Committed members have ongoing responsibilities (pro-bono and care work), evaluated quarterly.
  • If you want to become a Guerrilla Translator we fully expect you to learn everything about the ways we care for the collective and its members.

More Resources

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Joining Guerrilla Translation

If you've gotten this far, we assume that you've read the preceding sections and have decided to be a Guerrilla Translator. Congrats! This section of the handbook describes our personnel selection requirements, evaluation criteria and what to expect when joining the collective, step by step.

What are we looking for in our potential members?

While there are certain qualities and indeed requirements we have in mind, it's difficult to describe "the ideal Guerrilla Translator". Firstly, it would be rare if not impossible for any one person to be “ideal”, and secondly, our needs and dynamic balance as a collective will change over time. In fact, our “ideal” is likely to always be a moving target, depending on who else is working in the collective at any given moment. However, there are some crucial qualities that anyone we consider should have.

Basic criteria for prospective Guerrilla Translators

  • Ability to translate (and/or edit) into at least one target language
  • Interest in working in a co-operative collective group
  • Good skills for working independently and remotely, including time management and communication
  • Excellent communication skills (yes, so important we said it twice)
  • Strong interest in enough of the topics we cover
  • Willingness to seriously learn our procedures, tools, and governance model
  • Willingness to make a commitment to the team
  • We explicitly identify as intersectional feminists, anticapitalists and more . This means we are only comfortable working with peers who identify the same and fully share our Goals and Values .
  • We value humour, mutual support and conviviality. Just as importantly, all potential members must unequivocally respect our stated Norms and Boundaries. These things are hard to measure, much less over written form, but we will discuss our feelings about how new members will fit into the team to ensure that GT remains a safe space for all involved.
  • We want to work with people who can speak frankly but respectfully without fear of expressing their emotions or vulnerabilities to others.
  • All these cultural requirements are superseded by the lived experience and vibe felt in the team. ie: what's unwritten, although we have done our best to communicate it here.

What about credentials?

We are firmly post-credentialist. What this means is that we value experience, whether it's obtained in an academic setting or hands-on. In fact we think that a combination of both is ideal. We don't like the way that translation is taught in many places and vouch for a style that is more humane and closer in spirit to the feel of the original material. In fact, we often find that joining GT is/can be a de-schooling process for translators.

Beyond translation, it is also a learning process on how to relate, communicate and work together within a Commons. These things are neither easy, nor taught in Western schools, but if you decide to join us you will be fully supported and cared for until you're brought up to speed.

If you have worked hard for your credentials, by all means share them with us and tell us your experiences. If you have been translating for a long time and are self-taught, we want to know about that too. We are always learning from each other in GT and we are all committed to continual growth and improvement, not only in translation, but also in cooperation and all the processes we regularly carry out as part of our work in the collective.

When can I join?

We are very mindful of our Community Rhythms and like to pay special attention to any new members. We are therefore quite selective on whom we choose to train and when we decide to invite them. The Dating Phase is a big investment of time on both sides, so we make decisions based on a number of factors, including target language(s), additional skills and, just as important, vibe.

You can find a lot more information on this procedure in Inviting and onboarding new members, a wiki entry dedicated to the Dating Phase from the committed members (or GT Buddies') point of view.

Regarding "when", we incorporate new members during our Quarterly evaluation. In Guerrilla Translation we have decided to incorporate a maximum of two new members per quarter, regardless of the total number of members to safeguard meaningful relations within the team .

What should I do before asking to join GT?

If you're thinking about joining, we need you to be familiar with our philosophy, procedures and way of working. The best way to start is by reading this handbook at your own pace and contacting us once you're done.

While reading, we encourage applicants to take notes and give us feedback in written form, which we will read carefully and assess for compatibility/understanding. To be clear, we don't expect you to internalise or memorize these materials at this stage, but you should be familiar with (and attracted to) our unique way of doing things.

This first contact usually takes place over email or, sometimes, in person. Once we're both on the same page, we will ask you to do a couple of translation (or editing) tests. More on this below.

ork circles

Joining GT: the procedure

After the initial contact or correspondence, we will already have an idea of your suitability for the collective. At this stage you may be invited for a translation or editing test.

Translation or Editing Test

We will begin by sending you two translation tests that we think are suited to your interests. The requirement here is that you are motivated by the text. If you aren't, we'll try something else, but it's very important to us that you're at least comfortable (and ideally passionate) about what you're translating.

We will then ask you to translate the first 500 words or so following the double paragraph format explained in this section of the Tao of the Guerrilla Translator.

An editor will review your translation and get back to you with honest, no-bullshit feedback.

Your comprehension, translation and writing skills will be carefully assessed and the editor will send you a revised version of your work with track changes and comments. The editor will give you feedback on how long it took her to correct your work, how hard it was, etc. If the editor finds it suitable, you will be invited for an interview.

If for whatever reason your work isn't up to scratch, please read the feedback carefully and, if you want, try again. We can't guarantee a fast turnaround on second tries but we believe that everybody can learn and improve. This is one of the reasons we send two different tests: everybody has bad days sometimes and the varied approach allows us to see your work in diverse settings.


After passing the test one or more persons from the collective will schedule a VOIP interview with you. In the interview we mainly want to get to know you and to answer any questions or doubts. We may also talk about language and your tests, but the main focus will be on your human and cooperative qualities. We don't follow a strict format for the interview, but we will typically ask you about your politics, life experiences, tools, etc. We will take some notes on what you say to share with the rest of the team. We will, in fact, share those notes with you after the call in case you want to add anything.

We will then take a vote and if there is consensus, we'll welcome you to the collective. If there isn't, we'll inform you about it and explain the reasons why (perhaps they can be worked out). We will listen to your feedback and have another vote. If the votes are inconclusive, we will ask you for some time before deciding to apply again. If we feel we're not a good fit, it is better to be straightforward and not set false expectations.

Getting a buddy assigned and first steps

As soon as you enter the collective, you will have one or two persons helping you out in the following roles:

  • Your GT Buddy is the person who will teach and take you through all aspects of working on the collective, the tools, our governance model, etc.
  • Your Mutual Support Pal is the person who will care about your emotional well being, will check in on you regularly and who is available when you need someone to talk to.

You can read more about these two roles here.

These roles may be fulfilled by the same person or by two people and are valid for three months. As we enter our quarterly evaluation we will discuss whether to continue with the same Buddies and Support Pals or whether to shift around.

Your GT Buddy will then give you logins for our tools, beginning with Slack (for instant messaging) and Loomio (for group discussion and decision making). You can then introduce yourself in our Welcome Loomio thread and get a feel for how we communicate before proceeding to learning about Trello, the tool we use for task management. We have plenty of documentation on tools but, at this stage, it's better to go step by step and get the big picture before getting too detail oriented.

Once you've logged in and said hello, your GT Buddy will take you through three very important steps:

  1. Community Rhythms. You will be shown how to join our daily check in and you will be invited you to one of our bi-weekly calls.
  2. Commitment Statement. You will need to sign the commitment statement before joining the collective. Read it through and, if you have any doubt or questions, ask your buddy to read it together with you or raise the issue in this Loomio thread.
  3. Roles/Availability Mapping. You will discuss the things you are interested in learning the most and the Working Circles you will join. You will also determine any "Red Lines" (stuff that's too challenging or which you don't want to do) and give everyone a general idea of your availability during the quarter.

In parallel to this, we will gift you a copy of Richard D. Bartlett's excellent Patterns for Decentralised Organizing. In 2018 collectively decided to adopt all the patterns described in the book. so we buy a copy for all new members. It's a great, lively book and, as you read it, you will recognise how many of the patterns are being applied in GT/GMC.

At this point we will list your name in our new team members page. Feel free to provide us a link to something that reflects you (personal website, Twitter account, LinkedIn… you choose!)

Finishing and publishing your first translation

We always try to make good use of the material chosen for the translation tests, so you will be asked to finish them, working with the same editor, for eventual publishing in our magazine.

Alongside the editor, your GT buddy will walk you through The Tao of the Guerrilla Translator, our guide for Love Work. During this stage you will learn to work with Trello, our task management tool. As soon as any of your translations are published, you will begin accruing Love Credits for eventual paydown.

Next Steps

This marks the beginning of your Nine-month Dating Phase with the collective. Before you move on, we recommend you re-read this article and, then, proceed to read the two following sections on the Dating Phase. This will take you over the next nine months, broken down in three stages, including what will be expected of you at each stage and our commitment to you.

Remember: Ask lots of questions and have fun!

Maybe the collective seems complex at first: once you get the big picture, however, you might find that it's a lot more streamlined than a traditional enterprise. The big difference is that you both have access and can contribute to all aspects of our Distributed Cooperative Organization. Everything we do, we do ourselves, or in collaboration with other like-minded people and collectives.

With that in mind, please have fun and be creative with all this stuff. We look forward to your input. Whenever you get stuck on anything or aren't sure how to proceed, please ask us. You have a Slack channel for quick questions and doubts and a dedicatedLoomio thread for longer questions which may benefit the whole collective. You can find them here:

And, of course, you can always ask your buddy over chat! That is what they are there for.


  • The main attributes required to join Guerrilla Translation are the ability to translate and/or edit in at least one target language, good skills at time management and communication, sharing our goals and values, interest in the topics we cover, respect towards our norms and boundaries and willingness to learn our procedures, philosophy and tools.
  • We incorporate a maximum of two new members per quarter.
  • Following an initial contact via e-mail, the applicant will be sent two translation tests. After the editor’s feedback and approval, we will proceed to an interview. The core members will then deliberate and have a vote on the applicant’s inclusion in the collective.
  • In case of consensus, the applicant will be welcomed and assigned both a GT Buddy (mentor) and a Mutual Support Pal (confidant).
  • The next steps to take upon onboarding Guerrilla Translation consist of joining our Community Rhythms, signing the Commitment Statement and choosing some Working Circles. This will mark the beginning of the Dating Phase.

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Mentoring and being mentored

Our approach to mentoring has very much been influenced by our colleagues at Zemos98. Their approach to learning is based on the four following tenets:

  • trusting peer to peer knowledge,
  • accepting diversity as an intellectual basis for our work together,
  • connecting practices and experiences for the common good, and
  • using not just oral but also visual languages.

In Guerrilla Translation we follow suit. Handbooks such as this are only a first step in what we consider to be a non-directive mutual space for learning. Texts can become meaningless without real human support to bring the ideas described here to live and in situated contexts. Videos, infographics and other media will help us learn and refine the message, but the most important work acquires meaning through our relationships.

If knowledge is power, then we want to share that power we've accumulated with new members so they feel a similar sense of ownership and familiarity as soon as it's feasible. We consider the learning to be mutual, bidirectional and based on personal relations and needs. When we speak about creating a knowledge commons in GT, we're not just talking about the articles we publish in our blogs, but to the culture, practices and structures of the collective itself. As part of the community we first want you:

  1. understand where we're coming from and why we've made these choices
  2. add your voice to the choir and enrich our commons

Practically speaking, in GT the more experienced translators mentor new translators in the productive activities of the collective. Beyond the Open Coop's chosen craft, all members mentor each other in cooperative culture, specifically the tools and practices of the Open Coop in question. Mentoring is always bi-directional (both ways), peer to peer, and available to any committed member. The outputs of the mentoring process are recorded as part of our knowledge commons and openly shared through resources such as this handbook or our wiki. While mentoring is an ongoing process, special attention is paid to those members going through the Dating Phase. In fact, the Dating Phase section goes into detail into what you will be expected to learn — and what we will be expected to mentor and support you on.

We don't expect everyone to know everything all the time, but Guerrilla Translators are expected to be able to mentor new members and each other in several areas and new members are expected to be open and available for this process, as we will see below.

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The Commitment Statement

During the Guerrilla Translation Reloaded event we decided to draft and sign a commitment statement, both for existing team members and new. The following extracts are from the Reloaded report:

"Ann Marie mentioned the mapping again, because if we start by 1) crafting a common “commitment statement” and 2) signing it, saying we’re on board, we must also know the true limits of availability. In short, we focused less on building a platform and more on building relationships, in part because of the composition of our group. While we need to account for time and money, we also need to account for commitment and actions within the relationships."

"...commitment statements would help determine a legal structure based on the needs of the members".

The Guerrilla Translation Commitment statement (full text below) is signed by all Transition and Committed Translators as part of the collective's quarterly evaluations. Failing to uphold the commitment statement results in graduated sanctions.

The commitment statement can also serves as a quarterly self-evaluation template. Members of the collective review their statement to evaluate whether it has been met before contrasting opinions with the rest of the team.

Commitment Statement Template Text

Guerrilla Translation is important to me, and I intend to continue to help co-create its future. Below are commitments that I have had (or, for newer members, will have) a part in developing, and which I commit to for the following term of (three months, until month/year). If I have any strong feelings about changes that need to be made in any of these statements, I will raise a question in this Loomio thread, so we can discuss it together. Here is my commitment statement.

I (name) am committed to Guerrilla Translation. During the next three months, I agree to:

  1. == Maintain our rhythms: Daily check in, weekly Loomio/Trello, biweekly sprint, monthly accounting and quarterly evaluations. ==
  2. == Promptly inform of any absences, including illness or sabbaticals. ==
  3. == Communicate clearly, create and observe explicit norms and boundaries. This includes responding to any team communications and, also, expressing my opinion, addressing power and vulnerability. ==
  4. == Teach myself and mentor others on working in the collective while being ready to give and receive critical feedback. ==
  5. == Accrue a minimum of 400 Love credits whether through translation, editing, formatting or production. ==
  6. == Represent and advocate for the collective, online and off. ==
  7. == Systemically distribute Care work: ==
    1. == My level of care work will correspond to the benefit I get from the coop. ==
    2. == I will care for the wellbeing of the collective as a living entity, and make sure it’s healthy and thriving. ==
    3. == I will care for the wellbeing of all members of the collective, specially the person I am supporting. ==
    4. == I will keep my section in our Availability Mapping page updated, and join at least one work circle. ==
  8. == Not wait for others to do what I could do myself, and ask for help when I am stuck. ==
  9. == Offer my creativity and dedication and create new patterns together. ==

I understand that fulfilling these commitments is a prerequisite to full participation in the collective. If I feel unable to meet these commitments, I will communicate this and if necessary, I will declare a sabbatical or reexamine my relationship with the collective.

Three months from now, if I do not meet these requirements, I understand that I will need to address any issues and possibly be prepared to leave the collective.

Name, date and Signature


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The Dating Phase

This section is largely based on (and expands on) our governance model's "Dating section", and follows on from the Joining Guerrilla Translation above (make sure that you have read the preceding article before this one).

After joining the collective, the Dating Phase for Transition Translators takes you over the next nine months, broken down in three stages, including what will be expected of you at each stage and our commitment to you.

What to expect in the Dating Phase

At this stage, Dating members are considered as “Transition Guerrilla Translators” on the way to being committed. The purpose here is to help new members as much as possible and to clarify any doubts.

First impressions can be great but it’s the months following that will make or break the relationship, through clear communication and consent. When we talk about a nine month period to see how everyone works this is not just limited to new members. In fact, every member of the collective is subject to the same basic responsibilities and criteria outlined in our Commitment Statement and our Ongoing Evaluation Criteria.

In Guerrilla Translation these responsibilities basically boil down to, carework, following the rhythms of the collective (which we explain in this section below) and translating some pro-bono material for the web magazine.

The productive pro-bono work amounts to approximately two full days of work out of those three months. Concretely, 400 credits equals 5000 words of translation work and 10000 words of copyediting work (if you're not familiar with the subject, translation takes a lot longer than editing. Compared to what most translation agencies offer, this is a very high ratio for copyediting and proofreading). It makes the most sense to spread this work out over those three months. We think it’s pretty easy to meet these goals.

Basic Responsibilities

Regarding basic care work-related responsibilities: anyone serious about joining this or any similar collective should be able to meet or - preferably, exceed - the expected care work responsibilities.

The first and foremost responsibility of the Dating Phase is to familiarise yourself with the collective's working procedures, productive and reproductive.

Beyond that, you are expected to:

  • Accrue a minimum of 400 Love Credits per quarter, by doing a number of pro-bono translations, editing, or formatting tasks.
  • Learn about carework, both for the collective and within it.
  • Become familiar with the collective's tools and procedures.
  • Keep our Community Rhythms
  • Manage deadlines and commitments in a professional and responsible manner.
  • Answer any communications and keeping the collective up to date about availability.
  • Be supportive of other members (casual ones too!)

Dating phase members will be assisted and cared for at every step of the way by all Guerrilla Translators.

The dating phase normally takes place over nine months, divided into three quarters, in synch with GT's quarterly calendar. This is done so the collective can batch all team evaluations at the same time. If a Transition Translator joins mid-quarter, that's fine, but the final evaluation will take place at the end of the next quarter along with the rest of the team. During that first "partial quarter" trainees are not obliged to obtain a proportional amount of Love Credits, but it's a good metric for initial feedback.

There will be a mutual evaluation every quarter. Is the new person happy with the relationship? How about the collective? Has the person met the minimal requirements? If it's all yes, great, full speed ahead. If not, better to cut the relationship now, with no bad vibes.

Stages of the Dating Phase

Here are the three quarterly stages of the Dating phase. As with all other members of the collective, you will be expected to meet the basic responsibilities outlined above, while upholding what you have signed off in your Commitment Statement. Beyond that, during each Stage you will be given a set of rights and privileges and, by the end of each quarter, you will be expected to have reached certain milestones.

Stage One (Months 1-3)

Stage One is the introductory phase of Dating, here you will have lots of hands-on help from your GT Buddy and you will be taken through tutorials and calls to help you out. Here we fully encourage you to soak up the collective's culture and to read all Loomio threads and Slack communications, even if they do not affect you directly.

Rights and Privileges

(In addition to the basic responsibilities and fulfillment of the Commitment Statement)

  • You will be compensated for any new pro-bono work partaken on a monthly basis.
  • If there is any previous pro-bono work undertaken during a casual phase, those credits may be used towards the 400 quarterly minimum. Note, these “casual stage” credits only begin to be paid down on a monthly basis during Stage Two.
  • You will perform carework, mainly learning by doing the procedures of the collective, receiving ongoing mentoring and support and beginning to take on carework tasks autonomously. This carework will be time tracked, but not compensated.
  • You will take part and vote on Loomio discussions. Your votes will be considered, but will not be binding.
  • You will be listed in bullet points under the "New Team Members" section of (in this case) Guerrilla Translation's Website, with links to the page of your choice.
  • No livelihood (paid) work is assigned at this stage.


As part of our Quarterly Evaluation you will re-read your first Commitment Statement and self-evaluate, along with the group, whether you have abided by it or not. In addition to this you are expected to have reached the following milestones to the best of your ability:

  • Having a basic understanding of our tools: why we use them, how they relate and how they are used.
  • Having a full understanding of our areas and subgroups and how to navigate them.
  • Having a basic understanding of our governance model: the logic behind it, how credits work and where to find more info when needed.
  • Joining two or more Working Circles and becoming fully familiar with those work areas and their needs (even if you don't take part in them).
  • Being fully familiar with our daily, weekly and bi weekly Community Rhythms.
  • Knowing how to start Loomio threads and create Trello cards with minimal assistance.
  • Having a clear understanding how to Clockify your time entries with some assistance and occasional corrections.
  • Knowing how to follow the procedure for Pro-bono translations with minimal assistance (Including basic Wordpress formatting and Social Media Outreach).
  • Being familiar with the development goals of the collective and its current health
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with your GT Buddy, your Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the collective.
  • Feeling integrated within the collective through meaningful relations.

If you feel you are falling behind in any of these, please ask for help ASAP and we'll take the time to make sure you are comfortably able to meet all the milestones.

Stage Two (Months 3-6)

Stage Two is the settling-in phase of Dating, here you will already have some autonomy and a clear idea of where to put your time to good use. Your GT Buddy is still there to help you with anything you may need and you will likely take a more active part in the collective's discussions and decisions. During this stage you will also be eligible for Livelihood work, albeit at a lower rate, so we recommend that you mainly concentrate on Love and Care work. You will continue to internalise the collective's culture, while feeling an increasing sense of ownership and belonging earned through your efforts in the past few months.

Rights and Privileges

(In addition to the basic responsibilities and fulfillment of the Commitment Statement)

  • You will be compensated for new pro-bono work on a monthly basis.
  • Previous pro-bono work undertaken during a casual phase starts to be paid down on a monthly basis at a 50% rate.
  • Carework continues as above with a stronger emphasis on autonomy. This carework is time tracked, but not compensated.
  • You will take part in and vote on Loomio discussions. Your votes will be considered but not be binding.
  • You will be given a bio page in the collective's website, and added to the picture bio menu under "Other Team Members".
  • Livelihood (paid) work assigned at this Stage is paid monthly at a 50% rate. Note that the other 50% will eventually be redeemable upon becoming committed.


At the end of the quarter you will, once again, re-read your first Commitment Statement and self-evaluate, along with the group, whether you have abided by it. In addition to this you are expected to have reached the following milestones to the best of your ability:

  • Having a full understanding of our tools: why we use them, how they relate and how they are used and having the ability to mentor others in their usage.
  • Having a full understanding of our areas and subgroups and how to navigate them and being able to teach this to new members.
  • Having a thorough understanding of our governance model: the logic behind it, how credits work and taking an active part in its development
  • Being part of two or more Working Circles and being fully familiar with those work areas and their needs (even if you don't take part in them) while being able to explain them to others.
  • Being fully familiar with our daily, weekly, bi weekly and monthly Community Rhythms.
  • Full autonomy when opening Loomio threads and creating Trello cards.
  • Having a clear understanding of how to Clockify your time entries with no assistance and only occasional corrections.
  • Knowing how to follow the procedure for Pro-bono translations by yourself (Including all Wordpress formatting and Social Media Outreach tasks).
  • Knowing how to track your pro-bono wordcount and credits with assistance.
  • Being able to host interviews for those who want to join the collective after passing the initial test.
  • Being able to host our bi-weekly sprints, with a clear sense of each of the tasks in the interactive timeline and their current status.
  • Being familiar with the structure of the Quarterly Evaluation and able to assist in some of the sessions.
  • Being familiar with (and an active part of) the development goals of the collective and its current health.
  • Being able to and confident in representing the collective online through Social Media and other channels.
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with your GT Buddy, your Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the collective.
  • Feeling integrated within the collective through meaningful relations

Again, if you feel you are falling behind with any of these, please ask for help ASAP and you will be supported.

Stage Three (Months 6-9)

By the time you get to Stage Three you are practically a full Guerrilla Translator. The differences between this Stage and being part of the full/committed team are minimal, but it is understood that you will still be learning and honing some aspects. In this stage you will ideally have a large level of autonomy and, while your GT buddy is still there for you, you will also be ready to be a GT buddy yourself (for someone just starting Stage One, for example). It would be rare for someone who has reached Stage 3 to not go on to become a full/committed team member, but the milestones below are an obligatory requirement for achieving this status. During this stage you will be paid 75% of the value Livelihood work, which you will be offered in accordance to the Governance Model, while still maintaining a strong focus on Love and Care work and it is expected that your time investment on the latter will be on par with the full/committed members. You will still be learning, the same as everyone but, during Stage Three you will also be teaching new members and offering assistance when needed. Finally, you should feel like any other Guerrilla Translator and have the confidence to represent the collective publicly.

Rights and Privileges

(In addition to the basic responsibilities and fulfillment of the Commitment Statement)

  • You will be compensated for new pro-bono work on a monthly basis.
  • Any previous pro-bono work undertaken during a casual phase begins to be paid down on a monthly basis at a 75% rate.
  • Carework continues as above with a stronger emphasis on autonomy. This carework is time tracked, but not compensated.
  • You will take part in and vote on Loomio discussions. From now on your votes are considered as binding, except for blocks.
  • You will receive a email address.
  • Livelihood (paid) work assigned at this Stage is paid monthly at a 75% rate, and the other 25% will eventually be redeemable upon becoming committed.


