Subject: Fwd: Re: [Ows_solutions] [NYCGA Internet] notes from last night's digital strategy conversation
From: Todd Grayson
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2011 08:38:20 -0600
To: OWS Solutions <>, "" <>

 Yes, not archive, more like "activate valuable threads on the wiki"... there is an archival facet to things in the wiki, but you don't want to just start dumping things wholesale into the wiki unless they are being worked on/through by a group of folks.

Realize that there are raw archives in place already within the mail list tools.  For the OWS_solutions list page on the fnf servers, and for the IWG lists a fully searchable history on google

With the wiki; it provides a workspace over specific content/ideas that team members can go back to, edit over to clarify/extend as a team (agree on deletions first).  Its easier to work together in the wiki than threaded e-mail discussion and allows group consensus to persist.  

A team can get things together in a format that makes sense in the wiki and  then present stuff to the activity in the wordpress workgroup spaces as coherent documents, in support of "getting things done".  The forums, activities, etc in the wordpress space can reference whatever a team is working on over in the wiki's...  the wikis can point to their companion WordPress workspace areas as there is need.

For technology folks wiki's are a tool that is everywhere so its an easy/natural to use medium with minimal overhead (just start editing text in wiki format).  Generally wikis are lightweight... some force n-tiered installations over db's etc. IMHO wikis can start now but then need to move to the OWS data center footprint online.

We can also be writing up the various technologies and proposals, etc.  Ted's overvie document for example is a perfect wiki space type of doc that is a narrative of what is online, what is in use and a perfect place to be linking to&from.

The wiki is a natural information aggregation point.  It will become an asset to the movement's activities, it should be something that gets backed up/we are prepared to recover when trolls come smashing through it.

A provisioning process (some way of granting new account access after reviewing if its a trusted request) is the only real way to defend from casual troll stampedes, and managing the wiki ourselves means tech team members need to set up, back up regularly, and secure the systems it runs on as it becomes a big shiny target over time (as all online assets will).

One technical/setup point for the wiki - The current wiki has the "built in help" stripped out for whatever reason...  IMHO the wiki help pages need to be online (or pointed to at the wiki media site) for things like editing format hints, etc.  tWiki has been great to use over the years as it is file based... but i'm neutral to what flava wiki its all on...  regardless the tool is very valuable.

What is going on with fully qualified domain naming for the thing? 


On 10/22/2011 7:42 AM, Chris Hoffman wrote:
Is this the suggested workflow: archiving valuable threads on a wiki? 

On Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM, Devin Balkind <> wrote:
This thread has been thrown into the wiki here:

Could use some cleaning. :)

On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 9:28 PM, Todd Grayson <> wrote:

I've commented inline below; When reading my comments, I'm speaking to is the realization that we have the opportunity now for establishing a technology services model (processes, people, tools) that can deliver solutions for OWS GA and Work-groups. I feel it will be a mistake to channel the structure of the groups to where there is a fracturing of the technical teams to autonomous units running in separate directions.  This will fail to scale to the demands of the movement.  Volunteers that have worked on large scale in-parallel global development efforts need to speak up on this as well.  The technology is there for the movement and who it is serving (the GA and workgroups and the public they are communicating with).  The techology is there for us to organize and produce a very effective workgroup/sub-workgroup model that can quickly gather requirements, source necessary resources, and bring solutions online.

What was the final discussion from the meeting Sunday with regard to the various named groups?  Can those please be stated from what was agreed in the meeting.

A key role for digital strategy and outreach is to provide:
  • consistent interface to the GA/Working groups for discovery of needs and translation into working projects
  • education on what is already online to the groups when needs are already covered by tools already online
  •  definition of a project if tools already online/approved are not appropriate or need customization for the groups needs
  • introduction to development and technical team members,
  • documentation and transition
Most projects will require a combined set of resources spanning the proposed working groups (development, technology, outreach and digital strategy) to be successful.  They all have roles they can play in the planning and construction of the solution, and it will prevent one team from having to absorb all of the imact of a request from the working groups and GA, the goal would be to staff with on the ground and online volunteers and handle a number of activities in parallel as the groups get their process worked out and solidify how to manage projects and their resulting information, online.

Four easy to manage phases for any technical project (keep thing simple by design) for those of you familiar, this is open unified process speak (formerly Rational unified process)
  • Discovery (or inception)- a simple interview of the working group member contacting the IWG on behalf of their team, on what they want, after review of what is already online, if needed move on to next phase of
  • Explanation/Detail (elaboration) - where the clarification of who the solution is used by, who it communicates with, estimates of target audiance size, and specific things needed  are documented in a simple to use form.  Follow up questions and then project approval and sourcing of resources moves the project then into the next phase which is
  • Construction (the development and testing of the solution) - which whatever dev model that is required by the customer and team is used to produce a working solutions and co-ordinate with the technology team for planning and move into the final phase of
  • Transition (hand-off of the finished project to the users and those that will maintain it). The project is documented, help created, deployed to production and users trained and then transitioned into a production profile
Smaller direct requests for modifications/updates to already online solutions can be handled through a more direct job-jar kind of model as the full specification and design are not needed for services already online and the number of workers able to support the tools already online grows.

