Archive:2007-11-27

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This meeting will occur at 10 PM Eastern in #freeculture.

Agenda

Opening statements

Each candidate briefly introduces themselves.

General questions

The moderator will address questions to all of the candidates, and accept general questions from the audience.

Targeted questions

Candidates will be allowed to ask questions of each other, and questions targeted at specific candidates will be accepted.

Minutes

2007-11-27/Log

Opening statements

State your name and school, and whether you can make it to the next debate

next debate is on Sun, Dec 2 at 3pm EST, 12pm PST, 8pm GMT.

  • <Fear_of_C> Nicholas LaRacuente of Free Culture Swarthmore, able to make the Sunday debate
  • <CDucruet> Christina Ducruet, Brown University
    • <CDucruet> CDucruet will also be here Sunday
  • <Mecredis> fred, late @ nyu, will be there on sat/sun
  • <e-star> Elizabeth Stark, Harvard FC / Harvard Law, can make it on Sunday
  • <contra> Ben Mazer of FreeCulture Swarthmore, able to make the Sunday debate, but are there alternative times/days?
  • <mllerustad> Karen Rustad of the Claremont Colleges, should be able to make it on Sunday
  • <pyrak> Parker Phinney of Chadwick School (k-12th in so cal), i'll be late on sunday
  • <skyfaller> Nelson Pavlosky from GMU Law (not a chapter yet), I'm available on Sunday
  • <grahl> Jan Hendrik Grahl, University of Florida
  • <driscoll> This is Kevin Driscoll from MIT and I can attend the debate on Sunday at 3pm EST.

General questions

How much aid should the global organization provide to the chapters, and what kind?

<pyrak>
global should ship pre-packaged events to chapters that want them, like the national day of action for taxpayer access
i don't think there should be any kind of "quota" for how much aid is sent to chapters, i think as much as possible should be offered, but chapters should be asked whether or not they want it
so that national doesn't waste time and resources, and self-sufficient chapters dont get bothered
also, as was said, there should be some system so events dont have to be re-created- theyre documented and other chapters can pick them up
</answer>
<Fear_of_C>
primarily, I think that the national organization should set up the infrastructure so that previous projects do not have to be re-developed from scratch
in addition, some campaigns are national in nature
and in these cases, the national organization should help coordinate
campaigns on issues like national legislation, I think, should have the national organization to help coordinate chapter efforts
and there should be material aid to chapters - distributed to all chapters that accept in order to ensure equitability
but that we need to focus on getting the national org up and running before we can promise material aid
</answer>
<skyfaller>
my platform says "webspace, professional-quality SFC propaganda and merch, pre-packaged events and activities", but that's not an exclusive list
I think it's generally important to help fledgling chapters with both ideas/information and resources... many chapters don't know what to do when they first start up, and I think we need to put more effort into coordinating activities, so that chapters can work together
I believe that the national organization should organize more national / global efforts like the "open access day of action" that Gavin and I worked on, and encourage local events with a national purpose like Undead Art did
</answer>
<contra>
Aid to chapters should be mainly in technical and knowledge support. There should be a complete set of resources available to any chapter and easy inter-chapter and national communication for dealing with new needs. Financial support should mainly be in the form of national-level events -- not private funding of very local FC chapter events
</answer>
<e-star>
