RE: [hackers] Re: Legal Issues and dodo birds

2003-07-23 Thread Jon Lebkowsky
 Thing is, I recall Zack's first posts regarding this vision on the
 coffeehouse list. He was carrying on about decentralized organic
 networks and reeds law and so forth... I could hear the eyes roll.
 But he got my attention because I see the cosmos as an organic,
 adaptive, interconnected thing. A complex open self-organizing system
 so to speak. And
 the thing about open systems is that you start with some very
 simple ground
 rules and then you get out of the way. It'll make it's own rules from
 then on and if you try constrain it with boxes, or walls or straight
 lines it'll
 either overwhelm you or it'll die. But what it won't be is the same.

As Zack and I have already discussed, I've been carrying a similar vision
for a while. I've thought about it enough by now to realize that we get
there, not with something overnight/revolutionary, but with small steps.
Yes, in helping Dean we have to adapt to the practical issues of a
transitional campaign (i.e. transitional between traditional politics and
our stake in something more like the emergent democracy that Joi et al
have been trying to describe and work through). So I say we do what we have
to for Dean, and that might mean compromises, but we also think about a more
(inherently) independent set of initiatives as well, which can be spun off
from the same vision. There are already some other initiatives where these
kinds of tools would be a good fit, but first things first?

best,
Jon



Re: [hackers] Re: Legal Issues and dodo birds

2003-07-23 Thread Jay R. Ashworth
On Wed, Jul 23, 2003 at 02:43:07PM -0500, zachary rosen wrote:
 Astute observations CMR - I don't disagree with a word you said.  If we
 are official, then we have sold out.
 
 That being said I remain almost completly unconcerned with the problems of
 such a close association. All through the process of deciding how
 official our organization would be come it was made clear that it would
 be a conscious choice, and to knowledge there was not one objection.
 
 Yes there are very real conflicts with this development community having
 such close ties with the official campaign, but in my opinion the problems
 are almost completly mitigated by the fact that this project is completly
 open source.

Or maybe not.

I think that, as I noted in my immediately previous email, delineating
between a4d and h4d is probably something close to critical here.  *I* tend
to think a4d might get embroiled, but that h4d probably shouldn't, and that
that split will make lots of people lots of happier.

But what do *I* know; I just got here.  :-)

 * Yes, HQ is very concerned about the name hack and in my opinion it is
 very probable we will change our name because of it.  The fact that a
 _presidential campaign_  - the official campaign - is willing to embrace
 and endorse an open source development project is so outragously cool that
 name of the working group working on the tools isn't so important to me
 personally anymore.  Besides, i would rather win this election than save
 the word hack.

Speak for yourself.  :-)

 * Correct, the fact that the development community is becoming somewhat
 official spells out conflict with the abilities for the communities
 using our software to voice their opinion. However, HQ has already stated
 and I truly believe that communities using our tools will remain
 unofficial, and thus unrestricted by the official campaign.  There are
 very reall PR and legal reasons why this must be so, beyond perceivable
 conflicts between control over the campaign message.

That doesn't seem to coincide with what I think I've heard Z say here in the
last 24 hours.

Now, I understand that Burlington probably doesn't *know* how to approach
this; no one has ever tried, I don't think, to intersect something as
free-wheeling as open-source with something as tightly-controlled as a
presidential campaign.

And yes, we can't afford to make as many mistakes here.

And yes, we need strategic thinking.

And yes, (alas) they're likely to have to come from the political side of the
house.  I think, as much as anything else, the job over here in hackland is
going to be to get the questions down into single sentences without losing
anything...  At least, that's what I've done for clients for about 20 years,
and it seems to work well.  If I can help...

