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2nd Proposal?

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Over the last month or so there has been quite a bit of discussion within IOPS on interim goals.  Most recently Michael Albert posted a blog titled "2,500 and Climbing".  Central to Michael's proposal is a recruitment drive over a six month period that would take the membership level from the current 2500 to 10,000.  Michael also speculates that such efforts, combined with a commitment to meet with other members in the area, should result in the establishment of 50 to 100 local chapters.
 
Michael's proposal...
So to summarise, as a platform on which to launch IOPS, Michael wants:

  • 10,000 members.
  • (Hopefully) 50 to 100 chapters.
  • within 6 months of launching the recruitment drive.

 
Michael also puts forward the proposal that:

"If we cannot or do not by our efforts attain at least 7,500 members (or, at any rate, three quarters of whatever our full goal turns out to be) by May 1, 2013 - we strategically reassess the future of IOPS including the possibility that our conception is fundamentally flawed."


Brief assessment...
I do like this proposal but I also fear that it lacks sufficient substance as a platform on which to launch IOPS.  I think this for two main reasons:

  • The 50 to 100 chapters are not clearly stated as an actual condition to be met before IOPS can launch - and therefore, it seems to me, that there is no guarantee that on meeting  this criteria of 10,000 members we will have any meaningful organising at the grassroots level. 
  • There also seems to be no criteria that guarantees that these members will be spread across a satisfactory geographical area at the international level. 

 
Revised proposal...
Due to these concerns I would like to make the following modifications to Michael's proposal. 
First I would like to replace the hope of 50 to 100 local chapters with an actual figure.  The number I would like to propose as an interim target is that a minimum of one tenth of the over all membership be engaged in local chapter activities.  This would mean that in addition to recruiting 10,000 members we also need to reach a level of local organising involving a minimum of 1000 members.  It might also be helpful to say what such activities could be.  Here is a list that I proposed in an earlier blog (Interim Goals):
 

  1. For these members to be regularly organising face-to-face meetings at the local chapter level, practicing self-management etc. 
  2. For these chapters to be engaged in self-education in which members develop a good understanding of IOPS key documents - our values, vision, structure, etc.
  3. For these chapters to be engaged in recruitment drives to ensure that (1) the membership is increasing, and (2) they are attempting to build a membership which reflects the community in which they are based in terms of race, gender, class, age, etc.
  4. For these local chapters to be doing outreach within their community and workplaces, raising awareness of IOPS, etc. 
  5. For these local chapters to be networking with other local chapters within their region in preparation for the establishment of National branches. 
  6. For members and chapters to be engaged, in solidarity with the broader left, in existing campaigns for social justice. 
  7. For chapters to be posting regular reports on the IOPS website on organisational issues for others to see and comment on.
  8. For chapters to be implementing some sort of membership dues system as a means of raising funds for activities, including the formal launch of IOPS. 

 
In addition to the above change I would also like to propose an addition to Michael's criteria.  To ensure that the active membership is not geographically clustered too closely together I would like to propose that we also make it a condition that the 1000 members need to be organising within a minimum of 10 different countries / National branches. 
 
Summary of new proposal...
So to summarise I propose the following criteria for our interim targets:
 

  • A minimum of 10,000 members
  • A minimum of 1000 members engaged in local chapter activities.
  • A minimum of local chapter activity in 10 different countries. 

 
Timeframe and process...
I would like to propose that we give ourselves 12 months to meet this criteria and, in-keeping with Michael's proposal, on reaching half our targets - 5000 members / 500 active members / in 5 countries - we launch a project that looks at organising a convention to formally launch IOPS. 
 
Also in-keeping with Michael's proposal I would like to suggest that if we fail to meet these targets within the given timeframe that we reevaluate the future of IOPS based on this experience. 
 
My claim...
Replacing the target of 50 to 100 local chapters with the goal of 1000 members committed to local chapter activities will better guarantee IOPS has some grassroots organising before we launch.  Adding the 10 countries to the criteria also guarantees that IOPS has some international credibility. 
 
I therefore claim that these revisions to Michael's proposal constitute a more sound basis on which to launch IOPS. 
 

Discussion 86 Comments

  • Will Henry Lapinel 21st Sep 2012

    Mark,

    I supported Michael's proposal. I think your proposal adds some significant enhancements so I am in favor of this proposal.

    -Will Henry

    • Mark Evans 21st Sep 2012

      Hi William - do you see any room for improvement?

      It would be good to have at least one other proposal to consider...

  • Lambert Meertens 21st Sep 2012

    These concrete targets take away much of the unease I had with the original version of the proposal; they feel both about right and more or less realistic. One worry remains: what with all the effort in recruiting and chapter building, we may not have enough time left for properly preparing for the founding convention. Proposals need to be gathered, formulated, refined, translated, discussed, amended, revised, merged, etc., and at the same time we have to set up the processes for doing all that in a properly participatory way. My guess is that this will take at least six months, but possibly considerably more, and it would be a serious mistake to try to speed this up by cutting some corners. But at least we'll do this while being inspired by knowing we're finally getting ready for prime time.

    • Mark Evans 21st Sep 2012

      "One worry remains: what with all the effort in recruiting and chapter building, we may not have enough time left for properly preparing for the founding convention."

      Hi Lambert - The suggestion is that if / when we reach half our target we launch an IOPS project made up of maybe a dozen or so members, some from the ICC, who focus on the organising of the convention. Or something along those lines...

      That way we all do not have too many tasks to deal with. What do you think?

    • Lambert Meertens 21st Sep 2012

      I understand the purpose of that proposed project to be to develop proposals for the process of holding a founding convention, and thus to be concerned with the form of the decision-making process, not the content of the decision making. It is vital that the whole IOPS community be involved with the content of the decisions to be taken at the convention. Not only do our organizational commitments require this, it is also the only way to ensure in our bottom-up self-managing organization that its members will consider themselves bound by these decisions.

    • Mark Evans 21st Sep 2012

      Yes, the idea is that the project would organise the convention but the active membership (which in my scenario would be the 1000) would determine the agenda. We could also look at utilising on-line polls to get feedback from the broader membership of 10,000.

  • Deniz Kellecioglu 21st Sep 2012

    I think the deliberations are great and pushes us to improve our plans and activities. But in all honesty, I thought Michael's original proposal was great and sufficiently clear-cut.

    I do, however, think this enhancement of Michael's proposals are more than fine.

    I suggest we move forward and try to recruit new members, bearing in my mind the profile diversity we wish to attain.

    IOPS have the potential to be a great movement - let's make it happen. :-)

    • Mark Evans 21st Sep 2012

      Hi Deniz - like I argue in my blog felt that it would be good to have a criteria that better guarantees a specific amount of organisation at the international level and at the local level before we launch. It is important we get this right, I think, and it is good for members to discuss it here, also.

      But we should keep things moving forward, I agree!

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Sarah Owens 21st Sep 2012

    Mark, your proposal appears to overlap those developing in the forum discussion on the same subject (Goals and Strategies for bringing IOPS to a founding convention), here: http://www.iopsociety.org/forum/interim-goals-for-founding-convention .

    Do you think you could look at the summary of those discussions and restate your proposal here or there with reference to that summary (so as to clarify where your proposal differs)?

    Also, if you would please propose measures for the 8 activity criteria, or however many you retain after looking at the summary.

    • Mark Evans 21st Sep 2012

      "Do you think you could look at the summary of those discussions and restate your proposal here or there with reference to that summary (so as to clarify where your proposal differs)? "

      Hi Sarah - perhaps you could do that? Maybe that could be a third proposal?

      "Also, if you would please propose measures for the 8 activity criteria,"

      Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean. Do you want me, for example, to define what I mean by "regular"? If so I think that should be something that local chapters should probably determine as part of their practice of self-management. But my guess is that most chapters will arrive at pretty much the same kind of answers - especially as we start to network with other chapters at the regional and national levels.

  • Kim Keyser 21st Sep 2012

    I agree with Marks criticism (under the subtitle "Brief assessment...") of Michael's proposal.

