IMC Northern Meeting Minutes 03.10.2010

Minutes of our monthly meeting - 1in12 Club Bradford, 3rd October 2010

Northern Indymedia Minutes 03.10.2010

Present: Jen, Ptg, JF, Marker
Apologies: Jimdog, Nab, Donal

Matters arising from Minutes of Last meeting:

1st Item concerned something not in the minutes: an article had been posted which received a moderation complaint (along the lines of “this has been hidden elsewhere, why haven’t you also hidden it”) to which the response was an explanation that the article authors had attended the last meeting and explained the background. The question, in effect, was why this was not minuted.

We couldn’t quite recall why this wasn’t minuted but it seemed that the general discussion (“…if we post an article will you automatically hide it…”) was not of minuteable significance, while the actual content of the article is quite sensitive. The hide done elsewhere was done on grounds of “not news” which the authors disputed – the events referred to (and the action following) had taken place and were not disputed by the individual referred to in the article. We checked this out on various forums where the debate could be viewed. The other issue was whether this kind of thing (big news for the people involved, small news for everyone else, and at risk of being construed as gossip) was worthy of being on a news wire. Comments on this aspect noted that if the authors felt it was news and something had happened and they wanted to write it up collaboratively (as a positive response to a difficult scenario which people all too often shy away from) then it was news – the issue was that it obtained undue prominence due to the lack of other “bigger” news – which was not the fault of the authors of this article.

Correspondence: nothing noted from IMC UK Legal/Contact –
Users – Marker has been in touch with Marianne Birkby about her article(s) on nuclear waste etc. The first story had to be fixed because the title over-ran the character field and was truncated.
Rachel from HB has been enquiring about audio/video from Transtition Launch weekend event – Ptg
to respond copying in JD and Marker saying still working on it, but hoping to have an unveiling in Hebden Bridge as part of an Indymedia meeting (see below – future meetings).

Moderation complaints/additions – seems to be good news in a way that we are getting reactions to the articles, though some of the complaints/additions seem a bit frivolous. For example on the cycling article someone appeared to complain about saying “cars” killed people (rather than “motorists”) when the previous paragraph had established the responsibility of motorists. In this case the text was fixed and the “addition” removed.

This led to a wider discussion around whether Events listings should have “additions” defaulted to “Off” to prevent users providing provocative “conversation-starter” additions which are really comments and which are prone to dragging the website down that familiar and unhappy avenue. JF to look into tech feasibility of this (is this right – please correct me if I’m wrong here).

Recent covereage:

We’re now on 980 articles/events/additions/etc. – 34 since last meeting. Some good features, including some from new people, and some useful collaborative writing.

Action: Ptg to email Mick Fuzz to see if we can squeeze a Manchester Anarchist Bookfair article out of him (though aware we may have someone else doing one already – can’t have too much content)


Upcoming Events (at which we may be able to obtain some coverage/participate/attend/note on the events list):
Evan Greer gig 20/10 – Radio Interference 22/10 – Gabriel Kuhn talk 28/10 – Our next meeting 07/11 (Jen sends apologies in adv.)- Lancaster Anarchist Event 06/11 – Footprint party @ Common Place 13/11 – Hacktionlab 22/11 – Radio Interference 28/11

Speaking of which – proposed we have Radio Interference planning/post-mortem meeting 6.00 – 8.00 on 14/10 to reflect on the recent outside broadcast success and plan our next programme.

(also meeting 07/10 to skill-share the file-transfer of the HD24 audio file onto a laptop/usb stick etc. for editing in Audacity ready for podcasting)

Indymedia Cafe 30/10 – where we basically just focus on doing food to pay back the 1in12 for all the meetings we’ve had there, but with a side-order or awareness-raising and outreach within our community.

Network Meeting – the only date we can really do is 11/12th Dec – should we just go ahead and offer this date and say if someone else wants to organise elsewhere at another time we’d support that? NAB has outstanding action point to contact Seeds For Change re. facilitation. Feeling that even if the “process process” is stalled due to misunderstanding and an insufficiently developed climate of mutual trust, we can/should still require agenda proposals to be made sufficiently in advance (say 4-weeks, by 11th Nov??) to prevent individuals hi-jacking the meeting with personal non-collective hobby-horse interventions.

Also (re. facilitation) to confirm that no-one should be demeaned/diminished etc. (noted that this was already true of facilitation at last two meetings)

What we’d like on the agenda is more positive “visioning” stuff where we share skills and ideas on what works for (all of) us with respect to outreach, techy stuff, and have an attempt to pre-arrange some workshops (so that people with diverse contributions could gravitate to the area where they can contribute and learn the most) rather than two-days of sitting in circle with horns locked on the subject(s) we don’t agree about.