The global organization should provide chapters with as much help is as reasonably possible given the circumstances of the organization. If we manage to fundraise and hire a fulltime coordinator, much of that coordinator's work should be involved in working with the chapters. If, one day, we get a lot of donations, those could be passed on in smaller grants to local chapters. Helping new and fledgling chapters should also be a priority for the global organization, including the coordinator and any volunteers. Of course, if stronger chapters are independent and don't necessarily need the help, that's fine too.
</answer>
<grahl>
The global organization should give a little bit of swag to the chapters but otherwise they should operate independently. Events should be distinct, chapters should coordinate those amongst themselves, excluding larger projects (should any be undertaken in the near future), chapters should primarily receive technical and coordination support
</answer>
<CDucruet>
I think that the strength of the nation organization depends greatly on the success of individual chapters therefore efforts should be made on the part of the national board and sub committees to coordinate efforts between chapters, particular old and new, so that the network actively evovles according its successes and failures. This type of coordination would require the nat'l org and local chps each to take an active role keeping information up to date - this communication could be faciliated by online infrastructure such as shared calendars, documents/promotional material, and an ongoing discussion between all levels of the organization
In addition to the improvement of communication, basic aid such as promotional items (t shirts, posters, STICKERS) and anything to help chapters introduce the SFFC "brand" as it were would be greatly beneficial for both levels of SFFC
Last but not least, I would echo what a lot of people are saying - the need for some nationally coordinated events which I see as a great opportunity to get some national press and some serious recognition furthering our momentum and generating new opportunities to reach more people.
</answer>
<driscoll>
The global organization can aid by encouraging and managing the development of reusable materials and processes.
This might include sharing lists of potential visiting speakers, printable materials for coordinating events, or reusable text for responding to common FC-related on-campus events such as takedown notices.
</answer>
<mllerustad>
Lots! Primarily, the central org should offer tech support (blog/wiki hosting), send out annual swag kits (pamphlets, stickers, etc) to chapters that want them, and compile event ideas and packages (checklists, kits, flyers, etc). It should make communication between chapters as seamless as possible, both with the email lists and perhaps someday with a formal newletter. In the future, if the national org is in a financial position to do so, it could subsidize members' attendance at FC conferences. Of course the central organization can serve lots of other purposes too (ie focusing FC campaigns, being a contact point for the media, etc.) but those are the most direct "service to chapter"-type activities I can think of.
<mecredis>
I think it matters how much the global organization /can/ help the chapters
if its in terms of resources and money and events and stuff
then it should obviously do it
but if its in terms of patting on the back and setting up meetings, I'm less incliend to think that those things "help" chapters
I think keeping up the tech side of things is incredibly important, but things happen on the ground
at local chapters
and usually universities have adequate resources for helping clubs start up
so, that said, if the global org has power and resources obviously they should be directly at chapters and nothing else
</answer>