    However, I do not fully agree with the proposed solutions to the problems with Michael's proposal.

    First of all, I don't see why we would need 10 000 registered internet members. As I argued in the relevant thread (How many members do we need to have? 10,000?):

    "Why would a minimum number of members be important in itself? Why isn't a minimum number of active and stable local chapters sufficient? Or to put it another way: If we reach the minimum of active and stable local chapters, would you think that we can't go forward if we also don't have a minimum of active members (and in that case: why?)?" (Last question emphasized, as it is the most important one.)

    What would people's answers to this be? And what would you think, Mark?

    Furthermore, I dont' think there's necessarily that much of a connection between how many register as members on this site, and how many people who're both able and willing to become activists in a local chapter. Thus, I think the proportionality criteria of having one in ten of our registered internet members active in a local chapter should be ditched too.

    Neither do I agree with the deadline. I think the number of active and functioning local groups (my suggestion would be at least 25), spread across at least 10 different countries, in at least three different continents, should be sufficient in itself. Meeting other goals is fine too, but I don't think they should be criteria for holding the founding convention.

    This all means I'm against both the first two criteria Mark proposed. However, his third criteria I quite liked: "A minimum of local chapter activity in 10 different countries." So much so actually, that I integrated it into my own proposal in the relevant thread (Activity - how many active local chapters do we need? 100?).

    But I also think those chapters, in at least 10 countries, should be spread across at least three continents. If else, we might risk ending up with just chapters from North America and Europe, and that would be unfortunate. Wouldn't you agree? Or maybe there's an implicit assumption that we'll be able to fulfill this anyhow? If so, I see no harm in including it. It can only work to our best, I think.

  • Kim Keyser 21st Sep 2012

    One more thing:

    Lambert: "One worry remains: what with all the effort in recruiting and chapter building, we may not have enough time left for properly preparing for the founding convention."

    I wouldn't worry about that, I thin. When and how we're going to hold the founding convention will have to be initiated by some sort of working group – for instance when we've reached half of the criteria we agree on (as suggested by several) – and I think it's unlikely that this working group will propose that we hold a founding convention without the proper practical, political and programmatic preparations. (And if it would, I think enough members would react, so that it the working group would have to amend its proposal.) Therefore, I think we should leave it to rest, for not at least.

    However, I'd love to talk more with you about this, when we're actually initiating that practical work, as I very much agree with on that we wouldn't like to go ahead without the proper practical, political and programmatic preparations (and yeah, I too think that it'll likely take "at least six months, but possibly considerably more", depending on when we reach our criteria for initiating the practical process of planning the convention).

  • Kim Keyser 21st Sep 2012

    There were a few spelling mistakes in the last comment. I guess it should be more or less readable nevertheless. ("for not at least" should've been "for now at least")

  • Mark Evans 21st Sep 2012

    Hi Kim -


    "First of all, I don't see why we would need 10 000 registered internet members. As I argued in the relevant thread (How many members do we need to have? 10,000?):

    "Why would a minimum number of members be important in itself? Why isn't a minimum number of active and stable local chapters sufficient? Or to put it another way: If we reach the minimum of active and stable local chapters, would you think that we can't go forward if we also don't have a minimum of active members (and in that case: why?)?" (Last question emphasized, as it is the most important one.)"

    My guess is that we will have members who will not want to, or cannot, be involved in local chapter activities, for whatever reason, but would still like to be members and support IOPS in whatever way they can - paying dues, writing etc. I think such members are important and therefore feel that they should be part of our interim target criteria. To not include them seems to be saying that they are not important - I think that would be a mistake.

    "Furthermore, I dont' think there's necessarily that much of a connection between how many register as members on this site, and how many people who're both able and willing to become activists in a local chapter. Thus, I think the proportionality criteria of having one in ten of our registered internet members active in a local chapter should be ditched too."

    I agree that there is not much of a connection - that is not the point. The 1000 members involved in local activities is simply to guarantee that we have a minimum level of organising at the local level.

    "Neither do I agree with the deadline."

    Timeframes are useful for assessing progress - SMART goals. But you are right, we could do it without a deadline - but that would be a different proposal. I agree that IOPS members should be motivated enough in their desire to implement self-management, making the ICC redundant, but that is not an argument against the usefulness of timefranes.

    "This all means I'm against both the first two criteria Mark proposed. However, his third criteria I quite liked: "A minimum of local chapter activity in 10 different countries." So much so actually, that I integrated it into my own proposal in the relevant thread (Activity - how many active local chapters do we need? 100?)."

    To be clear when I talk of "local chapter activity" I am referring to the 1000 active members and not a specific number of functioning local chapters. If you want that then you need to define what a functioning local chapter is. I deliberately avoided that question and instead focus on active members engaged in specific activities (my 8 points) at the local level. Hope that is clear.

    "But I also think those chapters, in at least 10 countries, should be spread across at least three continents. If else, we might risk ending up with just chapters from North America and Europe, and that would be unfortunate. Wouldn't you agree? Or maybe there's an implicit assumption that we'll be able to fulfill this anyhow? If so, I see no harm in including it. It can only work to our best, I think."

    Yes, you could propose that, and many other possibilities also. It is not hard to say it would be better if we had more National branches in more parts of the world before we launch IOPS. After consideration I settled on 10 countries. In conjunction with the other criteria that seems realistic and credible to me.

    A realistic and credible criteria on which to launch IOPS is what we are trying to identify and although adding 3 continents to the criteria would undoubtably make IOPS more credible it would also make a difference to how realistic our targets are. It is a tricky balancing act!

  • Kim Keyser 21st Sep 2012

    Mark: "To not include [registered internet members] seems to be saying that they are not important - I think that would be a mistake."

    That's not what I think. They are – as /a lot/ of other things – important. However, are they necessary to have a founding meeting? I.e. should we choose not to proceed if we don't have a certain amount of more registered internet members, even though we have everything else we need to proceed, incl. members who're active in local chapters spread out over the world? I don't think so.

    For me it would be very frustrating if we've achieved the necessary momentum in local chapters for having the founding convention, but won't be able to have it before we've reached more registered internet members (which I think is a much more arbitrary criteria, and actually not at all good indicator of our actual capacities).

    What we risk by waiting is this: Momentum /might/ have lost by the time we eventually get achieve the set number of registered internet members (momentum usually only lasts for a short time, trust me).

    What we gain by proceeding is this: If we actually do have the necessary on-the-ground resources (in the form of active and stable locals) to proceed with the founding convention, we will likely boost the momentum and get a lot of new members (both supporters and activist members).

    Does this make sense? Do you feel it has some logic to it? Or would we wait for more registered internet members nevertheless?

    Mark: "It is a tricky balancing act!"

    Hehe. Indeed...

  • Mark Evans 21st Sep 2012

    Kim - I don't think your argument is illogical at all, it is just that what you see as "necessary" is different to what I see.

    You refer to these members as "on-line" but I would hope that the members who are not engaging in local chapter activities would be willing to make a contribution to IOPS in other ways. After all what is the point of being a member of an organisation like IOPS if they make no contribution? So it still seems to me that you are devaluing these members, although unintentionally.

    For me an over-all membership of 10,000 would add credibility to IOPS.

    So, following my proposal, if we reached the 1000 active members in 10 different countries within 6 months of the recriutment drive, but still only had an over all membership of say 5000 I would still want to wait until we reach 10,000 over-all membership before launching as I think this would add credibility.

    On the other hand if we got to the end of the 12 months and had only reach 5000 over all members but had 1000 active members in 10 countries then we reassess and maybe launch on that number. That is why having a timeframe might be helpful.

  • Sarah Owens 21st Sep 2012

    To Summarize

    Proposal to Arrive at a Shared Campaign (work-in-progress):
    Attempting to incorporate preferences through 2 pm Pacific Standard Time, 9/21/12

    A. Continue discussing conditions that would need to be met to have a founding convention & and steps to bring those conditions about. (Called "plans" for simplicity's sake.)

