[Imc-communication] [IMC-Tech] more about tech stuff
toya at riseup.net
Thu Nov 13 15:00:48 PST 2008
Oi Sofia I will reply to your question, but I have some questions myself
to ask Boston IMC, they are in the bottom after my answers.
> 1) you say: "this drupal project
is more than half done already, it could be easily finished without
paying no one to do the work, again, I
believe grassroot work could solve this problem." I'm not sure what
drupal project you are talking about... You mean this?
I mean the drupal project that is asking 200 thousand dollars. As you
can see on that link you gave me there is a lot of work done so far
whithout 200 thousand dollars. You will see how great part of what you
wrote on the proposal to Knight Foundation is already done and documented.
> 2) "Part of my critique was about IMC's that had their websites
created way before they finished the process" Yes, but there's also
those IMCs that have been around for a long time and now are crashing.
Boston Imc is a great example. I've been told we were the "2nd ones" to
be created, back in 2000 or so. Since then, all our volunteers are new.
The old volunteers literally "grew out" of it. I can ask the oldest
member who still lives in Boston, but I'm not sure that the collective
communication processes and principles of unity were even in place back
then... I mean, that was waaaaaay before consensus processes were in
use. Anywho... It's like we're starting from scratch. Apparently.
> And we've been struggling for the past 3 years to find a committed
developer (worked with 3 different ones) who can help us build a new
site. Maybe we're too "web site" oriented, but we've had sooooo many
people ask "how can I upload video? how come my audio doesn't work?" We
didn't have a problem when it was harder to do multimedia, but now it
seems everyone's into the multimedia thing. Not to mention that, here
in the US commercial sites like youtube have taken over.
I tell you what i know, consensus was part of IMC history since the
beginning. POU and all that was created in 2001 when we had the first
international face-to-face imc gathering in SF, which I participate and
where most of the process we use today was build. One example, the
process list where people must send proposals and emails in at least 2
different languages, so english wouldnt be the only way to communicate
on the network.
And my statement goes together with IMC's that was created during those
days, which was also a discussion during those days, because when any
global action was going to happen, and there was no IMC in the city
where this action was happening we would build one. One example is
prague indymedia, at the N20 in 2000. And the problem wasn't just
technical support but the collective itself, who would fall apart after
all the people who came from other cities/countries would go home after
the global day of action.
Again, I will use the Brasil example because is the collective I am part
of. We had many people coming and going as well and to tell you that in
Brasil things aren't that great as you think, we right now are with a
very small number of people involved in the network, I believe is the
smallest number since we actually build the network - brasil started
with one collective in sao paulo and them more people from other cities
were getting involved and we decide to build our own network and create
a process for it.
We work hard with documentation, if you print all IMC Brasil
documentation from Docs.indymedia I bet it will be over a thousand pages
book. That is where we keep our collective memory. Many times we have
discussions and we are unsure of how to proceed and we look at docs for
orientation, we read what was the resolution of past similar discussions
and so on.
So I am telling you all this, to show that great part of what is
presented as 'problems' could be resolved locally with organization and
to emphasize that the organizing work is the hardest one in a collective
and a network. Because is an ongoing job that needs way more dedication
than when you are writing a code or reporting a story, those have a
beginning and an end and can be executed without having to deal with
other people, you can individually report a story or write a code. But
you can't build and maintain a collective or network that way, therefore
is harder .
We also have the problems with the multimedia part of our site, we use
mir and it doesnt resize images (for when someone publish an image with
an huuge size) or has flash display of videos and audio. Not only that,
we also had a big problem of loosing 90% of our tech team in a moment
that we also lost our server. What we did?
Well we organized techmeet, where the main developers of mir and
sf-active came and we analyzed our past, our problems and we decided
that the way we were working - having different cms's supported by
small teams inside of IMC - leaded us to the situation we are now. Too
much requests on the development side of those softwares and too little
people capable to keep up with those requests. Thinking of that and also
on security and also on hosting spaces and bandwidth we decided to move
on with the new-cms proposal. So, imc brasil tech told our network that
we will not address those requests for now, we will devote our time on:
1. rebuild our tech team - and sharing knowledge
2. recreate our server
3. work on the development of this new software that will help not only
imc-brasil but all mir and sf-active sites out there.
We did number 1 and 2. The people who did it have never done this
before, and we learned (and are learning) the work required to do that
with the help of the indymedia network. And people like me, who don't
have that great experience on programming, are following the new-cms
process so we can learn how to help on that. This is taking years and
years, yeah, but in the end the results will be way greater than just
choosing to use another software we don't have full understanding of and
we would still be depended on a few techies to get the work done. Or
worst, pay someone to do the job, not know what is needed to do it and
later when the money is over fall into the same problem again, not have
a tech person to upgrade with the new innovative tech solutions or
maintain the site.
> 3) Is there a process in place
when collectives like big muddy imc asks for tech help? I have ran into
walls (with windows) in the past when sending a shout for help... I say
"with windows" because weeeeeeeks later I would get a response and
then, "but I don't have time to help you." In regards to spam issues,
we finally had one global IMC tech put a catpcha on our newswire, but
we couldn't duplicate his work and had to shut down the comments and
other news sections. By then, the damage was done.
> This is not to criticize, to quote Jay, "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."
Well my answer to this is in the list of questions I have... because
really, you can't expect that every single thing should be the
responsibility of the global tech team.
Why not? Like I explained before, this is not a collective, is a place
where many collectives interacts with each others. No one who joined
this list did it with the intention to give support to the whole global
And I haven't met the tech superman or superwoman who could do that.
That is not possible, there are people here who has access to a specific
machine which is doing an specific work. And yeah, most of us are
overwhelmed right now, there is why we are working on the new-cms project.
Is why we are sharing our skills, and there is why more people are
offering to learn it an help on it.
But to anticipate my question, was global tech the only place you looked
> 4) Tech consulta: I would love to motion a request to move with this.
Alright, then what has to be done is to:
1. create a proposal calling people to help
2. get this people organized - maybe using an email list
3. build the questions - what is the goal, what information do we need
from the collectives?
4. build a way to get them translations
5. build an strategy on how you will send those questions out and how
you will document the answers.
6. build the conclusion and present it back to the whole network
Now my questions are:
1. Who is hosting imc boston today?
2. When imc boston looked for help did you asked other groups besides
the imc-tech list?
3. Is there linux users groups in boston? is there free software events
in boston? like install parties and so on?
4. Did imc boston had an open meeting for tech support yet? What was the
results of it?
5. How was the IMC Boston relation with who was helping you on the site
before? I want to know how much information the collective had about the
work this people was doing. Did they documented anything of their work?
6. Does anyone in IMC Boston has the will to learn technical skills?
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