[Imc-uk-features] Indymedia Online Survey
sheri at speakeasy.net
Fri Jun 3 15:55:22 PDT 2005
Hi gdm and everyone,
1. overview of the key points of the imc uk research guidelines and criteria
2. rethinking whether the conversation should continue
3. using better consensus process on global lists
4. using surveys or other tools as feedback loops for indymedia in general.
5. thanks to imc-uk for putting together the criteria and guidelines
There are also several threads in this conversation so I wanted to be clear that I'm talking about multiple things.
1. discussing and deciding on this online survey request from Ulla
2. discussing imc research criteria/guidelines in general
3. discussing the value of surveys for indymedia as a way of gaining feedback
I've just read the links you shared with us gdm and clearly a lot of good thought was put into the guidelines as initially proposed by ionnek on imc-communication last june and then fleshed out by imc-uk-process and others. Here?s ionnek?s initial email:
So a big thanks to all the people who put in the effort to discuss this and to create some guidelines, which we clearly need. I invite everyone to read them here if you haven?t done so already:
According to these same guidelines, there is an openness to certain kinds of research as long as the guidelines are adhered to. There is also a voluntary kind of ?buy-in? for certain kinds of research.
Here ionnek discusses the ways that indymedia is getting outside of the ?ghetto? and collaborating with others outside of our own circles.
A relevant excerpt that I think captures the tone of the guidelines:
"I don´t have a problem with research on indymedia. However, if
researchers bluntly use the uk newswire to promote their questionnaires, without giving any details about the institutional or academic framework, I feel a lack of respect. If researchers talk in their research proposals about "indymedia staff", i think they haven´t done their research properly and need some help to get out of _their_ ghetto. I also think most researchers need some help in complying to one widely accepted standard of social research, namely feeding back results to their research objects. I have only once heard from someone once the thesis was completed."
With this in mind, Ulla seems to be more in compliance than not, and at a minimum deserves a chance for us to engage in the topic before so easily dismissing it. Also, gdm, I?m confused by a few things and am hoping you can clarify: would you be blocking as an individual or on behalf of imc-uk? My understanding of consensus is that we have a period of discussion before we put out a block and block is only in the last moment. We don?t casually throw out blocks. By the very guidelines you say you are adhering to, you are not in alignment with them and asking for everyone else in the network to stop discussing this is way beyond your authority. I am somewhat shocked actually to read this and think that this is acceptable way to go about resolving the issue and discussing with everyone the topic of research and in particular Ulla?s request.
Also, perhaps this is a small point, but these guidelines, good as they are, are currently just imc-uk guidelines. They don?t pertain to the rest of the network so maybe others might want to chime in. They are the best thing that we?ve got thus far and really help clarify what criteria we?d like to be using when working with academics and researchers, but I'm really not understanding how we got to quickly to a block.
Also, in the guidelines it says imc-uk will participate only in those projects that they deem acceptable or interesting:
?Therefore we only participate in selected research projects.
Our decision depends on several factors. For example: Is the research likely to create debates and results that are interesting for us as individuals or collectives? Does the researcher make his/her motivation, methodology, theoretical framework and hypotheses transparent? Will results and theories be discussed with Indymedia, before publication? Openness for collaborative research models? Authorship - relationship between researchers and the objects of the research? Timing ? are we busy with a major reporting project? And finally - does anyone feel like spending time on this project right now?"
This makes a lot of sense and they are great criteria for our participation. At this point, I don't think the global network (via the lists) has made this decision, so gdm, are you in a position to say stop sending emails because you or others will block it. That isn?t how the guidelines talk about how we engage with research requests. We haven?t even really had a discussion yet and from what I can tell, we?re in the midst of determining if Ulla?s request would actually fit the criteria and we?re figuring out IF she might reorient her approach to meet us more half-way and she?s been very diligent in trying to explain to people who have asked for clarification. I think she deserves more from us than one person saying we all have to stop talking about this because it will anyway be blocked. That isn?t how consensus process works even in the f2f world.
Here?s some more from the uk guidelines themselves:
"If you wish a more intensive collaboration with Indymedia volunteers, please send a description of your project. Apart from your contact and institutional details, this should include research design, methodology, theoretical framework, hypotheses and research questions, as well as planned proceedings with the results. It helps if you offer reasons why your project should be supported by indymedia."