As before: you will re-read your first Commitment Statement and self-evaluate, along with the group, whether you have abided by it. In addition to this you are expected to have reached the following milestones to the best of your ability:

  • Having a thorough understanding of our tools: why we use them, how they relate and how they are used and having the ability to mentor others in their usage.
  • Having a full understanding of our areas and subgroups and how to navigate them and being able to teach this to new members.
  • Having a thorough understanding of our governance model (the logic behind it, how credits work) while taking an active part in its development
  • Being part of two or more Working Circles while becoming fully familiar with those work areas and their needs (even if you don't take part in them). This includes being able to step up and steward one of these circles if necessary.
  • Being fully familiar with and able to mentor in our daily, weekly, bi weekly and monthly Community Rhythms.
  • Full autonomy when opening Loomio threads and creating Trello cards (and ability to mentor others on this).
  • Having a clear understanding on how to Clockify your time entries with no assistance and only exceptional corrections.
  • Knowing how to teach the procedure for Pro-bono translations by yourself (Including all Wordpress formatting and Social Media Outreach tasks).
  • Knowing how to track your pro-bono wordcount and credits and assist other in doing so.
  • Being able to host interviews for those who want to join the collective and have passed the initial test.
  • Being able to host the bi-weekly sprints, with a clear sense of each of the tasks in the interactive timeline and their current status.
  • Being familiar with the structure of the Quarterly Retrospective and able to take the lead in some of the sessions.
  • Being familiar with and an active part of the development goals of the collective and its current health
  • Being able to and confident in representing the collective online and in public, whether through interviews, public appearances, at events, etc
  • Being able to answer incoming emails to the collective, whether for collaborations, paid work or people seeking to join the collective
  • Feeling enabled and supported in communicating any confusion, critique or disagreement with your GT Buddy, your Mutual Support Pal or anyone in the collective.
  • Feeling integrated within the collective through meaningful relations.

Again, if you feel you are falling behind with any of these, please ask for help ASAP and you will be supported.

Not mentioned explicitly here is the fact that we also foresee notable improvements in the quality of your productive work as a result of working with our P2P/Commons methods. Yay!

Once you have made it this far, congratulations! You will have become a full Guerrilla Translator! This brings a few perks, including:

  • Autonomously choosing material to be translated according to GT's Content Curation Guidelines.
  • Having binding decisions in online votes and decisions (see below)
  • Being fully paid for livelihood (paid) work
  • Take part in the monthly payment pipeline like the other Guerrilla Translators (including a payout of any accumulated percentage of Livelihood credits from during the Test Phase, or, possibly, accumulated Love credits from a preceding casual relationship with the collective)
  • Having your picture bio listed with all full team members in the Guerrilla Translation websites.
  • Being a public representative of the collective and its values

All Guerrilla Translators are subject to the same responsibilities outlined above (also summarized here). Furthermore, as full committed members, they are also expected to take on the following responsibilities:

  • Evaluating (via vote) Transition Translators
  • Mentoring Transition Translators, and continual learning.
  • Declare a ‘vote-by-credit’ vote when there is a tie or block (see here).


To be clear, Transition Translators are considered Guerrilla Translators on trust. As you see, the Dating Phase gradually incorporates the same rights and responsibilities of being a fully committed Guerrilla Translator but the nine-month period is used to build familiarity (with the collective's procedures and people) and trust.

While we feel that it is very important to recognize and honor the prior effort and investment of more longstanding and experienced members, we are unequivocally opposed to unjustified hierarchical relations and power asymmetries. Good intentions are assumed during the Dating Phase and Transition Members are treated with extra care and attention, as if they were "virtual" Guerrilla Translators. However, the gradual process ensures that all members of the collective can get to know each other and be clearly understood, while the health of the collective is protected from potential disruptions and/or misunderstandings.


  • The 9-month Dating phase is the trial period between joining Guerrilla Translation and becoming a committed member. Throughout its three stages, the Transition Translator is expected to fulfil the basic responsibilities indicated in the Commitment Statement.
  • The end of each stage is marked by a Quarterly Evaluation in which both the Transition Translator and the team will reflect on their relationship.
  • Stage One is the introductory phase in which the Transition Translator soaks up the collective’s culture. Always assisted by their GT Buddy, the Dating member is expected to get familiar with our areas and subgroups as well as with our Community Rhythms. No paid work will be assigned at this stage.
  • Stage Two is the settling-in phase in which the Dating Member has already some autonomy and is expected to have a full understanding of our Tools and Governance Model. Their GT Buddy will still be present although the Dating Members should be able to actively participate in decisions and manage their time without assistance.
  • By the Third Stage, the Dating Member is practically considered a full Guerrilla Translator and should be able to mentor new members in earlier stages and to host interviews, bi-weekly meetings and Quarterly Retrospectives.
  • After completing the Dating Phase, the Transition Translator will become a full-fledged Guerrilla Translator, being fully paid for Livelihood work.

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Our Community Rhythms

"A group that isn't communicating regularly doesn't exist as a group."

Richard D. Bartlett, during a workshop bythe Hum.

As part of our Commitment Statement, the GT team prioritises steady communication and team rhythms. These rhythms are largely adapted from Rich Bartlett's Patterns for Decentralised Organising.

Communications Rhythms summary

Clear communication is one of GT's core values. To ensure that these values are taken care of we have agreed to adapt the Rhythms from Rich's book. New members who are not used to these rhythms will have a "ease-in" period where they will be mentored and reminded about the rhythms by committed Guerrilla Translators until they pick up the beat.

On that note, within GT we've agreed to gently remind each other of the commitment to these rhythms. This shouldn't be seen as negative or a critique, but as mutual support. It's important we all agree to help each other and to be attentive when being reminded.

The Rhythms go from Daily, Weekly, Biweekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Biannually:

Daily: Check-in

Everyone (unless on holiday or sabbatical) is expected to "check in" during workdays on Slack's Daily Check-in thread. Yes, even if you're not doing any GT work that day. That's fine, but still check in. We have adapted the four questions used in Loomio. When you check in please answer them briefly:

  • what did you do yesterday?
  • how are you doing today?
  • do you have any blocks or problems?
  • what are you doing for your wellbeing?

When checking in on a Monday, you just mention what you did on Friday. By using Clockify you'll have no trouble remembering, just look back at what you did the last day.

Feel enabled to express yourself and your emotional state. No additional conversation needs to take place in "Daily Check in", just acknowledgement (for example, a thumbs-up beneath each person's check-in). We can always follow up on the #general, #random, thematic Slack channels or personal messages.

If you're going on holidays, disconnecting from the Internet etc, please communicate it. Otherwise all committed members are counted as "active". We expect that this will take 5 minutes maximum a day. Also, the focus here is mainly on GT work, but if you haven't done any GT work, just tell us what you're doing (this includes "Nothing" "I'm in a bad mood and can't get any work done, etc". It's OK)

Weekly: Check Loomio and Trello

If you are going to do any GT work, we suggest that you check Loomio and your Trello updates daily. If not, please check every two or three days (Tuesday and Thursday, for example). We are continually making decisions and having discussions on Loomio which will affect you, so your voice is needed. Votes are usually set for three days - it's OK if you don't look at it every day, but if you miss it it creates trouble for those who are working more actively.

Bi-weekly: Sprint

"Start by agreeing to this fortnight's work, end by celebrating progress"

We have a biweekly calls (minimum 30 mins, max 1 hour) to retrospect, celebrate and decide on what we will concentrate on for the next two weeks. To see how Loomio does it, please read this section of their handbook.

Our biweekly sprint meetings have a template structure:

  1. We begin with a quick check in round: "How are you feeling?"
  2. We kick off the sprint by highlighting and discussing the current month on our interactive timeline. This is an excellent diagnostic tool to see whether we are progressing, what is needed etc. Once the month is highlighted, we go through every line/goal and discuss progress and needs while noting "to-dos" (which will eventually be added to a Trello checklist).
  3. We then quickly go through our Trello boards in the following Areas: Care Work; Love Work; Livelihood Work and Projects. Items that have been discussed during the Timeline exercise are ignored.
  4. We finalise by having each member bring up additional points or concerns which may not have been addressed.
  5. Coda: we agree to the date for the next sprint and go through a quick availability check for the following two weeks.

All members are expected to do a little bit of housekeeping and preparation prior to the call to keep it as smooth as possible. At the midway point of the sprint (one week after the call) members should have a short private retrospective (checking the timeline, priorities and due dates on Trello) and check in with the team over IM over any doubts or if priorities have shifted.

We try to make things snappy in a good natured way: what this means is that if we start to belabour a point too much we signal that for discussion on Loomio or an additional VOIP call if needed.

Even though we are an online collective, the bi-weekly sprint call isn't meant to be a "catch-up". We expect everyone to be aware of the pulse and mood of the collective through the daily check-in, asynchronous communications, mutual support and mentoring, bi-lateral calls and all our communications in Loomio and Trello. The sprint call doesn't substitute any of these community-building actions and it's kept task and goals oriented (while also being convivial and celebratory!).

We don't take notes or summarize the sprint call. Partly because when anything "big" needs to be reflected, we follow up on Loomio. After the call, members also note their to-dos on Trello. We also want to encourage everyone to join the calls (they're fun!) and not feel that they can "just read the summary". We are able to do this because good daily and weekly communication rhythms ensure that everyone is in sync.

Monthly: Finances and Payout

Following the Monthly Payment Pipeline section of our Governance Model, once expenses are settled, we pay down accumulated credit shares on a per month basis. In the future we'd like these payments to be automatised. As of writing (August 2018) this work needs to be done by the Finance circle.

Quarterly: Retrospective

Quarterly objective: Shared focus and high autonomy.

This is where we analyse the previous three months and whether everyone has kept to the agreed-on commitments, whether we need to make any changes etc. It also coincides with our onboarding of new team members. These quarters take place in the week or so between the equinoxes and solstices and traditional corporate quarters. We characterise them as:

  • Winter (Dec 21st, Jan 1st)
  • Spring (March 21s, April 1st)
  • Summer (Jun 21-Jul 1st)
  • Autumn (Sept 21st - Oct 1st).

Here is what the Loomio Handbook has to say about their quarterly meetings:

Every quarter, we have an away day (preceded and followed by various preparation and workshops), where we take stock of where we are relative to our overall vision, annual plan, and emerging reality, and decide what to focus on for the coming 3 months. This allows us to update our understanding of our annual plan as we learn more, and the world changes, and adjust course accordingly.

Read the rest here (scroll down to "quarterly").

Quarterly Retrospective protocol

During the quarterly retrospective, we undertake:

  • An examination of where we are relative to our overall vision.
  • A discussion about our focus for the next three months.
  • Working together retrospective: What works and doesn't (feels, vibe, particular grievances, particular systems and processes, etc).
  • A discussion on power and sense of fairness in the collective
  • A review of whether we've upheld the agreed-on commitments.
  • A specific Credit Retrospective for the quarter. Read the link to find out more.
  • An Hours retrospective which is contrasted to the results of the Credit Retrospective above.
  • The official onboarding of new Dating Translators, this includes their Commitment Statement.
  • Renewal of all current member's commitment statements.
  • Discussion and approval of changes to the Governance model.
  • Update our Roles/Availability Mapping with summary of changes and specifying Working Circles.
  • Evaluate the Quarterly Retrospective process: what you liked, what can be improved etc
  • Recording: Ensuring that everyone has access to and approves of the meeting notes (and whether to share them via a blog post, newsletter article, etc

Bi-Annually or Annually: Retreats

Retreats: Build relationships + trust + vibe.

This is where we do our best to get together in person to hang out, ritualize intent, go dancing etc. We may also speak about work (specially when the biannual or annual retreat coincides with a quarterly evaluation) but that would be kept to one specific day and no more. If the other communication rhythms are "in time" we won't need to get into worky stuff so much and can concentrate on having some much needed offline but on-LIFE time and share our feelings in creative, supportive and convivial ways.

Yearly Planning and Mid-term Strategy

This slower rhythm deserves a section of its own. Our yearly planning and long term strategy includes inviting external peers (our "extended family") to help us think creatively about the collective's goals and vision for the future.

In May of 2018 we held the very successful Guerrilla Translation Reloaded Meeting. It is our intention to invite the same expanded team, along with any new team members to share a similar, convivial space every year. Similar to the 2018 workshop, this will be a combination of celebratory community time and strategic discussions. These workshops, however, should not coincide with our biannual or annual collective retreats (which can be held on the next quarter, i.e., the beginning of Summer, with an in-team follow up).

Ongoing Strategy

Our general priorities and strategy are detailed in our Interactive Timeline. The timeline allows us to discuss and easily visualize how close we are to our projected goals and the changes we may need to make.

More information on our 2018-20 timeline may be found here.


The more we communicate the less we have to work. Seriously! It makes everyone more responsible, and helps create a shared sense of ownership.

If when reading this, you've thought to yourself "It's too much!!", please say so in our dedicated Community Rhythms Loomio thread. Let's have a discussion, let's speak about our commitment and what we are prepared to do. All opinions are welcome but, please, don't keep it to yourself if you disagree.

If you need help keeping the rhythms present, be open to the team's help, we all want to remind and help each other. We also suggest printing the image above and keeping it visible in our workplaces.


  • Regular communication and team rhythms are based on ideas from Rich Bartlett's Patterns for Decentralised Organising. These rhythms set the pace for our progress and activity on a daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly and biannual basis, as follows:
  • The daily rhythm is the daily check-in, which happens on Slack and in which we briefly share what GT work we did yesterday, how we’re feeling today, what blocks we may be feeling and what we’re doing for our well-being. This is a place to freely express yourself and your emotional state.
  • The weekly rhythm is to check Loomio and Trello at least every 2-3 days to keep up-to-date on important discussions, participate in them and cast votes.
  • The biweekly rhythm is our Biweekly Sprint, a 30-60 minute call during which we check in with each other, check our progress on our interactive timeline, go through the Trello boards for Care Work, Love Work, Livelihood Work and Projects and then decide on what we will concentrate on for the next two weeks.
  • The monthly rhythm covers finances and includes settling expenses and paying out accumulated credits on a monthly basis.
  • The quarterly rhythm is our Quarterly Retrospective, occurring around the solstices/equinoxes, during which we analyze the past three months. This includes reviewing our overall vision, taking stock of progress, reviewing and renewing our commitment statements, discussing how cooperation and power within the group, changes to the governance model, a retrospective on credits and hours, updating our roles, availability and work circles as well as onboarding new members.
  • Biannual or annual rhythms take place in the form of retreats, during which we spend time together and focus more on building relationships, trust, a sense of community and an overall good vibe within the group. Work takes a backseat to quality time with each other at these retreats.
  • Another annual rhythm involves yearly planning and long-term strategy with the help of invited external peers. Creative thinking about the collective’s goals and vision for the future are the focus of this rhythm.

More Resources

Norms and boundaries

(The following has been largely adapted from the Loomio and Enspiral Handbooks)


We collectively strive to foster an increasingly open, inclusive and caring culture.

We ask everyone to support these Personal Conduct Guidelines:

  • Respect diversity - We are committed to supporting social diversity and cultural sensitivity.
  • Respect our established goals and values - Be mindful of the culture we've built together and care for the collective as a living entity.
  • Communicate gently- We are expected to support contemplative awareness andnonviolent communication in our relationships, in person and online.
  • Communicate effectively - Your voice is welcome. Your perspective is valued. Your interests are interesting. The best thing you can do to give and receive value is participate.
  • Discuss concerns and questions - If you feel uncomfortable or uncertain about (GT) issues or processes, please identify your concerns with your Mutual Support Pal. If they've already been identified in any active collective discussions, you will be invited to give your opinions even if you are not a Member.
  • Resolve conflicts fairly - We commit to resolve conflicts using a Transformative Justice approach, aiming to strengthen community and to fairly recognize all serious concerns. We encourage all conflicts to be resolved with the fewest people necessary, acknowledging that everyone directly affected by the conflict needs to be involved.
  • Mutual responsibility - We're all responsible, all of the time, to take positive action in response to harassment and abuse. In some instances, this may include reporting to external authorities. Everyone in the collective is expected to take this responsibility seriously.


Everyone in the collective is expected to support our personal rights: freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination, and consent-based interactions.

Be mindful of the damage which misunderstandings and misleading personal accusations can create. However, if you think you've been seriously harmed by any of the following behaviors, we encourage you to talk to your Mutual Support Pal or reach out to the Community Working Circle stewards to help you address the issue and resolve the conflict.

In serious cases if you are found to act in ways prohibited by this agreement you may be asked to leave the collective through a formal proposal.

Warning Signs of Harassment or Abuse

  • Threatening or inciting violence towards any persons
  • Deliberate intimidation
  • Undue use of tacit power or knowledge
  • Unwelcome personal attention
  • Unwelcome sharing of private information
  • Unwelcome sharing of private communications, except to report complaints
  • Jokes related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion
  • Jokes regarding a person's lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour


  • Everybody in the collective, no matter what level of membership, has to abide by our Norms and Boundaries. Otherwise, you might be asked to leave the collective.
  • The Personal Conduct Guidelines include respecting social and cultural diversity and acknowledging our goals and values. We encourage our members to communicate openly, gently and effectively. Every member in the collective is responsible to stand up against harassment or/and abuse perpetrated towards any of its members.
  • We will not tolerate any discrimination, non-consensual interaction or threat to freedom of expression.

More Resources

Sabbaticals, holidays, graduated sanctions and exiting the collective

While the collective provides all the time-flexibility of being a freelancer, with the support and security offered by our coop, everybody needs time off, even from the most minimum requirements. This section also details what happens when you don't meet those requirements and how to proceed if the relationship between the collective and you simply isn't working out.

Time off

We're a leisure-minded collective founded in world-famous siesta'n'fiesta loving Spain, so we actually keep to the Spanish holiday calendar. (We want this to be the 1st step on the world holiday calendar, to be furthered by further holidays!)

Our logic is, if everyone is on holiday, why would they (or we) bother being in front of a computer? The following applies to our community rhythms and, also, to the media-peers working circle, which handles things such as external communication, social media, etc

These are the times when we are OFF:

  • Weekends
  • August
  • Two weeks at the winter holidays/Xmas/choose your own pagan equivalent
  • A week at the spring holidays/Easter
  • Spanish national holidays (all 22 of them)
  • US/UK national holidays (all, um, two of them?)

Regarding our web magazines and Social Media (our more "public face"): If something unusually urgent needs posting at any time, we can certainly do so. Everyone is welcome to post content during the "OFF" periods but it isn't planned for, and it won't fall within what we consider to be the Social Media Manager's role.

As mentioned above: GT/GMC is designed to be extremely flexible with times, but if you're effectively working full time for the collective, these dates will give you a good idea of when most of us will be off. You are, of course, still free to translate or do care work during these times, but be sensitive to interrupting other member's rest and only bring up things if absolutely necessary (or preempted by a "feel free to ignore this until Monday").


All full members are expected to follow GT’s Community Rhythms, as explained above. Whenever members need time off they can announce a sabbatical quarter, six-months, a year, etc. This section deals makes reference to credits and and care hours, which is something that will be further explained in the section about the Governance Model.

Once a sabbatical has been communicated, the Guerrilla Translator will:

  • have all invested credits frozen until the next active quarter (where they will be, once again, weighed as shares for the monthly payouts)
  • not have any pro-bono or care work obligations (although you'd be free to do pro-bono work on their own time)
  • need to accrue a total of 800 love credits during the next active quarter (or 1600 love credits if the sabbatical extends over two quarters, these could also accrue over a six-month period.)

On return they will:

  • be put at the end of the livelihood work queue if paying work is scarce on return
  • catch up on any operational decisions and/or changes
  • discuss with the collective whether extra Care Hours need to be performed in the active quarter to compensate for other member's care work during the sabbatical
  • Two quarters is the maximum period for a sabbatical under these terms. Longer sabbaticals are discouraged, but could be negotiated with the collective.

If no sabbatical is announced but members don’t check in or communicate (basically, dropping off the map) halfway during the quarter, 400 love credits will be deducted (barring illness, family situations etc., which should be communicated to the collective ASAP).

Graduated sanctions for failing to meet quarterly quotas

Sanctions in the collective are graduated and supported by restorative community work.

  • If a pro-bono quarterly quota isn’t met, the negative Love Credit balance is brought forward and added to the next quarter’s balance.
  • If the above (basic + legacy love credit) quota isn’t met during the next following quarter (the next in sequence after the one mentioned above), the Guerrilla Translator acknowledges a serious warning. The negative balance will be added to the second consecutive quarter, and they will not be eligible to do or to be paid for prior livelihood work until the negative balance is brought up to date. Effectively, the translator is taken out of the queue in this extended negative balance period.
  • If the Guerrilla Translator fails to meet the accumulated quota in the third quarter, they are automatically released from their commitment to the collective, and all pending Love credit debts will be eliminated. Accumulated Livelihood credits will be paid down on a rolling basis (TBD by the collective).

These situations can be clearly identified well before they happen, so it is the collective's mutual obligation to warn members of any possible sanctions well in advance and in a kind, supportive way.

Pro-bono quotas aside, these sanctions also apply when there are noticeable imbalances in Care Work Hours and if Community/Communication Rhythms are broken with no explanation or justification. In this case, these care work imbalances can be restored by investing a proportional amount of care work hours, which can include receiving mentoring to help unblock any problems.

Leaving the collective

Worst case scenario: “ghosting”. Guerrilla Translators who do not communicate at all during a full quarter or haven’t announced a sabbatical are released from their commitment to the collective and not considered candidates for re-admission. All invested credit (livelihood and love) queues will be cancelled and the shares will be redistributed to the other active members.

Preferable exit scenario: Alternatively, if a Guerrilla Translator decides to announce that they're leaving the collective permanently (not a sabbatical), they will "cash out" all invested Livelihood credits. Their love credits, however, will expire altogether; this is done to prioritize Love credit pay-downs among active Guerrilla Translators in the monthly distributions. Whether the Livelihood credits owed are paid as a flat payment or staggered across several months will depend on the collective's available finances at the time, and will be decided in a vote. GMC email addresses and work tools accounts will be cancelled.

Splits are considered final. It is better to announce sabbaticals and keep a good relationship!


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The Open Coop Governance Model

You will have read mentions of our Governance/Economic model in the preceding sections of this Handbook, now it's time to dig deeper and familiarise yourself with it. If our community is the lifeblood of the Guerrilla Translation, the Governance Model is its beating heart, ensuring that energy and nutrients are distributed to where they are most needed.

The model is the result of more than four years of discussion, experimentation and finessing. With that being said, we also consider it to be a living object, able to adapt to the needs and lived experiences of the collective.

When you join Guerrilla Translation you are explicitly agreeing to uphold the model and work under its parameters. This is important to understand and, if you're entering this agreement, you should have a clear understanding of what it entails, how it affects you and how this has repercussions for the rest of the collective.

You can liken the model to the "constitution" of a town we're building together or, to be more exact, to the community-engendered rules or protocols for ensuring fairness within a Commons. Going back to the organism metaphor, if GT is an organism and you are a nutrient, the model gives you innate knowledge of the safe levels of food and air that you can operate with to be as healthy as possible — and that's its ultimate goal.

To foster this knowledge we will break the model down into various components:

These three areas are interdependent. Roles and Responsibilities reflects your investment in the collective and your level of participation. This investment is not monetary, but contribution based — the more you puts into building and maintaining Guerrilla Translation, whether through pro-bono, agency or reproductive work, the more your investment is weighted in GT's ownership and decision making mechanisms. This investment/stake is measured through Contribution Tracking and it also affects the Decision making process.

These materials are adapted from the full text of the model and the general reader article that precedes it and are meant as an introductory lesson and to be used as quick reference. One you've read the handbook, you will be expected to read the full model to have a crystal clear understanding of what it entails. By then you should be familiar enough with its characteristics to make it relatively easy to comprehend. We will start with an adaptation of the overview article below.


GT’s model is an extensive overhaul of an orphaned open source governance protocol, which we have been substantially overhauled to better fit our needs. The adapted model explicitly incorporates the key practices of Open Cooperativism (a method combining the ideas of the Commons and Free Culture with the social tradition of the cooperative movement), Contributive Accounting (a form of accounting where contributions to a shared project are logged to ensure fair distributions of income and livelihoods) and, uniquely in this space, feminist economics and care work as essential elements.

