[@OKau] Move from the mailing list to the new OK Forum?

Rosie Williams budgetaus at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 4 22:40:26 UTC 2015

Hi all, 
I'm glad to finally have a moment to get back to this thread. I'm not sure if a decision has been reached about closing off this group in favour of the other? It's been an interesting discussion. I think we do need to clarify the purpose of this list and it's role in the bigger picture (not to mention what that bigger picture should be).
Steve (B), you say you are happy to work with a group of specialists and leave someone else to do outreach. I think this brings up a question about the purpose of this list and the OKAU site. 
Is either meant for the general public? Who is the OKAU website trying to reach? Who is this forum intended for- the general public, experts in open data? 
If all the OKAu events are aimed at experts and all the blog posts that come out are suited only to specialist audiences, then how does the general public engage with open data/open knowledge in Australia?
I'm not saying it is wrong to have specialist forums, events and websites specific to an expert audience or that everyone needs to do 'outreach'. I'm not suggesting either that we can't learn from other countries and I guess that is what OKAU is, an implementation of an initiative that began in the UK. I'm just trying to clarify what the motives and objectives of OKAU are, given the lack of general public engagement that I see.

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)________________________________________
 NoFibs.com.au - Open Data Reporter | InfoAus.net - Founder and Developer 

From: stevage at gmail.com
Date: Tue, 26 May 2015 09:43:08 +1000
To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [@OKau] Move from the mailing list to the new OK Forum?

Lots of great comments, I'll try to respond succinctly.
1) I don't think there is, or should be, "one" community. "The public" would probably prefer a Facebook group. I'd prefer not to be on it. I'm very happy working with a group of specialists, and I'll leave public outreach to someone else.
2) Re: international engagement, we have a huge amount to gain by tapping into international initiatives. Open Spending being one, and there are two local government data standardisation projects I can't wait to look at. It's less about talking, and more about learning and listening.

On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 8:19 AM, Rosie Williams <budgetaus at hotmail.com> wrote:

Hi all, 
I thought I'd contribute to this thread with my observations about strategies and audiences for open data in Australia.
There seems in my mind, to be two different pushes on within the OKAu community. One is to build international networks and the other is to build more local connections and engagement. Perhaps both these directions need to be catered for in different ways or in different places.
Personally, I'm behind improving understanding and engagement with open data within Australia. What I mean by this is educating the general population (people from all walks of life who may not be technically savvy). I don't see much point in telling people in another country about open knowledge in Australia when the vast proportion of Australians don't know about open knowledge/data in Australia. 
This list and in my opinion the OKAu site is not general public friendly. Right now the 'open data community' in Australia consists of developers and other experts (many of whom work for government ie very clever, middle class people). I see people out in the community asking for improved or new data but there's no specific place for them to channel their requests (other than my initial efforts at the InfoAus wiki).
Most events run by the open data community seem to be aimed almost exclusively at the professional class and often focus on the needs of developers or other experts. There is little comprehension of the role of the general public in shaping where open data goes in this country. I do see there is potential for a better way for our current list to discuss topics provided by different functionality however I also see that discussion has only really sparked up here in recent weeks and if it was moved now we might lose the sense of community emerging here. 
I have enjoyed the discussion lately on this list. I'm always watching to see new contributors and find out who is actually here since I have no idea unless someone posts something. However I also see a another level of engagement that needs to occur not so much with international experts but with regular folk who don't speak in jargon but who do often know the information they want. There needs to be a forum non technical people can ask for the data they want. I aim to do a fair bit of engaging with a wide audience through various channels over coming weeks as I move toward public requirements gathering and crowdfunding.
Ultimately I think this list is more of a stage in the process of creating forums that will hopefully lead to larger scale engagement in open knowledge (both internationally & locally) however IMHO I don't think now is the time to end the engagement that has sprung up here and I also think that focusing on international conversation is not the full picture of where open knowledge needs to go in Australia.

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