Archive:2007 Workshops/Communication and Collaboration

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Schedule: Discussion 1 | Discussion 2 | Infinite Smallness | Lunch National FC discussion | Discussion 3 | Chapter & project reports
Workshop Session 1: Open Access | Free Software | Free Music & Remix Culture | Free Video & Open Media
Workshop Session 2: Digital Disobedience | Communication and Collaboration | A Vision for | Models for Creators
2007 workshop reports +/-


Leaders: Elizabeth Stark and SJ Klein

Attendance: Elizabeth, SJ Klein, Brendan Ballou, Nick Larcruente, Toby Knudsen, Steve Foerster, Diane Williams, Tim Vollmer, Andy, Greg Price, Max Berger

Intro discussion

sj, es - There are lots of groups working in this space -- funny, considering the topic.

It's important to branch out to people who are effectively doing free culture, and explain the larger efforts they are part of. There are also groups who are not collaborating as effectively as they could. Within FC we haven't been very successful yet at coordinating across FC groups/chapters.

Andy - actually, today was pretty remarkable, in bringing together ots of disparate but related entitites; and a lot of things will spawn out of today.
es - do people think this is an effective way of doing this, getting people together f2f? [5 yesses] I really think that lots of presentations are wastes of time; it's good to have time for discussion [andy - those were very effective]

es - how can conferences or f2f physical events [meetup, copynights, other?] improve collaboration?

tk - one thing I've noticed about good v not so good schools: good schools expect you've already done reading when you get together, and expect contribution in class; not going over material. it's important to have continuity; give prep, have individual work, come together in between.
sj - one thing I really liked about today was that people knew the basics of projects and concepts, and had deeper questions to discuss. It's easy to go to technical audiences, even at google, and find an audience who still had the standard questions to ask about technology and learning with computers and nothing detailed about capturing local stories and culture, or child involvement with community interviews.
dw - the conferences I get the most out of are ones that ask what you get the most out of... what you liked best.

when I teach at northeastern, the intro courses, some of them have computers only at work, not at home. so I learn the first clas to go through the syllabus step by step, making it introductory, keeping me also grounded,.

nick - there was a real backchannel during the conference sessions; this is the first time I've seen this -- enough otulets, &c. having an online chat. it would also be nice to get streaming setup for people to watch from far away and respond from nearby.

[sj - it would be great to have conference streaming/transcription/translation groups around free culture, and feeding into global news outlets such as globalvoices... collaborating with physical attendees, familiar with a toolchain that makes online participation real-time and enjoyable]

tv - I took part in the second life part of the media in transition conf. it was interesting, though i was wary coming in.
andy - I want to make sure we hit somethign that's low-hanging fruit, not too big.
diane - second life so far hasn't worked for me.
sj - it makes me cry
diane - I want to be around people who don't agree with me and vice versa,. when you go into little groups it is like a love fest. and you have your own -- the workshop dissent was exciting.
nick - over in free software we had controversy as well.
diane - were you there when the psychiatrist used second life for psych care? [laughter]

I said, excuse me sir, I met a student getting her degree at the fletcher school of poli sci, from baghdad and has been here two years. I asked her what can I do for you, what do you need? she said: they need access. second life? they could barely download pictures, not to mention play youtube. she laughs. she would kill for a 56k connection. For people who have real first lives...

steve - when I lived in dominica there were serious bandwidth issues. no internet all day some days.

how to organize and collaborate online?

  • eduforge, for educational projects
    andy - not sourceforge. very difficult for people to use. the barrier to entry can be oo high.
  • troubles with discuss lisits: it can be really interesting, say on the fc discuss list, but people don't know when to take conversations offlist. So you get 50 messages on the same topic.
    moderation is important.

Nick - I'm working with the WTC memorial, trying to get off email. the mixed media are being sent to various people. when you're trying to get all items running together related to a certain victim, it's hard. you usually end up using fspot, spotlight, or google desktop. we're looking now at a way to post something and have it filtered by tags for interest. email clients to a small degree do this with folders/filters, but many things have to be set up manually. if you could subscribe to a list of keywords and chapters, that would be itneresting. on the distro side, it would be great to add a keyword and have it go out to those interested.

you could break up lists you have to several lists. this is complicated and ugly, but saves people's inboxes.