After years of discussing the model, we decided to collectively reimagine it by convening a group of experts on decentralised/non-hierarchical organizations, facilitation, peer governance, distributed tech and mutualized finance. We called this process “Guerrilla Translation Reloaded“, which culminated in a new version of the model: The Commons-Oriented Open Cooperative Governance and Economic Model (currently at version 2.0)

The full model can be read in the link above, but this section takes a narrative approach to answer two very simple questions: what is the model’s logic, and how does it work?

The best way to understand it may seem counterintuitive at first. If Guerrilla Translation is a co-op, think of the co-op members as shareholders. Okay, like in an evil corporation, but bear with us. Each member is an owner, holding different types of shares in the collective. These correspond to tracked “pro bono” (commons-oriented voluntary work chosen by the translators) and “livelihood” (paid) work, as well as reproductive or care work. Shares in these three types of work determine how much is paid on a monthly basis. Where does the money to pay shares come from, and how are they paid? From the productive work performed by the worker-owners — in GT’s case, that work is written and simultaneous translation, copyediting, subtitling, and related services. We will explain the “how” below.

In short, the more effort and care put into the collective, the larger the share. This is not a competitive, game-theory influenced scheme; it’s a solidarity based strategy for economic resistance that allows all members to contribute according to their capacity. All members create value; part of this value is processed through a market interface (the agency) and is converted into monetary value, which is then pooled and distributed to benefit all value streams. We call this value sovereignty. And, although the default decision making protocol is virtually identical to a traditional coop’s “one member, one vote” principle, your shares can influence decision making in critical situations, such as blocked proposal.

How is this type of share-holding a contrast to that found in a corporation? Let’s break down the differences. While shareholders in a corporation accrue power through money, in our model, power is treated differently. The descriptions are power-to and power-with, accrued via productive and reproductive work taken for the health of the collective and the Commons. A corporation (or a start-up, or any capitalist business) employs wage labor to produce profit-maximizing commodities through privately owned and managed productive infrastructures. By contrast, in an Open Coop, we work together for social and environmental purposes while also creating commons and building community, locally and/or globally. The model allows us to turn our talents to worthwhile, not dead-end, causes. This is how we are practicing economic resistance.

The Open Coop Governance Model in Guerrilla Translation: How does it work?

We have established that Guerrilla Translators perform two types of productive work: pro-bono and paid (more about reproductive or care work later). If we take written translation as an example, both types are essentially identical. They are performed by the same team, using the same methods, working collectively, and sharing both the work and the eventual rewards. So, what are the differences?

Pro-bono translations are the ones we choose to do ourselves, based on our enthusiasm for the original material and well aligned with our values. This doesn’t make us unpaid volunteers, though. It all boils down to the way we choose to distribute value. To us, a pro-bono or a paid translation has the same value – literally. We assign a (cost) value for all work we do, whether it’s a self-selected pro-bono piece for publication on our blog, or work contracted by a client. Our model of income distribution diverts a portion of every paid/contracted job towards fulfilling the value of the pro-bono work shares accrued by our members. This has several functions. First, it allows all members of the collective to gain an amount of income from their productive work, whether it was pro-bono or paid. Second, collective members are not put into competition among themselves for paid work, nor for the “best” paid work (based on the per-word rate). All work is valued internally at the same rate, regardless of the external prices which are variable.

We have several pricing tiers for our clients. Metaphorically, there’s a pay-it-forward spirit involved here on the client side, but it’s more like pay-it-backward-and-forward internally in the collective. Clients with the greatest financial means who are aligned with our principles and wish to provide support for our knowledge commons are offered the top tier rate – this is still quite competitive, in fact at the lower end of typical translation pricing. There will be a penny or two per word that these clients are directly donating to our pro-bono shares and also towards any contract jobs we accept for clients with minimal or bare-bones budgets (including small co-ops, activist collectives, non-VC startups, and others). This sliding scale helps us nurture relationships and help support collectives and initiatives with the least financial means so it is fair for everyone.

The soft stuff is the hard stuff: the importance of a care work

So far, we have mainly spoken about productive, tangible work: translations, editing, formatting. These tasks are mostly word-based and therefore, easy to quantify and assign credits. But what about everything that leads, directly or indirectly, to paid work? Searching for clients, project management, quality control, relationship and trust building, etc. – all the invisible work that goes into keeping afloat? This is reproductive work, or care work.

In GT we distinguish between two types of care work: that for the health of the collective, and that for the living beings within.

When talking about caring for the health of the collective, we conceive it as a living entity or system, even a commons. The emergent values of this system are encoded in the governance model and embodied by the collective’s practices and legal-technical structures. To maintain a healthy collective we choose to honour our collective agreements, maintain our communication rhythms, and distribute the care work needed to make the collective thrive. Other ways to care for the health of the collective include coop and business development, seeking and attending to clients, making sure our financials are up to date and everything is paid, maintaining active relationships with authors, publishers, following through on our commitments… everything that you’d consider as “admin” work in a traditional agency or co-op, and on top of that, everything else that’s easily forgotten if you’re not doing it yourself. It’s literally invisible work to those who don’t acknowledge it, and work that many feel unjustifiably obligated to take on.

The difference is that in Guerrilla Translation, these activities aren’t assigned to set roles. Instead, all “caring for the health of the collective” aka care work items are modular, easily visualized, and can be picked up by any collective member. In fact, those members may belong to one or more work circles, which steward certain areas, such as community, sustainability, networking, training, tech, etc.

Additionally, when we speak about care work for the living beings who make the collective, we refer to the individual Guerrilla Translators who mutually build trust and intimacy to care for and support each other. Our cooperative practices should never be solely dependent on technology or protocols, including the governance model. These are only tools to facilitate and strengthen our collaborative culture.

We believe that cooperative cohesion is primarily based on healthy, consent-based heterarchical relationships. To foster these we have committed to certain regular practices, such as mentoring — where we practice and document peer learning in the collective’s tools and practices — and mutual support — where we look after each other and care for our mutual well-being, attuned to everyone’s moods, needs and larger realities beyond the collective.

Every member, whether in training or longstanding, is supported by a specific person who has their back. Every member has someone else’s back. Supported members have a safe space to express themselves to be cared for and heard within the collective. In this relationship, they may also be reminded of their commitments, etc. Conflict resolution is handled through the mutual support system, ensuring the distribution of personal care work. This has been a very basic overview of the model’s structural (credits and shares) and cultural (care work) qualities. If it raises more questions than it answers, or if you’re simply curious, you can read the full model. In the following sections, we will visualize the ways in which the model can work.

What this looks like in practice

Meet “Jill”, a Guerrilla Translator. Today she’s got a little bit of a time and has chosen an article to be translated. Maybe she proposed it, or maybe she picked it up from an existing list of material waiting to be translated. She contacts the author to let her know that GT would like to translate and publish the article, and asks for any required permission if necessary, etc.

This describes a pro-bono translation. Jill will work alongside “María”, a copyeditor, and “Deb”, who’ll take care of the web formatting and social media promotion of the article.

The article is 1000 words long. This wordcount is processed through GT’s internal credits protocol, with this pro-bono translation valued at 0,16 credits per word. Once completed, 160 Love credits will be created. This is how they are split:

  • 80 for the translation (Jill)
  • 40 for the copyediting/proofreading (María)
  • 10 for pre production (Jill, as she chose the article and contacted the author)
  • 20 for formatting (Deb)
  • 10 for post production (Deb, as she will be promoting the translation doing social media, etc)

Let’s imagine that this is the first time that Jill, Maria and Deb have done a pro-bono project for GT. Once the project is accounted for, their respective pro-bono shares will look like this:

  • Jill has accrued 90 Love Credits
  • María has accrued 40 Love Credits
  • Deb has accrued 30 Love Credits

A week passes, and an author or client wants to contract GT to translate an article. This is called livelihood work. The material is chosen by the client (obviously), and the deadline negotiated with the collective. Coincidentally, the text to be translated is also 1000 words long (amazing how our examples are identical!). GT’s agency side uses a sliding scale for prices. This client is a small, open source-oriented NGO, so the price is quoted at 0,12 € per word. The team will be Jill as the translator and María as the editor. Note that unlike the pro-bono translation above, there is no web formatting to be done. Once the translation is completed, the client owes GT 120 €, but this money will not be paid directly to Jill and María as income. This money will be held until the end of the month in a digital trust dedicated to maintaining health of the collective. Meanwhile, once the translation is complete and sent to the client, Jill and Maria will have accrued the following Livelihood Credits:

  • Jill has accrued 80 Livelihood Credits
  • María has accrued 40 Livelihood Credits

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume that these are the only pro bono and agency translations undertaken in the history of the collective. Now it’s getting toward the end of the month and the Guerilla Translators are ready to distribute! There are exactly 120 euros in the bank account. This is how they will be distributed:

  • 75% of the funds will fulfill Livelihood credit shares
  • 25% will fulfill Pro-bono credit shares

These percentages have been chosen to balance the time needed for paid work while not forgetting to set aside some time for the vital pro-bono side. Now, we will divest those 120 € within the trust and into two “streams”:

  • The Livelihood Stream receives a total of 90,00 €
  • The Love Stream receives a total of 30,00 €

This is now divided among the member’s shares in the following way:

Livelihood Stream: Jill holds 67% of the “shares” (80 credits of 120 total), while María has 33% (40 credits of a 120 total). So out of 88,80 € allocated for the Livelihood Stream, Jill will receive 60,30 €. María receives 29,70 €.

Love Stream: Jill holds 56% of the shares (90 credits of 160 total). María has 25% (40 out of 160) and Deb has 19% (30 out of 160). So, out of 30 € allocated for the Love Stream, Jill will receive 16,80 €, María 7,50 € and Deb 5,70 €.

Totalled up, this is the money that gets paid to the three active members:

  • Jill receives 77,10 € (her Livelihood and Love work combined)
  • María receives 37,20 € (her Livelihood and Love work combined)
  • Deb receives 5,70 € (Just Love work, as Deb hasn’t performed any livelihood work this month)

This totals 120 €. Magic!

One example among many

This is one situation. During another month, María may have done much more editing work, which takes less time than translation. Deb may have done more care work (more on that later) in both the Love and Livelihood streams. New people may have come in, maybe there’s been a windfall! The model can account for all these and other possibilities while also being dynamic in changing circumstances. It’s a “Team Human” model where the technology is kept flexible, and updates to serve the qualitative experiences of the collective, not just the measurable ones.

The secret life of Livelihood, Love and the ways of measuring credits

As you may have noticed, if 1 love credit equals 1 euro, in the example above we’ve only paid down 30 Love credits (25% of distributed funds) in euros. As 160 Love credits were created with the pro-bono translation, this still leaves 130 which haven’t been paid in money.

The credits that have been converted into money and transferred to individual accounts are called Divested credits, ie: they’ve been paid down. The unpaid credits are considered Invested credits: active credits that have yet to be paid. If you think about it, on a month by month basis 75% of Love credits will be “invested” rather than divested/paid. In essence, the coop has an ongoing debt with its own pro-bono/Love stream which will be paid back on a rolling basis.

The same situation is also applicable to Livelihood credits. As 75% of earned credits are divested, 25% will remain invested. Both types of credits (Love and Livelihood) can be divested or invested. Meanwhile, the sum of both are considered Historical credits.

“Why so many? So confusing!” Yeah okay, but complexity allows for dynamism, nuance and catering for the different life circumstances and preferences of Guerrilla Translators. Reality is complex, and we want this to work in many real situations.

For now, it’s important to make clear that the total amount of historical credits you have accrued reflect your investment in the organization. Whether it’s productive or reproductive work, it all gets tracked: this informs our governance.

While in typical daily situations, all Guerrilla Translators have what amounts to “one member one vote” rights, historical credits come into play when making critical decisions such as blocked discussions, large structural changes to the governance model, and legal structure changes. In these rare yet important situations, votes can be weighed against an individual’s historical credits.

Meanwhile, the invested/divested ratio helps clarify which members are prioritized for Livelihood work. Given that livelihood work gets divested at a 75% higher rate than Love work, we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to perform it, and that incoming work is offered to those with a higher invested ration first. Similarly, when measuring care work the invested/divested ratios helps clarify when individuals may be benefitting monetarily in lieu of caring for the collective (and its members). In these cases, the ratio is used to determine whether to divest less and agree to a renewed commitment to care work.

In essence, care work is measured in hours, not credits, but it is only entrusted to members who have already gone through a 9-month “dating” phase before becoming fully committed members. All care work hours are instantly turned into historical credits. The Governance Model also describes two scenarios for care work hours: one in which these are paid from a seed-funding pool and a second when once the Open Coop is stable, it is entirely demonetised, with members committing to a set amount of hours each month and adjusting accordingly when there are any discrepancies.

Why have we chosen this model?

Imagine that María is single mother with two kids to take care of. She wants to do socially useful work, but her material realities don’t allow her that privilege. By working with Guerrilla Translation she a) can perform paid/livelihood work for causes that matter and b) will not “lose” income by doing pro-bono work – ie, translations that would not otherwise get funded, but which should still be translated.

In fact, she could spend most of her time just doing paid/livelihood work, and it would still benefit the pro-bono/love side (and vice versa). The model addresses the possibility of internal competition for “paid work” overshadowing the social/activist mission of the collective. In short, contributing to the Commons also makes your livelihood more resilient. In turn, you make the Commons more resilient by creating new commons and facilitating communications. The same can be said about care work. The more you demonstrate care for the collective, the more resilient and healthy it will be. If any member can’t contribute a similar proportion of care work as the rest, the member will simply have a proportional amount of their credits deducted and will be encouraged to compensate by committing to more care hours.

In summary, the model is designed to find an optimum balance between paid, pro bono and reproductive work, with equity and continued dialogue at the center.

And much, much more

Here we have touched on some of the characteristics of the model. The full version looks at every aspect in detail, including many of the topics mentioned on this handbook, such as onboarding and mentoring, the legal/technical backdrop, community rhythms, graduated sanctions, payment mechanics, and much more.

For now, we will concentrate on summarizing the three key aspects mentioned at the top of the Governance Model section of the Handbook: Credits, Membership Levels and Decision Making.


  • The GT Governance Model is the beating heart of the collective, resulting from four years of discussion and experimentation. It is our living “constitution” and is not to be thought of as an inalterable, static document. By joining the collective, GT members commit to upholding and working under the Governance Model.
  • GT’s model is a mix of open cooperativism, contributive accounting, feminist economics and carework. Members accrue “shares” by contributing pro-bono work, livelihood work and/or carework, all of which is given value and eventually paid out monetarily.
  • GT’s productive work (translation, copyediting, subtitling, etc.) is divided between pro-bono work, which we choose ourselves, and paid livelihood work, which we are contracted to do. Our model distributes income by diverting a portion of every paid job or contract to fulfilling the value of the pro-bono work. Clients pay on several pricing tiers, which encourage those with the means to “pay it forward” to support the fulfillment of pro-bono shares, ensuring that all productive work (whether pro-bono or livelihood) can yield income.
  • Carework (or reproductive work) is the invisible, “admin” work that maintains the health of the collective and keeps it running: searching for clients, project managing, quality control, relationship building, etc. Everyone in the collective participates in carework, which creates a supportive, heterarchical and caring culture built on trust.
  • Credits or value for work done is tracked and categorized into divested (paid out immediately), invested (paid out gradually) and historical (total accrued) credits to ensure that paid livelihood work and carework are distributed fairly among members.

More Resources

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(Adapted from the Contribution Tracking section of the full model)

Credits are the measurement by which productive work contributions are tracked. Meanwhile, reproductive work is tracked in care hours. We will start by talking about productive work credits.

A Credit typically means 1 euro in compensation. So, if an item is estimated at 100 credits, and a person completes the work and is attributed 100% of the contribution, then that person earns 100 credits and is owed 100 euros for work completed.

Having established that, we have 2 types of credits.

There are, essentially, 3 ways to account for credits:

  1. Total/Historical Credits.'
    This is the total combined number of credits the member has ever earned, whether Love, Livelihood and tracked Care Hours. This number only goes up over the lifetime of the member’s participation, starting from the moment they started contributing to the collective.
  2. Invested Credits.'
    These are the active credits that have yet to be paid. It is, in one form, money owed to the member by the collective. If a member earned 1,000 credits and they cashed out 600 of those credits, they would now have 400 remaining ‘invested’ credits.
  3. Divested Credits.'
    These are credits that have been paid.

All active Guerrilla Translators (ie: that haven't left or aren't on Sabbatical) have equity based on the their total historical credits. Historical credits may also become relevant in certain, rare, decision making procedures, such as blocked proposals or when voting on important structural changes. Meanwhile, each members' Invested Credit ratings are used for several purposes, including prioritizing paid work allocation and determining the percentages/shares in the the Monthly Payment Pipeline.

Love Credits

Love credits are earned through pro-bono, commons-producing, "productive work" (in Guerrilla Translation's case, translation, editing, transcribing, simultaneous translation…). In essence these are the same services GT offers as an agency. Apart from translation/communication work, tasks such as formatting for the blog, contacting authors for pro-bono translation and social media work are also tallied in Love Credits. In Guerrilla Translation all Love Credits are measured by word count.

Love credits do not lead to direct income. Love accruing tasks are decided on by the collective, not contracted by clients, it is voluntary work undertaken to meet the collective's social mission. All Guerrilla Translators accrue Love Credits through this type of work and, at the end of each month, 25% of GT's net holdings are used to pay them off. Love Credits are then distributed according to the relative percentage of Love Credits accrued by each active Guerrilla Translator (for more info on how this works read the section below).

Livelihood Credits

Livelihood credits are earned through paid work. This may also produce Commons, as GT encourages (and sets lower prices for) Commons-oriented or social or environmentally valuable work. In essence Livelihood work includes the same type of work as Pro-bono work (translation, editing and the rest of the services offered by GT)

Livelihood Credits bring direct income to the collective and are tied to specific deliverables. It is the collective's means of sustenance, but it is not used to directly reward (or pay down) only those individuals who have performed paid work. The collective is rewarded and, much like a commune, these rewards are then used to sustain pro-bono, paid, productive and reproductive work. All Guerrilla Translators accrue Livelihood credits (although some may choose to just accrue Love credits, according to their circumstances) and, at the end of each month, 75% of GT's net holdings are used to pay off Livelihood credits, according to the accrued percentage of invested Livelihood credits each member has on a monthly basis. Note, these percentages are only applicable after expenses, taxes and projected expenses have been accounted for or paid.

As mentioned above, the 75/25% ratio is based on the need to free enough time to undertake paid work for the collective. It means that Livelihood credits are paid off 3x as fast as Love credits, creating a backlog. Meanwhile, both types of credits increase Historical Credits and reflect each Guerrilla Translator's equity in the collective.

Finally, assignation of Livelihood Work is made by discussion and informed by availability, capacity and number of invested credits. Basically, if your invested credits are higher than those of other members, that means you have worked more and been paid less. You will be offered livelihood work before other members whose invested/divested ratio is more equally proportional, or leaning toward the divested.

Carework Value

Note: Although this section deals with value tracking, it follows on from the reproductive work section within Roles and Responsibilities below.

Due to its subjectivity, reproductive work is very complex to measure. This is the reason why the Guerrilla Translation model uses hours, instead of credits, for tallying Care Work.

Hours, however, raise many questions and problems, principally two issues:

  • Are these persons working the number of hours they say they are? (steadily working on a task as opposed to randomly working a bit, eating a sandwich, checking Twitter, etc.)
  • Are these persons proficient enough at the reproductive work they are performing that they should be awarded the same value per hour as someone who is definitely experienced?

These types of concerns can only be overcome by continually building trust, and, to bypass these problems, care work is principally stewarded by Committed Guerrilla Translators within working circles.

Committed Guerrilla Translators have already gone through a minimum 9 month "Dating" phase where they learn the values and practices of the collective and, just as importantly, how to relate to their peers and earn their trust. Once this trust is earned, members are encouraged to perform Care Work (and track it in hours) in areas where they have shown proficiency. This does not mean that they won't perform Care Work in areas where they are less proficient. In those cases, they will take a learning role with less responsibility.

Meanwhile, those members who are training to become part of the collective (through the Dating Phase, as seen above) also measure their hours as they practice while being mentored and supported by more experienced team members. The difference is that Dating members are not monetarily retributed (paid) for their reproductive hours, while Full members are. We will explain this reasoning below.

As of 2018, we distinguish between two phases within the collective's mid-term strategy: the Start-Up Phase and the Stable Phase. We recommend the that you read those two sections of the full model in the links above but, to summarize, during the Start-up phase Care Work performed by full members is financed by seed funding obtained for the collective's development. Meanwhile, during the Stable Phase Guerrilla Translation is expected to be fully self-financed. Instead of lowering productive work payment to finance Care Work hours retribution, we plan to de-commodify reproductive work and discuss hourly quotas to be partaken by all committed members.

As of writing, GT is immersed in the Start-Up Phase.

Care Work Value and Equity

All care work hours are also translated into Historical Credits. No matter if the hours are accrued by Dating or Committed members, or whether this happens during the Start-Up or Stable Phase, or if they are monetarily retributed (paid) or not. Care work adds to your equity in the collective and determines your total stake in it.

Taking into account the hours/credits equivalence we have determined, 1 hour of Care Work equals 25 credits. These credits are not identified as Love or Livelihood credits, they just add to your total historical queue.

The Monthly Payment Pipeline

The Monthly Payment Pipeline is designed to be an equitable and situation flexible distribution model. The system distributes income received across the board on a monthly basis while allowing everyone a proportional cut every time. The software interface for this system needs to be intuitively visible.

Structural Expenses

This distribution system is applied to the collectives holdings only after any taxes, expenses or projected/budgeted expenditures have been paid down. These projected structural expenses are estimated, agreed on and adjusted during the Quarterly Retrospectives and are diverted to a separate sub-bank account.

Monthly Income Distribution System

The system works the following way.

  1. At the end of each month, the collective checks the balance in the sub-account where its net income (see above for gross income) is deposited.
  2. The collective then determines the total credit balance for every contributor and member. Those total credits are a sum of the member’s credits in each of the two main value streams: Love Work and Care Work.
  3. The percentage of invested credits for each contributor and member is determined in relation to all other contributors and members in each of the two value streams.
  4. All of the funds in the account are then distributed according to these percentages.

If you need some examples to visualise how this works, please refer back to the "What this looks like in practice" section above.


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More Resources

These extracts are the bare-bones information of the most important aspects related to credits and contribution tracking. Everything that we've left out is either reflected in other sections of the handbook, or compiled in the links below.

Membership levels

(Adapted from the Roles and Responsibilities section of the full model)

Much of the material on membership levels has already been covered in the Becoming a Guerrilla Translator chapter of the handbook (in particular the sections on To be or not to be a Guerrilla Translator, Joining Guerrilla Translation and The Dating Phase). What follows is a brief recap of these roles, with special attention being paid to "Supporters" and a quick reminder about the roles of the "Contributor".

When it comes to membership, GT has been designed to be as porous as possible with the main distinction being "casual" and "committed" relationships, as we explained on the section on whether to join the collective or not.

Casual relationships function more like commons-based peer production projects, such as Wikipedia, Firefox, GIMP or the VLC video player. Contributions are permissionless and validated after the fact (post-hoc). Everybody is welcome to contribute, but those translations will only be published when there are committed team members available for the task of validating. Additionally, paid work is not offered to casual members, and pro-bono work doesn't yield payments, although it is accounted for, because casual members may choose to become committed members in time.

Committed relationships work more like a traditional Commons, with clearly established boundaries, governance protocols and accountability mechanisms. A committed relationship is also more akin to a Coop: an initial investment is expected, the members watch out for each other, and are dependent on shared trust among themselves. Committed members are de facto worker-owners of the agency side of GT (think of it as their day job) while assuming the responsibility of maintaining the pro-bono/commons-producing side. Committed members are considered to be Guerrilla Translators.

Two recap, we have four main types of roles:

The roles reflect levels of engagement and responsibility in ascending order. Core Members are entrusted with caring for the health of the collective and its members, while rewards are proportional to the work and sweat equity investment in the collective, not based on status or overpay (within the committed side, pay ratio is 1:1).

This handbook is, of course, mostly dedicated to the committed side, but casual members are also an essential part of the community.


People who want to engage with the collective but are not interested or suited for its productive work (in GT's case, translation) or care work are referred to as “Supporters”. A Supporter helps ensure that GT succeeds in accomplishing its mission while remaining true to its values.

