Groups Policy (proposal) from Comm Cluster

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this proposal was consented upon at Communications Cluster on Thursday, Dec 1.

A – Proposal Context

here are currently about 100 groups on the NYCGA web site and we get more requests for added groups every day. We, at Technology Operations (formerly known as Internet), are very concerned with this situation and after many conversations with other groups in the movement, we know that the negative implications of this are vast and serious. These concerns include the following:

  • Unclear and inaccessible groups: Many working groups listed on the website are missing information about what they do and how one can participate in their work.
  • Dormant groups: Many working groups are either non-functioning or not actually groups yet they maintain the same status as active and participating working groups.
  • Non-local groups: This site was designed to serve the occupation on the ground at Liberty Plaza and Wall Street. It was not designed to be a central hub for any group involved in the global movement. The groups represented on the site, therefore, should be working actively, on the ground with the OWS occupation. For many of the current groups, this is not the case.
  • Redundant groups: Many groups are redundant in part due to a lack of communcation and transparency; there is no simple way to find out if a project idea has people working on it; collaboration between groups and projects is very difficult; difficult for groups who want to coordinate projects OWS-wide to get the word out.
  • Decreased Productivity: In almost 100% of instances, the existing groups are overworked and understaffed. Groups need help. We have serious problems that need to be solved (housing, food, transportation, medical, financial, and so much more) and every time we make another fractured, specific, group, we dilute the resources available to the existing groups that are working so hard to solve these problems in a focused way. Instead of starting new groups, which only divide us and split our focus, we should be working on strengthening the groups we have so they can do the important work that needs to be done.
  • Barrier to entry: Inaccessibility for newcomers to OWS is extremely high due to the lack of clarity what the OWS activities are. In tandem is a general need of more people involved in OWS Groups & Projects.
  • Over-crowding of the site: With so many groups, it becomes so much harder to find the group you’re looking for, or identify the appropriate forum to have a conversation in. We need to maintain an environment that is digestible to new visitors. If we do not, the site won’t be able to effectively serve anyone in the community and we would not be living up to our charter or our obligation to the movement.
  • Financial complications: With the current standing policy of $100 at-a-time allotment for groups, the Finance Working Group needs a more clear definition and creation process for groups. If just anyone can become a group, then anyone can begin asking for money out of our general fund with no accountability.

B – Proposal For Group Creation

  1. Anyone can fill out a group creation form for submission to Tech Ops for addition to without arbitration. These forms will be availble online and as hard copies in the office.
  2. All Groups must be contibuting to the Occupy Wall Street movement on the ground in NYC.

C – Proposal For Group Administration

  1. Tech Ops will clearly label all Groups that have been approved by the Spokes Council as “Operations” or “Caucus.” All other groups will remain unlabeled, until such time as other group definitions may be proposed and consensed upon. Tech Ops will add a UI element for the above designations on the group listings page.
  2. Tech Ops will refactor with additional, mandatory fields the group edit-details and contact-details forms. Group managers will be redirected to that page at next log-in or be provided an onscreen notice with a link to the edit page. In addition, group managers will receive an email with clear instructions and reasoning for requesting information updates.
  3. Automatically hide groups from the listings page that are dormant. Groups would qualify as dormant if they fall below a threshold of activity*. A user interface option to reveal dormant groups will be added.

* Threshold for dormancy

Proposed threshold, compiled weekly: 10 points.

  •   2 points / new forum topic
  •   1 point / comment
  •   4 points / blog
  •   5 points / document
  •   5 points / event
  •   -1000 points / Required fields in a Group profile that remaln empty 2 weeks past approval of these measures

3 Responses to “ Groups Policy (proposal) from Comm Cluster”

  1. Justin Stone-Diaz

    Kids, there is a simple solution, which I think is already on the way, or was?
    The inclusion of Catagories on this site like:
    Operational Group
    Organizational Group
    Affinity Group
    Movement Group ect.

    Seems internet is trying retrofit our movement to fit their expectations of how the website should would.

    I think there are NOT enough working groups.
    I know of 20+ waiting to get on the website but
    due to some confusion where
    some WGs think that if they get on the website they get $100 a day-
    Which is NOT true, FYI.

    Seems to me a case of Internet WG or (Tech) trying to force their Organizational Ideas on the group.

    So What IS going on with the addition of the WG Catagories?

    If I don’t hear anything I’ll begin adding the waiting working groups, but with the caveat that
    INCLUSION on NYCGA.NET does not mean that WG gets ANY $.

    All WGS can go through NYCGA or NYCSC.

    Posting of a WG on this site,
    DOES NOT give Finance the authorization to reimburse any funds,
    unless those funds have been approved by NYCGA or NYCSC.

    There has been ALOT of bad info about this fact & it has prevented MANY members of our community from even having access to the NYCGA.NET tools.

    Snark aside the #occupation continues & see you in the park soon!

  2. NYCGA Council


    For Clarity….This working group mandate is to empower and preserve the integrity of NYC General Assembly OWS. NYCGA Council embodies the GA. (This group is not an individual)

    What we are discussing…

    Acknowledgement of the fact, the movement lacked a working group to bring, address, establish, or sanction, issues, which are under the jurisdiction of the General Assembly.

    We observed groups attempting to address, enact, impact, or establish practices which, could be in direct conflict with the General Assembly’s Principles of Solidarity.

    NYCGA Council feels we should be a principle in this discussion. And, no individual or WG can make these designations without the imput of the GA council.

    Peace & Clarity

  3. NYCGA Council

    Furthermore, we have consensus. All organizational (WG vs WG), designated titles, monetary disbursements relating to NYCGA Working Groups are to be presented to the General Assembly.

    PS: GA WP will address issue and proposal, by creating the sub-group; NYCGA Working Groups Initiative