    B. Beginning 11/15/12, someone(s) examine the various plans, and puts them to the IOPS membership in a straw poll.

    C. Select ICC members (those most involved in the discussions) then assemble the most favored plans into ~3 campaign proposals (more if really needed).

    D. Post the ~3 campaigns & discuss for 2 weeks.

    E. Whole ICC asked for & agree on any amendments.

    F. Whole ICC votes on campaigns as amended.

    G. Post the ~3 amended campaigns & discuss for 2 weeks.

    H. Interim IOPS membership votes to choose one.

    I. Interim IOPS executes the chosen campaign with vigor and enthusiasm.




    Preconditions to an IOPS Founding Convention, (work-in-progress):
    Attempting to incorporating preferences through 2 pm 9/21

    Minimum membership:
    IOPS has at least 7,500 members

    Or, at least 10,000 members
    Or, at least X number of dues-paying members

    Minimum Functional Chapters:
    IOPS has at least 25 functional chapters in at least 10 countries, distributed over at least 3 continents. A functional chapter has at least 5 members, met regularly f2f with a majority in attendance, adopted a constitution that defines decision-making processes and dues expectations, and posted at least 3 regular chapter reports in standardized format.

    Or, has at least 10 members
    Or, has met regularly for at least 6 months

    OR

    Minimum Active Members:
    1/10th of the membership is active in 10 different coutries, as that term is defined by each local chapter individually, to include meeting f2f in their local, self-managing chapters working to become fluent in IOPS values, vision, structure, recruiting new and diverse ions, engaging in community outreach, networking, building solidarity with other social justice campaigns, posting regular reports and collecting dues.

    Time Limits & Preparations for Founding Convention:
    1 year to reach campaign goals; when ½ the conditions have been met, a Founding Convention organizing project is initiated; if the campaign fails to reach its goals by the completion date, interim IOPS initiates a re-evaluation, re-assessment process, which may or may not include proceeding to a Founding Convention.

    Or, 3 years

  • Kim Keyser 21st Sep 2012

    I liked Sarah's inclusion of " met regularly f2f with a majority in attendance".

    @Mark: Ok. Gotcha.

  • Mark Evans 21st Sep 2012

    "IOPS has at least 25 functional chapters in at least 10 countries, distributed over at least 3 continents. A functional chapter has at least 5 members, met regularly f2f with a majority in attendance, adopted a constitution that defines decision-making processes and dues expectations, and posted at least 3 regular chapter reports in standardized format."

    Sarah - do you think it is our place, during the interim phase, to be determining what constitutes a functioning local chapter? I see no reason why local chapters that are being set-up could not experiment with dues and define their own activities (I suggest what some might be) but for a few of us to decide now seems to me to violate our interim remit, and with it the future of IOPS as a self-management organisation.

    The criteria needs to be credible and realistic, forming a sound basis on which to launch IOPS, but not far reaching in as much as it impacts on decisions that should be made by the membership either during the convention or sometime after the launch.

    • Sarah Owens 23rd Sep 2012

      Mark Evans, to clarify, and as Kim notes below, the proposal was Kim's. My post was just a summary. Or intended as such.

  • Gerry Conroy 21st Sep 2012

    On the 'Getting Involved' page in the site menu, there's this bit:

    '...Moving toward national conventions, and perhaps regional ones, and, ultimately, an international convention for the full establishment of the organization...'

    It's hard to imagine holding national/regional conventions before the international one at the moment- and all within a year. Current discussion seems to accept that those won't take place beforehand. Might also be worth giving some consideration to what will be lost by skipping straight to an international convention?

    National conventions could have been an additional activity for chapters to work towards and members would then be better prepared for the international convention but that does need a certain level of engagement first. I suppose it would be ok for things to happen the other way round - with the international before the national/regional?

  • stephen lawton 22nd Sep 2012

    Sarah Are IONS members of IOPS ? If they are I like it.

  • Kim Keyser 22nd Sep 2012

    @Stephen: Yes.

    @Gerry: I agree, that does indeed seem hard to imagine. I'm fine with it as long as at least a certain amount of local chapters (I suggested 25) have had their founding meeting (where they adopt a constitution and an action plan, consistent with the values of IOPS). Also, there are different suggestions on the table, when it comes to the time frame. 1 year has been suggested, true. But it has also been suggested between 1 and 3 years. What do you self think?

    @Mark: I can't answer for Sarah, but since it's mostly my proposal, I'd like to comment on it.

    Mark: "do you think it is our place, during the interim phase, to be determining what constitutes a functioning local chapter?"

    In terms of the very minimum: Definitely. If not, anyone can basically say they're an active and stable chapter. (I've seen this happen with organizations I've been a part of, where it was assumed that a list of chapters meant they were both active and stable, and there was major disappointment when this in fact was almost as untrue as it could be...) The suggested requirements are rather minimal, and also totally realistic. It would ensure that we go forward based on a real foundation, and not only paper chapters.

    Mark: "I see no reason why local chapters that are being set-up could not experiment with dues and define their own activities"

    Neither do I, and neither does the proposal It doesn't suggest that we require /this or that/ solution, only that they /have a/ solution ("(…) adopted a constitution that defines decision-making processes and dues expectations (…)"). I'm not sure how you could read something into it, that simply isn't there?

    Mark: "(…) and define their own activities"

    See above paragraph.

  • Gerry Conroy 22nd Sep 2012

    Kim Keyser wrote:

    '...Also, there are different suggestions on the table, when it comes to the time frame. 1 year has been suggested, true. But it has also been suggested between 1 and 3 years. What do you self think?...'

    Probably a good idea to try and see what can be done in one year, to get the org out of its interim phase and see if we can throw a shape on things or it could become habitual and expected that things can just be let slide - and if that happens, then there's an issue of credibility.

    I think the extended '1 to 3 years' time frame you suggested previously probably fits as one possible option if it turns out after the one-year campaign, that we find ourselves in that position of having to "strategically reassess the future of IOPS including the possibility that our conception is fundamentally flawed."

  • Sarah Owens 23rd Sep 2012

    To Mark Evans concern re whether it's "our place, during the interim phase, to be determining what constitutes a functioning local chapter?", I say, there's a difference between determining what constitutes a functional local chapter for purposes of determining whether a precondition to founding-convention planning has been met, and determining what constitutes a functional local chapter. In other words, the definition is functional and contextually limited. But, if this distinction does not allay the concern, or, even it it does, I suggest this amendment (new language in CAPITAL LETTERS):

    IOPS has at least 25 functional chapters in at least 10 countries, distributed over at least 3 continents. A functional chapter IS ONE THAT CERTIFIES TO INTERIM IOPS THAT, AT THE TIME OF CERTIFICATION, IT HAD at least 5 members, met regularly f2f with a majority in attendance, adopted a constitution that defines decision-making processes and dues expectations, and posted at least 3 regular chapter reports in standardized format.

  • Mark Evans 23rd Sep 2012

    I think you guys - Sarah, Kim, etc, - should post a blog making your case for another proposal and we should discuss that there.

    Here I would argue the the 1000 members I put forward as part of my proposal would need to legitimise themselves in one way or another to the ICC and the over all membership. I suggest in my 8 points how they might do this. I would also expect to see some networking between the members aspiring to meet the 1000 criteria and this should also help to ensure some credibility.

    But I have to say that to go beyond this, during our interim phase, seems to me to be asking the ICC to take on the role of a central committee, making decisions that the membership should be making at the convention or afterwards as a self-managed organisation.

    I suggest we keep things as simple and uncontroversial as possible (i.e. stick to the plan) and see how things unfold.

  • Sarah Owens 23rd Sep 2012

    Well I'm all for keeping things simple and uncontroversial as possible, but when you say stick to the plan, which plan is that? Sorry to be thick.

  • Kim Keyser 23rd Sep 2012

    Mark: "i.e. stick to the plan"

    I'm not sure what plan you are referring to here? We – the members of IOPS – make the plan, and it'll potentially be refined by the ICC, before we all discuss and vote. Which plan are you referring to, exactly?

