[@OKFNau] Announcing Open Knowledge Melbourne

Rosie Williams budgetaus at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 1 05:55:36 UTC 2015

Hi Lachlan & Keith, 
Given that for the past couple of years I have been working full time on open data projects for no remuneration, the issues you bring up are of great interest to me. The recently formed Open Data Australia meetup has members from all over Australia (and elsewhere) http://www.meetup.com/Australia-Open-Data/
During the first meetup a couple of weeks ago one of the features for me was to be able to hear from people working in open data around Australia - I normally only interact with Sydney-siders. However we did not get much of a chance to talk about the problems faced by open data advocates and open data projects. I think this would be a good theme for a future meetup if people are interested. I'm co-organiser of the group so am open suggestions.
I also participated in Random Hacks of Kindness here in Sydney recently and it is one hackathon where they do give support to teams (a meeting place) to continue the projects and problem owners/teams can also attend future RHOK's and get further input. It would be good to do collaborations with existing organisations like RHOK http://www.rhokaustralia.org/

I see no reason why projects begun at other hackfests can't become RHOK projects.
Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)________________________________________

 NoFibs.com.au - Open Data Reporter InfoAus.net - Founder and Developer 

From: keithamoss at gmail.com
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2014 09:05:22 +0000
To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [@OKFNau] Announcing Open Knowledge Melbourne

I just wanted to pass on a belated thanks for this post of yours.
It chimes with a fair bit of what I've been thinking about myself - and gives a good shape to some vague ideas we've had over here in Perth about the principles and structure of running open knowledge/data/government meetups effectively.
Please keep us up-to-date with how Open Knowledge Melbourne is going :)
On Sun Nov 30 2014 at 4:59:48 PM Lachlan Musicman <datakid at gmail.com> wrote:
Hi All,

I would like to announce the start of a weekly meet up called Open

Knowledge Melbourne. It will be held on Wednesdays, currently we are

planning on it being at ThoughtWorks, from 6pm-available. (Thanks TW!)


In some ways this is an extension or rebirth or rebrand of the

#DataHack meet-up.



1. The annual Hackathons are great events, but my personal experience

was that we were unable to take up available funding to continue the

projects because all participants had full time jobs or were otherwise

engaged. This is a shame and a waste of good ideas and good work.

2. There seems to be uncertainty amongst the (perceived) natural

constituency of IT types as to what a *Hack is.

3. Having now participated in Gov and HealthHack, most noticeable was

the lack of non technical participants - designers and artists amongst

others. In Skud's excellent critique* she also notes parents -

something that we have discussed and are looking into being able to

provide a space, food and care that are appropriate for children.

This, unfortunately, will not be available immediately, but is next on

the radar of "todos".

4. Open Data is new, and it is good. It will become an essential tool

to democratic societies. Used well, we can keep government business

transparent in a time of decreasing investigative journalism, help the

government produce better services and to think outside the box, and

develop a better understanding and language around data, it's uses and

it's limitations.

5. Data is already being used by the Government and Business. It is

important that civil society has access to that data, can have an

authoritative voice in matters of individual privacy. Steve Bennett

has been doing some excellent work to this end, but I fear he is the

only one. His discoveries and networks need to be documented and

worked with further.

6. Most important: If we don't use the data, it will stop coming out.

The data needs to be used more often than annually. You cannot keep

going to the Government and saying "open your data, you never know

what might happen" if nothing ever happens.

7. Data analysis, data set analysis, data visualisation requires a lot

of hard, boring work. Blue collar, dirty hands, mostly boring, work.

The kind of work that is easier in groups, that takes time, effort, as

wide a representation of society as possible.

8. The Open Knowledge movement should be looking to the Free, Libre

and Open Source Software movement as an example - it can be built, it

will be built, and we will build it.

*9. Skud's critique -


- is valuable and well argued. But there is one thing that I take

issue with, and Skud is not alone in making this mistake - we all

have. A *athon *is* like a marathon. We should be running it all year,

not just over a weekend. Marathon runners do not only run one weekend,

one race. They are always preparing for the race. As we should be.

10. There are plenty of projects that could do with some of this type

of love. Here is an incomplete short list:

    a. OpenStreetMap eg, improving via changeset discussions


    b. HipsterMap

    c. All of Stevage's bike maps

    d. the Melbourne LocalWiki project

    e. Wikipedia

    f. City of Melbourne, Victorian and National Government data -> either into

        the above or just generally hacked

    g. Growstuff

    h. ???



This is about Open Knowledge - there is no primacy given to data or

computer scientists.

This is about inclusion and democracy, and we will have to put in

special effort to make sure that all people are welcome and able to

come. Racism, sexism, gender or ability discrimination will be

unwelcome and called out. Processes and services will be put into

place to make sure that under represented groups feel able to attend.

Most importantly outreach and dialogue should be entered into with as

many groups as possible to make sure we do all we can to make the

space as inclusive as possible.

There will be a minimisation of speaker centric presentations. They

will not be unwelcome, but I'm imagining a space where multiple groups

are doing multiple things - some people are learning new software,

others are working on particular projects, others are discussing

results, or discussing the organisation of the night and the work that

is done.

So. That's my proposal. A small amount of discussion has happened

between a handful of people to get to this point. I encourage you to

get involved in any way you feel comfortable - all ideas, advice, and

criticism is welcome.





You have to be really clever to come up with a genuinely dangerous

thought. I am disheartened that people can be clever enough to do that

and not clever enough to do the obvious thing and KEEP THEIR IDIOT

MOUTHS SHUT about it, because it is much more important to sound

intelligent when talking to your friends.

This post was STUPID.


The Most Terrifying Thought Experiment of All Time



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