[Imc-communication] Global imc editorial group on Palestine: the Shame and Sorrow
ald at riseup.net
Sun Jan 11 15:59:12 PST 2009
In response to Petros's note, located here:
I will send this to imc-communications and www-features, and include links
so that those not following the discussion can be brought up to date. All
www-features archives are publicly archived.
It is accurate that the last two proposals that imc-cyprus has made have
been blocked -- although GDM did not issue a block, so I'm not sure why
petros called him out. I blocked the first one:
and marco blocked the second one:
It is inaccurate that there was no discussion. There was discussion on
both stories both before and after the block. You'll notice that the
archives for this month are among the longest in awhile, and 95% of this
is about gaza coverage. I'm not sure what petros's definition of
"discussion" is, but according to my definition, i see a lot of it going
on here. Still, because petros is stating that there is no discussion, I
will summarize the discussion, and try to address his concerns. i will
also try not to perpetuate the cycle of poisonous distrust that i feel he
has chosen to initiate.
The discussion over the first feature that was blocked began with
concerns emailed by jenka, after the third feature by imc-cyprus had been
posted to the center column. the first two had been done
transparently and without concerns raised (in fact with support given).
here is jenka's note of concern about the third:
rona responded, encouraging jenka to be more positive:
when i read these notes, i looked at the admin to see who had published
the story. I was prompted to do this because usually someone will say, "i
have posted the story" on the listserv, and that hadn't happened this
time. When I looked I found that whoever posted and featured the piece had
not identified themselves, whereas every other feature viewable on the
page had posted with a manually entered note of who uploaded it.
Transparency has been an issue in the collective in the past, but
recently we had gotten a lot better about that. everyone seems to agree
that its important, petros included. given this, plus the fact that the
story was startlingly outdated due to the ground war's start since its
publishing (jenka notes this), i unpublished the feature. I explain this
action to the group here.
in his note to imc-communicaitons, petros states the following:
> When this was discovered, these were the correct steps to take:
> o~ return the article to the editorial group for further dialogue so
> that the proper group procedures could be followed in order to repair
> its missing parts and publish it, if the editorial group agreed to do so
> through its usual procedures,
To clarify, by unpublishing it as a feature, i WAS returning the issue to
the editorial group -- the first point petros suggests as correct process
> o~ launch an investigation into the security breach to find out who had
> done the improper publishing, and HOW. The violation of trust brought
> about by that action poisoned all of us. And harmed the Palestinian
> people immensely.
I did this by stating to the group that the action was done
non-transparently and inviting the person who had done it to come
forward. I am sorry to say that I have no ability or knowledge to figure
this out beyond asking people to be honest. If i knew how to figure out
who posted the feature, I would have done so. I'll ask now -- does anyone
know how to find out who took an action in mir that is not
recorded in the memo line? maybe mir logs admin time in a way i am not
aware of? If this is the case i do not know how to find this information
out on mir. if you do, it would be great if you'd contact www-features if
you know about this. however i am not aware of this information and feel
powerless to figure it out.
However, if petros or anyone else felt that such additional research was
necessary on this point, he could have stated this question on list at the
time of the non-transparent publish. but neither he nor anyone else
requested such research.
instead, petros sought for the question of the article's fate to be
addressed by the group. he asked for the group's guidance on this:
> About the "unpublished" feature: can someone propose a way to make a
> group decision about this? On what grounds is this happening?
i had already stated my grounds for unpublishing: transparency.
additionally people had emailed with content concerns. so, i was a little
confused as to why petros asked "on what grounds is this happening?" i
felt that he had the impression tathat the concerns i and others had
raised were of no significance. this is why i blocked republishing of the
piece, to clarify that the concerns expressed did matter. in direct
response to petros's question, i wrote:
> however, i block re-featuring this piece. the grounds are that no one
> with admin access has taken any transparent and accountable action
> concerning the article, and significant concerns including its dated
> nature have been raised on list in a transparent manner.
to return to petros's recent note:
> Instead of following the right procedures, Amy correctly stated that
> "Transparency is vital, not optional" but went ahead and just
> "unpublished" it. When asked about it, she BLOCKED consideration of the
> article for publication. Without any discussion:
again, it is inaccurate to state that there was no discussion. i'm sorry
if i it felt bad to petros that people disagreed with him and did not
support his position on this. however, in this note, not only do i
explain why my actions are in response to discussion that has gone on,
but i also invite further discussion:
> if whoever who has taken these actions identifies themselves on the list,
> OR if someone who has admin access and wants to see the piece re-featured
> says so on list, i'd consider withdrawing this block. for now i think we
> should focus on the article we are working on.