    Also, I have no idea whatsoever why you would think the ICC would the role of a central committee if all there is, is clearly stated, minimal criteria proposed and voted upon by members. Perhaps if you could expound?

    Sarah: "IOPS has at least 25 functional chapters in at least 10 countries, distributed over at least 3 continents. A functional chapter IS ONE THAT CERTIFIES TO INTERIM IOPS THAT, AT THE TIME OF CERTIFICATION, IT HAD at least 5 members, met regularly f2f with a majority in attendance, adopted a constitution that defines decision-making processes and dues expectations, and posted at least 3 regular chapter reports in standardized format."

    I think this is a good amendment.

  • Mark Evans 23rd Sep 2012

    I was thinking of this:

    Interim Committee

    The people listed below have constituted an IOPS Interim Consultative Committee available for decisions about interim choices.

    Any member can propose a decision to other members.

    Members vote by return email.

    If support is overwhelming, the decision holds.

    There is a binding understanding, however, that the committee will address only a minimum of choices where all are deemed absolutely essential to IOPS proceeding, and where they are simply put and uncontroversial - as well as not imposing upon a future membership but at most of interim nature - which explains the need for overwhelming support to pass.

    The logic is a belief that serious deicsions must await more members, more experience with chapters and program, and more methodology suited to self management - where the latter will be set by a founding convention. The ICC, in other words, is, as the name implies, interim, not optimal, not a model for the future, but suitable for the current moment. Read more about the early role of the interim committee. See reports of past ICC Proposals and votes.

    http://www.iopsociety.org/interim-committee

    • Sarah Owens 23rd Sep 2012

      Mark, I'm very confused. Are you saying you don't like Michael Albert's Proposal for Arriving at a Shared Campaign? (Summarized above at my 9/21 post.) Which means, by implication, you're not in favor of undertaking a campaign to bring about the preconditions for a founding convention, but would rather just let those conditions come into existence as part of the natural course of everyone working to "grow" IOPS? Am I close?

    • Sarah Owens 23rd Sep 2012

      While I wait for clarification, I'll speak briefly to Mark's suggestion, "I think you guys - Sarah, Kim, etc, - should post a blog making your case for another proposal and we should discuss that there."

      What I thought we were charged to do by Jason's all-IOPS message was 1) respond to Michael Albert's blog Proposal for Arriving at a Shared Campaign and his suggested campaign, and, at a forum set up for the purpose, 2) propose and discuss goals/criteria/ preconditions to planning a founding convention, as well as strategies for reaching those goals.

      In other words, rather than having everyone blog post different campaign proposals, some of which would have common elements and some not, we would separate and discuss the elements (conditions, related strategies, time lines, &c.).

      Okay, while some of us were over in the forum doing that, Michael Albert, and then you, offered up revisions to Michael Albert's initial proposal, which sort of pulled the discussion back to the proposal paradigm, away from the separate-elements paradigm. Nothing wrong with that, of course, it's just that it's confusing not knowing where the discussion is.

      Jason's, or what I interpret to be Jason's paradigm, the separate-elements paradigm, seems an aid to clarity, as well as cutting out a lot of repetition. For that reason, I am disinclined to post yet another blog proposal.

      I also note we have only touched on strategies for reaching the proposed goals/criteria/preconditions in the forum. As soon as we have cleared up how best to proceed, forum or blog proposal, we should dicuss that.

      Finally (sorry so long), any criteria we have must be measurable. It's easy to know how many members we have. How many active members we have is not so easy. The functional chapters definition and minimum-active-members-as-defined-by-the-chapter are both measurable, in that the chapter will certify to its active status, either according to objective criteria applicable to all chapters, or according to the individualized criteria of the chapter. The latter obviously relies heavily on the local chapters to develop, apply and report accurately on a variety of considerations, and I think will prove more difficult to implement. The point is, though, measurability.

    • Sarah Owens 23rd Sep 2012

      Oh, wait. I think I understand what you mean by stick to the plan. You think there's something about defining a chapter as functional for purpose stated above would be a)a decision of the ICC, and b)not essential to IOPS proceeding, and therefore c) inappropriate?

      If that is your concern, I think I must disagree. Under Michael Albert's proposal for arriving at a shared campaign, the ICC only refines criteria that are favored in our discussions, which are open to the entire membership. Maybe you don't think the ICC should be playing that role, which is fine, but playing that role wouldn't seem to me to equate to setting the criteria. We're doing that through our discussions, as Jason and Michael Albert and you suggested.

      the 1000 members I put forward as part of my proposal would need to legitimise themselves in one way or another to the ICC and the over all membership.

    • Mark Evans 24th Sep 2012

      That is correct Sarah.

      During our interim phase the over all membership have no decision making authority. Decisions are made by the ICC when "absolutely essential to IOPS proceedingbut" for "decisions about interim choices".

      "The logic is a belief that serious deicsions must await more members, more experience with chapters and program, and more methodology suited to self management - where the latter will be set by a founding convention."

      For the ICC to be making choices about what constitutes a functioning chapter seems to me to violate its remit. Such decisions need to be made by the over all active membership (in my scenario that would be the 1000) at the convention or following the lauch, at the local and National levels, in accordance with self-management.

    • Sarah Owens 24th Sep 2012

      So, quick clarifying question: do you agree with Michael Albert's Proposal for Arriving at a Shared Campaign? Or does it set up a violation of the ICC's remit?

    • Mark Evans 24th Sep 2012

      I don't think so.

      My concern is more to do with the actual criteria members are proposing which seems to me to be over stepping the mark for the interim period.

  • Michael Livingston 23rd Sep 2012

    How we define, or identify, an "active" member and a "functional" chapter is more important than determining what number of either should constitute the critical mass necessary for a convention. The "active" members and "functional" chapters who will make up IOPS at the time a convention is held will determine what results from that endeavor. In effect, we not only need to recruit new members, we also need to "recruit from within" so that all current members are "active," and the new members whom they bring in will see that activity and come with their tools and be ready to work.

    • Mark Evans 24th Sep 2012

      Hi Michael - I agree with you regarding recruiting from "within". But don't you think that defining what constitutes an active member / functioning chapter now violates our interim remit? Shouldn't such decisions be made at the launch, or following the launch, by the membership?

      I do not want the ICC making these kinds of decisions. That is not the plan.

      The debate that you, Sarah, Kim, etc want to have now, it seems to me, needs to wait until the convention so that it includes all the membership. For now we are looking for a simple criteria that needs to be met during the interim period - without violating our commitment to self-management - before we can launch IOPS.

      This is quite tricky and there are no clear or obvious ways forward but I am worried that we could try to get around this challenge by asking the ICC to take on the role of a central committee.

  • Sarah Owens 23rd Sep 2012

    My sentiments, exactly. Recruiting from within ideas (ideas for facilitating local activity) may be found and added to here:
    http://www.iopsociety.org/projects/local-chapter-project .

  • Kim Keyser 24th Sep 2012

    Mark: "For the ICC to be making choices about what constitutes a functioning chapter seems to me to violate its remit."

    Mark, I must say that I don't understand you. I'm sure that must feel frustrating, but I have to say it, because I really don't understand you. But I would like to.

    Obviously you're fine with the ICC deciding who is a member or not, by using less measurable, and more, criteria (your list of 8 criteria). What I don't understand is why you'd think having more measurable, and less, criteria is violating, but having less measurable, and more, criteria is not (I assume you think it is not, since your argument against us is based on the violation postulate?).

    Is the reason that this criteria will be judged by the members and chapters themselves, instead of a working group in the ICC? If so, I understand you, but think it's a really random and not much helpful foundation for building a global, revolutionary organization (in fact I've been through something similar, both on national and international level, and it was not successful, something which I argued before the process, and something which I still argue). If it's not, I don't understand, and hope you – or someone else who understands you – can explain me.

    • Mark Evans 24th Sep 2012

      Kim - I suspect that your not understanding me is down to your reading of my 8 points as a criteria that must be met for a member to qualify as active. That is not the idea. Rather I simply suggest 8 possible examples of what local activities might be. What they actually are will be determined by the members themselves - but I image they would include at least some of my 8.

