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Do we really need a private supra-coordinators forum ?

Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 8:42 pm
by lo

When the idea of creating a private space for coordinators popped up, I really thought it would be a great opportunity for people willing to get involved in what was called coordinations during the ESF and afterwards.

But I now feel it's a step backward. We are all talking about autonomous and interwoven projects, transversal groups, horizontality within babels network.
How can we separate a coordination entity from projects inside which a coordination needs exist ? Supra-coordination ?
How can we really consider there is no difference between interpreters and coordinators when we close a door to 99% of the network ?

I was supposed to be the moderator of that coordinator space, and I wonder if that space needs be.

My suggestion is :

Projects are forums. a Coordination is involved in each project, wether it is composed of "old coordinators" or interpreters. A frame and size will come at its own pace for each project. It's only the core idea... kill it or make it live.

Last thing; this comment holds the question of power inside babels and it's really important we can talk about it freely. So feel free...


Re: Do we really need a private supra-coordinators forum ?

Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 10:12 pm
by Mamur
lo wrote:it's really important we can talk about it freely. So feel free...

...which I take as my cue to open this "experimental" forum to everyone. Done. All you need now to post here is to be logged in as a registered user.

Signed: your friendly local admin :)

Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 10:56 pm
by Germán
I like the idea that there are a myriad projects in Babels all taking place at the same time. They could be thought of as divided in families, as in: those projects related to linguistic resources, those related to future Forums, those related to technical tools...

I also like the idea that everyone can get involved in as many or as few of these projects as they wish, mixing and matching. Just because one has a special interest in, say, terminology, it doesn't mean that one can't also be discussing Babels involvement policy, or contributing towards the preparation of the next Social Forum.

Whether this internet forum will help create the synaptic conexions between each of us remains to be seen. But I do believe it has the potential -- it can grow or shrink as needed, its threads and fora can divide and multiply like cells in a new born organism. I think you're right, barriers here are counterproductive. Let everyone contribute what they may, whereever they feel they can bring something positive, without restriction. And whoever feels the need for a new forum to deal with a new topic, ask the admin!

Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 6:50 am
by steph
hi there

oh geez... this is REALLY getting on my nerves, you know!
The sub-forum for coordinators was meant to test if we could organize ourselves to talk about what went right during the preparation of the ESF and what went askew and should be avoided.
So, it was meant to ease erase any differences between oldies and newcomers, thanks to a prior work of debriefing that we donot and SHOULD not hold with an audience that donot have a clue about what we're talking about. Want a concrete example? We did not strike any points on Saturday with the public fight about coorditrad and transtrad : and that's typically the kind of things we need to discuss before going public.

This HAS NOTHING to do with what you're implying. You're confusing aims and means. Babels has always been working with different working groups and people working in different working groups. Now, donot think this is the greatest thing ever : i'ts always been a problem, being in so many different groups means that, in the end, you donot shit, donot take charge, donot assume responsability OR try and assume them all which.. is basically the same, seeing the result. I donot care about people wanting to be in 37 different groups : but I will be there when it"s time for them to deliver. 'Cause, maybe I was expecting their help on something precise and meaningful to my own working group and they could not do anything, because involved in so many things that they cannot set their priorities right. That has happened a lot last year : the result, I know for a fact that if I want something done, I'd better get down to business myself and so be it.
So, the concrete result of having people involved in different groups, without setting their priorities, and sometimes, without letting go of some power that they have, is the contrary of what you're aiming at.

YET... we're obviously not mature and grown-up enough to hold a meaningful debriefing between the French coordinators. And that's very wrong when it comes to hand all the necessary informations to newcomers so that they can fit in wherever they like.
I was sceptical about the meeting last Saturday : I'm still sceptical about how it went and what its real impact will be.

Anyway : I donot care about this sub-forum. It was not meant in my mind as a hierarchy tool - and I'd appreciate if you didnot imply that.


Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 8:15 am
by Mamur
Stéph, this "experimental" forum was never meant to be "without an audience", as it were. This forum was always meant to be visible to the whole world -- the limitation was only in who could post here. The idea was that perhaps those people who are doing coordination work in various fields could use it to discuss publicly their ideas. Thus it could make the behind the scenes work visible, inspire others to contribute their efforts, and make Babels "real" for those of us who otherwise only get to see the results of months of work in a hectic Forum week.

For whatever reasons, save a couple of people no one asked to be given posting access to this forum when it was closed. It was obviously not serving a purpose. Now it's open, and it's still experimental. We don't know what will become of it. Perhaps it will prove that a closed forum is indeed necessary. Very well, in that case it shall be created. No probs. But any tool that does not respond to a need is deadwood. The beauty of this medium is its flexibility -- why lumber ourselves with purposeless structures?