How hard should it be to become an SFC chapter?

Maybe you want to talk about checklists, or agreements, or contracts, or qualifications, or nihilism.

  • <pyrak>
we obviously have to balance ensuring a good name with minimizing hurdles (it's difficult enough to get activism off the ground as it is)
save for perhaps a small period before a chapter is recognized as "official," there shouldn't be any barrier for becoming a chapter
and resources should be given to any even potential chapters that need them, until we start to see some kind of shortage
</answer>
  • <Fear_of_C>
firstly, it fundamentally depends on how much aid we plan to and are able to send to chapters, as the primary criterion will be to avoid spreading our resources too thinly; otherwise, I think that adding chapters is primary beneficial
so my primary issue is determining that the chapter is going to survive and be capable of doing something with what we send them
so I agree about setting up an "interest list" for chapters that are beginning to form, and sending them supplies once they have shown that they can stay around and organize events for a couple of months
it will also be possible for us to send supplies to an earlier chapter that needs them to get started
so basically, I believe that a "chapter" should be able to register and make requests almost immediately, but require some more time before it reaches the official status necessary to be eligible for all material aid and voting
</answer>
  • <mecredis>
Ok, I think what's crucial in being a chapter, and this is from my experience of gaining critical mass -- is to do an event, or an action, or something other than a general meeting. get a write up in the school's paper, get an interview or someone to come talk, show a movie -- anything that will show that you can collect and coordinate people on campus. we want effective chapters that promote leadership and action, so just having a generate more and new and better ideas for people to share... I've seen this happen with the events / actions FC @ NYU has started and other chapters have picked up
  • <CDucruet>
Coming from the perspective of someone who very recently started a chapter - Sp 07 - I would review the current process as appropriate, people should be able to go for it without having to deal with a lot of red tape
However, once a chapter is initiated and suppossed to exist, I think there should be a system of review after the first year, and then, after that, on a semesterly basis
This review process would ensure that 1. There are designated leaders for that period of time, and for the immediate future, 2. That they are still in contact with the national organization, 3. That they have or plan to have at least one project during the course of the semester and if not, that they are engaged with other chapters or the national organization in planning or executing a project
I think this will help to manage the problems that arise when a chapter is started but its leaders go abroad or graduate, and/or when membership fluxuates for the same reasons - both issues happen more than once a year, thus the need for a semesterly review
</answer>
  • <e-star>
It shouldn't be that hard to be a chapter, but it should also be a chapter, and not just one person that doesn't have a group. As such, one bar to becoming a chapter may be to have a minimal number of members (3 or so), and to have organized at least one event, campaign, or other type of engagement on campus. This is important so that we don't claim to have chapters at schools where we don't have them.
We should have a separate list of interested individuals who want to form a chapter, and help foster those groups, but they should be distinguished from the groups themselves.
I think it's important not to claim we have a group at a school where we don't actually have one (we've had issues with this in the past), but it's also key to also communicate with individuals who may be interested but may not have started a group just yet. Distinguishing between chapters and interested individuals can help solve this issue.
