FWG Meeting Minutes – 2/2/12 – 4pm @ 60 Wall St.

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Facilitation WG meeting  2/2/12

Facilitator: Christina

Minutes: Carrie


Christina 1
Christina 2


GA on Tuesday

Daniel and Christina facilitated. Was proposal to ban an individual. Lots of advice in planning. Proposer in reaction to feedback decided to restructure it. Confusion and lots of feelings about proposal. Christina felt there was a lot of pent-up feelings. Was intimidating as a facilitator. Called for breakout groups, may not have been that well-defined what they were to be talking about.
Daniel: Facilitation learned at last minute that proposer was bringing a proposal that was significantly different from the posted proposal. Wasn’t sure what to do with that. Inclination = let’s just move on. But crowd was split on whether to move on with agenda or discuss current issue. Then had discussion that wasn’t framed well. Some peoplel used it to talk poorly about the individual. Was messy. We didn’t really have a strategy developed to deal with a situation like that.
Christina: It’s unclear what role Facilitation has in deciding whether to move forward with proposals or just facilitate a discussion. Thought it was going to be a trial. She does’nt think GA is a courtroom. If it’s about an incidence, that’s clear, but this was unclear. Maybe FWG can think about proposals that target one person and delve into history pre-OWS, maybe GA isn’t the place to handle that.

Popcorn ideas about how to handle such situations in lieu of Grievance Council. What is Facilitation’s role in a situation where a person is targeted?

– The Declaration says GA is not just for proposals but also for discussions. That’s why Anthony suggested we open that up. Wanted to talk about not just individual but how we as a community deal with that behavior in our space. Doesn’t think FWG should take proposals like that. Maybe such issues should go to Spokes Councils, because it’s more of an inner working thing.
– Daniel: We need to consider how we are taking proposals and have more clarity about it. At the beginning, facilitators felt more empowered to tell a proposer, no, this is not ready to go before the GA. Feels we should take the opportunity to do that more often–tell proposers to go get more buy-in, develop further. But it shouldn’t just be one person who does that. We need more transparency, we are too closed off and it’s leading to issues at the GA.
– Negesti: Need to offer more support to peoplel bringing proposals. Be helpful to them, not just say they can’t bring a proposal. That’s a slippery slope. We are still not clear on what proposals go to GA versus Spokes. We should talk about helping the community build proposals, not about censorship. Would be helpful to know the proposals a couple days prior to facilitating.
– Alia: Thought Facilitation did a good job of diffusing what was about to blow up in a dangerous situation. The crowd really wanted to talk about it. So facilitators did a good job of allowing them the breakout groups, even though they weren’t well-defined. Was a good tactic because it let people talk about it, even if it was soapboxing. Helped avoid conflict. Re: Half-baked proposals: It may be our job to help people develop proposals. Gave feedback to a proposer with a very lengthy proposal that maybe he should break it down in to smaller parts. It would be nice to have language to draw on for that, ways to direct people. Maybe we have a trigger while facilitating to ask the group if they think the proposal is ready to go through consensus or if they think breakout groups to help shape it would be more beneficial.
– Nick: Doesn’t think that’s our job. The proposal point people just upload to website. We have dealt with this before, i.e. first proposed “Nan ban” from Yoni. We talked to him and he went forward with it, but then community gave feedback and he pulled it. Believes facilitators should be able to come to GA and say, I don’t feel comfortable with this proposal to target people. They should be able to stop it and ask group to talk about it at the GA.
– Stefan: We don’t have control over proposals. We cannot say no. But we only have 24 hours once a proposal comes before us, and what if a proposal comes before us on the way to GA?
– Christina: Thinks its our responsibility to have input about proposals like this that target individuals.
– Daniel: Has thought about making it a 48-hour window for proposals rather than 24. Also, maybe Tech can open it up online that people can just throw out an idea versus a formed, formal proposal. Make it so people can contribute to it, alleviate the burden on us, let the community have more input.
-David: 1) When Ted brought this proposal the fact that he was ready to go ahead with it until he seriously considered the feedback, that’s how important it is to have the time and opportunity for feedback. 2) Then there was the question of what if a proposal that was posted online if significantly changed, does that make it a new proposal? Or just crafted with friendly amendments? 3) People came with a purpose. …. Saw “thugs” who came to GA on Tuesday and said explicitly they were there to disrupt the GA.