Further discussion inline below, if we can get a working document online perhaps?  We should be able to clarify as a group what is going on, and get working agreement from the rest of the technical teams on how we can work together to support the GA/WG in a coherent way.  Unfortunately the statements I read below seemed to want to push strategy off into an ineffectual role, this is a mistake with regard to the capacity of the online groups to manage a large number of activities in parallel.

On 10/17/2011 7:36 AM, Charles Lenchner wrote:

Dear friends,


Yesterday at the Internet Working Group meeting, one of the outcomes involved the creation of a subgroup devoted to ‘digital strategy.’ The details of what this group will do is not yet settled.


Five of us met (alongside other subgroups of the IWG) to offer some guidelines for what will be accomplished. We were careful not to make decisions, but to ask the kinds of questions we felt needed to be addressed, but which had no ‘home’ within the #OWS NYC structure.


Below this list are details about our next meeting and how to get involved.


Wow... this is a huge list of diffuse items...

Perhaps some critical items first?:

  1. What are the privacy standards that developers and technical staff of OWS/IWG will be following in handling member and public data?
  2. What information is it OK for online tools to be gathering about users in general?
  3. What are the projects in progress and what is already online?

What is the new supporter engagement process when it takes place online?

Please clarify the context of this-
 how are people greeted and notified on where to go for more information?
 how are volunteers and skills noted for later use (IMHO its not, we post active projects and instruct people where to go online for the discussion/activity co-ordination for that project)

What technical means do we have to demonstrate our process?


How do we want to document our process?

With the tools that the development group is bringing online in the group workspaces constructed in the forthcoming wordpress based 2.0 release, the "documents" section of our workspace will allow us to publish ratified documents while the forums, activities, events, etc will allow the groups to co-ordinate discussion and activity.

How are we capturing traffic of people interested in our media?

Stats were released on search terms, I'm not sure if hits reporting for the public facing sites (as opposed to work-group tools sites) will be too difficult as there are a number of ways of doing it, all the way to server based analysis. IMHO we should not be maintaining access logging in any of our online infrastructure as a general privacy protection as there are non-logging based ways of doing this (more of a technology group recommendation for security / privacy standard thing)

How are we capturing traffic of people looking for us physically? (This question is related to search and location based services)

How can we improve the site rankings of our digital properties?

How does the movement protect its digital properties is an important discussion item as well

Why does it make sense to have one domain name do better than the other, in terms of reach/popularity/ranking?


What is the right priority of domain names for our purposes?

?? approves affiliates, splash page aggregating affiliate domains that are locally focused

What are the domains we have control over?

Start here!
NYCGA.CC & NYCGA.NET? (what about .org and .com, do we own them, we should)  to protect itself NYC GA and OWS should be evaluating the current legal standards for protection of "organizational identity" online. This involves the concepts of trademark and copyright, which are tools available.
What other domains and what are they delivering.

I've offered the concept of creating a "movement label" that is some recognized logo that is protected legally, and offered by consensus of the GA to organizations they chose to partner with/accept support from so they can display it online (and its a link to whatever publich message landing pages the GA/working groups define.

What are the digital properties that we control/admire/collaborate with or influence?


How do we scale the decision making process? How do we make the decision making process work for other constituencies and larger numbers? (the hard of hearing, the not physically present, under-represented voices, etc.)

good solutions have come forward to the IWG/OWS teams, online issue discussion and voting tools.  The team is planning to come out to nyc to demonstrate the tool and talk about how they can support the concept of issue ratification and voting for the working group membership and GA membership. (I'm working on get out there at same time, will keep trying).    This would be something of a "active workgroup and ga participant" toolset that allows discussion, vote, and the proposal to agenda of items, actions, and ideas.

What (online) mechanisms exist for broader and deeper participation?'

IMHO there is a need for public facing polling and voting ultimately too (invite public to participate in poll through media release or something) that can bring much to bear for the OWS movement as well.

How do we retain attention over the long term?

What is our engagement and retention strategy?

For online resources... by getting the project specification and delivery queue started and start calling for resources

How do we give people the engagement they want?

(clarify "people")  the GA/workgroup customer? the volunteer worker? both?