Please let no one see this forum, the whole of it, as a rigid structure they must conform to. It is not made of steel, it is made of ideas. Need a new forum? Say so. Want to create a group with certain other users? Easy. We're still finding out what we want this for, and there's still too few people regularly using the forum to know what it will turn into. Let's be creative.

And hey, there's no need for stress - we're only trying to change the world ;)


Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 8:23 am
by steph
Yeah, you're right, Mamur about this forum. Though it was not meant to be public in my mind : to be honest, just being able to read what others can decide... :( what's the point?

Still, this does not solve the issue of the debriefing between Frenchies - to me, a flaw in the way Babels works or dysfonctions.


Right on target ?

Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 8:58 am
by ljesover
As far as experimentation is mentioned, one experiment is: Who is a coordinator ? Writing privilege is or was related to this question. The issue for me is who is deciding who is a coordinator ? Therefore also who is validating coordinators ?

That is one part of the debriefing to do, for me. How do include and do we relate with people having projects and willing to give time ?

Then about debriefings... what is it a formal exercise ? or something that enable all of us to share experience and to find ways to go on, include ourselves ?

Sharing experiences is more than usefull, it is one way to grow and learn. Then practical questions arise. How do we meet from San Francisco to St Petersburg ? Even within Europe (I mean the Union)...

What could mean delocalized debriefings ? Several, not one central ? My feeling is that these is going on through several ways: personal and informal discussions or meetings, more formal ones and so on. This for instance, at least for my own personal experience, did help me to have a sense of what did happen. Well...

Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 2:54 pm
by steph
ok. Interesting.
you write :
"As far as experimentation is mentioned, one experiment is: Who is a coordinator ? Writing privilege is or was related to this question. "

Ok : "Writing privilege" puzzles me : hard as it is for me to express it in another language than my mothertongue, I did not and do not think about that maybe-soon-to-be-closed sub-forum as a privilege. I see it as a tool. It's a question of "méthodes" (it sounded too French to even bother finding a translation). It so happens that a bunch of people in Paris prepared the ESF, "nel bene e nel male" and that they have a specific experience. Those people should sit down at a table, use a private forum or a private chat if they can't, to lay down how they tried to prepare the event, how they lived it, and so on so forth. It's not only a question of asking the others how they lived it, even though one needs a reflection from her/his work as well. I find it incredible to believe that a group of people having lived a specific experience cannot talk about it within outsiders witnessing. I'm brand new to this kind of experience, but look around you : the CIF had a debriefing and no one dreamt of being there to tell them anything, every single association, NGO, trade union and network held a debriefing on what they did during the ESF and that helps not doing the same mistakes twice.
It's not a question of privilege, it's a question of efficiency. Whether you choose to open the discussion to anyone afterwards is another issue and another step. I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm saying we miss a step.

Who is a coordinator?
To me, a coordinator is someone who takes responsability. Ready to work on a specific project : say, "accompagnement technique", to take a brand new one or "sign language" to take an older one that is not very known. Someone who decides that she/he will lead a project within Babels. Someone in charge. Along with others that are interested as well to lead the same project and work together. Then, it's up to the working group to decide how they want to work, if they need a specific organisation, if they want to try new forms of decision-making, so on so forth, because they are the ones doing the work. Those doing the work have the final say on their project. That is a very important point to me, mind you. It's a question of respect and self-dependancy.

For example, whoever works within the "sign language" working group - and is recognized as such by her/his fellow Babelians of the working group as a "mate" say, should be considered a "coordinator for sign language in Babels-fr or Babels-it", so on so forth. I guess this will sound rather blunt but : being useful or efficient is not linked to a title, it comes from what you do, how you contribute, how you try to give a hand, that kind of things.

As for the question "Therefore also who is validating coordinators ?" : very tricky question. Can your team mates answer? Can the people seeing you once during the forum answer? What if you tried something and failed? are you still a coordinator? is there a market for unemployed coordinators? How do you say to someone : you suck, provided we all tried to do stuff and did not achieve most of what we had planned?

To me, the real question is not so much about who's a coordinator as how do we communicate between working groups for once and then, how do we take important decisions when they imply the network (or the French coordination as it is). Informal meetings are nice and great from a personal point of view. Now, when it comes to involving a whole network, taking decisions, laying responsabilities on somebody's back, I'd hold my horses.

Which leads me to an interesting remark one person said on Saturday : he commented that he still could not understand who's in charge within Babels, where is the decision level, where decisions are taken.
Now, that is an interesting question....
but it's also time for Xmas!