Outcomes: People who are admins on site are going to meet up after to talk about posting proposals.

Reportback about Facilitation tonight:

Brett said he would do it because he was supposed to do Spokes last night. Anthony volunteers to co-facilitatie. Carrie or Corey will do stack. Christina can do time. Will need vibe-checker.

Reportback about Spokes last night, or lack thereof:

Brett: 5 people have been bottomlining getting space for Spokes. Brett is one, and last night because he was facilitating, he took a special interest. Knew by Monday that some spaces were not available. By 1 pm yesterday it came down to only option was 86th St. Looked into maybe 8 places yesterday. A few people, with input from others, made the call at 4pm to cancel it. Thought it was more responsible to cancel it so people could plan other things for their night, and to avoid what happened recently when we didn’t announce a location until 6:15. Will own up that he was part of it with pulling the plug, and that that decision was made by just a few people.
Nick: If it’s only Facilitation trying to find spaces, this is going to happen a lot more. Other WGs should share responsibility to find space.
Negesti: Is confused if this was always FWG responsiblity. It has been unclear if this is our responsibility, on top of vetting proposals and facilitating. Can understand why we can’t find spaces, until we pass the Community Agreements.
Nysheva: Thinks it’s fine for people to step up and not feel like we have to reach a large consensus to make a quick decision like this. Feels comfortable with the choice that was made.
Anthony: 1) Finding spaces is a pain in the ass. Thank you. 2) Last night was nice out. Maybe we should make an amendment to the SC proposal that on a night where we can’t find space and it’s nice out, we hold SC in the park.
Daniel: It’s not clear WHY we have the responsibility but it’s clear that we DO, and we need to own that. But should build a transitionary system to have the community help, get other WGs invlolved, share contacts. It is and has been our responsibility and will be until we find a way to open it up. Suggests we have a FWG subgroup in charge of finding space for SC.
Christina: This is part of a larger situation where we meet as a group and spend a lot of time processing emotionally. but there is work FWG is responsible for — proposal posting, space finding, training — so maybe bringing that into visibility is better. Also, letting people know how they can get involved and help with the work we have to do.
Christina 2: Someone should make a report at GA tonight about the kind of hlep we need. Also, more thanks to Brett for makign that decision to cancel the SC last night.
Corey: Maybe we should make a hard rule that if we don’t have space by a certain time, we cancel SC.
David: SC being canceled meant that people had the opportunity to go to neighborhood GAs.
NIck: It was fine what happened but we do need more people to step up and help find spaces.

Process for Facilitation sign-up– How are we doing it?

People are bottomlining one day, you speak with people and create a team. No longer are doing it through e-mails.
If you want to go ahead and sign up for a day in the future,  do so.

Bringing conversation topics to GA

Anthony: Says there should be a place at GAs to bring discussion. Our community has a lot of problems that we want to talk about and we should encourage them to come together and talk about how to address them.
Daniel: We talked about this at Lisa Fithian’s workshop. Doesn’t think we need to make it a proposal but just realize we are empowered as facilitators to have breakouts or something. Brainstorm as a group the kinds of non-proposal discussion tools we can use.
Negesti: These discussions could open it up for us to talk about our ethics, what do we stand for, where are we going, what is our future. Maybe do one a week.
Daniel: We should reach out to other WGs and get a pile of topics they might want to talk about at GA. Also feeling like Facilitation is able to go to GA and ask what they want to talk about.

Outcome: People should talk to Daniel about how to make that happen.

How to deal with disruptions

Alia: Maybe that should be an open topic for GA tonight.
Brett: Tonight’s agenda is already pretty packed.

Other business:

Stefan wants to bring in someone who does NVC training. If you are interested, see Stefan.
See Christina if you want to get on subgroup on finding spaces.
See Daniel if you want to help compile discussions to bring to the GA.

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