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

Cobi Alison Smith cobi.smith at unimelb.edu.au
Mon May 25 05:02:56 UTC 2015

Seeing the concept of country as bunk can be exclusionary Steven - it's an example of attitudes that might be limiting the community of people participating, as well as perceptions of who and what Open Knowledge represents in Australia.

Please take the time to read the Australian of the Year quote in this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancestral_domain and consider how flippant comments about the concept of country being bunk might impact calls for more volunteers and broadening participation in Australia. I'm saying this as someone who knows what it feels like to get called out for saying things flippantly without realizing possible harm :)

I've been trying to bring knowledge I've learnt through involvement with some of the Open Knowledge international working groups into the Australian one; these kind of conversations demonstrate why this list is different to those. As Ben mentioned, Australia has specific issues in cultural and historic perspectives about data access (including that some people's parents weren't even counted in census data). Diverse perceptions about what we mean by country and culture and access are part of it. I value Rosie's comments about extending community beyond professional technology workers.

I personally am demotivated by badges. I think the new forum would have benefits in allowing people to link across threads, but would lose momentum of this list. Also I looked at the signup page and think that's a barrier - once it integrates with Persona or something it might get more momentum. I was going to add that suggestion to GitHub but can't find a repo for the forums. I'm copying in Katelyn about that. (Hi Katelyn :) )

From: okfn-au [okfn-au-bounces at lists.okfn.org] on behalf of Steven De Costa [steven.decosta at linkdigital.com.au]
Sent: Monday, 25 May 2015 11:10 AM
To: Open Knowledge discussion list for Australia.
Subject: Re: [@OKau] Move from the mailing list to the new OK Forum?

Not cynical at all Ben :)

I'm currently rewriting the business plan for the ckan association using commercial thinking. Specifically swot analysis, business canvas and value proposition canvas tools.

I met with the CEO of Socrata on Friday to learn more about their commercial models so that I can better understand what kind of competitor or partner they might be for both CKAN and Link Digital.

(Some of) My experience is that the influence Federal Government is most quick to respond to is often found in, or at least validated within, external jurisdictions. Maybe it is a competitive response or maybe it is groupthink.

I think we have a political party at this time which is much less influenced by external jurisdictions and this dilutes influence within agencies, but federal agencies still look outside Australia for ideas and evidence.

Domestically, intra agency influence is also very important. Intra state influence is very powerful in some areas. It has been great to watch the open data index jousting over the last few months :)

I'd probably remind people at this time that many of our chats have been supported by international evidence/thinking/work. If we want 100 case studies on open data then there is the sunlight foundation. If we want awesome ICT4D examples then there are multiple World Bank and UN initiatives. If we want standards to refer to then we get the W3C and others in our corner. If we want an economic argument then there is McKinsey and Omidyar to help us out.

I might be a little sour on this point but for a country that has received so much from efforts undertaken outside our bunk borders I think we could do a little more to export some of our talent and energy to help others around the globe. It is a good thing to think global and act local. But as we know information goods are special. We can think global, act global and impact local multiplied by n.


On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Ben Searle <ben at odiqueensland.org.au<mailto:ben at odiqueensland.org.au>> wrote:
Hi All,

A good discussion on national vs international.  I tend to agree with Rosie on the need to ensure that there is a national focus to help educate Australian’s of the value and benefit of open data.

There are some specific issues with Australia based on cultural and historic perspectives of data access.  I also think that the public as such are important to open data in the context of government transparency but have little actual need for open data.  They want products which are most likely to be based on a number of open data sets and possible some commercially sourced data as well.

I don’t think that we need to dwell to much on the national vs international debate.  My aim is to work to strengthen the open data community and public (and government) awareness in Australia.  Therefore I want to ensure we have a good national channel.  However, this does not stop people working in the international community.

I dont think this is one or the other debate, just two slightly different audiences which may appeal to the open data community in Australia in different ways and with different priorities.

