[Imc-communication] [IMC-Tech] talking about our tech blues...
davesoftdes at gmail.com
Wed Nov 12 12:55:15 PST 2008
I'm glad you're just 'riding the waves' of emotion and still focusing on
results! I agree, the tech side of IMC can be particularly frustrating.
When I joined our local group I found a background continuity of go-to
folks for the existing equipment and software, but little active work or
maintenance being done. We had a huge event coming, and we wound up
losing focus in all sorts of ways as folks became more active and others
enthusiastically joined in.
We were unclear about what resources we needed or even had, website
administrators turned over, vanished, returned to claim their position,
loaded all new software at the last minute - it was maybe an extreme
example, but in a way I'm glad nobody used that as an opportunity to
pull an Al Haig (I'm in Charge Here!) but there were those (including
myself) who felt they could not effectively contribute without some
structure and shared work, and that was sad.
Even though it kinda worked out, I think it would be good to evolve an
understanding of an 'IMC Way' to guide and bring together in a way that
works. I am well aware that volunteer organizations have a lot of
turnover, and a variety of ways of maintaining traditions and culture. I
have seen a number that continue without any 'leader', just a book of
rituals that evolves.
There are so many things that we techies can contribute to facilitate
IMC, it is a shame to have it lost simply because the collective doesn't
have a conventional structure. As we found out during our event
preparations, passionate and even acrimonious debate, parental posturing
and other responses to the discomfort of the unknown are still not the
kind of productivity we need! Corporations have been facing that for
some time, to the point where one company introduced the concept of
'stand-up' meetings, using physical endurance to limit run-on
discussions so people could get back to using their talents.
What helped us a lot in the end, I think, was the introduction of
tried-and-true collective procedures from groups that had existed for
decades in an egalitarian way, and had spent a lot of time developing
their guidelines. We didn't have to reinvent the wheel when we had no
time, and that helped a lot. Still, egos intrude...
Plus, while I love contributing to tech, I had articles to write and
video to shoot too! Thanks again for your perseverance. I'm kind of an
IMC newbie who lost heart a bit, and it's great to see.
Sofia JarrinT a écrit :
> My apologies for losing my cool on Monday. I do think we can discuss and even express our frustrations about the grant or paying techs without pointing fingers at each other or making targeted assumptions about an "enemy within." Also, thanks for this email below which I think sums up very, very well what happened.
> I think it goes without saying that the Imc structure is complicated and therefore, it does take time (even years) to learn all of its processes. Not to mention that I've been personally frustrated just during this conversation having to clarify things on several lists and hoping people are looking at the archives before responding... Myself included. Is it even possible to do a global search of our Indymedia list archives for say, "grants"?
> As new Indymedias arise, new Imc generations come forward, how do we keep our collective well informed? I wouldn't be surprised if in a couple of years a new IMC volunteer comes out with a grant proposal and we have this conversation yet again.
> But more importantly, and hopefully, the list can move on to what I think really we should be really talking about:
> - with all the growth done since 1999, do we have the tech-help structure needed to help individual Indymedias cope with their technological problems?
> - have we done a tech consulta like the payment consulta to assess how Indymedias are doing? I personally don't even know how many techs we have out there...
> - do imc-techs have what they need from the Imc-collective to do their work? The imc-cms group mentioned they spent "thousands of dollars" out of their own pockets to fly people to their last tech meet... If it isn't money, then what?
> Moreover, I do think that Indymedia tech work is much different from the rest of the volunteer work we do. Not better or worse. But I can safely say that to get a web site running, it can easily take a year's-worth of really intense work. As an imc journalist, I can go to a march, write a report, go home, and relax. It's more sporadic. Short-term versus long-term...
> I don't want to speak for techs, but I do think there are many Imcs suffering the tech blues out there, and I rather talk about this as a collective than see some sites flourish and others shut down.
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Jay <idiot at jaysand.com>
> To: imc-communication at lists.indymedia.org
> Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:15:05 AM
> Subject: Re: [Imc-communication] So, just who is this "Sofia JarrinT"? (Some quick observations)
> Hi imc-communication,
> I just had a moment to catch up with this
> discussion. For the most part it has been civil,
> without personal accusations or attacks. Let's
> please keep focus on the issues at hand.
> My sense of what happened here is that a number
> of dedicated Indymedia drupal techs, recognizing
> the need for a more formal Drupal IMC code
> foundation, caught wind of the Knight grant
> possibility a couple weeks before the initial
> proposal deadline and decided to scramble to go
> for it because of an honest interest in
> improving the network. They communicated with
> several drupal people from several IMCs around
> the world and got something in just before the
> deadline. In most non-indymedia contexts this in
> itself would be a accomplishment.
