[Grassroots-l] Fwd: [support-gang] Contributor's Meeting and Change the World (FAST!)
sebastian at fuentelibre.org
Mon Feb 9 21:18:18 EST 2009
I think this discussion is more relevant in the grassroots list.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sebastian Silva <sebastian at fuentelibre.org>
Subject: Re: [support-gang] Contributor's Meeting and Change the World
To: "Community Support Volunteers -- who help respond to help AT laptop.org"
<support-gang at lists.laptop.org>
Thank you for taking the time to answer my uneasy questions.
Ideed, the term doublespeak lends itself to doubletalk, so it is good that
you help define it. For reference, wikipedia says it "is language
constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning".
One big example of what I mean with DoubleSpeak is
Even the name of this article is a horrible euphemism. I wonder if John
Lennon wrote it.
I appreciate and will continue to appreciate the availability of the
"Contributor's Program" (of which I've received hardware), however what I
mean when I say transparency might be something much more down to earth and
simpler than you think.
Let me give you my educated 3rd world perspective on it. Down here, like in
Nigeria it seems, and in Colombia and Mexico, and even Chile, there is a
strong arm of private tech support / training area. They are often MS
Certified Partners. Deals are made either by corruption, or you have to
"know somebody". Lately, almost all of our ministry cabinet was replaced
(save the Ed. Ministry) due to a scandal regarding oiling companies in the
So we, bottom up people, teachers, volunteers, grassroots, tend to distrust
the kind of dealing of "send us a project and we'll evaluate" - especially
as it seems now to us (please correct me if I'm wrong), OLPC Latin America &
The Caribbean (whatever led to that) will be controlled by such large
private support entities.
If OLPC is serious about saturation, I suggest grassroots efforts are not
only allowed, but seriously encouraged. This is evolutionary scale, many
will flounder, it will seem like a lost race but we will develop
sustainability from the bottom up and once that is established and
replicated, XO-like solutions will be pervasive and ubiquitous.
Wether this is an owellian service-industry controlled nightmare (which will
perpetually crumble under oil asfixiation and climate change) - or a society
of knowlege that tackles the great concerns of mankind with freedom and
solidarity, remains to be seen.
In short, what I'm saying is we want a transparent process, where (a) OLPC's
say what you mean without euphemisms.
(b) OLPC does what it says, withouth changes of mind so drastically without
prior consultation with the community of people that believed in you.
Trust needs to be build again, and a "simple process for ordering 1 or 200"
is a good start, as its the basic and pretty much only transparency the
economic system has.
Thank you for addressing my concern.
2009/2/9 Ed McNierney <ed at laptop.org>
> Thanks for the reply; I appreciate it! I would like to work on a better
> definition of transparency, however, because the language you use seems (to
> me) to still allow for too much after-the-fact rock-tossing and insults.
> "No double-speak" - that sounds like an invitation to complain about
> anything someone disagrees with or didn't understand. That's not a
> criterion I'm willing to sign up for. I've seen too many cut-and-paste
> quotes taken out of context, or exaggerated, or repeated long after they've
> been corrected or obsoleted, for that. I myself said we would be doing a
> 9.1 release this spring; then I said we would not do one. Despite the fact
> that a financial crisis and layoffs happened between the two, I'm sure
> someone will happily label that "double-speak from OLPC management", and I'm
> not interested in playing games like that. I see too much of that on a
> daily basis already to waste my time on it.
> However, it sounds like, given "clarity of goals" and "clarity of
> criteria", the best addition would be "clarity of reporting" - giving
> regular reports on what's happening with the Contributor's Program, so
> everyone knows what's happening (or not happening). That is, "here are the
> goals, here are the criteria, and here's how we're performing against them".
> Does that sound helpful?
> "Accountability of decisions" - accountable to whom? What exactly do you
> mean by "accountable" in this sense? Not everyone is going to like every
> decision anyone else makes. I'm not signing up to make all the people happy
> all the time, nor am I signing up to give anyone who wants it veto power.