</answer>
  • <contra>
I think it should be relatively easy to become a chapter officially (with voting rights, etc.), but more importantly, I think we should encourage groups of students to take on the FC "name" ...
We should encourage them to unite under this "movement" and provide diversity to it. *:Emotional and ideological commitment are important to maintain at the local level and too many "legal" hurdles destroys momentum.
Propaganda support should be overflowing, and voting rights/real funds should be more limited until the chapter's established. But let students feel they can be active immediately.
</answer>
  • <mllerustad>
Any student should be able to register a campus chapter, using our registration form. I believe the coordinator should have a good deal of discretion in determining what chapters to recommend for membership (based basically on making sure that they're not crazy and seem interested in doing things for the movement). I'm opposed to time limits or requiring an arbitrary number of "events." If they're not doing anything, or doing things that don't fit with FC, they'll get booted by the Board. Simple.
</answer>
  • <skyfaller>
I believe that establishing "interest lists" for people who are interested in starting a chapter but who are not ready to shoulder the burden of starting a chapter by themselves will remove many of the problems we've had in the past with "half-ass" chapters, and that once we have those set up we should simply take people at their word that they're ready for a real chapter when they want to move from an interest list to a full fledged chapter
I'm fundamentally opposed to any significant hurdles beyond saying "I really want to start a chapter", providing their full contact info and filling out the required forms
the primary contact for each chapter should also be subscribed to the relevant e-mail lists and promise to respond to important e-mails in some timely fashion unless incapacitated :P
I think that prop support / website help etc. should be overflowing from the moment a chapter starts, and that voting rights / real funds should be witheld until a chapter has been around for a certain time period, but no "tests" should be employed
</answer>
    • Let me change my answer here to be more consistent/clear. There should only be two levels of becoming a chapter: an "interest list", and a full chapter. Chapters should have full voting rights right away, and should be considered for grants etc. right away. However, a chapter should have to join some period of time before an election, perhaps a month or two, in order to vote for that election. That doesn't mean it's a lower level of chapter, it just joined too late to vote in the current election. --Nelson 02:53, 29 November 2007 (JST)
  • <driscoll>
Students should be able to start a chapter without any approval process.
If they wish to have affiliation with the global org, there should be a mechanism for communicating with new chapters.
The global org might help facilitate the combination of smaller, geographically close chapters.
As I don't see the global org dispensing funds to the chapters, the only privilege to consider is voting rights.
If the global org is maintaining a list of active chapters, it should not be difficult to identify groups to vote.
I assume that some chapters may choose not to affiliate themselves with the global org.
</answer>
  • <grahl>
The primary requirement would be to aknowledge the bylaws and any requirements the individual university might place on starting student organizations. A further requirement could be a minimum of five active members/officers. Lastly, a confirmation interview with at least two of them should take place (IRC or in RL) to weed out troublemakers.
</answer>

Would a paid coordinator be a good use of money?

