Category: Operations

monopoly money

Proposal On OWS and Fundraising Using Our Tools

How should Tech Ops, Occupy.net folks, Action Resource Fund (ARF) and other interested parties think about using our collective resources and legitimacy for fundraising?

Below is a set of theses, arguments and proposals that might constitute a framework. The need for it comes from a year of trying to advance efforts to become self-sustaining as a movement, and meeting various obstacles. We actually have a wonderful infrastructure that enables fundraising (= covering the costs of your work with help from supporters who love you) but it’s not being utilized very well. An example is the repeated use of WePay and fiscal sponsorship from 501c3 nonprofits when not actually necessary.

Please do chime in with your comments and suggestions.

  1. Our online resources should be used for fundraising by as many occupy related entities as we can support.
  2. It is important that folks raising money for personal reasons, or primarily to benefit themselves without a comparable benefit for OWS, should not use our resources.
  3. We can divide fundraising projects into some useful categories. All of them are ‘legitimate’ as long as we are careful about representing them accurately:
    1. OWS or NYCGA wide efforts or entities that enjoy a high level of legitimacy. This includes May First, S17, and the remnants of the NYCGA money that we use for bail. ARF and Accounting.
    2. Well known, long standing, and relatively accountable structures like InterOcc, Tech Ops, Farms that have attempted to operate within the (fluid and hard to navigate) boundaries of OWS.
    3. Affinity groups, campaigns, and special project. Examples: student debt strike, Freedom School, Tidal, livestreaming groups.
  4. Fiscal sponsorship is OPTIONAL. In some cases it feels essential, to provide for a higher level of accountability for large sums of money. In other cases it is a wasteful expense, as in the case of a small sum for a specific project. Fiscal sponsorship should be an option for all and a requirement for none.
  5. We affirm that c3 status for fiscal sponsorship is relevant when you need to promise a tax deduction to the donor or to receive funds from an institutional donor. It is not ‘necessary’ beyond that, though it may be desired for the appearance of legitimacy..
  6. Groups wanting fiscal sponsorship via ARF should have a way of asking for it, with clear conditions on who is eligible. Any group or individual with fiscal sponsorship of their own can use that as well.
  7. Using Civi or Salsa, any group can provide data for the merchant account and donation gateway of their choosing. We discourage the use of services like WePay and PayPal. IF you are using WePay or PayPal, then processing will likely cost you more, and you don’t need Civi or Salsa to do it.
  8. Anyone using our Civi or Salsa for fundraising needs to supply a roadmap for how the funds will be collected, transferred, spent, and accounted for. This is a task we can and should help with, according to our capacity.
  9. The existence of one mechanism for raising funds will never be a reason to prevent, prohibit or discourage the use of another mechanism.
  10. Blocking power over using Tech Ops/Occupy.net tools and resources does not exist. That said, many things simply cannot be done without expertise and access that is distributed among many people. In the case of serious concerns, blocking can take place if 50% +1 of Tool Managers support it.
  11. Tool Managers list is meant to comprise those using Civi and Salsa, working to update it, have access to the backend, and/or are key users. The only purpose of a Tools Managers list is to address blocks. Proposed initial list includes Drew, Ravi, Ingrid, Devin, Charles, Andrew, Dana, Patricia, Badger, Leah, Tom and Dan. (this post will be the first they heard of it….)

Orientation

Get involved with Tech Ops.

Join our mailing list:

 

Check out our orientation wiki page.

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Tech Ops Meeting 3/25/2012

Reportbacks

Pea on NYCGA.net:

Pea on OWS.net development:

Shawn on OWS.net content:

  • Content has 10 articles ready for editorial process.
  • We have a tentative editorial workflow, but haven’t run anything through.

Darrell on Tech Coop:

  • Start with skill spreadsheet, need people who are interested in being involved in the tech workers coop to fill info, also take a look at notes and give feedback.
  • Next meeting is 4pm Friday at Commons.

Agenda

Email Address Policy

  • Shawn presented proposal last week, didn’t get consensus. Doesn’t tonight either
  • Narrowing proposal: can every member of the content team at OWS.net have an email address for use in the editorial workflow at request? (pea, shawn, devin make call)?
  • Outcome: Passes by consensus

Financial Status / Budget

  • Report from Matt: $250 owed per month for servers (Datagram), $400 for livestreaming, paid on Dan’s & Devin’s credit cards, Matt has money to pay them back what we owe them so far. Dan has ~$1200 (extra battery money) which we can use going forward. That’s it. Unclear if we’ll get any more out of GA.
  • Proposal
    • We pay what we owe people that they’ve spent already from the funds we already have
    • If we can get any more money from Accounting (even just back pay for Feb/March), we pay for Teradeck for 1 more month. At the end of that month, absent further funding, we shut it off (we still hope to find a donor). If we can’t get any money, we cut off Teradeck now. (There is a $200 cancellation fee for AT&T data plan.)
    • We save whatever money remains to keep Datagram servers running as long as possible.
    • Matt will get ahold of Devin & Dan to get invoices/receipts, Matt & Darrell will get together at some point this week and put it all online somewhere. We’re not sure if Shawn is currently our financial point person, but if so he’s replaced by Matt.
    • We should be scanning & uploading all receipts. Everything that people have should be emailed to tech@nycga.net. Take a picture with your phone if you don’t have a scanner.
    • Outcome: Passes by consensus