> The twist here is that the group that put in the
> application was not aware of global indymedia
> communication structures, the "culture" of
> communication that happens in indymedia global
> discussions (volumes of discussion required to
> come to consensus), and a whole bunch of issues
> regarding payment that people who have been
> slogging through Indymedia work since the last
> milennium (it sometimes feels even longer) have
> discussed again and again . They also weren't
> working in tandem with the imc-cms and imc-tech
> lists, nor aware of the intricate history with
> the Ford Foundation application, which is
> essential to understanding the responses of some
> IMCs, especially those from Argentina.
> I don't sense ill-will here in the group that
> made the application and I hope none
> develops. Indymedia's global decision-making
> culture and structures, or the real lack thereof,
> are not easy to grasp, even by people who have been involved for years.
> As Sofia has indicated, if the group had known
> the perils of putting in a grant application that
> suggested they were applying for money for the
> whole Indymedia network they would have been more
> careful with their language.
> That's not to say we all would have been
> supportive of any groups within the network
> applying to Knight for money, which is a real
> issue in itself, or that Drupal techs applying
> for money outside of the imc-cms discussions
> would have been good, but if that had been the
> case we would be having a slightly different discussion.
> Two strains of further discussion seem to be
> coming out of this. First, despite the
> thoughtful and thorough opinions expressed on
> this list, which many of the same people express
> just as thoughtfully each time the issue of
> payment comes up, we do have substantial
> disagreements in the network about whether or not
> people should accept payment for any indymedia
> work, and, if so, from which sources. As Nick
> points out, we decided many months ago to
> communicate with IMCs throughout the network to
> move toward a formal statement on payment through
> the consulta and the imc-payment list.
> Knowing indymedia, reaching an agreeable
> statement on payment could take forever, but at
> least there is a structure in place through which
> we can move forward if we choose.
> Second, the question has come up here a few times
> whether we can be more creative in assuring that
> IMCs sufficiently share tech work. We clearly
> have to be. Tech knowledge and the availability
> of tech volunteers is so essential to the health
> of local IMCs that many haven't gotten off the
> ground or fail primarily due to technical concerns.
> This discussion could spur some soul-searching
> throughout the network, on imc-tech but not
> exclusively, about how we can share the technical
> load with local IMCs that don't have tech savvy
> in a way that adavnces our work, whether this
> involves paying anyone for anything or
> not. Clearly some local IMCs have a problem
> finding sufficient tech help. If an IMC can't
> get its media-making work out because their web
> site is always in the shop, I can see how it will
> resort to desperate measures (like applying for
> grants :) to solve that problem. As Cat
> suggests, we certainly haven't exhausted all
> potential solutions, and, being that in general
> we're pretty smart people, we should certainly give that more of a try.
> At 11/10/2008, you wrote:
>> (castellano abajo)
>> Hello, here Libertinus from Indy Uruguay and I can´t write perfect english.
>> Im share the point of view of Andres.
>> Im part of the network for more than 7 years and Im very sad and angry
>> with all this bullshit. I write a personal letter to payment list and
>> now I write new one in comunication because I need it.
>> I only see two cause: or we have the enemy inside making internal
>> problem or that after the antiglobalization (anticapitalist) movement
>> crisis enter new people to this network with a bad ideological bassment.
>> But looking the list of imc
>> belguim? They had lot of internal problem in this old node. And they
>> spred in many collectives.
>> Bolivia? I sure most of them dont know anithing about it.
>> australia? what the fuck is this collective? I never listen to it.
>> linksunten? new collective with a strange relation with germany node.
>> uk imc? mmm, something sound to me wrong here. no? all the local
>> network? mmm...
>> Urbana??? yes, always there. arrrgh!
>> "UNFRIENDLY INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES"??? ooohghh, that hurt!! but...
>> is the history of Latinamerica. always there making trobble and putting money.
>> CASTELLANO pa la buena gente.
>> Hola, Soy Libertinus de Indymedia Uruguay y no puedo escribir bien en ingles.
>> Comparto el punto de vista de Andres de Indy Canarias.
>> Soy parte la red desde hace ya 7 anios y estoy muy triste y enojado
>> con toda esta mierda. Ya escribi una carta personal a la lista payment
>> y ahora escribo otra aqui porque lo necesito.
>> Yo solo veo dos causas, o tenemos el enemigo dentro generando
>> problemas internos o que luego de la crisis del movimiento
>> anticapitalista (antiglobalizacion) ha entrado nuevas personas a esta
>> red sin una base ideologica fuerte.
>> Pero mirando la lista de colectivos:
>> belgica? Ellos tuvieron muchos problemas internos y se han separado en
>> varios colectivos.
>> Bolivia? Estoy seguro que muchos de sus miembros no tienen ni idea de
>> todo esto.