> Anyone's free to object to a program or to decisions, but transparency
> doesn't mean pleasing everyone, nor does it mean giving everyone a vote on
> A Contributor's Program requires resources (money and people) provided by
> capital-OLPC, and I am responsible for deciding how those (very, very
> limited) resources are allocated. As I've said before, I am working with
> Adam to define a new Contributor's Program and we'll circulate a proposal as
> soon as we can. Please realize that this is a Contributor's Program, not a
> "small pilot program" or a "school lab program" or something. It is
> designed to support community members who need small numbers of machines
> (normally single-digit numbers except in unusual cases) in order to support
> our collective goals.
> David Nalley volunteered to act as coordinator for a subset of the
> Contributor's Program targeted at the Fedora development community, so we
> happily (and relatively quickly) sent him 100 machines so he can coordinate
> the distribution of those machines (in very small quantities) to Fedora
> developers. We did that because we could use the help, the Fedora community
> is important to us, and we are confident that he can manage the program well
> and do a good job. If there are other groups interested in doing something
> similar, please let me know. "Something similar" means acting as a
> coordinator for other community members, distributing machines to them in
> very small quantities. It does not mean, "I'd like to do 10 10-XO pilots" -
> that might be a fine goal, but that's not what the Contributor's Program is
> (going to be) designed to support.
> Thanks again for all the help!
> - Ed
> On Feb 6, 2009, at 12:57 PM, Sebastian Silva wrote:
> All of this discussion is a bit silly.
> Ed, basically, whatever you make of the contributor's program we'll have to
> like. We don't have a contributor's program from Intel or Encore (yet).
> Transparency is not the problem, the decision is made centrally, with goals
> decided upon centrally, with criteria we know nothing about.
> When we say transparency we usually mean:
> - Clarity of goals
> - Clarity of criteria
> - Accountability of decisions
> - No double-speak
> 2009/2/6 Ed McNierney <ed at laptop.org>
>> Yama -
>> Adam Holt and I are working with Chuck to design a new Contributor's
>> Program. We are doing so very carefully as we want to ensure we
>> propose a program we can implement and support given OLPC's
>> substantially reduced staff capacity. We will let you know when we
>> have a design available for discussion. The "clear definitions" you
>> mention are all very important aspects of such a program. We're
>> working on it, but we've got a lot on our plates and there are fewer
>> of us to go around.
>> I would appreciate a before-the-fact definition of what you mean by
>> "transparency". It seems to be used as an insult against OLPC
>> whenever convenient, and speaking personally I don't appreciate that.
>> OLPC is by far the most transparent organization I have ever worked
>> with, and I do have experience with both non-profits and open source
>> communities as well as more conventional businesses. On the other
>> hand, transparency has a price, and infinite transparency is
>> infinitely expensive - I'm not going to email a daily report to the
>> world of everything I did at the office yesterday, and invite
>> questions and comments. Transparency isn't the same as "everyone gets
>> to debate every decision", but it sometimes seems to be used that
>> way. So please define, for the purposes of a new Contributor's
>> Program only (I'm not trying to solve every problem at once) what you
>> mean by "transparency" and what properties the program would need to
>> have to meet that definition. Then we can all collectively decide up
>> front whether we can converge on a program that meets a mutually-
>> agreed-upon definition, so OLPC can decide if that's a program it can
>> support and our participants can decide if that's a program that meets
>> their needs and in which they want to participate. Thanks!
>> - Ed
>> On Feb 6, 2009, at 5:27 AM, Yamandu Ploskonka wrote:
>> > Samuel Klein wrote:
>> > ...
>> >> I was
>> >> suggesting that starting with clear definitions is important for good
>> >> communication
>> > I believe this asks you to eat you own catfood, SJ!
>> > can we have *clear definitions* of the Contributor's program?
>> > - expected qualifications of applicants
>> > - expected outcomes
>> > - expected feedback required
>> > transparency wouldn't hurt either
>> > Yes, it is VERY important for good communication
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> > support-gang at lists.laptop.org
>> > http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/support-gang
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> Sebastian Silva
> Laboratorios FuenteLibre
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