Presuming that we suddenly a donation of enough money to fund a coordinator, with no earmarks, do you think that a paid coordinator would be a good use of that money? Clarifications: This is independent of technical issues like 501(c)3 status or other bureaucratic things. "No earmark" means that if we wanted we could spend that money however we wanted.

  • <Fear_of_C>
I think that a paid coordinator is necessary, and that we should actively seek the funds to support one, so if we are given the money, it is a good use
and I believe that our lack of infrastructure and coordination has done serious damage to our organization's effectiveness and ability to assist and retain chapters
if we are to become a 501c, we cannot allow deadlines to slip or paperwork to go undone
this is because we are currently relying on infrastructure that does not exist and asking volunteers who are time-crunched due to schoolwork to handle tasks that are top priority
so I think that we will need a competent, paid coordinator before we can spend on other things with maximum effectiveness
</answer>
  • <pyrak>
a paid coordinator would be incredibly helpful. coordinating chapters, making phonecalls to press or other orgs, etcetc are all things that people already maintaining chapters will have difficulty doing.
granted that we'll try to fill this need for organization with non-paid volunteer(s) as per the bylaws, but a paid position would allow far more productivity, and keeping the org organized is fundamental to its success
</answer>
  • <CDucruet>
In the future SFFC should hope to be in exactly this situation and should proactively try to get funds for the purpose of hiring a coordinator
This coordinator could be responsible for, among many other tasks, being a point person for questions related to new chapter set-up, particularly the technical aspects and the mailings and initial communications
I think that this coordinator - no matter how badly we need one - should come from close to SFFC and be reviewed by the board before consideration for this role
aka not just anyone willing to do a lot of grunt work - someone with a great deal of passion and vision on par with the board would be essential
The board, assuming we all recognize the need for a paid coordinator, should proceed immediately in developing a set of responsibilities and a method for securing funding for a coordinator
</answer>
  • <contra>
I think a paid coordinator would be wonderful -- he would do the administrative tasks, and general promotion and chapter organization. Someone would always be able to answer emails! Even one full-time staff member would do wonders for the organization. Additionally, I think we should seek funding for part-time staff and interns. The "work" of national SFC right now really can be largely accomplished by a couple of people working full time.
</answer>
  • <mllerustad>
YES. We desperately need a paid coordinator. There are so many things around here that don't get done, that no one in their right mind (*coughNelsoncough*) would volunteer to do--both because of the time commitment and because of tediousness. I can't think of anything that we could spend that amount of money on that would be more productive.
</answer>
  • <grahl>
I believe a coordinator would be a very good way to spend the money since it would be provide, as the name indicates, a single point of coordination. Not just for chapters and outside organizations to contact but more importantly as a means of following-up on chapters, their progress, and the intra-organizational communication. It's good to have somebody committed to keeping an eye on things.
</answer>
  • <mecredis>
I believe it depends on the competency of the coordinator. Supposing we trust them and they're someone we know and who is part of our community already (See: ORG and Becky Hogge) then I think it would be a good use of money supposing they can actively help find grants and support chapters.
I would not be interested in spending a lot of time educating someone who doesn't understand what SFFC is about and why we do what we do, or someone who just wants to order us more t-shirts/care packages.
</answer>
  • <e-star>
Yes. There is a lot of work to be done, and as someone who has worked on responding to many of our emails in the past year or two, I do realize that having a full time individual would be key to coordinating between chapters. While a full time volunteer would be great, that is highly unlikely, and as such, a paid coordinator would be the most likely way to get this done, and could ideally work with the community of volunteers to ma
While a full time volunteer would be great, that is highly unlikely, and as such, a paid coordinator would be the most likely way to get this done, and could ideally work with the community of volunteers to make things happen.
I also agree that we should hire a qualified candidate with a background in the field, but I think that's somewhat of a given.
</answer>
  • <driscoll>
Hiring a coordinator would help generate cohesion for the national organization. I balk to suggest a method for hiring such a person.
Not having been on the administrative side before, I wonder somewhat naively if the board would not be able to identify tasks that need to be done, document the process, and annually assign these jobs.
Funding adds such complexity to the global org that I prefer waiting until the board is settled before making a definitive statement.
</answer>
  • <skyfaller>
I believe that a paid coordinator is essential to the future of this organization, we need someone to help manage volunteers, and to do the boring tasks that nobody wants to volunteer for, such as shipping care packages. Ideally it would be an alumn of our organization, but if that's not possible someone else familiar with and passionate about the free culture movement should be fine.
I believe that our top priority should be finding a coordinator and raising the funds necessary to hire them, once the board, core team, and volunteers are up and running.
if funding does not currently exist, we need to get creative.
</answer>