Cheers,
-- jra
-- 
Jay R. Ashworth[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Member of the Technical Staff Baylink RFC 2100
The Suncoast Freenet The Things I Think
Tampa Bay, Floridahttp://baylink.pitas.com +1 727 647 1274

   OS X: Because making Unix user-friendly was easier than debugging Windows
-- Simon Slavin, on a.f.c


RE: [hackers] Re: Legal Issues and dodo birds

2003-07-23 Thread Aldon Hynes
A few random thoughts on this.  I don't think one can really say that
hack4dean has hashed this out, or that it is necessarily all that clear cut.
Being a big fan of self organizing systems, it seems to me that what we have
is a self organized system of hackers.  Some part of the group is very eager
to work with the campaign.  Perhaps another part is as eager to work outside
of the campaign, and probably a third group is somewhat indifferent.

Personally, I have one primary goal.  That is to get Howard Dean elected
President.  I will do everything I can to make that happen.  To the extent
that involves working on some 'official' part of the campaign, I will do it.
To the extent it involves throwing up webpages from my home site, hacking
some code, putting a bumpersticker on my car, wearing a button, and handing
out leaflets where ever I go, I will do that too.

I hope that this is the attitude of most of the people here.

That said, I also am a programmer, and a social scientist.  I am eager to
develop tools that will further the cause of democracy globally and to write
about the social implication of such tools.  I imagine most people here are
eager to see tools that further the cause of democracy developed, and we
will work on this as much as possible within the campaign, and continue to
work on this beyond the campaign.

I hope that this is reflects not only my thoughts, but the thoughts of
others here as well.

Aldon

-Original Message-
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Behalf Of Zephyr Teachout
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 12:46 PM
To: 'CMR'; [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: RE: [hackers] Re: Legal Issues and dodo birds


Hey CMR:

I was under the (perhaps mis)apprehension that all this had been hashed
out with the hackers, but it sounds like it may not have been. Of course
it's a tough choice. You guys have two choices, really:

(1) work w/the campaign
(2) work outside the campaign

We're not indifferent to what you decide to do -- the opposite, really
(you are a complete godsend, and can transform the campaign) -- but
completely respect whatever you decide upon. It is your choice.

I see the main advantage of working with the campaign being, from a
political point of view, that the work you are doing can not only win
the presidency but transform politics. Because there is a driver behind
it -- Dean -- it will grow exponentially.

The main disadvantage is that HQ ultimately has to make final decisions
on content, presentation, and legal issues. The legal issues come up
throughout, because they are the hammer of the conservatives. The
content and presentation come up as the project nears completion. The
closer we work together, the easier it will be to take the project
immediately into the public sphere.

We at HQ are committed to building a kit that allows decentralized,
bottom up creativity and communication. We want to build something that
allows each Dean site to control its own content and still be connected
to the movements of the campaign, official and unofficial. That kit,
perversely, as the expression of the campaign's commitment, is extremely
important -- in legal as well as message presentation.

I REALLY REALLY hope you decide (or affirm, if it is already decided) to
work with us. It will be very hard for us to do it another way. I
believe, personally, that the functionality built here will take off and
be used to transform politics altogether, but that Dean is the driving
force that will allow it to happen -- and our coordination, and a close
connection to the campaign, will be the synergy necessary to make it
work. In my vision, Howard Dean will not just mention Meetups on the
stump, but setting up Dean Community Sites. I really believe this is the
next phase of the revolution -- and I'm sorry if you're feeling some of
the constraints, but I hope you decide that they are worth it.

Thanks so much,

Z


Zephyr Teachout
Internet Organizing  Outreach
Dean for America
[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Meetup at http://www.deanforamerica.com/meetup
Get local at http://action.deanforamerica.com
Contribute at http://www.deanforamerica.com/contribute


-Original Message-
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
On Behalf Of CMR
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 10:49 AM
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: [hackers] Re: Legal Issues and dodo birds

 I talked to our lawyer again and he urged me STRONGLY to please ask
you
 guys not to deal with legal issues. This is different than Meetup
hosts,
 where people are looking for legal advice as independent groups, and
not
 coordinated with the campaign. Since we're working together, and
 building a product the campaign will offer as a service, it is
critical
 that all legal decisions be made by Eric.