      In my proposal the ICC do not determine who does or does not qualify as an active members - the ICC only decide on which criteria we should use as our interim targets. The idea instead is that members step forward to be added to the active members list. When we reach 1000 we have met that part of our interim targets.

      Naturally this 1000 will be networking with each other, sharing ideas and experiences, etc and in that sense will be self-validating.

      PS - I'm not frustarted at all. These things can take a bit of time to work out. No problem!

    • Kim Keyser 24th Sep 2012

      Mark: " Rather I simply suggest 8 possible examples of what local activities might be. What they actually are will be determined by the members themselves"

      Ok. Good. Now i understand you. :)

  • Sarah Owens 24th Sep 2012

    "The idea instead is that members step forward to be added to the active members list... Naturally this 1000 will be networking with each other, sharing ideas and experiences."

    Hmm. Not sure I understand that self-identifying as active = participating in a self-managing, f2f group on a regular basis. Could just mean ZNet.

  • John Vincent 24th Sep 2012

    I think Michael Livingston’s point is right on. Unless there are active members and functioning chapters a simple criteria based on numbers only may result in an IOPS launch that has disappointing results. I don’t think what Michael L. is suggesting is a formulaic definition of an “active member” or “functioning chapter” for the purposes of codification in convention bylaws, but rather an informal definition to determine whether the interim membership is actually engaged sufficiently to even have a meaningful convention. I think the eight examples originally sited in this blog help formulate that informal definition.

    I think the current membership, without ICC input, will be able to judge when the membership in their local area are sufficiently active to call for a convention. For example, IOPS could have 300 members located in a large city but if none are interacting with one another is some way, for whatever reason, that number is relatively meaningless. On the other hand, if 75 are meeting regularly in local chapters, with another 75 on the periphery showing intermittent interest, that would indicate that there are enough members from that area to “come with their tools and be ready to work” at a convention launch.

    Michael’s point that we need to focus just as much on recruiting from within, as from without, is valid. If we do we will likely see the recruitment of new members accelerate with the added benefit that a larger percentage will likely be active and ready to engage in chapter activities.

    • Mark Evans 24th Sep 2012

      But John, I also want active members and there is nothing in my proposal that stops active members getting together locally and forming chapters. It is just that I don't want the ICC ratifying a criteria for our interim targets that includes a definition of what constitutes an "active member" or a "functioning chapter" because to do so, it seems to me, would be for the ICC to be making decision that should be made by the membership at the launch convention, or afterwards in local chapters / National branches.

    • John Vincent 24th Sep 2012

      Mark, I was concurring with your sentiment that the ICC is not needed to ratify an interim criteria, or a final one for that matter. It did seem however that you thought that that was what Michael L. was advocating and I don't think he was, though he can speak for himself on this.

      I agree, there is nothing in your proposal that stops members from getting together locally and forming chapters, and thus becoming active. But I think what Michael L. was expressing, and what I thought was a relevant point, is that perhaps there is something more that can be done to promote more activity within the current membership. It's a valid comment and worth exploring.

      And I think it is important to look at the level of activity, and not just the numbers, since that is a better gauge for when to call for a convention.

    • Mark Evans 24th Sep 2012

      This is getting a little confused.

      The ICC are the only body with any decision making authority during our interim phase. Therefore I am say that it is the ICC who should decide which criteria becomes our interim targets.

      That said the ICC are operating within a very limited remit. Any decisions they make can not undermine the future of IOPS as a self-managed organisation.

      This means that any possible criteria we come up with for the ICC to consider can not include decisions that should be made by the membership at, or following, the launch. These, I think, should include what constitutes an active member, what constitutes a functioning chapter.

      These are not decision that the ICC should be making and therefore should not be part of any proposal that any one of us presents.

  • Will Henry Lapinel 24th Sep 2012

    All,

    I understand Mark's concern that the ICC might overextend itself. However, I don't think that setting a reasonable definition for "functioning chapter" and "active member" is inherently a violation of the ICC remit.

    After all, the terms have to be defined - as Michael L. points out. It's just a question of where to draw the line - do I understand correctly that Mark's proposed definition of "active member" is anyone who identifies their self as such? That sounds reasonable to me (because if you are an ion but respond to messages you are more active than the majority of registered members) but I'm open to other suggestions. But what about functioning chapter? I am also very open to the "self-identify" criteria. Basically if someone tells us their chapter is functional, we put them on the list. I can't imagine any incentive for lying about that. A minimum of 5 members seems like a reasonable set of criteria too- but I might prefer something looser, something simple like "meets f2f on a regular basis."

    In any case, I don't think any of the proposed criteria as yet could restrict or impinge or violate our value of self-management. I think it's just a question of how loose do we want to be with the criteria.

  • John Vincent 24th Sep 2012

    Yeah, now I'm confused.

    So what you are saying is that during the interim phase only the ICC can make decisions regarding interim targets, such as what constitutes member activity and a functioning chapter, but this is not a decision that the ICC should make because it would compromise the organization's self-management principle, so therefore no criteria can be established during the interim phase; it will have to wait until the membership convenes at a convention and establishes it for themselves.

    But then how do your eight examples fit into this scenario? When you say: "The number I would like to propose as an interim target is that a minimum of one tenth of the overall membership be engaged in local chapter activities," what constitutes "engaged chapter activity"? Does it need to be face to face, or can members in a chapter send one or two emails to another member over a 6 month period?

    What I'm saying is I don't think you can establish a meaningful numerical target without also setting additional associated criteria. What am I missing here?

    • Mark Evans 25th Sep 2012

      John - I think what you, and some others, are missing is that the criteria for the interim targets cannot do what you want without violating our interim remit.

      The "meaningful numerical targets" that you, and presumably all of us, desire should be made by the members at the founding conference or following that at the local or National levels. Furthermore, I would argue that such criteria should not be made by the ICC.

      That is why my criteria is very limited (although not as limited as Michael's) and why my 8 points are presented as possible examples of what might constitute local activity and not as a criteria that muct be met before a members can be added to the 1000.

      I do, however, think that the concern you and Kim etc raise is valid. I'm concerned too. It is just that asking the ICC to act as a central committee also concerns me - more!

      There is no perfect solution to this but I don't want the ICC making decisions that should be made by the membership of a self-managed organisation. Whether we like it or not that means we have to wait for the clarity we all want. That means our interim targets have to be quite simple and relatively uncontroversial.

  • Kim Keyser 25th Sep 2012

    William: "I can't imagine any incentive for lying about [one's chapter being functional]".

    That will probably not really be the problem (although it indeed /can/ become a /major/ problem, as it makes us much more vulnerable to sabotage – whether by attempts of demoralization by abstention or attempted take over of the organization, before it even has started). What /will/ likely be the biggest problem is people judging very randomly what constitutes a local chapter (trust me on that, as I've experienced it), and in consequence get more decision making power than warranted (if it's going to be by chapter, something we don't know yet at all) /and/ demoralizes the organization by giving the impression of something, while in reality there's just not much there...

    I've been through that, and I've observed similar stuff lots of times. I don't want the same to happen with IOPS. I want us to build upon a strong foundation, based on concrete criteria and transparent information (i.e. the chapter reports, the chapter's constitution, etc.).

    John: "What am I missing here?"

    I think what you're missing is that Mark won't like such criteria to be officially specified by the ICC (his criteria about what constitutes both a member and a chapter can thus be seen more as wish list, rather than a concrete criteria/motion that needs to be voted upon). Did that make it clearer?

  • Sarah Owens 25th Sep 2012

    Mark, when I asked you whether you agreed with Michael Albert's Proposal for Arriving at a Shared Campaign, or whether it set up a violation of the ICC's remit, you replied you didn't think so. I'd like you to look at the proposal again, and tell me why, if you would, it does not set up a violation of the remit (the elements of the proposal are summarized above at my 9/21 reply)?

    • Mark Evans 26th Sep 2012

      I was responding to Michael's proposal not your summary.