What does the global organization need to be working on that chapters cannot do individually?

  • <pyrak>
global needs to coordinate with and give resources to chapters.
i guess a main thing that global will need to do for chapters is advertising- they'll put up a blog post and do interviews with newspapers for events. also they could help put out other non-event projects (ie essays, lists, websites)
of course, if we get funds and paid positions, global will handle them. i guess the only thing that needs to be added is that it's important that global remember that it's a chapter-based org
which means mentioning that they don't necessarily speak for all chapters (in interview, etc) and not being overbearing as far as telling chapters what to do
</answer>
  • <Fear_of_C>
first of all, the global organization needs to deal with issues across chapter lines: for example, national campaigns could benefit immensely by coordinating all chapters for mass action, but it would be unreasonable to expect any particular chapter or chapters to act as the coordinators
secondly, the global org needs to make sure that newer chapters have the support they need before they've had time to be fully established: meaning material aid, sharing experience of older chapters, and common infrastructure such as web space
thirdly, the global organization needs to be responsible for negotiating with other national organizations, such as creative commons and the eff, and for maintaining the free culture name and presenting a unified face to the outside world
</answer>
  • <skyfaller>
obvious answer #1 is coordinating the chapters to present a united front on given issues, both on the local level and national/global level
as CDucruet says, maintaining and creating partnerships with friendly organizations is vital and not something that is best done on the individual chapter level. an org like the EFF doesn't want to have to talk to 30 people, they want one or two contacts who they can deal with
similarly, a speaker's bureau would be invaluable... if we want Jimbo Wales to speak at our schools, there should be one point of contact, not 30. Same idea for musical acts and other touring events, which we could help chapters with
finally, organizing global conferences has both a high administrative overhead and a need for funding which the global org can help fill. :Specifically, I believe the global org should subsidize travel costs at least once a year for a global SFC conference
</answer>
  • <driscoll>
The global organization should document the amazing work happening at local chapters and provide infrastructure for archiving, promoting, and sharing this documentation.
In a sense, while local chapters innovate, the global org will try to figure out how to scale new ideas up so that they are useful to other chapters.
The global org should also help coordinate inter-chapter events such as days of action, regional gatherings, and celebrations.
In time, the global org should have a deep rolodex, and a variety of tactics, and ideas to help bootstrap activity by local chapters.
</answer>
  • <CDucruet>
The global organization's main priority, second only to finding a coordinator and the necessary funds, should be to maintain partnerships with outside organizations AND to foster new ones
If SFFC is going to stay on the map and continue to evolve, not all of the change and development will come from within - I feel that it is really important to actively pursue new relationships as there are numerous ways we could benefit
I also think that we have a great deal to bring to the table and we should market the global organization as a viable player in the realm of free culture discourse which will draw new connections to us
I had a very positive experience working with the Digital Freedom Campaign - it allowed Brown Free Culture to be a part of an event that we could have never pulled off on our own so early in the year - and yet, we did and the DFC was extremely thankful for our help!
In addition, that partnership has led to discussions with EduCause who reached out to us through the DFC and once again, this proved to be a fruitful and exciting possibility
I feel that many of the goals the global organization hopes to accomplish (particularly in terms of press and impact) would be realized through the generation of new partnerships and the fostering of current relationships with outside organizations - and this is an activity best carried out by the global org.
</answer>
  • <contra>
The global organization most importantly needs to promote the activities of local chapters. It needs to explain and show our beliefs and activities (focusing on what local chapters are actually doing) to the general public, and it needs to foster relationships with other similar organizations so chapters have connections for specific projects. It should not be running many projects on its own (at least one chapter should be supporting a project)
  • <e-star>
The global organization should (1) help to fundraise (2) coordinate between chapters (3) reach out to other organizations (4) be a hub for media requests (5) reach out to chapters (6) help organize and coordinate campaigns (7) assist with the (inter)national conference (8) help to compile reports and (9) deal with administrivia (*if* we decide to file for 501(c)(3), etc.).
</answer>
  • <mecredis>
I believe a lot of the "coordination" that we're talking about can happen already -- we have an e-mail list, we have a web blog. We aren't going to get a coordinator to start twisting people's arms. I believe the best thing a global org can to do is repackage the work individual chapters are doing and modularize it in a way that other chapters can do it. As well as write grants and establish us as a lightweight 501c3.
</answer>
  • <grahl>
The primary effort should be to build the SFFC brand and distinguish it from say, CC, not to take away from CC but to focus everyone on what SFFC actually is. It should also be investigated if projects with other large organizations can be managed and then spread that out to chapters e.g. get someone like Amnesty Intl to cosponsor an event for students to create media for a Human Rights campaign under copyleft licenses.
</answer>
  • <mllerustad>
1.) Getting grants and 501(c)3 status. 2.) Getting press. Free Culture used to generate tons of coverage, but lately it's been just a trickle. Chapters do cool things that can be covered, but the central org can organize multi-chapter campaigns, write press releases, and use the SFC "brand" to get press all over the country. 3.) Infrastructure. Our website is where the org is headquartered, fundamentally. No one chapter's going to keep it up. The central org can, and through it provide chapters with their own online resources. 4.) Partnering and negotiating with other organizations (and not just the usual suspects like EFF and CC). 5.) Do conferences (which sorta involve most of these goals). ... I'm sure I'm missing a ton of stuff.
</answer>

