Meeting Minutes – Internet Working Group 11/13/2011

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Date: 2011-11-13
Location: Atrium
Note Taker: djudd

Announcement on text alert system

  • System is in place now where people can sign up by cell phone, 3000 signed up
  • Working on upgrade which allows option of voice call, works on landlines and to wake people up
  • Guy working on this needs to connect with people putting info on website

Reportback on OccupyWallStreet.net (from Katie)

  • Hammered out wireframes for OccupyWallStreet.net, trying to have mockups done by end of the week
  • Basic idea is to get working groups within occupation to curate content, because they’re held accountable to GA, takes weight off IWG
  • Tentative plan is to build site on Drupal:
  1. Homepage: Basic, header, donate button, four main nav buttons, livestream, blurb, featured press release, blog post, etc from different sections, section for GA approved docs already released, news feed
  2. “Latest”: Includes blog, curated by PR group, and Twitter “cheat sheet” which is list of reliable feeds, and below newswire, with links out to main source. Inside of post, share buttons, related posts. Need some kind of seal/graphic for documents consensed upon by GA
  3. “Contribute”: How to get involved, Google map of Zuccotti, send money, goods, services, & space, stopgap prior to Permabank
  4. “About”: FAQ, official docs, contact info
  5. “Media”: Has subnav, curated by media group, photography group, design group, featured video at the top, then photography below, then graphics. Videos embedded from youtube or vimeo or whatever, photos are flickr slideshow. Graphics page is modeled on good.is/infographics, thumbnail nodes w/ description, populates down, most likely pulling in outside t-shirt designs, infographics, posters, etc
  • Concerns were raised about a lack of visibility. This work is taking place on a separate listserv, & in a meeting last Saturday. Many UX folks didn’t know about it. It’s meant to be open and anyone can join. More info will be posted on nycga.net now. Places where these things should be posted in the future: a team page at internet.nycga.net, groups->internet->events, the wiki.
  • Concern was raised about the graphics-heavy nature, and possible lack of usability by screen-readers. Someone from NJ who has experience in this area volunteered to help & to provide a list of requirements from the National Blind Federation
  • Subgroup also have talked about translation (no concrete plans yet?)

Proposal relating to spokescouncil (From Drew, conveyed by Katie)

  • Last spokescouncil meeting had lots of yelling, a “nightmare”, nothing accomplished
  • Drew wrote on website, asked for consensus to appeal to Monday spokescouncil to pass proposal, as posted online
  • Concerns were raised about whether proposal addresses problem, and whether we’re right group to bring it forward
  • Suggestion was made that Drew talk to Structure and Facilitation
  • Suggestion was made that we face milder version of same problem (with respect to WordPress vs Drupal issue, where occupywallstreet.net mockups came from), lack of acknowledged structure/transparency
  • No attempt at consensus

Working space @ 50 Broadway

  • We’re helping to cover door Tuesday
  • Limit to 48 people b/c of fire code. Building owned by UFT, they are charging rent, anon donor paying rent, GA operating within constraints of donor, who prespecified 7 working groups allowed to use space, which fortunately most people are ok with (incl media, tech). Look to organization.nycga.net for info on how that is getting allocated, and scheduling for coverage
  • Suggestion was made that we have a cross-group subdomain on nycga.net for these issues
  • This Tuesday, Ron will cover 9am-1pm, Thiago 1pm-6pm 

Working group creation process (Patricia reporting)

  • It turns out we don’t understand the current process at all – what’s our role? What’s the role of Info? What’s the role of the spokes council? GA itself doesn’t approve groups
  • Suggestion that it makes sense for us to add groups online, even if we don’t decide who’s legitimate
  • Concern that we can’t just make every group who asks us
  • Concern that Info needs to maintain a directory
  • Suggestion that until the spokes council is functioning, we do less harm by creating groups which might not make it into a directory than by refusing to grant potential groups use of communication tools
  • Consensus was reached as follows:
    • We’ll create a group for anyone who asks (that isn’t blatantly racist or something)
    • We’ll put some kind of “pending” or “newbie” flag on these groups, maybe just in the name
    • We’ll start a thread on nycga.net to discuss the long-term process, & see what comes out of that

Project management (Proposal from Ron)

  • Roughly, a project manager prioritizes for a UX team, which makes proposals to a dev team, which implements
  • Goals: To avoid team doing work, and then people who control production server change things in an incompatible way. Collaboration between teams instead of individuals who have finger on button making decisions. Ensure changes are tested & documented & can be rolled back if necessary (doesn’t happen now). We have a problem when the one person who understands a technology that was used becomes unavailable.
  • Scope is, for now, nycga.net specifically, and within that the user experience team
  • There is a staging environment, but its not necessarily in good shape, staging != production
  • Suggestion is made that we add to Ron’s proposal a documentation stage
  • Concern that this assumes we have a stable communications channel
  • Concern that we don’t want an individual project manager, should be group decision
  • We don’t have a formal project manager currently, there is agile/project management group
  • No attempt to reach consensus on the proposal, we will discuss further online & maybe attempt consensus on a later draft

Teams within our working group (This wasn’t a separate agenda point but basically branched out from the previous discussion)

  • Concern raised that teams were created without an open process (referring I think to agile group as well as OccupyWallStreet.net group?)
  • Proposal that when teams work on something, they send proposals for designs out to IWG for approval
  • Suggestion we need work-logging – “I did this, then I did this”, etc – a blog?
  • Suggestion that we need a document showing teams, which people are on which team, how do you join
  • We have multiple places where this information is supposed to be currently: Wiki, Internet subdomain, Docs page of nycga.net
  • Consensus was reached as follows:
    • We’ll make the Docs page the official, static team directory
    • It will be linked from the Internet working group description, as well as the stickied “volunteer” forum post, which will become a general onboarding post
    • We’ll print the Docs page every Sunday and bring it to the working group meeting to see if anyone knows of any missing info

Reportback on new server setup

  • Changes production behavior considerably
  • Launch schedule is for 11/20, for budgetary reasons, want not to pay next bill for current Rackspace
  • Will post document for a temporary team to help test
  • New setup is diamond shape, four servers, with frontend load balancer / cache, two web frontends, one database. Built using nginx as server instead of apache, because its faster and the cool kids use it. Rewrite rules are completely changed, need to be rewritten in nginx form
  • We have donation of datacenter space from Panix, 8 servers, we want to centralize things there. There’s an agreement that its free until we define the relationship. Eventually we will acquire our own servers. Who makes decisions on paying? Has to go through GA. Umbrella 501c3 exists, may get more complex

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