    • Sarah Owens 29th Sep 2012

      Please clarify, are you saying you think my summary of Michael Albert's Proposal for Arriving at a Shared Campaign is inaccurate in some respect?

      And, are you saying you DO disagree with with MA's Proposal for Arriving at a Shared Campaign?

  • Michael Livingston 25th Sep 2012

    ICC consideration of the following for the sole purpose of identifying the preconditions for holding the IOPS convention would not "violat[e] our interim remit": the number of members, the number of "active" members, the number of "functioning" chapters, and what "active" and "functioning" mean in this context.

    Ideally, the preconditions for the convention would have been decided before the IOPS launch and included with the Mission and Vision statements. They weren't. For that reason, if a convention is to be held and this interim phase concluded, determining what these preconditions will be is a practical necessity. These preconditions are, by definition, provisional because they have no effect or application beyond their limited purpose. For these reasons alone, the ICC's consideration of proposed preconditions like those listed above does not violate the remit. In this context,there is no principled distinction between the ICC's determining whether a precondition should be a certain number of members and its determining whether a certain percentage of those members should be "active," as determined by self-identification or by some objective criteria. The principles of practical necessity and provisional purpose and effect provide a more appropriate and functional approach to this question than the "serious decision" model.

    • Mark Evans 26th Sep 2012

      I don't agree that it is a "practical necessity" for us to define what an active member and a functioning chapter is before we can launch. My proposal does not do that and yet I believe it to be a sufficient criteria on which to launch IOPS.

      Also, I don't understand why, if the decisions you want to make now regarding the definition of an active member and a functioning chapter, are "provisional" they can not wait until, or following, the launch where the active members can decide for themselves.

    • Will Henry Lapinel 30th Sep 2012

      "Also, I don't understand why, if the decisions you want to make now regarding the definition of an active member and a functioning chapter, are "provisional" they can not wait until, or following, the launch where the active members can decide for themselves."

      Mark - what Michael means by "provisional" is that it will no longer apply after the convention. The definitions of "active member" and "functioning chapter" that we come up with now, would be gone.

      Your proposal contains the words "active member" and "functional chapter", does it not? So how can we even discuss that proposal without defining the terms? I know you are in favor of "self-identification" - and I'm not saying I disagree - but what I think we need to recognize is that even this is a definition. So let's not argue about whether to define the terms - it's ridiculous to say we don't need to define them. Let's talk about what we want the definition to be.

  • Lambert Meertens 25th Sep 2012

    If we cannot launch before we have X active members in Y active chapters, where the criteria for what constitutes being "active" may only be determined by the membership after the launch, we have a Catch 22 situation.

    Somehow I think that by the time we're ready for the launch, a consensus will develop that we're ready, independent of any formal criteria we have attempted to impose upon ourselves.

    • Mark Evans 26th Sep 2012

      I agree but your catch 22 does not apply to my proposal because my proposal does not include a definition of what an active member or functioning chapter is.

      That is exactly what I am trying to avoid. But I do think it is a good idea to have some interim targets that need to be met before we can launch - it is just that I think they should be minimal and not also limited in that a few of us do not make decision now that should be made by all later.

  • Sarah Owens 25th Sep 2012

    Lambert, I don't think it's fair to characterize the foregoing discussion of criteria (which includes measures for how we may know they've been met, and strategies for achieving them), which Mark, Michael Albert, and Jason (all members of the ICC) initiated, as "attempting to impose upon ourselves" "formal criteria."

    As Michael Livingston above stated, the criteria or preconditions being discussed are, by definition, provisional. That is, they have no effect or application beyond their limited purpose. They are tools to help us get a founding convention. Once we're there, we are done with them. We move on to other considerations.

    Of course, as you suggest, we could adopt a laissez faire approach to a founding convention, and wait faithfully until such time as we feel compelled to hold one. But, that is not the approach the foregoing ICC members appear to envision, their concern being that such an approach would result in interim IOPS to losing momentum.

    • Lambert Meertens 26th Sep 2012

      If we decide – whether as the result of this discussion or otherwise – that we cannot have a founding convention until some verifiable numerical precondition is fulfilled, then we will be in the situation of having imposed said precondition upon ourselves, however limited its purpose, scope and application.

      The apparent almost total lack of momentum worries me more than a risk of losing momentum. Maybe a founding convention may help us to pick up some, but with the proposed preconditions it may take eons before we have one.

      There seems to be an unspoken assumption that the founding convention is to take decisions that will impact the formally constituted organization for all eternity, and that it is unfair for just the few of us interim members to make far-reaching decisions impacting the future gazillions of members. I happen to think that this emphasis on decision making is misguided and will only help to cement and underscore our irrelevance. The founding convention should be a celebration, and the discussions should focus on how to make ourselves nimble and welcoming.

      Is it relevant that some of the members who currently appear to envision a formal approach are ICC members? I don't think that you can equate my scepticism about numerically quantifiable formulas with a laissez faire approach.

    • Mark Evans 26th Sep 2012

      Lambert - it seems to me that there is an important difference between:

      1) the ICC choosing a proposal that includes criteria like 10,000 members, for example.

      and

      2) the ICC choosing a proposal that includes criteria which specifies what constitution a functioning chapter, for example.

      In the first the criteria makes no lasting impression on the organisation, and therefore is in-keeping with self-management, whilst the second does not.

      So I think we can identify a set of targets for our interim phase but we just need to be careful that, whatever they are, they do not have a lasting impression on IOPS.

      The way forward, it seems to me, is for our interim targets to be as meaningful as possible within the limitations of our interim phase. That is what I have tried to identify in my proposal.

  • Dave Jones 26th Sep 2012

    I find the basic formula Mark proposes to be reasonable (10,000 over-all, 1000 self-identified actively organizing, 10 countries) but for the sake of developing alternatives, would offer a slightly different numerical ratio: 7,500 over all, 1000 active and 3 different continents.

    This weighs the "actively organizing" factor slightly higher than the over-all factor because I believe it to be more critical. I also like the argument that active chapters on three continents displays more diversity.

  • Verena Stresing 26th Sep 2012

    Hi everyone,
    I just wanted to add one more issue to the debate.
    I am not so worried about the first part of the proposals (in other words, whether we decide on x number of active members or y number of functioning chapers).
    I am fine with either proposal, and the set goals for having a founding convention seem fine to me on paper.

    But I am still worried about the very real "diversity" issue.
    I know that we all want to believe (and are working hard) to have a representative number of functioning chapters on 3 continents, etc.
    But when it comes to actually setting up a proposal, planning the founding convention, can we guarantee diversity already there? In other words: it seem quite obvious to me that right now, there is very little diversity in our discussion (I am not excluding myself from this, and this is not meant in any form as a critisism. I am just having a look at who is on this thread and where we're from - and also what language this discussion is in. Again, not a critisism).

    My fear is that in the end whatever proposal for a convention/agenda we are going to end up with will have been decided by a vast majority of US/Eglish/Northern European members (the ones who generally speak English well), and will therefore also only reflect "our" ideas.

    I'd like to ensure that we try and get some diversity already in the planning stages.
    I've had a longer discussion with Michael, Jason and a couple of members via messages (so unfortunately I can't send you a link), but it is becoming quite clear that there are increasingly more members who are worried about this. And not without reason.

    We are currently trying to get some French members involved in this discussion. Someone from my Chapter has translated the basic proposal and has put it up on our country page. But it's very slow going, because we can't translate everything and people are still not very active. French people often don't speak (and some don't like to speak) English, and they probably don't even read what's going on on the international page. Also, we have no real possibility (yet) to exchange ideas with other French-speaking chapters (Quebec,Belgium, etc), something that is much easier to do when you speak English.

    Likewise, I see no one from Spain or Latin America here (again, not counting English native speakers living abroad). Just to name an example.

    I've made a proposal for improving the way we can communicate within IOPS (basically, by either tagging or including a function with which we can load only the content (blogs etc) in one particular language, say Spanish, so that people from all over the world who speak that language can easily start discussing with each other. But these things take time.

