[@OKau] Move from the mailing list to the new OK Forum?
paulywalsh at gmail.com
Fri Jun 5 05:28:33 UTC 2015
> On 5 Jun 2015, at 5:26, Rosie Williams <budgetaus at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks for your responses Steve (B) - others also. I think one of the problems facing open data is the lack of engagement with the general population, lack of awareness of open data etc among the general population. To me that drives the demand for open data and supply of funding (either to business, charitable or the public purse) so I think it's pretty important.
> Which is why I've said elsewhere that I don't quite understand the focus on the developer community because developers will work on paid projects, they only need a pay packet (typically), I don't think they really need to be sold on the idea of open data itself. Where there are funded open data projects I don't imagine recruiting professional developers is the issue that needs to be solved.
Rosie, you keep raising this type of argument, and sorry, but it irks me. You seem to have a very flat view of 'developers', and even of the general public, and maintain a dichotomy between them. By now, I'm not sure what I could say to deepen this perspective...
For example, I don't understand how you can reconcile these claims with the fact the demand for open data is growing globally, as evidenced by the multitude of projects, funding and other initiatives.
There are many interest groups that make up the public, including businesses, ad hoc community initiatives, ethnic groups, women, children, LGBT, and the list can go on and on as we look at this incredibly complex thing we call the general public.
These groups are also constructs, and are made up of all sorts of people with all sorts of skills and knowledge: developers, tech-savvy, know about open data but don't know how it relates to their life, don't know about open data but know that with more transparency thing could be different...
In this world, what does it even mean to 'engage with the general public'?
And when we have engagement, what are the terms on which we 'sell' open data to said public? Are we selling open data as a thing in and of itself, or, are we selling it as a means to solve other problems in society?
A last point: demand can be created by having the conditions in place that allow the demand to occur. Unfortunately, it seems, this does right now mean tooling to **do something** with data, and is thus quite a technical endeavour. This fact does not exclude non-technical concerns: it allows them.
> On the other hand, if there is no awareness of the value of open data projects to entrepreneurs or potential customers or donors then there is no demand and therefore no projects.
> If the OKAU website & this forum is not intended to sell the idea of open data to a non-specialist audience or seek the engagement of the general public I just think that needs to be acknowledged as I've always wondered whether this apparent lack of public engagement is by accident or design.
> Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)
> NoFibs.com.au - Open Data Reporter | InfoAus.net - Founder and Developer
> From: stevage at gmail.com
> Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2015 11:37:08 +1000
> To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org
> Subject: Re: [@OKau] Move from the mailing list to the new OK Forum?
> On Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 8:40 AM, Rosie Williams <budgetaus at hotmail.com> wrote:
> 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?
> Probably with tools and platforms built by people like us, and promoted through public channels. I'm generally interested in "outreach" that involves bringing new people into the open data community and giving them the tools and knowledge to do useful things. To get real engagement with "the public" around particular tools and platforms is of course a lot of work - but something I know some people (not me) find incredibly rewarding.
> 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.
> Speaking for myself, I see the primary purpose of OKAU as building an open data community. That is, we've done our jobs if there are lots of people with skills, knowledge and motivation to produce and use open data, and they're working together and efficiently sharing information.
> (Someone will probably point out that it's broader than just open *data*, of course...)
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