• comcom budget 11-12 discussion-1

last modified September 6, 2010 by pierre

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  • This page is hosting a first phase/input on discussion around Comcom budget 2011-2012
  • It is started with an input by Jason in the last days of august - and is landmarked by a chat on september 1

see other page discussion 2  structured around groups

starting mail from jason and inputs

Dear all, this is the period of the year when we need to start planning for the next one, while we struggle to work through the remaining events of 2010 and the preparation for Dakar. The Resource commission - through Nicolas Haeringer who is in charge to work on the fundraising plan - is asking each commission to send their proposal in terms of budget necessities (see his message below).  This time it will be for the next two years.  We have a close deadline for the proposal on the 10th of september.  But I think we can work on specific parts later. As we plan for the post-Dakar - I think we should start by looking at what we have, in terms of existing tools and working groups, and how to consolidate it - as well as taking into account all the suggestions which emerged in the last IC meeting.  I see 4 main focuses of our work for the future:

>> See  inputs in italics on those four items started wiht name of person making the input

1) Prioritize our targets of communication in the wsf process:

- Main target are the participants of the forums worldwide.  This implies having registration and mailing tools in a coordinated way, and sharing information - In parallel, we should work on the "multipliers", i.e. the independent media, campaigners, bloggers, some of the organisers, etc.
  • Then there are journalists of various sorts, who have covered the forums in the past and of which we should have a general database

[Pierre]  In comcom, besides “ communicating as media”with “targets” or “communicating as WSF facilitating groups” ( such as sending bulletin etc..), we are also dealing with internal communication processes - see part 4

2) Social media and crowdsourcing

Many activists are using these tools and we need to feed into them.  We need a strategy to optimize the work on this - we never really looked into it.  Of course there is the debate on commercial media, privacy and data, as well as access.  But if we don't consider this seriously, we are just talking to ourselves and not reaching out, which I think is our main role.

[Pierre]  Openfsm is a free software tool that offers an option for networking between participants in self organized spaces with more emphasis on collaboration, than on merely networking

Recently search by location option has been introduced which allows to find people in a given country or city

for the next two years, many useful feature can be added within a renewed free software project dynamics that is starting , viewing this tool as one functional complement to the registration – interaction- memory module) described in 3 and 4A with reciprocal links between forms ( participants form organisation form activity form outcome/proposal form assembly form ) in the module, and spaces in Openfsm , links edited by the participants themselves, some being simple links, some informing the structure of Openfsm

3) Memory and documentation

We've always said we should sythematize memory and have a well documented general website of the Forum, but this has not been done yet.  The website is only one part (there is an open proposal for a socialforumpedia, which could be come part of the general wsf portal) - the main work is collecting, organising, translating, etc.
[Pierre]Short term Dakar
Distinct complementary to a socialforumpedia approach, there is an approach of self organized memory linked to the activity program of each event ( and now these events are going to more and more expanded events involving potentially people all over the world)

This consists in allowing any individual participants  and any collective participant to tell briefly in his/her respective participation form

  • intentions before the event ( which 5 activities the person intends to participate in, which will be an invaluable information for activity organizers) ,


  •  summarized feedback  after the event about the event in general , and about a list of up to say 5 activities he/she has participated in , and some outcome he/she is endorsing supporting , giving links to the activities and outcome forms ( which allow to navigate the program base )  , and link to documents she./she has made which are in other websites such as wsftv.net , foro de radios, ciranda, world socialforum.info, openfsm.net -

the registration /interaction/ memory module of the event is containing the feedback part of the participation form (which become then more than a merely administrative form, and more than a line for a diffusion list for communicators )

All this was not existent in Belem site …

This amounts to adding some fields in the participation form of individuals and organisations


All the participation forms are linked to organisations forms to activities forms to outcome forms and provide a great and convenient "index structure" along the event program for a wider memory pointing to documents anywhere in the internet , in wsftv.net in openfsm.net in wordsocialforuminfo.net in wsf2011.org (input section) ,and in internet at large etc etc..

This would a very effective channel for active memory of the event closely linked to the content of the event , and that is why the registration module of wsf2011 could be named “ registration , interaction and memory” module-

[Pierre]Next two years
We could contribute to promote these “ self organized memory around the event ” features , so that they are used in more and more regional national thematic events throughout 2011 and 2012, and continue bettering the “registration and interaction and memory module” and offer it to organising committees, or share with them the features contained in it, if they want /need to redevelop one- Make sure that this program linked memory features is practices more and more events throughouth 2011 and 2012 will have these feature or reuse the “ registration , interaction and memory” module- or build one anew after the Dakar one 

4) Innovative ways to inter-connect wsf participants around the world

4A ) Fostering participant to participant email interaction

[Pierre]Short term Dakar
it is important that we also make sure that there are tools for making easy direct intercommunication embedded in the event sites . What is at stake is making self organized agglutination inside the process of an event an easier process One important and very short term move is to make sure that the registration module for wsf2011 that will be developed in the coming weeks allows any registered participants to contact any other participants via the wsf2011 participant database through the wsf2011.org website . (and not just the all wsf database )