i intended this as an expression of openness to dialogue and revision of
opinion. however, no one came forward to say either that they had
featured it, or that they wanted to; and no one expressed support for
re-featuring the article -- with or without changes.
by contrast, another person proposed moving the past imc-cyprus pieces off
of the center column and incorporating them into the feature:
this proposal, unlike my actions and proposals, was refuted:
you see, people spoke to it because they disagreed with it. we must assume
that when over 50 emails are sent to a list and they don't
contain disagreement with something which has been proposed for explicit
discussion, that probably people are not overly concerned with
expressing dissent about it.
I will not speak to the second block, because it was not me that made it.
i will note that the proposal it blocked was made less than a day after a
collectively authored article was posted that a half dozen members of the
collective had spent several days working on, and that the block was made
after three other people had expressed serious concerns about publishing
by contrast, only wone person besides petros had spoken for it:
I will also note that I tried to make a way forward to publish the article
that was blocked:
in this note, i asked marco a specific direct question about the terms of
his block. that is the way to engage a block -- directly and without
anger. someone does not block because they are rude or anti-social. they
block because they have concerns about a process and want to demand that
those concerns be addressed. if petros believes we should have a
consensus system without blocking then he is working with a different
system of consensus than i am. a block should be used sparingly and one
should be very clear about it, but it is not code for rude. it is rather
code for "please take this seriously." it should be responded to WITH
discussion -- especially when the blocker requests it explicitly, as i did
-- not with indignation.
through the discussion regarding the second blocked piece, petros
posted notes that portrayed the group as just dawdling without reason --
in startling contrast to the specificity with which other were
articulating their concerns. Here are his posts, each with hour by hour
updates on our alleged procrastination:
in all these notes he seems to see the expression of dissent to his
proposal as irrelevant and speaks as if his proposal has a RIGHT to go up
on the center column. in the second link given above, he wrote:
> 6 hours is the usual maximum time (that's the last consensus decision
> that I'm aware of) that we usually allocate in order to provide time for
> reflection and comments, and for rapidly developing stories to get
> timely publication.
but that is the case only if there is no concern or discussion raised. if
people have raised concerns about a piece, then those proposing the story
obviously need to work in good faith to respond to the concerns, even if
it takes longer than 6 hours. the other option -- just to
proceed as if there had been only silence -- is a little bit of a
strange form of consensus, isn't it?
later he clarified that he did feel that their concerns were irrelevant:
> It seems to me that we are now just delaying the publication of material
> that our readers - who are community activists and supporters all over
> the world - are just being deprived of.
This is an odd statement to make when several people have emailed the list
expressing concerns about featuring the proposal. again it feels like the
concerns just do not register or do not matter to petros. it is when
people communicate in such a manner that blocks feel necessary.
petros was asked twice DIRECTLY to comment on specific concerns being
cited by those expressing concern and opposition:
from the second link:
> i feel, and have already noted this in my last email, that imc
> cyprus has not responded directly to the issues; but has rather, and
> understandably, focused on the pressing importance and timeliness.
instead of addressing these concerns, petros's latest note contains a lot
of allegations about ulterior motives and plots within indymedia. by
ignoring the stated concerns and alleging subtextual power plays, petros
may think he is being smart and discerning. however i think he
contributes to us moving away from good faith. if there are any dynamics
in the network that cause certain groups to be trusted or empowered less
than others, how does ignoring direct questions and concerns help this
situation? i feel such action discredits concerns that might in and of
themselves be real.
for the record, i am not aware of the sort of plots that petros is
alleging, although i am aware of people who think they exist. also,
regarding petros's allegation that i "hold [a] particularly key position"
-- for the record, i have no idea what this refers to. i do not know what
position i hold that is over and above what many others hold on the list
-- the ability to participate in the discussion, and admin access to the
i will try to keep up with responses to these posts, however i would plead
that people very much try not to write with their distrust driving. if you
feel something i or petros or someone else on the www-features list has
said sounds iffy and would like clarification, please try to ask for that
clarification directly, with an openness in your heart that you might
actually get it.
also, i would find one point of agreement with petros, and that is that we
could use more people to participate in the www-features process... if you
want, you can join the list here:
More information about the IMC-communication