How can we do this non-coercively (not splash pages, not force-subscribes)

register working group volunteers through on the ground and online co-ordination

How do we do it horizontally and democratically?

through expansion of the current on the ground groups into combined virtual and on the ground groups spanning protest sites globally

How do we decide what (email+social media) messages go out and how?

We don't, working groups/GA specify both projects and message to us and we work with all teams to deliver through existing and new technology.

Should we fundraise aggressively in the future? With which tools and partners?

As specified by Finance working group and GA

What is our email strategy?

IMHO; project with flo / tech  group to prepare overview of what we can do and then publish to GA/workgroups.

What email segments make sense?

What email segments are public for sign on/sign off?

How do we meet communication needs of different audiences?

Upcoming mail list solution should be explained through online doc so everyone understands what is there and will be able to speak to e-mail strategy.

Should we segment by checklist?

Should #OWS use online advertising? If so, to what end?

It should be an option open to the GA, not our decision now, it could become a tool and should be left as an option.

What is the compelling message? How can we map the historic significance of what we are doing? Can we help determine the stickiest language with A/B tests?

This should be something that media/outreach establishes, and then we deliver through highly available simple http services... they can go to press daily if they want.  It just becomes a function of capture and release through people, tools and processes.

How can we use google search terms to create content for our digital properties? (See what people are searching for, and create content accordingly)

Have reporting pages in the workgroup portal that discuss how to look at/report on this information through google's tools.

What should be on our about page?

Which one? for the digital strategy page? see discussion on role.

What’s the tool to aggregate votes/opinions before stuff is built open source? (Google Moderator)

The tool has context for issue, agenda, media, and even application.  The landing pages and navigation can be such that voting discussions open links to issue voting.  The OpenAssembly team

Can we post ideas using Google Moderator as a way of soliciting feedback?


Other comments:

Digital Strategy is not in the role of telling or instructing others on what to do; we take on projects we ourselves will work on (in coordination with others, as relevant.)

This misses the point of the benefits of co-ordination and oversight... from strategy comes standards, from standards comes efficiency of effort.  Isolating strategy and make any group unto itself will nullify the value of having the strategy effort there at all.   It would be better to not sub-group and simply fall back on the symantec of teams that are working on defined things under the IWG, with strategy being one of them.   Establishing strategy gives focus, allows for planning, resourcing, and maintaining effort that is distributed across a number of service teams of all skill types (FLO, development, technical, outreach and strategy)

How many discrete competing interfaces is the GA and working groups going to have to wade through to get stuff done?  Clean up the service model of the technical organization and allow a front end to on-board requirements and prepare projects so the actual technical teams can focus on build and delivery.

The strategy group reflects the already made decisions and tools that are there at the selection of technology and development... and works to co-ordinate the build out of what will be brought online next with either existing or newly-constructed or partnered-with solutions.

GA and the workgroups should be able to go to digital strategy with what they want/need, be shown what is already available online, and when something new is needed they help facilitate specification and then co-ordination of resources on a project basis across all the working teams (groups, whatever everyone decides on).

The goal would be to have a working structure that is similar to already proven projects involving large scale mulch-organizational development efforts.  Efforts that are successful today throughout the open source and technology industries.

We have access to expertise that can be used to help other groups solve technical issues related to their work – we’d love to help with brainstorming.

See previous notes.



Our next meeting will be tomorrow, Tuesday, at 7pm. This is scheduled two hours after the start time of the Internet Working Group. The location of this meeting will be at the info desk at Zuccotti Park at 5pm. Some of us will remain active with the IWG; we expect others to work with us directly and skip the IWG meetings. Our first meeting was heavy on the male demographic (as is the IWG in general). All are invited to participate. Please join our list serve and please do contact me if you have questions. A highly technical background isn’t necessary; we would like to see online campaigners, community organizers, web content managers, marketers, CIO’s/CTO’s and others join us. We also welcome representatives from other WG’s curious about our work, or who have been doing similar things.


During the week we expect the new website to roll out, and sometimes soon a CiviCRM will be in place to handle our email lists and mass emailing capacity. These are being handled by others in the IWG and the Open Source WG.

CHAZ -- This answers your question on mail list futures a little... too ^^^
IMHO the "discussions we have today should move to website workspace/forums ala workgroup tools being launched and the mail lists be used for on-board greeting and pointer to where to go online, the other use is for announcements to public that has signed up to participate on "outward facing" list.

The current lists as discussion and planning are hard to digest and follow, as we all know.


The agenda for our Tuesday meeting is to turn our list of questions above into a prioritized workplan. We welcome input and draft proposals for any of these topics.


We will post announcements of our work on the IWG listserv while keeping most of the discussion on our own listserve.


Please forgive any unapproved edits to these notes or lack of clarity. I take responsibility for those.


Charles Lenchner


Devin Balkind
Director, Sarapis Foundation

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