Supporter contributions could include, but are not limited to:

  • Evangelizing about GT (e.g., sharing its work on social media, word-of-mouth awareness raising, etc.)
  • Providing feedback: informing the collective of strengths and weaknesses from a new perspective. This can help keep GT accountable to its mission and values.
  • Providing moral support, including simple acknowledgement (a ‘thank you’ goes a long way).
  • Participating in open discussions: commenting on ongoing work and in forums.
  • Recommending Guerrilla Translation for paid work: Supporters can identify potential translation gigs which fit with GT's values and provide introductions.
  • Providing earned income: Any individual or entity who contracts GT for paid work is also considered a supporter.
  • Supporting the collective monetarily: This includes all non-contract income which could include donations, subscription (eg. Patreon) supporters, grantors and funders, etc.

Supporters can engage with Guerrilla Translation through email or social media, but preferably through an open Loomio group for that purpose. In time, strategies can be studied to use the Loomio group for polls etc. This follows a general pattern of ensuring that the Committed/Commons-stewardship side has sufficient momentum and resiliency. Once achieved, more resources could be allocated to the Casual/Commons-based peer production side.


Contributors are described in this section of To be or not to be a Guerrilla Translator but, to recap, they are people who do pro-bono translation work on their own (outside the collective) and then shares it with us to edit and publish in our blogs. These are usually translation professionals whose quality of work is up to our standard but who cannot commit to go through the Dating phase to become committed members (or, it may be the case, that we're not ready to take them on at that particular time. Relationships with Contributors can only happen when time and circumstances allow, and they never take precedence over committed relationships with established team members.


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More Resources

As in the preceding section, these extracts simply cover those aspects about roles and responsibilities that haven't been covered in previous sections. Other complementary sections of the governance model are reflected in the links below.

Decision making

The bulk of the decisions affecting the day to day of the collective and its future are made by all committed members (Guerrilla and Transition Translators). Other decisions can be shared with the wider/casual community. Why this split? Guerrilla Translators depend on the collective for their livelihood, so decisions or votes which could be subject to harm by individuals who are not affected by the health of the collective should not be delegated beyond the committed membrane. Examples of harm would be anything from well-meaning but ill-informed or ill-considered tangents, diversions. We don't expect to face this in a trust-based group but, this would also be a defense against trolling. On the other hand, as the resilience of the committed team increases, more and more decisions could be made with participation with the casual sphere.

Guerrilla Translation's chosen tool for decision making is Loomio, which has all the features the collective needs (it fits like a glove with the original Open Enterprise Model) and is made by people GT loves and whose values it respects and celebrates. For anyone not familiar with Loomio, it is decision making platform based on the logic of Occupy and other self-organised assemblies. We'll talk about Loomio in more detail in the section below.

Within Loomio, the collective operates with a general policy of lazy majority. Lazy majority allows for consent-based decisions to be made without resorting to across the board consensus, and keeps the work agile and free from red tape. Loomio is also used for discussions and quick "temperature checks". The ideal is to have dynamic communication that is conducive to concrete outcomes. This blog post perfectly illustrates how Loomio discussions can improve the health of a community, please read it. That being said, our community rhythms also specify that all members check in and take part in any Loomio votes (even as "undecided") at least twice a week and continual lack of engagement in discussions and decisions will result in members reevaluating their relationship and commitment to the collective.

The Process

Decision making typically involves the following steps:

  1. Context
  2. Discussion
  3. Vote
  4. Decision.

For this example we will be centering on the committed sphere where the Guerrilla Translators group together.

Any Guerrilla Translator can open any discussion with the community. In order to initiate a discussion about a new idea, they add the idea to the appropriate Loomio group (groups are divided into four general work areas: pro-bono translation, agency work, care work/admin and projects) This will prompt a review and discussion of the idea. The goal of this review and discussion is to gain approval for the contribution. The collective also has ongoing discussions in Loomio which are tied to specific tasks and projects.

Loomio allows for work-items and ideas to be voted upon by the community. However, different levels of voting and approval may be needed depending on the situation. In general, as long as nobody explicitly opposes a proposal, it is recognized as having the support of the community. This is called lazy majority: those who have not stated their opinion explicitly have implicitly agreed to the implementation of the proposal, and those that showed up to vote determine the direction of the work.

Lazy majority

Lazy majority is a process that allows a large group of people to efficiently reach consensus, as someone with nothing to add to a proposal affecting a work circle they may not be involved in need not spend time stating their position, and others need not spend time reviewing it. This section describes how a vote is conducted. The following section discusses when a vote is needed.

For lazy majority to be effective, it is necessary to allow at least 72 hours before assuming that there are no objections to the proposal. This requirement ensures that everyone is given enough time to read, digest and respond to the proposal. This time period is chosen so as to be as inclusive as possible of all participants, regardless of their location and time commitments. More complex proposals which may require more thinking/reading of materials etc, can be extended.

If a formal vote on a proposal is called, all Guerrilla Translators can express an opinion and vote. Those still in the Dating Phase are fully encouraged to vote and discuss, but their votes are not binding.

Types of votes

  1. ‘agree’: agrees that the action should move forward
  2. ‘disagree’: disagree but will not oppose the action
  3. ‘block’: opposes the action, and must propose an alternative action to address the issue or a justification for not addressing the issue
  4. ‘neutral’: indicates that attention has been given to the action but abstaining from voting one way or another

Another way to abstain from the vote is for participants to simply not participate. However, it is more helpful to cast a ‘neutral’ vote than to abstain, since this allows the team to gauge the general feeling of the community if the proposal should be controversial.

When a vote receives a ‘block’, it is the responsibility of the community as a whole to address the objection but it is expected that the "blocker" takes the lead by offering a (perhaps) better alternative taking everyone's needs into account. Such discussion will continue until the objection is either rescinded, overruled (in the case of a non-binding block) or the proposal itself is altered in order to achieve consensus (possibly by withdrawing it altogether). In the rare circumstance that consensus cannot be achieved, the Guerrilla Translators can influence a forward course of action by calling for a weighted-vote (which are based on Historical Credits, more on this below).

The collective can also make more informal decisions within the work circles by a quick IM based "check-in" (For example, someone proposes something in Slack and all members of that work circle give it a thumbs-up. If there's no agreement or if the working circle recognises that proposal as a larger issue, the discussion is transported to Loomio).

Voting summary:

  • Those who don’t agree with the proposal and feel it would be detrimental to the collective if pursued should vote ‘block’. However, they are expected to submit and defend a counter-proposal.
  • Those who don’t agree but don’t find it intolerably detrimental and don’t have a better idea should vote ‘disagree’. Then, if things go wrong down the line, they can say "I told you so!" (priceless).
  • Those who agree should vote ‘agree’.
  • Those who do not care either way or who find themselves on the fence should vote ‘neutral’.
  • Those who are on sabbatical or have communicated days off/holidays don't need to vote at all, but they can chime in after the vote has closed.

Type of approval

Different actions require different types of approval, which are summarized below. The next section describes which type of approval should be used in common situations.

Lazy majority: 72 hours

A lazy majority vote requires more binding ‘agree’ votes than binding ‘disagree’ votes and no vetoes (binding ‘block’ votes). Once 72 hours have passed, the decision moves in the direction of the majority. Naturally if an actual majority of members vote before the 72 hours are up, the decision moves in that direction immediately.

Sometimes a lazy majority is tied with a vote threshold. This allows for decisions to be made quicker than 72 hours if enough members vote. If the vote threshold is reached before the 72 hours are up, the decision moves in the direction of the majority.

Unanimous consensus: 120 hours

All of the binding votes that are cast are to be ‘agree’ and there can be no ‘disagree’ votes or vetoes (binding ‘block’ votes)

Credit majority

In very specific cases a "vote by majority" may be declared. This means that each credit holder gets 1 vote per Historical Credit. In such cases, those with the most historical credits can apply more weigh to their vote, proportional to their historical credit total.

Credit majority votes are generally discouraged and should only come into play in certain occasions:

  • Blocked proposals with no resolution: In this case those with the most historical credits will have more influence.
  • Blocked Proposals specific to one work circle: Here those who have more credits tied to specific circles (and who will be expected to carry through the outcome of the decision) can use their circle-specific credits.
  • Large structural changes to the Governance Model: By "structural" we mean the foundations and overall logic of the model, not the "amounts" such as prices, credit percentages, etc., which are discussed ongoing.

To be clear, credit majority votes do not increase influence within the collective or affect day by day work decisions. Historical Credits reflect each person's relative efforts in caring for the health of the collective and, on those occasions that our preferred consent-based system hits a block, we trust that those who have made larger efforts over the years will hold true to the collective's purpose. At the same time, this needs to be offset by a continued discussion about power and how to distribute it efficiently. While this is not a numerical discussion, new members are encouraged to accrue historical credits while older members take a step back so the collective doesn't suffer from the dreaded Founder Syndrome.

Stakeholder board

Proposals which remain blocked or stuck can be solved by one of the Patterns for Decentralized Organizing: "Get unstuck with an external peer". This doesn't need to be a dramatic decision. It can also include simply asking for advice and different perspectives.

In GT's case the Stakeholder board is comprised of all the non-GT attendees to the 2018 Guerrilla Translation Reloaded Workshop. The "Reloaded Group" has its own Loomio space, where all active Guerrilla Translators are also present. In the case of a Stakeholder Board vote, all votes from Stakeholder board and Full Committed Guerrilla Translators are binding. Transition Translators votes are accounted for and taken very seriously, but are not binding.

Additionally, as Loomio allows guests to be invited to specific thread, the collective can invite specific external mentors and collaborators to certain relevant threads. The relevance of these external mentor's votes will be take as advisory, but only Guerrilla Translators and Stakeholder board member's votes are binding.

Multi Constituent vote

In order to reflect the multi constituent dimension of Open Cooperativism the collective will investigate mechanisms for incorporating the voices and opinions of its wider community. In GT, beyond Transition- and Guerrilla Translators, other types of constituents could include Casual Translators, readers, authors, funders, regular clients, etc. All of this would happen in a dedicated Loomio group. We feel that this opening up should only take place during the iteration phase of our 2018-20 plan or the Stable Phase as the collective needs to thoroughly test the decision making mechanisms at a small scale before opening them up.

When is a vote required?

Every effort is made to allow the majority of decisions to be taken through lazy consensus. That is, simply stating one’s intentions is assumed to be enough to proceed, unless an objection is raised. Activities that require more control and should be recorded as part of the Open Coop's collective history are taken through lazy majority, which is still informal enough for team to stay agile. Repeated/regular tasks are generally not subject to votes, they're assumed to be "pre-approved" unless they need to be re-evaluated for whatever reason and, in that case, discussed and voted on. Our definition of "Lazy Consensus" includes acknowledgement (a "like" or neutral vote). We encourage extensive use of Loomio's participatory facilitation features, as they help focus discussions and clarify ideas and feelings. Occasional lack of participation is tolerated but discouraged. Continued lack of participation may result in a graduated sanction.

However, some activities require other types of approval process in order to ensure the health and cohesiveness of the collective.

This section identifies which type of vote should be called for:

  • Regular work task: In GT this will most often be a translation. Decisions on probono/love work are not taken on Loomio, but on GT's workflow tool (currently Trello). In this instance, any Guerrilla Translator can suggest a translation, according to the collective's criteria and allocation limits. Normally the person suggesting the work item will tag other collaborators and they will make a decision in-situ. Read here for more.
  • New Care Workstream: Lazy majority of all Guerrilla Translators
  • New Committed Transition Translator: Unanimous consensus of all Guerrilla Translators (Applies to all the quarterly evaluations during Dating phase)
  • New Guerrilla Translator: Unanimous consensus of all Guerrilla Translators (after 9 month dating period)
  • Guerrilla Translator removal: Unanimous consensus all Guerrilla Translators
  • Blocked discussion where no decision is made: Credit majority.
  • Structural Governance model change: Credit majority + Consultation with Stakeholder Board
  • Legal structure changes: Credit majority + Consultation with Stakeholder Board


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Working in Guerrilla Translation

Now that you are familiar with the history of the collective and it's onboarding and evaluation procedures, and its governance model, it's time to imagine yourself and already working within the collective. In the following sections we will take a close look at the specific types of productive work taking place in Guerrilla Translation, namely translation and editing.

We will also look at other important aspects of the daily life of a Guerrilla Translator that we've already mentioned: this includes taking care of the collective and its members, as well as our working circles and legal structure. Let's dive in.

How we translate

The following sections on translation and editing are extracted from a longer tutorial called The Tao of the Guerrilla Translator. The Tao details the full process of choosing, translating, editing, publishing and promoting a pro-bono translation. In later sections of this Handbook you will learn about the tools that will help you during this process but the procedure itself is best explained by practice. This means that you will follow the Tao in close collaboration with your GT Buddy.

For the time being, we will concentrate on the sections of the Tao having to do with translation and editing, which are the bulk of the productive work taking place in the collective . These guidelines apply to both Livelihood (agency) and Love (Pro-bono) work alike.

Translation Philosophy

Since you've read the Founding Principles, you know that we take a very personal and hands-on approach to everything: the selection of material, the translation process, and the sharing of completed work (via selected media outlets). One thing that can't be stressed enough is that we do not use CAT (computer-aided translation) tools, and it's crucial that those working with us feel as we do, and work accordingly. We really feel that having a team including a translator and a editor/proofreader for each piece ("two human brains") not only yields far superior results, but enhances the connection with the pieces being translated - which, of course, the translator must feel an affinity for a piece before choosing to do the work. It's kind of like, passion in, passion out. If it moves you to read and you really want to share it, then you're going to want to take that spirit and do the work in a "handmade" style.

We want translation made by humans, crafted with care and attention to detail. We feel that it’s essential to get into the author’s skin to re-create his or her voice in the target language. Ask yourself, “How would this author write this exact same article if she spoke the target-language, perfectly, if she was familiar with our cultural context?”. This, in combination with getting every nuance of the author’s message across is what we strive for.

If you’re having trouble getting into the author’s head to express yourself with his or her spirit… go online and watch some videos of the author speaking! This usually helps a lot.

As you may have noticed, while our organizational structure is very decentralised and we use a variety of software tools, when it comes to translation we're totally old school. We translate with love and care.

Where do I translate?

Although online documents can be convenient for text editing, we need to work with track changes. So whether it's .odt or .doc, we expect you to do your translation in word processor. Google docs can be an exception to this rule, as it contains a "suggestions" feature which, in essence, is identical to track changes. Online documents can be used in the editing phase, as you will see below.

At the same time, you'll want to translate with all the resources you need handy, this includes the project's Trello card and a series of dictionaries and tools. For this we recommend that you create a Translation-specific Browser-tab based workspace. Please read the link to find out what a BTBW is and how to create one, or as your GT Buddy for assistance.

Translation procedure

We format our documents to make it easy to compare the translation to the original, both for you and the editor. To achieve this we alternate one paragraph of the original text, with its corresponding translated paragraph. Check out the example below:

Guerra de movimiento y guerra de posiciones
Abro ahora un delta extraño antes de volver al cauce central del río que es la pregunta por la fuerza de ese puñado de personas frente a una casa. Me sitúo así en el debate en torno a la idea de revolución que se dio en el marxismo de entreguerras, interesándome especialmente por el planteamiento del marxista italiano Antonio Gramsci. A primera vista es un salto muy extraño, pero se trata de un debate con resonancias bien contemporáneas. El pasado no pasa: es un depósito riquísimo de imágenes y saberes siempre actualizable (resignificable) desde los problemas y las necesidades del presente.

War of Position and War of Maneuver
I’m veering offroad for a bit before heading back to the highway, that being the question of how a handful of people have the strength to defend a home. Let's look at the debate on the meaning of revolution carried out in Marxism between the two World Wars, where we’ll focus on the approach favoured by the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci. At first it may seem like an odd jump, but it concerns a debate that is markedly contemporary. The past doesn't quite “pass”: it’s a rich deposit of images and knowledge, prone to updates and renewed sense-making from the perspective of our present problems and necessities.

...and so on. If you’re translating a particularly long paragraph and need to split it up so you can see both original and translation and at glance, you can split it, but mark the split with a row of capital “X’s” so you can reassemble the paragraph later. As you will have seen in the example above, we also change the color of the original paragraph once we've translated it, to make it easier for the copyeditor to distinguish original/translation at a glance.

Whenever you get stuck, or have a doubt or a suggestion, insert a comment. You and the editor are a team dedicated to producing the best translation possible. At the same time, don’t “overload” the document with unnecessary comments, be judgemental in how much you “load up” the document with comments, etc. The editor will be encouraged to solve as many of these without establishing a back-and-forth dialogue as possible, so offer her clear choices so they can be sorted expediently.

Additionally, as we're mostly translating for our web-magazine, please translate using headings and subheadings. You can refer to the original text to determine where and how to use these. We tend not to use bolded sentences, even if the original has them, but it's always better to use "Heading 2" in your word-processor for subsections within the translation and "Heading 3" for intro texts. Get into the habit of working like this. Here's a good image-based tutorial in using Styles in word-processors. Please read it if you haven't worked this way before.

Other considerations

  • If the text has hyperlinks, it’s your job to find equivalent hyperlinks in the target language.
  • If the original text has footnotes, these must also be translated. Please mark them clearly in the body of the text with numbers in and square brackets ('[1], [2] and so on...). Gather all the footnotes together at the end of the document, but do not make footnotes in your word-processor. If you do you'll give a huge headache to the person who's formatting the translation later; don't worry, he or she will make it all look pretty (and hyperlinked) when it goes up on the web. You should also preface this with a Heading 2 title saying "Footnotes"
  • If you run into any linguistic dead-ends that can't be solved within the text, you can add translators' notes. If there's no footnotes in the original, use the same numbering convention as above ([1], '[2] etc,...). However, if the translation features both footnotes and translators notes, the latter will be marked with lower-case letters instead of numbers ('[a], [b] etc,...)
  • If the original has images with captions, these have to be translated too.

Reviewing your translation

The fact that you’ll have an editor going through your translation and checking it against the original “does not mean that you should do a lesser job”. We expect all translators to edit their own translations before sending them off to the editor.

What you shouldn't do is obsess over stuff when you get “stuck” or something sounds weird. Just mark it clearly for the editor so it can be seen with a new pair of eyes.

Before passing it on to the editor, we strongly recommend that you do two rounds of editing:

  1. Comparing your translation against the original, to ensure fidelity and as well as formatting considerations and any hyperlinks.
  2. Read the translated paragraphs out loud to ensure that everything flows and sounds right.

In this second re-read, try and identify good excerpts from the text which we can eventually use for post formatting or social media. We're looking for paragraph length passages that will grab the reader's attention and make here want to read the whole article. Ask yourself, would this passage make you drop everything else to click on the article? That's the one you want! Without going into detail, you'll copy and paste the extracts into the project's Trello card in a comment, in the original language (We will, obviously, use extracts excerpted from the final translated text, but it's good to "identify them" here).

Finally, read over your comments one last time. Is there anything that you can solve on your own now? Go for it.


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How we edit and proofread

In this section we will stop playing the part of "The translator" to become "The editor." The translator and the editor should never be the same person, even though some translators are also qualified editors. Four eyes always see more than two. This is why we work in pairs. With that cleared up, let's take a closer look at the editing process. Please take the time to read this even if you're not a editor. Most of it is just as applicable to translators. In fact, the section on Making the Final copy below directly addresses tasks falling under the translator's remit.

The editor’s role

The editor is someone who has an excellent understanding of the source language —ie. is able to detect all the subtle nuances— as well as excellent writing skills in the target language, including style, grammar and punctuation.

The editor’s role is essentially twofold:

1) To check whether the translation conveys the same meaning, tone, emphasis and register as the original text. This may require completely different wording in the target language, which is usually the case with phrases and sayings. For example, if the original says "ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente" the equivalent in English would be "ignorance is bliss". The literal translation is obviously unacceptable, but so is a straightforward translation of the meaning such as "if you don’t know about something, it won’t make you suffer", because that would change the colloquial register of the original saying. To give another example: an accurate translation of "eso no lo digo yo" would be, for example, "I’m not the one who’s saying that", rather than simply "I’m not saying that" or (even worse) "that isn’t what I’m saying". The basic meaning is the same, but the emphasis is completely different.

There are also more subtle cases such as the conditional sentence "if X happens, then XX will happen", which is often translated as "si X ocurre, entonces XX ocurrirá", whereby “entonces” shouldn’t be translated (also note that the nouns X and XX should go after the verb in Spanish). Another common mistake is "even though" translated as "incluso aunque", even though “incluso” doesn’t need to be included in Spanish (pun intended / valga la redundancia). Most translators have a tendency to be too literal, because they’re not familiar enough with common usage in the source language or simply because of bad translation habits. But you can also find the opposite: translators who write very well in the target language and take too much of an artistic license. The challenge is to make sure that the translation strikes the right balance between being true to the original intent and sounding natural in the target language.

Additionally, if the text includes hyperlinks, these need to be replaced with hyperlinks that lead to equivalent content in the target language. It is the translator’s responsibility to find and include those hyperlinks, but it is the editor who needs to make sure that a) they lead to the right place and b) that the linked content is relevant to the text.

2) Once the translation has been checked against the original text and the appropriate corrections and/or suggestions have been made, the editor needs to go over the translation again to make sure that it reads well and that grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct. Look out for awkward or unnatural wording and word order, unnecessarily long-winded sentences, clumsy repetitions (propose synonyms such as awkward=clumsy), subject-verb or gender disagreement, incoherent or misleading meaning, inconsistencies in terminology, punctuation and format used throughout the text, incorrect capitalization and extra spaces between words.

For both phases 1) and 2) use as many dictionaries, style manuals and online searches as necessary. When in doubt, don’t just trust that the translator has done their homework. Always double-check. The quality of the final text that will be published is your responsibility, and your sloppiness may ultimately put Guerrilla Translation’s reputation (as well as your own) on the line.

Editing procedure

As explained above, we assume that the translation will have been made in a word processing program with each paragraph of the original text followed by the translation. The editor will need to use two text editing tools in his or her word processor: track changes, which allows the translator to see your corrections, and insert comments for additional comments and suggestions. The editor activates track changes (in the tools dropdown menu) before she begins to edit the translation.

Corrections are made when the translation is unacceptable for any of the reasons mentioned above. To make a correction, delete the wrong word(s) (which will show up as stricken through) and add the correct word(s) right after it/them so that, when the translator accepts changes (using the corresponding tool) there are no extra spaces left between the deleted word(s) and the new word(s). If the translator disagrees with any of your corrections they will have to tell you, and explain why. If you are not persuaded, rather than argue back and forth, it’s best to propose alternative “compromise solutions” until both of you are satisfied.

Suggestions are made when the translation is acceptable but the editor feels she has a better idea. So as not to mess up the text with suggestions and comments, select the word(s) you want to comment on, and then click on comment in the insert dropdown menu. The word(s) will be highlighted and a window will open up where you can write your suggestions. Unlike with corrections, it’s up to the translator whether he uses your suggestions or not. This tool can also be used if you feel you need to explain a correction that may not be obvious to the translator. Try to keep explanations to a minimum and as short as possible by pasting links to an online dictionary (or any other source) in the comment so that the translator can check himself.

If the translator is a beginner and hasn't followed the formatting conventions stated in the section above, cut them some slack, but make the necessary changes while explaining the formatting conventions using the comments tool.

You may also find comments made by the translator where they express doubts that you need to resolve. If, for example, the translator asks "should I say ‘objetivo’ or ‘gol’”, the editor should choose one of the two (or a better alternative) and correct it directly in the text. No need to state anything in the comment.

If you need to add footnotes or translators notes, follow the same guidelines explained the "translation" section above.

Evaluate the translation. If it’s from someone in the collective who "had a bad day", just let your editing speak for itself and this person will most likely learn from the experience. But when editing texts from someone outside the collective, if the text is sub-par or obviously machine-translated, please state so on the corresponding Trello card. Extra work by editors should be rewarded.

Once the translator has accepted all your corrections, he will upload the edited file to the Trello card and move it to the formatting stage. But your job is not quite done. When the text has been formatted on the website (or wherever it goes) you will be responsible for the final proofread (see below). This is necessary for two reasons: 1) Mysterious things can happen in the formatting process; 2) Sneaky little typos that had gone unnoticed have a way of suddenly sticking out like a sore thumb once they’re in print or online. It’s one of those inevitable facts of life.