What do you propose can be done to make the ideas of SFC more, for lack of a better word, "sexy"?

What I mean is, speaking from our high school chapter's experience, no matter how many announcements are made or events organized, we only attract a small, core group of students. How can the ideals of SFC be better pitched to the layman in order to garner more support?

  • <pyrak>
i allude to a passage from "free culture" by lessig in my platform
we need to make students "see the harm" through concrete examples
especially in my experience with highschoolers, they're much more interested in the hidden costs involved in switching from their ipod to a zune thanks to DRM, than in lofty ideas
once you have them with you on the concrete examples of injustice, then they'll see the lofty ideals and realize they're not so lofty, and they'll "see the harm"
this means going the extra mile to really get the word out there and not force people to look things up on wikipedia. we can start by publishing and distributing a list of non-DRM music distributors
i think other people are talking about knowing your audience, and that's also true. i guess the overall point is that you need to make the movement relevant. seems obvious, but we need to really go out of our way to make sure we are taking action to do so.
</answer>
  • <skyfaller>
I think that mass action is the key to creating buzz. If one chapter does something once, all by themselves, it's not that interesting. If many chapters do the same thing across the country, especially if they do it at the same time, then it's a movement!
but mass action doesn't address the question of what the content of our pitch should be, which seems more what Adi is asking
I think that emphasizing the "DIY" aspects, and putting the power to do FC-ish things in the hands of the students is the best way to get them excited about our ideals
e.g. remix contests as many people are saying, but I also like projects like Antenna Alliance because they provide a lot of ways for many different kinds of people to become involved and active, in AA's case musicians, DJs, audio engineers, artists for album art and t-shirts, etc.
</answer>
  • <Fear_of_C>
I think we need to pitch the right ideas to the right people
aka, relevance
we need to emphasize the dj/remix/music aspect in many situations
with programmers, it can be more about FOSS
but we need to tell people why free culture is relevant to their lives
also, we need to come up with speeches that don't define too many terms
we can explain the jargon later: focus on the message in the introductin
</answer>
  • <driscoll>
To quote 50 Cent : "Nothing sells music like music."
Go forth and organize fun things for the three people in your chapter.
And if a strong archive of successful sexy activities is available, chapters bereft of sexy ideas can get sexy sooner.
</answer>
  • <e-star>
In order to make the ideas of SFC "sexier," we need to be able to reach out to a broader community--including artists, activists, technologists, musicians, political types, educators, writers, and more. I think the more conversations we can have with people who *haven't* heard about free culture, the better. We can't always make it too legally or technologically-focused. And we can't always expect everyone to agree. But bringing the issues up with people involved in creating culture is key. Connecting with other movements, such as human rights or community art centers or environmentalists or civil libertarians, and explaining the ideals behind free culture as to how it could relate to their work, would also help to spread the word. And we need clear-cut materials on our website about what our org does and why free culture is important, in term
And we need clear-cut materials on our website about what our org does and why free culture is important, in terms that anyone can understand.
</answer>
  • <contra>
I think our first order of business is to attract people who have a direct interest in FC ideas: artists, students (other academics), librarians, etc. These people really will agree with us if we can explain WHY these ideas are important. I've "converted" many people simply by sitting down and explaining why copyright (using SPECIFIC examples and current events) truly affects their lives. From that perspective, it's much less of a "nerd" activit
  • <mecredis>
With respect to making SFFC more "sexy" -- I think gender dynamics have a lot to do with it. I think the more we can diversify our constiuency the better. The less we discuss highly esoteric technic details the better. High school may be a level that people aren't willing to commit to political ideas outside their technical implications, like what pyrak said. I think couching FC ideas in terms of actual culture makes the difference.
</answer>
  • <mllerustad>
1.) We need a "What is Free Culture?" pamphlet, with snazzy graphics. This doesn't seem to exist anywhere. The EFF and CC and all those have nicely designed, succinct literature--we should too! 2.) Advising chapters to mix it up and do some fun events (movie showings, F/OSS gaming nights, etc.) along with serious ones. 3.) Advising chapters to take a list of existing clubs and organizations and trying to work together with them on common issue (e.g. DVD region coding with the Anime Club, a CC art show with the Art Society).
</answer>
  • <CDucruet>
Making SFC more sexy: Sexy national projects with sexy, streamlined promo and modular press nuggets to be distributed by chapters
I will comment on this more on Sunday as I believe I am out of time!
</answer>
  • <grahl>
I'm not certain that we can ever really appeal to the layman, the college audience is where I do see enough potential and there even the laywoman works with e.g. DRM every day through their iPods. Raising awareness is a difficult but necessary step. Events around consumer electronics and the current social platform of choice can be a way to reach out to students who might not have cared otherwise, simply due to the right buzzwords and the point that it affects them even if they don't know it. Proper content and actions that the individual then can take have to follow, of course.
</answer>

