Subject: Re: [Ows_solutions] [NYCGA-IWG] Re: silent chat at spokes council
From: elly
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 10:00:41 -0800
To:, evy brown <>


While it's nice to link over to an article on revolutions, this is the Internet Working Group. I have a limited amount of time in my day to spend on this, (besides following the development of the group, learning the technology) so would you mind only posting things about our group's focus here? There are 80+ groups on the nycga, and I'm sure this article would have a better audience in one of them. Thanks!

On 11/16/2011 8:35 AM, evy brown wrote:
Hey All,
I got this email that talks about the 5 movements that changed public policy.  It's worth a read.

Auntie Evy

On Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 8:10 AM, planetary <> wrote:
Let's take a step back here on this Vibe / IRC or any other chat system in the universe question, if you don't mind.  

When nontechnical humans will have to use a component we're selecting, we tend to ask the following about each / relative to each other:

1) Have we seen it work well over & over for our purpose?
2) How familiar with the service and/or the usage paradigm are actual users?
3) What does it commit me or my users to? 
4) Does it give me options I value?
5) How many interoperable clients and services are there?
6) How large is the support community?

Sure, Vibe is kind of interesting and new and cool and whatnot.  But for a field-operable system, it scores incredibly poorly compared to something like IRC.  The fact that it's a singleton service offering alone from a single, tiny vendor should put it out of contention vs. the far more widely supported an interoperable IRC; if Vibe crashes, that's it.  If an IRC client, server, particular chatroom, Web interface, whatever happens to fail, there are dozens-hundreds of components and services to replace them with, and a support community of many thousands to fix issues you have.  

Yes, people can do 'strong ID / authentication' in some chat services, but you are not COMMITTED to it in something like IRC; it could be as arbitrary as the handle/signature system in Vibe, but users have the OPTION at least to defend their identities, and you can make it harder for individuals to astroturf using IRC mechanisms. (Valuable options, that you are not committed to.) 

We just feel that accessibility, field operability and risk should be much more significant factors in technology decisions affecting this movement than novelty,  and honestly can't imagine what else would cause you to prefer a solution like Vibe for "pseudonymous chat in a room" when you have so many actual mature "pseudonymous chatroom" solutions designed for purpose.   

On Nov 16, 11, at 6:57 AM, White Hat wrote:

replies in bold below

From: planetary <>
To: White Hat <>
Cc:; ows_solutions <>
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 5:53 PM
Subject: [NYCGA-IWG] Re: [Ows_solutions] silent chat at spokes council

We've been field testing it on a device pair and have seen anecdotally that

- Messages appear, disappear, don't post at all to the index without remark

what's displayed is a function of the user defined broadcast range of the message and the viewer/your location.  the device physically moving or its reporting a different location to the app after a few minutes (location settling) would affect what vibes are shown to you.

- Adjusting range settings triggers doesn't behave as expected

you mean adjusting range settings when posting a vibe or viewing vibes?  if the former, what's the behavior you were expecting so the help clarify.

- 'Long distance shouts' interrupt local discussions

the viewer/receiver controls what is shown by their distance slider and that filters out non local shouts, e.g. in a spokes council meeting usage, messages outside of 54 walker are easily filtered out.

- There is no way to stop noise-flooding or mobbing.

see above reply

Might just be the primary build/device (LG Optimus V) but the anecdotal testing suggested it wasn't ready for a semi-reliable time and small-space bounded application.

the android version is beta, the ios more feature complete and stable.   it's possible what you were running into was an instance of your device not reporting its correct location to the app (which if off by a few hundred feet or miles can display or hide unexpected vibes).  going to google maps and refreshing its location takes care of that.

Sure, pub-sub chat systems over mobile IP are suboptimal from a signaling perspective, but we have had zero problems running {insert IRC client & network} on any of our field devices or network conditions.  And they are designed for complex multi-human full duplex discussion, too, not fire & forget broadcast where anyone can flood the msg index & no authentication is present...

above scenario not quite applicable to the usage case proposed for a spokes council meeting.  "no authentication/anonymity" is actually a valuable feature in many contexts - while it can be abused, it empowers and encourages shy or marginalized voices as has been seen in many meetings where vibe or similar technologies have been used, e.g.:

  NY Times: Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media

On Nov 15, 11, at 2:40 PM, White Hat wrote:

this test idea is for the spokes council at 52 walker without need for audio.  it's for a mobile solution (chat via mobile web not particularly good experience in my opinion).

what do you mean by "shaky 1-way" and "poor small-area 'geofencing'."?

white hat

From: planetary <>
To: White Hat <>
Cc: "" <>; "" <>
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 5:19 PM
Subject: Re: [Ows_solutions] silent chat at spokes council

Visual chat is 1000% the best way to "talk amongst yourselves" on a group broadcast scenario like a GA, & this design pattern is probably the one to embrace one way or the other. 

No need to mess with a shaky 1-way anon system like Vibe, though, especially with its poor small-area 'geofencing'. 

Just spin up an ad hoc site-specific IRC channel for each session & post logs.  You could ensure boundaries in any number of ways, most simply by just giving out #chan / key to folks in the room & capping participants to roughly the size of the physical participant crowd.  

You could also solve the audio issue by using something like Nate Freitas' OneStreetMic to broadcast the stack via dial-in # to an MP3 stream, and let individual users dial into that MP3 stream on headphones should they not be able to hear.  (Think of the UN translator headphone thingies.)   OneStreetMic limits to 10 min bursts & we are not sure what state the project is in as of this writing, but it's out there & we've seen it work. 

It shares a lot with our Superassembly loop system, except in the single-site context:
(1) the chat channel is for comms between participants, not a closed coord channel for facilitators across GAs
(2) the floor feed is used to reinforce local sound, rather than feed sound to another site. 

If we had more time, we could probably just set you up something on our prototype Peoples' PBX, but that would take at ~ a week or so to get enough folks & dial plans set up.

On Nov 15, 11, at 1:00 PM, White Hat wrote:

if last night's is any indication, the spokes council meetings are very lively gatherings and it can be difficult to hear the person on stack with all the background chatter.

i would like to propose trying a "silent chat" option during the spokes council.  one where people can easily chat with others present at 52 walker, whether to express opinions about a proposal or add information that may not be covered in the time remaining.  this would be using the vibe smartphone app, where messages posted as"whispers" would only be visible at/around 52 walker.

i discussed it last night with marisa and another person from facilitation and they are interested in possibly trying it at tomorrow's spokes council.

is this something the internet working group would get behind testing at a spokes council?  

white hat

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