    My proposal therefore is to give more time (and thought) to this issue.

    I myself am planning to set up a Forum in Spanish and invite everyone who I assume speaks the language to that Forum to discuss the issues, but then of course we'll need a bit of time to "back-translate".

    I'd like to also make sure that we have diversity already at the stage of developing the three proposals. Not only do we need active chapters in different countries, but we need their views reflected in the proposals.

  • Mark Evans 27th Sep 2012

    Hi Verena - I think you make a very good point but i guess for me the question is, are there any barriers to participation internal to IOPS?

    If yes then we need to identify them and dismantle them.

    If no then it is up to the members to take advantage of the facilities on the site etc. - more members doing what you are doing basically.

  • Lambert Meertens 30th Sep 2012

    Verena's point is indeed a valid concern, and one that appears to go deeper than the mere lack of internal barriers to participation. The apparent lack of diversity is a barrier to more diverse people joining IOPS and thus perpetuates the Western, mainly Anglo-Saxon, dominance. That is not an internal barrier, but I fear it is very real.

    There is a marked contrast between the diversity of the totality of ICC members, and the similarity in the cultural background of the members actively participating on the website. Only a few ICC members are regular contributors, and as far as this site is concerned most are just a name on the ICC page.

    If a larger diversity of ICC members every now and then contribute something, it will make a significant difference in how IOPS is perceived, and it will also generally boost our morale. I realize many are very busy people, but this doesn't have to be frequent and labour intensive; just a small blog posting or so, say once every two months on the average, will be enough. These postings don't have to be in English either; for example, Ezequiel Adamovsky's posting in Spanish (Una nueva izquierda) was just fine.

  • Verena Stresing 30th Sep 2012

    Hi Mark & Lambert,
    Lambert, you got it exactly! And again, not complaining here,I think that what's happening really has a lot to do with perception, both by people visiting the site for the first time (and then landing on an - almost 100% - English international page, which gives the impression thet there is almost no diversity, and from the inside, by members either maybe feeling overwhelmed by the English content (or even discouraged) or by actual language barrier.
    It makes many non-native speakers uneasy, and there's a growing feeling that we'll end up as just another North American organization (I'm exaggerating a bit here maybe, but you know what I mean).
    I agree with Lambert that it would be nice to see more ICC members like Ezequiel write in a language other than English. But then, I am German myself, and I haven't written anything in German yet, apart from personal communications.

    There are two reasons for this: for one, I want to reach as many people as possible, and particularly in my two "climate change" blogs, I was more addressing an American audience than a German one. I think that that is why most peple write in English, you get more audience.
    Secondly, I live in France, so I probably SHOULD write more in that language, but I just can't, my written skills aren't good enough, it would take too much time. Language barrier.

    But I think we can do something about the first point: visibility.
    My idea was to have either several international pages in different languages (the main ones, English, Spanish, maybe French, Portugese). This has nothing to do with the language option we currently have on the page, since that option is first of all hard to find for first-time visitors (they just don't find the scroll down menu), and also it only changes the steady content (mission, vision, etc) of the page, but not the user-generated content (blogs, projects, etc).
    So the idea is to have either different international pages, where blogs are posted according to language, and thereby collected on that page (and when you upload a blog or whatever, you have an option to say:post in "international - Spanish" for example)
    or else to have an option on the international page to pull up all content of a language and blend out all the rest (some sort of tagging system).
    But in both cases, I think there should be a BIG language botton somewhere on the page, visible for everyone, and when you click n it, all blogs/projects/forums/contents, whatever it is comes up in a certain language.

    I think it would gives us two advanteges: for one, more visibility/international appearance for visitors from the outside.People would see that something is going on outside of the "English bubble".

    And secondly and most importantly, a system like this would allow IOPS members of a common language to get in contact with each other. When you are - say - from the US, you are used to talking to members from Australia, New Zealand, England, etc, not to mention all the other English speakers, because there are so many blogs featured on the international home page, so it feels natural and easy, and very international.
    But what does a members from Chile or so see? On the international page: only content in English. Blogs like Ezquiels in SPanish get handed down the list quickly and disappear from the page, and then they can anly be found on Ezequiels homepage (which I think is Argentina). But of course, nobody ever looks on the country pages of other countries, because you assume that everything of international importance will be found on the international page.

    And when you post a blog, you don't have the choice, as an Argentinian, to post on the Chile homepage.

    So, a system like mine would suddenly allow Spanish speakers to collect all Spanish content in one page, no matter what country it was posted from, and then hopefully start communicating more with each other.

    Of course, we still need more content in other languages, right now there just isn't enough. But I think we also need to motivate people more to do that, and just by collecting stuff, I think that would help. Right now, for example, some of our French content only appears on our national France homepage, and never made it to the international page, so naturally, nobody outside of France ever read that.

    When I find the time(IOPS is eating me up!!) I'll write a round-mail in Spanish to everyone I can find who speaks that language (or all admins), and ask them for their opinion on this.
    I hope it is a good idea and people will like it.
    I've talked to Jason and Michael about it, and they seemed to be in favor of it, although of course we'll have to see how difficult it is technically.
    But maybe we can start with a language-taggin system or something like that.

  • Verena Stresing 30th Sep 2012

    excuse the typos, I am writing too fast and my keyboard gets stuck.

  • John Vincent 30th Sep 2012

    Verena’s initial post, on the lack of diversity, raises an important issue for an international organization attempting to increase its membership and participation for an eventual inaugural convention. And Lambert’s point I think is just as important, that while we may have a diverse ICC that reflects the organizations desired diversity (except perhaps in the number of women represented) only a few of its members contribute on a regular basis. These are issues that should be discussed and addressed in a constructive manner not by individuals from one particular country but by members working collaboratively from multiple countries.

    Verena’s suggestion to have several international pages that can be reached by a “BIG” language button, or perhaps alternatively by clicking on a national flag button, would help make IOPS more inviting to those not comfortable conversing in English.

    Another possibility is for blogs and responses on the current international page to be translated into multiple languages so ideas and suggestions reach a greater audience. This would require either a team of translators willing to carry out this task after a blog is posted, or members initially collaborating amongst themselves prior to posting a blog in multiple languages on the international page. If Lambert’s suggestion were implemented ICC members from various countries might collaborate to produce a multiple language post ever month or two that would reflect the diversity and internationalism of the organization.

    Multiple language blogs would help spur cross cultural communication and greater participation among the current membership, and address Michael Livingston’s call to “recruit from within”.

    I think these are issues that will need to be addressed prior to IOPS’s initial international convention.

    • Verena Stresing 30th Sep 2012

      Hi John,
      I am totally in favor of your proposal.
      I think it is something to do in addition to my proposal.
      Jason had suggested something like this, too, but he was thinking of using translation tools. Contrary to him (but I might be wrong!) I don't have much faith in these kinds of tools. I very rarely use them myself, and am never satisfied.
      Contrarily, I think, your proposal of actually writing something together, such as a featured blog post, in different languages is really great, because it obviously also generates more interaction between members.

      It has been suggested by several people that those among us who speak and write several languages could translate their own posts, but frommy own experience I think it is quite safe to say that that will never happen, because nobody has that much time. Not on a routing basis anyway. I find it quite daunting to write (and finish) long blogs anyway, if I thought I'd had to translate all of them, I think it would prevent me from even strating to write the original...

      But having a sort of "interest group" within IOPS that either picks out a blog or writes one themselves and then posts it in different languages seems to me the way to go!

      I don't see why we would need a convention for this, why not set this up as a project, see who's interested, and what languages we could get?

    • Verena Stresing 30th Sep 2012

      again, sorry for typos... stupid keyboard. I meant 'routine'.

    • John Vincent 30th Sep 2012

      I agree, multiple language blogs would be very daunting for one individual to take on alone, but if they were done collaboratively as you say by an "interest group" I think they would help generate more interaction and could lead to greater participation.