Observation time boys and girls:

As this thread develops, I think it's becoming clear just what the
difference is in becoming a movement of Dean  as opposed to one for
Dean. I'm not passing judgment here, but just making the observation

Re: [hackers] Re: Legal Issues and dodo birds

2003-07-23 Thread zachary rosen


On Wed, 23 Jul 2003, Jay R. Ashworth wrote:

 On Wed, Jul 23, 2003 at 02:43:07PM -0500, zachary rosen wrote:
  Astute observations CMR - I don't disagree with a word you said.  If we
  are official, then we have sold out.
 
  That being said I remain almost completly unconcerned with the problems of
  such a close association. All through the process of deciding how
  official our organization would be come it was made clear that it would
  be a conscious choice, and to knowledge there was not one objection.
 
  Yes there are very real conflicts with this development community having
  such close ties with the official campaign, but in my opinion the problems
  are almost completly mitigated by the fact that this project is completly
  open source.

 Or maybe not.

 I think that, as I noted in my immediately previous email, delineating
 between a4d and h4d is probably something close to critical here.  *I* tend
 to think a4d might get embroiled, but that h4d probably shouldn't, and that
 that split will make lots of people lots of happier.

 But what do *I* know; I just got here.  :-)

Well, when we decide on the name for the network it may end up that both
h4d and a4d get trashed.  My proposition a week ago so far has met no
resistance: that we should decide a network name, and buy a domain like:
deanspace.net - and set up the open source development community working
on the network there. The devlogs can be moved over to the new domain, and
the test node applications / feedback / tech help desk could aslo be
housed there.  Then A4D can become , if we can find admins, an unnoficial
top node to the network, and eventually DFA will become the official
top node.  Comments / concerns / objections?



  * Yes, HQ is very concerned about the name hack and in my opinion it is
  very probable we will change our name because of it.  The fact that a
  _presidential campaign_  - the official campaign - is willing to embrace
  and endorse an open source development project is so outragously cool that
  name of the working group working on the tools isn't so important to me
  personally anymore.  Besides, i would rather win this election than save
  the word hack.

 Speak for yourself.  :-)

Certainly am :)

  * Correct, the fact that the development community is becoming somewhat
  official spells out conflict with the abilities for the communities
  using our software to voice their opinion. However, HQ has already stated
  and I truly believe that communities using our tools will remain
  unofficial, and thus unrestricted by the official campaign.  There are
  very reall PR and legal reasons why this must be so, beyond perceivable
  conflicts between control over the campaign message.

 That doesn't seem to coincide with what I think I've heard Z say here in the
 last 24 hours.

 Now, I understand that Burlington probably doesn't *know* how to approach
 this; no one has ever tried, I don't think, to intersect something as
 free-wheeling as open-source with something as tightly-controlled as a
 presidential campaign.

 And yes, we can't afford to make as many mistakes here.

 And yes, we need strategic thinking.

 And yes, (alas) they're likely to have to come from the political side of the
 house.  I think, as much as anything else, the job over here in hackland is
 going to be to get the questions down into single sentences without losing
 anything...  At least, that's what I've done for clients for about 20 years,
 and it seems to work well.  If I can help..

So far my feedback from HQ has been stellar.  They have been fine with
everything we've thrown at them basically, save the node hoster - and that
one isnt their choice.  I have no concerns over  potential nefarious  meme
squashing rampages on their parts. You are correct, we cannot afford
mistakes - and Burlington probbly does not really know how to handle this,
because it has never really been handled before.  IMO so far they are
doing a stellar job.

-Zack



 Cheers,
 -- jra
 --
 Jay R. Ashworth[EMAIL PROTECTED]
 Member of the Technical Staff Baylink RFC 2100
 The Suncoast Freenet The Things I Think
 Tampa Bay, Floridahttp://baylink.pitas.com +1 727 647 1274

OS X: Because making Unix user-friendly was easier than debugging Windows
 -- Simon Slavin, on a.f.c




Re: [hackers] Re: Legal Issues and dodo birds

2003-07-23 Thread Joshua Koenig
I was under the (perhaps mis)apprehension that all this had been hashed
out with the hackers, but it sounds like it may not have been. Of 
course
it's a tough choice. You guys have two choices, really:

(1) work w/the campaign
(2) work outside the campaign
Hmmm... I was going to respond to some of the other messages, but I 
think CMR already hit all the important notes. So I'll talk simply 
about working with/without the campaign.