Making the final copy

In this section we'll explain how the translator goes through the revised document, accepts or rejects changes and, finally, produces a "clean copy" that can be easily copied and pasted into Wordpress (if it's a probono translation) or as a clean doc to send to a client (if it's livelihood work).

Thoroughness and expediency are what we're striving for here. We don't want Guerrilla Translators who are happy to rest in their laurels. We see this as a continued learning experience for everyone involved and you should pay close attention to the editor's corrections, comments and suggestions. Pride should totally take a backseat here. The only thing at stake in this process is the quality of the finished translation that we will publish in our magazine or send to a client, not "who did what".

Unless you're some sort of superhuman translator, as you go through the text, you will find corrections (stricken through) and comments (highlighted). The former are things the editor considers unacceptable. If you agree with the corrections, accept them using the corresponding "track changes" tool. End of story. But if you strongly disagree (note "strongly"), tell the editor, explaining why, and think of an alternative solution to propose. This could either be done via email or, if it's too complicated, via Slack, phone or videocall. But try not to get bogged down in endless discussions.

Under comments you may either find the editor's explanation for a correction they have made or a suggestion to improve on something that is acceptable but, in the editor's opinion, not ideal. It's up to you to insert that suggestion in the text or not, but please try to be open-minded and accept as many suggestions as possible. They are usually there for a reason. If any comments involve choosing between one thing or another, go ahead and make the choice. No need to debate over issues that are simply a matter of taste.

We recommend that you mindfully take in the feedback given by the editor and make a mental note of recurring errors so that you can keep improving and become the superhuman, perfect translator that has never existed on the face of this Earth.

Cleaning up the text for the final copy

Once everything's sorted out and all doubts relegated to the past, make a copy of finished text and rename the file "Translation name + WP FINAL". In this copy you will do the following.

  • Use the "track changes" tool to "accept all changes", and then exit the tracking mode.
  • Delete all comments.
  • Carefully delete every paragraph in the original language, leaving just the translation. As explained above, these should be colour coded but please, be very methodical about this and use a "measure twice, drill once" attitude. You don't want to accidentally erase a translated paragraph.
  • Make sure that there are no double spaces in the document. Here's an excellent trick to take care of that.
  • Make sure that the paragraph spacing is 100 % correct.
  • Make sure that all headings/sub-headings have been correctly inserted.
  • Make sure that the "[ ]" numbers for the footnotes in the text coincide with the same numbers on the explanatory texts at the bottom of the document.
  • Do a wordcount of the translated text (This includes any intro paragraphs or additional footnotes). Insert the number in the Trello card, beneath the wordcount for the original. If you want a wordcount tool that isn't the one in your word processor this is the one we recommend.

The Tao of the Guerrilla Translator containsdetailed sections for Wordpress formatting. As you will be assisted during formatting, we will not repeat those here.


Whether it's a probono article we publish online, or a translation we send to a client, proofreading is an essential part of the editing process. Most often, the copyeditor and proofreader are the same persons, but we subdivide the metrics used to track this work when they are not.

Are you confused by these two terms, "copyediting" and "proofreading". Fear not, the following is extracted from our wiki entry Difference between copyediting and proofreading:

"Editing is a process that takes more time, is more intensive and of a broader nature than proofreading. Just to clarify and for reference editing includes work such as reviewing and refining the text for consistent style, voice/tone and proper grammar, ensuring proper word usage, fixing awkward phrasing, possibly pointing out problems that may require a re-write, and also correcting spelling and punctuation in the process. Although the spelling and punctuation will naturally be part of the editing phase, it's not the last chance to fix these things.

Proofreading is the last stage before a work takes its final form, whether print or digital. At that point, all of the work listed above is finished, and it would likely be too late to get into a deeper level of change at the proofreading stage.

Proofreaders are also examining the work in its final, designed format, and so are responsible for typographical errors, the way that lines of text break and flow, etc. Proofreaders are not typically responsible for suggesting or making any kind of content changes.

Additionally, here are some links describing editing and proofreading. Also, you can use a little mnemonic trick to remember: editing is mainly for content, proofreading is the last stage review pre-press.

In practical terms, this means you will be proofreading a preformatted (put not publicly launched) article in Wordpress when doing love work and, alternatively, a word processor document when doing Livelihood work. This work is done by the proofreader alone, and neither comments or track changes are necessary at this stage. Read carefully, even out loud if needed, the formatted post preview and look for possible typos or grammatical errors. If there's anything that you feel can be improved, please do so. If anything weird pops us, the proofreader will consult with the copyeditor (which is particularly easy to do when they are the same person) or the translator.


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How we take care of the collective

Translations, editing, blog posting… this is what is generally known as productive work. As these tasks are mostly word-based, they are easy to quantify and assign credits for. But what about everything that leads directly or indirectly to paid work: Searching for clients, project management, quality control, relationship and trust building, etc.? All the invisible work that goes into holding the relationship together? This is reproductive work, or carework.

As mentioned before, in GT we distinguish between two types of care work: that for the health of the collective, and that for the living beings within. When we talking about the first, we perceive the collective is seen as a living entity/system (with a digital dimension codified on automated system).

Caring for its health implies doing the necessary admin and productive work for it to thrive; this can includes coop and business development, seeking and attending to clients, making sure our financial accounts and administrative paperwork are up to date, maintaining active relationships with authors, publishers, following through on our commitments… everything that you’d expect from a traditional agency or co-op.

The difference in GT/GMC is that we don't outsource this type to work to a management/coordinating class with privileged access to higher salaries, knowledge and decision making . Within the collective all full members are paid at the same rate, have easy access to the same knowledge (and are trained in how to make use of it) and participate in all decisions. Another difference with a traditional company is that there are no set roles held of specialised managers. Instead we have working circles, where all care work items are modular, easily visualized and can be picked up by any member of the collective.

Ways of caring for the health of the collective

Realistically, there are several categories of reproductive work impacting the health of the collective. Some will be kind of obvious, but others might be more surprising or unfamiliar, and hopefully more interesting. The advantage in re-describing “the category formerly known as ADMIN” is that now the terms might be more representative. We hope that this will make it easier to figure out what work you’ll choose to do.

Love Work

The easiest to describe, and probably the most obvious, is "translation admin" (much of this is outlined in greater detail in The Tao of the Guerrilla Translator, but we’ve included it here as contrast to other tasks.) In this section we will be speaking about Pro-bono translations and, while this work takes place within the Love Work area and is tallied by words, not hours, it is still a type of care work.

This is the standard set of tasks done before beginning a translation, including:

  • contacting the author
  • working out details about the author bio
  • determining which images will be used in the post including the license for the images

Work done after the translation is complete includes:

  • formatting for Wordpress
  • choosing social media extracts (creating a social media “matrix”)
  • posting and promoting on social media
  • publishing the post on the blog

Finally, if the piece seems particularly popular or relevant in a specialized way, we may choose to solicit specific websites that might be interested in republishing the piece, perhaps even for a little revenue.

This is all routine “translation care work”; exceptions happen, but this is the standard routine work we do.

Non-translation care work

Now, here are the other types of work formerly called “admin”. These live on our Carework Trello boards which in turn coincide with our Working Circles, and cover a wide range of things including:

Open Co-op and DisCO development

This has included a lot of investigation and correspondence in the past, but now mainly includes:

  • Correspondence and coordination with the organizations that support our co-op functions
  • Managing, discussing and modifying our organizational model and structure
  • Documenting the living evolution of the collective through the handbook and wiki
  • Forging alliances and exploring partnership possibilities with other co-ops and organizations
  • Seeking funding for our start-up phase
  • Keeping in touch and collaborating with our technical partners
  • Seeking advice, mentoring and consulting with selected advisors

as well as promoting both the pro-bono and revenue-generating business, including:

  • Maintaining active relationships with authors, publishers, bloggers, others, fostering mutually beneficial bonds (online and offline). Following through with our commitments (this is non-negotiable, as our reputation is in the hands of these people). This includes on time completion pro-bono translations we’ve contacted authors about; if we fail to do so after making contact, that makes it rather difficult to propose larger projects or “ventures”.
  • Creating ventures with these individuals and entities, including planning, scheduling, budgeting, team creation, and communication, using our workflow tools and protocols.
  • Taking part in online and real-time discussions, presentations, etc., establishing and maintaining our presence in an integral way - that is, not producing promotion or advertising, but rather being involved in other communities in the most natural and relevant ways we can.

All of this is vitally important: We aren't waiting for anything to come to us; we need to actively pursue the health of the collective, even when we're still in the process of building it. It isn't something that any one, or two, or even three of us is going to shoulder long-term. Building the relationships that “pay off” both in support and paying work isn't simple but it's what allows us to create a space of financial security for all members. While the reputation we've built has come hand-in-hand with a great deal of encouragement and offers of future projects, we can't rest with the few people who have extended that hand to us. There are many more, and we have to pursue them and engage with them.

Seeking work falls to all of us.

Website maintenance and Web Presence

This includes:

  • Ongoing management of our web hosting, domains, any fees, upgrades
  • Word Press maintenance
  • Maintaining and monitoring our online presence


  • Issue exploration and consensus building (via Loomio and other tools)
  • Working with the governance model
  • Defining and clarifying responsibilities, roles, and working circles
  • Mentoring and Mutual Support
  • Project, task and schedule management (Trello)
  • Procedure and protocol documentation (Wiki)
  • Teambuilding, including working on familiarizing new people with our procedures

Online Tools and Technology

  • Maintenance of tools, and supporting tutorial materials
  • Working on contributing to the development of our governance model and software

No one takes care of these tasks on their own, but within domain-oriented clusters which we call working circles. Let's take a closer look at them.


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The Working Circles

All Guerrilla Translators are stewards of several areas. This means that, although they may not directly work in any of these or even be the main contributors, they are ultimately responsible for their upkeep. Unlike the more "permissionless" aspects of being a Casual member or the more lax standards ofbeing a Transition Translator, full, committed Guerrilla Translators are expected to continually learn and improve in the areas they are working in. These general areas are known as working circles. The circles can be flexible, but they include:

  • Community (includes mentoring, mutual support, rhythms, tools and group culture)
  • Development (includes goals, structural and organizational development)
  • Media Peers (includes networking and alliances, social media, campaigns, etc)
  • Sustainability (includes lines of work, client attention, funding, etc)
  • Website/Tech (includes development and maintenance of GT’s site, front and backend)
  • Finance (Includes legal structure, taxes, invoices etc)
  • Dating (Includes aptitude testing, buddy-system and mentoring)

Circles are porous and not exclusive, but certain individuals will be the stewards for a circle. Who is part of what circle, circle stewards, etc are revised quarterly and recorded below and in the collective’s availability mapping page. Transition members are also expected to join various circles through their nine-month training, but they cannot become circle stewards until fully committed.

We will now take a brief look at the various circles. Each circle description contains links to the resources they use. These are explained in more detail in the Tools section of the handbook, but you have them here for future reference (you can also find them compiled in this wiki article, along with information about who's in each circle)


The Community work circle is where we do most of our "internal work" with committed and transition members. This means processing and maturing the collective, or norms, building resilience, our rhythms etc. It is one of the busiest subgroups and all members — whether Dating or Committed — are part of it by default.

Community Resources


The Development Subgroup is where we do most our Start-Up Phase work towards a resilient and mature collective. This means setting goals, developing timelines, tweaking the governance model etc. Its work areas are, effectively, shared with the Community Subgroup.

Development Resources

Media Peers

The Media Peers Circle is for our collective's porous relation with the "Outside". This includes social media, communiques, networking with other groups and collectives, press appearances, events etc.

Media Peers Resources


The Sustainability Circle deals with our collective's income and funding. This includes tentative projects (which, when confirmed, are trespassed to the Livelihood Area), creation of fundraising materials and relations with funders.

Sustainability Resources


The Websites/tech Circle deals with everything to do with our websites. Front-end, back-end, maintenance and dev.

Website Tech Resources


The Finance Circle deals with financial flows, payments, expenses, payroll, taxes, etc.

Finance Resources


The Dating Circle deals with material specially relevant for the Dating Phase (ie: people training in working with the collective). This means applicant evaluation, interviews and peer mentoring. The "mentoring" part very much overlaps with the Community Category.

Dating Resources


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How we take care of each other

We've already spoken about caring for the health of the collective, but what about its members? We seek to build trust and intimacy among all members, and our cooperative practices should never be solely dependent on technology or protocols such as this model. These are only tools to facilitate and strengthen our collaborative culture. We believe that cooperative cohesion is primarily based on healthy, consent-based heterarchical relationships, and to foster these, we have committed to certain regular practices. We have two main ways of caring for each other, mentoring and mutual support.


We've already spoken about our approach to mentoring and Peer to Peer learning in the Joining Guerrilla Translation chapter (go and check it out for a quick refresher).

As you will know by now, the more experienced translators mentor new translators in the productive activities of the collective. Beyond Guerrilla Translation's chosen craft, all members mentor each other in cooperative culture and, specifically, the tools and practices used in the collective. As we've noted before, mentoring is always bi-directional, peer to peer, and available to any committed member. The outputs of the mentoring process are recorded as part of our knowledge commons and openly shared through resources such as this handbook or our wiki. While mentoring is an ongoing process, special attention is paid to those members going through the Dating Phase. We don't expect everyone to know everything all the time, but Guerrilla Translators are expected to be able to mentor new members and each other in several areas.

During the Dating Phase, mentoring is handled by your GT Buddy. GT Buddies take Transition Translators through all aspects of working on the collective, the tools, our governance model, etc. They ensure that new members get all they need to meet a series of criteria on the way to becoming full, committed Guerrilla Translators. After the Dating Phase is over you will not have an exclusively assigned GT Buddy, instead you will become a new Dating Member's GT Buddy.

Full members will still receive assistance, of course, but it's now seen as a collective responsibility, rather than an individual one. Anyone needing mentoring support after the Dating Phase is encouraged to use the "Ask us Anything" Slack channel and Loomio thread, as well as the dedicated Slack channels or Loomio threads for specific topics.

Mutual Support

Looking after people, being attuned to others moods, needs and larger realities beyond the collective, caring for our wellbeing are all essential factors for creating a healthy work environment. The collective uses a system of mutual stewarding based on Loomio's practices. Every member, whether in the Dating or Fully Committed phase, has a specific person supporting them and every member supports another. Supported members have a safe space to express themselves and to be cared for and heard within the collective (while being reminded of the things they have committed to, etc.). Conflict resolution is also handled through the mutual support system, ensuring the distribution of personal care work.

While GT Buddies take care of mentoring, it is Mutual Support Pals who take care of another person's emotional well being. Every person in the collective has a Mutual Support Pal checking in on them regularly. They are always available when their care-receiving pal needs someone to talk to. Mutual Support Pals for each quarter are listed in our Roles/Availability Mapping entry.

The following section is mainly extracted from the Loomio Handbook's Stewarding Section with some modifications to fit in with GT's characteristics.

Here are some of the things you Mutual Support pal can do for you:

  • be the ones you talk to if your coworker is being a jerk
  • support you to meet your personal development goals
  • help make sure you do the things you said you were going to do
  • put a human face on talking to 'the organisation'

This, of course, has a degree of overlap with what your GT Buddy can do for you. The distinguishing feature is that your GT Buddy takes care of more objective procedural "worky" stuff, while the Mutual Support Pal is there mainly for subjective emotional support. These roles will normally be filled by two different persons but they are not exclusively, you may also give and receive help from other members, but your assigned Buddies and Pals are ultimately responsible for checking in on you with regularity. GT Buddies only last for whole duration of the dating phase, but you will always have a Mutual Support Pal. As we've spoken plenty about what your GT Buddy will do for you during the dating phase, let's now turn to what your pal does and when.

When you have an issue, you can approach a group through our dedicated Peer Support (or "Waaahmbulance") Slack Channel. But if you need more intimacy or quiet you always have a specific person you know you can turn to. Your pal can't solve every problem, but they are your point of contact to make sure the problem gets solved. If you don't know who to go to, you can always go to them.

Your pal is not there to manage your daily work. They are there to support you as an individual, and your relationship to the collective. They can be your mentor, or your guide, or your sounding board. If you ever get into a conflict situation, they’ll be by your side making sure you are well supported to a resolution.

Everyone working in GT has a Mutual Support Pal. These relationships facilitate connections across the collective, opportunities for exchanging insights, and deeper understanding of individuals and areas of work. They also help us ensure that we're looking after people. Their work is not passive though, your mutual support pal isn't waiting for you to call them, they will check in with you regularly.

Principles/Policies of our Mutual Support System

  • All active members (Dating and Committed) have Mutual Support Pals and do Mutual Support work for someone else
  • Two people can't both be each other's MSPs
  • On occasion members can support more than one person at a time, but we generally stick to a one to one ratio
  • The Community Circle facilitates the Mutual Support system overall
  • Mutual Support relationships are mutually agreed by both parties

Mutual Support relationships are evaluated every quarter. Are things going well? Then by all means continue. If the relationship is not working or you'd like more variety, there is always space for renegotiation. Eventual rotation (around once a year) is also encouraged as it allows to diversify the kind of support people get, while also investing in long-term supportive relationships.

Informally, your Mutual Support Pal should check in with you at least once a week, but should check in with you straight away if you signal any discomfort through your daily check in. Formally, you should set a call with your Pal once a month (and the same goes for when you are being someone else's pal)

Every mutual support relationship is different, and there are many different approaches. Some are more conversational and friendly, with mutual sharing from both parties. Sometimes pals offer advice or challenges. Other times they simply listen. Sometimes they follow a more structured pattern, checking in on action points or measuring progress over time.

The important thing is that the approach works for the person being supported. Mutual support is their time to get the support they need to bring their best self to the collective.

During the monthly call, your pal might ask you questions like:

  • how was last month? what did you like or dislike?
  • what do you want to do differently this month?
  • what longer term goals are you working on? how are you progressing on them since last time?
  • how can I best support you?
  • What do you need and how can those needs be met?
  • ...and sometimes the collective will suggest a prompt or theme for pals to bring up


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Conflict Resolution

In GT we strive to create a convivial atmosphere. While desirable this is by no means easy, especially in digital space, which is rife with misunderstanding. The following resources have been largely adapted from conflict resolution sections of the Loomio and Enspiral handbooks.

In GT we want to do conflict well. We want tensions between team members to be generative, healthy and productive. We want a culture of robust debate, honesty, and care - all in service of our goals and values.


  • Resolve conflicts as close as possible to the people involved. Begin with the people directly involved, and widen from there as needed.
  • We have mutual responsibility and care for each other. We act in good faith and work to be constructive, empathetic, and honest. We resolve conflicts with both our individual needs and the needs of the collective in mind.
  • When disagreement becomes conflicted and is blocking progress, is hurtful or harmful, a resolution needs to be found. We engage to the best of our ability to resolve conflict, and seek help when needed.
  • Anyone affected by a conflict can escalate an issue that is not being resolved at the current level of engagement.
  • Resolution means the parties involved feel heard, the agreed outcome or change is clear, and normal decision-making and activity within Loomio is possible. If a conflict continues to negatively impact an individual or the team, it is not resolved.
  • Loomio employer–employee relationships are covered by the minimum employment rights guaranteed by New Zealand law. This includes the requirement that employers and employees deal with each other in ‘good faith’.

By "escalation" we don't mean "making the conflict worse", we are talking about widening the scope to involve other members and ways of communicating.

Organisational Resources

This is how we equip ourselves to approach a breakdown in communication productively.

Resources are for everyone to access and use to take responsibility for our own behaviour and also to support others with theirs.

Conflict resolution practice

Clear communication and supportive mentoring are two of our core values. As practises, clear communication and ongoing support are enabled through the following practices:

  • Ongoing mentoring about our communication systems, culture and conflict resolution process are essential parts of our onboarding (Dating) phase.
  • Regular team processes to reflect on our systems and raise any issues, such as sprint standups and retrospectives, check-in rounds at meetings.
  • Prompts in mutual support basic communication and monthly sessions to work through any conflicts or problems between individuals, or between an individual and the collective as a whole.
  • Continuous focus on smooth, effective, empathetic communication online and offline (when possible) within the team. A culture of giving direct constructive feedback, listening to one another, and asking for help when needed.

Conflict resolution in action

We endeavour to resolve conflicts at the lowest possible escalation step, but agree to escalate conflicts if they are not resolved. Here is the process:

Contemplate the conflict through personal reflection & individual support

  • Think through what happened.
  • Take time and space to process and clarify your thinking if you feel confused, overwhelmed, or are experiencing strong emotions.
  • Note uncertainties and possible misunderstandings in your interactions, including cultural differences.
  • Distinguish people's actions from your feelings about them. They're both important, but they're different.
  • Distinguish disagreement from personal hostility. We're allowed to disagree, dissent and discuss.
  • Talk to a trusted friend, colleague, or your Mutual Support pal to work through your own perspective and experience.
  • Ask yourself what part you played in it, what you could have done different, and what your needs are to improve the situation.

Approach the person or persons whom you may be in conflict with

Do you feel ready to communicate with the individual in question? As we're a mostly digital collective, where you have this conversation matters. We call this Escalating the Bandwidth:

"Whenever misunderstanding or conflict arise, escalate the bandwidth of the channel. If you’re on Loomio (asynchronous text) move to chat (synchronous text), chat to a voice call, voice call to video call, video call to in person meeting."

Consider your communication approach and ensure a mutually agreeable time and place for conversation, including adequate privacy. The ideal is that you develop a plan together. Here are some guidelines:

  • Foster inclusive dialogue by sharing ideas, asking clarifying questions, and responding to others' ideas.
    • Identify personal wants and needs.
    • Make offers or requests.
  • In complex conflicts, develop points of agreement to facilitate progress.
  • Propose plans to treat conflict in a mutually satisfactory way.
  • Mutually sign written plans in serious cases, or whenever desired.
  • Follow up later to discuss progress.

See what works best for you. If you feel you need to go beyond individual work to resolve the problem, escalate to the next step.

Reach out for supported communication

If you're unable to resolve a conflict on your own, invite conversation. The sooner the better:

  • Bring in your Mutual Support pal to host a conversation with the people involved. The other party might want to bring their pals, too. If the Mutual Support pals feel insufficiently resourced, or you’ve tried and it didn’t resolve the conflict, escalate to the next step.
  • If the previous steps have not resolved the conflict, reach out to the Community Steward or ask your Mutual Support pal. They will try to find a mutually agreeable next step, such as hosting a mediation themselves, or inviting an external mediator or other expert in.

If the above steps are not successful in resolving the conflict, the situation will be escalated beyond the conflict resolution process and become a structural matter for the coop to handle. At this stage, the stewards will be engaged to gather all the information about the situation and figure out next steps. Irresolvable conflicts may lead to someone leaving the collective, referral to external authorities if relevant, or systemic/structural changes to our collective.


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Legal backbone

For most of its history Guerrilla Translation has been a DBA of the P2P Foundation. As agreed in our Hervás 2018 meeting GT is in the process of incorporating within a cooperative structure that coincides with its governance model.

Stay tuned for updates.

Convivial Tools

"In his book ‘Tools for Conviviality’ (1973), the late Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich argued that the nature of modern ‘tools’, from machines to schools, had the effect of making people dependent and undermined their own natural abilities. What he called “convivial tools” were those that encouraged people to think for themselves and be more socially engaged."

"Convivial tools are those which give each person who uses them the greatest opportunity to enrich the environment with the fruits of his or her vision"
Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality (1973)

Now that you've learned about how we work together and care for each other, it's time to take a look at the tools we use to communicate and help us create a good atmosphere.

When we speak about "tools" we are specifically referring to digital collaboration tools. As a primarily online collective we use these to:

  • Create a healthy communication atmosphere
  • Ensure holoptism, transparency and modularity of tasks
  • Increase our efficiency so we can concentrate on productive work and mutual support, not endless procedural tasks
  • Implement a system that follows a certain logic and makes things easy to find.

In GT conviviality doesn't necessarily rely on the design of the tools themselves, but on our usage of them. Some of these are designed and licensed in accordance with GT's values, while others are not but, overall, they are structural enablers for the practice of our culture.

