Q: How do I create and maintain Internet sites with an HCoop account?
We've developed a suite of custom command-line and web-based tools for managing everything. See DomTool for one of these and our WelcomePage for links to all of the documentation related to our infrastructure.
Q: Who performs system administration?
Our board of directors appoints sysadmins from among the member base. We aim to have about 3 sysadmins appointed at a given time. These are the only people with "root access."
Q: How do I get in touch with them?
As part of our member portal, we have a "support ticket" system like you'll find at most commercial hosting providers. There are also special systems for "semantically rich" requests for things like installation of Debian packages or permissions to configure particular domains. Members never contact admins directly, but rather interact with them through these web-based tools. We tend to have fast enough response times to requests for members to remark on them favorably.
Q: How do new services come into being in practice?
New services are born by majority vote of the board of directors. We always try to have an open discussion on our mailing list of each new proposal before voting on it. The directors and the members will try take into account only the real monetary and volunteer-time costs of a new idea in evaluating it. However, it doesn't seem worthwhile to codify a more specific process than this. Your votes for the board of directors are largely votes based on what informal decision making processes you expect candidate directors to apply.