Weeknotes for October 16th, 2020

I’m enjoying reading “The Book of Trespass” by Nick Davies. I had picked it up after reading this article and because my husband and I spend a lot of time walking across the British countryside with our dog, Ada. I am quite interested in the tradition of rambling and how Britain has more public footpaths than roads. But what surprised me was how Nick Davies dives into the history of property, looking at the point of time when the state transitioned from protecting public access to the commons to protecting private property (spoiler: it’s William the Conquerer).

If someone asks me ‘what do you do for a living’, I want to be able to say ‘I help people harness the knowledge of the collective’. And of course, many of you know that I do have a rich fantasy life. But this is the crux of the efforts behind the Virtual Event Design Lab and the Virtual Session Design Lab. Just because you can’t convene people in the same place physically, doesn’t mean you can’t co-create and collaborate. Now more than ever, people that are connecting over the internet need to be contributing. They need purpose, not presentations. We need to focus on how we are strengthening our connections and building the commons.

Mor Rubinstein and I ran a Virtual Data Champions Taster Event on Wednesday for 360Giving. The programme strives to connect individuals who aspire to make their grantmaking institutions champions of data use. We are particularly interested in getting them to share methods to build data culture and strengthen the ability to make data-informed decisions. The design of the taster is to help potential applicants understand the power of the peer-exchange that is its foundation of the programme. So we asked our participants to have a piece of fruit on hand and used this exercise from IFRC’s crowdsourced Data Playbook (Beta) to get the event started.

I also began a Virtual Event Design Lab with the RightsCon Team. We’ve started by looking at how taking RightsCon online can strengthen the ability to level power dynamics and raise the voices of those whose rights are marginalised, particularly in regards to technology.

In planning an upcoming meeting where security will be critical, Laurent Fernandez and I were considering the pros and cons of using Zoom’s registration system. If you use Zoom’s built-in registration system, it generates a unique link and sends it via email to the registrant to use to log on. Registration is a big help in terms of making sure that links to private meetings don’t get shared and used widely, one of the causes of zoom bombing. Of course, this means that those individuals need to have those link handy to enter the meeting. Zoom has taken quite a lot of steps to address the reputation it gained for being insecure at the beginning of the pandemic when it first started being used heavily.

Even if you take away the security argument, there’s still plenty of reasons not to use Zoom. They are on their way to becoming the new tech overlords. Sure it’s easy to use, and it’s becoming the conduit for connection during the pandemic, but let us not forget it’s proprietary, the company makes the decisions about how the app gets developed and ultimately who has access. Tools that our society relies on to function should be open source, part of the commons, and until they are we will be serving their owners needs.

Also, in case you missed it, Happy International Repair Day (it was Saturday, Octobter 17th)! Check out these Heroes of Repair.