[IMC-Tech] some thoughts WAS Re: Resigning ...
Garcon du Monde
gdm at fifthhorseman.net
Sun Mar 4 12:14:14 PST 2012
[i had intended for this to come to imc-tech as well, but it
inadvertently got left off the cc list when i sent this earlier. sorry.]
i said i'd write more when i had a little time, so here goes...
as has been widely recognised this past week, indymedia as a global
entity is struggling. robbt has raised a number of questions (below),
many of which are similar to discussions i've also seen occuring in
irc. perhaps more importantly, alster has started a 'stocktaking'
i indicated in a previous email that i think that it is deeper political
processes that are broken, rather than simply the technological know-how
required to run the services. but clearly they both interact, and one
can help make the other stronger. perhaps the network just grew too big?
for instance, the process 'in' to indymedia (new-imc) has been strong
for years, but there is no clear way 'out' for groups that no longer
appear to be in compliance with the principles of unity. this has been
demonstrated repeatedly over the years in disputes that have racked the
network: san francisco, brisbane, belgium, darwin, uk, to name but a
having said that, i am not going to make any proposals about
process. instead, my focus is on what can be done technically - and i
think there are two aspects to this:
1. salvaging some of the existing infrastructure so that it continues
to serve its purpose; and,
2. preserving the great work that has been done over the years, so that
there is some kind of an archive for the future.
with respect to the second point first, i think it is imperative that
the good work done over the years is not lost, be that the reporting and
media that was made, as well as the discussions on political process and
technical knowledge that have been an equally important part of the
i therefore believe that there needs to be some planning on how to
achieve this. i have had discussions with a few people about setting up
archive.indymedia.org where closed sites could be statically archived
(archive.indymedia.org/sitename); as soon as a hosting space is
identified for this, a dns request will be submitted. however, the
biggest concern about this is likely to be the ongoing expense in terms
of bandwidth, disk usage and electricity, etc. funding of this is a
serious issue and one that must be considered by participants of the
global network, as i think it is both wrong and prone to loss and
collapse if left to a reliance on individuals' beneficience, good will
returning to the first point above, salvage of existing infrastructure,
i feel it is appropriate to respond to some of robbt's email.
On Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 08:24:32PM -0500, Robbt wrote:
> I think one of the serious problems has been that of coordinating new
> members and bringing them up to speed in terms of assistance. I know
> that all of the stuff I end up being the tech on locally here in
> there is a inadvertant tendency for people to build stuff, maintain
> it, but never fully document it or set it up so that anyone else
> could easily get involved or replace them. I don't know if this is
> the case for the global indymedia network but there does seem to be a
> decline over the years and a lack of cohesion or vision.
much of the global infrastructure has been documented on
docs.indymedia.org over the years. while there may have been a decline
in documentation more recently, attributable both to increased (state)
oppression and surveillance and to overwork on the few individuals who
were contributing, i think much of it was and is still of
relevance. further, the various list archives that are available form an
immense trove of knowledge, although it may be necessary to use a search
engine to better mine this data.
> What would it take to revamp indymedia.org and the global network as
> a whole ?
> Here are some of my thoughts/ideas.
> An inventory of servers, locations and sysadmins for the global
> network and the status of them.
alster has started this - with contributions from others (link earlier
> Following that if there are unmaintained servers or projects a way
> for people to get involved with them and become sysadmins.
i think first it would be a good idea to decide which of the services
are still of use. for instance, perhaps docs.indymedia.org has been
superseded by the presence of we.riseup.net, which many groups now seem
to be using? as someone who was involved in the docs.indymedia.org
working group for many years, it seems a bit redundant to continue
trying to maintain a software that requires additional customisation for
indymedia (e.g. to preserve anonymity of contributors such as not
logging ip addresses, etc) when there are well developed and maintained
newer activist tools that serve a very similar purpose and that seem to
be preferred by end users.
as a side note, it might well be a good idea to offer a contribution to
the hosts of such services (in this case riseup) for their (continued)
usage for indymedia purposes.
but to return to your point, i think the best way for people to get
involved in the working groups is to find one they are interested in,
join the relevant list and then send an introductory email. most people
(even dormant ones!) respond well to enthusiasm, i've found.
> We should seriously consider decommisioning abandoned projects,
> listserves, etc and consolidate as much infrastructure into a hub for
> reinvolvement. I think it just looks bad when the last post you see
> in a list serve was a few years ago yet it's still listed on
to me, this seems more of a political decision then a tech one, albeit
one that perhaps the techs maintaining the service should be responsible
for taking. that is, i see the question as "after how long does list X
get declared 'out of use' - and, thus, eligible for archiving?" and i
feel that active listworkers are the people who should answer this
(despite the fact that many others might have a viewpoint).
> A secondary resource would be a list of all of the IMC collectives,
> contact info and their status and a process for
> decommisioning/archiving sites that have been abandoned or with
> unreachable collectives. This would basically be a revamping of
> contact.indymedia.org, perhaps a porting of it to a CRM like CiviCRM
> (I'm just throwing out ideas here).
i have no experience with or knowledge of CivicCRM, other than it would
be another system that requires learning (more work!) at a time when we
are trying to minimise the input time required. there is a recent list
of active/inactive imcs which i have moved to a new page today (from the
one alster had started):
additionally, as i mentioned earlier, there is an intention to create an
archive.indymedia.org site that would purely be static html, and could
be maintained with little more than regular upgrades of the underlying
> A process for the remaining collectives to coordinate in some kind of
> global meetup that isn't bogged down in divisiveness with at least a
> single rep from each group, possibly multiple representatives. So
> that we as a global network can determine the direction of
> indymedia.org and whether or not we want to redesign it or shut it
that i think would be a wonderful idea, although i suspect that many of
the local collectives around the world have little interest or knowledge
of global affairs.
> I'm not volunteering to coordinate all of this but I would be happy
> to take on whatever responsibilities I can handle. I know basic linux
> sysadmin stuff and I have some free time ...
i think that this is where many of us also started. i knew little about
sysadmin when i first started "doing stuff" for indymedia. over the
years, i've increased my knowledge, met wonderful people, and had a
great time. much of what i did in the beginning was try to improve the
documentation; by watching what others were doing, and then writing up
what was done well and how to possibly improve other parts, i improved
so, like others (alster and stefani) have already said, i will still be
around to provide advice or guidance, but i won't be "doing it"
myself. i will be working with others to - as salaud has said - hand
over the keys where necessary.
GPG: 5607 E4BC C6B6 90F4 5EBC B348 D01B 9D77 912F 963C
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