Brendan - less comm and more administration: it wouldb e nice if there were mroe direction, less collabopration. over lunch at the polanning meeting we talked about having a newsletter from the national level. but one thing I noticed from group presentations: lots of people started dchapters, each one was doing somethign very different. lots of smart people coming up with interesting things, but they came up with these on their own.

it would be fantastic to have modules you could deploy; petitions or events.

Greg - we all did things separately for open access day, for instance.

es - for in the past we've tried to make pages with sample things like that. we need to do a better job of communicating. our server crashed, unfortunately, and one of our members was hosting it and had no backups; so we lost list subscribers. we regained them eventually...

tools to use

consider facebook v email. for events, for more.

some chapters use email as announce only, very rare announcements.

how to work with outside orgs?

  • Participatory culture foundation, OLPC, Wikieducator

Outreach to wikipedia and wikipedians -- finding gardeners and gnomes. (sj)

define what the collaborative space is for: know what's going on, find out what (andy)
so say we have a thesis project and need hackers to modify the code and also need pr to students: you'd want a project desccription, and have people report back and sign up.

From the perspective of other organizations : OLPC and PCulture, for instance, need this kind of support just as much as fc. There is probably a way to define a template for projects that are promoting (lower-case) free culture, that meet some basic guidelines for freeness and cultural significance. Then fc as a movement can offer help in curating online spaces, communication, technical or promotion support, hosting for wikis, blogs, other interfaces. This could be an effective way to give free culture a lot of visibility outside of its immediate projects as an entity that supports all of this development.

Who should we connect with?

  • Public Knowledge. They specifically asked brendan to ask how they could be helpful, get involved, offer space or other resources
  • Fashion industry: people have been considering how to extend copyright to this... a really absurd idea. I think that's something of a fc issue. we'll probably start next semester with a campaign around that, and something people could get excited about.
    Are there groups in the fashion industry who care? There are 3 fashion designers hardcore for the bill; most of them think it's pretty dumb.
  • Brazil - I want to propose contacting the bra gov;t... eliz should do this. and harvard has a fac member on leave in brazil working for the gov (roberto unger). he's open to the idea of looking at property change -- Randy
    last year the 1st annual icommons was there; puntos da cultura, run by minicul and gilberto gil. he was a proponent of the sampling license... he did start estudio livre; software-based media editing stations; working to put this free media online.
    In europe - germany, france - english is the lingua franca (?) and they're doing things as well. hearing what all students are doing across schools is amazing. How far do we want to take it beyond the US? I'm a volunteer for music and go abroad... my area is way outside. - Diane
    We do have a chapter in peru and associate groups in brazil. It's not totally intentional; I think there's a culture on american campuses with regard to activities; in brazil, the unis ystem is different. I asked friend why there aren't student groups. FGV, a law school in rio -- I asked why not have student edited journals and gruops. most people didn't live on campujs; there's no real campus; they live at home or in an apt. You don't have a campus atmosphere and didn't have the sense of these groups. In Europe you also have people living at home with families.
  • nick - There's a large list of orgs, that should be aligned ith fc. OS software, artists groups, could benefit from an alliance. Also orgs which aren't doing the same lobbying or related goals, but mnight benefit from talking to fc; want to deploy an open source systsem (like the one I'm working for) looking for a better way to distribute content. could come to an org like us to ask what is available. So how do we define free culture? [diane - you took my words; I was going to ask what's the definition]
es - I'm going to work on getting people to wikigarden; we have a h free culture wiki and people forget about it - you need to foster a wiki community where people feel responsible for their pages, so people watch and check it. when you're a leader of a chapter, whatever is happening - remind people there is a wiki. every time I send something out you tell them. if you remind them, send email and include the full texts on wikis, people will remember.
sj - one thing to do might be to merge our wikis - it might not be as bad as we think; have a slash school name on our national fc wiki. there's software that exists to walk wikis and merge them.