Haidra decision

The board’s decision on Haidra as a Nivenly project

In July 2023, we announced that Haidra has joined Nivenly as a member project. Shortly afterwards, we received feedback from the Nivenly membership that they were not supportive of this decision. As a new foundation we had forgotten one of our core principles; that this is a co-operative venture and we need to consult with, and get agreement from, our membership before making large decisions. So we did.

To ensure the discussion was well-informed, we had db0 write up a detailed post on what Haidra is and specifically how much, as a maintainer, he’s considered ethics of AI, which was the crux of the concerns raised. We also opened up forums for discussion where we would be able to better understand membership concerns and, possibly, mitigate them.

On a personal note here, I am disappointed both in the lack of discourse on the channels we opened, and in the negative (and sometimes non-factual) response on other channels. The former meant we didn’t have a chance to discuss the issues in as much depth as we were hoping, and the latter put some of us, but especially db0, in a defensive position that has caused a lot of anxiety and stress. For that in particular, I have apologised to db0 personally, and will take this opportunity to do so publically: As Nivenly we could have handled this better and have let db0 down.

After the period allowed for discussion, we opened up the decision to the membership. The results are somewhat underwhelming as we did not reach quorum, meaning that not enough of the membership voted for the decision to be binding. However, the direction given was clear and we took that into account when the board met to vote.

Ultimately, our decision is to follow the sentiment of the membership in the vote and not accept Haidra as a Nivenly project.

Personally, I think this is a missed opportunity as Haidra (and AI Horde more specifically) offers access to what is promising to be revolutionary technology without reliance on big tech companies and proprietary systems. However, putting personal opinions aside in favour of the decision of our co-operative membership is the whole point of Nivenly. Ideally, we would find a way forward for Haidra that would mollify the concerns raised by the membership but that requires a deeper level of engagement from the membership than we’ve seen so far. This is something else I now have top-of-mind for the next steps for Nivenly: Ensuring membership engagement is meaningful and we’re not only hearing from the loudest minority.