>> australia? que carajo es este colectivo? desde cuando existe eso?
>> nunca oi nada de ellos.
>> linksunten? nuevo colectivo con una relacion dificil con el nodo aleman
>> uk imc? mmm, algo me huele mal aqui, todo la red de uk? estan seguros? mmm...
>> Urbana??? Si!! siempre ellos por aqui!!
>> "Agencias de inteligencia nada amistosas"??? ooo, eso duele!! pero...
>> Esa es la historia de latinoamerica, siempre haciendo problemas y
>> poniendo dinero.
>> Quoting andrés <apb at swissmail.org>:
>>> Sofia, all,
>>> Doing some research, I first read this wiki page:
>>> where the origination of this proposal is not described (ie. Who's idea
>>> was this?)
>>> This document lists the following IMCs as being participants in the
>>> * Arizona Imc
>>> * Australia Imc
>>> * Austria Imc
>>> * Belgium Imc
>>> * Bolivia Imc
>>> * Boston Imc
>>> * Columbus Imc
>>> * Linksunten (South-west Germany) Imc
>>> * Los Angeles Imc
>>> * Philadelphia Imc
>>> * Scotland Imc
>>> * St. Louis Imc
>>> * UK Imc
>>> * Urbana Champaign Imc (as fiscal sponsor)
>>> Looking further into the proposed edits, I then see some comments from
>>> some individuals (not clearly accrediting that they are acting through
>>> consensus on behalf of indymedia colectives):
>>> from 23/Oct, 24/Oct, 26/Oct;
>>> from 29/Oct, 30/Oct, 2/Nov.
>>> Participants are:
>>> some of whom suggest changes which are not evident in the apparantly
>>> final document, and some of whom point out that they participate
>>> *without* representing indymedia collectives through local consensus.
>>> In edits by SofiaJT, four of these names are tagged as associated with
>>> Belgium, Columbus, Indybay and Scotland IMCs.
>>> These are seven people in total, of whom not all sound entirely happy
>>> about the proposal.
>>> Going on to review the imc-tech list, we first find this message from
>>> 29/Oct, which I reproduce here for its interest:
>>>> [IMC-Tech] Knight Foundation Grant for Drupal IMC
>>>> Sofia JarrinT sofiajt at yahoo.com
>>>> Wed Oct 29 10:11:05 PDT 2008
>>>> * Previous message: [IMC-Tech] Safe to upgrade MiR / Ubuntu ?
>>>> * Next message: [IMC-Tech] Knight Foundation Grant for Drupal IMC
>>>> * Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]
>>>> For disclosure purposes, please be informed that in the past couple
>>>> of weeks, we created a loose coalition of Indymedia people to
>>>> apply for a Knight Foundation grant
>>>> (http://www.newschallenge.org/) to build an Indymedia Drupal
>>>> prototype for ALL Indymedias (which will include, among other
>>>> things, an Indymedia install profile)... The deadline is November
>>>> The idea developed originally from Belgium and Boston Imc and since
>>>> then has snowballed to include many other IMCs.
>>>> The goals so far on how exactly to use the money or manage it, if
>>>> we get it, are a bit up in the air. But there's a feeling of
>>>> urgency that if we don't, this will take too long to get done, and
>>>> Imcs continue to close down because of tech difficulties. Techs
>>>> lack the time and the money should hopefully give them the space to
>>>> allocate that time. One idea is to allocate $ to local Indymedias
>>>> through the global fund, so they in turn could "hire" a tech to
>>>> help them...
>>>> Most documentation can be found here:
>>>> And we're using this channel to communicate:
>>>> imc-drupal-dev at lists.indymedia.org
>>>> Boston Imc
>>> Everybody interested can follow the imc-tech conversation starting at
>>> the above link.
>>> I am short of time right now, so I will finish this message at this point.
>>> But I must point out that, as well as other points such as the issue of
>>> finance/payment in the indymedia network, CMI-ROSARIO has clearly
>>> highlighted problems associated with foundations such as these insofar
>>> as enemies of indymedia can point even further to putative associations
>>> with, um, let's just say "UNFRIENDLY INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES". An issue
>>> which the, already not very self-evidently honest "SofiaJT" has not so
>>> far deigned to address in the imc-communication list. There *do* appear
>>> to be *either* other comunications going on "behind the scenes" *or*
>>> "figments of the imagination" going on here.
>>> However, as long as at least one person is "enjoying" herself...
>>> All for now.
>>> Dime si hace falta una traducción al español...
>>> imc-canarias (liason imc-process)
>>> imc-communication admin group (open to all imcistas - just apply at link
>>> IMC-communication mailing list
>>> IMC-communication at lists.indymedia.org
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