I don't think it's as simple as that.

Here's the deal as I see it. Hack4Dean as an organization is highly 
informal.In many ways, there is no us. We have no leaders. We have no 
qualification for membership. We are an ad-hoc collective of 
individuals motivated by common cause, but we are by no means an 
official organization.  It's quite unlikely that we will en masse agree 
to work under or be independent of the campaign.

There are also many facets to what we envision, and it's similarly 
unlikely that all those facets would fall under direct campaign 
purview, or that the campaign would even want them to.

For example, the tool (the kit) we're building will not be owned by the 
campaign. It must not be. It will be a free-standing unit of open 
source software. Much of it is copyrighted by the original Drupal 
people and the new stuff belongs by default to whoever coded it. 
There's nothing for the campaign to gain from owning this part of the 
movement, by owning the kit.

Where it does make sense for the campaign to step in and own things is 
on the meta level: the ideas of the Visable Volunteers (MetaDean 
Talent) and a Dean Space central aggregator (MetaDean) are both good 
ones for the campaign to run. The campaign can also promote the kit 
much as it does meetup, and of course once the network is up and 
running the campaign will be a major source of content.

You at HQ are right to be cautious about how all of this is 
implemented, about how the Sites will be hosted and who will offer 
support. But as I see it, it's really not something you want to try to 
control. On the one hand you won't be able to -- the genie is already 
out of the bottle as they say -- and on the other hand, the more 
controlling force you exert, the less participation you will have.

Maybe the campaign needs to have a party line on these issues, a 
stance they're sticking with; something that will legally protect you 
from whatever any individual might attempt to do with the products of 
our collective efforts. Individuals can either toe that party line (and 
work under the campaign) or remain independent, which means they are 
not allowed to coordinate.

I see the main advantage of working with the campaign being, from a
political point of view, that the work you are doing can not only win
the presidency but transform politics. Because there is a driver behind
it -- Dean -- it will grow exponentially.
I'll have to respectfully disagree with you here, Zephyr. As much as I 
like Howard Dean and want him to win the presidency, the truly 
transformative power of what we're doing comes from it's ability to be 
picked up and used by any campaign  by any party anywhere in the world. 
If it's just a DeanTool this will not happen. It will need to die (and 
hopefully be reborn) on election day. If it's something else -- the 
virtual town hall -- then it has a life and an impact that reaches far 
beyond Decision 2004.

 In my vision, Howard Dean will not just mention Meetups on the
stump, but setting up Dean Community Sites. I really believe this is 
the
next phase of the revolution -- and I'm sorry if you're feeling some of
the constraints, but I hope you decide that they are worth it.
I think we all share this vision, but at the same time I strongly doubt 
the campaign exercises any direct control -- legally or content-wise -- 
over Meetup.

Similarly, IMHO our effort needs to be fundamentally independent from 
the campaign for a time (as it has been for the past months and 
functionally still is now), until it is mature enough that we (the 
hack4dean working group) can release our code. At that point, the 
campaign is free to pick up the ball and run with it, and various 
elements of this group will be free to do the same, to pursue whatever 
other dreams they have for this movement.

We're not there yet.

From my recollection, this project has always taken a longer view than 
the Dean campaign. When I first started, there was significant doubt 
that Dean would even make it to the GE, yet I/we continued to work 
because we felt our project had more to do with the spirit of the Dean 
campaign (participation, empowerment, community) than with the 
actuality of it's success or failure. Even if Dean didn't make it, I 
thought, our project would help carry his energy forward.

Now with Dean as a frontrunner, we run the risk of turning too much in 
the opposite direction. To my mind, it's of the utmost importance that 
the effort of developing this kit be an all-volunteer Free software 
effort. Once this