I personally want to focus on two key issues in the open data debate.  These are:

The quality of data released to the public, and
The generation of on-going and useful products and services based on open data.

We need to help create a demand for products and services.  I don’t think Hack Fest type activities do this, since most outputs are never taken to a production stage regardless of how good the winning app may be.  This is often due to the fact that the app is based on what a developer thinks is useful, not what has an actual demand in place….

The missing link is the quality of open data (can it be trusted, and is it current and on-going) and an improvement of this will lead to the generation of actual products based on real demand.  As a community, I don’t think we are looking beyond the demand of a few people for information, rather that looking the demand in the way a commercial entity would do.  If there is no demand, there is no need for a product…

I hope this doesn’t sound too cynical….


ODI Queensland

0400 453 601
ben at odiqueensland.org.au<UrlBlockedError.aspx>

70-72 Bowen Street
Spring Hill
Queensland  4000  Australia

On 25 May 2015, at 10:13 am, Steven De Costa <steven.decosta at linkdigital.com.au<UrlBlockedError.aspx>> wrote:

Heya Rosie,

Good point on communication with regular folks. That in itself is the type of project that OK concerns itself with internationally.

My suggestion that OK AU should lend weight to some of the international projects is as much about sharing effort and reducing the reinvention of ideas and approaches already mature in other timezones, cultural contexts and communities.

I think the concept of country is bunk. However that thought is heavily influenced by the fact I like the word 'bunk' :)

Btw. I still wonder if anyone else is interested in an opencon event in AU for mid November...


On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Rosie Williams <budgetaus at hotmail.com<UrlBlockedError.aspx>> 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.

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)
 NoFibs.com.au<http://nofibs.com.au/> - Open Data Reporter | InfoAus.net<http://infoaus.net/> - Founder and Developer

Date: Mon, 25 May 2015 01:19:15 +1000
From: steven.decosta at linkdigital.com.au
To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [@OKau] Move from the mailing list to the new OK Forum?

I think this mailing list works well for discussion within Australia on topics which have a fairly short lifespan. And for general updates.

However, the list isn't so great for connecting with folks outside Australia or for discussions with a longer lifespan.

And, if people drop in then the backstory on things won't be obvious to them.

I will likely start using the ok discussion board for a few things related to CKAN and running events. I'm still keen to know if we can run an opencon satellite event but apart from a few emails there aren't enough 'likes' for me to know if anyone on this list cares about the opportunity.

That opens a different discussion related to capacity within our community. I'm pretty much maxed out with the things I'm doing while also trying to run a business and have a life. Lots of people will also be at capacity with GovHack and their own projects.

To do something new, such as opencon, we'd need a small team of people who aren't already maxed out. I don't think any of the usual suspects on this list would have capacity so OKAU might need to reach out more to recruit good folks.

We also need to consider how our chapter is lending its own weight to help move forward the global initiatives of OK working groups. We tend to spend lots of time concerned with local jurisdictional matters (which is fair enough) but more hands working on global initiatives would also be a good investment.

Anyhoo, I agree with Steve that this list ain't broke. I also agree with Stephen that the new discussion forum might be worth checking out.

I'm undecided about badges :)


On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Steve Bennett <stevage at gmail.com> wrote:
On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 7:14 AM, Stephen Gates <stephen.gates at me.com> wrote:
Open Knowledge has a pretty new forum to discuss things over at https://discuss.okfn.org<https://discuss.okfn.org/>.  It presents a much more modern interface that may encourage a broader audience to participate.

What do you think about moving the OK Australia conversation over there?

IMHO, if it's not broke, let's not "fix it". The quality of discussion on this mailing list over the last few months has been really good.

OTOH it does look good, so it may make sense to start individual discussion groups for specific projects there. If that seems to take off and momentum shifts in that direction, perhaps worth considering then.

As contributors you can see everything you’ve done (e.g. https://discuss.okfn.org/users/stephen/activity) and you can earn badges (gotta collect them all!).

<curmudgeon>Bleh...I hate badges. Am I the only one? </curmudgeon



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