Terms of Use

  • We consense on prohibiting unauthorized disclosure of personal contact information in Terms of Use.
  • Action: Add amendment to policy
  • We table “personal information” more broadly, David will come back with proposal on better wording.
  • Also, we consense that Pea can move the policies from the Docs to site pages.
  • Action: Create pages and commit footer updates to repo

Home Page

  • Matt wants livestreaming somewhere on NYCGA.net homepage – specific place to be left to designers. Every day there’s something right now.

Sunday Report Back – 3/4

Lots of exciting horizons ahead of us.

  • OccupyWallStreet.net is coming together, content is being collected and prepared for launch.
  • maydaynyc.org is live.
  • The first major newsletter release is on it’s way, keep up with the discussion on the mailing list. If you are interested in joining the news letter team email newsletter@occupywallstreet.net
  • wiki.occupy.net is getting a face lift soon (this week?)
  • New online policies are in place, currently under review by our law team.
  • Tech ops has been invited to submit an application to Prix ars Electronica, check out our latest version of the application before we send it out.
  • The nycga.net got a little shout out on NPR today
  • map.occupy.net had a bit of a design update, more information can be found on collaborate.occupy.net
  • NATO and G8 will be in Chicago this May, currently under a new bill HR 437 that just passed the house and senate protest will be illegal in any environment with secrete service.

Agenda

  • “Analyzing The 1%” TV Show
  • Meeting Schedule
  • Crowdsourced Funding Platform
  • SIS (Office Space)
  • Civi for Working Groups (consensus)
  • Metrocards (consensus)
  • Marketing/Misc

Continue reading

Sunday Meeting Report Back

  • There is new nation-wide collaboration on #OccupyMap, a SMS system is still needed for map reports on the Ushahidi platform.
  • OWSbrunch reportback: many discussions about “access”- information, etc.  talk of a global events calendar website.
  • OccupyWallStreet.net dev site can be found under the ows.net project at projects.occupy.net
  • The first occupy news letter tentative launch date is March 5th
  • maydaynyc.net coming soon.
  • Occupy.org for sale?  no.  just a mailing list rumor.  tech ops controls dns.  registrar still owned by affinity group.  content unchanged.

Agenda

  1. Mark on the nycga.net calendar which events were GA-consensed, and which are autonomous.
  2. Problems with nycga.net user activity.
  3. Discuss digital properties policy
  4. Strategy meeting next week
  5. Permission to export nycga.net emails to civi
  6. Hosting of translations of GA statements
  7. Server allocation  Continue reading

Report Back: Sunday Meeting

Sunday February 5th Tech Ops open meeting – Full minutes here.

Report backs covered upcoming training, Newsletters, NYCGA.net analytics, server naming, the Bloomberg Bucks project, Office space, and more.

It turns out that the 855 NYCGA 411 number is NOT free from NYC pay phones due to Verizon being a lazy jerk. (edit: this statement has not been verified)

Consensus was reached to propose an update to the Principles of Solidarity and enact Project Requirements for all current and future projects.

Important dates:

FGA sounding board meeting:
Thursday, February 9 from 6:30 – 9PM at the Rayogram offices.
79 Leonard Street, New York, NY 10013

Occupywallstreet.net open content meeting
Monday’s 6pm at 60 wall street

Agenda items:

We had a good discussion with the Media working group about their website. They are considering creating their own web site at occupytvny.org which currently forwards to their YouTube Channel. We suggested that they use media.nycga.net for the time being. Their domain could be pointed to this sub domain in the future.

The group also discussed the up coming 10TB media server that we will be installing soon. The servers are built and configured and need to be plugged in. The way we intake media and how we protect/respect that media as it relates to arrests and the author’s ownership is still yet to be seen.

Tech has collected a bunch of hardware including four laptops. We are looking for a way to share them with the community.

The newsletter points to interchange.occupy.net, a new service from occupy.net which allows for project posting and people to sign up for said projects.

We discussed our progress on bringing equality to Tech Ops as a follow up to a past meeting on the subject.

There was also discussion around a need for more members to get involved in blogging (as I have been doing the lion’s share thus far). Analytics work session was also discussed, though no time was set. We also spoke of reaching out to Occupywallst.org and discussed the fact that the NYCGA is now handling ten thousand + e-mails sent to general and press@occupywallst.org

Consensus

The group reached consensus on the re-wording of a line from the Principles of Solidarity - the first “official” document from the Occupation of Liberty Plaza.

We will bring this as a proposal to the General Assembly.

The original line:

Endeavoring to practice and support wide application of open source.

Tech ops agreed upon edit:

Making technologies, knowledge, and culture open to everyone to freely access, create, modify, and distribute.

