Subject: Re: [NYCGA Internet] Why I'm coming to the IWG meeting tonight
From: Devin Balkind
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2011 22:53:23 -0400

Would anyone mind if I started building out wiki pages that document these conversations?

Here's some thoughts on documenting our communications:

Would anyone like to help me log important points from these conversations? 

On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 5:54 PM, Todd Grayson <> wrote:
Very good points,

I would propose the following for discussion; if not this meeting for the next?

  • It is not necessary to  keep spawning technical working groups, the working "teams" comprised of OWS/IWG members putting tools online is a powerful model that is easy to build on where things are now.
  • A strategy team should be identified comprising members of both working groups and online volunteers to continue mid-to-longer term project planning and establishing core standards (privacy, security, management of identity, and identification of online tools and technologies that are GA/Workgroup approved for use in supporting the movement.)
  • The current website and online tools implementation teams should be expanded with online volunteers to allow the NYC team members that are there get started on next major projects.
  • The "OWS community" needs to establish standards for handling/managing identity of people participating online, which will be ratified requirements for solutions put online


On 10/16/2011 1:45 PM, Austin Guest wrote:
VERY well done, sir.

And it looks like very well received from comments I've been seeing over the google group list (to which I assumed you've added yourself in addition to writing to?)


On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 3:16 PM, Charles Lenchner <> wrote:

Hey all,


I’ve met some of you and look forward to meeting some more. It felt right to show up after giving the meeting organizers and WG veterans a chance to process why I’m attending and how I might help.


Please do forgive the telegraphic style, but folks are busy.


1.       Soon, #OWS is going to have a functional website that is ‘official’ and a working database that can build lists, manage email groups and send thousands of emails to existing lists. We know that there are thousands of email addresses (from Kickstarter, OccupytheBoardroom and WG lists) to start with.

2.       What we do not have is a designated WG or committee that makes decisions around this. Decisions like:

a.       Who gets to message the entire list? How often? With what content?

b.      What is the goal of our online messaging? Political statements? List growth? Fundraising? Event turnout? Who decides between competing priorities?

c.       Which social media platforms will be connected on the back end, which ones will not? What is the goal of our official social media properties? (Education? Solicitation of support? Decision making and deliberation?)

d.      What major segments of data do we anticipate having in the database? Do we assume that a web commenter wants to get emails? Or that an email list member wants commenting access?

e.      Should messages be short and sweet, to drive action, or newsletter style, to get ‘everyone’s’ announcement in front of people?

f.        Under what conditions is it okay to message about an unofficial, but supportive effort – like the OccupytheBoardroom effort? What if there are multiple, excellent initiatives all demanding the same level of attention?

3.       Is GA approval necessary for online initiatives, or is GA approval assumed if a working group does something on their own initiative?

4.       Should messages be signed as a corporate entity (we, #OWS NYS) or individually (Jane Doe, non-leader designated email signer for the third week of October)?

5.       Under what circumstances is it ‘fine’ to work with an under a corporate partner (cf, OccupyTogether + or OccupytheBoardRoom + Tumblr) and when should this merit resistance? Is this the kind of decision to be made inside a specific committee, or by the GA? If the initiative is ‘owned’ by allies and merely endorsed, does that make a difference? Should we refuse to work with Paypal?


Broadly speaking, these questions fall under ‘digital strategy.’ This is a function often carried out by communication directors, online organizers, or consulting firms – though none of these things apply to the #OWS situation. The question is…. Where do they fall? Would anyone care/object if someone started a ‘digital strategy working group?’ Why or why not? (Note that such a committee would do NO programming, coding or web development….)


The underlying set of values at play here is accessibility. An area of concern with #OWS is the construction of a coherent, transparent ladder of engagement that makes it possible for ‘newbies’ to become ‘insiders’ according to a set path. What do we offer people who want to be informed? Who desire participation, but only for five minutes a day, or one hour once a week? What mechanisms exist to solicit particular forms of participation and support, reach segmented audiences, or take into account particular perspectives? All of these questions together represent ‘organizing.’ I think we should do it, but it remains unclear where it should happen.


Tonight, I’d like to find out.




Charles Lenchner

Austin Guest
/// Communicator & Online Organizer, ALIGN

Devin Balkind