More specific questions

  • Nelson Pavlosky asks Fred Benenson: you suggested earlier that there are limits to how much the national organization can help chapters... could you elaborate on those limits? How *can't* SFC help its chapters? or if it's more relevant, how do you think SFC should not help its chapters?
    • <mecredis>
    In my view a lot of the way the global/national org has been "helping" chapters is by calling meetings and organizing wiki edits. This is not a fruitful use of chapter head's time, and I've been repeated told this by people trying to start chapters. In fact, I feel it is something that actively discourages chapter heads from continuing their involvement with our org because they get scared by the "bureaucracy"
    We're not going to end up with an infinite amount of money or time and even if we get a coordinator, it will be prudent to understand what our limits can be. If we don't then we're being naive and overly idealistic. I'm interested in practical real action not a lot of hot air, and I think my experience and track record with SFFC shows this.
    </answer>
  • Elizabeth Stark asks Nelson Pavlosky: You appear to be the only board candidate that isn't currently involved with a chapter. Do you plan on starting one? If not, do you think no longer being in a chapter will put you in a different position than others?
    • <skyfaller>
    I would be interested in starting a chapter, but I guess I'm one of the proposed "interest lists"... I'm not going to start a chapter by myself. I'll put out feelers next semester and see how many allies turn up, and if there are another couple people then I'll probably start one.
    It may put me in a different position if I no longer have a sense of what issues chapters are facing today, but I have been involved in starting so many chapters in the past, and I have been personally involved in both the Swarthmore chapter and the Claremont chapter, so I think that I have more than enough experience.
    I may just have to make an effort to talk to and listen to people who currently have chapters if I haven't managed to start one yet, but people should know that I'm pretty good at talking to people and staying in touch :)
    </answer>
  • Elizabeth Stark asks Parker Phinney: Are there any insights that you think you've gained by starting what I think is our first high school chapter? Do you think this makes you particularly qualified to represent high school students interested in FC? If so, why?
    • <pyrak>
    first insight: it's incredibly difficult to mobilize highschool students, especially affluent private-school ones :P
    which i think has created a great experience for me, because i've had to appeal and re-appeal to my peers in different ways, slowly understanding what appeals work
    i guess it just goes back to what i said about making them see the harm. because i've learned how to make our toughest audience see the harm, i think i'll know how to make everyone else see it also. just today i was starting to get my french teacher on board, she got pretty excited :)
    </answer>
  • Elizabeth Stark asks the ladies (Karen Rustad and Christina Ducruet): Why do you think there are still fewer women leaders in the FC movement? What can we do to change this?
    • <CDucruet>
    It surprises me that this is the case actually because this is such a gender neutral movement. I don't think there is anything anything inherent to SFC that makes this so, however, I think one possibility is that few females feel technologically empowered in the same way men do
    also I really neglect to carry any gender stereotypes about passive/active roles carry over to the role of the proconsumer
    which is the role I see myself in within the movement
    As a solution to this problem, I think it is important for the board to reflect a ratio of men to women that is one par with the ratio our organization hopes to see at all levels
    I agree with you e-star - the issue does not arrive from anything fundamental to the movement - rather it is a product of the interest groups we seek to involve - that is where we need to seek balance, and a better m:f ratio will emerge as a result of that
    </answer>
    • <e-star>
    Yes, I was also going to say that many chapters emerge out of technology communities, where women are often underrepresented. I think it's important to get women involved in these tech communities, but also to reach out beyond them to communities where women are well-reprsented (art, music, writing, law, etc.) I think if we are able to bring the tech people into cultural issues, and the culture people into tech issues, then we could achieve a better gender balance across the board.
    <paulproteus> e-star, "across the board" meaning "across the whole organization", not just specifically the Board we're electing?
    <e-star> paulproteus: no, in the very general sense
    not in the Board
    </answer>
    • <mllerustad>
    I think there's been a lot of effort both on the national level and within chapters to reach out to other groups and other topics within free culture, and that's fantastic. Even if we're still not 50/50, there are more ladies--and more diverse interests, which is important in and of itself--in the movement now than there were a couple years ago. As time goes on, I think more chapters will appear whose common root is the artsy/"culture" side of free culture, rather than the open source movement. (I'd consider my chapter one of those.)
    </answer>
  • Nelson Pavlosky asks Jan Hendrik Grahl: as paulproteus says, the board is a bit US-centric. You are the only person here today who is from overseas AFAIK, how does your experience outside the US affect your positions and what direction you would like to take the board / SFC?
    • <grahl>
    Most of my experience with volunteer organizations has been inside the US so I can't pretend that I'd have learned a different style of doing this there. Nonetheless, I hope to bring more SFC to Europe in particular next year whether elected or not.
    In general I'd hope to carry out the outreach to other organizations whether domestic or abroad.
    </answer>
  • Kevin Driscoll asks all candidates: Beyond immediate issues like DRM, please identify one way in which a more free culture differs from the status quo.