We hope that this will highlight the fact that our documents can be amended. We also agreed to ask for GA approval to host our official documents on GitHub so their versions can be tracked.

The group also came to consensus on using project requirements to on board new projects. More information can be found here: http://wiki.occupy.net/wiki/TechOps_Project_Requirements

Basically this means that all projects that are “officially” sponsored by Tech Ops will have to meet some basic requirements of documentation and responsibility. In return these projects will have access to our reputation, hardware, and network (among other things).

Sunday Meeting Report Back

Cross section of a tree stump with arrows pointing to the outer bark

I would like to suggest a report back format where everyone shares their thoughts on the meeting. Add to this post or comment please.

Drew – We spent the first part of our meeting discussing how we can deal with inequality in our group. The discussion brought us to three main points: Training, Mentor-ship, and Outreach.

I don’t want a group dominated by white males from privilege but I am also struggling to maintain what we have already built. These problems can be solved together. By training people how to use tools, mentor/skill share with those who want to build the tools, and though out reach to listen to feedback from the community one lowers the barrier of entry into Tech and allows for more people to be involved in building and maintaining our shared resource.

If highly skilled person with access to technology is the inner ring, then I need to focus on serving those in the outer most rings. I, though, must strike a balance. I don’t have the resources to connect with the outer most rings right now, but I (and Tech) should always strive to reach that goal.

The group agreed on a number of things to move us in the right direction.

I hope the training program I’m working on will help broaden our lovely group. I plan to share and gather feedback from my morning sessions and then take it down to Charlott’s Place in the afternoon. I will be looking for an after work space to run some training to allow our work bound brothers and sisters to join in the fun.

We then gave report backs. Agreed to implement Charles’s Terms of Use statement on the web site and open it for general review by the community. The group also discussed Devin’s project proposal which he will show us on Wednesday.

The food from Kitchen was great tonight!

Great success on Spokes Council budget proposal

Still from the presentation

Tech Ops presented two parts of our four part budget proposal at – the amazing – Monday’s Spokes Council (preview our beta live tweets reader). The proposal, presented by @jake and @matt, was very well received. The tone of our proposal was amazing and the visual presentation knocked the socks off those at Spokes.

The Spokes Council chose to accept both proposals. (Minutes)

  1. $1500 – 855-NYCGA-411 Voice Services – PASSED
  2. $1216.77 – Slicehost.com hosting Oct 20 – Dec 20 – PASSED
We will attempt to bring part’s 3 and 4 to Wednesday (1/11) Spokes.
Update (1/12): Wednesday Spokes (1/11) found consensus on the final two proposals.
  1. $3241.19 – for new media hub & database server- PASSED
  2. $942.99 + $322.86/month - LIVESTREAM HD SUPER-CHARGE kit.- PASSED w/ modified Consensus
The Livestream HD kit originally included a Verizon 4G internet hot spot. The body felt that using Verizon while our labor allies are currently on strike was uncouth. Tech agreed to remove it from the budget.
View the presentation after the jump… Continue reading
privacy

Draft Policies: Privacy, Terms of Use, Dispute Resolution

[Drew rightly pointed out that some kind of intro or summary is needed here. Anyone?]

Tech Ops had a rousing conversation in person last week about policies. We’ve got an urgent need to create some, not just for public consumption but as a real guide for some of the issues we face. Below is our current draft for three policies:

  • Privacy
  • Terms of Use
  • Dispute Resolution

We invite all of OWS to review these policies and comment below. Continue reading

Tech Outreach and Onboarding

One thing that we spent a lot of time talking about at tonight’s meeting (though this is FAR from the first time we’ve had this discussion) is the fact that our efforts to connect with interested folks who want to help have been absolutely dismal thus far. One of the things I brought up at the meeting (sometimes with less of my signature tact and cheer than usual – sorry) was the fact that we have tried many ideas for outreach and on-boarding, but they have repeatedly fallen short of our aspirations, usually because no one steps up to really make them work. I tend to think it is not because we have been lacking the perfect piece of software, and not because we have been lacking the right imaging or branding or marketing, but rather because we have been lacking the individual human beings with enough time/motivation/interest to take it upon themselves to really push these efforts forward. I think that many of the things we have tried, and the things we have repeatedly discussed trying, could have worked great if only they had been actively followed-through on. To help contribute to this conversation, I figured it might be helpful to compile a list of some of the tactics we have tried thus far and a brief analysis of their success: Continue reading

Funding Proposal (Overview)

NOTE: This proposal was submitted to the Facilitation Working Group on 1/5/11 in anticipation of a presentation at Spokes Council on Friday 1/6/11. It is also viewable on the main nycga.net site here. For a more detailed cost breakdown of this proposal, check out the itemized post. Also, the whole thing is available as a PDF, here: Tech Ops Funding Proposal MERGED

The Technology Operations group of the New York City General Assembly strives to provide tools that enable our movement to connect and communicate with each other and the world through technology. We provide as many tools we can to support OWS and the broader Occupy Movement as we all transform the world. Some of our more notable projects include tools that many people in the movement use every day: Continue reading