[okfn-discuss] new brand, new website: coming up next week
heath.rezabek at gmail.com
Tue Apr 15 12:56:32 UTC 2014
(This turned out much longer than I'd meant.)
While I can see the critique that this particular set of decisions (the
logo and branding) was made from within a hierarchy, I've also never seen,
heard of, or run into an organization quite as functionally inclusive or
permissive as OK. A year ago, I was one of the first Ambassadors, and now
we are many.
In all cases, as far as I can tell, an individual or group can represent OK
in their locality with extremely little oversight. We do have to agree to
a set of principles, but all in all this is one of the least hierarchical
methods of growth I've ever known of. I live in the US, so making my
livelihood within the OKfn didn't turn out to be as practical as I hoped.
That didn't change my drive to be involved, because my own particular
project still and always has a place within an org with as expansive a
mandate as Open Knowledge.
Here, (Austin TX), I finally have a collaborator on the major project I've
wanted to do within OK all along (an open set of services / platform for
facilitating long-term community collaboration and archival), and we are
considering founding a Chapter. If we do so, we'll be far away indeed from
the OK leadership elsewhere, as are all Chapters now.
Point is - This has its pitfalls, but to accuse it of being hierarchical
It may be that in the case of OK central, they feel the most cohesive core
activity they have involves data wrangling, and they want to make it easier
to grow in that direction. I was drawn to Open Knowledge for reasons
having nothing to do with data wrangling (or rather, the data I want to
wrangle is less of interest than the ways and reasons I want to wrangle it;
I want to help people generate and create cultural material. I care about
that much more than I do what governments are doing with piles of
unstructured data, because for whatever reason, it's more empowering to me
to do so).
Over on OpenGLAM, (I'm a librarian, and my interest is essentially forging
a new form of community library), the main focus is on pressing
institutions to free up their catalogs of public domain material. This is
likewise different from my own primary interest in the potential generative
power of libraries. But it's a different focus from data wrangling, as
Because of its name, Open Knowledge is destined to draw a vast range of
interests, as they explore or advocate for different approaches to the
sprawling Open movement. (Some folks' main concern is a parallel
definition of Open having to do with the word Libre. Again, not my main
concern but I'm quite glad it's theirs.) This is a strength, and I think
OK leadership realizes that ... I doubt they want to kill the golden
goose. They just want to come to grips with a rapidly growing mandate and
organization. Or so I'd guess.
For me, my bottom line is, "Do I still see a way to pursue and promote the
approach to open culture that I am driven by?" And, I do.
Organizationally, that's built in, thanks to the Ambassador / Chapter
structure. The logo being made of data bars doesn't bug me. I'm just glad
it's an O. ^_^
A second, good, question is, "Does the new identity continue to draw in a
diversity of approaches?" *This critique to me is the much more important
one that we be able to get to "Yes" on. We risk distraction on nearly all
the others. Because as the organization grows from here, so will its actual
underlying mandate shift in that direction. *If all you have is a hammer,
eventually everything will look like a nail. That is the big pitfall to be
As long as it remains possible to pursue my particular vision within Open
Knowledge, I'd be bound to remain if only to serve as a diversifying agent.
If divergent advocates depart, Open Knowledge becomes less and less likely
to represent their activities (obviously).
The community sessions are coming up, and hopefully another will happen
which I can make it to. I hope all interested take part. I particularly
hope the focus soon turns form cataloging frustrations -- particularly ones
that are very easy to spend hours wringing hands over, like whether or not
Open Knowledge is a hierarchy -- to proactively constructing a means
whereby Open Knowledge as a brand *can continue to include a diversity of
approaches most easily, but meaningfully*. Therein lies hybrid vigor.
See how Open Minds can Change the World.
(That's not a practical suggestion for an out-facing logo, but a hope for
our in-facing process.)
On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 4:34 AM, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> I've been honoured to be on the Advisory Board/Council for 10 years. I
> have gained a huge amount.
> It's a good thing that we are continually reexamining our fundamentals.
> But we have to be very careful. I don't think any of this discussion has
> been specifically referred to the AC - it might have been useful to do.
> I make no comment on the logo - logos always generate irresolvable
> discussion. I liked the old one. The new one has a hole in the middle where
> Chuff can put her head. Bit prickly, but Okapis are used to prickles.
> My main concern is that the new brand may be driving the philosophy and
> practice of OKF rather than reflecting it. We've struggled for 10 years to
> try to capture what we are about. Our diversity is part of our strength but
> it's fragile.
> The latest phrase I remember is something like:
> "A community making knowledge open and useful"
> The words aren't quite right but that expresses what I feel about OK. I
> was happy with it. I've also taken part in the current review of the OKF
> and found the 90 minute session very useful. We were able to prioritise and
> the top of my list was "community" combined with the Open Definition.
> I am worried about the use of "data" in the new tagline. "data" is
> impersonal and cold; "knowledge" currently relates to humans and is warm.
> Although it's harder to pin down knowledge it's much more than data
> hacking. (and I say that as a data-weenie).
> We have not, and I hope we never will, turn into a data organisation. So
> please can we go back to knowledge?
> On Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 4:38 PM, heath rezabek <heath.rezabek at gmail.com>wrote:
>> I'm glad for Laura and Rufus' willingness to engage in this exploration.
>> We seem to know this much:
>> - The logo is good to go. Not everyone will love any given logo, but
>> overall response is positive.
>> - The tagline is contentious, mostly due to questions over how well it
>> expresses the human and holistic aspects of our efforts.
>> Two questions:
>> Might the second tagline (Open Data / Open Minds) and the flexible use of
>> 'Open _____' answer some of this?
>> Can the process launch with the logo, while the tagline is further
>> refined through community collaboration?
>> - Heath
>> On Monday, April 14, 2014, Aaron Wolf <wolftune at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> There are many totally different ways to go with the tagline than those
>>> I've seen proposed so far. For example:
>>> Open Knowledge [logo]
>>> "Empowering people by freeing ideas"
>> Heath Rezabek // labs.vessel.cc
>> Long Now Foundation (Intern) // Manual for Civilization Project //
>> Icarus Interstellar // FarMaker Design Corps //
>> Open Knowledge Foundation // Texas Ambassador for the OKFn //
>> okfn-discuss mailing list
>> okfn-discuss at lists.okfn.org
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-discuss
> Peter Murray-Rust
> Reader in Molecular Informatics
> Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
> University of Cambridge
> CB2 1EW, UK
> okfn-discuss mailing list
> okfn-discuss at lists.okfn.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-discuss
Heath Rezabek // labs.vessel.cc
Long Now Foundation (Intern) // Manual for Civilization Project //
Icarus Interstellar // FarMaker Design Corps // icarusinterstellar.org
Open Knowledge Foundation // Texas Ambassador for the OKFn // okfn.org
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