According to the guidelines and suggestions clearly set out by uk, it seems we are in the midst of clarifying this question. It might be that doing a survey on the global site makes no sense as several people have pointed out, but that doesn?t mean that there isn?t still room for evaluating whether such a "survey" might actually be of value to the network.
That leads me to another related issue ? would WE indymedia (not some outside people) be interested in doing SOME kind of survey? Several people responded on the communication list that doing a survey would be good idea. I think it makes a lot of sense. Over the past 4 years plus we have talked about asking for feedback from those who use the site ? how well is it working, what would you like to see differently, what doesn?t work, what do you love, how can we make the site of more value to you? These kinds of questions have value for us as a network.
Perhaps we could do such a survey and then allow the information to be used by whoever of course is interested in using it. FEEDBACK is an essential element of the evolution of any project, organization, community, etc. It is how we know if things are working. We used to have a link off the site somewhere that was for people sharing their feedback. I think this has a lot of value.
Perhaps that is a solution that would work for all of us. IF we want to be a tool for those who use the site, doesn?t it make sense that we might want to check in and ask them (and not just those people who are active in a local imc). We have the imc-news list because we had a subscribe button on the site from the beginning and whoever signed up on that got a newsblast. It was a great way of pushing content. We need feedback loops.
An excerpt from the thread on communication last june about the survey issue
> Many want us to fill in
>questionnaires, one research team from nijmegen bluntly put their
>questionnaire on the newswire,
I don't think this is really a concern. I mean, Indymedia is open-publishing, is it not?
>another one from Wales wants us to link
>to their questionnaire from a feature (!).
Well, this is a little rude. But really, most media outlets survey their audience, for various reasons. Why shouldn't we?
And in support of guidelines for well-meaning, well-informed and well-intended research, by someone from Lancaster:
as someone who is partly institutionalised as a phd student, i am inclined to agree with most of what ionnek writes.
i think guidelines would be good, because I believe that research done
in a well-meaning, well-informed and well-intended manner can only
strengthen the indy network.
would participate in the guidelines project on an ad-hoc basis...sounds
like a good ides - certainly necessary to have in order to help
researcher along the lines that WE envision (well-meaning, well-informed and well-intended).
Finally, I think this is an important conversation for us to have and not to cut off because it is about us (1) following more democratic process (2) figuring out ways to respond in a friendly and fair way to research inquiries (3) continuing to have a discussion about the guidelines since currently only the uk folks have made them a priority in terms of documentation (4) developing some feedback tools and tools to assess what we might do to improve indymedia, which i think is critical to do in some multiple ways.
I would like to suggest that the conversation is still open and that we are not yet in a position to hear blocks yet. I hope we can all be more tolerant and open minded (toward different view points) for a bit longer. We need space for participatory conversation.
The UK collectives have clearly articulated their position on research and it is really a great set of criteria. But there aren?t clear guidelines for the process by which we engage with researchers on the global lists. The UK is one subnetwork of 12 imcs out of over 200. So perhaps those other voices might have something to say before we close the discussion?
Also, if we could broaden the conversation to include the idea of how feedback would function in the network and what a survey might accomplish along those lines as was mentioned above.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: GarconDuMonde [mailto:gdm at fifthhorseman.net]
> Sent: Friday, June 3, 2005 05:48 PM
> To: ulla at rannikko.com, imc-uk-features at lists.indymedia.org, 'www-features',
> imc-research at lists.indymedia.org
> Subject: Re: [www-features] Indymedia Online Survey
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
> hi ulla and all the people on the various lists i've cc'd.
> please could you stop posting emails requesting a survey to either
> global lists or to uk lists: it is *not* gonna happen cos there are too
> many people who would block it (i am one of those).
> for some background, you might like to read the following 'guidelines
> for researchers' that uk-imc drafted this time last year, after a
> similar request from another bunch of researchers. there are also some
> further links available off that page.
> furthermore, this summer is a busy time for the united kollectives as we
> are preparign to cover the protests against the g8 in scotland. i would
> be surprised if other people have time to respond, and i would also
> imagine that if your survey was posted to the newswire it would be
> hidden as 'non-news'.
> of course, if you wish to become involved in indymedia yourself, that is
> a different proposition. you may wish to attend one of the london imc
> meetings to see what goes on.
> there was also a huge load more debate in the imc-uk-process list from
> june/july last year - look for threads about social research and
> similar: http://archives.lists.indymedia.org/imc-uk-process/2004-June/
> - --
> love and solidarity,
> encrypted mail preferred; my public key can be found like this:
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