Our toolbox, as you will see below, is continually evolving, but in these sections you will learn about the logic that ties our workflow system together and how the tools reflect our governance model and structure. We will also take a closer look at each individual tool and will provide additional resources for you to get the most out of each one.

Intro: don't panic!

This section of the handbook focuses more on why we use these tools rather than how to use them. We especially want you to learn about our online collaboration system and its logic. We will be looking at each of the tools and what they are used for, but most of the learning will come from lived experience and practice. Here your GT Buddy will work with you through screencasts where you will use the tools first hand with their guidance. The following sections and the wiki also contain links to additional tutorials and resources.

We have carefully researched, tested and chosen these particular tools to handle our production, development and governance processes. You may also already be familiar with some of them; that will serve you in good stead, but also pay special attention to the particular practices we apply to each tool. It's important to ensure that we use the tools in ways which are recognizable to each other and don't create extra work — or cleaning someone else's mess. To achieve this we will take all the time that's needed to mentor you in the best usage of the tools. And this mentoring is, of course, ongoing.

Like learning to drive or cook, getting to grips with this system is an evolving process — no one expects you to get it all straight away. Our general approach to learning follows a sequence: start with the floodlight (general understanding of the logic underlying the system) and, only once you understand the big picture, turn to the spotlight (precise understanding of every component). Take things one step at a time, work with your GT Buddy and don't be too concerned about rote memorization. You will soon enough recognize how the system works and will begin to take steps on your own, unassisted. It's very hard to break things, so feel free to take an exploratory approach — we will give you feedback at every step of the way.

Our priority at the moment is to maintain both flexibility and resiliency, so we have chosen tools that we can rely on now, while keeping our options open for when change becomes necessary, or the change presents an improvement to our existing systems. We have also experimented with a wide selection of tools including open source and proprietary products.

These are the tools we are using right now: the tools themselves are subject to change, but the logic behind their use will not. We want to use more Open Source tools and are invested in co-creating our own tools with sympathetic allies to help deploy the technical/structural aspects of our governance model.

One thing we’re steadfastly avoiding is committing to an all-in-one tool. This is for a few important reasons, not the least of which is that it would obviously leave us vulnerable if the enterprise behind the tool suddenly folded. But more than that, we’re interested in learning more about, and getting involved with, the tools themselves and the people behind them.

One final word before we dive in: This list is not exhaustive, we also use email (although we hate it!), VOIP tools, tools for Social Media outreach, word processors etc. In particular, we also make heavy use of Wordpress for the blog where we publish our pro-bono work. This is all detailed in the Tao of the Guerrilla Translator (and is something your GT Buddy will walk you through) but, for now, we will be focusing on the suite used in our day to day communication and carework. Let's get started.

The Guerrilla Translation Toolbox

As we've mentioned, the Guerrilla Translation Toolbox is not a collection of isolated tools, but a system carefully designed to work together. As such the logic of the toolbox takes precedence over the tools themselves. You can also see it as a "collage" of tools, we (the artists) have pasted it together mindfully so each element can work together, reinforcing each other with an underlying logic. The result is a coherent picture built from separate components. The full picture may not be immediately apparent but, as you read these lines and experiment with these tools, it will begin to take shape and definition.

In the preceding sections we've often remarked on the particularities of working together within a digital/online space and our aim to make things feel as human and intimate as possible. The tools are no exception and, one way to overcome that digital/lived divide is by seeing the tools as an office or shared space — a place where we can talk to each other, find things easily and see what everyone is up to (while also maintaining safe spaces and privacy).

Work Areas

This Toolbox (or workflow system) is the result of five years of work, experimentation and constant refinement. It has been shaped to mirror our governance model and the various types of tracked value (Love, Livelihood, Care) that we create. The system is divided into four main areas:

You will already be familiar with these, but let's enumerate them briefly:

  • The Love area deals with Pro-bono work
  • The Livelihood area deals with Agency/Paid work
  • The Care area deals with caring for the health of the collective and its members
  • The Projects area deals with large projects or ventures that require more detail and may combine elements from the other areas

We will not go into detail about the Projects area for now. Suffice to say that a project uses the same tools but usually merits a larger space to communicate and work together. Previous examples have been book translations, website development sprints, event organization etc. A task moves from the three other areas to the Project area when it becomes too large and complex. Projects are also generally time bound. Once the project is completed, the subgroup is considered archived.

Meanwhile, the Love and Livelihood areas deal with productive work, while the Care area, deals with reproductive work. As we've previously explained, care is at the core of how we work in GT. It also encompasses what in a mainstream organization would be termed as "admin". This includes things like how we seek and sustain paid work, how we develop the project and the conversations that we're having.

In the following sections we will be focusing on the Care area. The other areas use the exact same tools, so learning through Care will give you the needed familiarity to freely explore every other area.

The Subgroups

Each area contains a set of topic-specific subgroups. These are very much related to our Working Circles, please refer to that section to get a better idea of what each subgroup does. What follows is a list of each subgroup, nested under the four main areas with very brief descriptions.

Our Areas and Subgroups. Click here to access and navigate this mindmap.


  • GT.ES (Pro-bono target Spanish work)
  • GT.ORG (Pro-bono target English work)


  • Target ES (Agency/paid target Spanish work)
  • Target ENG (Agency/paid target Spanish work)


    • Community (includes mentoring, mutual support, rhythms, tools and group culture)
    • Sustainability (includes goals, structural and organizational development)
    • Media Peers (includes networking and alliances, social media, campaigns, etc)
  • Inbox (includes inbound projects and proposals which are then moved to other subareas)
  • Websites/Tech (includes development and maintenance of GT’s site, front and back end)
  • Finance (Includes legal structure, taxes, invoices, etc)
  • Dating (Includes aptitude testing, buddy-system and mentoring)


  • Lucas9000 Dev (Development for our DisCO backend software/ledger)
  • Free, Fair and Alive (Book Translation and promotion project)

The four main areas and subgroups are reflected in our digital toolbox. What this means is that each area and subgroup has dedicated channels or categories within all of the tools. To see what this looks like you can access our interactive Mindmap (see image above), or our Spreadsheet. Both will allow you to click on links to access each of the tools under their respective Area/subgroup.

Your Toolbox '''is '''the browser

Remember what we said about all-in-one-tools? If you're longing for integration, we have a solution: see your web-browser as one integrated tool.

This approach assumes you will be working on a computer (ie: not phone or tablet) and is a particularly useful way to conceive of (and work with) the tool box. We have a name for this approach: Browser Tab Based Workspaces (or BTBWs). If you want more details on how to set one up, read this article in our wiki.

A BTBW is basically a set of web bookmarks compiled within a folder. When you want to work on something in particular, you use this folder to open all associated webpages together, giving you a set of tabs for your workspace. In GT we have BTBW "recipes" for Carework, Translation, Social Media etc, check out the wiki entry above for more info.

Focusing again on carework, the recommended BTBW follows a logical sequence, from left to right:

From L toR: Clockify, Slack, Loomio, Trello, G-Drive, Wiki

We will now introduce the tools by looking at the sequence. Click on the name of each tool to visit its specific section in the handbook:

  1. Clockify: Time Tracking
  2. Slack: Synchronous Communication
  3. Loomio: Asynchronous Communication/Decision Making
  4. Trello: Task and project management
  5. G-Drive: Collaborative writing/File storage
  6. Wiki: Documentation

So, in sequence, we use Clockify to time track our work, productive and, in particular, Care work hours. We use Slack to discuss things in real time, to ask questions or for quick consultations. When we want to make sure that important things don't get lost in the chatter, we hold conversations in Loomio; these conversations also incorporate decision making. Once we've decided to do something, we keep track of the task (or project) progress and to-dos in Trello. When we need to store large files, images or collaborate on a written document, we use G-Drive. Once the process is over and we have learned something, we use the Wiki to document and open source this knowledge.

To see it another way, let's go back to the office analogy we used earlier. In the office Clockify would be the punch clock, Slack is the cafeteria, where we talk informally, or the equivalent of going over to someone else's desk for a chat. Loomio is the boardroom, where we take decisions, Trello is the whiteboard and planner, G Drive is the file cabinet and the Wiki is our public report.

To learn more about the GT Toolbox, watch the following screencast tutorial. It covers much of the same ground, but includes onscreen examples of how the tools relate to each other.


Learning more about each tool

The following sections cover the basics of each tool in the GT toolbox. We have ordered them following the sequence described above. These are not in-depth tutorials. The best way to learn is to play with the tools and, yes, to make lots of mistakes in the process! Don't worry, your GT Buddy is there to guide you. Each section links to the corresponding Wiki page on each tool, where you will find additional resources. Also, all of the following entries present a similar structure:

  • A description of the tool
  • What we use the tool for
  • What the tool is and isn't for
  • How we use it
  • Additional Resources and Tutorials
    • Video tutorials produced by the makers of the tools
    • GT video tutorial
    • Links and resources

We will also include a link for the suggested browser tab based workspace for each tool. Direct tools hyperlinks within the Areas and Subgroups can be found in the Mindmap for our Spreadsheet.

Time tracking

During the four or so years we've spent developing the governance model we kept arriving at an impasse: "how do we account for non-productive or admin work"? The initial idea was to give tasks a credit value, redeemable on completion, but that was always problematic. We were wary about time-based accounting for several reasons, mainly to do with trust. Longtime Guerrilla Translator Susa Oñate cracked this by suggesting the 9-month Dating phase to foster trust during the Hervás June 2018 meeting. If you've read the section on Carework Value you'll know that time tracking is an essential element in Guerrilla Translation and we are quite careful about how to do it. This extends to the tools we use to ensure accurate and transparent time tracking — in this case Clockify.

About Clockify

Clockify was created as a free, scalable alternative to Toggl, an almost identical tool we were previously using — until its cost became too prohibitive. Like some of the other proprietary tools, we hope to replace it in the future with something just as good, or better.


At its heart there's not much mystery to using Clockify: it's a stopwatch, you start it when you begin working on something, you stop it when you're finished. The devil lies in the details of course and, perhaps more importantly, the habits of time tracking. Time tracking can feel uncomfortable and/or invasive, so we will spend some time discussing these discomforts and the best way to overcome them. This is part of the support provided by your GT Buddy and Mutual Support Pal, so you will always have someone to help you time track and explain the technical details, as well as someone else to talk you through any possible emotional difficulties related to it.

What we use Clockify for

Time tracking is an essential component of the Open Coop governance/economic model. Like anything else, it's a matter of practice, exploring and forming habits. As you will see, the way we time track is quite precise. What is the reason for this? This has to do with mutual accountability, i.e. not toward an external authority, but we account our activities within the collective towards each other. To achieve this, we need absolute clarity and a high level of precision. This leads us to one of the essential qualities of our tool system: holoptism, or the ability for everyone to see what everyone else is doing.

Clarity provides information on how to best allocate our resources. Time tracking in particular lets us know how long certain tasks take and whether a work circle or person needs help on any given area. Most importantly, it clearly highlights what could otherwise be relegated to invisible work. Time tracking is not a mechanistic protocol for us to distribute value or levy penalties. It serves to clarify conversations about how we spend our time and effort in the collective.

Going back to some of the personal difficulties we mentioned earlier, we understand that time tracking is a process that may call into question your personal work habits and idiosyncrasies. For example, you may be a happy multitasker, prefering to pick and choose among various kinds of tasks. Although this is generally not recommended, we respect your style. Clockify actually allows you to do this, but you'll have to work a little bit like a DJ (using more than two decks) and track a few minutes, here, another few there, etc.

Time tracking can feel normative, because it requires discipline but, to quote Robert Fripp "Discipline is never an end in itself, only a means to an end." What is the end here? To ensure fairness and transparency in contributions and to uphold the governance model we've all agreed to take forward. If this takes some time and effort, it is worth it and, as mentioned above, we will help you every step of the way. Think of it as self-development that is also beneficial for the health of the project.

What Clockify is for

Clockify IS for:

  • Time tracking
  • Visualizing what everyone is doing and how long it takes
  • Having clear data for our sprints, retrospectives and resource planning
  • Allocate Care hours in the governance model
  • Help you manage your time better
  • Help you fill in your Daily check-in

How we use Clockify


Suggested bookmark for BTBW: Clockify Tracker

While clockify has their own tutorial videos (see playlist above) we will concentrate on how we use it in GT.

Time tracking is essential for determining carework value (or care hours). We also use time tracking in the other three main areas — Love, Livelihood and Projects. The other three have peculiarities which we will explain below but, for now, we'll use the carework area as an example. To choose the work area you'll be time tracking, simply click on your username at the top of the left column and switch between areas:

Choosing workspaces in Clockify

Basic time tracking and choosing projects

As mentioned before, basic operation of Clockify is stupidly simple: you use the big red button to activate it and stop it. That's it. The necessary complexity comes with the fact that you have to determine what you're working on/time tracking exactly. This is done through something that Clockify calls "projects". Projects mainly correspond to existing Trello cards (and, depending on the project Loomio threads). Say for example that I'm going to work on Wiki content. There is an established Trello card with that name, so it follows that the Clockify project will be named identically. There are several ways to determine the project you're time tracking. The easiest by far is to use the Project Button to the right of the timer:

When you click it a search box will pop up. Following our example, you would type "Wiki" here and see what comes up:

As you can see from the image, this gives you all wiki related tasks, organized by subgroups. In this case, you'd choose wiki content .

Now that you've chosen the task, you can also describe what part of the task you're working on. As you will see below, a task on a Trello card is usually broken down by subtasks, so maybe, in Wiki Content you could be editing the Glossary. In that case you would write down Glossary in the area to the left of the project (Where it says "What's up", above). While we would like you to be very organized with the project you're choosing to time track, you can be more lax with the current-task description. It can still be very helpful though when seeing how long each subtask takes, so keep that in mind. Here is what that would look like:

Another way to start and stop the time is by simply hitting play on a recent entry. These are listed below the time. So in this case let's say I want to pick up again on one of the tasks I was doing yesterday — in this case our Quarterly Evaluation (Trello card here). I will search for it among the entries below and hit play:

This way of hitting play from the menu can help with what we refer to as "multitasking DJing". You start with one thing: hit play, switch to another, hit play on the second task, and so on.

Now that we've discussed choosing projects, let us highlight something very important: you're not time tracking projects for yourself, you're time tracking them for the group. This means that, for example, whenever anyone is working on "Wiki content", they will track using the same category. When we are all in a quarterly evaluation, we do the same and so on. This allows us to have team-wide data for each shared project, as we will explain below.

General projects

There are certain carework tasks which do not have their own Trello card. These are more general or "big picture" tasks. Within Clockify these exist as Gen projects. Say that you're chatting on Slack? Type "Gen" in the search field and choose "General Slack work" under Community. Say you're writing an email to a possible partner? Type Gen and choose "Gen External Comms/email" and so on. These Gen Projects are pretty self-explanatory, but when in doubt, ask your GT Buddy. Some of them like "Gen Trello work" mean that you're updating your tasks in Trello, etc. but, once you choose a task, hone down and start time tracking it by its specific name. It will help everyone.

Gen projects at the time of writing

The other notable exception to the Trello card/Clockify project binary is the Daily Check-in, which has its own project within carework. In fact, on the subject of the check-in: Clockify is the best way of seeing what you did yesterday. It's all right there!

Creating new projects

What if the task you're working on doesn't exist as a project? It may be a new project we've agreed on. What do you do? Creating new projects is easy: Go to "projects" on the left hand column. When the Projects page opens up, hit the big green "Create New Project" button on the top right.

There are, however, three very important considerations:

  1. When creating the project, the window will prompt you to make it a private or public project. Private is the default, but for GT all projects must be public. This cannot be overstated, tick the "public" box when creating projects.
  2. Don't create projects on your own. Always make sure that the task has been discussed and approved in Loomio or on a call. When in doubt, please consult with your GT buddy before creating any new project.
  3. Projects are categorized under the main subgroups we've discussed before. So, for example, when time tracking projects/tasks are related to fundraising, the projects have to exist within the "Sustainability" category. This is helpful for each particular work circle. To do this, click on "Select client" and choose the subgroup from the client dropdown.

To give an example, say that we've discussed creating a Newsletter. It's been agreed on in Loomio (see below) but the project doesn't exist for it yet in Clockify. So you go to Projects and add "Create New Project". In the pop up you'll write "Newsletter" as the project name, choose the colour of your liking and then, most importantly, click the "Public (visible to all workspace members)" bix and choose a subgroup/working circle under "Select client".

Double time tracking/credit allocation

This is extremely important, please read carefully:

Some timed-projects may overlap between the Carework and livelihood/love areas. In these cases you and the Community Circle stewards must determine whether your work is tracked on care hours or credits. What you must never do is time track and receive livelihood/love credits '''and '''Care hours for the same task.

For example, I'm interested in seeing how long it takes me to complete a translation. To do this I time track it by creating a project with the translation's name. However, this is just for info and does not count as care-hours. The probono translations (and pre and post production, copy editing and diffusion tasks) are measured in Love Credits, as explained earlier. Similarly, say that a client contacts us to subtitle a video. Whomever is communicating with the client and organizing the team tracks their time as carehours, but, as soon as they are actually performing the subtitling work, this is counted as Livelihood credits.

This leads to the somewhat confusing situation that within Love and Livelihood, where certain tasks are considered as carework and retributed in care hours (even if they're within other areas) while others are measured in credits. In fact, there may be tasks (as in the paid translation example above) where the same Clockify project will incorporate some work tracked in hours and other work tracked in credits. It's very important to know which is which and never track the same contributions under both systems.

The way to do this on Clockify is by labelling projects as "billable" or not. Billable projects are compensated in Care Hours, non-billable are tracked in either Love or Livelihood credits. This is very easy to do. Immediately to the left of the running time you will find an icon with a Dollar sign. When it's blue it means that time is being tracked as billable. When it's not it isn't and we know that that time is being tracked as credits. Within the carework area all work is billable (as there are no Love or Livelihood credits, just care hours). Only the Love, Livelihood and Project areas may present a combination of billable/non billable time entries.

So, like everything else to do with time tracking, the mechanics of this are very simple, but it's also very easy to make mistakes. This is the reason that we recommend that Dating members start time tracking with supervision during Stage One of the Dating Phase to familiarise themselves with Clockify's interface and these peculiarities. From Stage Two onward you should be able to time track mainly on your own, and this is important in relation to your Historical credits. As a team it is our shared responsibility to go through the hours on a weekly basis to make sure that no one has accidentally done something odd . Time entries can be edited easily, so that doesn't pose a problem. What would is having a wrong or double time entry go undetected.

If there is any confusion with this, please contact the community coordinators ASAP as we literally cannot afford to make mistakes with our credit/hours accounting.

Downtime Breaks

If you're following the Pomodoro technique (highly recommended), you can leave the time on for five minutes (if you're taking a break every 25 minutes) or ten (if you break every 50). We all need to stretch and take our mind off tasks regularly, and this is part of work too.

However, if you break is longer than five or ten minutes, do not time track. As a rule of thumb it's better to manually add the extra minutes in the timer field and end the task rather than leaving it running while you're stretching etc. This only applies when staying focused on one task for at least 25 minutes, not to multitasking. Finally, if you don't take a break after one hour, that's on you, don't give yourself any additional (or even proportional) downtime minutes.

Reports and visualizations

Clockify's powerful visualizations helps us discuss and distribute Carework thanks to its powerful visualizations. The simplest way to visualise your work (and that of the team) is by clicking on dashboard on the left hand menu. This brings you to a page where you can select to see what you've done on any given day/week/month, both the total amount of hours and what these have been subdivided by. To see what the team has been doing, activate the "team" button on the top left.

For a more detail overview of carehours, head on over to reports, also on the left hand menu. This allows to call up all kinds of filterable information. The default is "This week/all projects/all team members", but can determine the dates, users or projects you want to visualise in detail. Find out more about the various options of the reports function here.


So far we have been focused mainly on the Carework area and its corresponding workspace in Clockify. Workspaces are kept totally separate. Ie: projects, time entries, visualizations, etc. aren't visible from one space to another. We do this to help prevent confusion between carehours and love and livelihood credits. It also helps us keep track of the "exceptions" we mentioned above about billable carehours within the Love and Livelihood areas. The workspaces are like totally separate silos, but switching from one to other is extremely easy: Just click on your username on the left hand column and a pop-up menu lets you navigate the various workspaces:

You can find out more about how to use workspaces in this tutorial.

Additional Clockify Resources and Tutorials

Although we've explained the main features related to GT, a quick browse through Clockify's help page will give you another perspective and additional insights on how to best use the tool. Here are some selections below:

Synchronous Communication

As a digital collective we need a place to hang out online, be able to send timeline messages, contact any team member directly, or even goof around. Synchronous Communication means in real time, what we talk about simultaneously. For this we use a tool specifically designed for online collaborating teams called Slack.

About Slack

Slack is a tool which began as an internal communications and collaboration solution during the development of an online game. "Slack" is an acronym for "Searchable Log of All Conversations and Knowledge" and you can think of it as a messaging app (think Telegram, Whatsapp) on steroids. On that point, the reason we don't use the same messaging apps you may use in your phone is because Slack gives us a sense of intimate space—part of the office metaphor we mentioned earlier. Phone apps can mix your social, family and work life, but we use Slack only for GT. It is also searchable, integrates with our other tools, allows attachments and the creation of groups. These "conversation" groups correspond to the Area/subgroup structure we've described above, but Slack also allows you to have one-on-one conversations with team members or to easily create conversation spaces for small team "clusters" of three or four people.


Slack (like Trello, or G-Drive below) is proprietary software. We've tried open source alternatives such as Riot and Mattermost but they didn't allow the accessibility and rapid implementation that Slack has given us. As with the other proprietary tools, Slack may get substituted in due time for other open source tools or, perhaps, our own custom built ones, but the purpose of this overview is mainly to discuss how we use Slack and what we use it for. This knowledge can then be taken forward to whatever tool(s) we may use in the future.

What we use Slack for

Slack is the space where we hold real time conversations. These are organized through channels which mostly correspond to the subgroups we described on our Tools Mindmap and Spreadsheet. It allows us to quickly connect with each other, share in-the-moment updates and create a sense of "real" space.

We use the chanels to talk about the topics which are relevant there and which, often, mirror the working circles, so you can think about some of the channels as small meeting rooms where you catch up with your working circle peers. We use the one-on-one conversations to talk to each other, focus in small groups and create trust. There are also other channels which are not so focused on the work circle or direct communication aspects but on team culture. You can read more about these below.

It is very important, however, to distinguish the type of communication that takes place in Slack (synchronous) from the type which takes place in Loomio (asynchronous). The following is taken from Patterns for Decentralised Organising:

The “trinity of digital comms”:

  • Realtime/synchronous: like chat, messenger, or Slack. Informal, quick, organised around time: it's about right now. Short-term memory.
  • Asynchronous: like email, forum or Loomio. More formal, organised around topic. Has a subject + context + invitation. Can take days or weeks. Makes a useful archive, considered comments rather than random messy chatter. Long-term memory.
  • Static: like a wiki, Google Docs, handbook, or FAQ. Very formal, usually with an explicit process for updating content.

Depending on your work, you will need different tools. The important thing is that you have an agreement together about what tools are for what job. With a shared understanding of the tools, they all fit together beautifully. When people have different ideas, it gets messy.


What Slack is (and isn't) for

Slack IS for:

  • One on one conversations and quick check-ins
  • Working circle real-time communication
  • Our daily check-in
  • Urgent announcements
  • Off-topic and fun stuff

Slack ISN'T for:

  • Having long discussions, making announcements everyone needs to see and acknowledge or voting on decisions (use Loomio)
  • Figuring out how we work and how we go forward (use Loomio)
  • Workflow and project management (use Trello)
  • Specific tasks (use Trello)
  • Attaching documents that have to do with specific tasks (use Trello)
  • Setting precise deadlines in tasks (use Trello)
  • Attaching readily available documents for larger tasks (use G-Drive)
  • Writing collaborative documents (use G-Drive)
  • A searchable repository for information (use the Wiki)


How we use Slack

Suggested bookmark for BTBW: Slack Unread Messages

Basic usage of Slack is pretty intuitive. You visit our Slack page and check if there are any unread messages. Some of these are part of what Slack calls "threads" . The threads are sometime easy to miss, but you can find them compiled here. Otherwise, unread messages are clearly marked by a red dot in whatever channel they may appear. You will also be notified whenever someone @mentions your name. All in all Slack is a spruced up chat program with team features, you'll know how to use it pretty quick. Basic usage aside, there are some recommended guidelines to make sure your Slack experience works well for you and the rest of the team. Check them out below.