      Translating every blog on the international page would probably become unwieldy and likely would need to be done on a selective basis, but at a minimum there should be an attempt to translate into multiple languages those posts coming from members of the ICC.

      I also agree we do not need a convention for this, on the contrary, I think we need this type of international interaction that works through this issue, and builds bonds of cooperation and understanding, prior to an international convention.

    • Sarah Owens 30th Sep 2012

      http://www.iopsociety.org/projects/website-translations

    • Verena Stresing 30th Sep 2012

      Hi Sarah,
      not sure if this is the right link.
      The website translation project was for the static content (mission vision etc). I think it would be confusing to use the same project for the "blog translation" project. The web site translations are still a little bit ongoing (versions are being improved etc).
      I think a new project would be better, something like "Blog translation" or so. I don't know. Can't think of a really catching title...
      sorry, off to bed!

    • Sarah Owens 30th Sep 2012

      Hi back, V.
      Suit your self-managing self, of course, but my thought was, given the time it takes to start up and maintain a project, how few ions seem able or willing to take the time to see a project through (see http://www.iopsociety.org/projects/about-projects/sep-2012-status), one might do well to begin with a ready-made group of translators in this project, talk with Johannes about amending the project description to include blog translations, create a topic for that task, and go from there. You get the idea.

    • Verena Stresing 1st Oct 2012

      Yeah... maybe you're right.
      It's just a matter of style, I like to keep things clean and separate, mess-free ;-)
      It's probably faster your way.
      I'll talk to Johannes!

  • Louis Fletcher 30th Sep 2012

    I think, as some others here seem to as well, that the critical point to consider is the number of active members and chapters. I think, contrary to Mark, a collectively established provisional understanding of activity is necessary to this end – but that it should be explicitly stated that this notion of activity is a loose and temporary one, to be revised come the founding convention. That is, any democratically constituted definition of activity should be explicitly provisional and term itself so as to demand revision at the founding convention.

    Mark, you state that:

    “I agree but your catch 22 does not apply to my proposal because my proposal does not include a definition of what an active member or functioning chapter is”

    You are correct you do not provide an explicit definition of what constitutes an active member (or chapter), but your wording seems to allude to the need for such; you invoke the word 'activity' and similarly ambiguous terms within your proposal. For example, in your initial post you state:

    1) “A minimum of 1000 members engaged in local chapter activities.” (What constitutes 'engaged'?)

    2) “A minimum of local chapter activity in 10 different countries” (What constitutes 'activity'?)

    3) “I would like to propose that we give ourselves 12 months to meet this criteria and, in-keeping with Michael's proposal, on reaching half our targets - 5000 members / 500 active members” (What constitutes active?)

    To me, your eight listed interim goals seem to me to be rough pre-requisites to member and chapter activity – something suggested by the fact (1) and (2), drawn from your summary, assume knowledge of what constitutes 'engaged' and 'activity', without any explicit mention of such.

    As a result, I fail to see how your proposal doesn't enter (2) of your statement here:

    ““Lambert - it seems to me that there is an important difference between:

    1) the ICC choosing a proposal that includes criteria like 10,000 members, for example.

    and

    2) the ICC choosing a proposal that includes criteria which specifies what constitution a functioning chapter, for example.”

    Really, I think to make any reasonable comment on interim goals we need to think about what can provisionally be understood as activity (for which your eight points offer valuable ideas) – this simply needs to be definitively understood as temporary and to be revised come the founding convention.

    • Sarah Owens 30th Sep 2012

      So, Louis, it sounds to me like you view deciding what can be provisionally understood as activity (active) is a practical necessity?

    • Louis Fletcher 30th Sep 2012

      I don't really see it as yielding to pragmatics, I just don't see how else a reasonable set of interim goals could be set considering the fact most of us agree that the level of activity of IOPS (members and chapters) should be the principal determinant of when the convention should take place. What's wrong with us, through democratic deliberation, attempting to come up with an explicitly provisional understanding of 'activity' to aspire to - while binding ourselves to revisiting that understanding when the founding convention does happen.

  • Will Henry Lapinel 30th Sep 2012

    Amen brother.

  • Sarah Owens 30th Sep 2012

    I think Mark Evans is concerned with creating a "lasting impression" about what constitutes a functional chapter or an active member (which begs the question, "What's wrong with a lasting impression that, say, a functional chapter has regular f2f meetings with a majority in attendance?"). I can't answer that, because I don't think there is anything wrong with it.

  • John Vincent 1st Oct 2012

    I find this concern with creating a "lasting impression" a bit strange - we are an interim organization that is promoting self-management but are being directed to think that we can not fully practice it without jeopardizing the future, that the current membership is somehow incapable of considering the impact a provisional interim decision might have on the future deliberations of a larger body and that we will be unable to account for this eventuality. It's a bit like having a stable of race horses and telling their trainers they can not train their horses on the track until all the horses for the future big event have arrived and that once they have they better be ready to race.

    Our membership now stands at around 2670; a number of 10,000 is being consider sufficient for a convention. That's a fourfold increase, but is that really significant? There are no members from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, or Panama, 1 member each from Belize and Guatemala, and 3 from Costa Rica, so that perhaps in the future 20 individuals will be called upon to represent Central America. Surely if these individuals are to participate in a future convention they will need to weigh the ramifications convention deliberations will have on the greater population of this area of the world that has been so dominated by US imperialism.

    And as Louis Fletcher asks: "What's wrong with us, through democratic deliberation, attempting to come up with an explicitly provisional understanding of 'activity to aspire to - while binding ourselves to revisiting that understanding when the founding convention does happen." Wouldn't a deliberation of this kind promote and garner enthusiasm among the current membership and if successful demonstrate that the organization's members are ready to have a meaningful, productive founding convention?

  • Lambert Meertens 1st Oct 2012

    I happen to feel that it is even totally wrong to let the decision depend on centrally determined and numerically quantifiable criteria. At some point a substantial number of local chapters will be mature enough and ready to start thinking about having a convention, and that is when we can start to seriously prepare for one, driven by bottom-up demand. No decisions we take there will have everlasting validity; as in prototyping, we should always be able to revisit them, and be agile enough to recognize mistakes and change things as and when desirable.

    • Louis Fletcher 1st Oct 2012

      I agree, I don't really see the worth of quantifying these things - activity, by the nature of what it is, will openly present itself to us when it happens. I imagine chapters and members will naturally come to a point where they push for a convention. Creating formulaic pre-requisites to a convention seems rather arbitrary, to me anyway.

    • John Vincent 1st Oct 2012

      I too agree, chapter members, without a centrally determined criteria, will be able to judge when they are ready to plan and participate in a convention; it will be their own local, perhaps unarticulated, criteria that will lead to this decision. And it would not make sense to impose the same rules and timing on all chapters since some may feel ready before others. But this should not prevent any chapter today from discussing the issue of what it means to be a functioning chapter - you have to start somewhere and have the confidence, as you say, to recognize your errors, make corrections and move on.

  • Tim Cornelis 16th Dec 2012

    ""If we cannot or do not by our efforts attain at least 7,500 members (or, at any rate, three quarters of whatever our full goal turns out to be) by May 1, 2013 - we strategically reassess the future of IOPS including the possibility that our conception is fundamentally flawed.""

    The problem is, you only reach most people when you are formally established. The Dutch chapter has 30 or so members, some organisations have started out smaller. We need to have a founding convention as soon as possible so the real 'recruiting' and organizing can start.

    • Mark Evans 16th Dec 2012

      Hi Tim and thanks for your comment.

      I suspect that you are right in that it will be easier to recruit new members to IOPS if we formally launch and especially if we are running a well conceived National or even international campaign informed by our vision.

      However, as I have argued elsewhere, I also think that for a left international organisation to have any credibility it must meet some basic criteria before launching. For example its founding membership needs to have some international representation as well as reflecting the constituents within its localities - in terms of class, race, gender etc - at least to some extent. Six wealthy white guys from America / Europe can not launch a left international organisation and expect to be taken seriously. The same goes for sixty, six hundred, etc.

      Understanding that is important, I think.