Here we can make out three contact processes :

individual to individual ( that is done in some event website like wef Palestine ) - this is part of personal networking inside WSF( if the individual participation form is partly public and contains some elements of presentation and some elements of memory , there is material through which people can make contact with each other

individual to collective entity ( I-e an individual contacts an “organisation” or an “activity” or an “outcome” and the message is conveyed to a group of emails which have been declared as “contact group” for this organisation , this activity , this outcome/proposal, when the corresponding organisation , activity , or outcome form has been registered this allow all contacts for further information about an activity, about (the notion of several contact emails declared as contact group for a collective entity can be easily added in the registration form of the entity)

collective entity to collective entity : I e when a message is sent by one collective entity representative I-e a person that has access to a collective entity username and password, to another collective entity , the message is sent to the contact group for the target entity and copied to the contact group of the sending entity

the typical messages suchas

-entity C proposes to join the co –organizers of an activity 567 , currently organized by entity A and B

-organizers of activity 437 propose to organizers of activity 298 to merge the two activity into one

-promoters of outcome 231 propose to organisation D to come and join the group of promoters of this outcome

This amounts to adding some fields n the participation form of activiities outcomes/proposals and organizationss

All this was very difficult to make in the Belem site

We need to have this in the Dakar site This would a very effective channel for agglutination process, and that is why the registration module of wsf2011 could be name “ registration and interaction and memory ” module-

The self matching of people can be done in great part through the registration interaction module on occasion of events as explained above ( see 4 A)
[Pierre]For the next two years,
We could contribute to promote these “ self organized agglutination” features , so that they are used in more and more regional national thematic events throughout 2011 and 2012, and continue bettering the “registration and interaction and memory module” and offer it to organising committees, or share with them the features contained in it, if they want /need to redevelop one-

4B ) Fostering participant to participant live intercommunication

The experimental experience of the Social Forum Expanded/Extended, with all its limitations, is indeed one of the innovative elements introduced and has, in my opinion, quite some potentials.  So I think we should continue and try to mainstream it, finding ways to make it always better.  But there might be other ideas around as well to "match" people working on similar issues and connect campaigns and activists, as well as exploring different "languages" and dimensions of communication (cultural, artistic, etc).

[Pierre]Social forum expanded initiative Is about extending an event I-e providing possibilities to people and groups who are not coming in the center event to participate actively and in a self organized way in the process of this event, in the same way s in the center event, registering in the same registration system as participants and organisations ,an d using three main modes

  • local activities associated to the center event at the time of it ,
  • distance encounter activities between groups participating in the extended event and mainly with groups present in the center event ,
  • activity of collective distance participation of groups into activities organized elsewhere and mainly in the center event
[Pierre]Short term Dakar

The political decision was taken in July seminar  to extend the Dakar event , and to integrate it in the regsitration process with no formal difference made between partiicpants in dakar or out of dakar , whether

 - now comes time of implementation keeping in mind that we aim a quantitative and qualitative leap in scale of distance participation if compared to belem expanded

[Pierre]Next two years

Next two years are spanning until the next central WSF event , in the middle many significant events forming the basis for wsf2011 and wsf2012 processes

Tasks here can be of several nature

1/ Continuing to spread organizing experience about expanding events among organizing committees of significant events throughout wsf process  , as is being done in wsf2010 process  and developing a sense of conveying to a next event the “outcomes” of an earlier event, through self organized distance inter-communication between groups participating in those events  ( this has to do also with the notion of outcome /proposal )

2/ Continuing to facilitate exchange of experience in direct distance intercommunication and promote emerging formulas well adapted to social forum situations ( eg extended assemblies . extended proposal/outcome ...) -The goal is to foster autonomy of usage among groups involved in WSF so they can develop autonomously their distance relationships, and extensions of their local activities to a worldwide scale

3/ Developing with interested independent radios, the role radio can play in helping organisations willing to "extend" participation in their activities to provide some direct distance participation possibilities to more people with live radio broadcast of the activity and a cell phone/SMS feedback loop , since those media reach "where internet does not reach "

4/ Promoting , and if necessary supporting, development of some feature for free software tools of live intercommunication providing features equivalent to widely used commercial sites such as www.skype.com, and www.ustream.tv - and making them friendly to the usages developed inside WSF context

5 - Connection between websites

In general, we need to integrate the existing websites as much as possible and have ways to distribute materials that can be used in printed or other multimedia formats offline.

[Pierre]The index memory contained in the participation form described in part 3 would de facto connect many websites though the links edited in those forms by their owners

On the administrative/budgeting part:
A) Fixed costs and avoiding duplication In particular: 
  • we now have a common dedicated server (in Germany) where we are trying to concentrate both the development opensource codes of the websites software (SVN), so new people who want to contribute can have access to it, as well as the websites that have been developed. 
  • The idea is that instead of having the wsf websites in many places, we can have 2 powerful servers, backed up, maintained and mirrored - and pay less in total.  But this implies a stronger coordination among the working groups, the tech people, the wsf office - and the will to do it...
- translations - accounting and auditing costs

B) Covering the costs that allow us to be a working group

- traveling costs - reduced to the minimum necessary - a strategizing meeting for the comcom (the first of which could be done in Dakar to lower costs, but the next one will need to be hosted somewhere since - unless there is a new decision - the next wsf will be in 2013).

C) Decentralising work and collaborations

- this means that the workload is shared and that there can be some dedicated people (hosted by IC organisations, mainly) who help with communication tasks in their region (continent).  We could set up a specific project and fundraise for it (eg. with Alternatives and others) to have internships for 6 months / 1 year and basic costs covered - without creating a new structure for this.
[Pierre]Collaboration spaces

Some collaboration spaces are currently openFSM in connection with above ComCom work lines above

WSF software support community – where members of comcom and free software actors can cooperate ( tool design and support for line 2 3 4A 4B)

Social forum extended initiative : where sfex volunteers with previous experience and willing to facilitate development of self organised live intercommunication in places others than their home place/event can get together (for line 4B)