Slack Hygiene:

Be respectful of everyone's time and attention. The following tips will help you make sure you are using Slack in a way that's most beneficial to the collective:

  • If adding a message on a collective channel first ask yourself, "Will this message/comment be useful for everyone right now?" If yes, then post to your heart's content! If no, then ping particular people through direct messaging, or if the info will be relevant to everyone on the long term, then add it to a relevant Loomio thread.
  • When replying to a message/comment that is quite particular and may not be relevant to everyone, then do so by clicking on the dialogue icon next to the emoji one. This basically prompts a direct reply, rather than a new message. This helps to keep the related info all together instead of mixed and lost in the thread.
  • Keep on topic. Use the Daily Channel only for daily check-ins , use the right channels for the right conversations (this lets us retrieve info more easily and allows working circle members to catch up if needed without having to search all over).
  • If you want to stay focused on what's relevant, mute the channels which aren't part of your work circles (find out how here).

Slack-only channels

As mentioned before, there are a number of channels which are exclusive to Slack only, i.e. they are not work-circle (or project) specific or reflected on our tool diagrams. We will now describe what each is for.

  • Ask us anything: Inspired by the Reddit threads of the same name, "Ask us anything" does what it says on the tin. Ask away! You can see this as the channel for mentoring when you want to speak to the larger group and not just your GT Buddy. For longer questions which may benefit everyone, there is also this Loomio thread.
  • Daily Check-in: This is one of our most important channels and where our daily communication rhythm takes place. We usually acknowledge everyone's check in with an emoticon. If you want to follow up on what anyone says, direct message them, but keep "Daily Check-in" just for the check-ins.
  • General: Everyone is included in the General channel by default. We use it announce video calls, or team-wide check-ins and announcements that are too big for any one circle . Use judiciously.
  • Peer support: Is for non-work, supportive conversation. Want to talk about your feelings or just vent? This is the place. Like "Ask us Anything" above, this is the channel associated with mutual support, and you can use it when you want to share beyond your Mutual Support Pal.
  • Random: A place for non-work-related flimflam, faffing, hodge-podge or jibber-jabber you'd prefer to keep out of more focused work-related channels. Want to share memes and talk about Tarot decks? Do it here.
  • Thanks: What's this channel for? Thank someone or something and find out!
  • Tools: Have a quick question to ask about Tools? Then do so here. For longer questions, use this Loomio thread.
  • Translation help: GT is a translation and general communication/language services collective. Need translation and language help? Ask here.

Additional Slack Resources and Tutorials

As a well funded company Slack has very excellent introductory and inclusive help materials. This unfortunately doesn't happen so much in the Open Source space (Loomio is an outstanding exception). Many of the following links are sourced from the Slack Help Center. The tutorials and help pages there are designed to be read sequentially for an easier learning curve or just used for reference. It also features an excellent search function. Slack doesn't have much of a learning curve, (especially when compared to Trello or the Wiki) so these additional tutorials will not be as necessary as the ones for other tools. They will, however, make your Slack experience more comfortable and valuable, so take a look!

Asynchronous communication, decision making

If you look back at the Decision Making Section of the Governance Model (and, in particular to the section on the actual process) you will see references to different types of votes and ways for us to make democratic, consent-based decisions. How are these decisions being made? Through a wonderful online tool called Loomio.

About Loomio

As a project born out of the Occupy Movement and led by friendly New Zealand hackers, it's no secret that we're great fans of Loomio. It's also a good thing that they both know and dig GT, so it's a happy collaboration for all involved. They also happen to be a worker-owned coop and part of Enspiral, a fascinating entrepreneurial collective and one of our great inspirations.

Here's Alanna Irving from Loomio talking about Occupy Wellington and the birth of the project:

"A group of key organizers of the encampment in front of City Hall in our city in 2011 heard that we were 'good with technology' and came to see us. They described their challenges trying to make consensus decisions with a large group of people—loud voices were dominating the discussion, and people who didn't have a lot of time to commit were being marginalized. They were missing out on the power of including a truly diverse range of perspectives.

Could we develop a tool to solve the problem of collaborative decision-making online?

We were shocked, and excited: a bunch of protesters had the same problems with decision-making that we, as a business, had! As soon as we realized we were facing the same challenges, we knew that if we could develop a solution that would work equally well for them as for us, we'd really have something.

We told them we couldn't do it for them, but we could do it with them. So, we gave them a desk in our office and got to work."

The following has been copied from Loomio's What is Loomio page:

An overview of Loomio and how it works

Loomio is a simple, user-friendly online tool for collaborative decision-making. Loomio lets you host discussions online, invite the right people to participate, come to timely decisions and transform deliberation into real-world action.

People use it for all kinds of things, from approving funding applications to cooperative governance and stakeholder engagement. The case studies section shows a variety of ways groups have used Loomio.


How it works in four steps

1. Gather

A Loomio group is an online place for people to have discussions and make decisions together.

2. Discuss

Anyone in the group can start a discussion. Everyone in the group is able to participate.

3. Propose

Proposals are the defining feature of Loomio. Use a proposal to move a discussion towards conclusion. If you’re wondering how to move a conversation forward, the answer is almost always to start a proposal!

4. Decide & Act

While a proposal is open, everyone in the group can state their position:

  • Agree if you’re happy with the proposal.
  • Abstain if you’re ok for the group to decide without you.
  • Disagree if you believe there might be a better alternative.
  • Block if you’ve got serious objections.

When you select your position, you can also enter a short statement to explain why. This creates a succinct summary of what everyone thinks.

When the proposal closes, you can post an outcome so everyone knows what the result was and the next steps.

Over time you’ll build a history of decisions you can refer to.

What we use Loomio for

Loomio is the tool we use to discuss what we do and how we do it. It also allows us to make decisions about tasks, projects and ventures and the direction of the whole project. Instead of trying to organize and make decisions over email threads that are impossible to find after the fact, we carry out most day-to-day communications in Loomio.

Reading the lines above, it will be clear that Loomio's architecture is a perfect match for the decision making section of our governance model. We use Loomio almost daily to discuss all aspects of running our Distributed Coop — you can think of it as our daily newspaper, with news and updates. Some discussions and proposals are more incumbent to certain working groups while others affect everyone (such as those in the community area). Some of our best ideas come out of Loomio discussions and it allows everyone to be aware of and take part in what's shaping the collective.

What Loomio is (and isn't) for

Loomio IS for:

  • Having long discussions.
  • Making announcements everyone needs to see and acknowledge.
  • Voting on decisions.
  • Figuring out how we work and how we go forward.

Loomio ISN'T for:

  • One on one conversation, off-topic stuff and quick check-ins (use Slack)
  • Working circle real time communication (use Slack)
  • Workflow and project management. (use Trello)
  • Specific tasks. (use Trello)
  • Attaching documents that have to do with specific tasks. (use Trello)
  • Attaching readily available documents for larger tasks (use G-Drive)
  • Setting precise deadlines in tasks. (use Trello)
  • Writing collaborative documents. (use G-Drive)
  • A searchable repository for information. (use the Wiki)

How we use Loomio

Suggested bookmark for BTBW: GMC Loomio Homepage

In a nutshell: You visit the homepage to see what discussions and votes are going on and weigh in on them. Visit Loomio, take a look at what's going on and you'll soon get the hang of it — it's very simple.

We use Loomio in close conjunction with Trello. Often times (but not always) a Loomio discussion is accompanied by a Trello card and vice versa. In GMC nomenclature we call this an "L/T" (Loomio/Trello).

Finding your way around our Loomio group

Discussion and decision making within Loomio takes place in threads. These threads are organized according to the four main areas (Carework, Love work, Livelihood work and Projects) and their corresponding subgroups. You can see these displayed in the Tools Mindmap and Spreadsheet or in this Wiki entry. Within the main areas, you will also find the sub areas — which in turn correspond to the Working Circles. You can find the main areas and subgroups in the right hand column of our Loomio Homepage:

Work areas (L) and the subgroups (R)

Hosting threads

The person who opens a new thread is generally considered as the "host". The host does the following things:

  • Makes an opening post introducing what we'll be discussing, the reason for it and giving all the information that's needed. This is done by providing:
    • Links to everything related to the thread (including any Trello cards or Wiki entries)
    • An Overview of the thread
    • Any Updates on the thread can be reflected by editing the opening post ongoing.
  • Situates the thread in the correct area and uses tags to place it in the right subgroup (see above).
  • Makes a list of leading questions for participants to answer. This helps guide the discussion and stimulate ideas.
  • Ensures that the discussion keeps flowing and that any tasks or to-dos are reflected on the corresponding Trello card.
  • When a few ideas and patterns (as well as tensions) have emerged, compiles a summary of the general tone of the conversation so far.
  • When the time is right for a proposal, calls the proposal and sets the deadline . There are a number of proposal types to choose from. Read about them here to choose the one that best fits the discussion.
  • Ensures that everyone who needs to vote has voted, this includes reminding people.
  • Summarises the result of the vote and proposes actions going forward (which may be reflected on a Trello checklist).
  • Makes sure that everybody has been heard, feels safe and fully able to express their opinions and feelings.

What is important to remember is that we are very specific with our threads. This means that for any given task, a thread will use the exact same title across Clockify, Loomio, Trello and the Wiki. For example, when we need to have a conversation (or renew) our Commitment Statements, we have it on the existing Loomio thread, rather than creating a new one. Use the search function or ask your GT Buddy about thread creation to guide you.

For the particulars on how to follow these tasks or the ones listed below, don't worry. You can either follow the links provided, see the tutorials below and, best of all, have your GT Buddy walk you through it in a screencast. Listed like this it seems like a lot, but trust us, it becomes very easy once you've done it a few times.

For hosting, you can also find out more on The Facilitator's Guide to Loomio.

Participating in threads

  • Within the discussions you can answer in-line when it's something incumbent to the discussion as a whole or as a "reply" when you want to refer to specific aspects.
  • Sometimes important info comes up in a comment. This can be linked to if necessary (you get the url by right-clicking on the time-stamp)
  • @mention people to make sure they see your comment
  • When you read a comment acknowledge it with an emoticon. Often times we use a thumbs up when we agree with something that was said, instead of a full proposals.
  • Learn Markdown (see below). It will help you format for Loomio and Trello and make your entries more readable for yourself and everyone else. Think of it as writing hygiene.
  • When answering questions posed by the host or quoting a prior comment, use

blockquotes by preceding the quoted text with a left arrow (>)

For more info, see Loomio's excellent help page on Having Discussions and Making Decisions

Additional Loomio Resources and Tutorials

The Loomio Help page has many resources including guides and examples. Within this, the Loomio User Manual is an invaluable companion for learning about and using Loomio. Below are direct links to some of the most relevant parts for GT:

Here are some useful article and links for working with Loomio. They are written in a very friendly, inclusive tone and make for a good read:


Finally, we've mentioned Markdown above. Markdown is is a way of writing plain text (without formatting), so that it can be converted to rich text (with links, bullet points, headers, bolds, italics, etc). This is the exact same editing syntax used for Trello and Loomio, so it's a case of "buy one, get one free"! The first two links come from Loomio themselves:

Task and project management

Once we've discussed what we are planning to do through Slack and Loomio, we need a place to easily access the tasks that have been agreed on and to intuitively report on progress… without announcing it to the whole group (Loomio), just to those involved in the tasks, and without important messages getting lost in the flow of conversation (Slack). For this we use Trello, a popular group task management system.

Guerrilla Translation Carework boards.

About Trello

Trello is based on the Japanese workflow system of Kanban. Kanban is a scheduling system for lean and just-in-time manufacturing. It is characterised by the use of cards on boards. As the wiki entry on Kanban boards explains

"Kanban boards visually depict work at various stages of a process using cards to represent work items and columns to represent each stage of the process. Cards are moved from left to right to show progress and to help coordinate teams performing the work. A Kanban board may be divided into horizontal "swimlanes" representing different kinds of work or different teams performing the work.

Kanban boards can be used in knowledge work or for manufacturing processes.

Simple boards have columns for "waiting", "in progress" and "completed" (or "to-do", "doing", and "done"). Complex Kanban boards can be created that subdivide "in progress" work into multiple columns to visualise the flow of work across a whole value stream map."

As seen above, a Kanban board can be thought as a place to organize post-its with "to-dos" within a timeline. The post-its contain information on what task needs to get done.

Trello is a digital version of a Kanban board. It allows us to have access to the different boards and cards and edit them in real time. It also provides additional features that would be impossible on a physical board with post-its, including comments, hyperlinks, checklists, etc.


As our system is complex, we have different boards for different areas. In fact, our Trello boards are hierarchically organized in the same way that we organize all our tools with the four main areas (Livelihood, Love, Care and Projects) and all the subareas — which in turn correspond to the working circles.

What we use Trello for

Whether it's translation or developmental or carework tasks, Trello cards help us organize collectively. We use Trello to compile all needed resources for any given task. This includes instructions on how to do the task (so any member can contribute), important hyperlinks, checklists, due dates, etc.

If we take a pro bono translation as an example, a card is created once a translator and an editor have decided to take on this task. The card will include links to the original article, the author's bio, or the final translation once it's published. Apart from links, it will reflect the due dates that the translator and editor have agreed on, will provide checklist items for tasks needed and storage for document files, featured images etc. In fact, as Trello is a "quiet space" for those working on a particular task, we often use it to provide each other with updates on the progress of a task via it's comment function. The comments are tied to the specific task, so we don't want to lose them on Slack, yet they may not be relevant to the whole group or appropriate for Loomio — so we keep them in Trello.

Here is an example of a translation card:

What Trello is (and isn't) for

Trello IS for:

  • Workflow and project management
  • Specific tasks (cards)
  • Attaching documents that have to do with specific tasks
  • Having conversations specific to the task
  • Setting deadlines in tasks - Getting shit done
  • Providing easy to follow "checklist recipes" for repeated tasks

Trello ISN'T for:

  • One on one conversation, off-topic stuff and quick check-ins (use Slack)
  • Working circle real time communication (use Slack)
  • Having long discussions (use Loomio)
  • Making announcements everyone needs to see and acknowledge (use Loomio)
  • Voting on decisions (use Loomio)
  • Figuring out how we work and how we go forward (use Loomio)
  • Writing collaborative documents (use G-Drive)
  • A searchable repository for information (use the Wiki)

How we use Trello

Suggested bookmark for BTBW With Trello we recommend that you have a bookmark for carework and another for lovework. Trello allows for several views of each work area. Among these the Due Dates, Assigned Cards and Highlights are the most useful. Check them out, familiarise yourself with these views and choose what fits best.

Trello due dates (L) and highlights (R) views


Once a task has been defined and named, a Trello card will be created in the appropriate Trello board for its area/subgroup (and following the same naming convention as the Clockify entry and Loomio thread).

Columns in Trello boards

The different areas don't have the same column structure: translation is very different from carework – for example, love work from livelihood – so each of these boards have custom columns to best reflect task progression. Project area boards, for example, are entirely custom made, although they follow some patterns. On the other hand, within carework itself, boards such as "Inbox" and "Dating" also break from the normal carework board template. The best way to familiarise yourself with these differences is just by browsing the board (use the tools Mindmap and Spreadsheet or the Wiki entry for all Trello organizations and boards).

For the rest of this section we will be using a typical care area scenario and, in particular, the community board, as all members are part of that working circle and, therefore, included in this board. It also has the same template as most of the carework boards.

From left to right, the columns are:

  • Static and Ongoing: Reference cards and recurring tasks that don't have a specific end/completion date.
  • To Do: Ideas that have been brainstormed and discussed but are not a priority.
  • Next Up: Tasks that have been prioritised to move to the next two columns (once more urgent tasks are completed).
  • In process (mid term): Important tasks that need to be kept present and cared for ongoing, but are not necessarily first priority/urgent.
  • In process (short term): Urgent or pressing tasks. This is where the bulk of our biweekly work lies.
  • Done: Task completed, yay! We keep the cards here for reference.

Cards in Trello

On the "Static and Ongoing" column you will always find a Template. Templates are specific for each board. Let's take the Template card in community as a practical example, as it’s representative of most templates.

When you open the card, the first thing you want to do is to copy the card. Follow this link to learn how to do this (the instructions are also in the template card). Once you've copied it, exit the template card to start working on the new card. You can now move the card to the appropriate column and begin filling it in by using the template. Let's walk through the sections of the template now:

    • Overview: A short description of what the task is and what it entails. It's usually no longer than a paragraph and, often times, the same as the Overview in the corresponding Loomio thread (if any).
    • Links: Include any links relevant to the task here. These may include:
      • Corresponding Loomio thread
      • Corresponding Wiki article
      • G Drive folder for the task
      • Websites or useful links
      • Links to collaborative documents for the task
      • etc
    • Task Objective and Optimal Completion Date: Clearly describe the task's desired outcome. Completion date is when you expect the task to be finished. This is not the same as the card's due date, as we will see below.
    • What question/need does this task answer?: Describe why this task was created. This section can feel a bit pedantic but what may be obvious to you as the card maker may be not be apparent to someone who wants to pick up the task. It's also a good litmus test to ensure clarity of purpose.
    • Instructions: Give relevant, clear instructions for team members to carry out the project. General instructions that may be needed for reference are mentioned in this section, but specific tasks are listed in checklists.Mention any checklists here.
  • Correspondence: This is a space for hyperlinking to specific emails (or email labels, when there are several emails) incumbent to the task at hand. Learn how to do that here. This is an individual task. Although a group may be copied in a relevant email, the email url will only work for one individual (the email account holder). To get around this problem we a) Describe what email/s we are linking to and b) Create individual links for everyone involved, using initials. For example, this is what the correspondence links look like for Bronagh Gallagher (BG) and Stacco Troncoso (ST) in this card:

Another way of sharing correspondence (when it's particular important or incumbent to the task) is by copying and pasting it in one of the comments. Gmail for example has a useful forward all function from where you can copy entire email threads sequentially. Dump the text on a note, but then hyperlink to the note (as shown below) from the correspondence field.

The template text ends with the card copying instructions. Just erase this section (and the "Template" image attachment).

Now that you've filled out the template, you'll turn your attention to the additional card features, which appear on the right hand column. You can find out more in this video, but we will now explain how we use some of those features in GT.

Members: Add yourself to any tasks you want to take part in. You can also add other members (and they can also politely refuse by leaving the cards). It's important to add/remove yourself to tasks so a) you can organize your time and priorities better and b) others can see what you're available for.

Labels: Labels are more granular divisions within subgroups, allowing us to easily visualize and focus on certain aspects of the board. In community, for example, we have labels for Community, Governance, Training, Tools the Wiki and Team meetings. To focus on any of these you can filter cards and you will only see cards with the labels you have chosen.

Checklists: If each card represents a task in a given subarea, the checklists represent smaller tasks within the main task. This is a great way to clarify projects and make them seen less overwhelming. It also lets you identify blind spots and schedule your time better. Checklist items are not necessarily only for yourself. If another member has agreed to do a certain task or you would like to offer it to them, precede the checklist item with an @+name mention (for example if I'd like Ann Marie to copyedit the final text for the handbook, I will write @annmarie in the checklist item for copyediting in that particular card). You can also add your name to items to clarify that you will take the lead. Waiting for someone to take up a task? Signal that by adding @anyone. Checklist items with no @name are considered to be general and that all members present on the card will take part.

Due Date: The Due Date on a card represents when then next action or check-in takes place. This means that if a task has various parts (for example, a project like this handbook includes writing, formatting, etc) you'll want to set deadlines for each of the parts (the "final" deadline for any given task is reflected in the "Expected Completion date" section of the card text, as explained above). You may also insert due dates for cards every Friday, for example, to make sure you or the team don't lose sight of important tasks that need to be checked on until completion (or, in the case of cards in the "Static/Ongoing" column, checked on with regularity).

Attachments: Use attachments to upload files which are specific to the task at hand. This means, for example, translation files, PDFs, images, etc. For more general attachments you can use G drive or indeed, integrate it with Trello.

Move: In certain situations (like the Inbox board) you will be required to move cards from one board to another. You can also move (and copy) lists. It's very simple and you can learn how here.

Vote: This is simple: You like a card, you vote for it! It signals approval, even if you're not part of the task and it's the Trello version of the thumbs ups we use in Slack and Loomio

Archive: We generally don't archive cards, prefering to the keep them in the done columns, but you can learn about archiving (as well as deleting cards) here.

An example of two Carework Trello cards from the Community (L) and Sustainability (R) subareas.

Other considerations when working in Trello

Apart from the main features of the cards, there are also a few additional peculiarities to the way we use Trello. Again, don't worry about memorising these, use these lists for reference (or go to our Wiki article on Trello), but most of these habits will be built by practice and repetition.

Filtering: We've mentioned Filtering above. It's a great way to declutter boards and just focus on what's relevant. You can filter by user, label, due date and more. Learn how to do it here, it will really make your Trello experience much smoother.

Italics for "doing": When you've started a task on a checklist but haven't completed it, signal that you're doing it by italicising it. You do this by inserting one asterisk (*) to each side of the sentence (go to the markdown section for more help with Trello/Loomio formatting)

Using the comments for messaging: The lower part of the card (called the "Activity" section) is a sort of timeline tracking the history of the card. It also features comments. You can use comments to send messages to the those working on the card. You can also @+mention members or hit "reply".

Notes in the cards and hyperlinking: You can also use the comments to add information to the card which you don't want cluttering up or may not be relevant for the "Description" section at the top of the card. To keep track of these, hyperlink them and list the link under the Links section at the top.

Linking to other cards: You can get shortlinks for cards under the "Share" button on the right column. These shortlinks can then be dropped in Trello directly (ie: without Markdown) and it will autoformat as a nice (and very visible! link). For example:

Spot the difference! Here is a direct Trello link among regular Markdown hyperlinks

Updating card names: Tasks are not static and there are times when they can change their focus away from what was originally planned. When something evolves into something new we usually reflect this by changing the card name (and associated Loomio thread, etc). Sometimes we also change the nomenclature of some of our processes to make them as clear and precise and possible and this needs to be reflected across all tools. An example of a changing task was the tool we used to curate our original source material. It used to be, but now it's Flipboard and the card (and related thread) was duly updated. Other times the evolution merits keeping the original card alive, so we create a new one and archive the old one. Finally, in the case of pro-bono translations we always update the card name. A translation card will begin its life with the original title of the piece and, as we decide on the translated title, it will be changed accordingly.

As in the other sections, for how to do these things refer to your GT Buddy or the tutorials below.

Additional Trello Resources and Tutorials

As with the other tools, Trello has excellent online documentation. To learn more about its usage we recommend that you start with the Trello Guide. It's very well designed and intuitively easy to follow. As a complement to this, we also recommend Trello's help page. It has a very efficient search feature which will help you find info about most topics.

Collaborative writing, file storage

The next item in our tour of communication/collaboration tools has a dual function: serving as file storage for the group and allowing us to create collaborative documents. For this we use Google Drive.

About G-Drive

You probably already know about Google drive or Google docs. We don't like Google or its practices so we foresee us substituting this tool for Nextcloud or similar in the not-too-distant future. For now though it's the most expedient, has the easiest level of access and the best developed features, so we use it grudgingly but without guilt.

What we use G-Drive for

G-Drive is the space where we store files and create collaborative documents. As these two functions are somewhat distinct, we will be looking at them separately throughout this section.

For file storage we have a general folder containing the four main areas:

If we concentrate on carework you will see that the folder contains the same subgroups as the other tools — these, as explained above, correspond to the working circles:

Within these folders, however, we have additional folders, these follow their own logic, based on a combination of necessity and common sense. Some of these follow the labels on the corresponding subgroups in Trello and some don't. The hierarchy and organization generally corresponds to what we have in the tools diagram but, if you have any problem finding something, just use the search function (or ask your GT Buddy for help).