Also we’d like the minutes completed and approved before the meeting ends. This should be do-able quite straightforwardly on Sunday morning for Saturday’s minutes. For Sunday’s minutes to be approved by the end of the working day we’ll need to agreed a very concrete finishing time and factor in time for completion of the minutes. And we’ll need to get the consent of the attendees.

And in the interests of completeness we should note that a discussion was had about the viability and relevance of the UK Network in its present incarnation in view of its general moribund condition and inability to reform itself. When the London Collective mentioned at the last meeting that they had discussions along these lines it was said (subsequently) that these statements were insincere

“I’m pretty sure that London was not considering quitting the UK network over the placing of their proposal on the agenda. So why was their (conditional) plan to quit announced just before the decision was made on the agenda line-up?”

and only made to “blackmail” the network meeting.

“On the matter of the agenda in particular: there was a threat from one collective to walk out (of both the meeting and the network) if their proposal wasn’t dealt with at the top of the agenda.”

We can report that in our local collective some people, while willing to support the meeting, are (having looked at the record, recently and otherwise) not entirely hopeful that UK Indymedia is capable of fixing itself.

[ don’t mind if we drop this section from the public minutes but I think it has to be written down somewhere]

Outreach: what groups or individuals to we know that can help us with outreach?
Answer (ta da!) SRL has relocated to Newcastle and should be able to help us promote Indymedia there. Meandering talk about date on which to try and organise Newcastle meeting develops into general plan about where to go (physically) over the next few months. Protag mentions “buddying” – eg where we extract an invitation from (say) Nottingham to hang out at one of their meetings, invite them back to one of ours, and see what we can learn from each other (and develop and extend a bit of mutual trust in the process). Meanwhile the “where next?” theme develops thus:

  • Nov 7th – Leeds Peanut Gallery or Tangram Housing Co-op
  • Dec 5th – Hebden Bridge (see above re. video/audio)
  • Jan (t.b.c) – Manchester – date and location to be confirmed by our unwitting host, taking account of travel and bank holidays
  • Feb 6th – Newcastle – Jen to contact SRL to make this happen
  • Mar 6th – Bradford Treehouse (Jen to book)

(more) Forthcoming:

Workday on October 31st – invite friends (with cake incentive) [to 1in12 club?] and ask them for feedback and work through the process of putting up an article in order to examine the useability of the site in real time (e.g. to discover why some users are unaware of certain features) and (if appropriate) see if there are any aspects we can fix/improve there and then.
Or – to express it another way – do we need (and can we use) someone else’s opinion about what is “wrong” with our website?

AP – Mark to ask a usability expert to help us set priorities for improving the site. This was previously offered but we said no thanks as we know there are plenty of problems, however little has been fixed since, so let’s get the benefit of a fresh pair of eyes on it.

14th Nov – software @ Common Place – bug fix session following on from the above.

Rolling Action Point list – do we still need this ? (yes, for the time being)
[JF to paste into this doc somewhere?]

Oblong/Video – tending towards Saturdays, are we ok with this (yes) – Still need solid dates.

Six-month task-list – to discuss at meeting in December, “where to we want to be in six months?”

Facebook: We have a “Northern Indymedia” presence on F***book but the auto-update is not working so it’s worse than useless.
JF has an idea F***book may have taken a dislike to non-human auto-updaters and a work-around will need to be devised. Will look into.
The “Share This” button no longer works, there is a fix deployed on the London version of Hyperactive (and also a nicely worded “you are now unbuckling Satan’s codpiece” message) for those wishing to share news on F***book.

Active Collective members – how do deal with those who have strayed, since we cannot remove people ourselves from Crabgrass groups/committees. Didn’t write down the next bit, sorry, eating cake. Probably involved some techy solution involving automated emails. (Mark thinks there was no techy solution, we just need more charisma or something.)

Liason w/Royal Park possee (Leeds) – ongoing, Jen has email address.

Next meeting Nov 7th in Leeds.

Mark’s turn to do the minutes.


Feel free to fix/improve (with a view to getting some acceptable minutes in the public archive asap).




fine by me, I don’t think anything needs taking out for the public version


This has been updated to reflect the APs we mentioned at the meeting.


I spoke to Meg about doing a usability review of the site. She said that if we were going to get volunteers to give us feedback about the site, this would itself be a usability review and there’d be nothing for her to add (but if we are doing that, we need to think how to structure the exercise and record the feedback.)

Is that what we’re going to do? Invite volunteers to tell us what needs more explaining, clarification, etc? That’s the way it looks from the minutes, although I think we started off talking about writing documentation for the site. Perhaps two points got merged into one somehow, can anyone remember?


I’m sending this out in it’s current for in 24h if nobody objects