It's also important to know when to use Google-Drive for storage, as opposed to Loomio or Trello (which both offer attachments). We attach files on Loomio and Trello when they are specifically relevant to the conversation/task at hand. There is a great number of Loomio threads and Trello cards — we don't need or want to create a corresponding amount of folders in Google Drive. So, for example, if you are working on a translation on odt, you'd attach that file to the card for the translation. If a PDF needs to be referred in a Loomio thread, you attach it there. You can always upload these files to Google Drive for redundancy, but use your own judgment.

In general G-Drive is used more for general mid- and long-term (rather than specific) tasks. Of course, any Google-native files on G Drive (Google docs and spreadsheets) can and should be linked to Loomio threads and Trello cards when they are important for the conversation or task. We also use G-Drive for large files, as the other two tools have an upload limit. The key thing to remember is that the system makes sense but it's only usable because a certain degree of flexibility (or contradiction!) is both expected and welcome.

Turning to documents we generally use google docs to write shared texts and google sheets for shared spreadsheets. Google docs are, however, not the default for translations — many prefer to work on a word processor. We do use it sometimes at the editing stage, but these are decisions taken by the translator/editor team. Google docs then is the default for writing collaborative texts (such as this handbook or our workshop reports), which are then formatted for web, PDF, Mobi, Wiki etc. We use the spreadsheets in a similar fashion: do we need them to be easily accessible to the whole team and updatable in real time? Then we create them in Google sheets.

Want to see pics from our 2018 GT Reloaded Summit? We got them! Head on over to this folder to see them all.

What G-Drive is (and isn't) for

G-Drive IS for:

  • Writing collaborative documents
  • Creating shared spreadsheets
  • Attaching readily available documents for larger tasks
  • Uploading large attachments

G-Drive ISN'T for:

  • One on one conversation, off-topic stuff and quick check-ins (use Slack)
  • Working circle real time communication (use Slack)
  • Having long discussions, making announcements everyone needs to see and acknowledge or voting on decisions (use Loomio)
  • Figuring out how we work and how we go forward (use Loomio)
  • Workflow and project management (use Trello)
  • Specific tasks. (use Trello)
  • Attaching documents that have to do with specific tasks. (use Trello)
  • Setting precise deadlines in tasks (use Trello)
  • A searchable repository for information (use the Wiki)

How we use G-Drive

Suggested bookmark for BTBW: Guerrilla Translation Drive Folder

As G-Drive provides several functions we will divide this section between shared documents and file storage.

Shared Documents

We're assuming that most translators have a basic grasp of how to work on G-Docs — it's essentially the same as a word processor. We have several guidelines on how to collaborate best in them. Some of the them are optional and some required.

The first of these is don't be passive aggressive on Google docs! (read this, yes really). Ok, have you read it and now feel illuminated? Great! The next very important thing is not to create new GT shared docs "in the wild", please put them in the most appropriate folder. This should be quite intuitive, but don't be afraid to ask for help. Also, whenever a doc is relevant to a Loomio thread or Trello card hyperlink to the documents there using Markdown. This system of "redundant ways to find stuff" helps us gain efficiency and resilience — it may not seem obvious or necessary at first, but trust us, it makes the whole machine run smoother when baseline-workflow processes are legible to everyone and shared!

The rest of the guidelines are as follows:

  • Highlights: In docs a yellow highlight means either pending or needs revision. Red is a signal to eliminate. Not so much in texts, but in spreadsheets, use the following colour codes to signal progress:
  • Green: done
  • Blue: in progress
  • Yellow: pending
  • Purple: for the future/projected
  • Red: cancelled
  • Comments: Feel free to make comments. However, once we surpass five comments or so that's a signal to take the conversation elsewhere. Depending on the importance this will be Slack or Loomio. Once you feel a comment should be resolved, write "(rs)" on the comment. The person/s you are addressing can then resolve it to keep the doc clean (unless they have something important to add). Try to clean up comments as much as possible.
  • Headings: Use headings wherever possible. They allow us to organize, visualize and navigate the document better (including direct in-document links as used in this handbook). It also lets us format for Wordpress more easily when applicable. To learn about using headings in G-Docs, read this or watch this vid.
  • Suggest edits: if you're editing somebody else's writing (or translation) please use suggest edits. This is the same as track changes on a wordprocessor. Exceptions to this are a) fixing mispelling or minor typos (do it directly) b) large rewrites (put in as a comment). Use commons sense here.
  • Formatting: (recommended). Most of our documents are written in Georgia 12 for legibility. Headings are in Arial and bold (this is the default font for headings in Google-docs, even if the whole document is in Georgia) For more info on formatting in G-docs read/watch this tutorial.

File storage

We've already covered most of the ways in which we use file storage above. There isn't much mystery to it. Here are some quick reminders for reference:

  • Don't create Google docs or sheets outside of the shared folder or "floating" about
  • By the same token. Don't store documents in your personal Google drive. Put them in the shared folder
  • Be mindful of when it's best to attach something on Loomio, Trello, G Drive (or both or all three). Ask for help if you're not sure.
  • Use the same structure as in our interactive Mindmap or our Spreadsheet to find or store shared docs or files
  • Does a new folder need to be created or should an existing one be somewhere else? Talk to your GT Buddy or, if it's a big deal, raise it on Loomio

Additional G-Drive Resources and Tutorials

As we've said, we think that using Google docs and drive is pretty intuitive (when not already familiar). As always, there are tips and tricks to make the experience more enjoyable and effective so here are some of the links we've used above and more:


If we take our tool workflow as a narrative, we began by setting off a timer with Clockify, then we had an informal, real time discussion in Slack which turned into a longer form, team-wide exploration in Loomio — where we agreed to take on a specific task. The task's progress and its to-dos happened in Trello and (maybe) using some of the tools we find in G-Drive. What do we do at the end of this process? We document what we have learned, share it publicly as a commons and then use this knowledge to kickstart new iterations. The tool we use for documentation is Mediawiki.

About MediaWiki

You've used Wikipedia, so you're already familiar with MediaWiki — the software it runs on — but maybe not so much how it works and what advantages it offers. MediaWiki is a free software "engine" originally developed for use in Wikipedia which has since been use for other Wikimedia projects, as well as a host of other sites . We use it for documentation as it provides an easily searchable database for the knowledge we generate as collective.

The following passage is extracted from The Wiki Way:

The wiki way is to make bad edits easy to correct, rather than hard to make. It is the whole reason for creating a wiki in the first place, rather than a website (like most websites) where editing is only allowed by a handful of approved editors, and any changes desired by the larger public must be submitted as suggestions to, and then implemented by, those authorized editors. Such a system makes the process of getting desired changes made more cumbersome, and thereby makes members of the public less likely to bother with them.

For example, most users to a news website such as the New York Times who see a typo in an article are unlikely to go to the trouble of notifying the webmaster. That could require a number of steps such as finding the webmaster's email address, composing a message, etc. Who knows; perhaps many other users have already reported the same typo, and the extra effort involved in making another report is wasted. A wiki, on the other hand, allows users to simply hit an edit button and immediately make changes by themselves. In practice, this way has resulted in at least one high-quality product: Wikipedia.

Besides the ease with which we can edit our knowledge commons, MediaWiki's engine also allows us to categorize our content in a way that mimics our main areas and subgroups, as in the other tools.

As you will have noticed, our wiki looks much neater than Wikipedia, this is because we use a skin (a custom graphic interface) called Tweeki. Tweeki makes our wiki more attractive, mobile responsive and, also, integrates features such as semantic wiki, which can allow us to connect with other wikis to create explicitly interrelated networks of knowledge.

What we use MediaWiki for

We use MediaWiki to document and open-source our processes in a platform that is easily editable by our team. Although the wiki is openly accessible, edit access is by default limited to GMC members from the Dating Phase upwards, as well as members of our Stakeholder Board .

As you may notice, the wiki is for Guerrilla Media Collective, not just Guerrilla Translation. As we build the collective, many of the practices prototyped by GT (and it's governance model) will be ported over to the graphic and coding collectives and other offshoots, but these will have their own adaptation of the governance model and processes. Keeping all the info in the same wiki allows us to keep all common info and procedures together whilst cataloguing differences. In its totality it can become a publicly accessible set of tools for Open Cooperativism and Distributed Cooperative Organizations grounded in actual practices.

The wiki also allows us to organize its content through categories (roughly corresponding and expanding on our main areas and subgroups) and to hyperlink to specific sections of wiki entries, as we will see below. These and other features make the wiki extremely useful when searching for information.

There is a close and synergistic relationship between the wiki and this handbook. Much of the content already existed in the wiki and has since been updated and adapted for the Handbook. Similarly, a lot of the new material written for the Handbook has since been incorporated in the wiki. The difference is that the Handbook is "the mix tape" of the Wiki's content. It gives you the essentials in a sequential and longform narrative way. Once you are familiar with this info, you may prefer to refer back to the Wiki directly. The wiki also goes into a lot more detail on certain parts of the handbook and is updated more regularly. It also contains a host of entries on procedural details for things such as translation, social media, resources for GT buddies etc which fall outside of the scope of the Handbook. To use another musical analogy: the Handbook is the greatest hits, while the Wiki is the box set (with all the b-sides and rarities!)

What MediaWiki is (and isn't) for

MediaWiki IS for:

  • A searchable repository for information
  • A way to hyperlink to specific sections of information within a text
  • An easily editable platform for tutorials and team procedures
  • A place for non team members to offer feedback and suggestions through the discussion pages

MediaWiki ISN'T for:

  • One on one conversation, off-topic stuff and quick check-ins (use Slack)
  • Working circle real time communication (use Slack)
  • Having long discussions, making announcements everyone needs to see and acknowledge or voting on decisions (use Loomio)
  • Figuring out how we work and how we go forward (use Loomio)
  • Workflow and project management (use Trello)
  • Specific tasks (use Trello)
  • Attaching documents that have to do with specific tasks (use Trello)
  • Setting precise deadlines in tasks (use Trello)
  • Attaching readily available documents for larger tasks (use G-Drive)
  • Writing collaborative documents (use G-Drive)

Screenshot from MediaWiki's Welcome page.

How we use MediaWiki

Suggested bookmark for BTBW: Guerrilla Media Collective Wiki Homepage

Although you can find plenty of tutorials in the resources section below, we will now explain the two basic procedural functionalities of the wiki: organization and creating and writing new entries. We'll also touch on other additional questions at the end.


Organization in the Wiki is mediated by categories: every entry has at least one of these. You can see the categories for each entry at the top of the right-hand sidebar:

These categories, as you would expect, also follow the logic of our Areas and subgroups (which, again, can be consulted through the tools Mindmap or Spreadsheet). These are nested hierarchically. So, for example, if you go to the Carework category (one of the four main areas), you will see that it hosts the usual subareas, etc. Approaching from below, if you go to the Community category (a subgroup of Carework) you will see "Carework" listed in the category box to the right. Think of it as a category tree.

Just like Slack and G-Drive, the Wiki contains some additional beyond the "basic set". These have been created using common sense and include:

  • Language: The Language subarea covers everything related with language use: standards, guides and tools. It also includes entries related to translation, editing, proofreading, transcription and interpretation and entries for specific languages (which are, in turn, subcategories of "Language")
    • Español: Spanish-only resources. Always a subcategory of "Language". Entries under this category can be written in English and/or Spanish.
  • Governance: Governance is intrinsically tied to the community category/subarea, but we have reserved this wiki category for our specific governance model and its version history.
  • Development: This is where we do most our Start-Up Phase work towards a resilient and mature collective. This means setting goals, developing timelines, tweaking the governance model etc. It's work areas are, effectively, shared with the Community Subgroup.
  • Social Media: Resources on what to post, how to post it, best practices and tools, etc. This is a subcategory of Media Peers.
  • Tools: Resources on all our convivial Tools. Think of it as the expanded version of this section of the Handbook
  • Hervás 18: This is an example of a "Projects" subcategory. In this case stuff related to our 2018 Reloaded meeting.
  • 2018 Rev: This is a Wiki procedural category to highlight pages created since our 2018 Reloaded meeting. It will be retired once the wiki is fully updated.
  • REVISE: The flipside of the 2018 Rev category. This category tell us which entries need revision (also listed in this Trello card).

Also note that "Dating" in the wiki is known as "Training".

Wiki subgroups and extra groups on the Tools Spreadsheet

Most of the additional categories are reflected in the Tools Spreadsheet, under the "Extra" column, with the regular categories falling under "Documentation". The Extra categories roughly correspond to the standard subgroups on the left. Additionally, you can find the full list of wiki categories here.

How to categorize new entries or create new categories: This is very simple. At the bottom of the wiki entry you are editing you add the necessary categories. The syntax is [[category: XXXXX]], so the any entry that's part of the "Community" category will have the following line at the bottom of the edit window: [[category: community]]. Here is what the bottom of the edit window looks like for the governance model:

Beware: categories are VERY case sensitive. This means that if we have an existing "Love Work" category, if you type "love work" or "LoveWork" or anything different, it will create a new category. These are a (minor) pain to clear up, but watch your step.

Here is a great short video on MediaWiki categories:

Embed vid:

Creating categories is very easy. In fact, you can create them by mistake, as in the example above. In general we want to keep to the main subgroups and the extra categories listed above. Do you feel a new wiki category ought to be created? Have a good think about whether it's justified or if it would clutter the structure and raise the issue in Loomio.

Creating and writing new entries

Creating new entries is as easy as creating categories, whether it's intentional or not! That's the beauty of wikis — you can do most of your work just by typing in the editor, no need to click on anything. To create an entry you simply use double brackets around any word, and this will create an entry. Say that as I'm typing in another entry, I want there to be an entry on Scuttlebutt. I'd then need to surround it in double brackets as such: [[Scuttlebutt]]. This will create the infamous Red Link, which basically means "hey, look at me! Someone created me but then didn't give me any love, HALP!!"

So you would then have to write the entry. If you don't want to get sidetracked, you have a couple of options. 1) List it in the Wiki Content Trello card under "New Wiki Entries". 2) You can also drop some shocking pink special code (template here) that lets people know that the entry is pending. Here is what an "in-process" entry looks with the code on.

We use the same shocking pink for pages which need to be revised, like this:

These can also have their own checklist in the same Trello card (Wiki Content). Once we are clear on what wiki entries we want to create, anyone can get started in them and signal the rest of the team to contribute. Ideas can be exchanged in Loomio or Slack and the entries are "living" entities, always ready to be improved and updated.

So what's the criteria for creating new Wiki entries? If we have learned something useful and it needs to referred back to, create an entry. The wiki can be as expansive as we want as long as a) New entries are not redundant (use the search function first) and b) They logically fit within the existing categories. Again, as your GT Buddy if you have any doubts.

Once we are clear on when and how to create entries, let's talk about writing in MediaWiki. As mentioned above, the beauty of MediaWiki is that you can practically do everything with your keyboard. There are some bad news though. Wikitext, (the syntax/code) used for MediaWiki is fustrantingly similar to 'Markdown', but not the same. This is like learning Portuguese and Spanish at the same time. Similar but very different and you may get confused. But hey, you're a Guerrilla Translator after all, this is not beyond you.

The best way to learn is from our How to Edit page, or from MediaWiki's more advanced entry on formatting. Please, take a look at either of those links and play with the code in our Sandbox. What follows are the very basics to give you a rough idea.

The beautiful thing about MediaWiki is how it auto-generates a Table of Contents (TOC; located on the right column in our wiki or at the bottom if you're reading on mobile). The does this based on headings — any entry with more than four headings will generate at TOC:

=One equal sign on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 1===Two equal signs on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 2=====Three equal signs on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 3====Here is another heading 1=

...and so on. This will render like this (notice the headings on the text and the TOC on the right column):

So, imagine that you've already structured your document with headings. Now you can write the text in between the lines.

=One equal sign on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 1=We can write some text here==Two equal signs on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 2==Followed by more text here===Three equal signs on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 3===And more over here=Here is another heading 1=And this is where we begin a new section.

The code above renders like this (subheadings are nested in the TOC, you need to click on their parent headings to unfold them. Here we've clicked on Headings 1 and 2 to unfold 3):

You must always start a new paragraph between lines: A single newline has no effect on the layout. But an empty line starts a new paragraph.

For our final example, we will show you how to create internal and external links. Internal links, as we've explained above [[use double brackets]] (you simply add the name of the destination wiki entry between the brackets. External links use [single brackets +destination url]. Let's see how this looks like in the editor. Internally we will link to the Glossary entry. Externally we will link to a totally different page.

=One equal sign on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 1=We can write some text here. There's more text in the [[Glossary]]==Two equal signs on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 2==Followed by more text here. There are [ many glossaries online]===Three equal signs on both ends of a sentence will autoformat as heading 3===And more over here=Here is another heading 1=And this is where we begin a new section.

This renders like this (notice that the internal link shows up as normal, while the external one has a little padlock indicating it's not contained in the wiki and, therefore, external):

Once you're familiar with headings, categories and how to link, you're almost all the way there. Again, try it for yourself in the Sandbox or watch the video below for a live interpretation:


Additional MediaWiki Questions

Beyond the basics, here are some additional items to make the best use of the Wiki.

Conversion: If you want to convert some existing paste, you can copy and paste it onto a converter like this one. Now, your text must be in html before converting to wiki. Say you want to "wikify" something written in Google docs. You will copy and paste your text in the right hand side of this editor. Copy the code and paste it in the wiki converter, then copy the wikitext and drop it on the wiki

Editing headings

Additional MediaWiki Resources and Tutorials

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List questions in heading 3 and insert Lorem Ipusm below

What languages does GT translate?

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How do I join?

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What type of material does GT translate?

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Further reading

We compiled a reading list on contributory accounting, distributed governance, open cooperativism etc for the Guerrilla Translation Reloaded workshop and we are happy to reproduce it here. These are some of the sources that have informed Guerrilla Media Collective's Open Coop Governance/Economic model.

This is a list of articles, papers, videos on things that have influenced our governance model and general philosophy. They also explore some of the tensions we'll be discussing, between metrics and the measurable, system design and lived experience and productive and reproductive work. Some of them are authored by the workshop participants! As always, these are shared as recommendations and are not required reading.

If you have any suggestions, please add them below and I will update this list.

Open Coop and new value accounting materials

  • Patterns for Decentralised Governance and why Blockchain Doesn’t Decentralise Power… Unless You Design It To . (Video and article). There is a lot of anticipation for how blockchain and other decentralising technologies are going to drastically reshape society, but do they address power? "If you take a step back from the technology, if you look at the challenges we face in wider society, and you look at the history of social change, if you step back and just consider for a minute: “how can we decentralise power?”, then “build a better database” feels like a pretty weak answer. To me, it seems obvious that some of the most urgent power imbalances fall on gender, race, and class lines."
  • The Financialization of Life. (Article). "Do we want everything in life to be a transaction, as the market totalitarians propose? Or do we want to be citizen-commoners, co-creating shared value in freely associating communities? These differences matter, and Salvatore Iaconesi has written a brilliant analysis of the potential dangers of uncritically applying the blockchain to human life."
  • Re-imagining Value: Insights from the Care Economy, Commons, Cyberspace and Nature (Booklet).
  • "What is “value” and how shall we protect it? It’s a simple question for which we don’t have a satisfactory answer. For conventional economists and politicians, the answer is simple: value is essentially the same as price. This report explains that how we define value says a lot about what we care about and how we make sense of things – and the political agendas we pursue."
  • There is an alternative: participatory economics. (Interview)
  • In this interview, Michael Albert — co-founder of Znet — reflects on the vision of participatory economics, and how it could take us beyond capitalism. "For the Occupy movements, and for other projects and movements which are rousing and continuing all around the world, to all together merge into a massive project that is truly oriented to engender a classless, feminist, intercommunalist, participatory future — I think their membership will have to be in command, not some elite at the helm. And I think those memberships will have to know the broad defining attributes of where they are trying to go, so they use tactics and strategies consistent with getting there."
  • From Platform to Open Cooperativism (Article). "Two cooperative movements are important in this discussion: Platform Cooperativism, and Open Cooperativism. One may be more publicly visible right now, but they have much in common. These movements marry the power of digital networks with the rich history of the cooperative movement. How do these approaches compare? Are they redundant, complementary, mutually exclusive? What exact problems do they solve, and what outcome do they seek? In this article, we explain their origins and characteristics, and see how the actions proposed by these movements can work together, helping us form resilient livelihoods in our networked age."
  • Why do we need a contribution accounting system?: (Article) "With the advent of the Internet and the development of new digital technologies, the economy is following a trend of decentralization. The most innovative environments are open source communities and peer production is on the rise. The crowd innovates and produces. But the crowd is organized in loose networks, it is geographically dispersed, and contributions to projects follow a long tail distribution. What are the possible reward mechanisms in this new economy?"
  • Blockchain technology : toward a decentralized governance of digital platforms?. (Academic paper) "In the same way, blockchain technology has enabled the emergence of new projects and initiatives designed around to the principles of decentralization and disintermediation, providing a new platform for large-scale experimentation in the design of new economic and organisational structures. Yet, to be really transformative, these initiatives need to transcend the current models of protocol-based governance and game-theoretical incentives, which can easily be co-opted by powerful actors, and come up with new governance models combining both on-chain and off-chain governance rules. The former can be used to support new mechanisms of regulation by code, novel incentivization schemes and a new sense of ownership over digital assets, whereas the latter are necessary to promote the vision, and facilitate the interaction of commons-based projects and initiatives with the existing legal and societal framework.
  • Blockchain Just Isn’t As Radical As You Want It To Be, (Article). "Today, Silicon Valley appropriates so many of the ideas of the left—anarchism, mobility, and cooperation—even limited forms of welfare. This can create the sense that technical fixes like the blockchain are part of some broader shift to a post-capitalist society, when this shift has not taken place. Indeed, the blockchain applications that are really gaining traction are those developed by large banks in collaboration with tech startups—applications to build private blockchains for greater asset management or automatic credit clearing between banks, or to allow cultural industries to combat piracy in a distributed network and manage the sale and ownership of digital goods more efficiently."

GT articles (Punk elegance, Gove model overview. Explain that alot of this has already been covered.

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Other stuff: Heterarchy, balanced job complexes, contributive accounting, open value networks, feminist economics, the Loomio and Enspiral handbooks, stuff from Rich's list etc, Patterns…

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Image Credits


  • Floating Heart that Never-wets and Arrowhead with Cattail in Lady Slippers under a Blue Star by María Castelló Solbes. See the making of video about this series of artworks here.
  • Cover design by Mireia

Hello and welcome to Guerrilla Translation

About GT

About this handbook

What you will learn in GT


  • All images by Guerrilla Translation

GT's Goals and Values

Open Cooperativism and Distributed Cooperative Organizations

  • Infographic by Elena Martínez Vicente based on the work of Michel Bauwens, David Bollier, Silke Helfrich, Vasilis Kostakis, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel. Extracted from The Commons Transition Primer.

Becoming a Guerrilla Translator

To be or not to be a Guerrilla Translator

Joining Guerrilla Translation

Mentoring and being mentored

The Commitment Statement

The Dating Phase

Our Community Rhythms

Norms and Boundaries

Sabbaticals, holidays, graduated sanctions and exiting the collective

  • The Real World by Seb Przd
  • Death Mickey: Unknown

The Open Coop Governance Model




Membership levels

  • The Green Squares by tanakawho
  • Infographic by Elena Martínez Vicente based on the work of Michel Bauwens, Vasilis Kostakis, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel. Extracted from The Commons Transition Primer
  • Digital Commons by Elf-8

Decision making

Working in Guerrilla Translation

How we translate

How we edit

How we take care of the collective

The Working Circles

How we take care of each other

Conflict Resolution

  • Guanyem: Linocut (inspired by Gaudí sculptures on the roof of La Pedrera, Barcelona) by Michael Paragon. Photo by an anonymous member of Guanyem.
  • Escalation Pyramid from the Loomio Handbook
  • Grand Canal by Charles W Bailey Jr

Legal backbone

Convivial Tools

Intro: don't panic!

The Guerrilla Translation Toolbox

Time tracking

  • Screenshots by GT. Other images by Clockify

Synchronous Communication

  • Screenshots by GT. Other images by Slack

Asynchronous communication, decision making

  • Screenshots by GT. Other images by Loomio

Task and project management

  • Screenshots by GT. Other images by Trello

Collaborative writing, file storage

  • Screenshots by GT. Other images by Google


  • Screenshots by GT.


Further reading